PISTOL, RIFLE OR SHOTGUN FOR HOME DEFENSE
Is a pistol, rifle or shotgun the best choice for a home defense firearm? First, let’s dismiss a couple of clichés:
“Any Gun Will Do.” Yes, any operational gun could be used to stop a threat, but since you have the opportunity to choose one, train with it and stage it responsibly ahead of time. You should take the time to pick a firearm that gives you as much advantage and versatility as possible.
“Use what the Police Use.” Keep in mind that your job in regard to home defense is very different from the job of a Patrol Officer or a SWAT Officer tasked with going towards threats.
With those out of the way, I usually recommend that people who carry a concealed handgun for protection in the public space consider their defensive handgun as their best primary home defense gun. You trust it in the public space, where you have much less predictability and control over engagement distances and other circumstances. So, why not trust it at home?
An appropriate handgun will offer enough power to disable a threat and be controllable enough to hit the target inside the close distances involved in home defense. Inside of two arms’ reach, it is much easier to defend yourself with a handgun. If you don’t live alone and may need to move through your home to secure family members, long guns of any type can make excellent choices when you are barricaded, but are much harder to move around with inside your home. Also, you can move with a handgun holstered, freeing your hands to use flashlights, open or close doors, carry children or call 911. Having your gun holstered when you don’t know exactly what is happening during an alarming event will also make it less likely that you make a tragic mistake and shoot someone who isn’t a threat.
If you don’t carry a firearm regularly or if your home defense plan leads to a static barricaded position, a long gun may be the best choice for you. Rifles and shotguns are often more powerful than handguns and increase your ability to hit your target under circumstances beyond two arms reach, especially for those with less training and practice.
In any case, be sure that you have trained to use your firearm under dynamic circumstances and stage it responsibly in your home to prevent unauthorized access.