Carbine vs. Shotgun vs. Pistol for home defense

This post is in response to a request from pax of www,  She is an excellent firearms instructor out of Washington state.  She knew that I was a big proponent of shoulder fired long guns, either carbines or shotguns for home defense, whereas she primarily favors the pistol.  She asked me to write up a little bit about my opinions for her.  So here goes.

All three types of weapon have their pros and cons. 

Now when I teach CCW (actually it is a CFP, Concealed Firearms Permit, in Utah) when I get to the portion of the class about wound ballistics I always tell the class that I’m about to tell them a profound truth, and the sooner they realize it, the better off they’re going to be.  Then I write the following:


General nervous laughter from the class…

Now let me explain.  I love handguns.  I teach people to shoot handguns.  I carry a handgun on my person constantly.  I just spent a fat chunk of money on a fancy new STI 9mm so I could have a better hoser gun for 3gun.   Even with that information, every time I say handguns suck, it manages to offend the heck out of somebody on the internet, because the internet exists primarily to let random strangers get offended.  So let me rephrase, handguns suck relative to long guns.

Let me break it down for you.  There is only one reason we use handguns, and that is because they are convenient.  They’re small, light, and you can conceal them on a person.  I would look a little goofy with an AK47 under my shirt. 

But in comparison to a long gun, they lack power, and they are much more difficult to learn to shoot well.  Anything you can mount on your shoulder is going to be a far easier platform to get fast, accurate hits with. 

To put this in perspective, when you shoot somebody in self defense, the goal isn’t necessarily to kill them, it is to stop them.  You want the bad guy to stop doing whatever it is they are doing that caused you go pull a gun in the first place.  Live or die is really irrelevant.  You want them to leave you alone.  Sadly, the best way to make somebody leave you alone is to shoot them in their vital organs, and that often results in the bad guy’s death.  But that’s his problem, not yours.

So to stop somebody, there are two main ways to do it, psychologically or physiologically.  Now when I say psychologically, that means the bad guy quits because he decides to, as in “OH CRAP!  He’s got a gun!  Run!”  Or if you shoot them with a non-fatal wound, and they say “Damn, that hurt.  I’m done.” 

But you don’t control the brain waves of the critter attacking you.  You might get lucky and get a bad guy that will just quit, the kind of guy that if he wanted to work hard for a living, would get a job.  Victim with gun = work.  On the other hand, you might get some really crazy, evil, whackadoo, who ain’t gonna stop, no matter what.  And that guy, you’re going to have to shoot.  A lot. 

So that brings us to the physical stoppage of another person.  Now when you are legally justified in shooting somebody, it is normally in a situation where you want them to stop RIGHT NOW.  So you want to hit them with something that will do as much damage to them as possible.  If the guy bleeds to death in 30 minutes, that doesn’t do you much good, because in that time he killed you and raped your family to death.  You want to inflict enough trauma on their body that they have no choice but to quit immediately. 

The problem with this is that most of America’s knowledge about guns comes from watching movies.  Where if I shoot somebody with a .45, they fly backwards out the window, do a flip, roll fifty feet, and burst into flames.  Now as much as I like Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, that doesn’t actually happen in real life. 

So what do bullets do to you?  Now Internet Wound Ballisticians, whether you’re a morgue monster or a jello junkie, don’t jump my case.  I’m no scientist.  I’m a guy that has to take a very complex topic and break it down into a manner that a person whose entire firearms experience is based on shooting a .22 at scout camp once, can understand in about a 15 minute block of instruction in a 5 hour CFP class.

Handguns poke a hole in you.  That is basically what they do.  If you’re using good hollow point ammo, the bullet may expand, and you will make a bigger hole.  That hole is going to go through stuff that pumps blood.  The bigger and deeper hole you make, through the more important stuff, the more blood is going to go outside, and not to its destination, which tends to be very bad for the guy getting shot.

The body is an amazing creation.  Your body will automatically adjust for trauma as much as possible.  The more holes you put, the more trauma you inflict, the more the body has to adjust for, the greater the chance that the body is going to say “Screw this.  I’m done.” And shut down.

Now you can shoot somebody once with a feeble handgun round, and instantly incapacitate them.  Great.  You won.  But on the same token, we’ve got people that have been shot a dozen times with duty ammo who walk under their own power into the ambulance.   Humans are amazing.

So if people can be so amazing, and I want to stop them right now, then I want to maximize the amount of trauma I inflict on them.  This is where rifle caliber carbines and shotguns rule. 

Not only can I hit the guy more accurately and faster, I can do a lot more trauma.  Plus we’re talking about home defense in this post, not carrying in public, so I’m not worried about concealment. 

On shotguns, if poking one hole is good, poking a dozen at one time, is a whole lot better.  And at the range that shotguns are used defensively, there really isn’t that much spread.  At across room distance, your pattern is usually about the size of a soft ball, and if you’ve got a big house, a basketball.  So you still have to aim.  (Man, I hate that myth that shotguns throw this boulder of death that can’t miss, usually perpetuated by some dude on the internet that doesn’t ever actually shoot anything).  You can still miss, but man when you hit, it does make a mess on the carpet.

Rifle bullets are going a whole lot faster and do a lot more damage than a pistol, (and keep in mind I’m keeping this simple, and not going into ten pages of argument about AP and SS109 and other esoteric information that will make a newbie’s head explode).  When you shoot something with most rifles, you aren’t just poking a hole, but you are actually causing trauma in the tissue surrounding the hole, and most defensive bullets are designed to fragment or tumble and make even bigger, nastier holes in people.   

Here in Utah, where a very large portion of our population has been deer hunting, everybody is at least familiar with the following kind of story.  Most of my students have either shot a deer, or know somebody who has shot a deer. 

So you shoot a deer with a 30-06 (or some other decently powerful rifle bullet).  The wound is fatal, damaging the heart or lungs, and the 150-200 pound deer still manages to take off in a full sprint for 100 meters before it falls over dead.  Pretty common right?  Sometimes the shot isn’t as perfect, and the deer will make it even further.

So why then do I expect to take a human that is bigger than that deer, and possibly high on goofballs and horse tranquilizer, and shoot them with a handgun that has a fraction of the power of that deer rifle, and expect them to stop immediately?

Ahh… The light bulb clicks on.

So if you’re going to get into a gunfight, bring a rifle.  Heck, bring friends with rifles. 

Now another concern that always pops up is over penetration.  People are worried that the more powerful guns are going to poke through more walls of their house, and potentially endanger their neighborhoods. 

Here’s the thing.  Remember good old Safety Rule #4.  Be aware of your target and its environment?  It still applies.  You are responsible for where your bullets go, even in a gunfight. 

And since you’re trying to stop somebody, any round powerful enough to poke a deep enough hole to reliably damage a person, is powerful enough to penetrate a bunch of building materials.  TANSTAAFL.  There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

But this is one benefit of using a rifle for home defense.  Loaded with PROPER ammunition, the more powerful rifle bullet will often penetrate less than a pistol bullet.  A proper defensive rifle bullet is going really fast, and is designed to fragment, which causes more damage to people, but also tends to cause the bullet to break in drywall and 2x4s faster than a slow moving, solidly-constructed pistol bullet.  Either one will still penetrate, but with the correct ammo, the rifle bullet can give you the best of both worlds.

The other concern about long guns usually some how deals with maneuverability, and how if they have to clear their house, the long gun will be awkward. 

First off, clearing your house by yourself is usually a bad idea.  Don’t do it unless you have to.  To illustrate, play this game with your kids or your spouse.  Have them be the bad guy somewhere in your house.  Now, you go find them.  Who sees who first?  Right, usually they see you coming. 

So if possible, take up a defensive position that covers the entrance to your room and your kid’s rooms and call 911.  In this scenario long gun totally wins. 

But if you have to move through your house (kids on a different floor, something of that nature) you can still move with the more effective weapon, it just takes practice and training.  And if you don’t have the patience to get effective moving with a long gun, I doubt you’ve got the patience to become an effective pistol shot under stress. 

As for maneuverability, look at somebody pointing a carbine or an 18” barreled home defense shotgun, side by side with somebody pointing a pistol in a Weaver or Isosceles shooting stance.  Interestingly enough, the long guns don’t poke out that much further in real life.   

So my personal opinion?  Rule number one of a gunfight is to have a gun.  A .25 Lorcin beats a pointy stick.  If your personal situation only allows you to have a handgun at home, great.  Learn to use it.  Learn its limitations (in the case of the Lorcin, that is when it inevitably breaks into three pieces when you look at it funny), and go practice under stress.

If possible, get yourself a long gun.

Now on shotgun vs. carbine, that is all personal preference.  Which one do you shoot better? 

If you’ve got a billion rounds through a 30” 870 Wingmaster dusting clays and are a veritable pheasant holocaust, then if you want to keep an 18” barreled shotgun stoked with buckshot next to the bed, I’m not going to fault you one bit, and I’m not going to try to invade your home at 3:00 in the morning either. 

If you shoot your AK or AR better, do a little reading about what ammo is available, pick a good load, and you’re good to go.

If you are new to both types, the carbine is a little bit easier to learn to shoot and has less recoil.  Plus when the zombies come, (oh mark my words, it is just a matter of time)  it does have more ammunition capacity, and far greater effective range. 

Really, they’ve all got their pros and cons.  I don’t care what you learn to use, just learn to use something, and then go practice.  A lot.


Diary of a Gear Whore
Online fiction adventure

113 thoughts on “Carbine vs. Shotgun vs. Pistol for home defense”

  1. Great article. I am a part-time instructor in MI and teach the NRA PPitH for people that want their CPL. I agree with you 100% on the carbine or shotgun vs. pistol and it makes sense to present it in the way you do, but what do you tell them beyond “All handguns suck?” Is their instruction on carbine use in that class, or do you refer them on to another class?

  2. Since the Utah class is so short, we don’t really go into long guns for home defense much other than what I said in the post.

    On handguns, I teach for them to engage center of mass repeatedly, and if the bad guy hasn’t stopped, to shoot him in the head. We go into physiology a bit, and how to maximize what they’ve got.

    I close the CCW class with a decision making-role playing portion. I make an awesome bad guy. 🙂

    We do teach a carbine class for pure shooting, and we have a Prism simulator where we’ll go more into judgemental decision making.

  3. First, Welcome to Blogging-at-large. Good to hear from another believer in personal defense arms who knows his stuff. I agree with most of what you said here but would add that the principle of KISS applies here too…”keep it simple stupid”. I favor a Mossberg 500 in home defense set up myself using 00 Buck. I also note the number of aftermarket products available for this weapon and think perhaps you may want to comment on “over-accessorizing” your piece, after all you have to be able to use it as a weapon not to dazzle the intruder with all the grips and gadgets and tac-slings, etc etc…remember, in moments of crisis rookies tend to forget ergo: KISS. Best of Luck from the Editor of OffTheBeanVine Newsletter.

    1. Shotgun at short (inside the home) range? IMHO, add a light and you are fully accessorized for in-the-home mayhem. The light does not have to be weapon mounted … you don’t even have to carry it if you can reach the wall switch okay. Just don’t shoot your wife because she’s a little clumsy when she sleep-walks.

  4. Ahh yeah, I will have a rant about Gear Whores. 🙂

    The Mossberg 500 is a great shotgun. I’ve sold a bunch of them through my shop, and have never once had one come back broken. I’ve owned a few, and a couple of years ago when a family member ended up unarmed and in need of a gun quick, I gave him an old 8 shot 500.

    1. Compared to handguns, shotguns are heavier, larger, and not as maneuverable in close quarters (which also presents a greater retention problem), but do have these advantages:

      They are generally much more powerful.
      The average shooter can engage multiple targets faster than with a handgun.
      They are generally perceived as more intimidating.
      On average, a quality pump-action shotgun is generally less expensive than a quality handgun (self-loading shotguns are generally more expensive than their pump-action counterparts).
      Shotguns are, in general, not as heavily regulated by legislation as handguns are.
      When loaded with smaller shot, a shotgun will not penetrate walls as readily as rifle and pistol rounds, making it safer for non-combatants when fired in or around populated structures. This comes at a price, however, as smaller shot may not penetrate deeply enough to cause an immediately incapacitating wound; those who recommend birdshot for minimizing wall penetration also suggest backing it up with a larger buckshot if the first shot fails to stop the threat .

      1. Things change.

        The KelTec KSG hosts 15 shells and the MSRP is about $880. This makes it on a par with many pistols currently on the shelf (Jan. 2014). Of particular interest is that it can reliably chamber the 12 gauge shorties.

        The longest range in my wood-framed (no brick) house is 25 feet. Even my .410 could, when loaded with 000 buck, penetrate my walls and go bother my neighbor, whose outside wall is a scant 20 feet away from mine. His house is made the same as mine. The only thing, in terms of ballistics, in our favor is that the houses hearken back to the days of wet-plaster interior walls (a thin layer of wet plaster over wire mesh and concrete).

        So, I’m wondering if the reduced powder load of the shorties — combined with a reasonable shot load — might balance out to a round that would penetrate the bad guy sufficiently without penetrating my neighbor at all.

        Need data.

    2. Yes and no. I love the 500 because the “tang” safety (there really is no tang) is easy to work under stress. But for some reason Mossberg makes the safety button out of plasic and I have seen them break. Fortunately, Brownell’s offers a metal replacement that is fairly easy to install, and I STRONGLY suggest doing so on any 500 used for serious work.

  5. Long time listener, first time caller… Oh, wait, long script. Anyway, came over from THR by way of Law Dogs blog. Huge fan of the work you did with Nightcrawler and am really looking forward to MHI.

    I have to disagree on your assertion that a carbine will be better when the zombies come. While there are benefits to having a larger capacity and lighter ammunition, do they really outweigh the versatility of a shotgun? Your AK will be great for removing the melons of the undead, but what about bagging squirrels so you have some dinner, too?

  6. Todd, 3 words.

    .22 Conversion Kit. 😀

    In all honesty, I’m a huge shotgun geek. Yet another post for another day.

  7. You’re gonna laugh, maybe, but I had the same thoughts in regards to a carbine for home defense.
    Got myself a CMP Inland…

  8. I once heard it explained this way, and have used it ever sonce:

    “The handgun’s role is to allow you to shoot back while you retrieve the rifle or shotgun you never should have left behind in the first place. Since the average civilian’s long gun is at home, he should (theoretically) be done long before retrieving said rifle or shotgun. That said: should a badguy still be coming at you when you get home, he deserves whatever Hell he recieves…”

    Works for me!

  9. Pistol caliber carbines beat pistols because they’re easier to hit with, but the downside is that they don’t have nearly the oomph of a similar sized rifle caliber carbine.

    Yes, the bullet is usually going faster than on a pistol just because of the barrel length, but it still isn’t nearly as potent as a rifle.

    M1 Carbine is the same kind of thing.

    That said… My wife’s home defense gun is an M1 Carbine. Why? She likes it. So there you go. 🙂

    1. Is this thread really 8 years old? Wow.

      Although a .30 carbine is not at the top of the list for ‘oomph’, it’s quiet capable against lightly armored threats.

      If I could get hold of the genuine article, i would. I had the opportunity to fire a friends war bring-back and the thing fit me like a glove. Snapping it to shoulder, it pretty much aimed itself at the 9 ring on a B27 @ 100 yards and I could hold it on a 9″ paper plate at 50 yards while dumping the magazine from a standing, unsupported, position in rapid fire.

      I have other responses I could make to an intruder (none of which include shaking hands), but at short to intermediate ranges outside the home, I’d be comfortable with an M1 carbine as a ‘fall back’ weapon.

      I recently (finally!) bought an AR-15. There is NO FMJ round that makes sense inside the home, but there are some commercial loads that make some sense. I’ll be testing a few over the summer.

      OTOH, except for having the only winning ticket for the Powerball lottery, a bumpfire stock is just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

  10. Pistol Calibre carbines have their place, I’m sure, just don’t happen to have a niche in my arsenal for such at this time. Conversely speaking though, I am…intrigued by rifle calibre handguns. Thompson Centerfire makes a very nice (and huntable) single shot long barrel in russian 7.62x39mm, fired a buddy’s piece and feel sure it would do the deed in a short range hunting set up. Same guy has a Ruger, Vaquero methinks, in .30 cal carbine…nice little revolver. I do have a .44 mag pistol and lever action carbine (shared ammo ya know..) I’d pack that piece if I was in camp around bear country and not feel too alone, the .44 has some knock down power. I don’t favor 9mm carbines as I said but then I’m a civilian too, if I was law enforcement that carbine that shared ammo with my sidearm might feel right comforting.

    1. I always thought of the .30 Carbine as one of the first attempts to bridge the gap between what was, at the time the military rifle cartridge (30-06) and the military pistol cartridge (.45ACP), to make an easy handling, light, compact rifle. I’ve heard things about .30 carbine in revolvers, and someone’s idea to make a remarkably similar pistol cartridge, the .327 magnum. It’s interesting, to be sure, but I’ve got no experience with them, re: stopping power, penetration, and comparison to .45ACP, .44 Mag, and so on. Any worthwhile thoughts, in case I see something on sale or trade?

  11. Unless I’m being menaced by snakes, I can’t really think of what I would use that Taurus for. I have a friend that lives in the south on property that is infested with cottonmouths. Evil little bastards. For him, that would rock.

    For home defense, it still has all the drawbacks of a handgun (lack of power, difficulty in hitting), and I’m not thinking 410 shot out of a snub barrel will be very impressive to actually shut somebody down.

    1. I own one like this … the Judge PD … and find that .410 shells with 000 (9mm) buck make really interesting holes at 5-10 yards. At 5 yds. the pattern occupies about a 2″ diameter. At 10 yds. it’s more like a foot diameter.

      If aiming at center of mass, you can be reasonably certain of hitting something the bad guy was counting on using later. It seems unlikely that most folks would be able to shrug off being tagged with four 9mm projectiles at once.

      Three cylinders .410, two .45 LC. If I can hit ANYTHING I’m aiming at, I think we can splat one goblin.

      If going hiking in bear country, load all .45’s. And pray.


      OTOH, I’d never buy this gun again. Just 5 rounds followed by a long reload is bad karma.

      1. Traded the Judge in for a Calico Light Weapon Systems 9mm carbine. There was just something intriguing about a weapon whose smallest magazine held 50 rounds. (hint … it comes with a 100 rd. magazine as standard)

        It’s a lot of fun on the plate lanes at the range.

  12. “But this is one benefit of using a rifle for home defense. Loaded with PROPER ammunition, the more powerful rifle bullet will often penetrate less than a pistol bullet. A proper defensive rifle bullet is going really fast, and is designed to fragment, which causes more damage to people, but also tends to cause the bullet to break in drywall and 2×4s faster than a slow moving, solidly-constructed pistol bullet. Either one will still penetrate, but with the correct ammo, the rifle bullet can give you the best of both worlds.”

    Are you talking about frangible ammo? Would using a 16” FAL in .308 as a home defense carbine be considered overkill?

  13. It depends on how good you are with that FAL. If you’re confident with it, go for it.

    As for ammo, do your research first. You’re looking for something lightly constructed that is designed to fragment right away. I’ve not looked into .308 for that role, but there are probably varmit loads that will give you what you’re looking for.

    1. According to Dr. Martin Fackler’s extensive wound ballistics research, much of the 7.62×51 (.308) ball ammo (especially German DAG surplus) will indeed fragment inside your bad guy. Determined and verified many times in VN and elsewhere.


    I purchased, after much research, an AR-15 as well as an XD .45 for home defense. At first I was a little self conscious about owning an “Assault Rifle” or a “Battle Weapon” and my family was a little weird about it. But once I got past the ‘Taboo’ part and really just examined it for what it is, a SA carbine, I realized that I had made a good decision. I am learning as fast as I can but I do have one gripe, all the good training seems to be for Law Enforcement only. Why is that?

    – Redstone

  15. Redstone, there is some really good training available for regular people. It depends on your location and how much you’re willing to travel. Here in Utah, we put on some good courses.

    I would recommend looking at the Strategies & Tactics page on Lots of people talk about different courses, and you can ask about what is available in your area.

  16. In keeping with KISS, I like the pistol caliber carbines, especially .38 Spcl/.357 magnum. Ammo is widely available, reasonably priced and there is plenty of variety available to fill most any role. The manual of arms for revolver and lever actions is pretty simple, and you don’t look as “evil” or “gun-nutty” to the gendarmarie, prosecutor and jury as you would with non-wood.

    I certainly like a Mossberg 500 or 590 nearby, too. Among the criminal element there is no gun as feared as “The Gauge”. Rightly or wrongly, it has the streep reputation of cutting people in two.

    Nothing wrong with the other stuff you mentioned; these are just my preferences. Nice article.

  17. Great article, i really enjoyed it. Do you think a .223 Saiga with an 18 ” barrel be up to the task? As much as i’d like to get something like an AR or another rifle in the same category, realistically i don’t think i’d have the money to afford one any time in the near future. Would the .223 be preferable to a shotgun, or are they roughly on the same level as far as your concerned?

    1. Give a look-see. I bought my AR-15 for $539 (iron sights) from them a few months ago. I think they are $569 now but, after 500 rounds, I’m satisfied that it was money well spent.

      It is not a perfect AR (does such a beast exist?) but the bullets come out the right end.

      I was out with my wife yesterday and, while she was having a tough time, I was zinging a 2″ diameter reactive target at 50 yards with the iron sights. Accidentally shooting slightly high, I shot the knot holding another target (4″ ball) up … so the windage was pretty good. ;~]

      The fancy logo stuff is still mighty expensive, but the off-brand ARs can be had for working-man’s money.

  18. Mike, the Saiga would do just fine. They’re great guns.

    Shotgun vs. carbine? I would say that one has to come down to personal preference, and which you’re more comfortable with.

  19. Some notes on this excellent post, but first, congrats on a great site.

    1. I’m a retired street cop. We ALL are told to “shoot to stop”. Did you ever consider the origin of that advice? It comes from folks who run governments, and have unlimited money to pay tort claims, should they arise, and they usually don’t because they are the gummint.

    2. For John Q, legal history and precedent has to come into play. Have your favorite attorney (you do have one, don’t you?) give you the stats on justified woundings vs justified deaths, regarding how much the shooter gets sued, and how much is collected if the “victim” wins. You will find that the kernel of truth in those stats is that dead goblins sue a LOT less (even though their estates have the right to sue), and even when a Wrongful Death tort is successful, the amount is generally less than maintaining the life and health of a badly-wounded goblin.

    3. The NRA is now standardizing home defense courses. They are NOT basic courses, they want you to have some of their basic weapons courses first, but I’ve looked at their curricula and it is excellent. You local full-service gun club can probably teach them.

  20. I’m currently redoing my “arsenal”.

    Pistol:personal defense .
    My Pistol will be Glock in 9mm. Reason: My off duty gun has to be a Glock per policy and if I use 9mm the “company” will pay for the ammo. (250 rounds per quarterly qualification).

    Carbine:Fun and Home defense.
    I’m going to get a Kel-Tec Carbine that will use Glock Mags. Why Carbine? It will use the the Glock mags which are plentyful in various capacities and I can shoot it at the local indoor range. The only thing I need to decide is 9mm or .40cal for the Carbine.

    Shot Gun: Home Defense.
    I’ll probably get a Saiga 12 guage because I like the look of them and have heard good things about them. I’ll most likley add the side folding stock. I like the forbidding AK look.

    Might also get a Saiga .410 for others in the Family to learn on.

    Hope to have this all done before November. Certain candidates scare me more than the street thugs.

    1. I have the Saiga. Great little gun, no appreciable kick and puts lead where I want it to without a lot of practice. With the safety on, pulling the bolt handle will show you if you are already loaded or not … but will not eject a loaded shell or strip a fresh one from the magazine. It’s great for a quick “did I already do that?” check.

      Until I hear otherwise, though, I’m putting 000 buck towards the bottom of the magazine … a couple days ago I was at the range testing how various shells fed through the magazine and the 000 was sailing through 1/2″ plywood like it was still looking for the real target.

      Pretty cool — Dirty Harry would have been proud — until you stop to consider that I am liable for those pellets right up until they stop rolling.

      Unfortunately, my most likely inside-the-home shot would be straight down my hallway, through my kitchen wall, across the driveway and into my neighbors bedroom. I need to get some armor plate on that wall someday.

      Even if the BG really does jump backwards through the wall and burst into flame, I could be in big doo-doo for where the pellets went after they exited him (or her).

      Nice group, though: 4, 9mm, pellets inside 2″ @ 1135 fps and 25′ is gonna be a tough hit to shake off.

  21. “A .25 Lorcin beats a pointy stick.”

    The pointy stick:

    1. Is more damaging.
    2. Is more reliable.
    3. Has a greater effective range.
    4. Never runs out of ammo.


    1. And, if you’re within 20 feet, you have a 50-50 chance of winning. If the handgun is holstered. I know, I’ve tested it myself.

  22. I would like to read commentaries of the use of hight power rifle like a .270 or .308 with solid bulets for home defense.
    Because the solids could be very effective against the hip, the shoulders or the head

  23. Home defense.
    -ALWAYS use a shotgun.
    -NEVER use birdshot
    -birdshot is meant to make a bird fall out of the sky.
    -birdshot will not kill or stop a human that is determined unless you are very very close and hit them in the side of the head or front or back of the cranium.
    -AIM your shotgun. Or you might die.
    – at 15 feet, a 20 guage shotgun loaded with buckshot and maximum dram (your standard deer buckshot load in a 20 guage) will have THREE TIMES the knockdown power of a single .44 MAGNUM. Hit them upper/center mass, feel lucky for a sternum/chest shot, and hope for a neck shot. a direct blast will break their neck and spine and go out the other side. at 15 or less feet.

    Shotguns loaded with buckshot WILL put someone down at greater than 15 feet, aim upper/center mass.

    Downside: the stopping rate of a shotgun is soiled by the death rate, shotguns have the highest death rates in any gun group.

    Shotguns – 12 guage excellent. 20 guage Just fine. 10 guage worry about your shoulder.

    I have seen a human get their arm blown off with a 20 guage at quite a distance, probably 40 feet, it snapped at the elbow and flew off. That was the arm they were using to hold a handgun in. It was #2 buckshot.

    I have NEVER seen a game animal run after being hit center mass with a sabot slug. from any guage except .410 because ive never seen one used for hunting with sabots.

    I HAVE SEEN a small deer get hit with a .308 win mag and run on all occasions except once, out of probably 7.

    1. 3″ .410 with 000 buck brought a fairly large raccoon down in an unidentified urban backyard recently. Word is the ‘coon laid down, took one more breath,shuddered and called it a day. At ~20 feet, the pellets did not exit and did not appreciably spread prior to entry.

      But they sure raised hell inside.

  24. I read this article with great interest. I live in England and we are not allowed to defend ourselves or our homes. Indeed, if you punch an intruder you’ll wind up being arrested for it. I own a shotgun here, but I must keep it in a locked gun safe, unloaded with the ammo in a different locked compartment. Good luck to me and my family if a criminal (who doesn’t follow the law) breaks in with their own shotgun, or even a knife. I guess I’ll have to tell my daughter she must be raped and killed for the good of the community, and the safety of the nation!

    1. Or, take it up with your neighbors and your local “conservative”/”libertarian” political-parties’s candidates. Work hard to find candidates who’ll try to reverse the Orwellian regime in Parliament (whether Labour or “Conservative”, it tends to end up pretty much the same it seems to this EastPac’er, just “full-strength vs. watered-down”) you poor Brits have to live under.

      God Save the Queen! And the rest of y’all, as well.

      1. The Queen has heavily armed body guards; she can take care of herself. Craig, OTOH, has been left flapping in the breeze.

        Goes to show that it’s a lot easier to give up a right than it is to get it back again.

    2. It always amazed me that any Government” … I don`t care WHERE” You live in this ole world , Would have the assinine balls to tell ME” as a humand being … I don`t have the Right “to protect myself OR ESP: My daugher from being raped by a thug / or thugs , And Esp: in my home of all places . Well my friend , I happen to fell QUITE” diff. than you I guess and the subject is Not” up for debate here . I happen to feel I do have the God givin right and Duty” to do so . So let me say this” , Mr. Crimnal , don`t ever tread on me or ESP: one of my children in this home , because I will Try my damest” to kill you Dead” , then call 911 and let the GOVERNMENT , sort it out how ever they feel they must . And it wouldn`t make any differance to me What , Country I lived in @ the time , because my friend ….. IT IS” My Right” , as a human being …….. I Fear Only One Man …. God All Mighty .
      Now” , for those who would like to make catty comment`s about this post….. Save your breath , the catty comment`s about the subject ….. Will Never Change My Mind .

    3. In that event, I’m afraid that I’d be down for a long stretch in prison.

      Really, there ARE some things worth killing for that have nothing to do with who the government thinks should be killed 3,000 miles from home & hearth.

      But, even if given a life sentence, I’m reasonably certain I’d leave prison before the bloke who attacked my daughter left his 6 handle apartment with the velvet ceiling. Some things just aren’t negotiable.

  25. “I have NEVER seen a game animal run after being hit center mass with a sabot slug. from any guage except .410 because ive never seen one used for hunting with sabots”

    Then you havent hunted long enough with a shotgun.

  26. mini14 for home defense. perfection. very very loud dont be suprised if u go deaf. cant think of anything better tho.

  27. I had recently decided that I might be interested in taking some shooting lessons and came accross your site from a light google search. I found your opinions very enlightening, being that I don’t know anything about guns save what I have seen in movies. You really did a great job of breaking down everything in a way I could understand. I think I’ve always favored shotguns for the aesthetic power they have. Now I’ll definitely start researching more in to them. Thanks!

  28. I’ll chime in on this ancient article

    While we could go on for days about countless scenarios…I’ll try to touch on basic facts and my opinions of each

    9mm Pistol: Medium round count (15-19 average) manuverable..small wounds

    12 gauge (Pump most likely): low round count (6-8 average)..front-heavy..slow-ish..HEAVY recoil (17 lb average)..serious “Thump”..very dificult to shoot and pump from the prone position

    .223 carbine 16 inch: High round count (20-30 average)…Superb fast..low recoil (3-4 lb average)..less “Thump” than the 12..just as messy at close range…Forget all the overblown “AR-15’s jam-all-the-time” crap…you can easily ‘Short-Shuck” a pump shotty under stress.

    Keep all this in mind when considering the following

    Fact… The human heart could be blown out of the chest; and the attackers brain still has around 10 seconds of oxygen for them to retaliate ” If ” they can withstand the pain…Factor in an A-hole..on drugs and although you hit him with a great shot with the Mighty Shotgun; he could still shoot back :Yikes:

    “Anyone worth shooting once, is worth shooting twice”…Plan on operating your weapon more than once…Can you do that efficiently under stress and aim with the harsh recoil of the big 12 ?…Can you do that efficiently and aim the Big 12 against 2 or more armed attackers ?…No matter what; the light fast carbine wins here.
    Fact…Only a shot to the CNS (Brain, spinal cord in the neck) will Guarantee the sought after 1-shot-stop…The brain is a Small target…the spinal cord is a TINY target

    Imagine you just got ‘The Drop’ on the in your house…he now becomes a fast moving target who is possibly armed…can you shot one of those hard-to-hit targets moving quick, ducking behind walls, furniture, who is shooting back at you ?
    B.ody A.rmor…Not a ‘Likely’ chance that you’ll get that 4am ‘wakeup’ call.even less likely that they’ll have B.A. on; but if they do the pistol is all but worthless…The shotty will hurt but Will Not penetrate; even with slugs…You will HAVE to get a head shot to kill them….The .223 will zip right through B.A….if the B.A. also has Hard Plates you’re gonna want all 30 rounds in the magazine because you’re gonna be pulling the trigger quite a bit
    Noise…Shooting a pistol indoors is loud..a shotty even louder…the .223 is going to feel like a cannon just went off in your room

    I’ve never seen a shotty where the pump didn’t make a rattle noise..not saying it doesn’t exist…just never seen it….If i’m creeping through my house trying to catch a B.G. of guard, I want to be Silent as possible…Forget that whole “Racking the shotgun to scare them off” crap…You just told the intruder where you are; and what your armed with..This is not about who has the bigger Di–k, this is about surival…I’d rather put 1 round in the brain-box of the intruder with my 9mm without him even knowing I was there than play movie star acton hero with a shotty OR carbine

    Keep a set of electronic ear muffs right next to your weapon of choice…these muffs have microphones to allow for hearing at mid-high levels (70-ish db) and you’re going to want to hear so you can try to locate the intruder…at about 80db the ‘kick-on’ to cut super high sounds down…grab your gun first, grab your muffs only if you KNOW you have the time to get them powered on and mounted on your head…Have regular ear muffs for the kids to protect their ears #1 and #2 to help lower the trama level…train your kids to use the muffs
    Tactical Light…Better to have and not to need; than need and not to have..Get a light..Period

    In a dark room, the light is going to show the whole room to you but show the B.G. nothing but :Black with a beam:..Think ‘Deer in the headlights’…you have less than 1/2 second to pull your trigger after you hit your light…The B.G. will be ‘stunned’ for that split second and you need to know if this A-hole is holding your infant child..if he is, i’m not taking a chance on a stray pellet from a shot-shell

    Shoot to kill…dead men tell no tales…There are too many Lib-tards out there who will try to make a case against you

    The 12g pump was my first gun, and I love it…So believe me when I tell you the following opinion is based entirely on logic along with the facts and theories above….for inside home defense I would go


    The shotty is best outdoors or from good cover inside to blast B.G’s BEFORE they get in the house

    Flame away if you must

  29. In any survival situation, simplicity is key. An EXTREMELY important piece of information to keep in mind when using a firearm is what could go wrong with it. Any magazine-fed weapon (pistol or rifle) relies on an independent part (the magazine) which can be easily damaged, with even the slightest amount causing misfeeds and jams. Now granted, this is probably going to be a much more serious issue in potential “long-term” survival situations, where care and maintenance are not easily achieved, but stil, it’s worth keeping in mind. Pump or break-action shotguns and revolvers aren’t going to generally ever malfunction on you. And if a round ends up being a dud, rack it and you’re on to the next one (or in a double action revolver pull the trigger, etc). Just a thought.

    1. Greg

      Any Low-Quality / Abused / poorly maintained weapon is going to fail you at some point–even the mighty AK-47

      During my Shooting qualification, the Smith and Wesson revolver we were issued wasn’t cared for properly, was a bit dirty, and it jammed at least 15 times of my 100 rounds fired

      My AR-15 is an LMT with Magpul P-mags…so I basically have to put 5000 rounds through it and drop it from a building so it lands ‘Magazine first’ for it to ‘Not’ function…and even then it might 🙂

      My HK P30 has had only 1 jam in 1000’s of rounds, and that was due to PMC ‘Bronze’ ammo

      My Mossberg 500 tactical has to be pumped with a little more authority to extract Sellior and Belliot cheap range ammo; after the gun warms up a bit and has carbon building in the chamber

      My Sig-Sauer Mosquito .22 jams if I look at it with a mean face…

      Point is that gun tech has come a Looong way, so far that I can say honestly that letting a ‘Magazine’ be the determining factor in what weapon you choose is a very bad idea…Especially regarding handguns

      Since the fact is that you have to get a CNS shot to be 100% sure the bad guy goes down, I’ll take an 8 shot Sig-232 with it’s magazine over a 6 shot snubby revolver every time

      No Flames, Just Facts
      With respect

  30. im my opion if your not scared to break the law saw the shit off a shotgun and light people up with that its got the size of a large hand gun and the power of a shotty the only down fall is prepare for the nasty ass recoil it has

    1. And that is some ignorant ass advice. I mean, really, that’s dumb advice. Anybody reading this, please don’t do that. For a whole mess of reasons.

    2. If you live through the next couple of minutes after you pull that trigger (not a guarantee) no matter what else happens, in North Carolina you are going to jail for a very long time.

      If you actually managed to kill someone in that room, you may NEVER get out of prison. At the earliest.

  31. As others have said, thank you for a well thought out and well written article with a zombie reference. 🙂

    Is there any specific .223/5.56 ammo you would recommend for home defense? I have a Colt Match Target HBAR; the only ammo I currently have for it is XM193 and M855.

    At present, my home defense is a Winchester 1300 Defender with 00 Buckshot because both my wife and I shoot that comfortably. Sadly, she doesn’t like the Colt. 🙁

    1. I bought a couple of cases of Hornady TAP a few years ago, and I’m still using it. It was designed for fragmentation, and I’ve heard good things about it. After making sure it ran good, that’s what I’ve kept loaded in the house mags ever since. I’ve only shot a few into materials to see what would happen, because it’s pretty dang expensive. 🙂 But it seemed to work as advertised.

      1. Thanks! I’d considered Hornady TAP before but been scared off by the price.

        How often do you cycle your house mags?

      2. You can buy an awful lot of ammunition for the price of one decent funeral. Every once in a while i light a magazine or two of “the good stuff” up just to make certain I can still put it where I need to.

        It’s not $20 worth of ammo … it’s $20 worth of confidence.

  32. Correia45, I’m currently looking for a home defense carbine. I read your article (among many others) and I want to say yours was, by a significant amount, the most informative. I’m probably going to get a Ruger Mini chambered in .223 and use Hornady TAP for it. Thanks for the info Correia45, and thanks as well to all the other people who posted with useful comments! 🙂

    1. I’ve fired a Mini-14 and M1 Garand carbine (.30 cal.), both owned by a friend.

      Those are the two most instinctive shooters I’ve ever held.

      I can hit a paper pie plate @50 yards just as fast as I can squeeze the trigger with either one and all I have to do is look at a B27 @ 100 yds while shouldering either one to be center mass with it as soon as it comes level with my eye. The whole ‘find target, shoulder, aim, fire’ thing is over in roughly a second.

      Okay … so hitting the ‘X’ is ‘iffy’. I’ll wait to see if the BG raises that issue before I worry too much about it. :~)

      Loverly guns!

  33. WOW.
    Thats a whole lotta stuff being said. I gotta chime in.
    I agree the 12 ga SHOTGUN (shottie…really?) is the be all and end all in CQB. 00 buck will penetrate to the spine thru the chest at HD range. No question. The 223, 308, 7.62x 51-54-ect. will also. My home, for example, is 10 feet from my neighbor on both sides. Buckshot maybe, HP rifle bullets of any make?…uhhh no.
    Handgun, no. But not the caliber, the gun.
    In WW2 the 9mm and 45 ACP killed and stopped an afful lot of men…in their tracks. Thompson, Schmisser, and todays MP5 considered top of the line stoppers. Submachine guns you say?
    Yes, against assumed multiple attackers. Your at home….Wallawalla, somewhere USA. If you in the woods, leave you AR-AK-FN-FAL by the door or bed.
    You live like me, I am going with a short barreled pistol caliber carbine. 45 ACP for me and I will put in frangable ammo if I am afraid of neighbor damage, or hollowpoints if the live a little farther than 10′.
    Have you (the avarage joe) fired a 12ga in a home setting? me either…My wife or sons shooting a 12ga shotgun inside?…then your wife and kids are bigger and more experianced than mine.
    Can they shoot a 45 ACP or 9mm carbine? Yes. Most could.
    Handgun, NO…Rifle (urban setting), NO…Carbine in 45ACP- 40 S&W (lastly) 9mm? Yes.
    JM (no world of warcraft) HO

    1. Since you mentioned firing a weapon indoors, another feature of pistol caliber carbines is that they should produce less muzzle flash and muzzle blast, compared to other firearms.

  34. This is a really old post, but came to my attention while looking through some other information on a keltec sub2000 (the wonders of google)

    One of the things that I keep noting is never mentioned in regards to longarms indoors is pretty simple.

    If they didn’t work, our military and law enforcement agencies would not train building clearing using them.

    They work. Duh.

    Granted, some amount of training is a good idea. But it’s not rocket science!

    over at Koyote Knives.

  35. What I have is a full-size .38″ Special six-shot revolver with a four-inch barrel. It and its predecessors, similar in kind but of varying makes, are most of what I carried throughout my working life. (When I graduated from college, Nixon had the economy in the toilet and his hand was on the flush-lever. Instead of moping, I did what other lawful gun-freaks did, and put my gun in lawful hire. Licensed security officers often get tremendous opportunity to read on the job.) When I worked for an outfit which had a Federal contract, I was allowed to buy Winchester Ranger SXT ammunition for both my revolver, and for the SIG P226 I carried on the Federal contract job.

    With respect, I ask your opinion of that round, in such a weapon as I have, for home protection. (Yes, I know that it as much depends on the shooter. While I will never be a competition star, during my working life I never had trouble with the proficiency test for my job-related carry permit, and I believe I know my own limits.)

  36. In the spec ops community the only time we use a handgun is if our main(M4 or SCAR) goes down….Handgun is a secondary weapon, treat it as such. Do not rely on a handgun as your primary unless it is all you have…Shotgun or Carbine if trained are much better choices.

    1. I know we are not talking kicking in doors here, we are talking home defense. But still I rather have my AR with hollowpoints as my first choice as I am most familiar with that particular weapon system. I tell my wife Grab the Shotgun, sit in the corner with it aimed at the door, and dial 911 simple as that. No kids so we don’t have to worry about that.

  37. I was talking to a man who I considered “overkill.” He believed in keeping at least three guns in every room of his house: a handgun, carbine, and shotgun. But when he started looking into katanas… that’s when I knew there was an issue.

    1. “he started looking into katanas… that’s when I knew there was an issue.”

      Indeed! Everyone knows the wakizashi is the home defense blade.

    1. Check out the Zastava PAP. It’s a Serbian AK variant, has a high quality stamped receiver (1.5mm thick IIRC, unlike the 1mm WASR), and eats cheap Tula ammo like nobody’s business! 7.62 millimeter, full metal jacket. Of note, it’s single stack mag’s are 10 rounds, so it is usually G2G, even in some of the more restrictive states such as NJ and the like. Now if the Zombie Apocalypse ever occurs and Section 922(r) goes out the window, get a dremmel, open up the mag well to go double stacked and have some 30 round AK mag’s in your burial safe with a spam can or two….or three 🙂 These little guns can be found for under $400 if you look around a bit.

  38. Love the comments: Now here are mine. You get hit with anything and you are going to the hospital. My choice for home is a .38 Special. Perhaps not the biggest bang per shot but you will not stand up after five or six. Good revolver with good ammunition and the tide is turned. Most invaders don’t want to deal with this. For the family we have a 20ga. Now that’s pretty impressive with two barrels. Probably tells you things aren’t all that good. As far as over penetration is concerned, I live in the country. I could care less. I’ll fix the sheet rock. Come see me sometime.


  39. How about being physically strong and fit, a football helmet and short sword for home defense?

    The attacker couldn’t punch you and knock you out with a football helmet on and if you are above average in strength he couldn’t take the sword away.

    1. But what if the bad guy couldn’t find his sword and was forced to bring his gun, instead? Suppose he brought a can of spray paint and set it on fire while aiming at you? Or maybe he had a big electro-magnet that he could throw on the floor and pull your sword out of your hands. Ya know … the one thing you fail to anticipate is the one that gets you … happens all the time.

  40. I once read a statement from a Texas ranger, where a upstanding member of the town seeing him with his gun on his hip at a local charity event asked him ” if he was expecting trouble that night ??”
    He said ” No mam If i was expecting trouble,i would have brought my shotgun…

    1. Give Federal Premium 410 Handgun a try. 4 pellets – 000 buck 850 FPS … not really all that fast, but I don’t know too many folks who can run faster. Plus all 4 pellets arrive at about the same time so those who are reaching for their calculators might want to factor that in.

      1. No, the best load for the Judge is the Winchester PDX1. It is a duplex load. Has 3 .36 caliber discs plus 12 BB pellets. The disc hit center mass and the pellets surround that..

      2. Grady … have to answer you here because the comment queue can’t cascade any further.

        I’ve tried the PDX in my Saiga SA shotgun and they made some nice holes in a sheet of 1/2″ plywood … but so did the 000. Either one is a game changer … and potentially a threat ender … those who won’t consider anything other than a 12 gauge have not thought matters through. The only drawback I can find to .410 is a dearth of reloading options. However, at ~25 feet, the BBs didn’t all penetrate, whereas the 000 pellets did. “In” is better than “on”, I always say. (With apologies to Shrek) Moreover, the PDX rounds are just a hair too long to feed reliably in this firearm. I’ve sanded stuff down all I’m going to … it just isn’t helping. They are about 1/8″ too long for that magazine and will not feed reliably. Love the bang and they cycle fine, but the third round never makes it to the top of the magazine until I take it out of the magazine well and pound it on the table some.

        If i have to shoot someone in my house, I don’t want to have to shoot him again — I want the party to be over.

        Here’s why:
        I just got out of bed, I’m half-naked, I just shot somebody in my hallway, My wife is screaming or crying or, at the very least, scared out of her wits. Contrary to our drills, she’s not calling 911 … she can’t even open her phone … and she’s not backing me up with her pistol, either. I’m half blind and all deaf at the moment and my fine motor control no longer exists (although I think I just soiled myself, so my bowels are still working pretty good) … NOW is not the best time for a prolonged gunfight. To the extent possible, I’m interested in “one and done” … and getting some clothes on before the cops arrive. I have confidence that (4) 000 pellets COM (or higher) will accomplish what I need them to do against anything short of actual body armor at that range. if the guy is wearing level 4 body armor, the back of his carrier probably says “POLICE” and I am about to have a REALLY bad night (but probably a short one).

        OTOH, the police response time will probably be under 5 seconds. So, I guess that’s something positive, eh?

        In the middle of the night, I can’t shoot theory. That’s why i took several loads out to the range and took turns with my wife tormenting a sheet of plywood for a good hour. The disks of PDX have great penetration: but the BBs are iffy and the third shot never happens. I gotta go with what works in my gun. Your mileage may vary.

        1. I do not use the 410 PDX in a shotgun, I use it in a Taurus Judge. The first round of PDX will be to the face to take out the eyes, the follow up shot will be a Hornady Leverevolution .45 long Colt to the chest. I rotate them in the cylinder.

  41. Thank you for the article, very good article. I would add one thought. For home defense the shotgun has the additional advantage of a limited range. In 2011, an Ohio man clearing his black powder rifle accidently killed an Amish girl 1.5 miles away. As many people would have neighbors close by, I consider it an advantage that the killing power will diminish rapidly after the shot has gone beyond your 4 walls.

  42. Properly secure your home and there is little chance that a criminal will get the jump on you. Get bump proof door locks, secured windows, dog, alarm etc.

    1. If someone gets the drop on you then no weapon is going to save you. Prevent the criminal from getting the drop on you in the first place.

    2. Well, no dog, but the rest (including the ‘etc’) is pretty well nailed down. The outdoor motion lights tell where the threat is coming from, too. They are too high to reach without a tall ladder.

  43. Love this thread!

    Back when I was a Merchant of Death I remember how often someone came into the shop asking for “a .38” and ended up leaving with a 12 or 20 gauge pump. We also sold a ton of those sweet little Mossberg .410s.

    My favorite home go-to is the Mossberg 500. Six in the tube, safety where it belongs, and if an intruder is still around after I’ve racked the action I know it time to rock & roll.

    Just be sure to swap out that plastic safety button; they can break at the worst possible time!

  44. I love this thread, too! It’s terrific to finally hear someone talking sense about long guns as defensive weapons for the home.

    Larry, you absolutely Rock!

  45. Larry. Great writing. I was just introduced to your stuff this week and love it! I recently bought a Colt 9mm Carbine. I am curious what your thoughts are on this for home defense.

    1. Ben, I’m not Larry. I don’t even play him on tv, but the best of all possible advice is to grab a big box of ammunition and head out to the range with it for some serious practice. Shoot it every way you can except from a bench rest. Walking forward, sideways, backward, reloading while standing, crouching, with your weak hand and so on and on. I mean, really give it a good going-over.

      Then make up your own mind. Unless you have a lot of problems with it, I think that after firing a few hundred rounds you are going to decide to keep it if for no other reason than you are now quite familiar with it and confident in your ability to shoot it well.

      For whatever faults it may have, a 9 mm will make an entrance hole almost anywhere you can point it. If you are shooting JHPs, it may not make an exit wound (that’s a good thing, in my view). If you can find some frangible ammo, it almost certainly won’t make an exit wound … so much the better. All that really hangs in the balance is YOUR opinion of YOUR ability to point it where it needs to be pointed on the day you need to point it there.

      I have a 9 mm carbine. I make it a practice to stand behind the muzzle and not in front of it because I’ve seen what a 115 gr. FMJ can do to a piece of steel and do not wish the same to happen to me.

      Although I do not speak for him, I think that Larry would agree that a smaller caliber hole in the bad guy is vastly preferable to a HUGE hole in the wall next to him and being physically capable of firing a follow up shot is always a good idea.

  46. Hmm. I have lived in a country where guns were totally forbidden with exception of hunting rifles, But even these rifles were more of exception. Also the place where I lived was the worst in the city. If you show up on the street you would almost certainly get in trouble. However, you’d be beaten up in the street, home invaders were after your stuff and would usually lock you up in a closed or a bathroom. But at the end of the day nobody would ever be killed or seriously injured.
    What would you prefer ? How much of a chance your kid with your gun has against 5 home invaders, who are only interested in the content of your wife’s jewelry box ?

    1. Wow…

      So your defensive plan is to bet upon the relative kindness and mercy of the guys beating you up and locking you in closets while they loot your home… Okay then.

      No thanks. Apparently our violent psychopathic rapist killers aren’t as fluffy as the ones in your country.

    2. So if it was so much better living in a country where you cannot defend yourself, your family, or the stuff you have worked for why are you not still living there????

  47. Awesome article. Was shown this article by an army buddy of mine via your recent diatribe on “gun control” hysteria. Just bought a G23 Gen 3 .40 cal and I love it. still holding onto my over under 12 gauge browning too though. Keep being a voice of reason and just matter of factness…to often do I have to argue with friends who have no clue or wish to have no clue…which ironically is a game that includes only one gun as the murder weapon.

  48. Larry, good article. I’ve chimed in here and there where I thought I had something positive to add. I know that the original post is now ancient history, but the topic itself is evergreen.

    I carry a 9mm doublestack and two spare magazines on my hip pretty much anytime I am awake, including in my home, but that is because a home invasion (Detroit style) is an instant event and I can get to my hip faster than I can anywhere else in the house.

    There are a lot of variables to consider, but a shotgun or rifle that is five feet away may be too far away to use first. A pistol in hand (oddly enough, I found a .25 casing at the range a couple days ago. It was on the tactical range.) is, of course, better than a rifle just out of reach.

    That said, there is a loaded shotgun or rifle within easy reach in most of the rooms of my home. (My wife and I have no children or moron cousins living with us.)

    I’ve been gone from this blog about a year and a lot of water has gone under the bridge in that time. I’ve acquired firearms and ammunition and an outdoor range (and NRA) membership. I’ve burned through quite a bit of that ammunition … and replaced it … several times. I can now reliably put a .22 pretty much anywhere I want it to go out to 100 yards. Not NEAR where I want it to go … point of aim where I want it to go. That required a lot of research, more than a few dollars and a lot of ammunition A-B testing. In the end (to date), I found some .22 ammunition that fuels my CZ-455 even better (by a small margin) than Eley Tenex and have the NRA 50 yd. targets to prove it (to my sons).

    It took honest work to get to this point … and that has instilled a new-found respect for the shooting arts.

    I’ve just begun writing my own blog. It will include some discussion of firearms from the defensive / survivalist / prepper point of view. It will discuss the various philosophical approaches, training and equipment needed to equip oneself for either evacuating on short notice or for staying put indoors for a long time.

    I’ll probably also do a little pontificating on the pro-gun / anti-gun debates and the political moves and skulduggery involved. I keep hoping that the anti-gunners will meet violent ends … at the hands of people with cudgels and rolled-up subpoenas. Getting shot would just prove their thesis that people with guns are crazy. Not being able to shoot when THEY needed to would prove mine. That walking around unarmed is crazy.

    Once I’ve gotten things rolling, I intend to come back to invite you to do a guest post or two. If you like how I write, I’d be happy to reciprocate.

  49. I’m almost done developing a round that will fire from bb guns, have a muzzle velocity of 50,000 FPS, disintegrate fully upon contact with drywall, glass or innocents, and upon contact with bad guys will dissolve them into rainbows, puppies, kittens and hugs. It’s all due to a new material I’ve discovered. I call it unobtanium. I just need a few investors, now…

  50. Call me nuts but I like having all three available in the house.
    I like my handgun for an enabler–if needed I can use it to cover a retreat.
    I like my shotgun (double barrel hammerless) because I load it with number 8 or smaller shot which is great for both penetration and expenditure of maximum power within the human body. And at up to 25 yards spews a 74 caliber “slug” until the shot cup stops against a body or clothing.
    I like my rifle for the ability to use in a prolonged gunfight, if needed.
    One thing you don’t talk about is shot placement. I like to aim at the groin with the shotgun, to cut the Femoral Artery and the Femoral Nerve Trunk where they split to go to the legs. The shock of losing ones legs and their inability to move makes for a good 30 seconds worth of shock and awe and allows getting the rifle in to play against a stationery target.

  51. I agree shouldered weapons are a better option for self defense. However I disagree with using a rifle caliber in them. Chances are you will kill the intruder and anyone behind them, including (if you’re lucky) your next door neighbor. More likely, however, your children/wife/other family members will get injured of not killed. If you’re in a apartment your chances of hitting and possibly killing an innocent is greater. I think 45 hollow points or ACP from an AR platform is perfect. Most of the energy is spent on weight and aerodynamics of the projectile so it is less likely to have the energy to rip though sheetrock and wood in your house (which is still a possibility). Also it makes a big hole. Not to mention, if you live in a house with tight doorways and hallways, it’s difficult to manuveur a rifle with a longer and heavier barrel. I use to think the Ar pistols chambered in a handgun round were pointless and dumb but I realize the benefit of them now. I’ll prolly get a Taurus in 510 though. There’s some crazy specialty ammunition out there that are specific to revolvers.

    1. Everything you said there, I addressed in the article.

      And the Taurus Judge is a range toy. It sucks as a shotgun and a revolver. 410 sucks out of long barrel. It sucks worse out of short barrel with a cylinder gap.

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