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Best Guns
for Home Defense (Page 1)
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By Dan S Defense

The best handgun for home defense will vary among individuals and situations. Skill level, the type of home you live in, as well as available funds, will all affect the selection process.

In this article we'll look at the logical decision making process, that will match a handgun with your needs, and situation. We'll strive to provide you with sufficient information to determine which handgun is indeed best for your home defense needs. We'll also list the handguns we selected as the best home defense options for us.

Handguns in home defense scenarios need to perform a very specific task. It needs to defend your family from a home invasion or break-in. Since these mostly happen at night or very early morning, in low light or darkness, certain requirements, such as a weapon mounted light and night sights will be called for.

When selecting a home defense handgun, you also have some latitude, since that handgun is subject to less limitations than a handgun which is used for concealed carry. For example, size and weight, while being important aren't as critical, since our home defense handgun will most likely be in a safe next to your bed, or on your nightstand.

Let's think of the scenario for home defense, since it will dictate the scenarios that the handgun needs to meet. Notice I used the word 'need' and not 'must' since we'll prioritize our requirements to control cost. In an ideal world, we'd each drive our ideal car but since we have to spend (and save) our money wisely, we make logical trade-offs to control cost. The same thinking process applies in the selection of the best home defense gun. Remember that 'best' in this context is 'best' for you.

Back to our home defense scenario. Problems most often happen at night or very early morning. Increasingly, more than one assailant is involved and there's a very high likelihood that the intruder is armed. Since we don't know how many intruder's we'll need to face (i.e. one or more) and we don't know how motivated they are (i.e. will they leave when confronted or choose to attack), we'll need to make some assumptions.

Next we think of our home and how it affects potential confrontation. Is it a large home built from bricks and cement? Is it a trailer in a crowded trailer park? Do we have paper-thin walls and neighbors that live a few feet away? Is our home situated on a remote lot? These question directly affect our choice for best home defense handgun. For example, a 44 Magnum is unsuited for a trailer park but may work on a farm. Since you are responsible for every bullet you send out of your barrel, you must take these facts into account.

Let's narrow our choice. First, the gun you have is better than a gun in the safe or catalog. If the only handgun you own is a single action Colt 45, than that's the best home defense handgun for you. if you have several handguns or if you are willing to invest in a hew handgun, consider the following points:

1. Select a handgun caliber works best for you:

Read this as what's the largest caliber that you use to effectively hit a man sized target? Remember that under stress your skills will suffer and that you'll most likely need to engage a moving target (e.g. someone charging at you). Bigger in this context isn't better. Accuracy is critical and you ought to opt for a 9mm, if you are brilliant with a 9mm Springfield Armory XD(m) but just OK with a 45 ACP Les Baer SRP 1911.

Be honest with yourself and don't let your ego get in the way. Lives depend on this critical choice-be honest! There are other options too, such as the .40 S&W, and you ought to explore this further.

2. Select a handgun with longer barrels:

If you have a choice, avoid pocket handguns and short barreled semi-automatic handguns. A 1911 with a 3" barrel will not be as effective or reliable as a handgun with a 4" or 5" barrel. Since you don't have to carry a home defense handgun, stack the odds in your favor and work with longer sight radius, additional velocity and increased reliability.

3. Select a handgun with a large or larger magazine capacity:

You don't know how many intruders you'll need to deal with, and you may or may not have extra magazines available (or moon clips for revolvers). You don't want to die because you couldn't return fire, so more ammo is better. Now, it is critical that you don't pull a Rambo and just shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger. You'll get killed and you'll place innocent people in danger.

Shoot only when you are sure you'll hit the target, and shoot until you get compliance and no more. This of this as insurance. Having more ammo is good and doesn't mean you'll need to use it all up in a fight.

4. Select a handgun with a light-rail:

There's a long ongoing debate on the value of weapon-lights. The main concern revolves around pointing a loaded handgun, which has a light attached to it, at something you may not want to destroy. The scenario is house clearing, using the light to slice rooms, and then seeing a family member.

Do you really want to point the muzzle at your son or daughter? That's a valid argument and the solution is very simple. Have a hand-held light for the search, and a weapon-light should you need to engage a life threatening intruder. All my home defense handguns have weapon-lights. Keep in mind that you can also mount a laser (with or without a light), which is an added tactical tool you can use to your advantage.

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