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With home invasions becoming more common in urban neighborhoods, having a way to defend your home from violent criminals is crucial. After all, the police can’t be everywhere at once. So despite the exorbitant prices charged by some gun manufacturers these days, gun sales are on the rise.
In fact, the AR-15 may be the most popular home defense firearm in America today, even surpassing the popularity of the 12 gauge shotgun. However, while many firearms on the market are perfectly suited for home defense, there are some firearms that are absolutely terrible for this purpose.
Here are five of the worst types of firearms to use for home defense.
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1. Pocket Guns
One class of firearm that is positively not well suited for home defense is the class of “pocket guns” which are small, compact, handguns such as semi-automatic pistols chambered for the .22 LR or the .25 Automatic cartridges, as well as derringers.
While it is true than any handgun is better than none when you are being accosted by a violent criminal, the simple fact of the matter is that due to their compact size and extremely short barrels, pocket guns are specifically designed to be very close range weapons and thus, they are difficult to aim and shoot accurately over any distance.
But because accuracy is of paramount importance in a home defense situation, these underpowered pocket guns are not well suited for the purpose of defending yourself and your family from criminals who have invaded your home.
2. Large Revolvers
On the opposite end of the scale, there are large revolvers designed specifically for hunting medium to large game species.
Not only do these handguns have large frames which enable them to withstand the recoil generated by firing magnum powered cartridges such as the .44 Magnum, the .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum, and the .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, they generate an excessive amount of noise and recoil which makes them difficult to control in a combat situation.
Plus, due to their extra high muzzle velocities, they cannot only endanger the criminal you are shooting at, they can also endanger family members hiding in other rooms and can even penetrate exterior walls, endangering your neighbors as well.
3. Single Shot Rifles and Shotguns
Yet a third class of firearm that is poorly suited for the purpose of home defense is the single shot rifle or shotgun.
While most boys who grow up in rural environments (where hunting is often a way of life) receive single shot rifles chambered for the venerable .22 LR cartridge or shotguns chambered for 20 gauge shotshells, these rifles and shotguns are poorly suited for the purpose of home defense
Why? In the case of the .22 LR, the cartridge simply lacks the stopping power needed to deter a determined home invader and, in the case of either type of firearm, they lack any type of internal or removable magazine and thus are limited to a single shot.
So if you miss your target or find yourself faced with more than one assailant, you will likely not have the time to reload your gun before you are attacked.
4. Bolt Action Hunting Rifles
Of course, this naturally leads to a discussion of the bolt action hunting rifle, which is also found in many households.
While this type of firearm is well suited for hunting game in the field, it is particularly ill-suited for the purpose of home defense because, even though most rifles of this type feature internal magazines that hold multiple rounds, they commonly have long barrels that make them difficult to maneuver in close quarters.
Plus, they require the shooter to manually operate the bolt in order to eject the spent case and load a new round into the chamber after each shot.
Plus, they are most often chambered for high-powered hunting cartridges and thus present the same problem as magnum-power handguns in that they can easily endanger family members in other parts of the house, as well as neighbors.
5. Military Surplus Rifles
Last but not least, military surplus rifles have long been popular firearms among the shooting public due to their relatively inexpensive purchase prices.
The problem is, the large majority of these firearms date from World War II or even as far back as World War I, which means they were specifically designed for use on the open battlefields of Europe and Africa and thus, they too usually feature excessively long barrels that are ill-suited for home defense in addition to bolt actions, just like the modern sporting rifle.
Plus, because they were specifically designed to engage enemy soldiers at long ranges, they are most often chambered for high-powered rifle cartridges that generate way too much muzzle energy to be safe for the purpose of home defense.
So while there are numerous handguns and rifles on the market that are very well suited for the purpose of protecting your family from violent criminals, there are also just as many–if not more–that are very poorly suited for the job.
Therefore, when choosing a firearm for home defense, it is best to avoid the types of firearms mentioned above and instead purchase one of the many models of pistols, revolvers, or rifles that are well suited for this particular purpose.
For example, small or medium framed revolvers chambered for the .38 Special cartridge, semiautomatic pistols chambered for the 9mm, .40 Smith & Wesson, or 10mm Auto cartridges, as well as the AR-15 rifle configured with a short barrel.
NIGEL P DUNCAN ADAM says
All the wisdom in the world will not get you ready for the shock and awe of a house invasion from first knock to being hit and subdued physically in a home invasion takes a matter of seconds.
Having trained both military and civilian police in anti terrorist tactics I can assure you that you can train as hard as you wish but you will not be ready you will not take aim and if you do it will already be too late.
When we entered a house occupied by trained Police officers or experienced Military we were on them within 7 seconds less than a handful ever picked up their weapons from the table beside them.
These people know that they may face an armed occupant so they practice, practice, practice and if they don’t you are lucky they will often know who is in the house and will more than likely go for the older people as the shock value is greater.
When you are home double lock your doors and seek advice on making your doors stronger when you go into the garden lock your doors.
Always reverse into your garage so nobody can sneak in behind the car and don’t open the garage door until you are backed up close to it a tennis ball on a string suspended in a position that hits your back window when there is still room to walk behind your vehicle.
Your weapon should be on your hip always at home use the weapons you see the police use when they enter a building an AR 15 is the Law Enforcements weapon of choice.
You can be sure that they have done studies to find out which weapon will do less penetration because they don’t want to be sued use 223 not 5.56 a 5.56 a 223 and a 223 wylde rifle will fire a 223 soft point or hollow point.
You can use normal ammo for training but have some Hollow point or soft points loaded for home defense.
This ammo is made by multiple firms such as Remington, Hornady, PMC, you will see markings such as 55gr HP, 62gr BTHP the number is the weight of the bullet or projectile the letters BTHP mean Boat Tail Hollow Point, or SP for soft point, it is always better to ask at the store if in doubt.
If you use a hand gun buy defense ammo again HP or SP the bullet weight may be Higher and with a hand gun there is a better chance of over penetration so be sure of what or whom is near or behind your target.
The sound of a gun in an enclosed environment will disorientate everyone in the room so expect to be deafened.
Remember if you have children or guests you must know whom or what you are firing at you need a good sturdy flashlight in an emergency everyone in the house should know to be on hands and knees and you fire at an upwards angle from kneeling.
Your training should be at 20 to 30 feet but start at 10 feet and hold the weapon at waist or chest height stare at the point you want to hit and fire one round keep it short until you know that you can hit the area you are staring at then extend to 15 ft and increase as you improve its called firing by line of sight you must not practice this in an indoor range and at an outdoor range you must be standing and have the weapon either level or slightly pointing down but not too much.
Good luck one point that few people consider is the AR 15 platform is one of the only weapons that a one armed person can easily load unload charge and operate eg. A mother holding a child or a disabled person.
Dead eye dick says
Don’t under estimate the stopping power of a 22 semi automatic.. one of the most deadly rounds made,,Dropped many of deer with just one shot, rabbit, feral hogs , coyotes .. its a bad ass round that splatters into pieces , slicing arteries , veins and flesh ,, any gun is deadly if you know how to handle it and where to place the round .. deadly is knowing the anatomy of what you want to kill !! If you shoot someone in the head with a 22 cal. They are just as dead as if you used a bazooka .. ammo is inexpensive, knowing your weapon is critical, placing your shot/round is crucial , practice is the absolute be all and END ALL, just remember to breathe and squeeze.. and it’s blam blam move,, reset on your targets, blam blam move, count your rounds/shots so you know to be ready to change your clip/magazine, situational awareness .KNOW YOUR WEAPON ,, which ever one you choose
Elbert Jones says
People should not blatantly show off that they own expensive stuff.
I visited a car museum in Las Vegas a few years ago. One of the cars I saw was the last one owned by billionaire Howard Hughes. It looked like a car you’d expect your 80 year old grandmother to be seen driving.
Teams of robbers have been known to post lookouts at expensive restaurants. The look outs were trained to recognize “ROLEX” type watches. Once they’d spotted a potential victim; they’d use a cell phone to call the robbers.
1. Hit what you aim at.
3. Ignore “gun snobs.” Had a chance to go pheasant hunting with one friend and two acquaintances. Acquaintances were “gun snobs.” Brand of gun, what color shooting glasses, zebra skin lined gun case from last safari. My friend had single shot 12 gauge, I had a Montgomery Wards (Mossberg 500). The two snobs shot a lot, but my friend and I accounted for 90% of the kills.
Still have my Mossberg .12ga my parents gave me
For my 14th birthday…. 54 years ago
Michael Perry says
You have to know how to shoot any gun. I’ve blown some pretty big holes in three quarter plywood with my .410.
Get a couple of German shepherds and be patient. I get plenty of warning somethings up and haven’t shot anyone that they or I know. Learn to listen. There is the warning bark and the get ready visceral rumble. I don’t know how many times I roll over in bed and go back to sleep when my neighbor is borrowing the lawn mower or have jumped up to save it from the crack heads.
P. Tassey says
It’s important to train. My advice to people who are t going to is a hammerless 5-shot .38 with black tallon +p hollow point. If you’re using a shotgun, consider #4 birdshot. Doesn’t typically penetrate both sides of interior walls.
JOHN B. TAYLOR says
“BEWARE OF THE MAN WHO ONLY HAS ONE GUN” IF HE PRACTICES WITH IT AND USES IT REGULARLY! MOST PEOPLE DO NOT PRACTICE WITH THE WEAPONS THAT THEY DO HAVE. WHY? TOO EXPENSIVE! TOO
LOUD! WHY DO I NEED TO PRACTICE…I JUST NEED TO POINT IT AND SHOOT! I LEARNED TO SHOOT IN THE MILITARY/ACADAMY/TO GET MY HUNTING LICENSE! I HAVE BEEN A FBI FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR FOR 40 YEARS AND I HAVE HEARD EVERYONE OF THESE EXCUSES FROM CIVILIANS, POLICE OFFICERS ETC. “PRACTICE”, PRACTICE”, AND MORE “PRACTICE”! EXPERT FIREARMS PRACTITIONERS PRACTICE 500-2000 ROUNDS A WEEK! YES, I SAID WEEK! A PERSON WHO WISHES TO BE SAFE, ACCURATE, AND ABLE TO DEFEND HIMSELF/FAMILY CAN FIRE 100 – 200 ROUNDS A WEEK! DRY FIRE THE SAME AMOUNT. IF YOU ADD UP THE COST IT IS CHEAP INSURANCE!
WHAT IS YOUR /FAMILY MEMBERS LIFE WORTH??? OR ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY FOR THE CIVIL COSTS FOR MISSING! REMEMBER YOU OWN EVERY BULLET YOU FIRE! EVERY BULLET! NO MATTER WHERE IT ENDS UP!
Steve Henderson says
Well said and your not lying either. I am currently researching, taking in considerations, pricing, but overall on my way to purchasing/owning my first weapon. I feel like “too” much practice is non-existent or a term that the ignorant/unprepared might use. Each round making you more accurate, confident, safe, and more able to protect everything and everyone you love without hesitation. I can’t stress to myself and anybody that’s serious. Practice may not make “perfect” in this case, but if/when the stuff goes down, I am certain that I would like to be able to take care of the issue without any issues myself. Thank you for your words of wisdom Mr. John Taylor.
I was also taught by two Counter Insurgency groups to only train with the weapons you carry. I know how to fire anything that I may be forced to use but only practice with carry weapons.
Dead eye dick says
This man is absolutely correct,, practice practice practice,, the bullseye on a dime is the same size as the bullseye on an elephant
Rick Dale says
1) this article is right on the mark
2) if all you have is one of these listed firearms, sell it and use the cash to buy a 12 ga pump – available almost anywhere starting around $200
3) if you “can’t afford anything else” then donate plasma once a month for 4 months and you have $200 – see #2.
LOTS of angry posters. Jeez. Lighten up.
FYI – 4 years ago my rural home was invaded by a group of 4 men. Before being caught, they had broken into more than 40 properties. Very professional and dangerous. Those of you with a single shot, or a pocket pistol, or hunting rifle – good luck to you.
James Brigham (Bigg) Bunyon says
Late to the game but … use what you have and can afford to practice with. Obviously get the best quality most appropriate gun, but in a pinch, or when finances dictate, any gun is better than no gun at all. Of course we should all have an ultra reliable $600-$700 Glock/S&W/Springfield/CZ or whatever, but sometimes you just got to go with what you have and/or can afford.
It’s not only foolish to preach against certain types of guns, also potentially deadly, if you have no idea of who you’re preaching to. Not all readers are able to separate the Bravo Sierra from the practical and/or usable.
Virtually all of the articles written by or for this urban survival site are total nonsense. There are assumptions and characterizations that are completely false to those who have spent a lifetime around guns. But, as is so often true, you don’t have to have knowledge to become an internet “expert.”
I have quite a bit of shotguns, hunting, tactical pump, semi etc. Anyone writing off a single shot 18″ barrel would be making a big mistake. Very easy to handle and can be reloaded faster than most folks think.
And you do not need a AR15. You must live in some serious war zones.
There are some that will really disagee with the author. The single shot shot gun can be a formidable defense weapon. And one of those is Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch. I have a midland light weight 12 ga single shot and it is deadly. Yes, I have a tactical shotgun, and others. But actually starting to morph to the light weigh 4 1/2 lb shooter. It extracts very well and no exposed hammer. cock and ready. simply insert shell and close it up and ready to go. You will be surprised how easy it is to reload and fast.
David Haworth says
I can’t afford to practice enough to become a good shot with any hand gun and even if I could afford the practice I don’t enjoy shooting. My Mossberg 500 12 gauge with an 18.5 inch barrel will do the job after practicing enough with it to feel comfortable with the recoil, trigger pull and safety location, etc. I venture to say there are a lot of people just like me who don’t live to shoot fire arms but also need home protection.
Writer mentions that pocket guns don’t have enough accuracy. How far is the bad guy gonna be? At 7-15 feet, a person that has become familiar with his pocket gun can be very deadly. In the day, I kept a 1911 that I was an expert with. Now, arthritis won’t let me handle that. My wife can’t hande a large gun or caliber. My pocket gun will do just fine at under 15 feet and I can comfortably shoot it with accuracy. The .22 round may not be the best, but a series of well placed shots will deter or stop most 2 legged critters. If the bad guy is in my house, he is usually within 15 feet. If he is outside the house, he is probably not much of a threat to me. I doubt they would call it defense if I shot him while he is running away from me. If needed, I have trained to put every round of the 8 shot magazine into a paper plate at 50 yards.
If I had my choice, I’d have a good working 1911 45 cal. That was what I learned to shoot with. Kick was predictable and therefore controllable. I used to pick off a row of small tomato sauce cans I’d saved while the guys were shooting rows of soda or beer cans. Just a bunch of country kids learning to shoot. I was 14.
4 years later when my father-in-law bought me a 22 single shot bolt action rifle for my birthday I lined up tomato paste cans that are narrower targets than the sauce cans and practiced on those. Quail headshots were my aim. I hate birdshot in my food!
The key is a “working 1911. I’ve taught and taken many firearms classes. Revolvers and Glocks were the most reliable guns in class. 1911’s were jam-o-matics.
I don’t know what you mean by 1911s being jam o matics. I swear by my short slide Para Ordinance 1911 .45. Maintain and clean. Never had a problem. I would never own another Glock. Like a squirt gun. Wheel guns old school. 1911 finest combat handgun ever!
Some years back, I was newly widowed, I’d just home to bed in my rural mobile home. I heard the unmistakable crunch of footsteps coming down my traveled driveway. Idiots stood under the open window by my bed discussing if I was still awake and arguing over to break in or not.
I loaded my old single shot 22, hubbies 12 ga, and my 1917 vintage 303 Enfield. Laid the across the bed facing the sliding doors they were discussing entering. When the door popped open I fired the 22 over the idiots head, racked the shotgun and told them come on in 12 .ca is awaiting you. Needless to say they took off running.
I’d been been doing some much needed repairs and construction trash was still laying about. I heard one yelling at his buddy ” get this £€**\%= £€€*\ thing off my foot”. In the morning I found a board with three bloody 16 penny nails sticking out of it.
Today I do have a Tarus Judge, I won it at an NRA banquet a few years back. My weapon at hand is a double action 38 revoked with hollow points in it. I kill dogs that go after my chickens, rabbits, and ducks with that. I still have the old bolt action, single shot 22 that was a birthday present 53 years ago. When my kids were little I used that 22 to frequently serve quail dinners to 4 adults and three kids. You should be proficient with whatever you have. That and think straight and take charge in any crisis. You can have the best weapon around but if you cower in fear you’ll freeze up and the weapon may be used against you rather than by you. That’s Useless!
Steven Henderson says
I’m speechless. You are absolutely amazingly awesome to me. You take care now and just keep doing what your doing.
38 or better pistol (revolver or semi) or a short barrel 20 gauge double barrel will alway do the trick loaded with 00
A gun sends a hunk of lead, of certain size and shape, at a target at a certain velocity. That’s it.
Only difference between guns is size, shape, velocity, and number of hunks of lead a weapon can reliably send in a set time.
The rest is the user. Use what works for you.
All you need is a nice Glock 19. With some good expansion rounds and your in business. Every one ones talking about some wired guns. Get a Glock
No, I will stick to my S&W Governor thank you very much. You couldent pay me to own an overrated glock…
You may not like a glock. It may not fit you. It may be ugly. But one thing it isn’t, is over rated.
Light weight, controllable reliable in conditions that you won’t function in.
And whats wrong with the M1 Carbine of 30 caliber. It was put into use as a short to mid range rifle! It has a mild recoil yet very deadly! I do prefer my Rock Island M5 12 gauge shotgun for home defense also my 38 PS revolver.
Dr. J L Smith says
One gun that the author of the article failed to mention is the .410 shotgun or pistol. Lot of people are purchasing guns like the Taurus Judge, and feel like they have a great home invasion stopper. Wrong. A .410 is not even adequate to stop a pheasant. I have proven that several times! If you own either the S&W Governor or the Taurus Judge, that is great! Just load it with .45LC, and it will do the job. Forget the .410 except for disposing of the odd snake – that is all it is good for. 😉
You might be correct, if you have that judge loaded with bird shot. But, with Double aught, or even number 4 shot, inside the house, that 410, will make a total mess of your chest or head. With Double aught, each shot sends either four or five 38 sized balls of lead down range. And, yes, a 410 will definitely drop a pheasant. You just have to know how to shoot.
A load of bird shot fired from a .410 travels as fast as a load fired from a 12 ga, don’t believe me, read the box. Buck shot is about 100 fps slower. The 000 buck shot loaded in my wife’s pump .410. (5 pellets stacked in line) travel just under 1150 fps while the 9 00 pellets in my 12 ga travel 1240 fps. Don’t tell me that a load of 410 buckshot is not going to be effective inside my house. Bird shot does not pattern as openly from a 410 due to the load being long and narrow instead of short and fat but I know more than 1 adult who hunts pheasant with a 410 and have no problem putting them down. (A Grandfather and an Uncle are 2 of them) . I’d look to the shooter, not the gun as the problem.
Yeah sorry bud, 410 with a 3 or 4 ball shot will be perfect for home defense. And will do nasty damage to whatever it hits.
You have “proven” what? Do/did you own a Judge or a Governor? If you did, did you use defense rounds in it or birdshot?
I certified using my Governor, to get my carry permit. There were 30 people on that range and every single one of them was impressed, and a few (men and women) who were scared of it. The whole line was startled at my first shot. Like out of a movie, everyone stopped their shooting and looked down the line at me. Just the phych factor of the “BOOM!!!” is beneficial. Yeah, my Governor doesent go “pop, crack, pew, or POW”, it goes “BOOM!!!”.
My standard carry is “mix six”. 3 round’s of Winchester PDX1 Defense rounds in .410 followed by 3 rounds of 45 Colt jacket star hollowpoints. I have speed loaders if needs be, and can reload with a speed loader just as fast as any guy slapping in another magazine in his semi-auto.
You don’t like them? That’s fine. I have known several men who were afraid of them. But I personally find them to be incredibly versatile, effective, and most DEFINATELY intimidating enough to possibly deter even having to fire it in the first place.
Watched video of an internet expert pattern a judge at 30 feet with birdshot and claimed the gun was worthless. The only thing he proved was just how stupid he was. When I was a lot younger you wouldn’t want to get in front of my .410 out to 100 yards with slugs and soda cans with birdshot.
Andreas Murray says
Training on how to use a weapon I believe has a lot to do with actual scenario than caliber and type. Ease of access when it is required is also a big factor since a gun in a safe or with a lock on it can’t be used. And as someone else stated is that attitude is important and know the law concerning this issue.
Gun of any type is better than no gun at all. But I completely agree with advices in the article. Choose proper tool for home defense. My home defense gun is Remington 870. Don’t forget to train on regular basis. Jeff Cooper: “One is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully.
Joey McGuire says
A friend of mine once stopped a home intruder with a .25 caliber “pocket gun.” He broke into her apartment in the middle of the night (the guy had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend earlier that evening). She unloaded the gun inside of him. He died from his wounds.
J danles says
I agree, once you start punching holes in someone it doesn’t matter what kind of gun it is, they’re not going to like it and probably won’t stay for more.
She was lucky. A bad guy can do a lot of killing before bleeding out from a multitude of .25 rounds. 12 gauge, 12 gauge, 12 gauge. Learn it , love it , use it. A shotgun will usually only need one shot to take the enthusiasm out of any non-armored attacker.
Actually a 25 with round ball punches through 4 inches of sheet metal. Place that shot in a painful area like the liver, stomach, kidney, clavicle or my favorite if you have to defend yourself and can’t fully draw your gun the large intestine. All heavily vascular large targets that cause mass pain from even a syringe needle let alone a 17hmr through 32 hitting those areas. Any hit to the liver a football sized area or the stomach you have less than 15 minutes to be on an operating table on top of the pain being so emense most lose conciousness in seconds from shock of the pain. Any of the mentioned areas will stop an attacker and the intestine hit should only be if your not able to break free from your attacker and need to put distance between you and the attacker as that shot will cause near instat toxic shock and sepsis in the person from a ruptured colon which is fatal in 97% of the cases along with enough blood loss that it can kill from that in under 20.
Watched a police video of a BG who took 43 hits of 9 mm and still returning controlled fire. An overlay of the vitals showed all round hit south and east of a line from left shoulder to appendix. 12 ga ended the gun fight.
Frank Lopez says
Scarface is not a police video
A .25 punches through 4″ of sheet metal? What metals came in 4 ” sheets that a .25 can penetrate?
James Stewart says
70 year-old grandmother… are you telling her to get out the 12ga? GTFO.
Scott LeTourneau says
A 12 gauge will cut your invader in half with double ought buck.
E. Dillingham says
R.E.M. 870 with bird shot. It takes a really brave man to keep coming when they hear the slide jack a round in. 18 in November barrel great stopping power enough rounds to do the trick.
ill take my 44 any day .someone breaking into your house .you want the stopping power .
Steve Goulet says
I tried to solve this problem back in 1974 when I actually built a 4 X 8 foot section of wall to compare bullet penetration. I made it out of 2X4’s sheetrock on both sides, insulation, and panneling on both sides. Every handgun, rifle and shotgun slugs & buckshot penetrated both sides of my wall at 15 feet. Living in a condo with my family meant I was putting a sleeping child in another room in mortal danger from a stray bullet overpeneterating!
The only cartridge not penetrating thru my wall was a low brass 12 guage #9 shot. It is my personal choice for home defence for 40 years. I have a loaded Rossi coach gun with a 5 shot ammo sleve on the stock. In a home invasion you will be scared, confused and pumping adrenaline and a missed shot has to go somewhere. Don’t let it be in a family members or neighbors bedroom. BE SAFE
I use a 12 guage semi auto with birdshot. In most cases, if you put 2 rounds in any direction most human being dont enjoy the though of being shot, so they tend to take off in the opposite direction
The implication is the AR platform is “good” for home defense. Which ignores that the .223 round is very good at penetration, but only so-so at stopping someone from attacking you.
The large frame revolver can be excellent for home defense – if loaded with the right ammo. A 44 Mag revolver loaded with a good 44 special round would be very effective indeed. A 45 LC (Long Colt) with moderate ammo would also be excellent, and if you swapped in a 45 ACP cylinder and used full moon clips, you would have the ultimate home defense handgun.
A single shot 12 gauge is not without potential, if you do your part. With the barrel cut down to 18.5″. you have a weapon which is quite maneuverable and with an extra round between each finger of your off hand and practice, you have 4 fairly quick shots. Certainly not a good first choice, but it might be safer and less nerve wracking to have a cheap, unloaded gun (with ammo in a butt stock sleeve) readily available than a fancy pump or auto loaded up and at risk of being stolen, used by an unauthorized person, or having a round “cooked off” in a fire. Or locked away so you can’t get to it quickly.
As pointed out, surplus military rifles often have serious downsides for home defense. Not much can be done about the ammo unless you hand load it, but if the problem is a long barrel, well it can be cut down to the minimum length which is legal and does not impact function.
add the venerable M1 carbine to the list of surplus military weapons and I believe you have a superb and underrated self /home defence platform, its light controllable, lotsa punch, without a lightning quick wall penetrating round, magazine fed and reliable.
laurance brown says
In my home I use a Colt 1911ACP .45 caliber loaded with 220 grain HOLLOW CAVITY rounds. my backup is a RUGER mini14 (.223 hollow point). IF the Colt doesn’t stop an intruder (very doughtful) then 20 rounds from the mini14 most surely will.
I used BOTH firearms in SE Asia during our police acting there.
I am always amused by well intentioned folks who opine that “this gun” or “that gun” is outstanding for home/personal defense”, OR, “worst choice ever for home/personal defense”.
You will fight with what is at hand, at the time of the incident occurring. I find that the “Hollywood-styled “home-invasion” scenarios are myths for the majority of Americans.
In fact, if one wanted to style ANY burglary, where residents are present as a “home invasion”, then that would be correct. As would any burglary into a dwelling, where the residents were/are not present, to be a “home invasion”.
Unless one is engaged in the dealing of illicit items/drugs/weapons, etc. your chances of being a victim of a “home invasion” are, remarkably SLIM. (source: DOJ-Uniform Crime Report-Most Dangerous Cities in America)
While the thugs can and do occasionally get the wrong address, (like cops do in far greater numbers), the actual risk is slim it will happen to you.
This does not mean, one should be an ostrich and pretend you cannot BE a victim.
First rule of any gunfight, is to HAVE a gun ready to go, in your hand.
banjo ninja says
Agree with most comments above. Almost any gun will penetrate modern construction, even a pellet rifle. Surplus guns are fine. The SKS purchased back in the 90s for around $100 is about as good a deal in a defensive / multipurpose weapon as can be found. The Garand is simply a wonder of 1930s technology. I’m very comfortable shooting those, and the AR is currently pretty new to me, so it might not be the “ideal” for me, despite being the “better” weapon.
Son of Liberty says
This writer has his heart in the right place, but has a poor handle on reality.
Just a couple of comments that might help. First, the commenter who noted hundreds of homes were cleared in WWII with the M-! Garand was spot on. Training – and more training is definitely helpful. True, it is powerful and will penetrate walls and other materials, but so will a 12 gauge.
Second, the comment about needing to operate the bolt after every shot is a, ‘so what?’ type of comment. A single-action revolver needs to be recocked after each shot as well. Also remember, the US Army did a series of studies about shooting AIMED SHOTS (comparing the ’03 Springfield to the M-1 Garand) and found the time difference between the two rifles (aimed shots) were practically negligible over the course of ten shots (a fraction of a second).
Also remember, a hunting rifle with scope can be aimed at an intruder OVER THE TOP of the scope at distances under 25 yards quite easily. Again, practice certainly helps. A couple of things to put into the mix as you think about this issue.
Son of Liberty
SLOW SHOOTER says
When you go into a store and purchase a piano, that does not make you a pianist. The same applies to firearms.
I am sure the author means well but this is a silly article with an extremely narrow view of the subject.
Any firearm can be good enough provided you are good at using it. Hundreds of thousands of homes were cleared in WWII using M1 Garands. Shotguns are used extensively by the USMC in clearing CQ in the Middle East. A 22 caliber shot in someone’s eye socket will work every time. IDF operators use suppressed 22’s all the time. If some shooters were to spent half the time they use discussing caliber superiority actually improving themselves in the range instead, more of the good guys would be alive today.
So here is the deal:
1. Training. Pumping lead into paper targets is better than nothing. Still, you need to know a LOT more to effectively defend yourself. Look for courses taught by instructors with SPECOPS combat experience. TRAIN VERY HARD, ASSUME NOTHING
2. Attitude You can have a gun collection and all the proper training in the world. If you are going hide under a table holding your firearm when the bad guys come for your family chances are you will not do a good job while defending them.
3. Mindset While confronting the bad guys in your home you may be shot, stabbed and start going into shock. Having the survival mindset will make you pull out of some otherwise almost impossible situations. Acquiring this mindset unfortunately, is not within grasp of some individuals. That is not a put-down, just a fact of life..
4. Light armor: If you can don flexible light armor ( III or II IA) prior to engagement in less than 3 seconds GO FOR IT.
5. Time to acquisition How much time does it take for you to reach a firearm once danger is perceived?
Having more than one firearm (safely secured in the case of non-adults) will increase your chance of survival considerably.
Train hard, remain vigilant, train some more and be safe.
Gerard H. Briggs says
Excellent advice Sir!
Having a gun is 1 st that beets no gun every time this is a waste of time and ink. The man with one gun no matter it size as the advantage !!!!!!!
Some folks will not have the luxury to have anything but what they have, right now, and I’ve seen more than a few people that were quite deadly with a “pocket gun” or single shot shotgun, While “Mr. I have a 600 dollar mega shooter ” could not hit a thing because they don’t shoot….
You are right… a modern handgun or AR is the best thing, but your article sounds like you are promoting new gun sales.
The bottom line is know how to shoot what you have….. right now.
10 mm? Did you forget what you just stated about high power and over penetration?