best gun for home defense

Best Guns For Home Defense: Shotgun, Handgun, Rifle

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While guns can be used for hunting or target shooting, home defense is an overriding reason many purchase firearms. Of course, for this application, you need a reliable gun, but there are numerous different options on the market. Before making any decision, you must consider some factors, such as the type of firearm, caliber and accessories.

Whether a first-time buyer or a long-term firearm owner, you should probably know that there are three main types of guns. These are shoulder-fired or long-barreled guns (rifles and shotguns) and short-barreled guns (pistols and revolvers). 

But before we analyze the best gun for home defense and recommend the best type for home defense, there is an essential question for you.

Are you prepared to use deadly force to defend yourself, your family and your home? Though being one of mankind's oldest instincts, defending one's life and home for some modern people can be questionable and disputable.

For others who felt they needed a firearm for protection, the choices are overwhelming as the guns come in various styles and types. Each firearm platform has upsides and downsides, and there is no one-size-fits-all weapon. 

Speaking of home protection, there are a lot of factors to consider, but the best home defense gun will depend on your home’s layout and your experience with firearms.

The prevailing opinion is that handguns require more practice and more proficient shooters. On the other hand, as a matter of economy, you can use your everyday-carry pistol as a home-defense handgun. However, many gun instructors recommend that your home defense gun should be different from a concealed gun because, for home defense, you need a larger, higher-capacity and easier-to-shoot semi-auto or revolver.

While handguns take a lot of training to become good with, they are the classic choice for home defense due to their smaller size, double duty, and easier storage in a safe when not in use.

A rifle or carbine is a home defense star on the rise with the growth of AR-15 popularity. With many alternatives, this powerful home-defense platform offers the best accuracy, big ammo capacity, low recoiling, fast follow-up shots and limited penetration.

The shotguns have the longest tradition of serving as home protection tools. Along with different operating systems and calibers, the shotgun’s primary advantage over other firearm categories is the massive range of ammunition types. Shotguns can fire birdshot (smaller pellets), buckshot (larger pellets) and single projectiles called slugs.

When it comes to shotguns for home defense, the most common are 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotguns that come in two main types: pump-action (slide action) and semi-automatic.

Concealment shelf
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular home defense guns and discuss the pros and cons of each one.


Mossberg 590 Tactical
mossberg 590 tactical for home defense
Photo by Mossberg

No matter what pump action shotgun you opt for; this platform ranks exceptionally high due to its firepower and reliability. Just like any other pump action shotgun, the Mossberg 590 has fewer moving parts than a semi-automatic, which means few potential points of failure. 

Compared to handguns, as a longer and heavier weapon platform, shotguns request practice moving through your home and clearing rooms.

As part of the Mossberg legendary family of 500/590 pump-action shotguns, a 590 Tactical is a pump-action shotgun specifically designed for person-to-person use in warfare or self-defense.

Unlike the Mossberg 500 Hunting shotgun, the Tactical models have an anti-jam elevator, dual extractors, twin action bars, and a positive steel-to-steel lockup.

Besides these quality provisions, like the standard Model 500, the 590 series is available with an optional FLEX 6-position adjustable stock, three-dot sights or a ghost ring sight system and tactical tri-rail forends. It means you can easily modify the 6-position adjustable FLEX stock to fit the size of other family members. In addition, the full-length bottom rail and two short side rails offer endless options to customize the gun to your needs.

Basically, the Mossberg 590 Tactical is available with an 18.5” or 20” barrel; cylinder bore chokes, light aluminum receiver, ambidextrous tang safety and a 3” chamber. However, this time-tested and battle-proofed shotgun is available in 16 590 Tactical models. 

You can choose 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and .410 bore shotguns with 6-shot, 7-shot, or 9-shot shells loaded in standard tubular or 11 shells in a box magazine. Besides a classic wood or polymer stock, Mossberg is offering different 590 versions equipped with tactical adjustable stock, a pistol grip, a ghost ring sight, a thick-walled barrel, and a steel safety and trigger guard.

As one of the most reliable and affordable tactical shotguns today, the Mossberg 590 Tactical is favored for home defense, providing you with a powerhouse you can trust if you need it.

While shotguns are generally affordable, safes large enough for shotguns can get rather expensive. Every responsible gun owner needs a safe or vault solidly constructed with 100% steel walls and a biometric or key code rapid opening system.


ar 15


In the quest for the best home defense weapon, many people must be aware that modern sporting rifles (MSR), like those based on the AR platform, combine the best of both long and short-barreled weapons. 

The typical 16"-barreled AR-15 measures 32.75" in length, which makes them very effective at close quarters or in your apartment. Moreover, with an average weight of a little under 7 pounds, the AR-15 generates negligible recoil, enabling you to fire additional follow-up shots.

While the AR-15 is chambered in over 50 different calibers, most civilian AR rifles are sold in .223 Remington. Although the military has serious concerns regarding the stopping power of the .223 Rem./ 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge, it is still powerful enough to secure your home.

If you use specific ammo for home defense purposes, you will get maximum effects on attackers and minimize the penetration ability of bullets.

Another precious things in a gunfight are ammunition and the AR-15 with a standard 20 and 30 rounds magazine is the clear winner in the ammo capacity department.

The AR-15 is one of the best home defense weapons not only for stopping power and high ammo capacity but also due to the modularity of its design. These telescopic stocks allow rapid adjustment of the length of pull and cheek piece height which is great for people who share this gun. The almost unlimited customization options allow you to modify everything from muzzle devices to stock adjustments. 

The AR-15 can offer you enough power to stop attackers in their tracks and enough ammo in a single magazine to protect you and your family from multiple intruders in your home. 

Similar to other long-barreled firearms, the AR-15 requires a gun safe or gun vault, which should deter unauthorized access from children and intruders.


Glock 17
glock 17 for home defense

After two long-barrel options, we'll focus on using handguns for home defense. Undoubtedly, the Glock brand, with its flagship model, G17, is the most popular semi-automatic model on the planet.

Being the most widely used service pistol in the world, Glock 17 is undoubtedly an excellent option for your protection and home defense. The polymer-based frame makes this full-size service pistol extremely light but easily controllable due to the longer/thicker grips that give you a better grip.

This official sidearm of many law enforcement agencies has an overall length of 8”, including the 4.5” barrel. The Glock 17 is chambered in a 9mm Luger and fully loaded with 17 rounds; it weighs only 2 pounds. Large capacity and striker-fired action are significant advantages over the classic "wonder nines" since it eliminates the hassle of cocking the hammer while offering an identical trigger pull for every shot.

When the Glock 17 was introduced back in 1982, it was one of the first modern pistols without an external safety. Some gun authors claim that the lack of manual safety on Glocks may be better for beginners. However, the Glocks feature three internal safety mechanisms that make them safe to store and use.

The Glock 17 has undergone upgrades over time, so their newest generation sports an under-frame accessory rail that allows you to mount any attachments you want to include. 

Like other models, the G17 comes with factory-installed night sights, which is the perfect addition for home defense and shooting in low light conditions.

As a large-frame pistol, the G17 offers manageable recoil even for people of smaller stature or females, making it acceptable for all adults in your family.

A handgun safe is a sure way to provide that your G17 is stored securely. Like all firearms, you should secure your Glock 17 when not in use to prevent unauthorized use. Because of their smaller size and portability, securing your safe with a security cable is vital. On the other side, handgun safes are commonly available at reasonable prices compared to long gun vaults and cabinets.


All of these firearm types have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your gun experience, home design, family members and other circumstances.

Every one of these benchmark weapons is known for its incredible toughness and reliability. However, the other, more significant part is on you and requires regular practice to become proficient and practiced with a home defensive gun. 

You will not become competent in using any firearm unless you practice with it regularly.

At the end of the day, remember one of the often neglected considerations concerning securing the guns in your house or apartment. Whether you prefer a concealment shelf or other tactical furniture, you need a quality safe or gun vault that will give you peace of mind in knowing that you don't need to worry about the passive security of your firearms.