Throwback Thursday: The Best Handgun for Home Defense?

A dark haired young woman in a black t-shirt shoots a 1911 with a rail light

Today, we will take a look at the three most commonly recommended home defense handguns. These are the high-capacity 9mm, .357 Magnum revolver, and .45 ACP self-loading handgun. Each is a good choice for some, but there is a better choice for other individuals. I cannot pick the handgun for you anymore than I could pick your college or spouse, but I can lead you toward the right choice.

It’s Not All Hardware

Training is most important. After many years of study, I learned that quite a few cops and civilians alike cannot hold their mud in an emergency. Sometimes training puts you at odds with instincts. You must train and commit to muscle memory the tactics you will use.

three revolver with different barrel lengths
The Charter Arms Boxer (bottom) is a good carry gun. The 4-inch barrel Smith and Wesson (center) is a good carry and outdoors gun. The six-inch Taurus .357 Magnum (top) is an excellent home defender.

Many times, the attacker is someone who has been at war with their own psyche. Most often they self-destruct at some point in their life. Don’t let them take you with them. Whichever of the following handguns you choose, you cannot shortchange yourself on training time. Training overcomes fear.

Training in the basics is important. Learning the concealed carry draw, getting into a firing position, or taking cover is important. In home defense, quickly springing into action from sleep, or at the least a relaxed state, is difficult. You will be closed in. Movement will be restricted. If you live alone retreating to a corner is a good tactic, if you have a family you cannot afford to do that. (I won’t relate to you the number of ‘moms and dads’ that jumped out of a window and refused to confront an intruder, leaving small children to fend for themselves.)

Concealed carry and home defense are quite different. In concealed carry, certain compromises in size, weight, and caliber are made. You simply cannot carry a six-inch barrel revolver concealed. A Government Model 1911 .45 or longslide FN 9 may be a burden. More likely, you will carry a Commander .45, slim line 9, or three-inch barrel .38 concealed.

For home defense, no such restriction applies. No handgun is too large to fight with. Some shooters simply slide the daily carry gun into the home defense slot. And that isn’t a bad program, considering the familiarity you should have built into the type. However, if you carry a slim-line 9 during the day, there is no reason you cannot deploy something larger and easier to use well for dedicated home defense. (We will discuss long guns in a different installment.)

The home-ready handgun may be chosen over a carry gun for increased cartridge capacity, greater hit potential, greater wound potential, or all three. Let’s look at the three most recommended home defense handguns. Each has merit and that is our concentration — the advantages of the type. I would not feel badly armed with any of the three. Some acclimation in tactics is needed for each.

SIG P220 Legion with SIG combat light
The SIG P220 Legion and SIG combat light make a good choice for .45 ACP fans.

9mm Semi-Automatic Pistols

We have quite a different group of handguns in this category. The Smith and Wesson M&P and SIG P320 are similar. We have the double-action first-shot Beretta 92 or SIG P226, single-action Browning Hi-Power, CZ 75, and others. You may purchase a top-end 9mm or the capable and affordable Taurus G3C. The fine points of target accuracy are canceled inside your home. Practically any of these firearms will put the entire magazine into one ragged hole at 7 yards.

The advantage of the type is control, capacity, and availability. The 9mm is controllable and even pleasant to fire in handguns over 30 ounces. You will have to practice, but the pistol features a good balance of speed, control, and accuracy.

Some of the finest handguns in the world are 9mm pistols. Reliability in many examples is almost amazing. Most modern 9mm handguns will accommodate a combat light making for an excellent bedside fighting tool.

Bob Campbell aiming a pistol with a combat light for home defense
A 9mm self-loader makes home defense sense.

Capacity is perhaps the overwhelming advantage. A 9mm high-capacity pistol may hold 13–20 cartridges and there are reliable extended magazines. When you are forced awake and every second counts, you don’t have time to search for spare magazines. If the fight moves around the house, you will be out of touch with ammunition reserves.

A pistol that holds more than a dozen rounds of ammunition may be a comfort when there is more than one home invader. Night sights are more common as factory standard on 9mm service pistols than revolvers or 1911-type .45s. Not rare on the other types, but not as widespread as the 9mm.

Taurus G3 top, Springfield Hellcat bottom
Even relatively compact, lightweight 9mm carry guns have high capacity these days. The Taurus compact and Hellcat Pro are good all-around choices.

Wound potential with the 9mm is acceptable. The 9mm’s wound potential is the least of the three calibers covered in this report. No sugar coating — although quite a few writers dodge around the facts. FMJ non-expanding ammunition is a very poor 9mm choice for wound potential.

The 9mm is a different beast indeed with quality loads that demonstrate a good balance of expansion and penetration. Winchester 9mm 124-grain +P USA Ready, Federal 124-grain HST, Remington 124-grain Golden Saber, Speer 124-grain Gold Dot, Hornady 115 or 124-grain XTP, and the Hornady 135-grain FlexLock are good choices. They feature good performance and reliability.

Shot placement remains the key. When all is said and done, the high capacity 9mm is a top-notch choice for home defense. Capacity, ease of control, reliability, and affordability are among the advantages.

.357 Magnum Revolvers

Of the three, the revolver is the simplest to use. There is no slide to rack, no safety to disengage, and no chance of a misfeed. The revolver is seen as safer at home ready — although a double-action first-shot self-loader is comparable. However, if the handgun is grasped improperly and the grip isn’t perfect, the revolver will continue to function.

The revolver may be pressed into an opponent’s body and fired time and again without jamming. So many have been awoken by an intruder at the foot of (or in) the bed. This advantage cannot be overrated!

If you live alone without a dog or an alarm — and a dog is an alarm — then a revolver close by the hand is a reasonable choice. Of course, it is important to keep the firearm secured when not on your person or at home ready. Just the same, when the pistol is put on the frontline, I have seen revolvers tucked under a pillow or stuck between a mattress and box springs with the handle out at night. My grandparents did so. They had their head on straight and lived closer to the earth than most of us today.

revolver with the cylinder swung open
A primary drawback of the revolver is limited capacity. Better get it done in six shots.

The disadvantage of the revolver is its capacity. The best we will get is eight rounds and these are usually large bulky handguns — even for home defense. Six is the norm and there are many five shooters in service. The goal is one shot, and the opponent is stopped.

The .38 revolver is worthy of consideration. Many of the magnum revolvers being carried are loaded with .38 Special ammunition. The .38 Special is — more or less — in the 9mm class with some loads. Overall, the 9mm has an advantage over the 110 to 125-grain .38s. This is reversed with the .357 Magnum revolver.

The magnum may jolt a 125-grain JHP to 1,350 fps in a three-inch barrel and over 1,500 fps in a six-inch barrel. A full powder burn gets the magnum up to its advertised velocity. For many, the proven wound potential of the magnum makes the revolver desirable. The .357 magnum creates a serious wound and has the greatest probability of stopping an attack with one shot. Much depends on the skill of the user.

snub nose revolver with the grip removed to show the internal springs and firing mechanism
An advantage of the revolver is that no springs are compressed when the revolver is at rest.

The magnum has a tremendous blast and concussion in enclosed places that may result in permanent hearing loss. You may not be deaf, but you will lose certain tone sensitivity. Not that the non-magnum calibers are not potentially harmful to your hearing. Standard calibers may rate 145 DCB and the magnum 165 DCB — a big jump.

The revolver is seen as simple to operate. Many grew up with the type and are familiar with the revolver. The revolver may be stored for long periods and still be up for some shooting.

There are no stressed springs. All springs are at rest until the trigger is pressed. The revolver may be used with two power levels. The .38 Special for defense use, and the magnum for outdoors use — although that is beyond our scope. There are mid-range magnum loads specifically for defense use. While not perceived as the most modern type, the revolver is best suited to some scenarios.

.45 Automatic Pistols, 1911 and Others

The .45 ACP cartridge offers a full powder burn, and little muzzle flash and blast. The .45 offers excellent wound ballistics. The combination of a self-loading handgun and a big bore cartridge makes for a fine defensive handgun.

There are high-capacity variants, but few of us have the hand size to deal with them well. If your hands will wrap around a Glock 21 .45 ACP, you have a fine home defense handgun. Many of the home defense handguns in .45 are 1911 types.

Para Ordnance 1911 .45 ACP cocked and locked with a Les Baer 1911 with the hammer down
A 1911 .45 should be carried cocked and locked (left) while home ready should be hammer down on a loaded chamber.

The 1911 is carried cocked and locked. While at home ready, the recommended mode of readiness is hammer down. This requires cocking the hammer before you fire. This isn’t ideal.

The .45 requires more practice than the 9mm to control the pistol well. Ammunition is usually more expensive. For those who have mastered the type, hit probability is high. A rapid 1911 follow-up shot is among the fastest of any big bore handgun, far outstripping revolvers. The .45 handgun requires more training than the 9mm or .38. Once mastered, however, you cannot be better armed with a handgun.

Parting Thought

When you look at the three most often recommend handguns for home defense, each has pros and cons. The shooter must make the choice. If you have a long serving handgun that you trust, you have the main part of the equation.

9mm semi-automatic, revolver, or 1911, as far as handguns go, which would you choose for home defense? Share your answer and reasoning in the comment section.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June of 2022. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

  • 1911 .45 ACP handgun in a Galco shoulder holster
  • SAR X semi automatic handgun with an Inforce combat light
  • Taurus G3 top, Springfield Hellcat bottom
  • SIG P220 Legion with SIG combat light
  • Les Baer 1911 and SIG Sauer P220 pistols
  • snub nose revolver with the grip removed to show the internal springs and firing mechanism
  • Chiappa .357 Magnum with Inforce light attached
  • Left to right: 9mm, .45 ACP, and .357 magnum cartridges
  • revolver with the cylinder swung open
  • three revolver with different barrel lengths
  • Para Ordnance 1911 .45 ACP cocked and locked with a Les Baer 1911 with the hammer down
  • Bob Campbell shooting a revolver braced against a door jamb
  • Starburst from a combat light on a handgun
  • Bob Campbell aiming a pistol with a combat light for home defense

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (93)

  1. Just to add… I guess, to @Bob Campbell @Bo… Bob, I still ain’t gonna argue, to those that like the Glock and I guess @Micheal… I’m not advocating or arguing for what works for an individual. I’m offering experience for some future reader, I don’t paid for writing or sent ammo or firearms for testing. My experience is from using certain things. Bo, rock on with the 1911 if that’s your bag, we’re both ARMY… in that repect. Bob, we’re both former LEO in that one. Michael, I get that I’m never gonna change your mind… and I do like the .45ACP as a cartridge. And I do admit the… Gen5? Glock something number and no, I don’t care because I’ll still never buy one, feels better, way better pointing than the ones with the weird finger grooves. IF I can can find out what his was OTHER than I KNOW it was chambered in 9mm because he complained because I didn’t have any 9mm ammo on hand, and I all I had was .40 and wouldn’t let me shoot it, but to be fair, I wasn’t gonna let him shoot mine and use up my two 14 round mags. Since I was the SGT AT ARMS at a friends house so. Keep in mind, this wasn’t some weird thing, yes it was a meeting of guys who happened to be riders of motocycles, and LEOs, and military guys who are not part of some funky thing. He was a new guy, fresh out of the service and the acamedy… his sidearm got relenquished for the evening because of it. Keeping the peace doesn’t always mean fun. Just safe.

  2. @Bo… haha! Nice Sam Clemens referrence! 👍🏻 That, sir, made me smile. I know golf isn’t everyone’s thing, I had to quit playing just as recreation after shoulder surgury, and I miss it, like I can’t play baseball anymore… I try to swing a club or bat now I’d be on the ground with torn ligaments, pinched nerves… mad wife, umpteen paramedics… reckon I’ll just have to stick with eating actual boiled eggs. 🤣 As far as a Glock goes… I don’t have a problem in the World as far as the way one field strips or function… exception being the early .40 S&W models which Glock beat Smith to market by about a week and their unsupported chambers would blow the crap out of the bottom of the cartridge. AKA… Glock Kaboom. Took Glock a while to figure out why Smith and Federal had it right to begin with. But that’s not why I don’t like Glock. We could have the same possible argument over Eugene Stoner’s AR design in early Veitnam… had that convo more than once with my ex-FIL. Honestly the AR platform ISN’T exactly bad… it has its purpose. Even those it’s a “Mattel” gun. What annoys me with Glock is the darn things don’t point naturaly, and they have got to be one of the squarest weird grips. What really gets me is that people buy a Glock for $500 or whatever then literally go and spend as much or more to make it “work”. Sheesh, kinda like why? I know that many a folk love their 1911… and I ain’t knocking that. JMB had some good stuff going on and was a genius in his own right… take the Winchester 94. My preferred to a Marlin 336… then again my son with his waterfowl hunting loves the Browning A5 which I find one heck of a good looking piece but I’d never own one. Don’t see the point or need for. I don’t hunt waterfowl. But like I don’t like the Glock… my Smith SD40 which is all but Glock “copy” is actually better in many regards. But if we all had the same tastes… then Tobasco wouldn’t be the hot sauce of choice. 😆

  3. @Sgt Davis
    I have never fired a Glock so I have no opinion one or another about carrying it as a primary weapon and I don’t even have any memory of ever handling one. I have seen them at gun shows and different sporting goods stores but they just never really piqued my interest or a desire to play with it.

    For handguns, I have my 1911’s, a Smith 629 Classic Hunter in .44 Mag. They are all prized as weaponry and the .44 is for hunting. I have a .22 LR conversion kit for my Government Model and then a NAA mini derringer, also in .22 LR. I have had other handguns over the years but either swapped them for other guns or just got tired of them and sold them. Long guns are a different matter, I have more of those than I usually talk about.

    That being said, I saw a meme that brought a smile to my face. It was a picture of a 1911 with the words, “The 1911… Like a Glock, but for men…”

    I don’t know where that came from, but I think it is funny. A variation of that was a meme with a picture of a Barrett 50 and the words, “Long Range shooting… Like Golf, but for men.”

    Please, don’t complain anyone. That is not meant with ill will. I just find some humor in the way people seek out to criticize certain activities. For the record, I do not get golf. Mark Twain referred to it as “A good walk spoiled.” Besides, I tried eating one of those dimpled, white eggs they use and no matter how long you cook it, you cannot eat it.

    As another meme said, “Sarcasm is just one of the services I offer”

  4. Michael

    I could not have laid out a better recommendation for the Glock. It is affordable. Very few weapons in its price range or in fact far past its price range equal Glock reliability. Very few! The Glock 21 is light enough but has a good magazine capacity. It is possibly the most accurate Glock pistol although the M20 10mm gives it a run for the money in that regard. The M21 was large for my hand but the new SF version is much better. You are well armed.

  5. @bo… yup. You might like the 1911and the .45ACP is in fact one hard hitting round. You still cant teach some young bucks certain things. But my experience and yours might make certain folks happen to think, better or worse. I’ve never been hit by .45ACP… but Michael seems to think a Glock is an end all be all… sorry, but why Glock?
    Might as well be rollin’ in ya 5.oh… dropping shells out ya 9. It’s hard to be under fire and returning fire. S*** SUCKS. Combat doesn’t include video games, simulations, or whatever. It’s hard. Wanna real fun one? Three individuals all around 20-ish years of age. All convicted of rape and murder,none of them knew each other. They were put on a work farm. Bright idea to run. 100yds in back with Ruger Mini 14. .223 Rem, 10 rounds fired. 1 hit, 9 missed. Other two…50yds away. Two 00 in leg, sued the state and won. After he died and over 1million in housing. The other one… was hands up (before hands up BS was a thing) and running at the officer… officer and individual were both trampled. the horse died after being shot with the Ithica 37 when it went off and struck individual after a struggle. All happened in less than 1 minute.
    S*** happens.
    Don’t ask. It wasn’t pretty to watch and feeling helpless. No matter training, sometimes… nothing you can do. Uggg…

  6. Glock G21 for two reasons, first and foremost because of its accuracy. As far as Glock handguns go, their forty-five auto offerings have always performed the best for me in terms of accuracy.

    The second factor is affordability and Glock firearms are cheap. If the unthinkable happens and you ever have to use the firearm to defend your family, the authorities will inevitably take your forearm as evidence until the trial is concluded. Even after you have been cleared of any wrongdoing, bureaucracy being what it is, almost guarantees that you will have to go through all kinds of red tape to get your firearm back.

  7. @The Architect: You say to forget what I think I know when it comes to getting shot. I was a medic in the Army on a SAR/Recon team overseas some 50 years ago. Have you ever been shot at by multiple people when you are trying to get to your buddy who just stepped on a land mine and blew his foot off? Or after things were over, ever bent down and picked up body parts of people you used to know? Have you ever been the last thing a man saw before he died and that was you trying to save his life? I have been there, covered with blood, body fluids, even brain matter, as good people died while I was trying to save them, but it was too little too late and the trauma was too much. Unless you have been there, done that, I have forgotten more than you will ever know about people being shot. Do not patronize me with your “I know more than you” BS. I was saving people’s lives probably before you were old enough to shave.

    You say you have used a .380 to stop an attack. But did you actually fire it at someone? Have you ever witnessed someone being shot with any weapon? There is a difference. As far as physics go, I am told by experts in physics that bumblebees should not be able to fly and yet…

    Let me clear up some things about what I have said. My reasons for disparaging the calibers I do is because for more than 30 years in civilian ERs, I have had cops from several different metro areas tell me about the failures of those calibers in their real life experiences. We would see the shootees in our ER and some of the officers who saw the dead people (the shooter) the shootee killed at the scene would tell us about it as we were working the shootee.

    In every ER, I have worked in, I became friends with a number of officers from multiple departments who frequented the place I was working. I have hunted with and gone to a number of police ranges as a guest of those officers. They are the ones who related the failures of those rounds in the field. And over the years, I have discussed this topic with several dozen officers, and I cannot remember a single officer saying anything good about any of them.

    More than one officer told me that anyone who carried those calibers was usually gonna die after shooting someone with one of them, that was why he and his fellow officers tagged them as The Last Bad Choice Of Dead People Everywhere. It is not just my opinion that those calibers are more dangerous to the shooter than to the shootee, it was the general consensus of more officers than I can count, in multiple jurisdictions. None of them believed those rounds to be reasonable self-defense weapons for anyone because, in their experience, the shooter was more likely to die than the shootee. Most of them believed it was akin to taking a stick to a wasp nest and not expecting to be stung, and then being surprised when it didn’t work. It was talking to them and hearing their stories that convinced me that what we were seeing in the ER was not just a part of the story.
    They also related cases where someone shot a perceived threat with their weapon during a robbery or whatever and were killed by their assailant because of that. More than one officer stated that the evidence pointed to the person bringing the weapon out as precipitating the violence, that many of those people who ended up dying, probably would have survived the event without injury if they had not brought a weapon into the situation. These were officers who believed that every one has a right to defend themselves but they also saw that the weapons used were so inadequate that the shooter died before the shootee, that is IF the shootee died. We were the ones who treated the shootee and we frequently saved their life, miserable as they were, so they could spend the rest of their life in prison for homicide.

    There was one officer who begged a coworker of mine after she told him she was carrying a .32, to, as he put it, “Get a real gun.” When she stated she could not afford anything else, he went around to several other officers and they arranged to get her a .38 and Plus P ammo for it. That was his minimum.

    I have seen multiple people who were shot with those calibers in the commission of a crime, who killed their shooter before they were either arrested or they showed up in the ER claiming someone just walked up and shot them. We saved their lives and the police showed up and placed them under arrest so when they got out of the hospital they could stand trial for the murder of the person who shot them.

    So, let me reiterate, I have seen more people who died from using those calibers for self defense than were saved by them. There were also some who presented their weapon, shooting their assailant and the assailant killed the shooter as a response to being shot. If they had not pulled their weapon, or used a more reliable weapon, they shoulda, coulda, woulda survived. That is according to the police who worked those cases.

    I have a problem with people using a weapon that will probably get them killed if they use it. I have seen hundreds of GSW victims and it grieves me when someone uses a weapon in self defense and dies as a direct response to that weapons use. Being comfortable with a weapon that will not perform is like being comfortable with an inflatable life boat that is old and leaking. I am trying to tell people that it is leaking and then get condemned by people like you for bringing reality into their world, usually by people who have never seen anyone killed because of one of these calibers.

    I do not believe that everyone should carry a .45 as I do when I carry. I do so because I know the weapon, one of my 1911’s, and I have seen it work every time I needed it to. I also have been under fire and even though it was 50 some years ago, I am still reasonably adept with handling the thing.

  8. Oh Holy Jeebus… @Architects Arsenal… of course the body doesn’t like being perforated. You said 600-700 fps will do whatever is needed retardless.. I mean regardless… okay… well if that’s your theory then lemme chunk one of my 39gr 3 blade broadheads on aluminum or carbon shaft with just 45lb draw at you from 40yds moving at ONLY 350fps. About the only thing that’ll stop that is a trauma plate (aka ceramic inserts in your plate carrier). More than likley that arrow would pass right through you and you’d most likely not even realize it but you’d leave one helluva bright red and bubbly trail. Kevlar vests ain’t stopping it… I was shot serving a high risk warrant one evening… it was hot and late and all I decided to wear was a Level II vest without my plates… guy got one round of 9mm almost dead nuts center mass on me… not even 7yds away and hit my sternum like a 50lb sack of bricks. And yes, it actually did knock the breath out of me and put me on my back. A double tap of .40 took him down… not by me but my partner. I turned several shades of bruised and the staff couldn’t believe there was no broken ribs or fractured sternum. Lowly 9mm did that… pretty sure I’d have rather been shot with my bow, damn it’s hurt a lot less initially… as far as shotgun stuff… a friend of mine right after graduation tried to off himself with a 12ga, 28″ barrel, 00 buck under the chin because his GF broke up with him… he was unsuccesful in killing himself but he was totally succesful in taking half his face off and costing his parents, siblings, and community over 1 million in reconstructive surgury… sadly, he died about 4 years later when he was hit from behind on his 4 wheeler by his dad who didn’t see his brake lights. Another shotgun story… my BIL decided he wanted to see what the business end of a 12ga Rem 870 tasted like. Some type of small pellet crap like AA skeet or #6 or #7… whatever… “birdshot” for all intents and purposes… under jaw, pointed roughly 30 degrees, aiming more or less at the brain stem through throat. Wanna know how that worked out? Found him a couple hours later, still breathing… unconscious when he was brought in… 3 days he laid in IC… eyes open and moving and responding to verbal input but on respirator. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t move… literally only could move his eyes… he could hear us and blink. Nothing else.
    After two days my wife and her family decided to shut off the life support systems so his organs could be donated. You wanna talk about rough, he was “there” but not and one helluva horrible way to die. We go each year on his birthday to the reservoir dam where he did it and where some of his ashes were scattered…. so to those that think a load of anything from a shotgun to the head is “INSTANT DEATH!!!” you might wanna check reality. I’ve got a small white porcealan vase with blue ink design like those old school china dishes in my bedroom because of my wife and her brother’s botched attempt that did indeed EVENTUALLY lead to his death two days later. Now imagine that very real and personal story about my BIL… that he did to himself… and now think if you actually did that to someone. As I and Bo, and Bob Campbell have stated… you can’t imagine what psycological impacts it has shooting a person but to intentionally shoot in the face with a shotgun… You’d be on the losing end of the jury with quite a few of us.

  9. @Bo
    Everything you’ve stated can be and in some cases is of course true. Everything I stated was from real world events. I have had to defend myself twice in an robbery / car jacking attempt and 380acp most definitely stopped the attacks.
    Also have to go with physics and ballistics have proven time and time again that any projectile, no matter what it is material wise, can and will kill once accelerated pass specific thresholds.
    I’ve personally seen one piece of straw driven through a phone line pole perfectly after a tornado passed through. The old stories of people getting shot and it just pissing them off is a matter of pure luck it missed any major organs, blood vessels, nerves etc.
    it happens. One of my closest friends was jumped and shot in the back three times point blank with a 38 and he stated his adrenaline took over to save his life. He said once he felt safe , his body collapsed and shut down. I get it, survival mode is real.
    Getting shot is extremely painful though without it hitting vitals. It’s similar to being stabbed with a hot poker. Searing sensation that can make someone try to attack with more vigor but the rule of SD is to continue shooting until the threat is stopped. This means shoot until they are dead.
    Let me be clear.
    Get insurance and act only to preserve your life. If anyone decides they want to rob you, attack you or do you harm, then you forget about worrying if you kill them.
    Once a person makes these bad decisions to try and hurt you then you have the responsibility to protect yourselves. They, the perps, forfeit theirs rights to exist.
    Now, shooting from a car?
    I’ve shot from the inside of a car and with ears and without them. It’s extremely loud and for some disorientating.
    See Bo, I’ve been in the firearms industry for over 40 years now.
    I’m no hack guntuber. I’ve built some of the best rigs in existence.
    I grew up where entire police forces were corrupt, drugs poured onto the streets, gangs were a dime a dozen and Tech 9’s and Uzis were the ridiculously most sought after guns on the street.
    Forget Federal guidelines for gel penetration. Forget what you think you know when it comes to getting shot. See, doctors, ER staff and or paramedics only see the ones that survive the initial gsw. Theses types are the rare single percent that only made it to that point to which by your own words, some died and some lived.
    The majority of would be perps go straight to the cooler.
    So allow me to reiterate. If a person is more comfortable with a Taurus TX22 than a Taurus GX4 (9mm), for self defense, than carry it. If someone prefers 380acp over a 38 special or super, then your still better off than nothing. Any will mess up a would be attackers day and or life. Physics simply will not lie about these things.
    Being afraid to defend yourselves because of some type of repercussions legally, is simply a bad idea.
    Those others that commented about maiming and trying not to kill, I’ll say this.
    The only point here is to act in one way. To protect your family and selves from harm. All actions from you must coincide with this intent only. Stop the threat.
    Don’t try and pop them in the knee cap and stand over them while they scream in pain. Don’t try and torture them. Spite the fact that it would be just and feel good. Don’t try and make them suffer.
    Only try to stop them from hurting you or your family and or friends.
    This is the only justification that’s allowed for taking someone’s life or permanently damaging them in any manner.
    It’s that easy. Get yourselves insurance as well. Always be prepared for trouble but never look for it.

  10. Ric and Bo
    Birdshot to the face not so easily delivered. Standing on a cinema range sure but in the dark with heart beating out of the chest not at all. About 1996 I investigated a suicide. Point blank, muzzle under the chin, 28 inch barrel shotgun, fired by the toe, common enough. 12 gauge 7 1/2 birdshot. All but one pellet was absorbed by the jaw and palate. A single pellet managed to strike the brain. Family members said he thrashed about a minute or so after they found him.
    Birdshot is no stopper and stopping the threat is the goal. Proven illimitable times in training and in incidents the head- it is bobbing and moving in a fight- is a very difficult target. Second I would be as reluctant to blind a man as to kill him. A load of birdshot in the face would enrage most and they will empty their gun at you. At close range they just may strike you. A hard blow well centered is the only formula for personal defense.

  11. @Ric Gaston: Have you ever seen any person with a GSW? I have seen too many to count, and I have seen people shot in the face with birdshot in hunting “accidents” and they were horrible, for the shooter and the victim. That is a picture will stay in your mind for the rest of your life, even if you were not the shooter. Sometimes, there are worse things you can do than kill someone. I would say maiming is one of those things. Oh, in more than one of those cases, the victims did die, because at close range, even bird shot can be deadly. And, not to mention that people in the room you are in can be injured by deflected pellets because the closer to the target you are, the higher the probability of ricochets. What would you do if one of those ricochets struck a family member in the eye and they were now blind in that eye. You would regret it for the rest of your life. You are also assuming that you have the room to maneuver your weapon or you are at a distance sufficient to keep the attacker from turning the barrel away from him and possibly toward you or your family members.

    Another question, have you ever had to draw a weapon on another person or been under fire? I have and it is not something to be taken so cavalierly as you express. If you ever shoot someone, by accident, or on purpose, it will change your life FOREVER, and NOT necessarily in a good way. And then there are the dreams, except they are not dreams, they are nightmares and they can go on for years. There is a reason so many veterans struggle with the aftermath of that event. More than a few vets have taken their life just to end those horrors inside their head. And I speak from experience when I say that some of those dreams can be worse than the event that what was actually lived through in real life.

    If you are ever in a situation where your scenario were to happen, and the DA were to learn of your post, he would have enough evidence to put you away for a long time just on the charge of intentional maiming. All he has to do is read your posts to a jury and I doubt that there would be ONE single supporter of your cause in the jury box. And then he can make the case that you, with premeditation and malice aforethought, maimed the victim and deliberately deprived them of their civil right by intentionally and maliciously blinding them. You would be almost defenseless in trying to convince a jury that you had anything other than evil intent. You are right when you say GAME OVER, but it would be GAME OVER for you. If I were on that jury, I would vote for the maximum sentence available. And then, the family of your victim could sue you for everything that used to be yours and your family would be left with NOTHING! And if the victim developed an infection that killed them down the line, it is possible you would be looking at manslaughter or even homicide charges in addition to the maiming with intent. As you said, “Prove me wrong.”

    Now, I do care about my neighbors and for that reason, I would not be using my .44 Magnum as a house gun. I would be using a weapon with frangible ammunition that will not over-penetrate and I would aim for center of mass. That would be one of my 1911’s which are loaded with stacked magazines of R.I.P. alternating with D.R.T ammo. Did I mention I carried a 1911 when I was overseas not playing nice with the locals when they were not playing nice with us? Anyway, I have used it in times of stress and it is my stress reducer par excellence. My wife would be using a 20 gauge loaded with TTT shot (larger than birdshot) and aiming center of mass.

  12. @ARCHITECTS ARSENAL: I don’t know how many GSW victims you have seen, I have seen numbers well into the triple digits and maybe four if you count my time in the Army. And I have heard many people wax eloquent about care and treatment of GSW, as well as other trauma, and get it, albeit eloquently, wrong.

    That being said, I find some of your conclusions to be based more on conjecture or hearsay rather than actual happenings. When a person is shot, stabbed, or subjected to any penetrating trauma, what kills them is usually one of two things. Blood loss or neurologic shutdown, as in brain injury causing the brain to be rendered essentially inert.

    Blood loss kills because the heart has one function, to pump blood to all the vital organs first and the other organs later. The brain needs only two things to function, and those are oxygen and sugar, (or glucose, if you prefer.) Blood is merely a transport medium for those two things as far as the brain is considered. The brain requires a static amount of blood regardless of the demands from all the other organs. When a person is shot, stabbed, or otherwise subjected to any penetrating wound and begins to leak blood, their brain will continue to work until there is not enough reaching it to enable it to perform its functions. Hypovolemic shock occurs when blood volume or pressure is too low to perfuse the major organs. Blood loss can also come from blunt force trauma to any of the major organs. Loss of blood (leading to prolonged loss of oxygen and/or glucose) leads to severe brain damage, and eventually death.

    As far as neuro trauma, penetrating injuries can create massive blood loss to the brain, so can blunt force trauma. The upshot in this type of trauma is that the brain becomes nonfunctional and that is when death will occur. But, not all penetrating head trauma kills people. Look up Phineas Gage as a for instance.

    This is why someone on drugs can be shot, continue an attack, and even kill the shooter before they die, if they die. Drugs can mask the pain of the injury and they can continue to function until there is no longer any blood reaching the brain. That is when they actually die.

    So, to recap, the reason why penetrating wounds kill people in the short term is either blood loss or neurologic disruption, and larger calibers make larger holes, meaning more blood is lost. Only when you get into the higher supersonic velocities found in longer barreled weapons, does one attain the massive tissue disruption that surpass what handgun velocities provide.

    As far as your statement about a .22 lr killing someone at a half mile, I question that. I have seen multiple patients who were shot in the head with a .22 at relatively short range who survived. We did CT scans on them, there was cranial penetration by the bullet, but the patient did not die. I have also seen multiple patients who were shot in the head with .32, .25 and .380 at close range who did not die, even with the bullet left lodged in their brain. I do not recall ever seeing a patient shot with a .22 lr from a distance of more than a football field where the bullet even penetrated the skull. It doesn’t usually have the energy to break bone at that distance. I have seen patient shot in the head with .38 Sp from across the room and the bullet did not penetrate the skull.

    As I have stated in other posts, there are several smaller calibers , as in .22, .25, 32, and .380, that have an abysmal record for stopping the shootee. In 30 plus years in ER, fewer than half of the people I have seen who shot with these calibers, succumbed to their wound, and more than a few went on to kill their shooter. For some people, getting shot with a gun that does not kill them then and there just pisses them off and they take it out on the shooter. Seen it happen dozens, if not hundreds of times.

    As far as keeping the noise down while shooting inside your home with a firearm, I have found that even a relatively low decibel volume weapon outside does NOT translate well at all when fired from any enclosed space. Don’t believe me? Drive out in the country to a safe place, open up the passenger side window and shoot at a defined target from the driver’s side. Then, when the ringing in your ears lessens enough to hear the motor of your vehicle, come tell us about it.

  13. @Ric Gaston… hey smart guy, not ALL of us live in places where our home shares a wall with someone, have family members in the home, or even have neighbors that live within 500yds. The whole “just ‘choot ’em in da face” thing is rediculous. You say you’re not out to kill but stop the threat and you’d rather face a jury for disfiguring and blinding an intruder than for killing or injuring an innocent bystander… okay, fine… but shooting an intruder in the face with bird shot opens you up to GIANT can of worms. Sad reality is if the person who yes, was in your home illegally survives, you’ll likely be sued in civil court by them or their relatives for basically everything you’ve got plus some. Not to mention the aggravating factors such as malice with aforethought on top of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. That is a VERY real possibility that you may just not walk away from scott-free even though some jackass was in your home without permission. Sure, there are stand your ground and castle doctrine laws but you’re taking a HUGE risk by handing out the “shoot them in the face”… “advice”. Especially if someone is in your home rifiling through drawers or whatever looking for stuff to steal or has an armload of TV and you up and surprise them and decide to insert a load of birdshot into their face… it’s almost guaranteed to not be a pleasant outcome for you in the long run. That’s just the plain and simple facts. But you do you.

  14. As I read some of the comments on shoot them in the face with bird shot I have to laugh. Most of these people have never been in a life or death situation and don’t realize when you find yourself with an intruder in your home all of your gi e target shooting goes out the window. Your fine motor skls are gone your heart is pumping your adrenalineevel are thru the roof and if your lucky with the 17 rounds you have in your mag you might hit the intruder once or twice. Look at news articles where police have fired more than one mag and don’t hit a thing. You aim for center mass for a reason forget the bird shot or shoot them in the leg Hand bs.
    I carry everyday normally a Hellcat pro 15 in the mag one in the chamber and a spare mag. My prayer is that I never need to use it but my comfort is I have it if I should need it.

  15. It looks to me like there has been some confusion about what is “home” defense, and “self” defense in this comment thread.
    My comments about using birdshot to the face is about NOT injuring ANY OTHER PERSON other than the home intruder.
    If you’re intent is to KILL a person, obviously, you don’t want to use birdshot.
    Frankly, even in a “self” defense situation, my personal intent is not to KILL the person I may be shooting at.
    My intent, if I should EVER have to shoot a gun at another person, is to stop the THREAT, while at the same time, not put other people in harms way by my actions.
    Stopping the threat, while preventing damage to innocent people while using a firearm is pretty much narrowed down to birdshot in the face of the attacker.
    Prove me wrong.

  16. How is this even an issue? How come I am seeing this again?
    You have an intruder inside your house.
    Shoot them in the face with birdshot.
    Apartment, house, no matter where you live: An intruder in your house is a CRIMINAL and SHOULD be shot in the face – PERIOD.
    What is wrong with you people? Wanting to give the INTRUDER some kind of “civil rights”?
    The FIRST thing I want to do is protect my family, and my neighbors.
    Birdshot will not penetrate walls and kill innocent people.
    Birdshot to the face, will “likely” not kill the intruder, but WILL remove the threat.
    I would gladly face a Jury after shooting an intruder in the face with birdshot and blinding them, than face a Jury after shooting through the walls of my house and killing an innocent neighbor.
    What is wrong with you people? Do you INTENTIONALLY want to kill your innocent neighbors? Do you want your neighbors to kill you, and your family when they have an intruder by shooting through their walls, and yours?
    Maybe you should move to a place where you can’t kill your neighbors – and they can’t kill you by shooting through your walls.
    Birdshot in the face will NEVER FAIL to STOP the attacker, and NEVER harm anyone on the other side of a single plywood/sheetrock wall.
    I don’t understand how this is such an issue here.
    Do ALL of you people WANT to kill your innocent neighbors and family?
    Do ALL of you people WANT your family to be killed by your neighbors shooting through their walls, and yours?
    I can’t believe this is even an issue that is being “debated”.
    If you care about your family and neighbors, NEVER shoot an intruder inside your house with ANYTHING that may kill your family, or your neighbors – on the other side of a single wall in hour house.
    Don’t you want your neighbors to feel the same way?
    Maybe you want your neighbors to be blasting away with .556 and killing you, and your kids through 4 walls.

  17. My choice for Home Defense is the G20 FE and MP 45 along with the Keltec KSG which never miss. C&C G33 and G23.

  18. Scenario – home invasion in the middle of the night – Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 with OO buck
    will greatly enhance your accuracy in a very tense situation. A handgun as a secondary weapon is okay but the adrenaline will flowing and you won’t have to worry about a single bullet hitting home or going thru the wall because your spread of pellets will definitely impact an intruder. If you insist
    on a handgun, be sure that you shoot it regularly at the range and are comfortable with it. Your “stash” gun should never be a gun that you dislike and never take to the range. You talk to any law
    enforcement person and they will tell you that incident will be over is seconds so you don’t need
    three loaded mags. This will not be a “shootout at the OK Corral”.

  19. First choice would be one of my 12ga shotguns but nightstand is S&W SD40. Had it for years, Apex spring kit. Inexpensive but totally reliable. Also keep a 6 shot .38 snub near by. One good point brought up is about hearing. I’ve shot at from a distance of about 8 or 9 feet in relatively small room with a .40… you wanna talk about LOUD…? Bad enough being on the sending end of that but being in front of it is something else entirely. You can’t hear a damn thing and are temporarily disoriented for a few moments. That among some other things has left me with some super annoying tinnitus for the last 2+ decades. Nothing like a high pitched ringing that never stops.

  20. “… home ready should be hammer down on a loaded chamber.”
    The 1911 on my side of the bed is cocked and locked.
    On her side of the bed is a Taurus 45/.410 with .45 Colt Cowboy loads.

  21. The best weapon to use in an Sd situation, whether it be a home defense or urban defense, the best weapon to use is whatever weapon you can handle best. Whether it be an Axe, a baseball bat or a firearm. Albeit, firearms tend to Trump all other styles and types of weapons.
    With that said, the users job is to figure out which one, which chambering and which is most easily handled in use and convenience.
    If your a really good marksman with a 22 lr , then I’d suggest sticking with it.
    If you think 45 acp has more “stopping power” then perhaps you’ve bought into some jargon you’ve heard online because I can attest that anything that pokes holes in you traveling at least 600-700fps , is going to “stop” anybody.
    Turns out the human body does not like being perforated by metal chunks. It tends to protest when several of them are inserted into the body.
    Shock is a common go to when shot.
    I’ve seen one 22 lr go almost a half mile and imbed itself into a brain killing them before they hit the ground.
    I’ve seen .380 punched into a chest cavity and scrambled the liver with the rib bones. 45, 22lr, 9 or 10mm. Doesn’t matter much to the recipients. They all will put a man down.
    What if a drug addict on PCP comes at you?
    Most of them are in California so your limited as is. But, I’ve seen them have ridiculous strength but succumb when pumped full of enough lead.
    The only advice I can truly give is what you think your great at, your probably better with something else and just don’t know it yet.
    Try as many kinds of guns as possible.
    Get a feel for what you want to be the best at it. My home defense gun of choice is actually an AR “so called pistol” with a 13.5” barrel, irons on the top rail an 1200 watt tac-lite torch an SMD instead of muzzle device or can and chambered in 300 black out but use subsonic ammunition.
    This keeps the noise way down inside my house but sends most of it at the perp. This requires no ears needed. It’s stupid quiet and over penetration isn’t happening. The neighbors won’t even hear it making clean up easy if need be.
    Instead of buying what your eyes tell you looks cool, try using what your ability tells you to instead. It’s not a fashion competition. It’s a means to continue to exist.
    Pick wisely and educate yourselves before diving into this world of guns.

  22. I’ve made my choice. Big bullets, big holes! My EDC is a Glock G30 (10+1) and my home defense gun is a Glock G21 (13+1) both in .45 A.C.P.. i also have an AR15 in .300 Blackout as a backup.

  23. Last year I stated that a shotgun was a preferred home defense firearm. Due to advanced age, a .410 shotgun using modern “handgun” loads, may be the better choice. A pump .410 is simple to use, and still has that “scare factor”, like a 12 gauge. NOTE – Mossberg and Remington now have “non shotgun” short barreled firearms in 12, 20, and .410 chamberings. Likewise, a light weight or air weight handgun can be a mistake for a home defense firearm. Weight is not an issue for a home defense firearm, and is a major help to offset recoil. FYI – I now keep a S&W “J” Frame in lieu of a 1911 but did swap out the factory grips for a larger pair.

  24. I have read Miculek’s writings. He suggests a lot of dry firing/presentations with clothing is important to work on proper grasp and sight picture 100s of time each practice session and at least 3-4 times a week

    Working with one weapon is probably best.Grasp will differ with even similar weapons.

    We did a bit of dry fire practice when I was a LRRP TL (1966/67) with 173rd ABN BDE LRRP. Our range of engagement was 2 to 30 meters. Folks can still miss with an M16 at 20 m of sights are not used

  25. @Broom,
    Ahhh, just what we need… another non-professional who thinks pushing drugs on people if they address poor behavior in public.

    I was responding to RIC’s comment, and with a bit more rational thought (and less paranoid “They’re coming to take us away” blather) in order to highlight the lack of critical thinking in anything he said.

    Well, he was being critical of the author but that has nothing to do with critical thinking.

    In fact, there was a cacophony of anger and venom, mixed with irrational fear, doom, and foreboding so typical in many today who cannot see some problem areas that exist because they have convinced themselves there is veracity in a dystopian paranoid delusion that is built on isolated, unconnected events from decades past with no real factual basis in recent current events that would portend dire and drastic upcoming events. They ignore reality and retreat into their imaginary fantasy world of Dystopia.

    As far as relaxing, I am good. I will be better when archery season gets here, but I will have to endure the heat of summer. I am not a summer lover; give me fall and winter, when I can go out into the woods and not have to deal with people who KNOW there are people are out to get them.

    That is the work of the powers of darkness who desires to blind the minds of those who do not understand who is really in charge of the universe. I have read the Bible multiple times, so I know who is really in charge. I have read the end of the book, Spoiler alert. He wins!

  26. Just a response to RIC:
    You speak as if you are an expert, BUT, you list no credentials to buttress your assertions. As for me, I was an Army Medic assigned to a SAR/Recon team 50 or so years ago. I speak as someone who has been called upon to draw my weapon against other human beings and as someone who has been on the receiving end of incoming fire. I also spent more than 30 years after that working in busy metro ER’s as a nurse. I have seen hundreds of GSW’s, some of which were intentional and others were accidental.

    You speak of your opinions as if they are all pronouncements of truth. There is a difference between truth and opinion, and you do not provide any data to support your opinions, and yes, they are JUST opinion, there are no facts involved. And opinions are just like… noses, in that everyone has one. In my mind, your opinions are based on the opinions spouted by others and are greatly lacking in factual foundations. You are a follower of ideologies that are not those of stable minds.

    Much of what you state about handguns is only partially based in reality. There are times when a handgun might be the only reasonable weapon, such as there is not sufficient room to use a shotgun. If you cannot bring a long gun to bear, you probably will not be able to negotiate with your attacker to go to a different room so you can aim and fire a shotgun.

    It is important to be aware of the penetration of the rounds one fires, but to absolutely prohibit one from shooting an assailant in self-defense like that is not so different from the libs who want all guns gone. That is the ultimate in concrete, non-critical thinking.

    Deliberately shooting someone in the face with birdshot will most likely get you charged with intentional maiming, and possibly those charges will be just as severe as if you had killed the person as in long prison time. If you blind them, there are very few courts that will not find you culpable for intentional maiming and everything you thought you had will be given to that person, even if they were the original aggressor. In the Army, in our hand to hand combat classes, we were taught various ways to blind people, but only as a distraction to allow us to kill them. One instructor told us that if we did blind someone in that situation, we were pretty much obligated to kill them.

    Another thing of which you do not seem to be cognizant is when you draw a weapon on another human being, your life changes in ways you cannot understand, or even imagine prior to that time. It is not like the movies. There are decades of data showing that in most live fire incidents by most Police forces in the US, the hit ratio is abysmal. I have personally known officers who were on their department pistol teams, but, when the SHTF in live fire situations, they hit their target with fewer than 50% of the shots fired and the percentage of mortal wounds was a third of that. The actual deed is much more difficult to accomplish in reality than it is to do on paper. Some reports show a hit ratio of less than ten percent.

    In 1971, we were told that during the then current Southeast Asia Wargames, there was an average of several thousand rounds expended for each enemy kill. That was why were taught to aim for center of mass each and every time we drew a bead on an enemy soldier. I can promise you that it’s not like in the movies and it will live with you forever. Aiming for a specific body part is unrealistic, especially with a shotgun.

    Your ramblings about government agents being the greater danger are not truth, but are mostly paranoid ramblings with a few snippets based on actual events that were not as common as home invasions are in today’s society. There have not been nearly as many Ruby Ridge or David Koresh in Waco type incidents in the last twenty years as there have been home invasions in my state of Oklahoma in the last few months. It was not the government that did that.

    In summation, most of your absolute pronouncements are, at least partially, WRONG! So they are not absolute, are they?

  27. I purchased a Ruger P95 .40 several years ago and carried as much as I could, due to physical size and weight it was extremely hard to conceal and not a whole host of holsters to choose from either. Then came the Springfield Hellcat and a few years later I was able to purchase my first 9mm. I carry the Hellcat everywhere I go that the law legally allows me to. It is also my main home defense firearm as well. I am very satisfied with the look, feel, and weight of the Hellcat.

  28. I usually keep my G23 in the night stand and a S&W Governor loaded with 410 and .45Colt long home defense Ammo by the bed, also a G33 .357 Sig in reach, my shotguns and DB15 is not to far away. My Rottweiler is the ultimate alarm and protection at home the guns are for backup.

  29. Bryan
    Your revolver is a very effective handgun. The load you describe is for hunting wild boar, bear, and big deer and hogs. It is way too much for personal defense. I suspect recoil is the type that raises the handgun up over the head. Any .45 Colt cowboy load is fine for personal defense. This big chunk of lead is very effective. If you can find the Remington 230 grain JHP or SIG’s JHP they are good loads, as well as the Winchester 225 grain JHP

    Good luck

  30. Thank you for your reply it was much appreciated. I do tend to prefer a revolver I have owned only one automatic which was a Beretta 380 which was a fun gun to shoot and easy to carry. Oh I forgot The Cobray Mac 11- 9mil but that’s another story. At the same time I owned a Ruger Redhawk 44 with a 7″ barrel, wow what a sweet gun. Best I ever had. Getting back to the ammo for the cowboy style 45 with a 5″ barrel I have now, the ammo I have now is the Grizzly 45 Colt+p 335 grain WLNGC hard cast. I would like to hear your thoughts on this combination. Thank You for your thoughts on this.

  31. I see a lot of comments on stashing guns around the house.

    Very bad idea. Keep the gun on you.

    You are only arming the crook that breaks in your house.

    Keep the gun on you at all times!

    A handgun on the side a shotgun in a ready room. The shotgun goes in the safe when I leave the home. The bad guys know all the hiding places.

  32. A home defense handgun should be the one that the user feels comfortable handling. Often repeated, but likewise often forgotten, distance one can keep (5) shots in a 4″ group in under (6) seconds is one’s effective range. In a home defense shooting, that effective range is greatly reduced. (Yards becomes feet) If a revolver is what one feels comfortable in using, (i.e. – older shooter), then a .357, .44 spl, and yes, the .45 LC are still a good choice. ME – I would use my “J” frame S&W to get to my Mossberg 500. P.S. – I am old enough that I did get to meet Col, Cooper, in person, and have a discussion on handguns for self defense. There is a reason that the MOZAMBIQUE Drill should be a major training component if one has plans to use a handgun for self defense.

  33. Bob, The reality of it is that the gun can shoot just as fast as any pistol. Which is not want you implied in your article.

  34. Vincent

    Not biased but I certainly know what reality is.

    The super shooter you mention has as much in common with the average shooter as I do with Hemingway.


  35. Vincent

    I saw a video of the late great Bob Munden taking a .45 Colt derringer from Bond Arms and hitting a 50 yard steel plate.

    I certainly cannot do that.
    The way to solve this with you and bob is each send a video- no super human like Munden, who was a gentleman and athlete- or Miculek, cut from the same cloth=
    Bob shooting his FN, 1911 or High Power

    You shoot your revolver as far as possible

    Just for the hell of it I will send the winnner a hunnert dollars.

    Ric- you need to stay on your medication.

  36. Bryan Gann, I have a very extensive ballistics file, covering 35 handgun and 25 rifle calibers. Among the .45LC ammo of 153 entries, only three were with 335gr bullets. These three are: (1) Cor-Bon, which delivers only 850 ft. lbs. (with a 7.5″ barrel), which does not sound like the ammo you mentioned, and would not be overly powerful. (2) Double Tap which delivers 1,162 ft. lbs., and this would be very powerful, loud and with a very healthy kick (depending on your gun’s barrel length), and would knock anyone over with one shot! (3) Grizzly which delivers 1,027 ft. lbs., which is also quite powerful, although noticeably less than the DT round. Both #2 and #3 are not available today, as I just checked via my ballistics file, but the Cor-Bon one seems to be available today, and at a cost of $39.99 for 20 rounds, plus shipping. And of the 153 entries in my ballistics file just for .45LC ammo, 91 of these are unique (not the same ammo sold by various retailers). So, there are lots of choices for the .45 LC revolver. I have a Ruger .45LC convertible, and with a cylinder swap, I can also shoot .45ACP rounds! And there are some ‘powerful’ .45ACP rounds that would work well for self defense also, But if this option is not an open for you, then I would recommend the .357 Mag over the .40, unless you are especially prone to semi-auto pistols. I will not go into the difference between these two types of handguns here, but the .357 Mag comes in much more powerful versions than the .40. But again, the higher the power, the more the kick!

  37. ric

    birdshot is designed to kill small birds. I would be fully more reluctant to blind a man than kill him- I think you are under the impression you will shooting a stationary target. Birdshot is not a viable load. It will be stopped by heavy clothing or the lightest cover. The way to limit penetration is to hit the threat in center mass.

  38. It seems to me that you are completely biased. The fact the Micuiek can fire as fast as he does with STOCK revolvers definitely says the revolver can shoot just as fast as a semi-auto. I cannot explain why he has not entered into the matches you mention. I sent off a question to IDPA asking them about revolvers and their contests and about Jerry Miculek. Maybe they only allow pistols, and hopefully I will get a meaningful response from IDPA. But the fact remains, Jerry has proven that revolvers can shoot just as fast, and maybe even faster than semi-auto pistols, even with a reload.

  39. Vincent

    Miculek and his revolvers are super human. When revolvers start winning IDPA and IPSC matches you have a point. Automatics have the fastest follow up shot.
    Fred R

    The 9mm round is a Black Hills Ammunition Honey Badger.


  40. I have a 45 revolver and because of the ammunition shortage last year I was forced to buy 335 grain ammunition which is way to strong regarding recoil and handling along with accuracy but I guarantee it is a Man stopping round with the slightest of wounds. Having said that I will be purchasing lighter loads around the 135-185 grain ammunition. I’m am looking at perhaps a 357 or 40 for my next home protection gun mainly because of control and knock down abilities.

  41. “Best “HANDGUN” – “For home defense”, is a completely useless concept.
    What EXACTLY are we defending our home against? What kind of home do we live in?
    If you live in an apartment/condo, a “HANDGUN”, or a rifle, is the worst possible defense – PERIOD.
    Every bullet you fire WILL penetrate walls, floors, ceilings, and KILL your neighbors, or your kids.
    If your neighbors, and family, don’t live in the same building/house/structure as you do, then it MAY be okay to shoot off pistols, and rifles to “stop” an intruder.
    There are absolutely NO “handguns”, or rifles that are appropriate for “home defense” – inside your home – no matter where you live. (except the shotgun “pistols”)
    Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should ANYONE EVER fire a gun INSIDE their house that could possibly penetrate ONE wall/floor/ceiling.
    ALWAYS know what is behind your target, you can’t do that with a handgun/rifle – inside the house.
    Birdshot, in the face, from a shotgun, will blind ANY attacker – eyeballs are not bullet-proof – and you won’t shoot your neighbors next door, or your kids in the next room.
    People with no eyeballs don’t attack people holding guns.
    On the other hand, if the GOV is taking your weapons – which is the most likely scenario – you, and your family will be dead, and they can make up any story they want – after you are dead – witness Ruby Ridge, and Waco, and Las Vegas.
    Birdshot will stop any intruder, if they aren’t “with the Government”. Those who are “with the Government” will be blind, and cannot kill other Patriots, and take their guns. Eventually, there will be no more people “with the Government” that are willing to be blind in the effort to take guns from Americans.
    The TRUTH is that random, invading persons isn’t the problem that Americans need to worry about, Birdshot can take care of them (or wasp/hornet spray), the GREATEST threat to Americans today is the Government, because they will turn YOU into the criminal for defending your property.

  42. I also have a Ruger .357 revolver, although mine is a single action gun. But the .357 Mag round varies a lot, and you can get ones that are not so powerful, and hence not so loud. But if you do use relatively powerful .357 Mag ammo, it will be REAL loud inside! I think a .357 Mag round with around 550-600 ft, lbs of energy would do just about anyone in, and not be too terribly loud or with too much kick. .357 Mag round can go up to 900 ft lbs, and even a little more, depending on barrel length. Mine is 6 1/2 “. I have a ballistics file I give out freely to anyone who wants it, and it will help you find the just right load for self defense versus other usages. I just released it today to my 20 or so constituents.

  43. This is a good article. However, I only have an 8 shot 40 cal and 15 rd 10mm handgun. What are the pros and cons of using these handguns?

  44. A Ruger .357 mag Match Champion revolver sits beside my easy chair with it and a speed loader carrying Hornady defensive rounds. I also keep a Sig P365 with a red laser and 10 round and 15 round mag near my easy chair for when we walk our dogs in the evening. A pocket holster makes it easy to slip into a jacket or pants pocket for coyote protection. I keep a Sig P320 with a laser and 15 round mag with a spare 15 round mag at my nightstand. I hope I never use them for home defense but it’s right to be prepared.At 70, I wear hearing aids and I sure as heck don’t want to shoot a .357 mag indoors! I cannot imagine how loud that would be.

  45. I don’t know how you can do an article on home defense and carry pistols without mentioning one Glock.

  46. I shoot above 90% on upland game with my Remington 870. I prefer 4 buck for home defense. More pellets for fringe hits. You hit anywhere on a body will incapacitat an intruder. Also keep 357 ruger in my night stand. When I grab my 870 everything is muscle memory. No stress event will infere with muscle memory.

  47. I agree with Timothy’s philosophy of Multiple Location Layers.
    We keep a 9mm P-38 in the Living Room, the 870 loaded with #4 Buck in the Hall Closet and my S&W model 10 loaded with 158 gr. LSWC’s at Bedside.
    None are considered Hi-Cap but we feel well served by all of them.

  48. As a victim of a home invasion i have a real world understanding of this situation. I have books, shelves and other various concealment places around the house. By my bed I keep a S&W MP.40 with extended Mag and Light on the front rail. Great weapon, yes, I do have all of the weapons listed in this article However, I prefer to take in police trades, clean them up and give them new life in the home protect market

  49. This is an absolutely great write-up about handguns and self defense. You covered two very popular and usable semi-auto pistols and the most versatile revolver, the .357 Mag. And the comments you give are right on, which I do not come across from those that are semi-auto prone. But you did leave out one factor about the revolver – that they are safer in that you can tell if it is loaded at all in just 1-2 seconds. You did mention that they are safer -“The revolver is seen as safer at home ready”, but there was no explanation as to how or why they are safer. Long ago, I ventured down the revolver path partly because of this factor. But you did mention a lot of the revolver’s advantageous, so that was great.

    But you made one comment that I do not think it correct, and that is where you said ” A rapid 1911 follow-up shot is among the fastest of any big bore handgun, far outstripping revolvers.” I really doubt this, especially when you look at what Jerry Miculek can do with his revolver: 8 shots on one target in 1 second, 6 shots with one reload and another 6 shots in 2.99 seconds. While he is clearly an exceptional shooter, it proves that the gun is just as capable of rapid firing as any semi-auto pistol. Of course, Jerry’s world records are done with stock S&W Model 64 (modified only with his special hand grips), which is s .38 Special gun, so the kick is not much of a problem. And your article does mention using .38 Special ammo in .357 Mag revolvers, which was very good. But revolvers can be fired just as fast as any semi-auto gun. Also, there are now 7 and 8 shot ‘big bore’ revolvers (.357 Mag).

  50. My Smith and Wesson in 44 special with a laser sight keeps me feeling safe at night. A Dan Wesson 357 magnum next to me while watching TV or writing to websites like this, and I feel protected. No safety, no racking the slide, or losing the mag by mistake in a tense situation gives me peace of mind. 2 speed loaders next to the revolvers, while not perfect, allows 18 rounds available. The best outcome in a bad situation is a 1shot drop.

  51. I love my Judge with 410 buck shot , It’s safer going through walls and I have more bang for the buck so to speak.

  52. The BEST handgun is the one you will use and not hesitate, But a handgun is what you use to get to your long gun safely!

  53. My Taurus Judge loaded one low brass bird shot followed by .45 LC rests in the bedside table. A tactical 12 guage high capacity pump shotgun is in the walk-in closet.

  54. Pistol is an ok home defense but im not using one for home defense that would be the shotgun for the personal choice…

  55. I’m not an expert and I do not have all the answers. However, I’m surprised Glock was not mentioned at all by the author. Maybe he hates them. I love them. Before you labor me as a Glockaholic, I carry and love my Sig too. For home defense in close quarters, I’m preferring my full frame Glock in 45 or 10mm.

  56. I have an alarm system and two twenty pound dogs that are not afraid to bark. I keep a Kahr CW .45 on the bedside stand. No safety to fuss with, works like a revolver. Point and pull the trigger. My daily carry gun, an HK VP9SK, 9mm, is on the floor, holstered on my belt/pants when in bed. Stevens 12ga pump on wife’s side of the bed. We’re both 65, don’t have time to be trying to open a safe in a hurry. Both of us are very familiar with all our firearms. Practice & be prepared!

  57. On my nightstand is a Taurus Judge, loaded with .410 trap loads. Leaning against the wall next to it is a Remington 870 with mag extension.

    I have various 9mm and .380s stashed around the house was well.

  58. Nothing beats a shotgun for home defense. My recommendation is make the first shot a sandbag round (non-lethal), then followed by 00-buck or #1-buck. Looking forward to your article on long guns.

  59. For home defense, I have a Mossberg 500. You wake up in the middle of the night and blurry eyed, a 12ga is sure to run most diehard intruders off. Just the sound of loading a round (if not already loaded) will get their attention. IMO a handgun can be too difficult for most to aim in a high stress situation. But this is an article about self defense and handguns, not home invasion scenarios.

  60. I have several different types of fire arms within easy reach throughout my home,I’d prefer to grab my 870 sitting right beside the bed for the (shock and awe) nothing quite as intimidating for a bad guy as the sound of the slide going home. I do keep my Glock .40 long slide on the night stand though.

  61. Col. K is spot on. Although I have several handguns ready for home defense, I also have a Mossberg shortie 20 gauge hanging next to my bed. Out of bed, I have one handgun on my hip. Can’t do that with a shottie.
    Worst case scenario of several home invaders, I have enough firepower to defend from the bed, outside the bedroom, and in the rest of the house.
    When my S&W 1911 SC E series is in home defense rotation, it is loaded with a 10 round extended mag of .45 cal hp.
    You fight with what you have.

  62. Glock 22 with a laser/light combo. But the specific gun doesn’t matter as the light is more important than the caliber. Also, the laser improves shooting from cover. Having the light attached to the gun keeps one hand free. It’s also good to have a separate light so you can illuminate things without pointing a gun at them.

  63. Glock 20 in the nightstand, it’s my favorite handgun and my carry in the woods. My preference for home defense is my .410 by the door. Got kids, don’t need lead flying through sheetrock and such.

  64. For people that don’t shoot a lot I think a double action revolver is best,loaded with plus p 38 special ammo can’t go wrong don’t have to think just point and pull the trigger.

  65. The best gun with which to defend yourself is the one you have ready. Brand, style, even caliber don’t necessarily matter when the alarm goes off (or barks) and you know seconds count. I have seen the effect of .22LR and I can say with certainty that, with proper shot placement, it is a deadly round.
    If you carry, whatever you carry is the best weapon to have. If it’s a choice between fists or a sharp stick, I’ll pick the sharp stick. You choose what you are comfortable with, go to a gun store with a range, try a few different calibers and styles (semiautomatic or revolver), and get what you like and feel comfortable using. When your life is on the line, what works best is what you’ve trained with.

  66. The best weapon for home defense is whatever you are most comfortable with. That could be a Pistol, Revolver, shotgun, baseball bat or whatever. So long as you are proficient and have confidence in it. Mine is a suppressed CMMG Banshee in 9mm. My Wife however prefers a 12 Gauge, 18” Pump for two reasons. One, it’s a “general vicinity” weapon and two, if there is a sound you have never heard before but immediately recognize, it’s the sound of a round being “racked” into the chamber of a shotgun.

  67. A shotgun is the best home defense weapon, you should know that. In a crisis emergency situation untrained (and even trained professionals) will experience stress which could easily affect their ability to focus. Bullets can go through walls fairly easily so if the home owner misses he / she could easily end up shooting a neighbor. Shotgun pellets, depending on size can easily deal with an intruder more effectively than a single round and won’t go through walls. Publishing articles like this for the untrained could lead to some disastrous results. If one wants to push the idea of using a handgun for self defense the honorable thing to do is to at least indicate in the very beginning of the article that handguns should only considered if the home owner cannot successfully manipulate a shotgun. end

  68. A shotgun is the best home defense weapon, you should know that. In a crisis emergency situation untrained (and even trained professionals) will experience stress which could easily affect their ability to focus. Bullets can go through walls fairly easily so if the home owner misses he / she could easily end up shooting a neighbor. Shotgun pellets, depending on size can easily deal with an intruder more effectively than a single round and won’t go through walls. Publishing articles like this for the untrained could lead to some disastrous results. If one wants to push the idea of using a handgun for self defense the honorable thing to do is to at least indicate in the very beginning of the article that handguns should only considered if the home owner cannot successfully manipulate a shotgun.

  69. My EDC is a Colt 1911 government model .45. I find this to be extremely comfortable and easy to conceal with a 1791 gunleather IWB holster. I’m 5’7 and athletic build, still have no problem concealing this. It is such an accurate and fun gun to use, and I totally trust it with my life. I keep it right my bedside at night. Hornady Critical Duty loads. I absolutely trust my 1911 to get the job done.

  70. I use a Mossberg 12 gauge spx with the 14.2 inch barrel, using the 00 buck-shot mini-shells……does the job. and easy to use…

  71. I use a Mossberg 12 gauge spx with the 14.2 inch barrel, using the 00 buck-shot mini-shells……does the job. and easy to use…

  72. Revolvers are idiot proof, or as close to that as possible. my first choice for home defense is my 870, the three above are all excellent backups but pistol range is too close

  73. That you advise people to store a 1911 loaded with the hammer down is insane. Do you want people to have negligent discharges and contribute to unsafe gun handling, injuries and deaths? Because that’s what you’ll get giving this advice.
    There is no logical reason to ever do this. Don’t give out horribly unsafe advice.

  74. If my only choice is my handguns I will pick my SR 1911 every time but I also have total confidence in my Ruger 357 too. But my first choice in home defense is my 12 Gage shotgun’s that are staged around the house.

  75. I keep a colt 1911 45 a c p on my night stand and a Springfield X D 40 in my office desk. No matter what you choose,practice is mandatory. I consider an absolute minimum to be all rounds in a 9″ pie pan at 15 yards. and don”t forget, a clean well maintained weapon is a must.

  76. This is one of the outdated and fuddtastic articles I’ve ever read.
    Utter nonsense in the face of modern firearms, ammunition, safety concerns, and practicality.
    It is 2022, not 1983. Get with the times old man.

  77. Good article- thanks. While reading, two things came to mind:
    Minimize db’s and concussion, which can do permanent damage to one’s hearing. You covered it.
    Pointability— I’m both biased anc trained, but no pistol points like a 1911. Flashlights can fail. You make become disoriented, but once you have positively identified the threat, you can forgo the sights and get center of mass hits at room distances with a 1911!!

  78. While I have several options in my home, depending on where I am.
    For myself, and by my side of the bed, I have a 45 pistol.
    For my wife, I have chosen Bursa 380 pistol, as it is light, easy for her to handle, has a safety and
    de-cocker. I also have the same model in her office – thus familiarity. In another area of my living area, I have a Kel Tec 22 mag. Also, light and easy to handle with a 30-round mag.
    My carry pistol is Springfield Micro 45, and/or, depending on my clothing, a S&W 380.

  79. I like to keep my options open. I have a 12 gauge pump leaning against the dresser, a .40 S&W with 14 + 1 rounds in the nightstand and a snubnose .357 magnum in the drawer in the dining room. With all that, rest of the armory is not that far out of reach.

  80. My EDC and home defense weapon of choice is the Glock G32 357sig. With almost identical ballistics as the 357mag, it’s comfortable to me for long hours of carry and controllable follow ups are a big plus.
    Also, the ‘one shot-Stop The Threat’s factor is very high !!
    Good article !!
    Thank you for sharing.

  81. I love my Sig SP2022 for safe easy operation. Same for the Sig 226. On the .45 cal side the FNX45 is hard to beat. Manual of arms is similar to 1911, but first shot can be double action. The FNX can also be carried cocked and locked if that is your pleasure. I am not in love with the safety on the FNX since growing accustomed to the Sig pistols.

  82. My preferred home defense pistol is the S&W M&P .40. It has high capacity and more power than a 9mm. The .40 is not “a solution looking for a problem,” as some say. The bullet improvements that have made the 9mm a viable stopper have been applied to the .40 caliber bullets as well. So the .40 still has a significant advantage. It is comparable to a .357 but without the recoil and noise disadvantages. My M&P has a safety for safer holstering. It is a good shooter. I shoot it as well as I shoot 9mm pistols.

  83. I personally prefer my 1911 45 as my favorite gun but in a home defense situation the penetration if I miss a shot concerns me about my neighbors whom are close by..a 357 is a bad home choice for that very reason..I prefer my Ruger Security 9 compact 12 + 1 on my nightstand and I have full alarm system with perimeter outdoor cameras with intruder alert ..all of this is good but I agree with you without proper training and being familiar with your weapon puts us at a disadvantage with a bad guy that knows his weapon..

  84. My wife and I have several options in our house. It all depends on our location at the time of need. We have a S&W MnP 2.0 10mm, Beretta 92F 9mm, Glock 45 9mm and DDM4 PDW 300 Blackout all stashed around the house Get what you’re comfortable with shooting and practice, practice, and practice some more. You do not want to be fumbling around in the dark because you’re unfamiliar with your weapon.

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