Firearms

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.

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 long slide 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.

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.

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.

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.

  • 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
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
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 (67)

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    Bob

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    Bob

  15. 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.

  16. “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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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).

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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…

  46. 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…

  47. 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

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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!!

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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..

  59. 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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