One of the most popular firearms for home defense is a pistol. With so many pistols on the market, it’s hard to know what to look for when choosing a home defense pistol. Common questions include what caliber, size, or type of pistol should I choose? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are some great options I can suggest.
Before I continue, it is important to note that there are a lot of great options that could have easily made this list, but I selected the pistols I prefer.
Now, let’s take a look at the best home defense pistols on the market today!
1. SIG Sauer P226
The SIG Sauer P226 is my top choice for a home defense pistol. There are a ton of variations of this pistol, and all are great options.
I prefer the P226 Stainless Elite (now discontinued), but the MK25, Legion and standard Nitron models are solid contenders. These double-action/single-action hammer-fired pistols are known for their legendary reliability and durability. They come from the factory with great night sights and dependable magazines.
In 9mm Luger, the SIG P226 accepts 15-round, 18-round, and 20-round magazines. Extended magazines are also available. It is also available in .40 S&W and .357 SIG, each feature a reduced capacity to accommodate the larger cartridge.
If you’d like a DA/SA alloy-frame pistol in a different platform, the Beretta 92fs has served well for decades. You will get comparable features with the addition of a manual thumb safety, and the open-top slide design helps prevent malfunctions.
2. S&W M&P 2.0 Full-Size
It is no secret that modern shooters have turned toward polymer-frame striker-fired pistols. They are lighter weight, have a consistent trigger pull and are easily cleaned. There are tons of quality striker-fired pistols on the market today, but I have selected the Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 full-size.
I prefer the 9mm Luger model, but it is also available in .40 S&W and .45 ACP. With a steel-reinforced polymer frame, accessory rail, and interchangeable grip panels, the M&P 2.0 is ready for business. Additionally, there are a ton of aftermarket options for parts and accessories for the M&P, so you can customize this pistol to your liking.
3. Springfield Loaded Operator 1911 With Rail
This could be swapped for any 1911 pistol with a rail, but I think Springfield Armory provides a quality option with the Loaded Operator. Dan Wesson, SIG Sauer and Rock Island Armory all make great alternatives at different price points.
The Loaded Operator features a picatinny rail for mounting lights and lasers. It also incorporates front and rear slide serrations to help you rack the pistol for loading and clearing malfunctions. The Loaded Operator also has frontstrap checkering and an ambidextrous thumb safety.
When choosing a 1911 pistol, I prefer models chambered in .45 ACP. They tend to be more reliable, while retaining a similar capacity to 1911s in other calibers. However, you can also find options in 9mm Luger and 10mm Auto.
4. CZ SP-01
Nothing shoots or absorbs recoil quite like a steel-frame 9mm pistol. This is further improved by the low bore axis of the CZ SP-01. Additionally, the slide rides inside the frame, so there is less reciprocating mass as the slide cycles, decreasing felt recoil. That’s probably why this pattern of firearm is incredibly popular among competition shooters.
The full-length dust cover of the CZ 75 SP-01 variant adds weight to the front to help prevent muzzle rise. This allows you to shoot faster and more accurately. The SP-01 also provides users with a rail to mount lights and lasers.
With a crisp double-action/single-action trigger, thin profile and excellent grip angle, the SP-01 is an absolute pleasure to shoot. The full-size grip accommodates larger hands, and the extended beavertail allows you to get a high grip for more control and protects your hand from slide bite.
5. Brugger & Thomet APC9
The B&T APC9 is a Swiss offering chambered in 9mm Luger. It utilizes a recoil-reduced closed-bolt blowback operation that is incredibly reliable and soft-shooting. This recoil reduction is further amplified by a hydraulic buffer.
There are models that accept proprietary B&T magazines, as well as versions that use Glock-pattern 9mm mags.
The APC9 is completely optics-ready and incorporates folding backup iron sights. If you like the idea of the B&T APC9, but are looking for something a little different, the CZ Scorpion and SIG MPX are two solid alternatives.
They all accept higher capacity magazines and a pistol stabilizing brace (or stock if you choose to file as an SBR).
Honorable Mention: AR Pistol
Though not a traditional pistol, an AR pistol makes for an excellent home defense firearm, especially for those who live on a larger property. With the development of different pistol stabilizing braces, these have become incredibly popular. They allow you to have three points of contact while shooting, improving your accuracy and handling.
From factory options to custom builds, there are tons of AR-15 pistols on the market in a number of calibers, like 5.56 NATO, .300 AAC Blackout and 9mm Luger. Ruger, Springfield Armory, and Daniel Defense make great options in different price ranges.
There are accessories I find to be important when selecting a home defense pistol. I believe having the ability to mount a weapon light is paramount. You need to be able to identify your target and determine whether or not it is a threat to your life. Having a light attached to your pistol allows you to do this without having to fumble with light switches or worry about power outages.
Another important feature is a good set of night sights. Night sights allow you to get a proper sight picture in all lighting conditions. Tritium options are the best, because you aren’t relying on prior light exposure to make the sights glow.
My favorite sights are Trijicon HDs because I can get a great sight picture day or night. They are easy to acquire, and the front sight is highlighted orange or yellow to quickly draw your attention.
One final accessory you may want to consider is a red dot sight. There are a lot of personal preferences that go into choosing a red dot sight for your pistol, but Holosun and Trijicon make some of the best on the market.
Whether you go with the Holosun 507, 508 series, or Trijicon RMR or SRO series, you are sure to have a high-quality, dependable and rugged optic.
It is important to note that some pistols come from the factory ready to accept an optic, while others will need to be taken to a gunsmith.
Conclusion: Home Defense Pistols
When choosing a pistol for home defense, it’s important to take a number of factors into consideration to ensure you get the firearm that is right for you.
Features such as night sights and a light rail are important. You may want to consider an optics-ready pistol, so you can mount a red dot sight. It is important to select a caliber that you are able to shoot accurately and is suitable for your environment.
No matter what home defense pistol you choose, if you select an option from this list, you’re sure to have an excellent firearm.