Your Best Home Defense Gun?
February 14th, 2020
4 minute read
Choosing a home defense handgun may seem a simple task on the surface. In many cases, it starts out as not much more than a beauty contest with a person being drawn to a “good looking” gun. While I won’t deny that is indeed a factor you can consider, we must remember that even with guns, beauty is only skin deep (or high-tech environment resistant finish deep). There are a few key points I would suggest you consider when considering what will be your home defense handgun.
First up is the fit of the handgun. The handgun market is flush with options of every size. From micro pocket pistols to Dirty Harry hand cannons. What is important is that you find a gun that fits you well. Make sure it feels good in your hands and that you can easily operate it. Smaller is not always better. While small guns are easy to conceal, they can provide significant recoil and be difficult to control when shot.
A side issue to consider is just how you will be storing the gun. The principle of concealability goes out the window when the gun takes on the single duty of home protection. If this is going to be a dual-duty gun for CCW and home defense, then you can factor that back in. Take your time and find the gun that fits not only your hands, but your needs as well. Does it fit your hand? Can you operate it? Can you shoot it well? Do you like it? These are all important considerations.
Caliber is our next consideration. There are few more argument driving questions than the age old, “What is the best pistol caliber?” We must first understand that the handgun round is severely underpowered when it comes to personal defense. What it is, however, is a compromise. We simply can’t carry a rifle with us everywhere we go. Since we choose a handgun because of its portability and concealability, we need to choose the best round for the job. While there are many arguments for a “big bore” cartridge, and while they make large holes in wood, the human body is much more complicated to shoot into and reacts differently than wood.
Recently the FBI completed extensive testing on various handgun calibers. “Most of what is ‘common knowledge’ with ammunition and its effects on the human target are rooted in myth and folklore…Handgun stopping power is simply a myth,” the FBI said in its report. “There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger and .45 Auto.”
This coupled with the advances in modern bullet design has driven a change in the FBI as well as thousands of agencies around the country. They are opting for what I personally believe is the best pistol caliber for personal defense; the 9mm. In fact, the highest-scoring performance in FBI testing protocol went to the 147-gr. Speer Gold Dot G2 personal defense round. But again, this comes down to your preferences. Can you shoot a .40, 10mm or .45 ACP well, like the platform and it fits your hand well? In so, then it’s the right choice for you.
The last item I suggest you consider is the type of handgun you want. As with caliber, opinions are all over the board. Some claim the revolver is king because it is easy to run while others cling to the 1911 because of “two world wars,” but I believe the answer is in the middle. I am a fan of striker-fired handguns for personal defense because of two major factors; their ease of use and reliability. However, that is simply my choice. There are other options out there, such as hammer-fired pistols that might fit your hand well, be eminently shootable, and be just right for your personal needs.
Choosing a home defense handgun should be a thoughtful, well-considered decision. Hit the local range and test drive some options to better educate yourself on what works and possibly what doesn’t work for you. The more you know, the better you will be prepared to get a handgun that will best serve your needs.
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