The Best Gun For Home Defense
It’s late, dark and the family is asleep. You hear a noise that came from downstairs in the garage or perhaps near the backdoor leading to the patio. There’s no time to wonder why the alarm hasn’t gone off. You quietly get out of bed as your reach for your weapon.
But what weapon is best for this situation?
Though a majority of gun owners choose a handgun, many experts in the field of home defense recommend a shotgun – preferably a pump action, short barrel shotgun.
Why? There are two very good reasons; deterrence and effectiveness.
First, should you find yourself confronting a prowler in your home, the sound a pump action shotgun produces when you rack that 3”shell into the chamber is the universal sound of imminent death. The perpetrator instinctively knows the shotgun means the user doesn’t have to be accurate and can unleash a massive load at any moment, which leads to the second reason that a shotgun is better for home defense than a handgun.
Even the most powerful handgun in the world only releases one round at a time. That’s a single bullet that can miss – and usually does during such an intense life or death event – versus a shotgun that releases a bevy of rounds in a broad pattern. Your odds of striking the perpetrator go up exponentially with a shotgun.
So, which is the best shotgun to own?
Like everyone else, gun owners have favorites. Some will tell you that a Mossberg is best while others argue in favor of a Remington or a Winchester. It’s really a case of chocolate versus vanilla – because they are all are fine weapons manufacturers. However, the truth is, the best shotgun to own is the one you’re most comfortable with; the gun that feels best in your hand, has the right weight and balance as you hold it and has a pump – or “slide” – and trigger action you prefer.
A shorter barrel is best for home defense. You’re not going to be taking down a Mallard on the wing at some distance above a duck blind; you’re going to be confronting a startled deadbeat within 15 feet of you. So, long range accuracy is not an issue. An 18-inch barrel will be sufficient.
In addition, basic is best for home protection. The perpetrator is not likely to be awed by the intricate laser-cut design found in the beautiful walnut stock, so, a synthetic, matte black finish that’s non-reflective will suffice – and could prove the difference in you “getting the drop” on the intruder or him being alerted by a reflection off of a shiny barrel. The shorter barrel synthetic gun is also a lot cheaper than the “collector model” show piece.
Here are a few examples of great weapons for home defense;
– Mossberg 500 SPX. This 12-gauge, pump action shotgun has a matte black non-reflective synthetic stock with a pistol-style grip and an 18.5” barrel. It weighs about 7 lbs. and usually costs around $500.
– Winchester Super X Pump Defender. This is a 12-Gauge pump action with non-reflective surfaces and a deep grooved forearm for better control. It weighs just over 6 lbs. and usually costs around $400.
– Remington 870 Express Synthetic 18”. As the name implies, this 20-gauge pump action has a matte black non-reflective synthetic stock with an 18” barrel. It weighs just over 7 lbs. and usually costs about $400.
But whatever you choose, shotgun or handgun, remember that safety and control are essential. Keep the weapon safe from children and, by all means, learn to use the weapon from a professional. More than one home owner who bought a gun, stuck it under the bed and chose not to learn how to use it ended up dead at the hands of a perpetrator who murdered the victim with his or her own weapon.
Adam Enright works for the Gun Safe Store AND teaches firearm safety. The gun safe store has a wide variety of gun safes and pistol safes.