Rifle, pistol, or shotgun for home defense?

What type of firearm will you choose for home defense?  There are many options out there and a lot of them are really adequate.  This can make the decision process difficult. There are a few factors to consider that will help narrow down your decision-making process between choosing a rifle, pistol, or shotgun for home defense.

A rifle platform such as an AR-15 is without a doubt one of the best defense tools ever created.  With a 30 round magazine and great ergonomic feel, the AR-15 is a battle proven machine that can put forth a formidable amount of firepower.  If you live in the country and your neighbors are a good distance away, I think the AR-15 or a similar rifle platform must be considered as a primary option.  With 30 rounds of 5.56 ammo, you will be able to suppress multiple attackers and overwhelm them with firepower.  You will not be outgunned, that is for sure.

For the majority of people who live in a city a pistol may be a better choice than an AR-15.  The reason I would recommend a pistol over an AR-15 for city dwellers is that you are less likely to shoot through your house and injure a neighbor.  A pistol loaded with hollow point ammo will not have a great deal of penetration power when compared to a 5.56 or 7.62 round.  In addition, pistols are easy to wield and maneuver in close quarters situations.  Full size pistols offer a solid round capacity ranging from 15-20 in many models.  You can buy high-capacity magazines for many pistols that will increase the round count to 20 or 30.  Also, having a spare mag stored with your home defense pistol is a good idea and mag changes can be done extremely fast with some practice.  If you buy aftermarket manufactured magazines be sure to test them thoroughly before relying on them for home defense (be sure to test all of your gear thoroughly for that matter).

The shotgun is a go to home defense gun for many people.  Many have an idea that if you blast a shotgun into a room then it obliterates everything present.  This is not very accurate.  A shotgun pattern needs distance to spread out.  In the close quarters confinement of a room a shotgun blast will remain in a tight pattern of about 6 inches or less (roughly speaking).  This means that even with a shotgun you need to aim and be somewhat accurate.  You can miss with a shotgun at close quarters about as easy as with a pistol or rifle.  If you do make contact with a shotgun your threat will no longer be a threat, that is the upside.  A shotgun blast is highly likely to mitigate the threat immediately where as a pistol or even rifle may not immediately stop the threat (especially with only one hit).  Another thing to consider about shotguns is that most offer a lower capacity somewhere around 8 rounds.  Shotguns will take much longer to reload and are not practical to be reloaded in a home defense situation.  Shotguns are also a bit more cumbersome than your other options.  On the positive side, shotguns probably require the least amount of training to be used well in a home defense situation.

You have many options for home defense and anything you choose will be better than nothing.  I’d rather sleep with a 6 round .380 next to my bed than nothing.  Whatever you choose to defend your home with be sure to train regularly with it, and get some lessons to assist in your training.  Preparation will make you feel better about life and sleep better at night knowing you can defend your kingdom.