A home is burglarized once every 15 seconds in the U.S., according to data by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While the vast majority of these incidents occur when the home is unoccupied, some do not. If a burglar or some other individual with nefarious intent broke into your home while you were there, what would you use to defend yourself? Lets walk through some of your options.
12 Gauge Shotgun
Arguably, one of the best all-around weapons for home defense is a 12 gauge shotgun. The sound of a pump-action shotgun being readied is very recognizable and is often enough to deter intruders. If the individual continues, you can rest assured knowing that the scatter from a 12 gauge buck or bird shot will stop an intruder. Shotguns offer the unique ability to fire rounds which contain multiple pellets or “shots,” sometimes as many as several hundred.
Some people assume that sights aren't necessary on shotguns because of their ability to shoot scattered pellets, but the folks over at the National Rifle Association Family (NRAF) recommend installing new sights on shotguns that are used for home defense. You should always place an emphasis on accurate shooting, regardless of the firearm.
.38 Snub-Nose Revolver
Another popular home defense weapon is the .38 snub nose revolver. As the name suggests, this revolver-style pistol features a shorter nose, usually measuring less than three inches. The snub-nose revolver became a popular choice of firearm among undercover police officers throughout much of the 1970s, at which point it was replaced by semi-automatic pistols.
The .38 snub-nose revolvers makes an excellent home defense weapon due to its compact size, high level of reliability, ease of use, and good stopping power. It's a common assumption that firearms with a short barrel are less accurate than firearms with a long barrel, but this isn't necessarily true. Both firearms should offer the same amount of accuracy, although longer barrels support a longer sight radius, which “may” improve shooting accuracy to some degree.
9mm Semi-Automatic Pistol
We can't talk about home defense weapons without mentioning the 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Whether it's a GLOCK 22, Ruger P95, Remington 1911, Smith & Wesson, etc., you really can't go wrong with a 9mm semi-auto pistol. Unlike their revolver counterpart, semi-auto pistols support larger magazines. With more bullets in your mag, you'll be able to get off more shots without having to stop and reload.
Some people may turn their heads at the thought of using a 9mm for home defense. After all, isn't 9mm on the low end when it comes to stopping power? While it's true that 9mms generate less stopping power than .44 and .45 caliber bullets, it's still more than enough to halt an intruder. Besides, you probably don't want stray bullets traveling through the walls and potentially causing injury or property damage.
Which one of these weapons should you choose for home defense? Each and every person has their preference when it comes to firearms. If you haven't had much practice shooting, then perhaps a shotgun would be the right choice. There's no single “best” weapon for home defense. Each circumstance is different, and no two people have the same firearm proficiency level. When choosing a weapon for the purpose of home defense, consider your shooting skills, the layout of your home, and then choose the firearm that's best suited for your needs.
* Image used by creative commons license, credited to Tim Samoff.