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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Massad Ayoob


Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Am finishing up a third level armed citizen class this week. Second level and higher, we add long guns to the handguns. My own view is that if I can only have one firearm for home defense, I want it to be a handgun for reasons of versatility, but if possible I’d rather have one handgun and one long gun readily available to each person in the household who’s likely to be using deadly force to protect self and family.

I teach the handgun as “infantry,” the long gun as “artillery.” If I have to go mobile, I want a hand free to work communications, illumination, doorknobs, etc. If I have to scoop a little kid and carry same to a safer position, a handgun will be more workable. Same if I have to answer an insistent 3 AM pounding at the door…which might just be a cop, who won’t take it well if I open the door holding a 12-gauge or a .223 rifle. But if the whole family is barricaded in the safe room and criminals are kicking down the door, it’s probably shooting time, and a .223 class autoloading rifle or a fast-firing shotgun gives way more power and hit potential on multiple targets in unforgiving circumstances.

For a very long time, the shotgun has been the traditional choice of long gun for defense inside the house. In recent years, though, .223 rifles such as the AR15 have become hugely popular for this function. In this week’s class, two thirds of the students are using shotguns, and one third, autoloading rifles.

Symposium time: readers, what are your choices of home defense firearms? Handgun, or long gun, or both? And if there’s a long gun in the defense plan, did you choose shotgun, rifle, or both?

And – most important, and most interesting – why did you choose as you did?


  1. vicki Lynch Says:

    I am a 5’6″ 64 year old woman and I have 2 youth model 20 gauge shotguns which fit me to a tee. One is loaded light and the other is loaded heavy…for self defense. I love my 20’s-I am a dead shot with both and they are deadly for defense-if my 9mm Ruger SR9C fails to do the job. The times demand that EVERY woman be prepared , sir.

  2. JR Says:

    GLOCK 17 for me to check out the things that go thump in the night with a G19 for the little lady and a 12 ga shotgun remaining in the bedroom as 00 artillery.

  3. ORbRecon Says:

    I have a G19 with light on the nightstand, and a 5.45 AK-74 in my closet. My daughter’s room is across the hall from my room, so the plan for a “bump in the night” is grab the glock, scoop my kid, and bring her into my room, where I trade the handgun for the rifle and hunker down. Wife grabs her pistol and phones the police while I get the kid.

    My bedroom has its own door to the outside as well, so we can evacuate the house if need be.

    I chose the AK because I get 30 mild armor piercing rounds in a dead nuts reliable rifle with virtually no recoil. I live in a depression so not worried about overpenetration. Equipped with a red dot and weapon light, I think it’s about as good as a HD gun gets.

  4. Ron Liebman Says:

    Go to firearm is a Colt M1911. It’s always available, either on my person or in a quick access “GunVault”. An M1 Carbine is locked in my gun safe but ready to go in a more extended emergency situation. Handy for in house movement. Good firepower, as well as stopping power with 110 grain soft points.

  5. JR Says:

    …G17 because of capacity and mobility. Love Corbon DPS for 9mm performance. Same rationale behind the G19 that fits my wife’s hand better. 870 stays behind because it’s heavy. Works well from a rest on the bed that provides concealment and some cover. Note: I was once instructed–and I abide by the instruction–that the shotgun should have no sling when used for home defense. Too easy to grab…

    Thanks for all you do Mas!

  6. ORbRecon Says:

    Also have a 60lb Shar Pei that doesn’t like unauthorized visitors.

  7. Ron Says:

    GLOCK 23, Colt AR-15 NATO 5.56 Ammo, & Mossberg 500 shotgun /w 00 Buck is close by at all times. Others are available as needed.

    GLOCK 23 – holds more ammo and is more controllable than a 45ACP while it has more impact than a 9MM and nearly the stopping power of the 45ACP.

    Colt AR-15 – large capacity magazine, easy to load, easy to shoot, accurate at distance.

    Mossberg 12 Ga. 18-1/2″ barrel Pump – Less likely to jam or misfeed than an auto,

    At 3AM I’ll have the GLOCK tucked away and the Mossberg in my hands as it would have less damaging affects to my neighbors home.

    If there were a Mob after my supplies, the AR-15 would be my choice.

  8. Kendal Black Says:

    Both handgun and long gun are available. The long gun is a 12 gauge riot gun, no choke, loaded with fast-spreading buckshot. (Not buffered, not plated, no shot cup.)

    Why? Best hit probability I can get. If I ever need this gun I am likely to be a bit nervous and not on my best game as a marksman. The light may be bad too. (I have a flashlight mounted on the gun, but can think of some scenarios where turning it on would be a bad idea.) All in all I think the shotgun gives me the best chance of connecting when it counts.

  9. JR Says:

    Springfield XD-s .45 ACP or J Frame S&W .38+P for carry and at home. Add 12 gauge Benelli semi-auto while at home. I practice with pistol 75 – 100 rounds/week and the shotgun 6 or so times each year. Why? Because I value my family’s life and freedom above anything else.

  10. Chris Says:

    I prefer my AK as a home defense gun, the rounds have a bit more punch at close range than an AR and the gun is 100% reliable with nice big controls that are easy to operate in low light.

    It is funny, there is often a discussion on gun boards about what kind of shotgun round is best for home defense. To which I usually reply “It does not matter”. But that is because in my case, if I have to get my shotgun out, that means my 9mm pistol and my AK are both empty. And really, if we are in a situation where 17rds of 9mm and 30rds of 7.62×39 wont solve the problem, then the shotgun is not going to do much good.

  11. Murphy's Law Says:

    I have a Glock 21 with night sights and a light as a bedside handgun, and in a bedroom gun safe that’s open at night, I have a .300 AAC AR-15 SBR with a suppressor and a light. The handgun is just to get me to the gun safe.

  12. Brian E. Gates Says:

    I keep a loaded Glock 26 with a 17 round magazine next to me in my nightstand drawer. Next to my nightstand stands a Maverick 88 12 gauge (loaded of course). I only took an interest in guns back in December of 2012. I immediately started a couple classes and studying all about concealed carry. I my wife and eldest son joined a shooting range. My wife and I obtained our weapons carry license here in Georgia. My wife and I also joined the ACLDN. I’m thoroughly enjoying my new hobby and lifestyle. I’m all about protecting my love ones and exercising our 2nd Amendment rights.

  13. Lee Says:

    If I have time to get the AR15 out of the safe that’s what I go with.

  14. Doug Says:


    I rely on one of a few handguns for immediate emergency use for the same reasons you mentioned and interestingly enough had the situation of a local officer ringing the doorbell at 2:00 am to tell me my garage door was open. My Glock 22 didn’t alarm him as he never saw it although I’m sure he would have reacted differently to my Mossberg 590 had I answered the door with it instead.

    For barricade defense I have immediate access to the shotgun with eight rounds of buckshot in the tube and five slugs in a side saddle while my wife has access to a Ruger GP100 with several speedloaders and can also use the shotgun or one of my other handguns if necessary.

    I also have rapid but not immediate access to appropriate auto loading rifles in 5.56 and 7.62 with plenty of loaded magazines, but these are intended for circumstances where there is more advanced warning AND where their long range capability is needed. However, you raise a good point about having one long gun available for each adult and I might rethink my barricade plan and add another gun to the mix. Perhaps a 5.56 for the better half would be a good idea.

  15. Matt Gonzalez Says:

    I took your proarms podcast on home defense shotguns to heart and got a 20 gauge 870 to supplement a 9mm handgun.

  16. Bruce Says:

    I like the K.I.S.S. method. [ keep it simple stupid ]

    Were both [ wife and I ] over 70 years old and both have carry permits here in Fl,
    We both like the Berssa Thunder plus model .380s and both feel comfortable with them and practice enough to be automatic in their use.
    As a long gun , I use what I started out with at 9 years old , a Winchester model 12 pump in the 12 gauge modified barrel.
    The wife is more comfortable with her 10/22 .
    Personally , I find the AR 15 and like rifles too costly to purchase and practice with .

  17. HM1(FMF) Michael Matson Says:

    My first choice would definitely be a handgun (9mm minimum) with a long gun as a secondary, depending on the situation. My personal preference would be an M4 AR15, as it is a better size for indoors. This choice is strictly based on my military experience, as room clearing with an M4 in CQB has become second nature after serving 13 years and 3 combat tours with the Marines as a Navy Corpsman. I feel a shotgun would be a better choice if there is a possibility of a less experienced person having to hold a position in a safe room, as accuracy is less of an issue.

  18. Joe Shaffer Says:

    I live in a house with my wife and three children. We have multiple handguns.Two shotguns and and two rifles. We primarily look at handguns being our “go to” self defense weapons at least until we can get to our less accessible shotguns. We really do not think of our rifles as a viable home defense weapon unless its an anarchy type of situation with mobs looting.
    7 handguns in 9mm to 45 acp
    12 ga & 410 shotguns
    1 AK & 1 AR

  19. Steve Long Says:

    A most definite both. A few years ago we experienced an attempted hot burglary at our home. The perp was detected by an alert dog and a teen daughter who happened to come downstairs for a bathroom trip at 3:00 am. The wife made sure all the kids were accounted for while I engaged the drunken idiot in a little conversation outside. All was reported secure so I merely suggested he leave, pronto. He had no idea I was armed until the last few seconds. There was no brandishing or direct threats to his person, but when I stepped out from the doorway with “Shot Breath Sally” beside me he got the point and split. During the following week the boys and I role played. One of us would start inside, beside a door or window. At the go we counted seconds to run to various other spots in the house. I timed fetching a longarm from the bedroom. I lost the race every time. I now carry concealed everywhere but the shower. It’s just become second nature, safe and comfortable and no real burden at all. Try that with a long gun. The defensive shotgun or rifle is still quite available if needed and the sidearm evens the odds on short notice.

  20. Dave--VA Says:

    As a former student of yours, I’m a firm believer in your practice of using a handgun when mobility is necessary & a long gun when in a barricade situation. It really makes sense to think of the long gun as artillery.

    My primary home defense firearm is a Glock M-27 with Trijicon night sights & Crimson Trace laser grips, which is also my primary concealed carry handgun. I wear this in a belt holster almost all of the time, even when at home, for compactness & rapid accessibility. That way, I do not have to put it on when I go out or take it off when I return home & it is immediately available to me no matter where I am in the event of a home invasion or an attack outdoors. When I’m in bed, it rests on a nightstand within easy reach in case of an emergency. I do have a number of other larger, more powerful, higher capacity, loaded handguns available to me if time permits me to access them & I would probably reach for a Glock M-20 10mm or a Glock M-21 45ACP if given the chance. I also subscribe to the idea of using the M-27 to fight my way to a more powerful weapon. For handgun ammunition, I prefer Cor-Bon, Speer Gold Dot, & Federal Hydra-shok hollowpoints.

    For a long gun my first choice is still a 12 gauge Benelli M1 Super 90 semi-auto shotgun. In my opinion, there is nothing commonly available to civilians that is more devastating for use against an unarmored assailant than a 12 gauge shotgun at close range, such as at room-length distances, whether you are using buckshot or slugs. Even bird shot can be effective at those distances. I prefer to use 00 buckshot or #1 buckshot for home defense, but I also have #4 buck & a variety of birdshot available to me. I live alone, so I don’t worry about over penetration as much as I would if I had other people living with me. I do have other tactical shotguns available to me, including pumps like the Remington 870 & the Mossberg 590, but I prefer the speed, the balance & the complete reliability of the Benelli to them all.

    I also have a Colt M4 carbine with an Aimpoint Micro sight at my disposal, which I never seriously considered for home defense until relatively recently. I do believe that its compactness, light weight, low recoil, rate of fire, & large magazine capacity make it a highly effective weapon for self-protection. In addition, .223/5.56mm ammo can be very effective against body armor & at longer distances, such as in rural areas, while (surprisingly) tests have shown it to be less of a threat to penetrate through walls than many handgun calibers. Now I am keeping it accessible to me as a self-defense/home protection option.

    The only reservation I have about using an AR for home defense is the stigma attached to it by the anti-gun media. Although it is becoming much more acceptable now as a “modern sporting rifle,” I do think that, if you live in a liberal part of the country, it could increase your likelihood of being indicted or convicted for what might otherwise be seen as a justifiable act of self-defense. I’m sure that with a good lawyer & an expert witness like Mas, it would be easy to defend your choice of weaponry to a jury, but it would be better to not have to do that.

    What are your current thoughts about that, Mas? I remember that several years ago you discussed the possibility that certain types of guns could prejudice a prosecutor or an uninformed jury against a defendant. Do you think that is still a potential problem? By way of comparison, shotguns have almost always, to my knowledge, been regarded as acceptable firearms for home protection (even Joe Biden recommends them) & they offer the advantage of being able to explain that you only shot the assailant once to stop his attack (it just happened to be with a piece of “artillery”).

  21. Matt in GA Says:

    My wife and I live in an apartment complex, where the possibility of shots passing through walls is a significant risk (as opposed to living in a single family dwelling).

    Primarily for that reason, our HD weapons are handguns (S&W M/P 9mm Compacts) and a 20 gauge semiauto (a Remington 1187 Sportsman’s Compact customized for HD). The 9mms are our daily carry pistols, always at hand, while the 20 gauge is the bedroom gun, right next to the old cellphone we leave plugged in as the emergency phone.

    Ammo for the pistols in the home is Glaser Safety Slugs (we carry 124gr Federal Hydrashoks outside the home, and swap mags when we get home). The 20 gauge is loaded with #3 buckshot (Remington Express 2 3/4″ loads). We patterned the shotgun at the range, using targets set up at the same distance as we measured to our front door from the bedroom. The loads we use performed extremely well, and the shotgun is kept ‘cruiser ready’ with the chamber empty and one round less than max in the magazine (6 in the mag). It has 4 more in a sidesaddle carrier, for a total of 10 rounds ready ammo.

    My wife and I are both very comfortable with the AR platform (we are Army veterans) but we feel that the shotgun is the better choice for our particular dwelling. Not only is there a higher risk of over penetration with the rifle, there is the negative reaction associated with them (thanks to the media) should our neighbors happen to see us carrying one in/out from a day at the range. There is also the matter of economics – even with the modifications we did to the shotgun, the total cost for the weapon and ammo was far lower than a typical semiauto rifle. We can afford to go to the range more often, and I can reload ‘range ammo’ cheaper for the 20 gauge, than we could if we were using 5.56/.223 rifles. Finally, with a minimum of effort, I can convert my HD shotgun back to a legal hunting weapon for deer/turkey/small game, which is darn handy here in Georgia.

    For the record, I am 5’10” and 225 pounds, my wife is 5’5″ and 110 pounds. While I have used a 12 gauge most of my life, the 20 gauge was a better choice for HD because it fit my wife comfortably. It is much easier for me to use the small/handy 20 gauge than it is for her to try and handle a big/heavy 12 gauge sized to me. The compact 1187 had the right LOP for her, and was controllable rapid fire, where the 12 gauge was not.

  22. Matt Says:

    I use a KelTec KSG for HD with a Streamlight TLR-1s and a Vortex SPARC red dot. I can use it one handed while keeping it shouldered to open doors etc. My phone can call with voice commands so I only need be able to hold it, not manipulate buttons.

  23. Bill R. Says:

    I follow the principle using of using a hand gun to get to the long rifle. So I keep a 9mm PX4 close by in the night stand with a Mossberg 500 safely stored in the same room. I use the 12 ga pump for two main reasons. First, it’s my main hunting gun so I am familiar with it since I use it on a regular basis. The second reason is ammo selection. There’s bird shot for close in where over penetration is a major concern, buck shot, and slugs. I think these options should cover almost any home defense scenario.

  24. George Schoelles Says:

    Sigs, Glocks and Snubby Smiths distributed tactically throughout the home due to ease of concealment and personal access, and probably would be considered primary choice because of this. However, there are a Mossberg 930 MPX and a Remington 870 Door Buster also tactically positioned, but not as available due to size.

    If the threat would allow, either shotgun would be my primary choice due to the ability to dispatch problems in a single shot vs the two or three that a pistol may require.

    A rifle of any calibre would be my last choice due to over penetration of structures and possibility of claiming innocents.

  25. T.K. Says:

    My wife will grab the kids and the Glock 17 (equipped with laser, light, and +30 round mag). I will grab the AR 15 pistol with laser and light.

  26. David Keough Says:

    Well let’s see, while contracting i’ve brought different types of firearms with me, at a time. Right now, I’ve got a G30, and recently purchased M-9 tucked away under my pillow.

    As for the different locations I’ve worked, I’ve brought with me an 870 shotgun, along with, perhaps a 1911, or a Browning Hi-Power in 9mm.

    I feel a shotgun, is legally less hassle. Along with either a G30 or a 1911 with low capacity magazines, to be a benefit. Some places may frown, on high capacity magazines.

    While at home, I’ll keep an 870 with a surefire light system. Along with a handgun.

  27. Murphy's Law Says:

    Sigh. I forgot the “why” behind my choices.

    The Glock 21: .45, 14rounds. Lot of stopping power and no external safeties to try to fiddle with when coming out of a deep sleep. The light is for positive target ID to make sure that I don’t shoot someone I’d rather not shoot, even though that chance is remote as I live alone.

    The .300 AAC AR: More firepower. Short so it’s something that I can maneuver through a house to an optimum safe area or advance with if circumstances require. Suppressor so I don’t go deaf and to kill the muzzle flash and preserve my night vision. Light on the gun for the same reason as above.

    Also in my gun safe, which stays locked while I’m gone and open while I’m home–a spare tactical vest with soft armor inserts and a flashlight in one pocket and a spare “911-only” cellphone in the other. Also spare mags for both of the above in the vest and a first aid kit.

  28. Davebsr Says:

    My carry gun is always either on me or in the quick-access nightstand safe.
    I am pretty new to gun ownership, so I don’t have a good long gun or a vest handy.
    My wife’s AR is handy though…iron sights…she loves it.
    I collect the kid, she stays safe.

  29. David343 Says:

    Ar15 Pistol, 7.5″ overall length is 24″. 30 plus rounds, rail for laser and light.
    (5.56×45 or .223) Hunting ammo for home defense FMJ for practice.

  30. Jeff Says:

    9mm pistol (me) and .38 Special revolver (her) in the nightstands are what we go for first. 9mm carbine and 12g a pump in the cabinet as backup. We now have my MiL living with use and neither she or my wife will shoot the 12, so I’ll likely replace it with a 20ga semi-auto in the next year.

  31. Jon Cromartie Says:

    I use a Glock 19 (my carry gun, but in the house I use an extended mag) with tritium sights and an attached light. If I do get chased back into the room of my place farthest from the door, I have an AR-15 with a few loaded mags sitting there for backup though. That works well for me.

  32. Chris Says:

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on “over penetration.” I’ve been reading more and more lately that it’s not quite as clear cut as one would think – specifically that pistol calibers and defensive shotgun loads have the potential to be far more devastating on the other side of walls than smaller caliber rifle rounds (.223/5.56 specifically).


  33. Joel Says:

    Great conversation! As Active Duty Military we are transferred every couple of years. We often times do not get a great choice in housing due to the station. Growing up in Alaska an AR or shotgun with slugs would always be available, due to the type of perp (bear or thug). Living in various cities with other people living extremely close (townhomes are often times the only choice in housing, especially when you are forced to live in GOVT quarters) I have to consider where all of my shots are going. I have to consider the family with kids living next door. I have chosen my carry weapon with hollow points as first priority to grab with a riot shotgun loaded with buck as secondary.

  34. Bob H. Says:

    Glock .40 and Remington 870 with 00 buck.

  35. Matt, another Says:

    I live in a small house, possible shooting angles are short, nothing inside exceeds 10 yards. I go with the handgun/shotgun approach. Shotgun at hand is remington 870 20ga youth model. Everyone in the house can handle the size and recoil. That is backed up with a Mossberg 500 in 12ga, my hunting gun with short barrel installed. Both guns are wildly reliable, comfortable and easy to use. Handguns are various, all adults have the one they prefer close to hand.

  36. Paul Schwa Says:

    Bedside ia a Colt Trooper loaded with Federal Hydra-Shok, extra speedloader with the same load, flashlight, and cell phone. Less than one step away is a Mossberg 500 loaded with 00 buck.
    Strategically located throughout the rest of the house are GP100, Hi-Power, Model 60 J-frame, 1911, and Ithaca Model 37 pump. No children live here, so strategic placement isn’t as problematic as it would be with kids around.
    I work from home, so whenever I’m not sleeping (or showering!) I’m carrying concealed. Since I live in Illinois, carrying outside the home is limited to a knive.
    Also have rifles available, but I don’t see them being used to defend my home outside of mob/riot type actions. While I suppose that that’s possible, it’s not too likely.
    If a rifle was needed, I would go to my Mini 14 even though I also own an AR.
    Sorry, AR fanboys, the Mini 14 is just plain more reliable. The closest rifle range available to me is over 60 miles away, so my rifles don’t get run very often. I don’t have the time or inclination to clean and lube the AR often enough to live up to the AR fanatic mantra: “ARs are reliable… IF you (fill in the blank). Even bone dry, my Mini 14 runs and runs and runs.

  37. Tom W. Says:

    Mossberg 500C 20ga 18″ with Remington #3 buck for the bedroom. GP100 3″ with Speer 125 gr .38+P for the wife. Glock 19 with Speer 124 gr +p for me.

  38. Mick Says:

    L-frame with +P .38’s and a 12 ga. Mossberg M500 on my side, K-frame with same ammo and a 20 ga. Youth Model M500 on my better half’s side. J-frame in the pocket most of the time, same ammo. All ammo gets burned up on Dec. 31 and July 4. Long guns are loaded with #4 Buckshot.

  39. JackB Says:

    For I chose my old Ithaca Model 37 Deer Slayer 12 Gauge. 20 Inch Barrel Factory Iron Sights, Cylinder Bore Barrel. Handles very well- I shoot it well, Accurate with Slugs, very good with Buckshot and it fits all 3 adult males in the House, plus it fits my Fiancee. Holds 5 rounds total.

  40. Phil Wong Says:

    I choose all of the above. 😉

    One of my Glocks will ride on my side during waking hours, and the G19 with a Crimson Trace LightGuard gets tapped for nightstand duty at bedtime.

    Given my druthers, I’ll keep my Marlin 1894CS in .357 Magnum handy as home defense artillery – while 9+1 rounds of .357 may not quite stack up against 5+ rounds of 12 ga. or 20 ga., or 30 rounds of .223 or 7.62, a .357 rifle is NOT INEFFECTIVE against human attackers within the boundaries of my home and the lines-of-sight that I have there. Ballistic performance is somewhere between .30 Carbine and .30-30 WCF, I don’t need to worry about separate magazines, the rifle runs ambidexterously, and it has the innocuous “cowboy gun” appearance that is somewhat less intimidating to juries.

    Having said that, I could obviously use some more training time on Denny’s Remington 870…

  41. SeanC Says:

    I have a Glock 19 with night sights, white light/laser in a Gunvault and an AK74 with night sights, red dot and white light in a quick access rifle safe backed up with a cell phone for calling the police. I have an alarm system and good dog as my 1st alerts and motion activated, battery powered lights in key areas. We’ve practiced the “fetch kids and retreat to safe room” procedure.

    The firearm choice reasoning: 1st grab/go gun is 9mm for ease of shooting, capacity and comparative lethality (gunshot wound comparisons: The AK74 for the ‘retreated into safe room’ artillery is loaded with 15 rounds Hornady V-Max followed by 15 rounds millsurp 5.45×39. I also have ear protection in the safe room for the family.

  42. Charles Cook Says:

    Hand Gun. I have the long guns locked in the safe along with my other firearms and keep my carry gun with me at all times. The grand kids are just to little to have a gun of any sort hidden away, and I have complete control over my carry gun.

  43. Jaji Says:

    1st option is handgun; Ruger SP101 or NEF .22. Both are accessible and usable by my wife; .410 is in reach for her just in case. Mossberg 12ga with sling plus fore & aft pistol grips if things escalate; wife is also capable of using this. AR is locked but also accessible, but that is a complete SHTF option, and I really don’t like the thought of using iron radiators under windows as shields!
    As far as other long guns, my Marlin .22 (Model 25 bolt action; a classic!) is my wife’s favorite so if she’s got my back with that I’m happy.

    Only one person thus far mentioned over-penetration; this is a serious concern in our apartment building, though being on a corner less so. Still, it’s a concern if a hallway confrontation should occur.

    Slight tangent…one of my bros used to be sent to places where he wasn’t (if you get me) and he instilled in me some good knife training and the need for having a blade in every room. I agree that not having to get that close is best, but sometimes there’s no choice. When it comes to defending your home and family, all bets are off.

  44. aczarnowski Says:


    My carry pistol (and a light) is by the bedside when it’s time to get some sleep. It’s the offensive choice because, as mentioned by others, a long gun can be a social and functional liability when moving around the house and checking doors.

    An AR is under the bed for defensive use. While I have a lot of time on an 870 my wife hasn’t run one enough to be confident with it. The AR is easier to run in confined spaces like our bedroom layout, holds more, does better against body armor, and has lower recoil. I’m not concerned about over penetration because of our house construction. I am concerned about center fire noise, but not enough more over a scatter gun. (My state doesn’t allow suppressors, not to mention dealing with NFA hassles.)

  45. Dennis Says:

    Handgun;– smith j frame; I have several other choices available, but this is the weapon I carry all the time since retirement. I carry it daily and practice a minimum of twice a week with it ( have my own range ). Familiarity and practice brings with it speed and accuracy, you have to no more think about what to do with this weapon than you would have to think before you use a fork to eat. I am proficient with most weapons but don’t practice as often with them and wouldn’t stake my or my family’s lives on a weapon that is bigger, badder, carries more ammo, etc., but less comfortable with. Multiple big holes in walls don’t stop a threat.
    Semi long-gun:– due to a shoulder injury that refuses to heal properly, I settled on a Rem. 870 12ga. in a cruiser configuration w+2 mag extender, combat light and #4 buck. Very manageable in confined spaces. Again practice, practice, and more practice. Center-mass hits have become second nature on my steel IDPA targets at 10 yards ( close to max range inside my home ) while moving and making use of cover. Good choice for everyone? No, but fits my needs considering my physical limitations.
    bottom line;– In my humble opinion, caliber and capacity are mute points w/o proficiency and accuracy, neither are obtained by reading the latest gun publication, but with many hours and bullets sent down range. Physical limitations must be not only considered, but tested in real world scenarios. Early in my career, a young officer who worked my sector was shot and killed at point blank range with a .22 rifle while the suspect stood over him. The officer was trying to clear a stove-pipe jam on the brand new Colt 1911 .45 acp he had bought the day before to replace the .38 Smith the department furnished him. Bad choice of weapon? No, a bad day to learn how to use it.

  46. John Block Says:

    As I’ve gotten older,(60) I find myself turning back to wheel guns. Normally have either an S&W 1917 or a Taurus 4″ .357 within reach, or the wife’s m-49 in a pocket around the yard. A M-1927 Argentine 1911 or a 1st gen Glock 17 are available, backed by my son’s AK-47 and my 18 1/2″ Mossberg 500 w/lite & butt-cuff, cruiser ready. If I have time and need the reach, a K-98k Israeli .308 and strippers are in the gun cabinet. Living in the People’s Dem. Rep. of Md, CCW is not an option…..legally. No money to upgrade, but I think we’ve covered the bases fairly well.

  47. JC Says:

    As retired Army I struggled with this question for a long time but after significant consideration I settled on: Semi auto handgun in a proper caliber with XS sights for immediate access with proper light and cell phone (less than 5 sec). Next closest weapon – 15 seconds away – pump 12 GA, extended mag. Next weapon (30 seconds away), AK 47. Why not AR? Couldn’t afford it at the time and prefer 7.62×39. Very rare that I am not arms-reach from a handgun or shotgun.

  48. Nick Says:

    870 12 Ga with slugs. Most “home invasions” in my area are by hungry black bears!

  49. Eddie Says:

    I like to have options, my carry guns would be my G17 loaded with Hornady’s Critical Defense load and a Smith & Wesson .38spl Bodyguard w/laser sight. I also have a stock Ruger 1911 full size .45ACP in the nightstand. My Mossberg 500 I keep with the 18″ barrel and pistol grip configuration loaded with 00. That one stays up in the closet. My son is thirteen and has a .410 and a .30-.30 he keeps in his room that could possibly be used for defese but I hope it would never come to that!

  50. Randy Offutt Says:

    We’ve been on the receiving end of a death threat from a felon. Now have a 12 ga pump with light and slug/OO alternating leaning against the wall by the headboard. A G38 with light ON the night stand. Carry a Colt 1911. Four other loaded handguns in the house–no kids around. Two “vicious” Golden Retreivers in the bedroom.

  51. Eddie Says:

    I suppose the reason why I choose a shotgun over an M4 is probably economics…I can buy shells cheaper then 5.56. as for my chosen sideams, the guns I use for everyday carry are the ones I’d rely on for home defense. Simplicity. There is one more pistol I’d like to own for carry/home defense: the Five-seveN. Super light weight and a 20 round stock mag? whats not to love? Have you shot this pistol yet Massad? Whats your opinion on it?

  52. Chris - VA Says:

    12 gauge. Need to stop an intruder fast.

  53. Brad Says:

    My initial go-to weapon(s) are an XD-45 with TRL-1 by the bed; M&P 45 with TRL-1 in the TV room; Ruger GP100 near the front door (greeting assistant if needed); Mossberg 930 with Streamlight in main bathroom. The 930 is for the wife to bunker in the bedroom, not clearing the house. I also have active hearing that helps immensely because it allows me to hear sounds I can’t normally hear and will protect if there is a need to use the techniques I learned in my MAG-40 class. I have a 16″ AR with Streamlight and double mag coupler that I will use if I need to go outside for any reason. I have been trained and have practiced clearing the house with the AR. I was taught clearing by a USMC MOUT instructor who stressed keeping the AR tucked in tight so wherever the head moves to look, the AR is one with me and it will point there. I truly feel better with the AR with sling now and would probably grab it if the time comes.

  54. Jacob Morgan Says:

    If one is using a carbine inside a house, would it not cause permanent hearing damage to everyone in the room? A shotgun might be better in that regard.

  55. Dennis Says:

    – Jacob Morgan; Any firearm discharged in a confined space can and will cause hearing damage. Having said that, for some reason, whether it is adrenaline or some other bodily reaction, in an extreme stress situation you will barely be aware of the muzzle blast. The muzzle flash is another thing. Muzzle flash is not only a surprise but disconcerting every time. Practice low or no light live fire to help alleviate the effects.

  56. Charley Says:

    I have a Glock 21 with a light attached as my primary HD firearm. Backup would be a 16″ collapsible stocked AR15, also with a light attached. Years ago, I abandoned the 12 ga. pump shotgun for home defense. The AR15 offers precision shooting for targets near and far, plus 30 rnds. of ammunition before a reload is needed.

  57. drgun Says:

    Handgun for the reasons you stated, but there was a reason sawed-off shotguns were popular. Can’t go wrong with 00 buck.

  58. Max Says:

    Bedside is a 1911 cocked/locked with 2 extra mags, next step is a 870 20gauge with 00 buck. Living in a poorly built condo means I have to worry about overpenetration….but being aware of my “shooting lanes” cuts down on the worry. If things get really hairy, I can pull out the AR.

    I also have my mom setup similarily, except with a J-frame with +p’s instead of the 1911. She also has 180lbs of dogs as early warning… Don’t mess with mamma!

  59. Lew Says:

    I’m with Ron Liebman, my 1911A1 & .30 M1 Carbine.

    1911 .45 because I’ve owned and shot them since I was a young teen. It’s what I’m most comfortable with and can keep an acceptable group @ 50yds.

    My M1 .30 Carbine which I have stocked up on M2 magazines for because it hits hard enough to drop a White Tail or a yegg.
    Carbine is usable by a person after losing use of an arm.

    Way back when the 1911 & Carbine were very inexpensive. The two of them combined cost less than half of what a cheap AR costs, waaay back when.
    If I need to haul out the Carbine then something very bad happened.

  60. Tony Says:

    Handgun and shotgun. Plenty of ammo for both. AR in the safe with easy access.

  61. M.T. Says:

    Weapons for home defense:

    Nightstand gun is my H&K USP .45 with a Streamlight tactical light – alternative is my Browning BDM 9mm

    Shotgun: CZ 712 12-gauge

    Carbine: Ruger Mini-30 7.62×39

  62. Thurston Howell III Says:

    Excellent blog with excellent posts! Isn’t it great to live in a country where we have so many firearm and ammo choices?

    My choices for defense against unarmored targets would be buckshot, .357 Magnum and .45 Automatic Colt Pistol. For defense against armored targets I would choose slugs, 7.62 NATO Full Metal Jacket and .30-’06 Springfield. Jeff Cooper wrote that if you have to confront an armored target without armor-piercing ammo, then aim for the head of the goblin.

    Although I place guns on the nightstand, I have tried wearing a belly band with a pistol in it to bed, and I have found it to be comfortable. I also once lashed a holster to my bedpost and practiced drawing from it simply by reaching back with only my arm in motion. I could then shoot the bad guy without even getting out of bed. Hey, maybe he surprised me and I didn’t have time to get up, he simply appeared at the foot of my bed.

    I wouldn’t use slugs or rifle rounds because of over-penetration. But I would use them against body armor or in a counter-sniper mode. It would be odd to be attacked in one’s home by a sniper, but odder things have happened. If I remember correctly, the Padukah, Kentucky school shooting was sniping outdoors at children on the playground. Who knows what the future holds? Be prepared.

  63. kevin Says:

    I believe it was Jeff Cooper that said something like, “a handgun should be used for fighting your way back to your long gun…”

    Therefore for me its a G19 as my primary if i will need a freehand, and an 870 available if the situation has us barricaded in the saferoom. A snubbie for the wife, though she can operate the glock also, the snubbie is her preferance. She shot the 870 once…..once. We will have to work more on that one! Ha!

  64. gym Says:

    I have 2 guns out at night, one on the nightstand, the second in the drawer. My closet has a 12 gauge and an AR in it, both are loaded.

  65. Robert Cooper Says:

    My old faithful S & W 6906.. 9mm has been by my side for years… 12+1 so it has plenty of capacity. My second go to is a Remington 870… 20 ga. W/00 buck…. the reason for a 20 over a 12 is so my wife (she doesn’t like 12ga) is capable of defending herself should anything happen to me.

  66. basicblur Says:

    My bed gun is a SIG SP2022 9mm with 15 rounds of Federal 124 gr. HST. It has a Streamlight light / laser combo mounted, and I also keep a Streamlight Nightfigher flashlight with it.
    Next to the bed is a Rock River Entry Tactical AR-15 with an EOTech XPS2, SIG StopLite, and two 30-rd Magpuls clamped together loaded with Hornady TAP rounds.

    In the process of getting an AAC M4-2000 suppressor for the AR – I’d really hate to have to light that thing off in the house!

  67. azlandman Says:

    1911 on the night stand with taclite. Shorty Mossberg 500 with 7 rds next to the bed. MSAR STG556 in the closet if it gets ugly. At work (gunshop): 1911 on the hip, Taurus judge under the cash drawer, other unmentionables stashed around the workplace.

  68. John Jones Says:

    Like I told my buddy. If someone is kicking in my door, I’m shooting my way to a long gun.

    It’s easy here since it’s only the two of us with no kids to worry about. STI 1911 .45 on the nightstand, Rem. 11-87 Police in the corner on the other side of the nightstand. Eight Federal LE buckshot loaded and a side saddle with six Federal LE slugs for backup. There may or may not be others stashed around the house such as a 10.5″ barrel AR pistol or an M4. 😉 A cranky old pit bull for first alert. Out here in the country it’s fend for yourself. Our county is larger than Rhode Island and only 2-3 deputies on duty at night. It could take them an hour to respond.

  69. Wes Thayer Says:

    Gee Mas I’m surprised that you would ask these questions. I am reluctant to give any information. I have read all 55 responses and I know what each has in the way of weapons. And when the UN comes to confiscate all our weapons they will have a list. My name won’t be on it.
    I may sound paranoid and maybe I am, but I lived 8 decades and thru several wars; oops pardon me, police actions, and I have seen many attempts by the gun grabbers to try and force confiscation. I don’t want to know what you have in your gun safe and I won’t tell what I have in mine in fact I don’t even have a gun safe. So obimbo and his troops will walk right by my house, I hope.
    Enjoy your blogs, but don’t ask personal questions; it ain’t none of your business.

  70. Bruce A Says:

    Glock 35 (.40 cal long slide ) with Streamlight TLR-3 white light, Crimson Trace. Shoulder holster with spare mag and 120 lumen compact light.

    A 16 inch light wt bbl Rock River AR 15 with 120 lumen light and CRM 1×4 scope with green reticle set on one power.

    This week the RR became the backup as it was replaced by a simularly equipped Styer AUG A3.

    Should time allow there is a tactical chest rig with 3 mags and 120 lumen compact light.

    My daughter recently married. She has a 9mm glock with Crimson Trace and 20 ga 18 inch bbl Mossberg with stock cut to properly fit her.

    I am a NRA instructor and I rely heavily on your books and articles for my teaching materials.

  71. Greg Tag Says:

    Mas and friends:

    Re: hearing damage from “gunfire in the house”.

    In an article from the June 2002 edition of ” Tinnitus Today”, published by the American Tinnitus Assn, retired audiology professor W.Kramer, PhD, reports on sophisticated noise level measurements he made of common gunfire noise. A 12g 18″ barrel produced 161.5 dB, a 5″ .45 ACP produced 158 dB, a 4″ 9mm produced 163 dB. A .223 in 18.5 ” barrel was measured at 165 dB; all measurements taken at the firers ear.

    If you fire one round, regardless of caliber, it will be unpleasant. Fire 6 or 8 rounds, unprotected, in an enclosed environment such as a bedroom, and expect to be temporarily deafened as well as suffering significant permanent hearing damage – a lot depends on number of shots fired, how your head is turned when the shooting occurs, etc.

    A suppressor on your house gun will save hearing damage. If that’s too far a stretch, you might consider keeping a pair of electronic noise cancelling earmuffs next to the nightstand gun. They can be had for less than 50 dollars at Academy. Slap them on your head and turn the switch to “on”, and you have not only protected your hearing , but the amplification will help you locate and hear what the intruder is doing- info that might turn out to be a life saver.

    As for me – as I type this I’m wearing a Colt Officers ACP .45, with a spare magazine. I just carry everywhere, all the time, so I dont have to do the Chinese fire drill when getting ready to retire for the night. At bedtime, the Officer’s goes on the dresser when I go to sleep, and under the mattress, readily accessable is a Surefire light and a Colt Gold Cup with Wilson magazine loaded with 230 grain Hydra-Shok’s, and two spares.

    My wife has a Colt Detective Special AND a Smith 442 on her side of the bed.
    If there is a problem, she collects the teenage daughters and moves them to our room; we have 2 additional Smith Model 10’s, she can arm each of the girls as well if the situation requires.

    I get to be door guard and point man or whatever the tactical situation requires.

    Long arms are readily available, but I expect will not be deployed in the brief seconds of an attempted door kick robbery or a discovered aggravated burglary in progress.

    Long guns for HD – Its a tossup. I know the black rifle since Ft Benning days, and an Ithaca Model 37 Deerslayer M & P ( like on Adam-12) makes me feel warm and fuzzy. In town, probably the shotgun gets my nod, with No 3 buck and slugs. Out on the family ranch, the 7.62 NATO AR hands down.

    Protect your hearing, or you will suffer. Remember – “deaf is permanent”



  72. Lew Says:

    Wes Thayer has a valid point saying, ” And when the UN comes to confiscate all our weapons they will have a list. ”
    If the gun confiscators ever do come ’round I will gladly and cheerfully let them take my guns…all of them, that they can find. Are all of your arms on your property? All your eggs in one basket? I keep extra cash and spare check books off property for several reasons also.
    Does that sound okay Wes? :<)

  73. Tommy Sewall Says:

    We keep a .40 cal CZ85 and flashlight, .38 model 10 and a 12 gauge 870 with buckshot, slugs and birdshot within reach (buckshot preferred). Other rooms, other guns. I like the 1894 with 30-30 for a rifle but I have to be different.

  74. Joe in SC.. Says:

    As for me and the wife.. we carry daily. But at nite my normal carry pistols go in nite stand. Springfield XD 9mm duty .. plus my kel-tec p3at. ….. when im away at nite the wife allways has S&W 38 by bed. Plus i keep a 20guage Partner pump loaded and ready in sneaky wall panel for my son of 15YRS.. along with shotgun is fenix flashligh and S&W model 37 for him or the wife plus a spare box of ammo! I hope we never have to use, but we ready! Plus alot more in safe.. but those are our go to guns! As for rifle.. well we live in country but i feel shotgun is of better use in a close incounter! Just my opinion..

  75. Joe in SC.. Says:

    Almost forgot.. why i keep them is.. mine is daily carry im use to them the most.. and wife shoots revolvers better than me.. ha ha! Kid well thats his hunting gun and he is very useto it as well. Loading/handle’ing is important..

  76. Dean Says:

    Springfield XD9 with light on the nightstand and a double barreled 12 gauge behind the bedroom door. It will soon be upgraded to a Mossberg 590 for greater ammo capacity.

  77. gary Says:

    glock 20, 10mm auto. ar-10, 308. remington 1100, 12 gauge.

  78. Paolo Rossi Says:

    A S&W M&P 45 with a laser sight and a surefire are immediately available in my nightstand in case of the need of an intervention anywhere in the house at night. My concealed carry gun (a Kel-Tec P11) lives in a quick release safe in my home office on the first floor (the closest room to the main entrance) in case problems happen during the day. If things get really ugly, in a secret compartment in the safe room, there is an AR 15 with one full mag and three full spares, all loaded with two tracers and 28 military surplus 5.56, and all the walls and the door are reinforced with a 3/4″ steel plate up to 2′ high to provide cover.

  79. Matt in GA Says:

    @Wes – your response made me laugh out loud. If you believe that the folks in this blog listed every gun they own (or wished they did) then you missed the original question entirely. Mas asked ‘what do you prefer for home defense’, not ‘please list every firearm you own’.

    IF the gun grabbers were actually going to use this blog as a reference for folks hiding/owning guns…well your post saying ‘you aren’t saying’ provided them with as much info as they have on the rest of us (via ISP, etc)…and a motivation to come see what you’re hiding, to boot.

    If it ever came down to an actual door to door search to confiscate firearms, the info from this blog is the least of your worries, I assure you.

  80. peter valentine Says:

    I agree with Mass on the virtues of 20g over 12g and semi auto shotguns over pump. I have Rem 1100 with 2&3/4″ chambers. (No need for 3”) My family will fair much better with 20g than the much larger 12g versions. On Mass’s recommendation I have 20 pellets of 3 Buck.
    I recommend the book on the AK 47 by Chivers for enlightenment regarding 5.56mm and the AR platform. There is no way of getting around the fact that the number of rounds that can be loaded on a shipping container and may be cheap for the taxpayer or the Quartermaster is not much of a way to decide what caliber to get your HD firearm in.
    There are many advantages with the 7.62 x 39mm for HD. Especially now that ammo such as Winchester PDX is available.
    The Ruger Mini Thirty in sporting configuration has many advantages over the military look. The Garand action has a great deal going for it. Stainless steel has many advantages, not least, easier and quicker to clean after training session. The Burris Fastfire 3 red dot fits directly onto the Rugers scope grooves with their Ruger Mount. I use the Ruger & Fastfire for my own training and shoot a lot of pests with it. My boys handle the Mini 30 just fine. They are suppressed.
    I am issued a Bushmaster M4 in 5.56mm for Police work. I find 30 Cal more reassuring than a 223.
    If the military look is no concern the latest Beretta 160 in 7.62 x 39mm would be worth a look. It can run without oil and can be converted from right to left ejection at the push of a button.
    All my HD guns have lights. Its worth investing in First Aid training for the family and having the best gear at hand, its cheap compared to most gun gear.

  81. Bill Nance Says:

    I’m with you on the pistol/AR combination entirely. You virtually quoted me on why having both is a good reason and where you want them.

    Handgun-Take your pick. That’s another conversation.

    Long gun -I favor the AR for it’s capacity, reliability, stopping power and relatively low over-penetration characteristics. But if someone is more comfortable with a shotgun, that’s fine with me too.

    What I don’t recommend are the larger calibers, particularly the 7.62×39, or NATO FMJ 7.62×51 or 5.56 MM because they are more likely to have over-penetration that the .223.

  82. Bob Hudson Says:

    Retired Navy CDR, both boys are/were serving as Capts in USAF/USMC two daughters in college, so only wife and dogs at home generally, wife and daughters have even through B/I handgun with John Farnam, (wish Vicki had come too, she is a wonderful lady and instructor) and I am DTI instructor cert. (waiting for your next trip to Minnesota as well). Nightstand is generally a 1911, occasionally a Glock, sig or revolver. Pistol is immaterial as it is for first response and is reliable. Next to it is a tac flash and phones, cell and landline. Long arms in corner for immediate response are usually Kel-Tec RFB or PTR Ind PDW with Blue Force slings and AImpoint PRO on LaRue mounts. Powerful, compact and reliable and sighted for 75 yards with the PRO. Both in 7.62 NATO with earplugs and a practical wakizashi for possible situations when quiet or overpenetration might be issues. Stowed discretely in a bag designed for skateboards. Home is concrete/brick and thick walled. PDW is an advantage as it is legally a pistol and falls under CCW and not DNR rules when traveling. Safe in mBR has quick electronic lock for ready storage, long guns, handguns and spare mags and 00, main safe has combo, slow to operate, more secure but holds many loaded long gun mags. Considered the level II or IIIA apron you reviewed a decade or so earlier but still sitting on fence. Rural area eight miles from town. Like ARs a lot but most interior walls are 10-12″ of concrete with wood, exterior walls are much thicker, floors and ceilings are spancrete. Original builder was… Interesting. Glass in front and sides are limited, glass in back more vulnerable. Lighter construction and closer neighbors would likely result in ARs due to reduced penetration of 5.56 vs 9mm. Hope Bob and Jon arrange for you to return to Minnesota soon. Last time I was having a hip replacement. Power lifting was great for years but it catches up in your 50s. Keeping preaching brother!

  83. RichNH Says:

    I have a Sig 226 on the nightstand when I’m in bed. Mossberg 500 & Remington 870 in the bedroom with OO buck readily available (5 rounds on a stock sleeve on the Mossberg, the rest in boxes) and 2 .38 Special revolvers downstairs in hidden yet accessible positions.

    The biggest factor in choosing these is availability. It’s what I have. I don’t use rifles because of over penetration concerns although rifles are available in the house and can actually be employed w/o too much warning. The shotguns are purely for last ditch room defense. The Sig is my wandering option and I do have an extended mag available too. The .38’s are for the surprise when we are up and about although if something is happening that raises my threat level I always strap on the Sig.

  84. Jess Jessup Says:

    Mas, you’ve pretty much hit all the reasons. Full size Glock, is great and an AR is hard to beat. I’d add an M1 Carbine to the list, right there with the AR for in the house.

  85. Kevin Says:

    AR, light, no jams in over 4000 rounds, 30 round capacity, red dot, easy to use, wife is as good with it as I am, she loves to shoot it and is very confident with it, I feel better when I am away from the house knowing that I leave the best defense weapon possible with her to keep her safe. what more can I say

  86. Randy Says:

    I have an xdm .45acp with light and laser, kind of heavy to carry around the house. For that I have a M&P compact 9. Behind the bedroom door I have a 12 ga.double coach gun. It has an elastic cuff with extra rounds. Currently loaded with 00. I like the coach gun concept because it is very short for manuverability and the springs are always at rest.

  87. Mas Says:

    Great discussion, folks, keep the comments coming!

    Responding to specific questions: Eddie, I think the jury is still out on the 5.7 mm’s effectiveness. Dave-VA, while the AR15 has been demonized to the general public/jury pool now more than ever, I think a competent defense team should be able to show a jury why they’re so popular and appropriate for home defense. With modern .223 ammo, such as Hornady TAP or generic 55-grain hollow point, risk of over-penetration is no greater than with police service pistol ammo.

  88. Randy Says:

    PS– I have an ar-15 in the safe in case a horde of Mongols come over the hill. It is fitted with a muzzle brake and the noise off it will stun them even if it is a miss!

  89. Illinois Bob Says:

    I’m old fashioned. I have a 1911 .45ACP by the bed with a 870 12 gauge for back-up. If I can’t get the job done with those I am in serious trouble.

    I prefer the .45 because it is compact, easy to handle in close quarters, more readily available and faster to load. It leaves a hand free to operate a light at night, which is stored right next to the firearm, and for all of the other reasons Mas gave for needing a free hand.

    This is a tried and true combination – battle tested.

  90. Josh from Oklahoma Says:

    I keep one gun out of the safe. A 12 gauge mossberg 500 with pistol grip . I complete 2/3 of the combination on my guns afe. I only have to hit the last two numbers on the dial and my mini-14 is fully loaded with 30 hollow points. The SR 40 is also ready, but after starting with 8 shots in my 12 gauge, if I need to get in my safe, there is no doubt that I’ll need my high capacity weapon.

  91. ScottP Says:

    Not a big believer in publishing my inventory online so I’ll just say I took LFI I, II and III and followed all your suggestions 🙂

  92. Big D Says:

    #1 is a Moss 500 with a collapsible stock fully in and about 30″ long – flashlight on barrel with thumb activated switch on forearm. Reason: one 12ga 00 buck round has high level of stopping power.
    #2 Glock 21 with Streamlight 2 (laser and light) – again reasonable one shot stopping power and quickly accessible.
    (for me, 45 recoil and follow up shot is a non-issue – if it is for others, I recommend going to a 40 S&W but no less – Yeah, I know, a 22 will kill ya, but consider this: “shot placement makes the difference, caliber makes the decision”) :>)

  93. Steven S. Says:

    As I live in MA, all firearms are required to be locked up in a safe. I also have 2 young kids (so locking them up is a no brainer).

    For that reason, while I would like to use a 12-gauge for home defense, I just have handguns in a small safe in my closet. I searched for a long time for a small shotgun-sized safe that would fit in my closet, but couldn’t find any acceptable ones.

    So my HD gun is a S&W M&P9 with a flashlight attached, with 2 MA-compliant (grrr…) 10-round mags loaded and ready.

    I wonder, do people usually keep their HD gun loaded? I feel inserting the mag and racking the slide would not be too much of a time waster, but it does concern me that I would likely give away any surprise if I racked the slide loud enough. Plus, the additional requirement to rack the heavy-springed slide is an additional safety against my 5yo son from accidentally shooting himself if the safe were ever left open.

    When I carry, it’s loaded and ready, but I figure for home defense, you probably have more time. It is nice to live in a location with low crime, not too worried about it.

    Greg Tag, earlier this year, I read a great NRA article on exactly what you discussed:

    One other benefit of noise-enhanced hearing (as identified in the article) – if you have 2 pair, then you can communicate with your partner with whispers, avoiding detection even further.

  94. Craig Says:

    Short barreled auto shotgun with light and birdshot ammo. Scatters, very poweful and shouldn’t penetrate through walls as bad as pistol or rifle cartridges will. Ideal home defense weapon. IMO.

  95. Don p Says:

    1911 45 auto always within the reach of the hand and a 12 gauge shotgun. I already own the handguns and shotguns so its a no brainer since I don’t own a AR platform rifle.

  96. Crawler Says:

    For me it’s an easily accessible 11-round HK45 w/ a Streamlight light/laser combo mounted on its Picatinny rail for my primary home defense sidearm.

    And if I think more firepower is warranted, just a few steps away is my primary long arm home defense gun: an old school 8-round Winchester Defender 12-gauge shotgun equipped with a magazine tube mounted Streamlight and a receiver-mounted shell saddle if 8-rounds aren’t enough (!).

    Oh, I almost forgot. I also have an alarm system that can’t be “jumper wired” or “looped”: (2) German Shepherds that can sync a loud “wake up” call when needed.

  97. Phil R Says:

    I have a .45 on the night stand and a Remington 870 w/18″ barrel close at hand. I have had to answer the front door, late at night, twice when it was the police checking on a 911 hang up (that’s another whole story). I left the bedroom with the .45 and a tactical flashlight and as soon as I could see the flashing emergency lights through the front windows and knew it was sheriff officers I stowed the pistol on the kitchen counter under a newspaper and answered the door. The shotgun would have been harder to conceal. On two other occasions when the dogs alerted but I couldn’t see any thing I slipped out the backdoor with the shotgun which has a mounted, manually operated, high intensity, green LED, Flashlight. I’m a pretty good pistol shot but in the rural darkness I figured No.1 Buck would be a better choice. I have a mini 14 but it is in the safe and would only be used for long range daylight stuff.

  98. Matthew McL Says:

    I prefer long guns to pistols because I find it harder to miss with a rifle than with a pistol. I have pistols for home defense but I count them as tools to get me to a “rifle.” I put “rifle” in quotes because one of the guns close at hand is a folding Kel-Tec in .40 S&W. It is small enough to be used in one hand when needed, but it still allows the gun to be supported against my shoulder.

  99. 45StayAlive Says:

    We have a combination of handguns, a 12-Gauge Pump (Winchester Defender with a Knoxx Stock and Surefire Forearm) and a Bushmaster M4-A3 (14.5″ Barrel with permanently attached flash suppressor). The Bushmaster is within reach of where I sleep and the Shotgun is within reach of my wife (she’s a pretty tough cookie). Our nightstands have concealed top drawers. In my wife’s is a Glock 21SF. In mine is a Kimber TLE/RL II .45 with a Surefire X-300 and Crimson Trace LaserGrips (the ultimate nighttime home defense pistol IMHO). There are various other Glocks and 1911s and even a little Kahr PM9 in various fast but secure locations throughout our house. Our burglar alert and consumption system consists of a 140lb. Alaskan Malamute and a Staffordshire Terrier (Pitt Bull). I guess we can be considered to be a fairly hard target. 🙂

    Here’s a funny fact: I find myself carrying my favorite 1911 (a Kimber Pro Carry II with Novak Sights and CT LaserGrips) not just when out and about, but lately also when in the house in my Comp-Tac Two O’Clock Abdominal holster – why? Partially for self defense but also because I have found that particular holster places the pistol in the perfect position to provide much needed compression relief on the Inguinal Hernia I have! When wearing the pistol in that holster, it’s like the hernia doesn’t exist! When you get the chance, kindly inform Clint Smith that a handgun CAN be BOTH comforting AND comfortable!!!

    Seriously Mas, you might consider publishing my use of an abdominal holster and how it really helps my hernia – I think others out there could benefit from this information. If you do, kindly drop me an e-mail so I’ll know where to look for it.

    All the best,


  100. ExTexLawMan Says:

    Locaion: Rural farm between two metro areas 300 miles apart.
    Primary: Colt 1911 .45 for me. Colt Detective Spl. .38 for her. Because I carried a 1911 for most of my 36+ years of LE experience and it works. Dick Special because, while she’s a good shot, she doesn’t shoot as much anymore and I want something simple. DS carries 158 gr. Nyclad LSWCHPs.
    With each piece is spare mags and HKS speedloaders.
    Nearby are a Remington 870, OO buckshot x 3, the 2 3/4 slugs. (spare of both on stock) This is in case I have to engage mustiple goblins outside the home, or we have to hunker down inside (safe room) and she has has more firepower at hand than DS.
    Also nearby, Colt AR15 SP-1 (M4 mods.) with red dot sight and spare mags. Why? There are meth labs everywhere and I sent some of those guys buddies to the joint.
    If she and I have to fight our way out, the AR provides mucho covering fire.
    My bonafides: 36+ years LEO near Houston, 11 years rangemaster.
    (BTW…earlier post got cut off…sorry about that Mas.)

  101. Fred Says:

    I keep my G19 in the nightstand. It’s the weapon I carry everyday and I am most familiar with it. 2 extra 17 rd mags and 1, 33rd mag in the drawer along with it. Wife has a Model 60 with .38 spl loads. Same reason it’s the one she is most comfortable with. We also keep a Mossberg 500 in the closet with light mounted, cruiser ready and a side saddle on it. That’s the heavy artillery. We live in a semi rural suburban area. I think it’s important to train with the weapon you plan on using and my G19 is my everyday gun.

    If I wanted to use a rifle it would likely be an AR15 with a suppressor or an AK in 5.45 with a suppressor. If I need my rifle I’ll probably be shooting a lot and I’d like to retain my hearing. Either rifle would likely be the SBR versions I have.

  102. Dennis Says:

    Re; stated concerns of government finding out who owns the guns——-
    Yes, the NRA has fought valiantly to keep gun ownership lists from legally existing, but don’t think for a minute that a quick NSA data check won’t reveal every round of ammo, reloading component, weapon purchase, etc. you have made in the last 10 years using a credit or debit card over the internet or even at your local Wal-Mart. The government knows who has the guns, maybe not the make and model, but the who and where. This, like most of our freedoms has been has forfeited in the name of national security. If it ever came to a national gun confiscation your house will be searched no matter if you sold every gun you ever owned. Sad but true. This is not to mention state records of hunting license purchases.

  103. Ken Says:

    The wife and I both have .45’s in bedside table lockboxes. We also have a Mossberg 12 ga locked to the wall behind the bedroom door using a “Shotlock” gun vault. It is loaded with 00 buck, but I also have several rounds of #4 in the buttstock sidesaddle. The #4’s are there for rattlesnakes and whatnot. The shotgun has come off the wall a couple times – but so far only for those “legless” critters. We have both practiced opening the shotlock in the dark and in a hurry. I have no doubt we could access it if needed. The bedside vault is one of the micro-vault types and easily opened. My carry pistol is in there so I practice opening it every day. I keep the .45s loaded with 230 gr hollow points. The wife and my twin teenage boys have both practiced with the pistols and shotgun. I had reservations about her desire for a 12 ga, but she is scary good with it. Fast on the reload too! I need to get her into 3-gun…

  104. Tom606 Says:

    I normally carry a customized Springfield Armory 1911 in .45 ACP with two spare magazines and a Surefire flashlight.

    However at home when I’m not wearing my pants, I have a Glock 20SF mounting a Streamlight M3 light always nearby as it holds twice the ammo and doesn’t need to be cocked or have any safeties deactivated.

    My ideal home defense long guns would be an AUG with 16″ barrel and/or a Kel-Tec KSG, both with Aimpoint red dot sights. These are short guns and very handy inside the confines and narrow hallways of a house.

    I don’t have either of these at this time, but am saving to get them. In the meantime, I’m getting by with my 16″ AR-15 with collapsible stock mounting a Leupold 1.5X-4X scope with FireDot reticle and an 18″ Remington 870 loaded with 2 3/4″ #4 turkey loads. A 24 loop bandolier with Brenneke slugs and 00 buck is kept next to the shotgun and a US Palm ballistic vest with three pockets holding 30 round MagPul magazines and a spare Glock 20 magazine is next to the rifle. Both also have Streamlight M3 lights mounted on them. These are the only long guns not kept locked in my gun safe. I also have a Kevlar helmet and Surefire flashlights with each long gun in their closets. Various edged weapons, mostly inexpensive Cold Steel machetes are kept in each room also.

    I have my old, Safariland police duty belt in a box by my bed as it has all the equipment I would need if I am awakened in the middle of the night.
    By snapping on the belt buckle, I have a SIG 220, two spare magazines, a Surefire 6P flashlight, 21″ ASP baton, and S&W handcuffs available for use.

    Don’t forget the hearing protectors also, especially the electronic ones as you want to keep your hearing and also be able to detect enemies sneaking up on you. There’s a good chance a home invasion will involve more than just one intruder and long guns, especially with short barrels make a lot of noise. Green lasers mounted on your guns will also give you an advantage as they disrupt your enemy’s vision in low light.

  105. Max Says:

    One thing I was reminded of as I read through the comments: My father corresponded with Col Jeff Cooper for many years. When Jeff wrote to him, at random points in his letters would be the sentence “Can you reach your gun?” Its a great question that reminds us that all the firepower in the world won’t do squat if its out of reach when we need it most…

  106. Jack Zeller Says:

    DW PM-7 1911 10mm with Buffalo Bore 180’s, backed by Glock 31, Colt Carbine, and 12 ga. pump in that order…

  107. Lew Says:

    In my first post on the page I mentioned “(M1 .30) Carbine is usable by a person after losing use of an arm.”
    Most of the guns people mentioned in this discussion are fine defensive weapons. What happens if you take a hit?
    I’ve read articles discussing what to do if a person in a gun fight should lose use of an arm or a hand. It was scary.
    My choice, 1911A1 .45 could be a real albatross if my right arm were injured and I had to operate the slide. My M1 .30 Carbine is easily loaded, aimed, fired and magazine change left (weak) handed. It’s kinda short to use as a crutch but better than the 1911.
    That’s just a little something to consider in a back up gun.

  108. Kirt Says:

    Interesting thread… I’m old school and of the keep it simple school of thought. Kept in a quick access lock box near at hand is a S&W Model 625 with an M&P 340 as backup each loaded with modern defensive ammunition. Extra speed loaders for the 625 too. Also a Surefire flashlight with 200 lumens of illumination, a cell phone and my Benchmade blade, Why? Because I am know these defensive tools well and I am confident (years of familiarity and practice) I can employ them effectively if necessary.

    Also available if necessary and conditions warrant, is a Stoner system modern defensive rifle and a Remington 870 Marine Magnum loaded with #00 buck. (My preferred #1 is hard to come by these days. I carried variations of all of these defensive tools back when I carried a badge and I believe that under stress I can still use them effectively.

    Good luck with your research.

  109. Bill Nance Says:

    I think a lot of peolpe are missing the point of Mas’s post.

    “Symposium time: readers, what are your choices of home defense firearms? Handgun, or long gun, or both? And if there’s a long gun in the defense plan, did you choose shotgun, rifle, or both?

    And – most important, and most interesting – why did you choose as you did?”

    No one cares what your specific rig is. Save it for your local gun forums.

    The point was, (unless I’m seriously misunderstanding it) Are you a long-gun only kind of person or a handgun only, or both, and WHY did you choose the specific rigs?

    The WHY could be answered a thousand ways. Everywhere from “It’s what I have” -Always a good answer IMO. to “I chose this specific rig based on ballistics, police experience and this cool video from Youtube.

    All great answers.

    “I have this cool XXX (take your pick of HG or LGs) what has XYZ cool stuff” is not an answer.

    “I chose XYZ and ABC for their characteristics of DFE” IS a very HELPFUL answer.

    Just some input.

    I know a lot of people who have put a lot of TLC into their rigs. That’s awesome and good for you. It just wasn’t what was asked.

    +1000 BTW for the guys that answered .30cal Carbine because of the low over penetration BTW.

  110. Conrac Says:

    I have a 12 guage because you can scare em away by racking a round or definetly by blasting it off the balcony of my upstairs bedroom. You can also shoot them through the door.

    -end sarcasm

    Seriously, I do keep a 12 guage by the bed loaded with .00, a Sub2K which handles Glock 9mm mags in a strategic location downstairs, and a Glock G26 I carry everywhere but the shower. Not really into the AR since I already have my Sub2k and the bonus is my Glock and Sub2k eat the same ammo with the same magazines.

    My wife is proficient with all of my weapons as well but prefers the 12 guage. She is definitely a keeper 🙂

  111. Davebsr Says:

    My carry gun (Glock19), because it is what I know and isn’t worse than any other good SD choice with regard to overpenetration. JHP because there are at least 4 good reasons to carry premium JHP over ball. Yes to electronic earmuffs because I like hearing. Yes to spare ammo handy (because bad guys travel in packs).
    No long gun is in my plan because the safe is unrealistically far away for a slam-bam home invasion. But a 5.56 AR with a light, sling, and red dot would be my choice. Light to see, sling if I need a free hand/retention, and red dot because I can focus on what I am aiming at and not my front sight.

  112. WT Says:

    .45 Colt Commander, GP100 with .357 mag rounds, Mossberg pump 12 gauge, and Ruger Mini-14. Why? Most familiar from military days, stopping power and (relatively) easily obtainable rounds.

  113. Mary Beth Robinette Says:

    We have a well rehearsed plan. We both roll out of bed where he grabs a pump shotgun (I know auto’s are faster but pumps are more reliable) that has a light and if possible takes cover in the bathroom (two steps away). All the while he has a clear view of the long hall leading to our bedroom. Meanwhile I roll onto the floor and grab my Xdm 5.25 45, that has 13 + 1 in the weapon and two spare mags which attached to a belt (If I would have to move from my position it would be easier to take the extra ammo. with me if it’s already on a belt). In my free hand I would have my cell phone and be ready to call the police, my phone sits on the floor with the cover flipped open and 911 already dialed in. That way all I have to do is hit send to contact help.
    About a month ago we had the opportunity to put our plan into action. It was about 2am and the burglar alarm went off!!!!!! Fortunately, it was a false alarm. But I was VERY pleased that we each went into position automatically (that’s the value of
    not only having a plan, but also practicing the plan) and immediately we were yelling; “we are armed an prepared to defend ourselves…etc…”
    Well, the house was silent and remained that way, so after a good while we checked things out carefully and discovered the false alarm.

  114. Mike B Says:

    I was not going to comment, but as I feel the broad range of circumstances leads to many people illustrating thier need for different options. THANK GOD we live in america and still have choices; but lets not be complacent about that.

    Now my circumstances are a little different, I am what most would consider a “Firearms Expert” including being a NRA instructor in about 7 disciplines, a Veteran, and competitive shooter, and CCW license in SC and Utah. I am a father of 3 and husband. We live in a nice neighborhood and have nosey neighbors, but still i believe that every home should be well armed. I am also disabled, and use a wheelchair. I keep my M&P 40 in my chair within easy reach 24-7, even when I am in the shower. After several months I convinced my wife to keep a revolver in her nightstand when we are home (in the safe when we go out) and have show the kids (all over 18) how to obtain, load and use handguns and long guns that are normally locked up.

    The truth is if you don’t have 10 second access to something your not well protected. Which means you have about 10 seconds from the point you recognize immediate danger to the point you should be able to defend yourself. I.e. you cant walk around all day with a shotgun, so carry a handgun, keep the long guns handy in case of real emergency when time allows you to arm yourself properly. And any handgun will do, at least its better than a knife, which is better than a bat, which is better than car keys… understanding where the dangers lie that s the most important aspect of self defense.

    Im sure Ayoob can comment on how many armed people have been assaulted not knowing they were in immediate danger until it was too late.

  115. Eddie Says:

    Ah hell Mas, I just follow the Federal defense guidelines from Self Defense expert, Joe Biden. I holler real loud and empty my double barrel out my bedroom window. If that don’t work I just call the cops on my free Obama phone cause they can get to me in less then 5 seconds anyway right? I would never use an evil Assult Rifle. Those are too hard to aim and shoot for a normal guy like me and only peolple who want to kill kids use those. Feinstien told me so. Her and Rosie O’Donnel are my favorite Hollywood stars…

  116. Sarah Says:

    Vicki you GO, girl. Got my own heavy-loaded 20 guage next to the bed and a Ruger LC9 with me all the time too. 🙂

    Mas, I prefer the shotgun for two reasons: 1. It’s more useful for hunting also, and 2. it was less expensive. Ok three: as Mary Beth said, they are also super-reliable.

  117. W. J. J. Hoge Says:

    Person 1—Kimber 1911, M1 Carbine, Browning BPS 20 ga.

    Person 2—Colt Detective Special (also has access to the Carbine and BPS)

    Person 3—CZ 97, Mossberg 500 20 ga.

    Everyone cross trained with each other’s weapons.

  118. Jack Finch Says:

    Mas, per your recent blog query on our home defense firearms: Kimber Gold Combat .45 ACP, Remington 870 and if they’re still coming and I have time to open the gun vault, then the 1928N TSMG…:-) The Remington 700 in .308 scoped and suppressed is when it is possible to “reach out and touch someone” at maybe 600 yards as they play with the caltrops?… Mare’s side of the bed has her S&W Lady Smith in .38 for backup… 🙂

  119. Art B. Says:

    Mas, I’m following Joe Biden’s advice. A double-barrel shotgun, fire it in the air to dispurse the attackers. There!

  120. Jack Says:

    Glock 21 at bedside, Beretta 1201 semi auto in master bedroom for me. Reasons I feel based on experience in the field and readings that a .45 both excellent choices My wife has a Glock 26 and a .410 shotgun loaded with Winchester self defense load slug and BB’s. In a small safe in my room I have an AR loaded with Hornady Tap in case of several intruders and the need for more firepower.
    My son on other side of house has 12 gauge pump loaded with Winchester self defense ammo.
    Every choice I made is based on many years in the firearms world shooting, being an instructor, police officer, real world shootings and size of person shooting the weapon so they can get hits on target and feel comfortable shooting the respectful calibre.

  121. wr moore Says:

    Interesting points made by many. I stress the need for ear protection myself.

    While I’ve spent decades relying upon and teaching autoloading shotguns, last year I began to question the practice. They’re long, heavy and while Tactical Buck/Slugs or 20 gauge can mitigate recoil, it’s still substantial. (I’m certainly not getting any younger and I note reminders from the body that it’s not as young as it used to be.) There’s also the issues of stray pellets and limited range unless you’re using slugs. I should note I once had a ranch style house where 25 yards inside was quite possible. YMMV.

    Then there’s the MSR/EBR. Light, negligible recoil, stock is adjustable to fit multiple users, single projectile with good range-yet with proper ammo, no significant risk of overpenetration; outstanding ergonomics and readily adapted to individual needs. Many women who’ve fired one for the first time state that “They’re fun!”

    As someone else noted, the Mini-14 has many positives in common and no cosmetic points to assist in labeling it as an EBR (Evil Black Rifle). While I’ve had a Mini for over 30 years, the AR pattern is a better CQB choice. There are good reasons why ARs have replaced shotguns in LE use and what the local LLEA uses can be used to combat negative stereotypes.

    After 40+ years, I finally broke down and bought an AR pattern.

  122. wr moore Says:

    Erk, reading my oh-dark thirty comments, I realize I forgot to mention that a light equipped 9mm is the primary defensive tool. The long gun comes into play if I’m either on stationary defense or checking out what may be going on outside.

  123. Ken Andrews Says:

    My constant compangian is a Para Commander 1911, in 45 ACP of course. My choice of home defense rifle is a JRC 16 inch barrel, semi-auto carbine also in 45 ACP.

  124. George Says:

    My strong hunch is that people are using AR’s as home defense weapons mostly because 1., they own one and want to get some use out of it 2., they may believe that an AR will really frighten a bad guy and 3., they either haven’t really thought things out thoroughly and/or they are not oriented to the practical and tactical aspects of home defense scenarios.

    Having your hands full of long gun in close quarters is basically asking for problems. In typical home confrontation space & distances, a handgun, optionally equipped with a laser sight in the hands of a well practiced hand-gunner, is all the firearm that is needed. Other considerations should include, immediate accessibility, potential for bullet over-penetration and killing neighbors, getting into a physical struggle with the intruder while trying to keep control of a long gun and even often lover-looked issues such as peering around corners or doorways while maintaining cover and retaining muzzle control / point-and-shoot capabilities. All of which are extremely challenging with a long gun.

  125. Michael Simons Says:

    I have a Sigma 40 cal VE that I grab first and I sling my shotgun over my shoulder. It is a custom 870 with a 10 shot tube and a Ranger ammo sling.

  126. PAUL NELSON Says:


  127. Mick Says:

    Well, Christmas Day has passed, and I need to add Crimson Trace Laser Grips to one of my J-frames! Santa was so very nice. Also include a Taurus 709 acquired since my 10/7/13 post, dead-nuts reliable with everything I’ve run thru it and keeping it stoked with Critical Defense +P 9mm 110 gr. Variety is the spice of life.

  128. Earl R. Says:

    There are a few practical considerations worth mentioning.

    If you live in a city or town, rather than a rural area, a miss with a high-velocity rifle round like the .223/5.56 in a Mini-14 or AR is going to travel a long way. If you kill or injure someone in the next house or walking down the street a half mile away, you are likely to be sued for millions. You don’t need a rifle for home defense unless you live in a rural area or expect to engage criminals at 50-100 yards.

    Be aware that ARs and other tactical rifles do not appear “juror friendly” to those who don’t own guns. Who do you think that THEY think owns these guns. (A wood-stocked Mini-14 is better though.) Please don’t scoff at this consideration. It is very important if you live in a “blue” or “purple” state where there are many non-gun owners. A liberal district attorney or grand jury may decide if you are charged with a crime or exempted for self-defense. Judges may also not be gun owners, and they have a lot of influence in self-defense cases. A prosecuting attorney WILL parade your AR in front of a jury and call it a “military-style” weapon.

    A lower-velocity pistol caliber carbine like the Ruger PC series (9mm or 40S&W) is much mor practical (made 1996-2006, many available used). Also less noise, less muzzle flash, cheaper ammo. Also less noise and flash compared to a handgun. The gun was marketed to police. PC means “police carbine” which is juror friendly. It doesn’t look like a military rifle.

    The next choice would be an all-steel wood-stocked 20 guage shotgun with a 22″ or shorter barrel (or a similar 20 guge semi-auto shotgun). A lighter steel & alloy pump-action 20 gauge will have too much recoil for most people. (Shotgun recoil is UNDER rated by most gun writers.) Personally, I like the quality of a 22″ Browning BPS Upland Special, and it is a “gentlemen’s and ladies: gun that is very juror friendly. Engraving with wood on this gun is even better. Same goes for an engraved Remington 860 Wingmaster with a short barrel.

    As far as handguns, Ruger SP101s in 2.25″ and 3″ barrel or an older 2.75″ or 4″ Ruger Speed Six/Service Six/Security Six are also very juror friendly, compared to black semi-autos. The current full-lug Ruger GP100s (except maybe the 3”) are too heavy for many people to hold at arm’s length for any length of time – as might be needed for home defense or holding a criminal for the peace officers. Use 38 Special +P instead of 357 Magnum rounds. Less noise, less blast, adequate power, and more juror friendly. Non-gunners hear “Magnum” and think of Clint as Dirty Harry (who THEY don’t like).

  129. Brian Mumford Says:

    My HD weapon of choice is my AR-15, but I keep a pistol by the bed if I don’t have time to grab my rifle. I used to rely on shotguns, but rifles come close with one shot incapacitation over pistol calibers, and the .223 penetrates walls less than the others (for safety reasons), and AR provides better standoff power by allowing me to hit at a distance distance far greater than 25 yards (to keep the treat as far away as reasonably possible). That’s my thought process.

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