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?