According to the Pew Research Center, protection is the most common reason given for gun ownership. More than 67% of gun owners identify it as a major reason for why they own a firearm, with men and women citing protection about equally.
Certainly, self-defense when out of the house is part of that decision, but home defense is high up on the list of protection. When you’re considering purchasing a gun for home defense as opposed to target shooting or even for concealed carry on a daily basis, there are some characteristics that should rank higher on the list of criteria than others.
The list below is intended to get you started considering the best handgun to purchase to protect your home. Each gun owner should do their own research to make sure they are getting a weapon that meets their specific needs and requirements.
For instance, if you plan on using your handgun both as a daily carry and for home defense, you’ll want to keep in mind the criteria we’ve used as well as, say, how well it will work with a concealed carry holster or holster clip.
What to Look for in a Home Defense Handgun
Depending on your need and comfort level, there are three things to consider when looking for a suitable weapon to protect your home.
Reliability is important when you’re defending your home. You’ll want to know that your weapon will work every time you pick it up. There are plenty of reliable semi-automatic pistols to choose from, but when it comes to a workhorse you can depend on, few guns can beat a revolver.
Ease of Use
If your only reason for owning a gun is for protection, you’ll want to choose a pistol that is easy to use. A double-action revolver, for instance, takes a lot of force to pull the trigger completely, whereas something like a semi-auto is easier to fire and can hold more ammunition.
When it comes to protecting yourself and those you love, your intent with your weapon is to stop the intruder. A .22 caliber just won’t cut it. You’ll need a handgun that will stop the intruder where they stand.
Regardless of what kind of pistol you choose, the most important thing that you can do is take it to the range. Practice with it, learn to aim, learn to draw, and become comfortable with it. The last thing you need is to be nervous with your weapon when your family’s safety is on the line.
Five of the Best Handguns for Home Defense
The Beretta M9 is a popular choice for both home defense and for law enforcement. It’s reliable and has a comfortable grip for many. Chambered for a 9mm cartridge, it’s a good choice, easy to use, and has decent stopping power.
Slightly smaller than its sibling, the 17, the Glock 19 has a great combination of features that make it ideal as a home defense handgun. It’s lightweight, reliable, and reasonably priced. Although it has a slightly smaller magazine capacity and barrel than the 17, that makes it easier to conceal in a gun safe or on your belt.
Sig Sauer MK25 P226
This handgun lends itself to a high level of control, thanks to the ergonomic grip. With a magazine that holds fifteen rounds of 9mm ammo, it’s a durable weapon that even comes with night sights.
Ruger 1707 GP100
Revolvers can provide significant reliability for the homeowner. Unlike a semi-auto, a revolver has fewer moving parts that could jam or fail. The GP100 can hold .357 Magnum rounds, giving it high honors for stopping power. However, with only six rounds, you’ll want to be sure to spend time practicing. You can only count on stopping an intruder if you can aim accurately.
The 1911 is probably the gun that matches our criteria the least, but it’s still worth considering. It’s large and heavy with a low capacity magazine, barely topping a revolver in that regard. But this gun is both very reliable and safe. The grip safety is specifically designed so that you must grasp it firmly to fire. This lowers the chance of a misfire in what is likely to be a high adrenaline situation.
Whether you go with these or another weapon that meets the criteria – reliable, easy to use, with plenty of stopping power – take the time to ensure your home defense handgun will do the job it was meant for.