In recent years, the importance of home defense has become a significant concern for many individuals and families.
Ensuring the safety and protection of your loved ones and property is paramount, and having a reliable handgun for home defense can provide you with peace of mind.
A well-chosen handgun can help you deter or defend against intruders, providing a sense of security and confidence in safeguarding your home and loved ones.
Expand your knowledge about the best handguns for home defense and why these firearms will get the job done.
Popular Handguns for Home Defense to Consider
Personal and Concealed Carry Handguns
Before we get to what I like to call the “meat and potatoes,” let's get a few important things out of the way.
First, you must make sure you choose a caliber in the gun you're going to shoot.
You might get startled if you don't shoot your gun of choice and need to defend yourself with it. You need to ensure you're ready and know exactly what will happen.
Second, some projectiles can actually over-penetrate through more than one wall. Bigger, slower calibers are the way to go if you have people sleeping in another room.
You can always carry frangible ammo for added protection against penetration.
It's a misconception that hollow point rounds won't overtravel through walls because they expand. They only expand when they pass through something wet, and drywall is not wet.
If you miss your target, it can travel through several walls before it stops. If you have a child on the other side, I don't need to tell you how dangerous that can be.
This article has two parts. The first part is mine, and the second is by the original author, Patrick Johnson.
You should be able to tell where I stop, and he starts because we have two different approaches. I'll tell you when it happens so it doesn't confuse you.
The SP101 is a great revolver for home defense that works with a few different calibers. You can't go wrong with this handgun when you talk about its shooting capabilities.
My pick for this gun is the .357 Magnum cartridge because of its ultimate stopping ability. Other cartridges that work well with this gun are the .327 Mag and .38 SP ammo.
It holds five rounds and is definitely a hard-hitting firearm. The SP101 has internal and external hammers, making it suitable for concealed carry.
These revolvers weigh 25 ounces (some are heavier, based on barrel length) and are easy to maneuver around your house when needed. MSRP isn't too bad at $719 and is likely a bit cheaper than those in stores.
If you're looking for a handgun with a large capacity magazine that is also chambered in .45 ACP, look no further than the FNX 45. This is one of the most reliable semi-auto pistols available today.
With its fully ambidextrous controls, 15-round mags (also available with 10 for you poor saps in Commie-fornia), and hard-hitting ammunition (hollow point preferred), it's sure to get the job done.
It even has a MIL-STD accessory rail for flashlights or rail-mounted lasers for easier target acquisition.
The FNX 45 isn't cheap, with an MSRP of $824, but you may get it cheaper than that in the shop.
Plus, the gun comes with a few different back-strap options, so you can make sure it's comfortable in your hand.
That, combined with the DA/SA trigger and safety/de-cocker, makes it an excellent addition to this list.
Wondering if there are 22-caliber handguns for home defense? Before you groan about anything Kel-Tec made on this short list, especially one chambered in .22, hear me out.
First, it's chambered in .22 magnum , and the magazine has a 30-round ammunition capacity. I'm not saying this is for everybody. This is the perfect home defense gun for someone with weak wrists or extremely recoil-sensitive.
We must remember that we are not all big, burly men. Some of us are older and unable to handle the recoil of a big self-defense cartridge.
Plus, this way, you have 30 chances of hitting your target. And, with the nominal amount of recoil it produces, the one defending the house can get back to target much quicker.
It's got safety, fiber optic sights, an accessory rail, and a very accurate barrel, all for the MSRP of $455. As an added benefit, .22 Mag has decent ballistics for what it is.
Like the Taurus Judge (also on this list), this handy little revolver shoots Colt .45 calibers and .410 shotshells. However, it gets a one-up on the Judge in that it holds six shots.
Add to that another cartridge to the mix with the .45 ACP ammunition. It requires moon clips to do so, but the simple fact it can hold John Browning's famous self-defense cartridge makes it noteworthy.
The MSRP of $870 and the ability to shoot three different cartridges ranging from shotgun shells and .45 Colt to the .45 ACP make the S&W Governor perfect for someone capable of handling an actual hand cannon.
It is a highly versatile self-defense weapon with excellent stopping power.
The rest of this article, starting with The Desert Eagle, is by Patrick Johnson.
Now I already know what you’re thinking: “Too big, too stupid, too jam prone, not accurate. I want to defend my home, not start a remodel with a one-shot demolition!” I get it but as a Desert Eagle fan and owner (50 calibers AE.)
I’ve grown to love the beast and found it to be accurate while delivering an extremely powerful round when you shoot.
The noise and recoil from the Desert Eagle make for a weapon with plenty of stopping power.
Anyone will stop whatever they're doing and run away. Not to mention, this is one scary self-defense gun.
If you live alone in the country and you’ve had ample practice with a big-bore gun like this, it’s feasible.
This just won't be a viable option for those who are apartment dwellers and living close to others.
Most crimes in these categories normally take place in low light. The perpetrators usually have an idea of the layout of the target building.
You cannot beat a Glock in terms of simplicity, caliber selection, frame size, and the ability to customize to one’s content. It's the best handgun for home defense beginners for many reasons.
I picked the Glock 19 as a go-to handgun because of its frame size. If you are in a household with multiple occupants, say a husband and wife, you’ll probably want a gun that both folks are comfortable holding on to.
I felt the 19 was a nice in-between for most people. It’s not as large as some of the full frames but not as small as the subcompacts and, therefore, more comfortable in a wider range of hands.
With a 15-round 9mm capacity, highly accurate barrel, and spare magazines readily available, the G19 is a great defense handgun with every accessory you can imagine at your disposal.
It is a time-tested design that provides a level of simplicity that is hard to match. There's no wonder why it is one of the best-selling semi-automatic pistols today.
Easy operation in a high-stress situation can provide a lifesaving difference. With no manual safety, the Glock allows one to point and shoot without using safeties and levers.
Recoil control also comes easy with the Glock 19. Also, the small form factor makes it a great option for concealed carry.
The simplicity can also be a downfall if those unfamiliar with firearms stumble upon your home defense weapon and inadvertently pull the trigger.
I hope we are properly securing our firearms, depending upon the occupants of our homes, at any given time.
Taurus Judge – Public Defender
The Taurus Judge has the unique ability to fire a few distinctly different types of ammunition.
These are the 45 Colt ACP, the .410 birdshot, buckshot, and slugs.
What Is Birdshot? It is the most minor type of pellet inside shotgun shells, which tends to scatter outward when fired. It is similar to the buckshot but's significantly more significant than the birdshot.
What’s so great about that, you might ask? Most rounds we are discussing today will have some penetration through walls and hard surfaces.
If you use buckshot or birdshot, it limits the chance of over-penetration. This is an excellent feature for people who live in tight quarters like apartments.
Having different ammunition options, dare I say less lethal options (for other home occupants), is fascinating. Additional cartridges can be loaded in different orders using 5-round capacity guns.
With the Judge, you get trusty and simplistic revolver performance, a manual safety system, and a built-in Taurus Security System (TSS) that can altogether disable the firearm and only engage and disengage with the key provided at purchase.
Rubberized grips and fiber optic sight come standard, rare for many revolvers. The Taurus Judge is a great home defense option when you're looking at revolvers.
If you have kids and visitors who are unfamiliar with firearms frequenting the residence, the TSS system can help you rest assured no one will accidentally discharge the gun.
(Editor's Note: Proper firearms safety must always be used, and no safety should ever be trusted.)
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
For this list, one of the things I had to keep in mind was some folks are just going to have one pistol! It’s a shocker, right? Most of us can never imagine having only one gun, because, hey, variety is the spice of life!
Anyway, the Shield is a great gun in general. It is compact but has everything you will hope to find on a standard frame pistol.
This handgun has excellent sights, manual safety (some like it, some don’t, for home defense, I think it is positive), and the ability to attach a light or laser. It's also an easy gun to control using an extended mag.
If you need and want guns but do not have the cash to get them yourself, one pistol for home defence and another for carrying this semi-automatic handgun should be one of the options you explore first.
I have shot the 9mm version and must say it was a pleasure to shoot. (My fiancé uses the M&P Shield, and she loves it!)
SIG Sauer Tac Ops 1911 with Threaded Barrel
A full-size 1911 is a great option for a home defense gun. The weight of the all-steel frame and slide provides a nice dampening effect on the recoil of any round, making it easy for anyone to shoot with accuracy.
This SIG Sauer is particularly nice because of a few added features: the addition of a rail for light and laser attachment and the threaded barrel that comes along from the factory.
The Tac Ops is loaded with 8 rounds of .45 ACP, which, compared to some of the polymer pistols, isn’t a whole lot but is still capable of getting the job done.
The all-steel build makes this .45 ACP handgun manageable for many people.
The threaded barrel from the factory is ready for a suppressor. Night sights and a light/laser rail allow you to equip yourself for home defense situations.
H&K USP Full Size Tactical 9mm with a Suppressor
I’ve used the H&K USP Full Size Tactical 9mm for years, and I have to say it is one of the finest pistols, if not the finest, I’ve ever used.
The USP is tactical and comes with a threaded barrel, making jumping into the suppressor game a little easier.
The full-size frame provides a secure grip, but the mag release will initially be a bit confusing for some.
However, after a few dry runs, it will seem easier than the previous unload and reload manipulations you are accustomed to (tip: use your index finger to drop the mag).
The Best Home Defense handguns must be reliable, easy to use, and easy to manipulate in high-stress situations.
The most important thing, though, is you're comfortable using it and are willing to train with it at the range on at least a monthly basis.
Another thing to remember is that more than just handguns are available to you for home defense. If you want to know which guns Josh says are the best for home defense, click on that link.
Check out the amazing Desert Eagle in this video from Miculek.com – The Leaders in Gun Control:
We all have our own versions of what a great gun is for personal carry use and home defense. What you choose may be different from me, and that's okay.
This is meant to be a guide to get you started on choosing a great gun. Please note some of these guns are great for carrying concealed or open. And multi-purpose guns, at least in my opinion, are great.
Best Practices for Home Defense
Owning a handgun for home defense is responsible for proper training and safe storage. Here are some best practices to consider:
- Seek professional training: Proper firearms training ensures you are familiar with your handgun's operation and can use it effectively in self-defense scenarios.
- Secure your firearm: Store your handgun securely in a biometric safe or lockbox, keeping it out of reach of unauthorized individuals while still accessible in case of an emergency.
- Regular practice: Regularly visit a shooting range to maintain proficiency and familiarize yourself with the handling and operating of your handgun.
Investing in a reliable handgun for home defense is a wise decision to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Consider your specific needs, preferences, and the factors discussed in this article when choosing the best handgun for your home defense requirements.
By selecting a handgun that offers reliability, ease of use, and stopping power, you can enhance your ability to respond effectively to potential threats.
Which of these handguns will make a good home defense firearm for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 3, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.