best gun for home/office defense

If this does turn into a debate, it won’t be a great one!

I am interested in what, in the view of gun experts out there, would be the best gun for home/office defense.

As a gun owner, I was asked recently, and I responded “a pump action shotgun, shooting bird shot” – that is, 7 or 8 size shot.

My reasoning:

I don’t want to use a pistol because I know how hard it is to be accurate with a pistol. I train constantly, and it not easy.

I don’t want a powerful bullet, because if you have to shoot and you miss, you are likely to pierce several layers of dry wall before you either hit a beam or someone you did not intend to shoot.

Birdshot will definitely wound/incapacitate an intruder at close range.

Brandishing a shotgun is scary, and the sound of the pump action itself can scare someone off.

But, I am no expert in home defense. Am I wrong in my reasoning?


Nope, you and I are in total agreement on this one, as well as with many gun writers out there. The only real argument that could arise would be that a pump gun that retains it’s legal shell blocking plug may not hold enough shots to satisfy some defense thinkers. Also, whatever you do choose to use, you should be comfortable handling and firing the weapon, so a 12ga pump shotgun may not be the best choice for everyone, but it’s a damned good choice for all the reasons that you mentioned.

I’m for the pistol side of the arguement.

Especially for the reason of being around the office–it’s just way more discreet than a longarm (like, where would you keep it?).

But then again, I shoot a lot too, and personally, I would prefer having a few more rounds in a magazine or cylinder than the typical three. But that’s just my humble opinion. FTR: When I carry, I carry a Charles Daly DDA-10, .40 SW. [sub]I’ve got “midget” hands[/sub].

And you’re talking to the proud owner of a new Kimber BP Ten II .45 ACP as of last week. :smiley:

Well it depends.

A small, lightweight, quality pistol like a Glock 17 or even a smaller and more compact Glock 19 would be perfect for a desk drawer or something.

I’ve known many who keep similar sized pistols in desk drawers and such.

The advantage of a small pistol over a shotgun is fairly simple. It’s easy to store and lock away, and the Glock is one of the safest weapons made.

Strictly for defending myself I’d go with an assault rifle, that is to say if my home was being invaded by some trained killers that’s what I’d want.

For the typical burglar, I don’t think anything can beat a shotgun.

The sound is terrifying and emotionally effective. Personally if someone was in my home I’d announce I had a gun, and fire a shotgun through a window or something. This would probably scare them off 99% of the time. If not, then I’d be forced to defend myself, having to kill someone isn’t something most would want to experience though, and my method would help you avoid such a situation.

Remington Model 870, Marine Magnum, 12ga pump action. 18" barrel, holds 6 rounds. And it is pretty! Nickel plating shows up nicely in low light, too.

Might I suggest a higher-end Benelli or other semi-auto shotgun? They aren’t too much more than your standard pump-action (a couple hundred diff, maybe). I would imagine that your first shot is likely to miss - with it being dark and all - and time needed to pump could prove to be a problem if the intruder is very close…

If you are actually worried about home defense, do you really want to wound someone? They might be armed too. I have heard of a first hand account of someone surviving an across the room shotgun blast with bird shot. The person shot was not real happy afterward.

I heard a quote many years ago that may be relevant:

“Never point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them and never shoot someone unless you intend to kill them.”

The quote was probably from a movie or something, but I don’t remember what.

franchi law-12 8+1 rounds. fires 8 rounds in 2 seconds if need be. same as the spas-12 but without the pump mode and lighter. although the spas looks “cooler” :wink:

Mossberg 500, loaded with #4 shot. At home defense ranges, this is more than adequate. Coverage, and power. If you are close enough, it will blow a whole in somebody you could stick a bowling ball through. The concern isn’t stopping power, but over-penetration. I like my neighbors.

While I am also a tactical shotgun and pistol fan, I’ve always been told to go with the most wood covered, gold engraved commemorative hunting gun you can find. Which would you rather have held up in court as the “Murder Weapon”? Something that looks like it sat over the fireplace and was used as a last resort to defend yourself, or some matte black plastic-folding stocked-pistol gripped “Premeditated Murder written all over it” style weapon? Because don’t think for a second that when the cops arrive at your home after such an episode that they will clap you on the back and say “Good job”. You will be arrested, you will stand in front of a jury.

If you ever happen to be involved in a lethal force situation, you need to make two phone calls, immediately. Call the police, and then call an attorney.

Well, UncleBill described the very shotgun I’d buy if I wanted to keep a shotgun in my house.

However, when I decided to buy a weapon for defense, I had a very small apartment, and a shotgun was just too large. So I decided on the S&W 686+, 7-shot .357 magnum with 4" barrel. It’s imposing, and it can fire either a .38 or a magnum round.

But it’s too big for an office. I second the Glock recommendation for keeping under a counter or in a drawer.


Cluricaun raises a good point. Whatever weapon you choose, make sure it is stock. No after-market doodads, no “special” loads. That is why the .357 in my nightstand is nicknamed “Fluffy.” :smiley:

Is there something other than a gun that makes the shotgun pump sound effect? :stuck_out_tongue:

Here, I disagree. If you use a pistol, you want one of the special loads made for home defense- they have frangible bullets for lower penetration.

Thus, I recommend a .44 special revolver. Loaded with same. Lower penetration, high “knock down”, and a large scary hole in the end of the barrel. No safetys to mess with or forget… :eek:

With a shotgun? I disagee with the “pump or auto”. I think the Threat is more important- although yes, you “need to be prepared to pull the trigger”. A double-barreled “coach gun” with external hammers is great for that. Short, agile, it is scary- and the sight of you thumbing back those hammers should be all it takes. :eek: Remember- most times a gun is used in “home defence” the trigger is never pulled. And the Coach gun is perfectly fine once you DO have to pull the trigger. You don’t need 8 shots- you’re not engaging someone in a long drawn out gun battle. For ammo- the most powerful #2 or BB shout load you can find. IF you are feeling very nice, one BBl can have birdshot or another less lethal load. Have a few extra rounds on the butt.

I’d go with a phase plasma rifle (40w range).

While I can’t search for cites now, I can recall several recent stories where the homeowner/storekeeper was NOT charged when confronted with an armed criminal indicating intent to harm (as self-reported by the surviving victim), even when the now-former criminal was removed in a body bag.

Of course, I didn’t mean my statement as an absolute, however that would tend to be the exception and I wouldn’t expect that to be the case in the majority. Most of the information I’ve read on the subject, especially Massad Ayoob’s “Gravest Extreme” suggest much the same as I did

Overall, however, Cluricaun’s advice is very appropriate particularly if you live in a city that isn’t particularly “gun friendly” such as Chicago.

Allow me to suggest a PPK .380.

Light, portable and can fire between 7 & 8 rounds quickly and without much of a kick. Not sure that I’d choose it over the shotgun but it’s a nice gun.

Thinking of hijacking this thread…ack…I’ve done it:

What do you shooters out there think about the whole right eye/left eye dominant thing? I have been shooting for a little less than a year and, even though I am a righty, I have gotten better results shooting left handed. Easy enough with the pistol but a real pain with the longguns. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Do they still use rock salt shells for shotguns? I’d prefer something like that for home defense. Not to be underestimated but still less lethal than lead shot. Salt also would have less range and piercing power so the risk of in ending up in your neighbour is decreased.
Though I’m no expert and could be missing some important variable.

Well, I also lack a cite, but it’s common knowledge that different states have different standards.

For instance, in California, you are at risk of liability for wrongful death if you shoot an intruder, unless you have irrefutable evidence to convince a civil court jury that your life was in imminent danger… like a security video. And to defend against criminal charges you only need slightly less evidence…

Whereas in Texas, you can use lethal force to defend property and no one will bat an eye. My uncle moved to rural East Texas and once called the Sheriff’s office to report a trespasser lurking on his property in the wee hours. The deputy on the phone said, essentially, “well, shoot him, and then call us.”

In Chicago, I’d guess the laws are more like LA or NYC than TX.