So when you ask the average person what is their choice for a home defense firearm, I would bet that the pump shotgun tops the list. Many of these respondents typically will justify their answer with, “just hearing the rack of that shotgun will discourage any bad guy”. I’m not here to debate that the shotgun doesn’t have an authoritative sound, but seriously if all you wanted was a sound then get a recording of that sound. For those of you that have chosen the venerable shotgun or maybe a long gun consider the handgun as a go to for home defense. After all, what do we carry when we are out in the public? I know literally hundreds of people that carry concealed (a few carry openly) and that firearm is a handgun.
So let’s suppose this scenario; an unfamiliar noise happens at 2;00 a.m. You want to go investigate it so you grab your long gun (rifle or shotgun) and make your way to the disturbance. Hopefully you have a flashlight (you need to be able to identify your threat/target) and possibly a cell phone (have you ever tried to make a phone call with a shotgun in one hand?). If you’re like me, I don’t tend to sleep in cargo pants so pockets are going to be very limited on our sleepwear. This can be further impacted if you need to open a door while carrying a shotgun. I will continue with this complication by asking you to think about pieing a corner (tactically turning a corner while keeping your body exposure to a minimum) with a long gun. You really don’t want a bad guy grabbing your gun as you turn the corner. Now consider this same scenario with a handgun that has a light mounted on it. Much easier to maneuver through a confined hallway, open doors, keep control of the firearm and to make a phone call if I need to.
Lastly, I own a shotgun that has a 5 round tube magazine plus one in the chamber for a total of six rounds. In my Glock 22 I have an extended magazine with a total of 32 rounds of ammunition. This nears the firepower of a sub-machine (just not full auto) gun.
I’m not saying that shotguns or rifles are a poor choice, rather think of the amount of additional training you need to do to clear your home or business with a long gun.
There is much debate over the subject of revolver versus a pistol for the best handgun. I propose that this argument include consideration into the individual and their respective uses and needs for a handgun, after all there is no one size/type gun. Let’s begin by considering the revolver. Typically these are considered more reliable, but the down side is the limited amount of rounds, usually 5 to 6. Now compare this to the pistol which regularly wins this category with magazine capacities ranging from 6 to 15 rounds and the reliability is very good especially with quality guns. Accuracy with both type of guns can be excellent and is almost always based on the caliber and size of the gun. Carrying concealed is almost a non-issue anymore given the advancements in holster materials and configurations so concealment and comfort can be improved for both handguns by selecting the right type of holster.
One area that is often overlooked is the amount of familiarity with the firearm to be able to use it safely and effectively in a real world stressful situation. Some pistols have a safety that must be manipulated before the gun can fire and most revolvers do not. This manipulation of the gun can be extended into the ability of being able to chamber a round from the magazine. This can be problematic especially under stress. If any of you out there are like me in developing some hand pain, like arthritis, grabbing that slide to put that cartridge into the barrel can be difficult. This can be compounded by the smaller semi auto pistols as the slide does not offer a lot of surface to grab onto. If this describes you then maybe a revolver is more suiting.
My recommendation is to head to your local firearms retailer and speak with staff on what is available and let them know you want to “feel the fit” of the several types of firearms. This will make the experience more relevant and help contribute to a greater experience in the shooting sports.
This link has some great information done in a compare and contrast format. The video clarifies some misunderstandings between an assault weapon and a sporter rifle. It includes a demonstration of magazine capacity and is a solid example of how quickly a magazine, regardless of its capacity, can be shot and the weapon reloaded.