Top 5 Best Guns For Home Defense

woman clutching gun against her chest
By Ammunition Depot
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Top 5 Best Guns For Home Defense

When it comes down to it, the best gun for home defense is the one you can get to the quickest and effectively use.

Regardless of criteria used for judging the gun, being able to effectively defend your home is dependent on some factors unrelated to the gun. Do you have the gun on you, or is it stored somewhere you can easily access? Are you familiar enough with it to be able to actually shoot it?

Maybe that means you use your concealed carry gun. Maybe that means you keep a firearm in a specific spot in the house or multiple guns in multiple spots. Nobody is suggesting that you need to be the Punisher and have weapons stashed throughout your home (unless that's your thing). The point here is that your plan is entirely up to you, but you should have one.

Now, on to the fun part. The following criteria were used to create this list: ease of use, functionality, availability, and reliability.

Based on those factors, here are the top 5 best guns for home defense.

5. The Remington 870

Remington 870 pump shotgun

When speaking of home defense, one of the first things you're likely to hear is "get a shotgun." This isn't terrible advice. In a stressful situation, a shotgun is an extremely easy tool to use. With the spread of buckshot, you're not likely to miss, and the power of a shotgun is sure to knock down potential threats and keep them down.

Shotguns are also extremely intimidating. The sound of a racking shotgun is unmistakable, and, in this situation, any fear you can strike only helps your cause.

But why the Remington 870? Because it's a workhorse shotgun with a long track record of use and reliability. In the world of shotguns, it may not be king, but it's definitely in the royal family.

You can also get accessories for the Remington 870, including an adjustable stock, a pistol grip, and tactical lights. Oh, and it can hold six shells plus one in the chamber. A solid, reliable shotgun with customizability. Can't go wrong there.

4. The Sig Sauer P226

Sig Sauer p226 pistol

Some people may be surprised to see a handgun on the list. Others may be surprised it's a Sig Sauer P226There are drawbacks to handguns as home defense weapons, that's for sure, but that's why this one isn't higher on the list.

The pros to handguns are that they're the most likely to be on you at the time you need a gun. They can double as your everyday carry (EDC), which makes it more likely you'll have your defense weapon on you or nearby when you need it.

There are two main reasons why this particular gun makes the list. The first is that it's a 9mm. Without getting into a caliber war here, the 9mm round is a very effective round. There's a reason it's used by militaries and law enforcement all over the world. The biggest of these is that it has just as much stopping power needed along with a high carry capacity, giving you more shots at your intended target if you miss. This is important. Running out of ammo while trying to defend your home from intruders is less than optimal, to say the least.

The next reason is that this specific pistol has been used by United States Navy Seals for over 30 years. A pistol for Seals is a secondary or tertiary weapon, but it still gets used in many situations that are similar to home defense situations. The fact that one of the top echelons of U.S. military special forces continues to use it for over three decades speaks to its reliability and dependability. Plus, you can add accessories like lights and lasers, which are both highly helpful in home defense.

3. The Mossberg 590

Mossberg 590 pump shotgun

The value of a shotgun for home defense cannot be overstated. What separates the Mossberg 590 from the pack is its military use via the U.S. Army. If it can work as intended in the extremes of war, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to defending your home and family.

Like the Remington, the Mossberg has collapsible stock options, pistol grip, and tactical accessory capabilities. Unlike the Remington, it has greater shell capacity and a slightly more proven track record.

The only reason the Mossberg isn't number 1 is because shotguns run the risk of over penetration or other collateral damage due to their power and spread patterns. Otherwise, they'd be the perfect home defense weapon.

2. The AR-15 Platform

Springfield Saint semi-auto AR-15

This may surprise some people as an entrant on this list. It shouldn't, though. With an initial design dating back to the Vietnam War and a history as the main rifle for the United States military since, its track record is completely undeniable. It has served in all manner of conditions in wartime — from jungles to deserts. Before anyone gets upset and says the AR is not the same as the military M16/M4, let's clarify. In terms of operation, it's essentially the same weapon as Eugene Stoner's design for the original M16. Saying the AR isn't used by the military is a semantic argument; they're the same rifle.

It's a proven platform with high customizability. There are numerous options as well, from the Springfield Saint to the Daniel Defense DDM4. Most importantly, this is no long-barreled hunting rifle. It has been used in wartime urban operations that are almost identical to what you would encounter in a home defense situation. Plus, its customizability allows for variations to make short barreled rifles or even pistol sizes, and the nature of rifles makes for much greater accuracy than with any other type of gun.

Reliability, accuracy, ease of use, availability of accessories and ammunition, and even availability of training make this one of the strongest contenders on this list. The main reason it isn't number 1 is because the 5.56/.223 round will absolutely go through the intended target and likely through any wall behind your assailant. That said, if you were to build one in 9mm, that would certainly be a potential number 1 contender.

1. The Glock 19

Glock 19 GEN5 9mm handgun

What can be said about the Glock 19 that hasn't already been said? It's one of the most famous handguns in the world, and for good reason. It's arguably the single most reliable gun ever made and has proven itself with police and military usage all over the world. Its out of the box reliability is the standard by which most other handguns are judged.

On top of that, its popularity as a platform has led to tremendous aftermarket parts and accessories, allowing you to customize it almost as much as you can an AR. For home defense, this is extremely important. Aside from lights and laser accessories, you can get optics mounted, night sights, mag wells for easier loading, and even improved triggers and barrels for better shooting.

As with other handguns, it can be an EDC option, so you're more likely to have it when it's needed. But unlike other handguns, there is an extended amount of information and training available for the Glock 19. This means you can get detailed training not just in the function of the gun but also in best practices from professionals to make you a better shooter.

The Glock 19 also has a capacity of 15 rounds plus 1 in the chamber. That's definitely enough to ensure you don't run out if you miss. It has enough stopping power to drop your would-be attacker, but not so much you need to be worried about someone on the other side of the wall behind them — especially if you're using hollow point ammunition.

So there you have it: the top five best guns for home defense. You may agree or you may disagree, but if nothing else, you're thinking about it. The important thing to remember is you need a reliable gun that you're familiar with. That means practice and training (link to “where can I shoot my gun?”). That alone puts you ahead of the curve and can make all the difference when someone breaks into your home. With any of these guns and a little effort, you can have a leg up on the bad guys.

3 months ago
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Bob Cappiello
2 months ago at 10:13 PM
I believe your article choices are right on. I have a Mossberg Maverick in 12cal and nine rounds of OO. Too, I have a Glock 40 with an aftermarket conversion barrel in 9mm. My worry as a new shooter is finding a range(s) to practice. Thank you for writing.
Rodger DeRamus
2 months ago at 10:13 PM
Bob, I am from Alabama and we have a lot of State and Federal Forest lands and some have public shooting ranges. They may be hard to access, but they are described as being good. They have shooter' s. benches and a range of up to 100 yards. Maybe you could check to see if your state has forest lands that have these types of public lands. Thanks.
Gideon Rockwell
2 months ago at 6:16 PM
During the day I have an XD-9 and two spare mags close by along with a Bushmaster Carbine loaded with a 30 rounder. At night I have a Remington 12 gauge Tac-14 close to my bed loaded with controlled recoil 00 and a Kimber Tactical 45 with Meprolight Tritium Sights. In a day when mass gang home invasions happens everyday no place is safe.
bill knight
2 months ago at 6:18 PM
I've read many articles about different rounds and their potential for over penetration . The .223/5.56 55 grain round did better in tests with actual wall material showed it penetrated less through walls than any pistol round and Much less than Buck shot larger than #1. #4 buck didn't over penetrate much beyond 1 wall, and that is what is in my Rem 870 with Knoxx Spec ops stock plus 2 mag extension and a saddle mount for my red dot, and a flashlight on the fore end.
Rick Todd
2 months ago at 6:19 PM
Where is the compact never fail revolver called The Judge? 410 Shotgun shells and 45 cal. How is this not the #1 home defense weapon? First I have mine loaded with bird shot for the first shot which if anyone with half a brain breaking into my house has any kind of sense they would leave and not look back. If they don't have a brain then 2 and 3 are loaded with buck shot because of the short barrel and inaccuracy. Then if needed 4 and 5 are .45 cal hollow point. Also the ease of use being a compact revolver, no long barrel like a shotgun to whip around corners. Just my personal opinion.
2 months ago at 6:22 PM
My home defence weapon of choice is a No.1 Mk. III .303 Lee Enfield. There's something about a rifle with a bayonet on it that robbers don't like. Your choices are more likely to be practical.
Chris schaefer
2 months ago at 6:26 PM
My go to home defense weapon is a Suppressed 9” 300 blackout ar pistol with hollow point 205 grain subsonic defensive ammo to control over penetration
Old Goat
2 months ago at 6:26 PM
My Remington 870 20-gauge 3-inch Magnum Chamber with a Turkey barrel that a gunsmith cut to Legal 19-inches (just behind the choke), shell tube extension that is 1-inch shorter than the barrel giving me 8 plus 1 Magnum or 9 plus 1 Standard shells, AR style Butstock with Pistol Grip, FiberOptic front sight for day and shell tube mounted Laser/Tactical Flashlight combo for night will get the job done without so much over penetration. I can’t use it for hunting but have a mostly unmodified 870 for that. For handguns I have Magnum Research/IMI Baby Eagle with 20-round magazines yet my Small hands can hold/shoot/control very comfortably. I also have a 1st year Kahr 9, holds only 7rounds but both pistols are very reliable and I hit what I shoot at with either.
2 months ago at 6:28 PM
MY go to gun is a canik 9mm with crimson trace green laser mounted under the barrel. Love it easy to shoot accurate reliable it only has around 1000 rounds through it and has never failed .Its alway handy my second go to gun is S&W 686 performance center competitor wonderful gun always works limited on high volume.My last go to is my Colt Python 6" it never misses and I prey to god I don't get to needing it, its best while sleeping in my safe Queen that she is
2 months ago at 6:30 PM
Glad to see the 226 on your list. I own two stainless elite 226's (9mm .357 Sig) but i'm more impressed with my Sig 320RX.
2 months ago at 6:30 PM
I have owned a Beretta 9MM since 1981. Have had zero problems with it. When I was younger, it was as if I couldn't miss my target. Amazing platform, I now own two. I usually buy two of everything (in case the SHTF)
Tim S
2 months ago at 6:31 PM
I just bought a HnR partner, Norinco’s clone of the 870. I have 2 Glocks, 26and 17 What I still want is a 590 or coach gun to use short or speciality loads and for now, short shells only come in 12 gauge
2 months ago at 6:33 PM
I stopped reading here: "In a stressful situation, a shotgun is an extremely easy tool to use. With the spread of buckshot, you're not likely to miss." False on both accounts. Other firearms may be easier to use (especially recoil-minded considerations...see Joe Biden video). The spread of most buckshot at 7 yards is narrow, so yeah you might miss, and further any missed 00 buckshot pellets can cruise through several sheets of drywall.
Dan LaMoreaux
2 months ago at 6:35 PM
90% Agreement. I’d change the Lock to a.40 cal better takedown than a nine less overreaction. Also I use an AR-15 PISTOL, not a rifle. All the benefits but shorter is WAY easier to maneuver indoors.
2 months ago at 6:36 PM
Always a fan of high capacity 12 gauge and 9mm hollow point for home defense
leo cordell
2 months ago at 6:36 PM
shotgun holds a tight pattern at close range, you need to aim
Tom Springob
2 months ago at 6:39 PM
I have a CZ-75 9mm on carpeted floor next to bed. While shotguns and ARS are great, I want to react fast and a handgun makes most sense to me. I love the unparalleled reliability of this platform and swap the clip out monthly. Used to keep my mossberg 500 or my six inch barreled .357 near bed , but they just were not as fast into action as the CZ.
Gary Micko
2 months ago at 6:42 PM
I agree with most of what you state in your article. However, with most of the calibers that the AR 15 come in might overpenetrate in a close range environment. I've been told by some police officers that if you use the ar15 for home defense could be misinterpreted in court. Most handgun calibers are fine. There is one unsung hero that most people don't consider. The M-1 carbine. It was practically designed for close quarters battle. In most cases he gun or the ammo wouldn't break the bank. As far as a court case goes it would be hard to pin the "Rambo" mentality on the defender. This my opinion.
Thomas Korenek
2 months ago at 6:44 PM
The "only" semi-auto handgun to own is one that has a de-cocker... Safety is my ultimate concern... My choice for handguns includes revolvers. Why? Revolvers do not jam! When I travel I carry two revolvers and two Sig semi-autos with de-cockers.
Jay S
2 months ago at 6:44 PM
I like your choices However I switched out the Mossberg 590 for the Mossberg 500M with the 20 round Magazine and the Glock 19 for the Smith and Wesson M&P Compact 2.0
Art Scott
2 months ago at 6:46 PM
I agree as to a shotgun being a viable home defense weapon. Mine is a Mossberg 500, however I installed the Opsol mini-clip which allows me to use the Aguila mini shotshells. I went from 6 in the tube to 9. In a home defense situation there is less likelihood of over penetration with this loading. Only reason mine is a 500 instead of a 590 is economics.
Chuck cutts
2 months ago at 7:17 PM
What about a ksg ?, you’d take the Mossberg first? Wow
Gabe Nanni
2 months ago at 7:23 PM
Home defense needs to be easy to handle and either accurate or with a wide blast zone. A scattergun loaded with #4 Bird or #4 Buck is great. Point and shoot. Semi auto is even better. Just keep pulling. 20 gauge is even easier to handle than 12. You trying to stop or dissuade? A flurry of 40 .22LR Stingers that might actually hit are better than a PMag full of 5.56 that also takes out the neighbor’s house.
Tom knapp
2 months ago at 7:54 PM
I’m old school, mine night stand gun is springfield loaded operator, of course in 45
Mike Boyle
2 months ago at 9:00 PM
Dont forget about a Glock 30 & an SKS. 10 rounds and always goes bang! BJHP and SP rounds.
2 months ago at 9:05 PM
The article is ambiguous and worthless. Choosing a gun for home defense has little to do with brands or models. A CZ P07 is just as good as a SIg P229 or Sig P226 , Glock , S&W etc. Likewise, a Remington 870 is no better than a Mossberg, Benelli etc. The best firearm for home defense is partly going to be dictated by where the homeowner lives. If they live in a row home or apartment complex using a shotgun or rifle has a likelihood of taking out a neighbor in the neighbor's own home. Secondly consideration should be given as to whether a home defense firearm should have a light and if that is the case the gun needs to have a rail. Another thing that gets overlooked is the need for hearing protection especially with shotguns, long guns and magnum type pistols. There are many other factors to lengthy to discuss in this post. My point on this subject is the article should have more on what a homeowner will likely face when confronted by a intruder and pro and cons of using different types of firearms and ammunition along with accessories.
2 months ago at 9:05 PM
Fully agree. Lots of factors that should have been discussed. To my mind, the "best" is the one you have, always goes bang when you pull the trigger, and have practiced with enough to have nearly automatic control.
Justin Bedwell
2 months ago at 9:13 PM
The number one rated magazine fed shot gun in 2019 was the KS-12 Komrad, as stated by USA gun shop. I’d say it’s in the top 5 of home defense weapons.
Jim Fiocca
2 months ago at 9:25 PM
A Remington 1100 will do the job for home defense or a Beretta 92F or a Springfield armory .45 ACP should cover home defense...the weapons you have listed are fine, no problem, however I prefer those I listed....good article, thanks...
Greg Derr
2 months ago at 10:02 PM
I Love my Smith&Wesson M&P 9mm 2.0 4.25 17 rds of Hell for the bad guy 2A
Carr Baldwin
2 months ago at 10:08 PM
Good article. I like an AR15 w/ 300 Blackout barrel using subsonic ammo. Much less noise and adequate stopping power.
Jim S
2 months ago at 10:12 PM
2 months ago at 10:25 PM
Is the Glock 19 better than a Glock 17L with a target barrel and grip laser? Use the target barrel so I can safely shoot reloads.
Kevin Henderson
2 months ago at 10:56 PM
i have an issue with saying the AR-15 is the same as the M16 ...same platform maybe HOWEVER saying it is the same rifle is going to play into gun grabber hands...first it is NOT fully automatic 2nd it is illegal to have a fully automatic weapon without a federal permit to own it. OK you may now have my permission to say thank you Captain obvious!
Larry S.
2 months ago at 11:14 PM
While all are viable home defense guns I found the order you ranked them in and your reasoning interesting. You said the only reason the Mossberg 590 wasn't number 1 was concern about "over penetration or other collateral damage". Apparently that wasn't a concern with the Remington 870. With that said, you ranked the AR-15 in .223 above the shotguns? The amount of over penetration would depend on the bullet used but wow! For the ultimate in reliability, shoot it in the dark with no concern about jamming I'll stake my life on a revolver. If I haven't done the job with 6 I'll grab the speed loader.
michael a cressman
2 months ago at 11:20 PM
My COLT DEFENDER in 45acp is my primary defense weapon. I have a Rem 870 with extended tube loaded with custom rounds as a back up...
2 months ago at 11:46 PM
Interesting, have 3 variants of your top 5 picks. Only difference is G31, and the 12 gauge is a Panzer AR12 for the 10 round mag and rails for lazer. red dot n light
Uncle j
2 months ago at 12:39 AM
Too many to list...wait, is there such a thing as too many? Never-mind... Stay safe, stay healthy.
2 months ago at 3:46 AM
9mm pistol but also own a 9mm carbine that would be a good home self defense weapon if necessary.
Jerry McConnell
2 months ago at 8:10 AM
What no M1911?
2 months ago at 8:26 AM
I have a revolver s&w 686+.It can be loaded and ready for years,no mag or feeding problems to be concerned with.
Arik Estus
2 months ago at 8:46 AM
Have you actually checked the pattern size of a load of buckshot out of an 18" barrel at what would be close range? Like in a house?
J.R. Allen
2 months ago at 9:30 AM
Good article but one thing needs to be emphasized, especially for those relatively new to the world of firearms. Over penetration. A shotgun, in any gauge (10, 12, 16, 20, 28 or .410) makes an excellent inside the home defense gun as long as it loaded with bird shot (#7.5, 8 or 9). Using loads such as these are deadly at the close ranges you would encounter inside a typical structure such as a house or apartment. The benefit of these rounds over buckshot or slugs is that the bird shot will be stopped by a wall vs. buck & slugs traveling through multiple walls, endangering others who are not your intended target. This is of utmost importance for those who have children in other parts of their home. 9mm's, 223/5.56 and other rifle & pistol cartridges all share the same over penetration problem. One exception to that rule is the .45acp loaded with a hollow point or a "safety slug". So, if you choose to have a hand gun for inside the home defense, go with the .45acp, save the other pistol and rifle rounds for outside use. This may save someone you love from unintentional injury or even death at your hands.
Tony Santamarina
2 months ago at 8:56 AM
My home defense gun is a Ruger P95 and Baretta 92 FS
For my wife and me it depends on which room we are in.
2 months ago at 5:11 PM
It depends on which room we are in. Master BR, Glock 20; LR, Glock 22; Back Yard, Bersa Thunder Plus, S.A.
Michael and Cheryl Botello
2 months ago at 5:13 PM
It depends on which room we are in.
2 months ago at 7:14 PM
Regarding my prior post, the spread may have left the cup if you are on opposite sides of the room, but inside 3 or 4 yards (from your doorway to the middle of the room where the burglar will be if you are lucky and he is not closer, you are in the cup...
Peter Eldridge
2 months ago at 11:59 AM
Glock 43 with light. Close range weapon, heavy HP round, controllable recoil. Have seen the damage it does to the human body as it has been used at my former agency six times, One double tap and the rest single shots. Results matter!
2 months ago at 7:03 AM
As many of the readers noted there are a lot of potential choices. Ultimately each individual needs to evaluate a number of factors before making his or her final selection and these include home layout, other occupants (if any) ambient lighting (if any) etc but most importantly skill set and capability and familiarity with the firearm. So I'd suggest it's a carefully considered process. For myself, my bedside gun is a Sig 2022 in .357 Sig with a CZ P10c in 9mm as a backup.