A great deal of thought is given to the subject of self-defense and home protection. Much digital ink has been spilled discussing which guns, rounds, and storage methods are the best for home defense. Rarely does the subject come up of the worst guns to use to defend yourself. But knowing what not to use is just as important as knowing what you should use, which is why we've put this list together.
How Did We Create Our List of Worst Guns for Home Defense?
Guns were chosen for this list based on a variety of concerns, such as guns that are underpowered, overpowered, or unreliable.
Inevitably, there will be something on this list that someone takes offense to being included. If you see something here you enjoy or own, by all means, feel free to disagree. But at the very least, consider the possibility that there is some truth in the statements made and that it's worth a discussion. After all, discussing and debating guns in a civil and friendly manner is one of the best things about being part of the gun community!
Countdown of the 5 Worst Guns for Home Defense
With all that being said, let’s jump in.
5. The Remington 700
The Remington model 700 is one of the most popular hunting rifles in the world, and with good reason. It's a fantastic rifle that has been used by military snipers and avid hunters for more than 50 years. It's available in multiple calibers, including .308 and .223, and has a variety of options available straight from the manufacturer, including tactical. In fact, the manufacturer even lauds its capabilities for hunting and "defending freedom."
So, if it's such a great rifle, what's the problem?
The marketing of the Remington 700 as a tactical rifle tends to place it as a good defense option in most people's minds. Someone could buy it as a rifle intended for hunting and defending their home and never give it a second thought until someone breaks in. Which is where the problem would become immediately apparent: It's a bolt action rifle.
Hunting and sniping are vastly different from home defense. Even if you're proficient at working the bolt quickly, having to manually eject and chamber a round after every shot takes time. In the frenetic situation involved in defending yourself against an intruder, that isn't an optimal position to find yourself in.
The fight or flight response to a home invasion can also make it more difficult to handle tasks that require the fine motor skills that a bolt action does. You could be jittery or nervous, and suddenly your gun is harder to handle than it normally is. Unfortunately, many people buy this type of gun for hunting and believe it can double as a home defense gun without taking these things into account.
4. The Derringer
No, this is not a joke. To some people, the thought of using the Derringer as a defense weapon at all is purely laughable. However, there are some who think it's a perfect weapon, mostly due to its size and the ability to conceal it. Some suggest that its size is helpful in hiding it in plain sight or keeping it on you to be ready if someone breaks in. While those are certainly good qualities to have in certain situations, the Derringer is not exactly the best choice for home defense.
Even though you can find Derringers in .38 and .45, which are arguably good calibers for home defense, the size of the gun is a huge issue. The gun is so small that you defeat the purpose of having the larger caliber; the more powerful the round is, the harder it is to control such a small framed gun. Even if you do have one of the models that holds more than one round, the recoil of such a small gun firing a caliber meant for bigger guns almost assuredly means you won't get a follow up shot.
In addition to that, the triggers on these guns aren't optimal, and the sights are rudimentary at best. Even higher-end Derringers with interchangeable barrels and other features are no better in quality when it comes to trigger and sighting. Lastly, you have to manually pull the hammer back in order to shoot. That's an extra thing to think about and an extra step is the last thing you need when every second counts.
3. The Smith and Wesson 500
It may surprise some people that The Smith and Wesson 500 is included on this list. It's quite literally the definition of "hand cannon" and is one of the single most powerful handguns in the world. It's genuinely a large, handgun chambered in a very powerful caliber: the .500 magnum. This gun is an absolute beast.
Which is exactly the problem. It's a big, heavy, unwieldy firearm that can be too big for its own good. Plus, the round it fires is completely overpowered for home defense. If you were forced to use it to secure your home, you would likely end up shooting the neighbor's house through the intruder and the walls, and that's if you manage to hit the person you're aiming at. Trying to aim such a heavy weapon is not an easy task, especially under duress.
None of that even deals with the fact that this is a revolver, which limits your shot capacity. If there's a good defensive use for this gun, it's as a blunt instrument. You'd be better off beating an intruder with this massive metal brick than trying to shoot them with it.
2. The Taurus Judge
Not only will this one surprise people, but it may ruffle a few feathers that we're including the Taurus Judge on this list at all. There are people who absolutely swear by this gun for defensive purposes, and on paper it's easy to see why. Attempting to combine features of a powerful revolver and a small shotgun seems like it could be a great idea for a defensive weapon. Except it isn't.
The Taurus Judge is a prime example of what happens when you try to do too much in one gun. Rarely do combinations of things result in the best of both worlds, and that's especially true in guns (looking at you, .40 caliber). What ends up happening is that rather than getting the best features of what you're combining, you get the worst.
First, the .410 caliber is a terrible choice for a defensive weapon. Even buckshot has been found to have trouble penetrating something like denim, and anything less than that will likely only serve to anger your would-be attacker rather than slow them down. You could shoot slugs, but if you're going to do that, why bother with the shotgun shells? Just use the .45 Colt, since it can take those too.
With the small barrel and recoil of the round, though, the Taurus Judge isn't terribly effective as a regular revolver either. In addition to that, it's on the low end for revolvers when it comes to capacity, as it only holds five rounds. It may be fun to play around with, but it's not a good defensive gun.
1. The Hi-Point C9
There's an old adage that absolutely applies to this gun: You get what you pay for. There's a reason this gun is the absolute cheapest gun on the market. While some of the other firearms on this list offer reasons people would consider them as possibilities, the Hi-Point C9's only redeeming quality is its price.
The polymer on this gun feels like cheap plastic, and the catastrophic failures that you find online for this gun make it look like it may actually be cheap plastic. It doesn't stop there, either. Even the metal seems like it's from recycled cheap cookware. But what can you expect for a gun that costs $150.00 or less?
It may seem like these are unfair or harsh criticisms, but rest assured they are not. This gun has exposed hardware that's known to break or even fall off. It suffers from malfunctions, such as failure to feed and failure to eject. It quite literally rattles when shaken, even when it's empty. The slides have broken while firing, as have the frames, and there are documented instances of the guns essentially coming apart like an explosion during use. They quite literally fall to pieces. On top of all that, it's a single stack magazine with only eight rounds capacity with the standard magazine. The only way this gun would help you in a home defense situation is if the intruder sees it and assumes you're broke and leaves.
There you have it, the top five worst guns for home defense. While you're researching home defense guns, check out our blog posts on the best guns for home defense and how to store a gun for home defense.
Do you agree with our choices? Disagree? Sound off in the comments about what you think the best or worst guns for home defense might be.