Glock offers a variety of sizes and calibers.
Glock offers a variety of sizes and calibers.

Choosing a Firearm for Self-Defense

Making the right choice is hard when you don't have a lot of background or someone knowledgeable to rely on for advice. The purpose of this post is to give quality information so that when you do take your cold hard cash to a shop you will have a greater understanding when you make a selection. Having this knowledge allows you to ask intelligent questions before making your purchase.

So down to business! First, what is the main purpose of your gun? If you want it primarily for protection in the home as a self-defense weapon you could opt for a pistol or shotgun. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

A pistol could easily be stored securely in a lock box near your bedside or other secret hiding place for quick access.  Size wouldn't be as much of an issue since you aren't planning to conceal carry. So here, my choice would be to have a full-sized pistol. The size and weight would in most cases make shooting it a bit easier as well as being more accurate for most individuals.

The many different calibers and the multitude of self-defense ammo make it a viable choice.

A shotgun is another fine home defense weapon. It’s very effective and a top choice of mine. It can be loaded with slugs or buck shot with several good choices for the circumstances.

It’s harder to keep secure than a handgun, possibly living in the closet most of its working life. Still easily and readily available when needed, but out of plain site. The pros of owning a shotgun is that a shot will cover a pretty big area so being a crack shot is not necessary.

The pellets within the shotgun shells go a shorter distance so are less likely to visit the neighbors if you need to use it. Also, it expends much of its energy very quickly, so going through walls of your house isn’t as much of a problem. Knowing your target and what is beyond it still applies here. This is rule number four: Be aware of your target and what is beyond it.

I’m sure if an intruder was facing down the barrel of a shotgun it would have a significant deterrent effect. Big plus for the shotgun. It may cause you to not have to use it as the would-be intruder would hopefully be gone, never to come back. If he was there to rob you and now he is gone it would have done the trick.

Better to not have to use your firearm than to be drawn into the legalities. Even though you may think you have every right to defend your castle, an incident would be looked at by a prosecutor and you could be scrambling for a lawyer. (Law and responsibilities has its own post.)

A shotgun or pistol?  Hmm. Both are good choices but if I was to only choose one I would probably go for the shotgun. However, a better choice may be to buy one for yourself and of course to keep things even, buy one for your spouse or partner.  Oooo one of each, How did that happen?

What about long guns and rifles? Long guns or rifles, whether a hunting style or military style version have their place for sure. For basic self-defense purposes, I advise against them. The bullets, being higher velocity, would over penetrate and the “what is beyond it? rule number four comes into play.

But being prepared for all foreseen possibilities is not a bad thing. A long gun is great for longer distances or defending your home from marauders, so if you worry about this and have the mind of a prepper you could make this choice. Defending your castle in a WROL situation may be well and fine but let’s work on basic home self-defense first. (By the way, I hate ACRONYMS! Just so you don't have to look that one up, it stands for Without Rule Of Law.)

Preppers, Survivalists, Hmm, big subject. A lot of time can be devoted here as well. I do like the survivalist attitude so in the future I will be writing about this as well. Told ya, the down and dirty, quick to the point version is on another page but you're still with me. Great!

When you’ve chosen the type of firearm you want, the next step is to buy it. Click on the “Buying a firearm for self-defense” page.