How To Choose Home Defense Weapons

pistols as home defense weapons

Pistols are a popular choice for home defense weapons

Your family’s safety is first and foremost in your mind when it comes to establishing a home defense strategy. No one is going to walk into your home uninvited and harm your family. Plain and simple. If it occurs, you have an idea of how things will play out. After all, you have your guns. Guns are first in the list of home defense weapons.

Lately, though, you’re wondering is that enough? Should you have other means to defend against intruders? How do you protect your whole family when its’s the middle of the night? Let’s think this through a bit.


Let’s start by examining firearms and agree the best firearm to protect your family at home is whatever one you are most comfortable with handling. With that said, there are some guns more suited to home defense:

  1. Shotguns – If you have an outdoor shotgun, consider getting one intended for indoor use. Right now, the most popular seem to be tactical shotguns, with 18”-20” barrels.
  2. Rifles – A pistol-caliber carbine or a tactical semi-auto are good choices for home defense weapons.
  3. Handguns – Still, the most popular choice for home defense weapons. Whether double-action revolvers or a semi-automatic, pistols are easy to handle and dependable.


As a responsible gun owner, you understand that sometimes a firearm just isn’t the answer for fighting off intruders. A 12-inch to 21-inch, collapsible baton can be used in most situations where a firearm just isn’t feasible. Opt for a light-weight version and make sure to carry it toward the front of your body. Anything else may leave you defenseless.

Pepper Spray

Get it out of your head that pepper spray is only something you give to your teenage daughter. It’s effective in disabling an attacker, even if only for a short-time. Carrying it with you and having it ready to use quickly is the key to getting out of a sticky situation and regrouping.


We all have them in our homes. While not all knives are created equal, they can be used by nearly anyone to cut and run. Think about finding a one-day knife training class for you and your family. You won’t just learn moves but what the best knife is for defending yourself. In the meantime, a butcher knife from the kitchen will work just fine in case of a home invasion.


Having an escape plan is as important as a cache of weapons at your disposal. Where will your family go in case of a home invasion? What’s your backup plan if access to your safe room is blocked? Do you have ways to communicate with the outside world? Whose job will it be to reach out to neighbors or police? What if those attempts fail?

Consider putting weapons in each of the bedrooms, out of the reach of children, but still accessible to you in case of an emergency. Whether you use the weapon doesn’t matter; knowing it’s there will give you peace of mind and you’ll be able to focus on the unfolding situation in front of you.

Bottom line, it’s good to think things through and plan and prepare. Worry won’t make you any more likely to respond successfully, but a good plan well-implemented and practiced will. And you can sleep better, too, knowing that you are prepared.

image credit: By P. Mateus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Other posts in this series on home defense include:

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About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

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