These gun companies are at the top of the list for home defense firearm options.
In the United States, self-defense and home-defense firearms are some of the biggest sellers, eclipsing the once-dominant sporting arms. With gun sales surging--partly due to the coronavirus and partly due to bouts of civil unrest--more people in the U.S. own guns than ever before.
When it comes to concealed carry, small and light handguns designed not to snag or print are the standard. For home defense, there are a lot more options available. Here's a quick guide to the brands to pay attention to for those new to gun ownership.
Let's take a look at long guns first.
Mossberg's pump action shotguns, particularly the Model 500 have been popular among hunters and law enforcement for a long time, and thanks to a robust aftermarket for the 500 and 590, as well as a number of variants offered from the factory, they have become a favorite among gun owners for home defense, too, along with their semi-automatic 930 models.
With the proper ammo, a shotgun makes for a powerful and easy-to-use, home-defense weapon, and the Mossberg 500, 590 and the more budget-friendly Maverick 88 are a favorite of first-time gun buyers.
Before there was the Mossberg 500, there was the Remington 870 pump gun, and it has been doing double duty as a hunting gun and a home-defense gun for decades.
Today, Remington makes several variants of the 870 that are ready-made for home defense, with attachment points for gun lights and optics.
But older, proven shotgun models aren't the only candidates for home-defense guns. Kel-Tec made a big splash when it introduced its KSG pump-action shotgun.
The bullpup design means it has a shorter overall length without sacrificing barrel length while still being long enough to be considered a shotgun under federal law and not a short-barreled shotgun that requires a tax stamp and registration.
Additionally, the KSG has two magazine tubes side-by-side under the barrel which each hold seven rounds of 12-gauge 2.75-inch ammo, for a total ammo capacity of 14+1 rounds.
Some prefer a handgun for home defense, and in places with local laws and/or state laws that require guns to be locked up when not in use, handguns and quick-access gun safes are a logical and convenient choice.
Even if someone holds a concealed carry permit and a corresponding compact pistol to go with it, they often opt for a full-size firearm more akin to something law enforcement officers would carry.
Full sized Glock pistols in 9mm, .45 ACP, and 10mm are popular choices for home defense, for the same reason so may police departments and law enforcement agencies have chosen them as duty guns--they're simple to operate, reliable, and offer large magazine capacities, along with a large aftermarket for accessories and parts for high customizability.
SIG Sauer handguns, like the P226 and P320, favorites of the military and police officers, have also become popular self-defense weapons for the home. The P226 was even the FBI's standard issue firearm when they first switched from revolvers to semi-automatics in the 1980s.
It makes sense that firearms built like semi-auto versions of the assault rifles the military relies on would be a popular choice for civilian home defense. Lots of companies make AR-platform rifles, carbines, and pistols that are suitable and offer all the features necessary for a good home-defense gun.
At the same time, the lever gun, once relied upon for personal defense on the frontier, is finding new life as a modern home-defense option.
Ruger's SAINT line of ARs, which includes a carbine length model, two rifle models, and an ultra-compact pistol version, providing affordable home-defense options from a company with a great reputation for quality and customer service.
Henry Repeating Arms
Another great option for a home-defense rifle is a lever-action gun chambered in a hard-hitting handgun caliber, like .357 Mag or .44 Mag.
They are simple to operate, reliable and relatively easy to handle. Some even come with threaded barrels so they can be used with a suppressor/silencer, like the new X Model line from Henry, which has a wonderfully designed loading gate, rugged synthetic furniture, and rails and M-Lok slots ready for gun lights and laser sights.
They can also be topped with a rail segment and pretty much any optic available.
Whatever gun you choose for home defense, whether it be a small pistol or a machine gun, make sure you take it to the shooting range on a regular basis and become proficient with it while also conducting dry fire drills in your home, so that when something goes bump in the night, you're ready, confident and accurate.
And, if you're having a hard time choosing, find a firearms dealer in your area with a shooting range that will let you take your prospective new home-defense gun for a spin before you fill out your background check form and plunk down your hard-earned dollars.