Out-of-the-Box Defense Guns You May Not Have Considered

Just because it's different doesn't mean it's not effective. Here are some less common suggestions for defense guns.

When it comes to self defense and home defense, some people feel most confident with a loaded handgun at the ready.

Others might lean on a semi-automatic rifle they use for target shooting as their go-to gun if someone attempts an unlawful entry into their home, either because they don't have anything else, or its what they feel most confident with.

Still others who carry firearms regularly often use the same concealed handgun to pull double duty for concealed carry and home defense, while others prefer a simple double barreled shotgun. A lot of folks might like a mounted machine gun for home defense, and it's not a bad idea, but quite expensive these days. Here are some more unconventional yet extremely effective choices for defensive firearms.


Most people find full size handguns, like the ones carried by open carriers (where legal) and law enforcement agencies, to be much easier to use for home defense. This is due to their generous grips, ammo capacity, and large accessory rails and optics options.

There are a lot of options out there, but if you live in a small apartment with no lines of sight that are longer than 15 paces or so, something like the Smith & Wesson Governor or the Taurus Judge could be an ideal option.

Both are revolvers designed to fire both .45 Long Colt cartridges and .410 shotgun shells. Neither gun is designed to fire either at considerable distances, and they aren't very accurate beyond 15 yards or so, but if that's the range in which you're most likely to encounter an attacker, modern .410 defensive shotgun shell loads are devastating and plenty accurate from either wheelgun. The biggest downside is that reloading is slow, as it is with all revolvers.

If you live in a freestanding home on a decent piece of land and still prefer to us a handgun for home defense, a 10mm pistol is a great option. The Glock G40 MOS offers all the power of the 10mm Auto in a simple-to-use striker-fired platform. This gun was designed for competition use, but its generous barrel and milled slide ready to accept red dot optics makes it a great, if unconventional choice, that doesn't work so great as a concealed firearm, but is ideal for home defense.


The 10mm is a great cartridge, but it's a lot to handle in a handgun for most people. The FBI realized this when it briefly issued 10mm handguns to its agents. The recoil and size proved to be too much for many agents to handle, and the FBI switched back to 9mm handguns before issuing pistols chambered in .40 S&W, and eventually going back to 9mm again.

But a carbine chambered in 10mm is a different story. With a shoulder stock, a 10mm becomes as manageable as a .357 Magnum or even a .44 Magnum in a carbine, while also benefitting from increased barrel length.

The KRISS Vector has a unique design that redirects recoil downward, fighting muzzle rise and sending less kick to the shooter. While a 10mm is a bit too powerful for even most law enforcement officers, the carbine version of the Vector chambered in 10mm is a super easy-to-control powerhouse—and best of all, it takes Glock G40 magazines. With a folding stock, it's even a great size to keep in a motor vehicle, if local laws allow.

Some state laws consider any firearm in a vehicle not secured in a locked container a concealed weapon, whether it's in plain sight, under the seat in a holster, or stashed in a glove compartment. Seek legal advice on local laws before committing to keeping a loaded firearm in your car or truck. Getting it wrong could turn you into a felon overnight, with or without a carry permit.

Going old school is also a great option for defensive carbines. Modern lever guns, like those made by Marlin and Henry Repeating Arms, are excellent choices that are reliable, simple to operate, and come in a variety of chamberings so you can find what works best for you.

A lever action rifle in .357 Magnum is quite powerful with not much recoil, but if it proves to be too much, the same gun can run .38 Special loads, of which there are bevy of self defense ammo options.


Something cool happened a few years ago—shotgun companies realized that under current federal gun laws, if a shotgun comes from the factory without a stock, its technically exempt from the NFA barrel length requirements, as long as it has an overall length of 26 inches.

Thanks to these exemptions, non-NFA shorty shotguns were born, which are transferred and purchased like any long gun under federal law after an instant background check.

Guns like the Mossberg 590 Shockwave got a lot of flack out of the gate from people who are convinced that pistol-grip-only shotguns are as evil as the devil, but if you hit the shooting range regularly and load it with the right ammunition, these little guns can be extremely nimble and useful defensive firearms. The addition of a laser sight, like the Crimson Trace Lasersaddle, makes it even easier to get on target, and installing a pistol brace completes the package.

The Remington TAC-13, while expensive, offers all these advantages in a self-regulating semi-auto package that is just about the perfect defensive shotgun when equipped with a brace.

For some reason, advancements in shotgun technology are slow to be embraced by gun owners in the United States and abroad.

Blackwater Firearms built the Sentry 12 from the ground up to be a new kind of pump action shotgun. It's built much like an AR, with a two-part receiver and a modular design that means its easy to break down and maintain. It has a remarkably slick action, AR-style ambidextrous controls, and feeds 12 gauge shells from a box magazine, making this gun extremely easy to use with a shallow learning curve. It's also fast and easy to reload and lightweight enough that it could be used by any family member in a home defense situation.