The sights and sounds of a recent home defense shooting in Pocatello, Idaho, where the attacker was sentenced for attempted murder have inspired me to highlight three truly great and classic guns for the role of defending yourself and your family in the home. I have never been able to understand how anyone could possibly choose to live anywhere without having the most efficient means of defense available – a firearm.
In my way of thinking, being unarmed is irresponsible when living alone, and it’s something much worse when living with a family. Standing by helpless while a loved one is harmed or killed by an attacker is incomprehensible. I’ve been known to have strong opinions, and this is certainly one of them.
In my way of thinking, being unarmed is irresponsible when living alone, and it’s something much worse when living with a family. If you are qualified pursuant to federal and state laws to possess a firearm and you do not have one available in the home, it is by your choosing. Some jurisdictions make the exercise of your natural right to arms difficult, but it is not impossible. Unarmed folks fall into a few categories. The three most prominent are uneducated (can be easily remedied), lazy and reality-denier.
There are some others who think that they could not take another person’s life regardless of the circumstances. I’ve been able to talk everyone I’ve ever met with this mindset out of it, but I’ve grown to respect the view. There are still others who simply know that they are too emotionally volatile to responsibly own firearms. I appreciate this and never attempt to dissuade a person from this view.
My strong opinions on the subject of defense specifically in the home might have something to do with the fact that I have had a gun available to me for defense since I was about six years old. When I was very young, I sat at the top of the stairs with my loaded Ruger 10/22 across my lap. I’m confident that the guy who was trying to kick our front door down with my sister and me home alone saw it through the side window and decide to stop his assault.
The recent attack in Idaho is one of the best illustrations of the need and responsibility to be armed. I would encourage you to watch and listen to the entire video and then share it with as many people as possible. There is a lot of raw, emotional conversation involved. Part of it included the machete-wielding attacker admitting after he was shot that he was going to murder the man and woman inside the apartment.
The home defender clearly got the job done protecting himself and his girlfriend with his handgun, but the scenario made me ask myself what I would have wanted in my hands in the same circumstances. For home defense, I do not want a gun with a barrel that is so long that it might cause concerns with regard to retention. I also want something that has enough power that it is expected to immediately stop a threat. Depending on living circumstances, projectile over penetration can become an issue, but this needs to be taken into account on a case-by-case basis. Here, I’m simply looking at the best fight stoppers where conceal ability is not at issue.
Remington 870 Shotgun
This shotgun with an extended magazine tube, sidesaddle, flashlight and 18-inch barrel might be the best home defense platform ever devised. A shotgun
loaded with 00 buck is the definition of a fight stopper. The 870 is simple to use and understand with very little training. One of the key points to remember is that, unlike the portrayals in Hollywood, shotguns loaded with buckshot do need to be aimed. The shot patterns inside most houses get no larger than a softball. It’s like shooting a very big bullet, and this is how users need to think about it. The key is that the big “bullet,” when placed properly, stops fights right now.
DSA Inc. FAL SA58 Carbine with 16.25" Barrel
This will be nails on a chalkboard for the nutty gun prohibitionists, but this “scary-looking gun” that they would love nothing more than to ban is an outstanding choice for home defense. The platform is storied for its ruggedness and reliability and has been the issue service rifle for many militaries throughout the world. The .308 cartridge with a proper bullet like the Hornady SST would definitely lead a home invader to wish he had chosen a different means of seeking income. Standard magazines hold 20 rounds, so there is plenty of capacity to help avoid the need for a reload under stress. A good addition to this package is placing a Picatinny rail on the top for the mounting of a reflex optic.
If a pistol is more your speed, it is hard to beat the Glock 21. It is a large package to be sure, but it also launches big .45 caliber projectiles that have been stopping bad guys for generations. With 13 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, it has what is needed for situations involving multiple adversaries, as many home invasions do. This .45 has the same reliability that is inherent in the entire Glock pistol line. It is a true fighting handgun. Mounting a laser/light combination is a great way to make it the ideal handgun for the home.
LaSorte has been shooting regularly since he was four years old and has grown into a competitive shooter, adventure hunter and NRA Certified Instructor. There is nothing he enjoys more than acquiring and sharing knowledge associated with shooting and self-defense. Empowering others, especially women, through an introduction to what he calls the “beautiful world” of shooting is his passion.