When it comes to defending your home, which type of firearm do you reach for? Do you opt for a handgun for its maneuverability and easy access? Or do you want the power of a rifle to back you up when strange noises downstairs awaken you in the dark of night? Some say the sound of a shotgun being racked is enough deterrent, but is it really?
Weapon choice in the role of home defense is a hotly debated topic. This discussion is commonly talked about between friends and family over the dinner table and even argued among strangers over the internet (keyboard courage is a helluva drug). Details such as platform size and user proficiency, ammunition stopping power and overpenetration are all dissected and analyzed over and over again.
With so many strong and at times differing opinions about this topic, we decided to sit a group down at our Round Table to see which weapons they chose to defend their own homes with and why. Our Ballistic mag Round Table consists of a panel of experts ranging from military, law enforcement, trainers, competitors, gunsmiths and industry insiders who share their opinions on the many debatable topics in the firearms world (see Round Table: .45 ACP vs. 9mm in Ballistic Issue #1). Since everyone has different life experiences and knowledge, we like to mix things up with a diverse panel of experts in order to present different points of view and to encourage a healthy debate on each topic.
The multifaceted nature of the Round Table means that our experts will have differing opinions, which is a good thing. It is our hope that after all the opinions are read, you will come up with your own compelling reason to chose one (or more) weapon platform to defend your home and loved ones.
* Affiliation: Bravo Company USA, Inc. / Prior service USMC
* Position: Founder and CEO
* Home Defense Weapon of Choice: Rifle – BCM RECCE KMR
Why? A shotgun will not offer the precision I might need, and I am most proficient with a rifle versus a pistol. I am much faster and more accurate with a rifle, plus the additional capacity is an added bonus.
Modifications: Aimpoint CompM4 – The optic is always left on at the ready, with brightness set for indoor lighting, and the batteries last for years. The folding front sight is deployed – if the optic fails, I can be very accurate at close distances with just the front sight. I use two tactical lights in case one of them fails. Identifying your target and background is critical, since 99.99 percent of the bumps in the night are a no-shoot scenario.
A suppressor helps maintain situational awareness after the rifle is fired. I want to hear the movements of any other bad guys and/or locate and secure my family. I keep the sling strapped against the buttstock with a range band to be deployed when needed.
Top Shot Chris Cheng
* Affiliation: Pro Staff for Bass Pro Shops, Leupold and Salient Arms International
* Position: The History Channel’s Top Shot Champion
* Home Defense Weapon of Choice: Handgun – Glock 34
Why? I live in a San Francisco apartment with narrow hallways, and I’m in a semi-dense building with neighbors. Rifle rounds run the risk of penetrating through walls and causing collateral damage. Shotgun buckshot or birdshot are great home defense rounds, but a handgun is my home defense weapon of choice because I can maneuver around tight corners in my apartment more easily than with a long gun. I have a Glock 34 because that’s what I shoot in competition and know best. I have shot with it in the dark using lights and lasers, and I can manipulate a handgun in the dark from all my hours of practice. I have a SureFire X300 500-lumen flashlight that attaches easily to the Glock’s rail, and I also have a Crimson Trace Lasergrip onboard as well. In nighttime situations, 500 lumens will easily light things up, as well as disorient any intruders. The green laser allows me to focus on the target, since in a high-stress situation I want to make things as easy as possible for myself.
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I use a pistol because it has a higher capacity than your standard shotgun, since, of course, no one has ever said, “I wish I had less ammo.” Remember that everyone’s situation is different, and just because I prefer a pistol doesn’t necessarily mean a pistol is best for you. Consult a trained professional who can review your specific environment and needs.
Modifications: Salient Arms International (SAI) Tier 1 package: gold-ion bonded barrel for improved strength, full frame stippling, 3-pound SAI trigger, slide porting and cuts, and many internal mods. Warren Tactical and Sevigny Performance fiber-optic sights. SureFire X300 500-lumen weapons light. Crimson Trace LG-637G Lasergrip.
Why? Accessibility. The best weapon for any defensive situation is the one you have, not the one you wish you had, or even the one you’d like to “fight your way to.” I keep my Armalite M15TAC16 pretty accessible, and I also have a very well-used Remington 870 within quick reach. The weapon that remains with me virtually continuously, though, happens to be a beat-up old Glock 23 with a set of tritium night sights. I’m fortunate to live in a very rural area, and my home comes with a long list of outdoor chores. My gun stays with me while I take care of those things. It gets dirty, rained on, scratched and generally beat on all day long, and I don’t care. I don’t mind carrying it, therefore I will carry it. All the time. Being in the gun business and as a lifelong enthusiast of all types of firearms, I appreciate and enjoy shooting a long list of prettier, more accurate, more ergonomic guns than the Glock, but I also don’t carry those when I’m cutting firewood or riding around the farm. I shoot several different models of Glock handguns quite regularly whether in the occasional USPSA or 3-Gun match or just shooting for fun. The familiarity of function from regular practice and constant carry is highly important for any defensive gun, so the Glock serves me well to carry all day and keep close by at night.
RELATED STORY: Massad Ayoob – You Got A GLOCK. Now What?
Modifications: Tritium night sights from Trijicon.
Why? Over the years, my home defense weapon of choice has changed as my family has grown. In the past I used an assortment of differently configured ARs
as home defense weapons, but after I had my daughter, projectiles overpenetrating my home’s interior walls became a huge concern. I understand that some might say using purpose-driven .223/5.56 ammo could mitigate the chance of those rounds overpenetrating an intended target, but since my kid is on the other side of that wall, I err on the side of caution. In the hand safe next to my bed I keep my EDC, a 9mm Glock.
RELATED STORY: Home Defense Arsenal Upgrades
Modifications: The Glock has a Unity Tactical ATOM Slide, Trijicon RMR and SureFire X300, and the ammo I choose is Polycase’s Inceptor ARX. The Inceptor ARX is a polymer/copper projectile that has a devastating effect on soft tissue but doesn’t overpenetrate, and it fragments when it impacts hardened steel.
Note: To find out what four additional experts picked as their weapon of choice for home defense, head over to Tactical-Life.com
For More Information
Bass Pro Shops
Salient Arms International
This article was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of BALLISTIC™. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.