Top 5 Firearms For Home Defense

Top 5 Firearms For Home Defense

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Top 5 Firearms For Home Defense

With self defense a perennial topic of conversation in the 2nd Amendment community, it’s time once again to talk about the top five firearms for home defense, as presented in a neat slide show. We recognize, of course, that any top-five/ten/twenty list of firearms is the result of a great deal of subjective, personal opinion. We welcome all comments and all suggestions, as long as they’re presented politely and in a spirit of goodwill.

And now, the list, in no particular order.

Read Also: Top 21 Concealed Carry Guns: Comparisons and Rankings

First up, the Glock 22.


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Glock 22

Glock 22 Home Defense

Right now, some of you are nodding your approval, others of you are making derisive comments about Austrian Combat Tupperware, and some of you are complaining that I didn’t choose another model of Glock. Regardless, the Glock 22 remains an impressive choice for a home defense arsenal: reliable, accurate at home defense distances by any standard, and delivering a fair amount of stopping power. An ideal choice for someone who needs a tool of personal protection. The newer Gen4 versions also include an accessory rail to attach a laser, light or laser/light combo.

Next up, the FNX Tactical.



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FNX Tactical

FNX Tactical Home Defense

Probably the most high-tech choice on the list, and an example of what the future of handguns might look like. Regarded by many professionals as perhaps the finest tactical handgun ever built, the FNX Tactical offers a flexible choice for the experienced shooter. With accessories rails and and a threaded barrel as standard features, the FNX is open to a wide variety of after-market accessories. And with unparalleled accuracy and minimal recoil, you’ll get the most out of every round you put downrange.

And those rounds are the much-loved .45 ACP, which still hits like cannonball. Speaking of which…

Next up, the 1911.


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1911 Home Defense

What was that? Sorry—it’s a touch difficult hearing you over the sound of all of this America. The iconic .45, the M1911 continues to serve our Armed Forces over a century after it was adopted—and for good reason. A rugged, accurate design made for the serious pistolero, it set the standard for handguns for decades after it appeared. Available in a wide variety of makes/models/configurations—and with an equally varied number of accessories—this classic remains an excellent choice for a home defense weapon. All hail the king!

Next up, the Smith & Wesson Model 686.


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Smith & Wesson Model 686

S&W Model 686 Home Defense

Just admit it: you thought we were going to get through this list without a revolver, didn’t you? Well, surprise, because wheel guns have been and remain solid choices for a home defense handgun. And the S&W Model 686 is something to consider. Widely available and fairly affordable, it’s a quality revolver that is relatively easy to shoot. And, backed with the might of .357, it gives you the power you need to deal with the situation at hand. With a reasonable overall length, it’s not a bad daily carry choice for those who prefer revolvers.

Next up, Beretta M9/92FS.


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Beretta M9/92FS

Beretta M9 - 92fs Home Defense

This will probably be the most contentious entry on this list; please, hear me out. The M9 is the current general issue handgun of the United States military, replacing the M1911 in the mid ’80s. Many vets have recently had bad experiences with them; this is chiefly due to poor maintenance practices rather than a flaw in the design. The M9/92FS has a solid record with both civilian and LEO shooters across the country, and is a strong contender for a home defense weapon. Reliable, ergonomic, and chambered for the popular 9mm cartridge, an M9 can help keep you and your home safe.


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Sig Sauer P365 9mm Pistol 12 Rd RTT Tacpac, Coyote

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Smith & Wesson M&p Shield Ez 9mm Pistol With Manual Safety, Black - 12436

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 9mm Pistol With Manual Safety, Black

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Michael Jenkins is a writer and editor based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a lifelong reader, gardener, shooter, and musician. You can reach him at
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Any semi-auto handgun that requires you to push the safety UP with your thumb on order to fire is not ergonomically designed. The 92 is a good gun, just not intuitively obvious to use in an urgent situation.


Why keep the safety on? Treat it just like a Sig, de-cock it and let it be…


Agree with that, years ago I bought a Baikal IJ-70, commonly called a Makarov, in 9×18, partly because the safety goes down to fire (yeah, for $135.00 with holster, 2 mags, cleaning kit, etc it was hard to pass up). Have since put on Marshall grips, wolf recoil spring, fixed sights and smoothed the trigger action but it’s still my go-to for CCW. Have had Glocks including the 22 but didn’t like the “safety” or the trigger pull, have a Sig 2022 (.40) in FDE that when new cost about 1/3 of the price of that FNX Tactical that I’m much happier (took some time for right ammo/grip/etc.) with now.


Shotgun, Pistol Grip Shotgun, Semi-Auto Pistol, Revolver, AR-15 . . . . I know, you were likely leaning toward specific caliber, brand and model, not type of weapon. My first choice, Hogue pistol grip 20 gauge Mossberg 500 w/18 1/2″ barrel load with 3″ shells packed w/#4 shot alternating with 2 3/4″ shells w/#4 buck.

James Hoffman

You are on the right track IMO. I prefer a Remington 870 with slugs alongside a 1911. No better stopping power.


If I lived in a single family residence and had no one else in the place and was not in a suburban or city (next door to another home) setting, I might use larger buckshot and slugs, but not in an inner city environment and in an apartment.

Roger Ramjet

If you shoot a skinny thug with a slug the slug will bounce off the rug and hit your neighbors pug.Bad choice too much penetration unless your down in the boon docks.

Jason Donovan

Something that the writer and the commenters failed to consider is gender, size, comfort. I agree, a pistol is most definitely something your can navigate tight spaces with and be placing rounds on target efficiently, but in some cases, size does matter. My ex-wife is tiny, my current wife is also small. Both are intimidated with anything over a 9mm and have complained countless times about feeling like the “gun will come out of my hands” when they shoot. However, when I purchased a compact single stack pistol and had my ex-wife fire it (while we were still married) she fell in love with it claiming it was the most comfortable pistol to shoot. Shotguns were out of the question as they were either too big and heavy or scared her with the jolt they give. When I got a divorce, my ex-wife asked if she could keep the compact 9mm and I said yes knowing that she has the kids half the time and I wasn’t going to refuse her from protecting our kids. When I got married a second time, Same thing happened. My current wife hated full sized pistols, but loved the same damn gun I gave to my ex. Apparently I can’t own that type of gun without giving one away to all the women in my life first. To nearly all men, full size, compact, subcompact, shotgun, AR, whatever it makes little to no difference because we can wield any and all with relative ease. This is even true to many women who aren’t frail wisps of women where a strong breeze can knock them over. However, with smaller framed women who have small hands and also have to defend themselves. shotguns are just not plausible, full sized are too big and bulky, and revolvers tend to be too heavy and “clunky” also. So if you have a self defense pistol on hand for NOT ONLY you but your better half, then you need to consider making sure it can be an effective tool for either of you to use. Personally, I got tired of my current wife arguing all the problems she’d have rolling over to my side to grab the gun if she needed it so I put in another gun vault on her side and put her gun in it. Problem solved. The only time we had to pull them, we heard glass break and in the span of a heart beat, we were both armed and racing to the kids’ rooms. We collected both kids, brought them back to the master and called police while I was watching the hall and checking my surveillance cameras. Cops arrived within 12 min and I provided the video of the thief breaking the window of my kitchen door and trying to come in but heard me (as I was trying to make it known) “Honey, You got your gun? Good I got mine now gets the kids and I’ll shoot anyone I see.” Don’t know if they ever caught him but it doesn’t matter as my wife and I both feel better with OUR choice of firearms for self defense.

Robert McCabe

Kudos to Mr. Jenkins for acknowledging right off the bat that any such list will get contentious.
Not to be contentious, just adding my two cents, I would combine the first and last guns – get a Glock in 9mm. Pick the model that suits you best. Ergonomics matter, so pick the one that fits you.
The .357 magnum is my first pick for a home defense handgun. It’s what I keep by my bed. Decades of use show it to be the number one manstopper with 125 grain JHP bullets.
For those who have already pointed it out, the deadliest firearm at close range is a 12 gauge shotgun. Load it up with #8 shotshells and it will blow a hole through an intruder at close range, but not go through three walls, your car, and into your neighbors house.
I also agree that an M4 sized AR also makes an excellent home defense weapon. Rifles have a lot more power than handguns. But as handguns goes, I think this list is as good as it gets.

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Jim Jones

I’m an old ex-cop and we all trained with revolvers, the wisdom being that they were easy with which to become proficient. Also, when the hammer was down they were relatively safe and when cocked were dangerous as hell. In the 70’s and 80’s most PD armorers didn’t trust the reliability of autos. Even though I now have more than my share of pistols in 9mm and 45acp, revolvers still make my knees knock and have several S&W’s in 44mag and 357mag, including the 4″ 686+ (7rds). Great choice for home defense!!


I would replace the M9 with a Glock 17 or 19 and I’d remove the 1911completely. I used them with them during my military years (before they were replaced by the M9) and I loathed the recoil. As such, I think that the average person is likely to miss their target (at 3 am in the dark), and shoot through the wall, killing a neighbor. I would add the Ruger GP100 .357 because you can’t beat the reliability and simplicity of a revolver . A Mossburg Maverick 88 12 gauge is also a good and very affordable option, IF you need a AR-15 type weapon for home defense, you must live either in a very remote or very bad neighborhood:-)


I always enjoy these articles, but for me, unless I happen to have my EDC on, my “home defense” firearm could vary widely depending on what room I happened to be in at the time. You could catch a blast from a 12-gauge, a volley of .223, or you might encounter a large man advancing on your position firing an M1 Garand. What is the spirit of the bayonet? Haha!


I have all 5. Like them all. My personal favorites to shoot are the 1911 and the FNX with a can.


I personally like handguns that offer 45 and 410 shot, etc the Judge, the governor.


“The newer Gen4 versions also include an accessory rail to attach a laser, light or laser/light combo.”

Gen 3 called. It wants its rail back.



WHat? No Governor on the list???


I carry a Glock 22 .40 cal… best gun I ever had!