Top 3 Home Defense Weapons

The thought of waking up in the middle of the night to sounds of an intruder in your house is what drives most people to select a home defense weapon. The idea of protecting your home is easy but selecting the right weapon can be a bit more complicated.

home defense

There are many factors that need to be considered when selecting a home defense weapon and those factors can change greatly based on the individual that will be using it. A lot of us grew up in the days where your grandparents kept a shotgun by the front door, back door, over the mantel or within easy reach of their bed. Others grew up in a home that had no weapon in it and if someone were to break in, your only hope was calling 911 and waiting for the police to respond. Working in law enforcement for the past decade has allowed me to see a wide range of opinions on home defense and I have found many people today use anything from rifles to 12 gauge shotguns to small-framed, small-caliber handguns.

When selecting a firearm for home defense, the first thing I take into consideration is the caliber. You want something that can stop an intruder, but not over penetrate. This of course can also change some by the individual circumstances. If you live in the middle of nowhere and have no one else living in the home with you, a larger caliber rifle may work just fine. But if you live in a populated area, a home with several rooms, or an apartment building, this needs to be the first consideration.

There is no perfect list for everyone because everyone is different. Their experience with guns is different, their ability to keep a gun close by could be more challenging depending on their family size and ages of children in the home. Each home will require careful consideration and planning when selecting a home defense weapon, but this is my list of the top three weapons to use.

1. Glock 19 or 23 Gen 5

The Glock 19 9mm handgun is one of the most reliable handguns ever made and is the preferred duty weapon for law enforcement around the country.
The Glock 19 9mm handgun is one of the most reliable handguns ever made and is the preferred duty weapon for law enforcement around the country.

Any good quality handgun can work for home defense, but you need to use what you are comfortable with. I carry a Glock 19 or 17 on me every day at work (19 for daily carry, 17 for tactical operations) and I train with it weekly, so I am very familiar and comfortable with a Glock, making this my first preference. I have used both 9mm and .40 caliber versions and when it comes to self-defense, there will be endless debate on which caliber is best. Both calibers, however, can easily stop an intruder, and the over penetration can be controlled by the type of ammunition used so we will leave the discussion of 9 vs 40 for another day.

law enforcement training with Glock handguns
Glock is the most used handgun by law enforcement in the United States, making magazines, holsters, parts, and other weapons accepting the same magazineare extremely easy to find.

The Glock handgun is one of the most produced and used handguns in the world. In the United States it is currently the most-used handgun by law enforcement and the easiest gun in the US to find magazines for. I have 15, 17, 24 and 33 round magazines for my Glock 19. The Glock has proven to be one of the most reliable guns out there and its size is just right for me to use as a full-size combat gun, even though it is not a large bulky gun. If someone prefers a larger grip there is also the Glock 17 or 22. I also have many other firearms that use Glock mags making it a good platform of weapons for one magazine. I can attach a light on my Glock 19 and keep it hidden in any room, so it comes in at my first choice.

The Glock 19 can be easily hidden in a variety of places that still allow concealability yet quick access during a home invasion.
The Glock 19 can be easily hidden in a variety of places that still allow concealability yet quick access during a home invasion. (Editor’s note: despite the security/accountability issues of storing a weapon this way, no few gun owners have a so-called nightstand gun near to hand. For more secure options, there are plenty of gun vault storage options to choose from.)

2. Glock 19 with MCK Micro Conversion

I am not always a fan of conversation kits, but I will say when I was sent the MCK Micro to do some training with, I became a believer. If you want a little larger platform that will give you more control of your gun, the MCK is great for home use. It does take a little more space because of its size, but it can be great for a compact system that takes up minimal space and allows you to use a good two-handed sub-machine gun grip. You can attach a red dot and a light if you desire better optics.

The MCK Micro Conversion Kit allows you to transform your handgun into a two-handed sub-machine gun size platform.
The MCK Micro Conversion Kit allows you to transform your handgun into a two-handed sub-machine gun size platform.

I am not always a fan of conversation kits, but I will say when I was sent the MCK Micro to do some training with, I became a believer. If you want a little larger platform that will give you more control of your gun, the MCK is great for home use. It does take a little more space because of its size, but it can be great for a compact system that takes up minimal space and allows you to use a good two-handed sub-machine gun grip. You can attach a red dot and a light if you desire better optics.

One of the best designs of the MCK is that the foregrip also carries an extra magazine. I keep a 32-round magazine in mine with a 17-round magazine as the backup. This is an important feature because most people will not be strapping on a mag pouch in the middle of the night when intruder kicks open your door. Grabbing the MCK and flipping open the stock gives you good stability, a light and lots of ammo on one platform. I placed this as number two, because its larger than the Glock 19 by itself and you must either place your Glock in it each night or have an extra one to leave in the MCK. The MCK often sells in the $250 range but I have seen them go on sale before as low as $150.

MCK Micro Conversion Kit for home defense, with weapon light, red dot sight, and extra magazine
The MCK allows you to mount a light, red dot sight and carry not only an extended mag, but a second mag in the foregrip.

3. 12 Gauge Shotgun — Remington 870, Mossberg 500

The Mossberg 500 can be a great home defense weapon, but does offer some obstacles because of its size and weight.
The Mossberg 500 can be a great home defense weapon, but does offer some obstacles because of its size and weight.

No one will argue that a shotgun will stop an intruder. In fact, a 12 gauge is probably one of the most intimidating guns you could have pointed at you. There are endless options for ammunition so over penetration can be controlled rather well.

The shotgun has one thing going for it that no other weapon does and that is the distinct and universal sound of the pump, racking a 12-gauge shell into the chamber. I would venture to say there isn’t anyone that does not recognize and fear that sound. Have you noticed in movies they manage to “rack” the same shotgun multiple times to make a point? Of course, in real life, there would be unfired shells ejecting out of the gun but hey, its Hollywood.

The biggest problem with using a 12 gauge for home defense is its size.

Again, in the movies it is always someone stomping out onto the porch and racking a shell into the chamber to scare off the would-be assailants, but this is real life and keeping a 12-gauge shotgun within easy grasp and being able to clear your home with a long-barred gun may be difficult for some people. If you train with one and you are familiar with it, and you can safely keep it within easy reach, then a 12 gauge may be the perfect home defense weapon for you. But for others, it may not be as practical. Like handguns, there are plenty of other good shotguns, but in general, it is good to stick with a popular model that has been tested extensively and offers plenty of accessories and parts so you can make it fit your needs. If you use a specific brand and like it, then that is what you should use.

Hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

training with a firearm
There can never be enough training. On the range or off the range, there is always something to learn.

There is not a “one size fits all” option when it comes to selecting a gun for home defense, everyday carry, hunting, or the zombie apocalypse. For home defense I recommend not going smaller than 9mm or larger than .45 caliber and I would not recommend a high caliber rifle unless you know you live in an area that would not be affected by the over penetrating round. Find something you are comfortable with, do some research, and then make sure you train with the weapon you select. When teaching firearms classes to law enforcement and civilians alike, I stress being aware of your surroundings and who will be affected if you start shooting through walls.

The best way to be prepared is to hope for the best while you train for the worst. You train, train, and then train again.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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