Unconventional Defensive Weapons: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The world of home defense firearms is ruled by modern semi-automatic rifles, with some sticking to shotguns and others advocating for their preferred handguns. Those will cover most people in most scenarios and tend to be the best options. However, there is no true one-size-fits-all approach to home defense. Today we are going to take a look at some unconventional defensive weapons for when things go bump in the night.

Why unconventional? Well, people have unconventional needs, with unconventional homes, unconventional threats, and unconventional laws to deal with. With that in mind, I sat down and began scribbling out the unconventional situations people might find themselves in and the firearms that might be the best option for different situations.

Henry Big Boy X Model

The Henry Big Boy X Model is a lever action rifle series designed to be modern with a defensive mindset. The Big Boy X comes in .45 Colt, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum. Personally, if I was using one for home defense, I’d choose the .44 Magnum variant. It’s immensely powerful, and the capacity remains the same between all variants of the rifle.

Henry Bog Boy x
Lever guns won the west (Henry)

The downsides are obvious. A capacity of seven rounds and a manual action aren’t exactly modern. That does require you to train to work reloads and place shots where they count. As far as manually operated weapons go, lever guns tend to be rather fast.

This unconventional weapon fits well in the states that ban modern rifles. It’s powerful with a hard-hitting round in a configuration unlikely to be illegal in even the strictest states. The M-LOK slots and rails allow you to add a light, and topping it off with a red dot won’t be an issue either. Pack a few spare rounds on board, and you’ll be capable of bumping back after dark.

S&W Model 327 TRR8 Revolver

The S&W Model 327 TRR8 is the most tactical revolver on the market. A tactical revolver is an odd declaration, but what else do you call it? The gun features rails for optics and lights, an eight-round cylinder carrying a handful of .357 Magnum rounds, and it’s cut for moon clips for fast reloads. It’s big, mean, and capable.

TRR8 Revolver
Good enough for the Punisher, good enough for me. (S&W)

The obvious downsides of a revolver are all present. We have only eight rounds. Reloads are somewhat faster due to the moon clip design but still slower than a pistol. Double-action triggers can have a learning curve, and so can recoil management with a .357 Magnum.

Where this gun excels is in defense against more than the typical two-legged vermin. If you live in a very rural area, you know you might be facing people with ill intent, but also dangerous animals. These can be hogs, bears, snakes, coyotes, and other critters. The TRR8 can pack snake shot, magnums, .38 Specials, and more to deal with a variety of threats. Plus, you can add a light and red dot for home defense and make the most out of the flat shooting .357 Magnums.

The Mossberg Shockwave

The Mossberg Shockwave is not a shotgun but a pistol grip-only firearm. These guns are available in 12 and 20-gauge as well as .410. They are pump-action firearms with a five-round magazine. They are very simple and very shotgun-like, but they cannot have a stock.

Mossberg Shockwave 590 - unconventional defensive weapons
The Shockwave isn’t perfect but in super tight quarters it’s tough to beat. (Mossberg)

A couple of years ago, I only thought of these guns as range toys. However, after some serious shooting and practice, they do have defensive potential. Admittedly they are harder to shoot than a standard shotgun, especially in 12-gauge varieties. They have limited capacity, heavier recoil, and tend to be unwieldy.

Where these guns shine in unconventional defense is in small homes. I’m talking really small, like campers, RVs, and mini houses. In those environments, they shine. They are easy to maneuver with and provide a hefty dose of lead per trigger pull. The key to making one work is proper ammo selection and technique. A solid reduced-recoil load of buckshot and some practice makes these guns fairly easy to handle and shoot. The addition of a red dot makes them quite easy to aim.

The M1 Carbine

The M1 Carbine was the world’s first PDW. This light rifle fires a round somewhere between a rifle and a pistol bullet. It’s a semi-auto carbine with a detachable magazine. It’s simple with a wood stock and peep sights, although various new models allow for various optics mounting.

The main problem with the .30 Carbine is finding affordable ammo and good magazines. Ammo tends to be expensive, and you have to be sure to grab high-quality magazines if the gun won’t run well. Testing is key before signing the gun up for home defense.

M1A1 Paratrooper - unconventional defensive weapons
This rifle is light, handy, and easy to use. (Auto Ordnance)

While most people would choose a 5.56 rifle, like an AR-15, for home defense, some states make that difficult. However, the M1 Carbine and its old-school, seemingly less-scary wood stock make it ban-state friendly with ten-round magazines. However, you may have to purchase one without a bayonet lug. In the home defense role, the .30 Carbine is more than adequate, and the M1 Carbine is lightweight, easy to handle, and quite potent.

The Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is the most popular .22 caliber rifle on the market. Millions have been made and sold throughout its lifespan. The 10/22 is a semi-auto, magazine-fed rifle that comes in various designs and styles, and any would be sufficient for this role.

10/22 - unconventional defensive weapons
It doesn’t have to look tactical, but it certainly can.

The main problem is that the 10/22 is just a .22LR. Long Rifle is in the name, but the round is ballistically a small-bore pistol round. Meaning it pokes holes and not much else. Additionally, rimfire rounds are not as reliable as centerfire, although, in recent years, they have gotten better.

While .22LR rounds only poke holes, they go deep enough to strike something vital. At the same time, the Ruger 10/22 is incredibly lightweight with almost no recoil. Anyone can handle this gun and put lead on target. Ruger also produces ultra-reliable BX-25 magazines to give you a good deal of ammo. This is perfect for someone with reduced strength who can’t heft a larger rifle with more recoil.

Unconventional Problems — Unconventional Solutions

The biggest part of self-defense is planning. Plan, plan, plan. Part of that planning involves proper selection of defensive weapons. You might have to consider what that means for you and your situation. While there is a typical option, we all know that it’s easy to fall outside of the typical. These are my thoughts on unconventional defense. What are yours? Share below if you feel so kind!

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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