This topic has long been debated and there are many factors to be considered. Let me know what you think by taking the survey and then I will share my thoughts on the issue and you can chime in on the comment section below.
With everything that is going on right now, home defense is probably on your fontal lobe more than it has been before. Guns and ammo sales have once again sky rocketed and rioting in downtown areas have threatened to make their way to the suburbs. So what weapon is the best choice?
I have read many articles and listened to many conversations and heated debates on this and every one has their personal preference.
• Pistols – Compact size, higher capacity mags, easy to store and access, ability to attach flash lights, lasers and red dots.
• Revolvers – reliability, easy to use, doesn’t jam.
• Shotguns – Simple to use, effective at close range, “the sound of the slide will scare them away”
• Assault Rifles – High rate of fire, solid platform, easy target acquisition, ability to customize to you preferences
While there are hundreds of options available from a baseball bat to a bazooka, the one thing I have never really heard discussed first or sometimes even mentioned at all is training and mindset. When our unit was spinning up to deploy to Iraq in 2004, we changed our training significantly. The focus became military operations in urban terrain. Room clearing, multilevel landscapes with a million different angles and threat possibilities. We trained for months, hundreds of hours, and all kinds of scenarios. Once we actually got into country and the bullets started to fly, the thing I learned that was the most important from all the training was very specifically “how to stay focused in a stressful situation“. The angles, the clearing, the stacking on doors, all of that was technique and technique can be very specific to a situation and if the situation changes that technique can be obsolete and even be flat out wrong. So then what?
Every tactical-pant-wearing-beard-sporting-never-miss-a-SHOT-show-guy has their specific gun that they will swear up and down is better than everything else..
So while every gun store owner, every tactical-pant-wearing-beard-sporting-never-miss-a-SHOT-show-guy has their specific gun that they will swear up and down is better than everything else, it is my opinion that if you train for real life scenarios and build your mindset to be prepared and actually willing to engage in combat to defend your home, the weapon type becomes far less important. Fight or flight is the most critical part of home defense. You could have five grand dumped into the most high speed AR build the guy at Bob’s gun emporium could talk you into, but if that wall trophy has been getting more gun oil than it has hand sweat, chances are when shit hits the fan, that 8 pound piece of aluminum is either getting taken away from you or you’re going to dump a mag into the wall behind the intruder that just so happens to have someone’s bedroom behind it.
Since getting out of the Marine Corps and entering civilian life again, I must have been asked my opinion on what gun to buy a thousand times. I have always said, the gun matters very little, it’s the man behind the gun and how he’s trained his brain to use the gun that counts. When your frontal lobe shuts down because you’re scared shitless when you hear glass actually breaking from you backdoor, your brain is trying to access information that has been stored on what to do now. The instinctual files need to be hardwired to an instant reaction. This part of your brain is far faster than the part of your brain that reasons. So if you have not put any thing in this part of your brain, that shiny new .357 revolver the YouTuber promised would never jam, isn’t going to be in the spot you thought you remembered leaving it and your brains ability to try to remember what you did with it is going to be greatly reduced. “OH SHIT”
So, my opinion is to first talk reality. Are you buying a gun because you want one and you think it’s cool? Awesome, do it. Guns ARE cool. Or, do you actually perceive a threat and you want to seriously be prepared to defend your home? If that is the case, train. Seek professional advice, get serious time with whatever gun you have or intend to buy. Understand it’s pros and cons. Understand the ammo it fires, understand what happens when that ammo misses the first time you shoot at the intruder. Is that ammo sailing unknown into the night or is it stopping in the dry wall. Understand what it feels like when you pull the trigger and you forgot to click off safe. You want your to brain already know exactly what to do. Click, “oh shit” safety off, bang, target down. That quick.
The last thing I need to stress heavily is another reality very rarely taken seriously. Everyone wearing the brown combat boots that have never seen the dirt of a foreign land sound tough when they talk about gunplay. The reality is shooting someone in close quarters is not an easy thing to do. The military starts out immediately in basic training preparing your mind to be able to do that. The Marine Corps has its recruits shout KILL before they eat chow. If you are serious about defending your home, and you should be, then you should think the whole scenario all the way through. A guy comes in. Where? have you considered the most likely entry point? How do you know he’s in? Where’s your gun? you have the gun, you’ve confronted the guy? what next? Have you predetermined that you’re blasting the guy no questions asked, because fuck him he’s made that decision? Have you decided to detain him and call the police? Have you practiced this? Do you have a contingency for when he doesn’t comply? Do you have a plan for when the intruder is just a neighbor kid? Can you identify your target calmly, know your weapon, and make decisions that will have very likely severe, forever-type consequences?
The best home defense weapon is you.
Hopefully I have given you something to consider you have not before. In summary, my advice is prioritize your mindset and training over the specific gun you buy. Coming from experience, the gun will jam, and you will need to rely on yourself and you can rely on yourself if you have trained yourself.