6 Best Home Defense Guns: Weapons You Should Own!

by David Lane

July 8, 2022

0 comments

5
(4)

One of the primary reasons many people buy a firearm is for home defense. But when faced with an overwhelming number of choices it can be paralyzing to think about.

What platform, brand, model, and caliber will you trust your life with? We’ll answer these questions and more!

Best Home Defense Guns

Aero Precision AR-15
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Huge magazine capacity
Check Price
Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P (300 BLK)
  • Great for suppressors
  • Ultra-small
  • Packs a punch
Check Price
Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS
  • Glock “Perfection”
  • Unbeatable reliability
  • Red dot ready
Check Price
FNX 45 Tactical
  • .45 ACP = ‘murica
  • Optics and suppressor-ready
  • Huge magazine
Check Price
Mossberg 590
  • Classic shotgun
  • All of the stopping power
  • Durable and reliable
Check Price
Beretta 1301 Tactical
  • Overwhelming fire superiority
  • Superfast follow up
  • Combat ready
Check Price

Best Home Defense Guns

  1. Aero Precision AR-15
  2. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P (300 BLK)
  3. Glock 17 MOS
  4. FNX 45 Tactical
  5. Mossberg 590
  6. Beretta 1301 Tactical

Best Home Defense Guns

Now that we’ve run through the overview and looked at our list, let’s take time to individually review each item. In this section we’ll be outlining the product specs, speaking about the product, and looking at the pros and cons.

1. Aero Precision AR-15

Editor's Choice
Aero Precision AR-15

Aero Precision AR-15

The definitively American choice for almost everything, the AR-15 is as common as apple pie and baseball.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by David Lane

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Rifle? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Aero Precision AR-15 Specs

  • Weight 6lb 14oz
  • Overall Length 32” – 35”
  • Barrel Length 16”
  • Standard Cartridge 5.56 NATO
  • Capacity 30+
  • Optics Ready? Yes
  • Weapon Light Ready? Yes

Aero Precision AR-15 Review 

In a lot of ways, an AR-15 is an AR-15. I picked the Aero Precision M4E1 for this list because it’s a very reasonably priced AR-15 that is also very dependable. 

You’re not wasting money on a roll mark or on fancy features, you’re getting a great rifle that you can trust your life to right out of the box.

A great handguard, a good stock, accurate, reliable, and has all of the attachment points you need to complete this build. 

The M4E1 might not be the best ever made or the cheapest, but it’s a perfect Goldilocks rifle.

I strongly recommend an AR-15 in 5.56 NATO as people’s go-to home defense weapon because of how easy the AR-15 is to use, how effective 5.56 NATO is at stopping threats, and at how surprisingly few layers of drywall 5.56 NATO penetrates. 

The AR-15 is super easy to use, period. The controls are natural feeling, it’s easy to adjust to fit any shooter, and there are lots of room for lights, slings, and optics. It’s basically the perfect platform.

5.56 NATO gets a bit of a bad rap because it has issues with long-range shooting, but home defense is not long-range. Even if you choose an AR-15 with a short barrel 5.56 NATO still has more than enough punch to end fights in CQB.

Intuitively, it feels like 5.56 NATO should rip through walls. But it doesn’t. Because of the lightweight bullets and high muzzle velocity, 5.56 NATO tends to tumble and fragment as soon as it passes through a barrier. This slows the velocity greatly and means it doesn’t pass through drywall very well.

A clean miss into your wall will still go through 4 or 5 layers, but that’s a lot better than 7 or 8. Note that each wall is normally 2 layers.

Aero Precision AR-15 Pros and Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Highly effective
  • Easy to mount accessories
  • 30-round standard mags, 60-100 round extended mags
  • Not ban-state friendly

Aero Precision AR-15 Deals

2. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P (300 BLK)

Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P (300 BLK)

Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P (300 BLK)

One of the best brands on the market, Daniel Defense has a long history from civilian to competition to special forces. It won’t be cheap, but this is definitely one of the best.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics B+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by David Lane

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 3 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Rifle? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

DDM4 V7P Specs

  • Weight 5lb 5oz
  • Overall Length 28″
  • Barrel Length 10.3”
  • Standard Cartridge 300 BLK
  • Capacity 30+
  • Optics Ready? Yes
  • Weapon Light Ready? Yes

Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P Review 

As I said, an AR-15 is more or less an AR-15 — but this one is a little different. First, Daniel Defense is a huge name that has a long history of making very high-quality firearms. This is firmly in the top 5 AR-15 brands ever.

What sets this apart from the Aero M4E1 is that this is technically a pistol, legally speaking. Functionally there really isn’t much difference between an AR rifle and an AR pistol, but it’s a big legal distinction.

Because this is a “pistol” the barrel can be very short, only 10.3”.

Combine that with this being in 300 Blackout and this is a whole different beast.

300 BLK is a great cartridge for close shooting, it packs a punch but doesn’t knock you off your feet. 

Best of all this is perfectly designed to be combined with a suppressor. If they’re legal where you live I highly recommend one for home defense.

Saving your hearing and making the entire experience less traumatic for you and your family is a huge plus.

And of course, the DDV7P has all of the benefits of an AR-15 — easy to use, easy to shoot, and able to mount everything you need to mount.

Daniel Defense DDM4 V7P Deals

3. Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS

Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS

Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS

Revolutionizing the world since the late ’80s, Glock is a defacto standard across the world for civilians, military, and police.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by David Lane

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Glock 17 Specs

  • Weight 1.5lb
  • Overall Length 7.95”
  • Barrel Length 4.5”
  • Standard Cartridge 9mm Luger
  • Capacity 17+
  • Optics Ready? Yes
  • Weapon Light Ready? Yes

Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS Review 

If you want a no-brainer choice that will fit everyone well enough, Glock is the answer. The Gen 5 Glock 17 is especially good because it’s a full-size pistol with interchangeable grips — big hands or small hands, you’ll get a good grip on this gun.

The MOS means this is optics ready via Glock’s MOS mounting system. This is, frankly, not a great mounting system but it’s what Glock offers from the factory.

I strongly recommend red dots on pistols, especially for home defense, but if you go with the MOS system I would also recommend aftermarket steel mounting plates for your red dot of choice.

Put it all together and the Gen 5 G17 MOS gives you at least 17 rounds on tap, easy to aim, easy to handle, easy to lock up, easy to carry, and unbeatable reliability no matter what.

Even if you don’t want to go with the route of a red dot, this is still a great pistol — but you can save a little money by getting a normal Gen 5 G17.

Or if you want to make this your EDC carry, getting a G19 will reduce your footprint while still giving you a great platform to use.

Besides the legendary reliability of Glock, what makes this a good option is how interchangeable they are. A G19 for EDC, a G17 for home, a G43x for jogging, a G20 for in the woods — they’re all Glock, they all shoot basically the same, and they all have unbeatable reliability. 

Whether the G17 is your only Glock or just the start of your collection, it’s one of the perfect first gun choices.

Glock 17 Gen 5 MOS Deals

4. FNX 45 Tactical

FNX 45 Tactical

FNX 45 Tactical

One of the most battle-ready pistols ever made, the FNX 45 Tactical can do it all and then some.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value B

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by David Lane

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

FNX 45 Specs

  • Weight 2lb
  • Overall Length 8.6″
  • Barrel Length 5.3″
  • Standard Cartridge .45 ACP
  • Capacity 15+
  • Optics Ready? Yes
  • Weapon Light Ready? Yes

FNX 45 Tactical Review 

Since the first pistol was made pistols were mostly built for defensive situations, plinking, or competition. The pistol as a whole normally isn’t seen as an offensive weapon — until the mid-70s-ish.

With the rise of special forces, militaries around the world started putting more of a focus on their sidearms because SF units had the training and need for a backup weapon that could fill an offensive role.

The long-form history of this trend and development, much of which was spearheaded by H&K, is interesting but will have to wait for another article.

In short, the FNX 45 Tactical is in many ways the culmination and pinnacle of that development.

Red dot ready, suppressor height Trijicon green tritium night sights, a threaded cold hammer-forged barrel, replaceable backstraps to adjust grip size, 15-round .45 ACP magazine, fully-ambidextrous decocking/safety levers, ambi slide stop, ambi magazine release, 1913 rail for lights/lasers, and aggressive checkering on the grip with front and rear slide serrations for grip everywhere you need it.

If you want your pistol fully loaded and super-sized, here it is.

The FNX 45 Tactical is a beast of a pistol, but it’s shockingly easy to shoot because of the size and design helping to tame the .45 ACP cartridge.

15-rounds in the magazine give you impressive ammo capacity while also helping to reduce muzzle flip.

And the threaded barrel is perfect for a suppressor making home defense a much quieter and safer prospect.

FN’s optics-ready design makes throwing on your favorite red dot super easy (I recommend a Holosun 509T or Trijicon RMR).

While this isn’t cheap, and the addition of an optic and suppressor likely doubles the already high price, if you’re looking to protect your home using a pistol — this is a gun that will never let you down and gives you a lot of advantages if you’re able to make use of them.

I highly recommend extensive pistol training before and after getting the FNX 45 Tactical.

FNX 45 Tactical Deals

5. Mossberg 590

Mossberg 590

Mossberg 590

This pump-action powerhouse was created through hot demand by the US military.

Check Latest Price

  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Customization B
  • Ergonnomics B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by David Lane

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Mossberg 590 Specs

  • Weight 6.3lbs
  • Overall Length 38.6”
  • Barrel Length 18.5”
  • Standard Cartridge 3” 12ga
  • Capacity 6
  • Optics Ready? Maybe
  • Weapon Light Ready? Maybe

Mossberg 590 Review 

If you’re semi-familiar with shotguns you might be wondering what the difference is between a Mossberg 500 and a Mossberg 590 — basically, it’s just the magazine tube. The 500 is normally shorter (so you carry less ammo) and is hard or impossible to upgrade, the 590 starts off longer (normally) and is pretty easy to upgrade if you want to.

Because home defense often deals with multiple threats and there is no such thing as too much ammo, I recommend the 590.

But if you want to save pennies, the 500 can work also.

The 590 comes in a LOT of flavors and honestly, almost all of them are fine. End of the day you want an 18.5” barrel, a stock, and preferably a 9-shot tube and either 1913 railing or MLOK on the forend or slide to mount a weapon light on.

Models that fit the bill include FLEX Tactical, Thunder Ranch, and 9-Shot MLOK.

That said, there are a half-dozen other 590 models that get you at least most of those features and save you some money.

A shotgun without all of the best features is better than a shotgun you can’t afford.

The 590 is one of the most reliable designs on the market and is made by a company that actually cares about the product they put out. 

It might not be the smoothest action on the market, it might not be the prettiest gun, but it’s dead nuts reliable and something you can 100% trust your life to.

Mossberg 590 Deals

6. Beretta 1301 Tactical

Beretta 1301 Tactical

Beretta 1301 Tactical

The fastest way short of full auto to send the maximum amount of lead possible towards your target, Beretta 1301 is lightning fast.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by David Lane

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Shotgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Beretta 1301 Specs

  • Weight 6.4lbs
  • Overall Length 37.8”
  • Barrel Length 18.7”
  • Standard Cartridge 3” 12ga
  • Capacity 7
  • Optics Ready? Yes
  • Weapon Light Ready? No

Beretta 1301 Tactical Review 

For decades the Benelli M4 has been the king of semi-auto shotguns, but Beretta took that personally so they designed 1301 to take the crown.

If you’re going to take a shot at the king, don’t miss. Beretta didn’t miss.

One of the smoothest and easiest to use shotguns I’ve ever set hands-on, the Beretta 1301 Tactical is the final word in CQB. A lightning-fast action that cycles shells 36% faster than the M4, the 1301 sends a boatload of lead downrange in record time.

The “Tactical” version has an 18.5” barrel, 1913 railing on top with a ghost ring set of sights. Perfect for working close up.

Most of the controls are oversized and easy to hit, no more fumbling for the right button under stress — just slap it and send it.

The loading port is super large making shoving shells in ultra-easy even with gloves on (just in case you’re wearing them).

And since this is a Beretta, everything about the 1301 is overbuilt and over-designed to handle literally anything you can do to this gun.

Really the only downside is that because of how good this gun is, and how much cheaper than an M4 it is, finding one right now is kind of hard to do since they are flying off of the shelves. 

If you can get your hands on one, I highly recommend it for a home defense shotgun.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Deals

Best Home Defense Guns – Buyers Guide

Choosing the firearm to defend your home with can be a stressful topic to think about. I’ve often come across new gun owners that knew they wanted a firearm for home defense but were paralyzed with indecision.

If this is the tool that might save your life or your family’s lives, it can feel like a huge burden to choose the right tool.

Keep calm, there is no wrong answer on this list.

Honestly, any firearm that you train with is better than no firearm and a lot better than a super fancy top-tier firearm you keep in the closet and never train with.

I’ll break down a lot of information for you to consider, but in the end, training is more important than anything else.

Rifle, Pistol, Or Shotgun

The first big choice to make is what platform you want to use. They each have pros and cons to them and each has myths that we should dispel. 

Rifles – Rifles like the AR-15 are a somewhat newer option on the market, but as the AR-15 has grown in popularity it has proven to be a rock-solid home defense tool.

Big ammo capacity means facing multiple threats is much more manageable.

5.56 NATO is a highly lethal cartridge that also penetrates fewer layers of drywall than 9mm, .45 ACP, or 12ga buckshot. 

300 BLK has more penetration than 5.56 NATO, but it is great for use with suppressors to protect your hearing and the hearing of your family. Choose the right ammo and drywall penetration is roughly on par with 5.56 NATO.

The biggest selling point of a rifle is that they are easy to use. 3 points of contact, natural point of aim, light enough for anyone to use, low recoiling, fast follow-up shots — everything about the AR-15 is nearly perfect for CQB.

It’s also by far the easiest platform to mount optics and weapon lights on.

Pistols – Pistols are a classic choice because they’re easy to lock up and can serve double-duty if you carry them daily outside the home.

While a good pistol isn’t a wrong choice, it’s honestly my lowest pick for home defense. 

Pistols take a lot of training to become good with. Aiming, follow-up, recoil control, multiple threat management, it’s all just a lot harder with a pistol than it is with a long gun.

There’s also no perfect home defense pistol caliber. While 9mm and .45 ACP are the two most common pistol cartridges, neither are amazing for home defense.

Don’t get me wrong, both are very lethal, but both also carry more drywall penetration than 5.56 NATO or 300 BLK while also bringing much less lethality to the fight.

All of that said — some of it can be mitigated by the use of a red dot and a good weapon light. Also, I strongly recommend full-sized pistols since they are easier to control and provide larger magazines.

Something strongly in their favor is how easy they are to secure when not in use. Biometric, key code, and other rapid opening keyless safes are commonly available and at reasonable prices when they’re sized for pistols. Safes large enough for shotguns and rifles can get rather expensive.

Shotguns – Shotguns have the most incorrect lore surrounding them of any weapon. 

Some quick facts: racking the action will not scare most intruders away, you do need to aim a shotgun, buckshot does not sweep entire hallways, 12ga buckshot over-penetrates drywall more than 5.56 NATO, 300 BLK, 9mm, or .45 ACP.

With that out of the way — the shotgun is an American classic for home defense and for good reason.

With the massive range of ammo types that shotguns can shoot, it’s not hard to find the perfect balance of recoil, power, and penetration. 

Buckshot is as close as you can get to an almost guaranteed one-hit stopping force, while slugs will defeat all soft body armor (not that body armor is common for home intruders).

Shotguns also have many of the benefits that rifles have in terms of aiming and ease of use, depending on the kind of shotgun you choose.

And then there is the price — many shotguns are pretty cheap, and some of the best pump-actions on the market are also some of the least expensive firearms you can find for home defense.

However, shotguns require more training than rifles. Pump shotguns especially require training to help prevent short-stroking under stress. 

Drilling and perfecting loading a shotgun is another must-do since they are harder to load and often require needing to be topped off due to the low capacity. 

I would still recommend a rifle over a shotgun, but a good shotgun is a very close runner-up.

What Specs Matter Most

Weight – Weight isn’t super critical to me in a home defense weapon, but it might be to you. Personally, I don’t mind if my HD weapon is heavy because I’m not planning on having it out very long or needing to hike anywhere with it.

However, if you’re a smaller person or have physical issues like arthritis then weight can be a big factor in what works for you. Lighter is better, but you’ll have to decide how much is too much.

Overall Length – Overall Length is something to pay attention to especially if you live in an apartment or any home with small hallways.

Teenage Marines and soldiers have been clearing mud huts over seasons with 20” barrels for a lot of years, so it is entirely doable with a pike of a rifle. But it’s a huge pain.

If you can, you want something shorter when possible.

Personally, in my pretty average home, a 16” barrel AR-15 is totally fine and I only have 1 corner that I need to be careful with.

Barrel Length – Barrel Length is the biggest contributor to overall length. More barrel is always nice, but you need to balance that with your overall. Also, if you’re using a shotgun or rifle — keep in mind NFA laws about short-barreled weapons. Read up here for more info.

Standard Cartridge – Standard Cartridge is included so you know what you’re looking at. All of the ones listed here are highly effective, easy to get, and have outstanding home defense options. 

Capacity – Capacity is self-explanatory and more is always better. For pistols and rifles, you’re only limited by what kind of magazine you have. 33-round stick mags for Glock are easy to get as are 60-round drums for an AR. 

Shotguns are harder to add capacity to, but both the Mossberg 590 and the Beretta 1301 can use extended tubes.

Optics Ready – Optics Ready means it has a mounting point for optics. For rifles and shotguns this means 1913 railing, for a pistol, this means a plate system or direct cut.

Weapon Light Ready – Weapon Light Ready means there is a 1913 or MLOK mounting area for a weapon light. If you want to add a light to a shotgun, and I recommend you do, you’ll need an aftermarket accessory for it.

Optics, Lights, And Slings

We have a LOT of articles covering these topics, go check them out for a ton more information and recommendations!

Pistol lights – Best Pistol Lights [Hands On Reviews]

Slings – The Best AR-15 Slings [The Accessories You Need!]

Handheld lights – The Best Tactical Flashlights

Red dots – The Best Pistol Red Dots

For now, here is a condensed version of why you need these tools.

My two big recommendations for any home defense setup are a weapon light and a sling. Optics are nice, but the other two are required in my mind.

Weapon lights – Weapon Lights are hugely overlooked and massively underrated by the average shooter. Simple facts are that if your home is invaded, it’s likely at night. 

Maybe you have time to find the light switch, maybe you don’t. 

Maybe the power is out, maybe you need to clear rooms and areas that don’t have great lighting, maybe you need to stick your head outside because you heard a noise coming from the pool house or other detached living space, the list goes on and on.

You need a light. I recommend something that mounts directly to the weapon, at least 500 lumens and 20,000 candelas. If you can, aim for 1,000 lumens and 25,000 candelas.

Lumens are how much light it puts out, candela is how concentrated the light is. Lumens are useless without decent candela.  

Slings – Slings are useless on a pistol, so don’t worry about that. But for shotguns and rifles, I highly recommend it. While not as life or death as a weapon light, I still think if you can have a sling you should have a sling.

If the worst happens, you might get hands-on with the bad guy. Slings are critical for weapon retention and keeping your weapon on your person. Slings prevent weapons from being taken from you easily and allow you to switch back to the weapon if you need to drop it for any reason.

Anything from opening doors to grabbing a loved one to needing to grab your phone to call 911, you never know why you might need your hands free and a sling helps you do that effectively.

Optics – Optics are something that I will always be in favor of. All of my HD weapons have optics and my EDC CCW has a green dot as well. However, for home defense, they aren’t as critical as a light and a sling.

Don’t get me wrong, they help, but if you need to save money this is something you can cut.

Optics are the perfect night sight, no matter what light you do or don’t have you can always see your red dot. They are faster to use since you’re not having to line up iron sights and they help prevent tunnel vision because you’re focused on the target.

Optics also help your total awareness a LOT because you have a wider field of view to work with. 

And lastly, a red dot lets you shoot accurately even when you don’t have the perfect angle behind your weapon. Maybe you’re navigating a small area, maybe you’re on the stairs, maybe you have one hand busy with a phone or child, there are tons of reasons why you might not be perfectly aligned behind your weapon when you need to take a shot.

Red dots give you that flexibility.

Rate

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About David Lane

Learning how to shoot at a young age in the Boy Scouts, David now spends most of his time working on or with firearms. Be it shooting, upgrading, building, tinkering, or writing about them -- sharing his passion and knowledge of firearms with others is an everyday occurrence.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]