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Best Firearm for Home Defense

The Frontier Justice Guide to Home Defense in 2022

Best Firearm for Home Defense

Concern for personal safety is one of the top reasons firearms ownership has increased significantly over recent years. Many people are concerned they are not adequately protecting their homes, possessions, or family, and so they’re turning to their Second Amendment rights for that protection. 

At Frontier Justice, we’re proud to see so many Americans exercising their right to bear arms, but we want these newcomers of firearms ownership to know exactly what they need for their individual circumstances. 

Each type of firearm has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to protection, so it’s difficult to really determine which is the best firearm for home defense. Continue reading to learn more about your options, as well as some other factors to help determine which firearm best suits your home defense needs. 


Handguns are fundamentally one of the best possible tools for home defense. If you’re purchasing a pistol with the express purpose of home defense, however, avoid buying a subcompact. 

Subcompact pistols are designed for concealment and are not the best firearms for home defense. To best serve your needs, you need a pistol that’s mid to full size for your home defense needs, with a magazine capacity of at least 15 rounds. The larger size means less recoil due to an increase in mass and grip length, and more rounds means less time needing to reload. 

Additionally, many mid-sized pistols offer an accessory rail on the bottom of the frame, meaning you can add a flashlight. One of the four fundamental rules of firearm safety is to know what you’re shooting at, and what lies beyond. In a dark setting or when shooting at night, if you don’t have a reliable light mounted to your firearm, you won’t be able to identify your target. Mounted lights are particularly useful in home defense scenarios, when you likely won’t have time to turn on the lights in your house while fending off an intruder. 

Another of the fundamental firearm safety rules is to never point a firearm at something you don’t wish to destroy. This is why we recommend having a handheld light in tandem with a weapon-mounted light, to give you the opportunity to see in the dark without flagging loved ones with a live carbine. 


In many cases, shotguns are the standard, go-to firearm for home defense. These tools feature a simple operating system, with powerful shells designed uniquely for household situations. 

Many assume that because a shotgun is a “scattergun” one can simply point, pray, and shoot to eliminate the threat if necessary. However, modern scatter shots aren’t realistically used that way. Common defense loads only open the size of your hand or less at 21 feet or less. That’s often not enough to deter attackers, and operating a shotgun like that can be potentially dangerous for you, your loved ones, and your possessions. 

The best firearm for home defense is the one you know how to use. Ensuring that you and your family can easily handle the heavier recoil from a 12 GA shotgun is key if you intend to use it as the primary tool for home defense. 

Be sure to purchase slugs to shoot at our indoor range, and become confident with your shotgun use proficiency. Shotguns can be a good tool, but oftentimes they seem to be the victim of the “hammer fallacy,” meaning, they are left under the bed, unoiled and unready, until the moment they are needed.

Another legitimate drawback posed by using a shotgun as your primary firearm for home defense is the fixed magazine. Most shotguns have a five-round magazine tube fixed underneath the barrel, requiring the user to load each shell individually. It’s crucial to practice firing and loading your shotgun, in case you have to reload in the event of a defensive shooting. Snap caps, or dummy rounds, are great tools for dry fire training, including rapid loading of your shotgun. 

Shotguns are easy to use and effective when used right, but they do have legitimate drawbacks, including recoil, magazine capacity, and length. It is a lot harder to swing a rifle around corners and doorways compared to a pistol. 


The AR-15, is currently the most popular rifle platform in America, and it’s one of the best firearms for home defense. With a standard magazine capacity of 30 rounds, minimal recoil, and ample space for whatever accessories you may need, it is clear why it is a popular choice for home defense. 

There are many different kinds of AR options from a variety of quality manufacturers, and you can even build your own AR to your exact specifications. These semi-automatic rifles are so malleable and adjustable that they are considered by many as the best firearm for home defense. 

Just like with handguns, adding a quality light to your rifle can help immensely. One of the huge benefits of rifle mounted lights are the pressure pads that you can purchase or that may come with the light. These pads rest on the top rail, allowing the shooter to “C-clamp” the rifle and rest their thumb directly on the switch. 

Considering how many tight corners and doorways you may find in your household, we do not recommend closing one eye to gain a sight picture. In doing so, you lose half your sight radius, which may prevent you from seeing a threat. It’s easy to affix a quality optic to your rifle, another reason they are some of the best guns for home defense. 

A red dot or holographic sight—without any sort of eye relief required to gain a sight picture—makes for great, easy optics for your home defense rifle. These allow you to keep both eyes open at all times, without losing sight of the reticle. 

How to make any tool the best firearm for home defense

Ultimately, the best firearm for home defense is the one that suits your needs and works for you. No matter which platform you choose, you need to familiarize yourself with your tool and make sure you’re ready to use it in tense moments. 

Understand the rules of firearm safety

When it comes to home defense, a big part of that is also making sure you follow the fundamental firearm safety rules to protect your family and possessions from harm. These rules are:

  • Always assume the firearm is loaded
  • Always point the firearm in a safe direction
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire
  • Always know what you’re shooting at, and what’s behind your target

These rules don’t stand alone from each other, either. They all work together to promote proper firearm safety, at home and outside of your home. 

You assume your firearm is always loaded, so you keep it pointed in a safe direction, with your finger off the trigger, and before firing you consider not only your target, but what lies beyond. 

If you leave one rule out but follow the other three, you have failed to safely handle that firearm and could endanger someone’s life or your own.

Store your firearm properly

Keeping your firearm safely stored, but still accessible to the intended user(s), is an important part of home defense. No matter which kind of firearm you own, a quality firearm safe or other storage option that is only accessible to you and others you trust is crucial. 

We carry many different types of safes, from easily accessible handgun cases and lock boxes that fit into nightstands, to under bed safes made to safely store your rifle or shotgun in a place that’s secure and easy to get to. 

Continued education

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. In home defense situations, your adrenaline will be pumping and that makes it hard to think straight. If you’re wielding your firearm for the first time, or the first time in a while it can lead to disastrous results. 

By taking a firearms training class, you can better prepare yourself to handle any potential threats. Here are a couple different courses we recommend:

Firearm fitting

Firearms come in many different shapes, sizes, and calibers. Finding the right one for your needs is difficult if you’re a newcomer. That’s why we recommend our firearm fittings at Frontier Justice. We walk you through the fundamentals of firearm ownership and allow you to test different types and manufacturers on our indoor range, ensuring we find the best fit for your individual needs.

Situational decision making

Through the use of our state-of-the-art simulator and real-life examples, our Situational Decision-Making class explores when the use of a firearm may help protect yourself or others in dangerous/high-stress situations. Participants further their education in the use of deadly force and decision-making on whether to shoot or walk away. No two situations are the same due to many changing circumstances or “what ifs.” We will explore the many “what ifs” related to the use of a firearm.

Simulator room

Our state-of-the-art simulator room provides scenarios you might encounter in real life, which can be more effective than shooting static paper targets all the time. You can practice moving from room to room and safely drawing from your holster, among other real-life scenarios that are difficult to replicate in an indoor 

Explore ammunition types

Having the right kind of ammunition is almost as important as your firearm choice itself. For handguns and rifles specifically, when it comes to home defense we often recommend hollow point rounds

Traditional rounds pose a danger of extreme penetration when used in the home. That goes back to the fundamental firearm safety rules, where you need to know what you’re shooting at and what lies beyond. In the home, that’s difficult to know when shooting in tight spaces. If your round penetrates its target, what will it hit beyond? 

Hollow points are much better defensive rounds because they are an expanding bullet that has a pit, or hollowed out tip. These rounds expand upon impact, causing the bullet to deform and slow down rather than penetrate. This also causes significant damage to your target, meaning a more severe wound channel than what is offered by a full metal jacket round. This, combined with the mitigation of overpenetration, makes hollow point rounds best for self defense. 

Come to Frontier Justice to find the best firearms for home defense

We firmly believe that any firearm is the best firearm for home defense, so long as you think through what your situation requires and you thoroughly prepare for home defense scenarios. The firearms experts at Frontier Justice can help you decide what tool you need and provide the training you require to keep your home and your family safe. 

We are proud to serve our community through quality equipment and firearms education. Learn more about what makes Frontier Justice different by reaching out to us, signing up for our membership club, or scheduling a class. You can also always simply stop by to check out our store, boutique, and range for yourself!

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