In fact, the AR-15 may be the most popular home defense firearm in America today, even surpassing the popularity of the 12 gauge shotgun. However, while many firearms on the market are perfectly suited for home defense, there are some firearms that are absolutely terrible for this purpose. Here are five of the worst types of firearms to use for home defense.
1. Pocket Guns
One class of firearm that is positively not well suited for home defense is the class of “pocket guns” which are small, compact, handguns such as semi-automatic pistols chambered for the .22 LR or the .25 Automatic cartridges, as well as derringers. While it is true than any handgun is better than none when you are being accosted by a violent criminal, the simple fact of the matter is that due to their compact size and extremely short barrels, pocket guns are specifically designed to be very close range weapons and thus, they are difficult to aim and shoot accurately over any distance. But because accuracy is of paramount importance in a home defense situation, these underpowered pocket guns are not well suited for the purpose of defending yourself and your family from criminals who have invaded your home.
2. Large Revolvers
On the opposite end of the scale, there are large revolvers designed specifically for hunting medium to large game species. Not only do these handguns have large frames which enable them to withstand the recoil generated by firing magnum powered cartridges such as the .44 Magnum, the .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum, and the .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, they generate an excessive amount of noise and recoil which makes them difficult to control in a combat situation. Plus, due to their extra high muzzle velocities, they cannot only endanger the criminal you are shooting at, they can also endanger family members hiding in other rooms and can even penetrate exterior walls, endangering your neighbors as well.
3. Single Shot Rifles and Shotguns
Yet a third class of firearm that is poorly suited for the purpose of home defense is the single shot rifle or shotgun. While most boys who grow up in rural environments (where hunting is often a way of life) receive single shot rifles chambered for the venerable .22 LR cartridge or shotguns chambered for 20 gauge shotshells, these rifles and shotguns are poorly suited for the purpose of home defense because, in the case of the .22 LR, the cartridge simply lacks the stopping power needed to deter a determined home invader and, in the case of either type of firearm, they lack any type of internal or removable magazine and thus are limited to a single shot. So if you miss your target or find yourself faced with more than one assailant, you will likely not have the time to reload your gun before you are attacked.
4. Bolt Action Hunting Rifles
Of course, this naturally leads to a discussion of the bolt action hunting rifle, which is also found in many households. While this type of firearm is well suited for hunting game in the field, it is particularly ill suited for the purpose of home defense because, even though most rifles of this type feature internal magazines that hold multiple rounds, they commonly have long barrels that make them difficult to maneuver in close quarters, and they require the shooter to manually operate the bolt in order to eject the spent case and load a new round into the chamber after each shot. Plus, they are most often chambered for high-powered hunting cartridges and thus present the same problem as magnum-power handguns in that they can easily endanger family members in other parts of the house, as well as neighbors.
5. Military Surplus Rifles
Last but not least, military surplus rifles have long been popular firearms among the shooting public due to their relatively inexpensive purchase prices. The problem is, the large majority of these firearms date from World War II or even as far back as World War I, which means they were specifically designed for use on the open battlefields of Europe and Africa and thus, they too usually feature excessively long barrels that are ill suited for home defense in addition to bolt actions, just like the modern sporting rifle. Plus, because they were specifically designed to engage enemy soldiers at long ranges, they are most often chambered for high-powered rifle cartridges that generate way too much muzzle energy to be safe for the purpose of home defense.
So while there are numerous handguns and rifles on the market that are very well suited for the purpose of protecting your family from violent criminals, there are also just as many–if not more–that are very poorly suited for the job. Therefore, when choosing a firearm for home defense, it is best to avoid the types of firearms mentioned above and instead purchase one of the many models of pistols, revolvers, or rifles that are well suited for this particular purpose such as small or medium framed revolvers chambered for the .38 Special cartridge, semiautomatic pistols chambered for the 9mm, .40 Smith & Wesson, or 10mm Auto cartridges, as well as the AR-15 rifle configured with a short barrel.