If you’ve decided to take your personal or home defense seriously, you’re probably researching buying a few firearms, or perhaps you already own one or more. The world of firearms can be confusing, so I wanted to cover a few points every prospective gun owner should consider.
First, you need to ask yourself what the objective is. Are you planning for home defense, or is the gun going to be used for self-defense away from home? Or do you plan on hunting, and if so, what are you going to be shooting at? This distinction will start you down the right path.
Second, what is your experience with weapons? If you grew up with guns and have practiced a lot, you’re in a much different place than the person who’s never touched one.
If you read gun enthusiast publications you’re likely to hear everything from ‘buy as many guns as you can afford’ to ‘buy as few guns as possible’ and everything in between. My advice is to buy the weapons you expect to need and become an expert with them.So let’s get on to building your armory.
One of the best starting points for your armory is a revolver or semi-auto handgun that you can use for home, self-defense and even emergency hunting, and you can carry it with you discreetly. My favorite weapon for this purpose is the .357 Magnum, an all-around gun that is effective, easy to use and flexible.
By flexible I mean it shoots several different types of ammo and the ammo is widely available. There’s an old saying that the best gun is one you have with you when you need it, and with the .357 you can carry it with you without too much trouble. If you want additional capacity, I like the Glock 23, a .40 caliber semi auto that gives you the ability to carry eight more rounds than the five-shot .357.However, a semi-auto is a much more complex weapon both from an operational and maintenance standpoint. More can go wrong… so be honest about your own skill level before buying one.
Once you have a trusted handgun, I recommend you acquire a firearm for home defense, and in my opinion the hands-down winner would be a 12 gauge pump shotgun.It is a powerful and extremely versatile gun, because you can vary your ammunition based on your needs. You can shoot birdshot, buckshot, slugs, darts (flechette rounds), explosive fragments, bean bags, pepper gas, tear gas, rock salt, rubber slugs/buckshot, pyrotechnic whistles, bolo’s and even flares.With that range of ammunition you can kill almost anything you can imagine, except hunt game at long distances.
Much of personal and home defense is deterrence, and this is where the pump shotgun really shines. If some thug is scouting your place and is carrying a knife or a handgun and you show up on the front doorwith a shotgun in hand, he’s going to move on. You see, even if you’re skilled with a handgun, a person can survive and even continue firing after being hit, but with a shotgun, you’re almost guaranteed a powerful, knock-down hit and serious bleeding.
Nobody wants to face an angry homeowner with a shotgun, even if she’s a 5′ grandma. If you suffer the misfortune of facing an intruder in your home, the sound of that shotgun pumping has been known to send intruders running away… quickly.
Once you have a handgun and a shotgun, you have covered 95% of your defense needs. Anyone in your home who might handle the gun in an emergency should spend a lot of time at the range, training and shooting with both weapons.
Your third, and final component to your armory should be a rifle.The rifle gives you the ability to hunt or take down threats at a distance, and in conjunction with your other two weapons will cover virtually every need you might have.
Choosing the right rifle involves an evaluation of the stopping power, the likely uses, the range of the weapon, availability of parts and ammunition, and the weight.I also like to own different weapons that can shoot the same ammo, since it makes buying and stockpiling ammunition easy.
If you’ve purchased the .357 I recommended, one great option would be a lever-action rifle that uses the .357 magnum rounds.A lever gun is the rifle equivalent of a revolver; easy to use, easy to clean and simple and reliable when you need it. I think of my lever gun like a hammer in my toolkit… it’s really that versatile.
Now, if you want something with greater range, I recommend the .308 rifle.It has more power and precision at distance than the .357 lever rifle.It’s great for hunting many different types of game and is more effective than higher-powered, similar rifles.
One of the great things about the .308 rifle is it can fire the 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge, the same round fired by the best battle rifles in the world. This means that your available ammunition now includes the most-produced rifle cartridge in the world.
These three or four firearms will make for a very robust armory that will cover almost any need. If you can envision a scenario where these weapons will not meet your need, you should probably be worried about escape and evasion rather than fighting.