So you’ve decided home defense is your purpose for purchasing a gun. The world is not as it used to be. People seem to care less and be more disrespectful of you and your property. Robberies, home invasions and fights highlight the news and it’s becoming more and more the lead story or one of multiple stories. These are probably the result of corrupt, mentally ill, drug induced or feed up with being poor people having trouble coping with their lives. The response time of those who protect and serve is not a comfort these days. So preventing your family from getting in harm’s way and protecting your possessions falls to you. It’s one reason home defense weapons exist for purchase. Let’s look at budget friendly, functional and reliable hand guns to ease your conscience.
Quality – Brand
You’ve probably heard of many of the top gun companies doing business in the US. Top sellers include Smith & Wesson, Remington, Sig Sauer, Springfield Armory, Beretta and Glock. So choosing a weapon from one of them will provide you with a quality product because it has a brand name as proofed by the millions of dollars in sales. People are buying from them.
Bullet sizes are called calibers and there are many sizes. Stopping power is a phrase used when referring to them. It’s a trait of the bullet size. How many will it take to stop a person. Common ones are .22, 9mm, .380ACP, .45 and .38 special. A .22 is a small bullet with minimum recoil. Great for beginners but would take about 6 bullets to stop someone. A 9mm is a popular size and used a lot at gun ranges and for gun choices for home defense. It’s also a favorite of police forces. It has minimal recoil. The .380 is controversial in gun circles as the debate is about or not it has enough stopping power. Most agree that at close range it will stop a person. Another popular bullet is the .45. It’s a big bullet and there’s no doubt about it’s stopping power. Military and police forces provide ample examples of proof of its usefulness. It’s not a recommended bullet for newbies. Revolvers use the .38 special. It’s a bigger bullet also so it’s recoil will have to be managed when learning to shoot using this caliber.
For optimum performance your gun will have to be maintained with that in mind. Cleaning should be done after firing a few hundred rounds. Start off buying a cleaning kit that contains multiple bore brushes for all calibers, a rod for cleaning your pistol, patches for cleaning and the necessary fluids like gun cleaner, lube and oil. A saying in the industry is “use grease where things slide, and oil where things turn”.
Here’s a general procedure for cleaning your weapon:
- Unload and break down your firearm
- Brush solvent through your barrel with appropriate bore brush
- Wipe everything off with a towel and/or Q-tips
- Spray solvent on dirty areas and wipe off
- Run bore brush through a couple times
- Run clean patch through barrel, repeat until satisfied
- Lightly oil rails, springs, and bearing surfaces
- Run an oily patch through the barrel
- Reassemble and reassurance check
For those of us that are visual here’s a Youtube video.
A safety is the built on part of the gun that helps thwart accidental discharges safeguarding handling of the weapon. This topic has two sides to it. Some recommend a lack of an external safety while others say some sort safety should be included. For the first side, it is believed that best safety mechanism is the human mind. You consciously know there is nothing preventing you from shooting the gun so you are more careful in it’s operation. It is believed that forgetting to disengage the safety before shooting in a pressure situation could be to ones detriment. One the other hand, some want a safety so that accidental discharges do not become a problem. Training and practice disengaging the safety before shooting is advocated.
Research reveals the guns below are the most popular with beginners and first time buyers for range shooting and home defense. Links are to the manufacturer’s website for more information. I’m sure you can find cheaper prices elsewhere.
One of the most popular handguns to buy verified by sales and first time gun buyers is made by Glock, a well known brand. The most essential thing about choosing a handgun is the fit in your hand. The first question to yourself should be how does it feel? Full size means close to 5″ barrels while compact is more like 3.5 to 4″ barrels. Full size makes for easier shooting as there is more gun to absorb the recoil, bigger grip area and a longer sight radius which makes for better accuracy in placing your bullets on the target.
Glock is synonymous with simple controls and easy maintenance. The G19 is the prototypical handgun and one by which others are judged. It’s 15-round magazine, thin and light frame exudes simplicity and reliability. It has a Modular Back Strap design that lets you customize the grip to fit the shooter’s hand size.
The Glock 17 is another choice for its durability and reliability. It’s the single most popular handgun ever made. The Glock 17 is the AK-47 of handguns. Because of its reliability, above-average magazine capacity of 17 rounds, it’s widely used by law enforcement worldwide.
The M&P line is well proven as a duty (law and military) gun, but is very popular in the civilian market. The efficiency, minimal controls, and reliability make this pistol a great choice for a handgun. Add the feature of ambidextrous slide-stop control (and reversible mag catch) and thin feeling grip and you have a flat shooting (flat flight path for the bullet) pistol that most anyone can handle well.
This is a slim and efficient working pistol that packs a better than normal capacity (17 rounds). It features the GripZone® and is ready for duty, a day at the range, and even concealed carry. It’s a natural shooter, handles the recoil very well, and has minimal external controls.
“The Grip Zone(TM) has improved grasp performance and stickier grip characteristics so that your hand will be less prone to torque, wrench and flip when shooting. The pistol will naturally stay in position due to the increased traction of the innovative textures. Additionally, you’ll be applying less force to the frame. This is ergonomic science applied where it matters the most – to the interface of the shooter and the firearm.”
These guns have elite military and law enforcement proven reliability written all over them but are the civilian versions. Their claim to fame “It’s almost impossible to make one jam”. The standard 15-round magazine for the 9mm is enough capacity. Complexity is a slight concern here. SIGs have numerous controls that shooters might struggle with at first. Practice makes perfect though so overcoming the concern shouldn’t be a problem. So, the SIGs might be the most beautiful ladies in the pageant but they’re high maintenance.
It’s a good idea to be competent with different guns. Whether you like revolvers or don’t, you should be able to use one. Maybe this isn’t your first choice but I wanted to include one in case that’s your preference. The Smith and Wesson 686P is well-made, accurate, and comfortable. It shoots .357 Magnum or .38 Special cartridges and holds 7 rounds instead of the normal 6. It places itself very well for a range shooter. Recoil and accuracy will be your focus when practicing.
I hoped to have given you some ideas and maybe a plan for making your home defense weapon of choice. I’ve included some important things to know to make your experience a positive one. Informed decisions are my main goal for putting this out there but as I continue to learn about guns and firearms and their associated topics, I find out there’s a lot more. I will keep relaying what I find out there.