Want to start a good debate among your fellow shooters? Just toss out the question: What is the best type of firearm for home defense? Youll likely get as many answers firing back at you as different people in the room, and for the most part, most of the opinions will be (at least particularly) valid.
Certainly, those among the concealed-carry contingent will advocate the same sidearm they tote in public and practice with at the range, citing the familiarity developed with the handgun of their preference — revolver vs. semi-auto, 1911 vs. Glock, 9mm vs. 380 vs. 45 vs. you name it is a whole other argument — and this group of avid shooters makes a great point. Modern rifle fans will definitely dig the versatility and the visual intimidation factor of an AR. Compact when outfitted with a collapsible stock or in a carbine configuration and rigged with a tactical white light or laser sights and able to feed ample rounds in an extreme defensive situation (of course, isnt any defensive situation extreme?), its hard to argue against their choice. And of course, citing the minimized likelihood of pass-through shots in the walls and shot patters that reduce the absolute necessity for the precise aim of a single projectile, scattergun fans will espouse the benefits of the shotgun as the ultimate defensive gun. To a point theyre absolute correct as well.
From that latter option, I imagine there have been more than a few non-gun owning couples that have strolled into a gun shop in search of a firearm they can use for self-defense, particularly to put the womans mind at ease when the husband may be away, only to roll home with a hard-kicking 12-gauge that after the first shooting session, will leave the woman thinking, No Way! A local gunsmith friend of mine encountered just such an elderly couple who were looking to unload their recently purchased 12-gauge for that very reason.
My buddy suggested instead of giving up their hopes for defensive peace of mind, that they try a lighter 20-gauge. The kick is minimal, the guns are typically lighter and easier for smaller stature shooters to handle, yet available loads still deliver plenty of close-range knockdown mixed with mid-range aim forgiveness. Lets be honest. Most people who are not avid shooters, but still want a gun for home defense, are not going to practice as often as they should – if more than once or twice – and are going to require a gun that is easy to operate in an unnerving situation and offer a little insurance against an unsteady aim. In fact, it might help if the gun is visually intimidating and maybe even generates a universally understood, blood-chilling sound as it is taken to battery. That alone can sometimes mitigate a situation before a shot ever even has to be fired. Enter the 20-gauge tactical pump shotgun – two new models of which hit store shelves in 2013 courtesy of North Haven CT, gunmaker Mossberg.
The 68th edition of Gun Digest not only carries detailed round-ups of all of todays firearms, ammo and optics but dozens of articles and features on all types of shooting and firearms including the defensive guns like the Mossberg 20-gauge. To read more about this gun and others like this, purchase “Gun Digest 2014, 68th Edition” from Gun Tests.