Home-defense firearms are a frequent topic of discussion in gun shops. While some end up with a shotgun or carbine, many opt for a handgun as their primary (or only) home defense weapon because they are easy to store and maneuver in the home. So, is there a best home defense handgun?
I’ll be blunt and say that there is no one choice of pistol that is best for everybody. Some fit most people, but not all. You must be comfortable with your weapon, and it needs to feel natural in your hand, or accuracy and familiarity will suffer due to the pistol not being pleasant to use.
Most of the pistols I will recommend today would have been known as service pistols back in the day. In other words, a full-sized handgun like you would find on the hip of a police officer or soldier. My reasons for this are two-fold, these larger handguns offer both magazine capacity and controllability. A dedicated home defense handgun will not be carried around as your EDC so compactness is not a concern.
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First Choice – Glock 34/17/21
Probably the most well-known handgun of the last 35+ years, full-sized Glock handguns get the nod from many as the best home defense handguns because they are easy to use, reliable, and affordable. The models 34 and 17 hold seventeen rounds of 9mm Luger, while the model 22 brings 15 rounds of the potent .40 S&W.
The 17 and 22 were and are fielded by a mind-boggling number of law enforcement agencies and have an enviable service reputation. I have included the model 34 since it has a longer barrel and is a steadier target platform. Accuracy counts in a home defense scenario, and missing is not an option when your neighbors are close. All feature a rail for a flashlight and are comfortable pistols to shoot on the range.
My only reservation with a Glock is the lack of an external safety, but that is more of a personal preference. If you have excellent trigger discipline, then these pistols are dummy-proof.
The Soldiers Pick – Sig Sauer P320-M17
Adopted by the U.S. Army in 2017, the M17 is a version of the 9mm Sig 320 modified to meet the Army’s requirements. These modifications include an ambidextrous external safety, night sights, optics ready slide, and a loaded chamber indicator.
I lucked into an extended range day with one of these pistols a couple of years ago courtesy of Uncle Sam, and I can honestly say that I am a fan. The trigger is very light, so the external safety gives some piece of mind in case of stupidity. While firing, the M17 is very controllable thanks to its front-heavy nature, and it cycled so smoothly and flatly that I could maintain a sight picture throughout the recoil cycle.
In addition to smooth firing, this pistol brings it in terms of capacity. Magazines are either 17 or 21 rounds, and the weapon comes with one of the former and two of the latter. The M17 is a true combat pistol.
The Heirloom – Smith & Wesson Model 10
Introduced in 1899, the model 10 is one of the most-produced handguns of all time. I include it on this list because the model 10 and its variants were the primary weapon of choice for law enforcement in the U.S. for decades. Many families already have one that a relative carried in the line of duty, and they may already be familiar with it.
While capacity is limited, revolvers are reliable in the extreme, and when chambered in cartridges like .38 Special, they are proven threat stoppers. If you choose to use one of these old warhorses, it may help to switch out the grips. The stock ones are usually too small for individuals with big mitts and are unpleasant to shoot without swapping the stocks, your mileage may vary.
The Big Bore – FNX-45
The FNX-45 is a newer pistol with old-school features. Boasting 15-round magazines, an external safety, and a DA/SA trigger (double action/single action), the FNX-45 delivers a big bore solution to home defense problems. It is one of the highest-capacity .45s on the market today, and the controls are fully ambidextrous. Designed for the U.S. military’s Joint Combat Pistol Program the FNX-45 weapon has all the bells and whistles, and the Tactical variant is optics-ready if you wish to run a red dot on it.
While not an inexpensive pistol at over $1200 MSRP, the FNX-45 has been called a combat masterpiece by some, and it would make an excellent choice for defending your castle.
The Smooth Operator – CZ P-09
The CZ P-09 is a massive Da/SA 9mm handgun with a 19-round magazine, polymer frame, and front accessory rail. (if you are noticing a trend, it’s intentional) Prior to my experience with Sig M17, the P-09 was the smoothest pistol I had ever shot. Accuracy was excellent, and the single-action trigger pull was light. Recoil was very controllable thanks to the low bore axis that CZ pistols are known for, and the sights are large and impossible not to see. The P-09 is my second favorite service pistol. I have known several individuals who carry one as their duty weapon, and they also speak highly of it.
If you have big hands, the P-09 is also a good choice. The grip is large and quite long, allowing plenty of room for even the largest mega mitts. Interchangeable backstraps come with the gun so that you can tailor the grip to your hands.
A pistol is generally the primary means of home defense that most of us own or keep handy. Don’t handicap your self-defense with a hard-to-shoot or low-capacity handgun. Get a large framed, high-capacity handgun, and maybe even add a light to the front rail so that you can better discern your target.
Your home is your castle, and your family is your treasure. Set yourself up to defend them well.