What Is the Best Handgun for Home Defense/Carry?

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HandgunsMr. Ags, gets asked this question quite often, especially lately by people who have never shot before.  My answer to this question used to be, “What can you shoot accurately?”  However, I’ve modified my answer over the years.  The reason for this is that with practice the guns and caliber I am endorsing can be used effectively by a man or a woman.  Now, I am not suggesting that everyone needs to throw away their favorite handgun(s) and buy what I am recommending.  If you have a gun that works for you and your family, roll with it.  I also know my answer will enrage many diehard shooters.  For those of you who don’t understand why, you must first realize that many shooters out there have guns that they love like their own children.  Some people will take what I am about say as the equivalent of me sucker punching their child in the face while they watch it happen in slow motion with the soundtrack to Braveheart playing in the background.  So what does Mr. Ags recommend?  I recommend a mid-sized, high-capacity, 9mm.  “But my 1911, my 40 S&W, my 357, and by the way, 9mm’s suck!!!”  I told you they would be upset.  Hear me out though.

I love my 1911, my 40’s, my 45s, and all my other handguns too; however, every gun has an application that it preforms very well and some are better than others.  That being said, if I was only able to suggest someone buying one handgun for home protection and carry, I’d tell them to get a mid-sized, high-capacity, 9mm that has limited safety features (they get in the way at the worst time).  There are many guns out there that fit this bill, such as the Glock 19, S&W M&P, and Springfield XD/XDM.  These are all guns I have used and do carry.  The reason I like these is because you can beat the living snot out of them, they clean up easy, and they will eat any round you feed them: Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), Hollow Point (HP), and +P.  They also give you a fairly concealable weapon with 10+ rounds of magazine capacity.  When your life is on the line you’ll never wish you had fewer rounds.

Now I know there are people that hate 9mm’s because they think they have no power.  However, with advancements in technology manufactures such as Cor-Bon and Liberty Halo (Liberty has developed a 9mm HP that moves at over 1,900 feet-per-second (fps) and will blow a hole in your objective the size of an old silver dollar) these arguments hold little water.  The 9mm is an extremely versatile round that can be easily managed by a man or a woman with the proper training.  My wife can operate the guns I mentioned above if I am not around or if I have been incapacitated.  9mm is also a NATO round used by police and military forces all around the world, making it readily available for the civilian.  This is important because since production is so high globally, it is more affordable than other handgun rounds.  If you are going to own a gun, you need to practice, practice, practice.  With today’s prices on ammo, practice isn’t cheap, but it is necessary.  Most stores (today being an exception) carry 9mm fairly regularly.

If you take my advice, you will not be disappointed.  You may only have one opportunity to protect you and your family, make it count.

Mr. Ags writes for Joe for America and welcomes your feedback: [email protected]

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  1. DJ says

    Not meaning to upset the handgun crowd for home defense……. an 18 1/4″ pump Mossberg in 410 or 20ga with multi-ball loads will take out six or so bad boys with one shot each….not seven. For the 410 it is very simple and easy to use black powder lead balls….three or four per shell depending on 2 1/2 or 3 inch hulls. These can be loaded by hand with no special tools. For the 20ga 00 buck is off the shelf, or you can load your own with black powder lead balls….just like doing the 410 bore. With the 410 bore you must make sure that the ball will fit the end of the barrel, as virtually all 410’s are full choke….close to 39 caliber not the 41 caliber size of a barrel with no choke (restriction to compact the lead shot), otherwise called cylinder bore. I like cutting down an older 410 pump to 18 1/4inch (legal is 18 but a little over that may keep officers happy as it is a Federal offense to have a shot gun with barrel less than 18 inches), that will give a cylinder bore and allow using 40 caliber round ball…three fit in the 2 1/2 inch hull easily and give a bit more omph than the smaller 39 cal. There is virtually no kick, so a female or male young teenager could easily be instructed how to take out bad guys. A side benni is that if you have a ball that misses, out of the two or three that hit, that ball will not go through two walls and take out a neighbor, while a 40 or 45 could easily keep on going on down the street. To a lesser degree same for a 9mm. The 20ga will have more penetration, and will throw more lead than the 410 or any handgun so it will be somewhat more effective…..but it will kick and has a bunch more blast than the 410. Best go to a range and rent some things that go boom and bang, to see what best fits the shooter(s). Now, for carry, your first and foremost consideration is what is comfortable to hold and shoot….if not it will not be carried and/or will not have range time for proficency. Second, it must be able to be concealed, so that varries with the physical size of the holder and normal dress under which it must be concealed. In some situations a NAA Mini 22 magnum might be the only thing concealable, but do not poopoo the little 22 mag…..a head shot at close range will not be nice to look at and only one shot will be needed. Even a 22 LR will do a close up job as evidenced by the many mob hits which used that little banger. , No doubt, if physically able, and of large enough frame….carry any cannon you want. I know some guys able to carry concealed a 44 Magnum…..not that I would if I could. The short of it……do what is comfortable and fits your frame. The guy who wants you to buy a Glock 40 is not you, he is speaking for himself as that is what he carries or wants to carry.

  2. Brett J. Gillilan says

    If you go with a 9 mm, it’s almost a no brainer to go with the XDM which holds 19 rounds in the mag (+1)… That’s if you live in an American state that doesn’t have 10 round mag bans.

    1. Brett J. Gillilan says

      You better have plenty of magazines too… the average (trained) police officer takes 7 rounds to stop an attacker… therefore, 14 rounds is barely acceptable for two attackers…. have tactical reload mags readily available for those strategic thinkers.

    2. Brett J. Gillilan says

      One last comment… check out this post. WARNING! – VIOLENT SHOOTOUT! In the video… the point is you can visually see the person get hit at least 5 times, that you can see from a distance. You need to have the right weapon, gear, magazines, ammo type, and training and preparations to have a fighting chance… http://www.ignatius-piazza-front-sight.com/2013/05/16/lessons-learned-from-wild-shootout-video/#vid

  3. mac12sam12 says

    For home HK45. Carry a Kimber Pro Carry.

  4. gatorbait51 says

    I have a race of XDS in .45 and am considering one in 9mm when it comes out. One of my daughters had hell trying to work the slide on the .45 and I an looking at the 9 for her.

    Any thoughts?

    1. PatriotAmerican fortheUSA says

      I have an XD SA 9mm, that I really enjoy. The 9mm is considerably easier to use and shoot. Plus the ammo is cheaper. 🙂 The .40 is great, but it has a considerably stronger kick. I have shot both side by side, and say this from experience. I can fully understand your problem with the .45, my wife also has the same problem, but it is more due to arthritis in her hands. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  5. Harvey Melton says

    my glock 31 is fine for home defense and otherwise but yes pick one you are comfortable with.

  6. Joe Farthing III says

    To add to a good point…I have always said, pick the gun that you can shoot comfortably AND accurately with one hand, both strong and weak hand. You never know what can happen and you may be faced with limited options.

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