> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Food for Thought: Long guns for home defense



Food for Thought: Long guns for home defense

Good video from the HossUSMC on various cornering techniques with a shotgun, which of course can be applied to a rifle as well. The longer the barrel, the more of a problem you'll have.

I would add that if you need to enter a doorway, you want to get through it as quickly as possible - you're most vulnerable to a gun grab if you're slowly edging your way into a room. You're also usually silhouetted in the doorway, making you an easier target - hence the nickname "funnel of death." Don't hang out their any longer than you need to.

No one will argue the superiority of a long gun in a firefight, but when bringing 'em indoors or in vehicles, they bring some special considerations - compromised maneuverability and leverage during a gun grab being two of the biggies.

Another consideration - it's tough to use a shotgun one handed - same goes for rifles, but to a lesser extent. If you need to open a door, pick up a child or shove a loved one out of the way, that long gun can be sub-optimal.

While the long guns win in terms of terminal effectiveness, they have their own tradeoffs that you need to be aware of and train for. And, for many, a handgun may be the better choice for use in the home.

There's an interview floating out there on the interwebs with Chris Costa, where he talks about his choice for home defense: a suppressed handgun. Costa is a guy who has access to pretty much any kind of firearm he wants and has more than a fair amount of knowledge and experience with long guns. He's weighed the options and chosen a handgun over an AR or a sweet Benelli semi-auto for defending his home, at least in normal times.

Interested to hear your thoughts, experience and personal choices.


  1. AnonymousMay 05, 2013

    I know this is training, but I really didn't like this guy pointing the weapon at his wife.

    1. Certainly not ideal, but how else would you train for this without having red/blue training guns? He spends the first half of the video talking about safely doing so.

    2. AnonymousMay 05, 2013

      Good video, but agreed.
      Remmington teaches this for any firearm you buy:
      1st commandment.
      He could do the video with not directly pointing the firearm.

      If experts do not follow the muzzling rule, why should new firearm owners?

    3. AnonymousMay 07, 2013

      I absolutely agree. It would have been preferable to use a prop such as a wood rod about the right length to simulate a longgun. He can also use his hand as a prop for the handgun. You don't need blueguns to keep safe.

      What he did distracted terribly from the lesson being taught. Bad Ju-Ju.


  2. Best compromise in my opinion is a bull pup rifle, for example PS90, Steyr Aug / MSAR Aug. It would be even better to have an SBR, but then again most bull pup's aren't exactly affordable in the eyes of everyone.

    Pre gun craze I was going to purchase a UTAS-12 or the KSG, but right now they are too over priced.

  3. Day TripperMay 05, 2013

    I have tech’d out a cheap Maverick 88 shotgun for my home defense weapon of choice. The way our home is laid out, a shot gun is probably the best set up. We have a long hallway that separates our bedrooms from the rest of the house. Because of the slope of our yard, the bedrooms are basically a story above grade which has me pretty comfortable in thinking that if anybody were to break in while we were asleep, they would not be coming into one of the bedroom windows and therefore would have to come down the hallway. We have an alarm system and security cameras set up so we should have at the very least a 30 second warning that somebody has broken in.
    I made my family rehearse a break in a few times even though they were against it at first. Our plan of action is that once the alarm goes off, I grab and load the shotgun and then secure the hallway near our bedrooms. My wife works behind me getting into our safe spot with the children. Once I know they are safe and none of my family are on the business end of the hallway, everything is fair game at that point. The safe spot is located out of any direct lines if I were to get into a fire fight and is equipped for self-defense and escape. I’ve set up my self-defense load out to include a little bit of everything from bird shot to buckshot.
    I’ve been thinking about picking up a handgun too though because I absolutely will not have a loaded shotgun sitting around in a house where there are kids and timing matters. The handgun would be quicker to load but would not offer the same “drop ‘em” power as the shotgun. Each has their pros and cons, but I guess I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the one I am able to get my hands on, loaded, and pointing in the right direction the quickest. The greatest advantage for every homeowner is the element of surprise and superior knowledge of the environment you are in. An intruder may not be as intimidated by the sound of handgun fire as they are the KABOOM and follow up cocking of the next shotgun round, but I swear that even 9mm round will cause enough of a burning sensation in the intruder’s flesh that they will not want to feel another one.

    1. Day Tripper -

      If you're shooting and the bad guys are NOT intimidated, then they're probably zombies. Nobody wants to get shot by anything.

      If I'm reading you right, the shotgun is entirely unloaded, and then you load it when trouble arises? There's all kinds of problems with that. "Cruiser safe" is how I would keep a home defense shotgun - tube full, chamber empty, safety on.

      If you're worried about child safety - and you should be - there are all kinds of products out there to help keep the gun safe by relatively ready for action.

      For a handgun, a good quick access safe is around $100. A key safe can be had for $25 to $30.

      For a shotgun, a keyed breach lock can be had for $25.

      Keep the key around your neck, prep/remove the lock at night and replace in the morning.

    2. Day TripperMay 05, 2013

      Good tips as always Mr. Wolf. Right now I do keep it completely unloaded with shells on the stock but loading the tube, keeping the chamber empty, and the safety on seems like a much better idea. I also saw a product that you can mount on the wall that has a magnet to keep the shotgun in place. This way the gun can be put up high, preferably in a closet out of site, and out of the reach of kids...yet readily accessible in a time of need.

    3. AnonymousMay 06, 2013

      Day Tripper,
      First, I gotta say, that's awesome you've rehearsed that with your family. Although things never happen the way you plan, any plan is better than no plan, so good for you! Secondly, to do with the shotgun. A good friend of mine was a Coastie for 33 years! For much of his time, he was on a joint task force with DEA, ATF, and FBI and has been in more close combat gun fights that almost anyone I know. He had an old Mossberg 500 he took home from work. His cheap alternative when kids were a concern, his Tube was full of buck and a simple bike cable/pad lock went through the chamber so the gun couldn't be racked and shot. In the event of an emergency, unlock the bike lock and get in the fight. I know personally fine motor skills are the first to go in a fight! The less you have to do, the better. Anyway hope that helps, it's a super cheap solution thats very safe! Have a good one!


    4. Day TripperMay 06, 2013

      That's a great idea Jack. I will have to kick that one around. Trust me, my family was not excited about the "rehearsals" as I am the only guy in the house and they seemed more concerned with what was going on with the Housewives of Orange County, MTV, and playing princess games...but a few run throughs later and I'm impressed that they all still fall into order when I randomly trip the alarm system to dust off the rust.

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  5. AnonymousMay 06, 2013

    full size pistol with a light and 33 round mag, please! I like having a hand free if needed and if he's in the middle of the beam I'm probably going to hit him!

  6. AnonymousMay 06, 2013

    I personally don't have any kids around right now, so therefore I use an FNP 40 with a back up mag (both full of HP's), an AR with more than enough ammo, and another 380. The 40 and AR have a light on them which is awesome for home defense in my opinion. The 40 close to my side of the bed, the 380 close to the wifey's side and the AR is in a corner for her to do overwatch for me! Hopefully nothing ever comes to that. Thanks.


  7. AnonymousMay 06, 2013

    I don't disagree with the points made in the article. I believe buying a weapon is a personal decision. I would just add that statistics show that suicide is more frequent in homes with handguns vs. long guns only. At the minimum keep it in mind when storing weapons.

  8. My comment would be aimed towards the gun grab when they pull it. For a home defense weapon, you are probably not wearing a sling, so rather than waste a round, and risk were it is going, execute a butt stroke to the head?

  9. KingHojuMay 08, 2013

    Gun safety rules are super important--but you don't have to be and idiot about them. If you want to do these kind of drills, you unload the gun, remove all live ammo from the area, check and recheck your magazine, rack the slide/work the action several times, check the chamber, rack it a few more times, dry fire, check the chamber again, check the bore, check your magazine again, rack the slide a few more times, dry fire again. Check things over and over and thoroughly enough--you'll reach a point where you can be pretty darn sure that for the moment the gun is unloaded and is 100% safe (ahh!!! banish the thought!!!) and you can safely do drills like this if those are the skills you want to work on.

  10. I know this I'm primarily focusing on using a longgun for home defense. I think a short barrel pump is probably the best choice but in light of this what about a shotgun capable pistol like the Judge. Just posing this to anyone that has one, what is your opinion on a compromise for a long gun?

  11. AnonymousJune 14, 2013

    So...With the gun twisted and pulled back like that, wouldnt you be subject to ejected shells and gasses in you face? (obviously taking a semi-auto, not the shotgun)

    1. Not really...and not much of a concern if you've got to shoot someone in order to save your life or the life of a loved one.