Home Defense is a subject we could talk days about. It’s often a personal conversation that differs between a home’s size, location, family size and more. However, there are five must-haves that are universal for home defense and we are going to talk about them today.

A Plan

First and foremost, you need to have a plan. A well-rehearsed and well thought out plan that takes into account your weapon, your home, and the people in your home. Your home defense plan should include everyone in your home be they family or roommates.

A plan should take into account securing your family, retrieving your home defense firearm, and calling the police. If you have multiple people in your home those capable should have a job to do. For example, if you have a plan for a family of five including two adults and three kids under 12.

Someone starts kicking the door in, or you hear breaking glass, or a scream from a family member.

Adult 1 retrieves the main home defense firearm, preferably a long gun. The second adult is in charge of retrieving a cell phone and calling the police and grabbing a secondary weapon, which they should be able to utilize while on the phone. This makes a handgun a preferable weapon for the person in charge of calling the police.

Those two adults move to secure the children and protect them. Adult 1 with the long gun keeps orientated to the threat. Adult 2 moves to gather the children into one room. If possible adult 1 moves with the family, always keeping their eyes and gun trained on the source of the threat. For example, if someone is kicking in the door the gun stays pointed at the door.

If an intruder is already in the home Adult 1 may already be engaging as Adult 2 secures children and calls the police. The plan needs to be somewhat flexible and involve the safety of your entire family.

A Good Gun

My choice of firearm for home defense is the shotgun. Shotguns are powerhouses and are very successful at one-shot stops. For home defense, shorter shotguns are better and that’s led many to utilize guns like the Mossberg Shockwave or Remington Tac 14. These are technically not shotguns but operate identically to a shotgun.

home defense shockwave

There are two ways to utilize these guns. First is adding a stabilizing brace that makes them much easier to handle. The second is using them as designed and getting substantial practice in and pairing them with the right low recoil ammo. My favorite gun for home defense is my Mossberg 590 with its 8 shot design and 20-inch long barrel. It’s a powerhouse and the choice of the USMC.

home defense mossberg 590

If a Semi-Auto design is more your speed the Benelli M4 is one of the best semi-auto shotguns on the planet and is another USMC choice.

Handguns are a good choice if you live alone and need a firearm you can handle while calling the police. Handguns lack the power of a shotgun or rifle but are the smallest and most maneuverable of the home defense choices.

Rifles are becoming more and more popular for home defense. A semi-auto rifle offers excellent penetration and power with low recoil and substantial magazine capacity. When using a weapon like the AR 15 with proper ammo choices you will have less risk of over penetration through your house.

The Right Ammo

Depending on the weapon you choose for home defense you need to consider the ammunition you choose.
For the shotgun I suggest buckshot. It’s a proven fight stopper that’s used far and wide by military and police forces. Specifically, 00 or double ought buckshot. This common load delivers a massive amount of power and energy on target.  If utilizing something like the Mossberg Shockwave or Remington Tac 14 I’d heavily suggest reduced recoil loads, which are still potent.

home defense ammo

For handguns, you’ll want a jacketed hollow point from a reputable manufacturer like Hornady or Federal. Jacketed hollow points expand as they strike a soft target and as they grow in size they also deal more damage. They also slow down and this prevents them from leaving their intended target and harming another person.

Shop Defense Ammunition

For rifles, you’ll want a purpose-built defense load. Winchester’s PDX loads are proven rounds that will expand and stop a target with severe prejudice. Hornady Defense TAP Urban is designed for use indoors as well and helps keep the round from penetrating walls and opponents.

A White Light

A white light attached to your weapon is a must-have for a home defense situation. It allows you to identify an opponent and ensure they are a threat before you pull the trigger. Having positive identification of your target is an absolute must before you pull the trigger.

home defense white light

White lights from companies like Surefire and Streamlight are rugged and dependable for home defense. An added benefit is your light’s ability to temporarily blind a target and buy you time to engage your target. A white light allows you to identify a threat, and ensure its a threat. If not, you could commit a tragic mistake at worst, or at best you may miss your threat.

home defense streamlight

Shop Weapon Lights

A First Aid Kit

Finally, after everything is over someone may be hurt or harmed. You are still your own first responder and having a first aid kit is a must-have. You need to be able to treat traumatic wounds and keep yourself, or a family member alive. A traumatic medkit can be a lifesaver. Preferably one equipped with tourniquets, pressure dressings, medical tape, and even a chest seal.

Of course, having them, and knowing how to use them is important. If you are practicing and receiving training for firearms then you need to spend a little time learning how to use basic trauma medical gear. There are tons of free sources of knowledge on traumatic medicine online and there are numerous tactical first aid training courses you can attend.

Staying Safe

Hopefully, you never need our 5 must-haves. Your goal is to live a long and peaceful life. That’s all of our goals. However, if you do encounter a home defense situation, you’ll be thankful for these must-haves. Stay safe, train hard, and be ready.


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