A lot of people with an internet pulpit recommend long guns as ideal for home defense (HD). Well, that just goes to prove that, as we used to say in the pre-internet days: “Don’t believe everything you read”. Today I suppose it would be “Don’t believe everything you hear from YouTube personalities with the requisite tactical beards or goatees”.
The primary HD firearm should be a handgun. Not that there’s not a place for something like a shotgun or carbine in HD. I really like Massad Ayoob’s notion that the place for a long gun in HD is in a fixed location like a safe room or bedroom, He compares it to the fixed artillery of an army, while the handgun is like the mobile infantry. That is, the long gun stays in a fixed location and is brought into play if the BG insists on moving to you (and, duh, you’re justified in challenging with or firing it).
Why? Well, have you ever tried to move around, at speed and tactically, in your house with a long gun? Sure, there are some very goofball and unsatisfactory ways you can theoretically do so, but they are just that. Have you ever tried, with a long gun, to open a door, protect a child, or do any of the real-world things that a HD scenario requires other than runnin’, gunnin’ and looking cool? (Talking to the nice dispatch operator is a good idea in these situations.)
Story one: Years ago, like the mid-nineties, a member of a forward-thinking SWAT team on the west coast told me that the team had mostly given up their ARs for building entry and gone back to handguns. “They were just too cumbersome to move effectively with inside”, was his reason.
Story two: On a narcotics raid I was on with a local tac team, a few of the SWAT guys went in with ARs. After it was wrapped up one of the AR operators said to me, completely unsolicited, “These things (pointing to his AR) kinda suck in tight quarters”.
Yup, they do. And shotguns are even heavier and more unwieldy.
Yeah, I know the M4 is the main military individual weapon, even for urban ops. But apples and oranges; plus we civilians have complete freedom of choice – no one is dictating what we carry or train with.
As always, try real scenarios, at real speed and real intent, with blue guns (they are available for most common shotguns and carbines) before saying I’m full of shit. I may be, and will so concede if you do the homework to prove it.
Now if you live on a ranch, manor, or estate, and we’re talking outside HD (or ranch, manor, or estate defense), then yeah – rifles (or shotguns) are the way to go. Lucky you!