In a time when the world seems to be falling apart, the government is saying the quiet parts out loud while being less competent and more useless than ever, and the rule of law just isn’t what it used to be, ensuring the safety of your family becomes more of a full-time concern than an occasional worry. Many of us, especially veterans and members of the law enforcement and EMS community are generally prepared for the worst to happen when we are away from our castles, in the wilderness of weirdos out in public. Surprisingly, there is a smaller number who are equally prepared for home invasions (although that often comes from our choices to live in less than hospitable places).
With that understanding in mind, perhaps now is a good time to cover some of the best home defense options currently available.
Best Less Than Lethal Device – Protect Fog Cannon
Fog home alarm systems have become increasingly popular over the years and are currently an efficient and effective device for home defense. These systems are usually tied directly into the home alarm system, but some also come with manual triggers. Once the appropriate switch is flipped, high density fog fills the space in a matter of seconds, turning even a well-lit room in broad daylight into a low to no visibility environment. Even if the intruder somehow has night vision optics, they are essentially useless; only thermal imaging can see through the fog. It leaves no residue, is safe for children and pets, and will disorient all but the most determined and experienced burglar.
Best Pistol – Glock 19 Gen 5 (9mm)
While there are plenty of arguments for revolvers or larger caliber weapons in the home defense market, the biggest concerns are will it fire reliably and will it stop the bad guy. For reliability it’s difficult to go wrong with the Glock 19. The service weapon of federal agents and the choice of concealed carry civilians across the country, its failure rate is incredibly small, even without fancy drills or doing the correct press check.
Many will argue that 9mm is not ballistically efficient enough, that it won’t launch an assailant back 10 feet, and that’s mostly true. NATO continues to use the 9mm essentially due to pressure from the Germans, (which is another story) but that doesn’t diminish the utility of the round. They are inexpensive, low recoil, and if you use enough of them the target always goes down. Not bad qualities for a weapon you’re going to use while Pooh Bearing your way down the hall in the darkness at 0230.
Best Rifle – AR-15 or Equivalent
Let’s face it, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Simple and effective while maintaining excellent accuracy over distance, the Lego gun of rifles is an obvious choice. There are minimal parts, they are easy to clean and repair, and even easier to teach to others. Even in magazine capacity restricted states there are enough rounds in this weapon to put a hurting on anyone foolish enough to break in unannounced. The AR platform also doubles as an efficient hunting rifle for small to medium game, so defense isn’t its sole use. Do keep in mind this weapon is more difficult to conceal or secure than a pistol in terms of home safety, so special consideration needs to be put into that aspect of ownership.
Best Shotgun – Mossberg 590A1
As home defense weapons go, there is a balance the shotgun holds that the pistol and rifle don’t; your shots won’t be as accurate… But they don’t have to be. If your vision isn’t clear from sleep, or your adrenaline is spiked so your hands are a bit shaky, the shotgun still gets the job done. Between Mossberg and Benelli there is always a close race, with Remmington right there behind them. The Remington 870, for example, is a stalwart military staple that is hard pressed to let you down. The M590A1, however, just squeaks into first place.
The 500 Series has been in the field for police and combat use for years, and so has a wide range of available accessories and modifications to almost rival the AR in terms of versatility. One major difference is the safety. Instead of a button to push in along the trigger guard, the safety sits just above where your thumb naturally does when holding the weapon. This may seem like a minor detail, but when combined with the overall ergonomics of the 590A1 and my desire to not accidentally shoot the cat, it’s a solid benefit.
Best melee weapon - Halberd
Never bring a knife to a gunfight, but if you have to… Bring a halberd.
5 to 6 feet, multi purposed, and perfect for stabbing or slashing. There’s a reason even the Pope’s guards carry them. Try not to overextend in close quarters, though.
Best unconventional home defense item - Attack Dog?
Tri-purposed: alarm, deterrent, and attack threat. A fur missile might end an incursion before it even begins. The only drawback is, if something were to happen to them, you may be honor bound to go on a John Wick style plot for revenge.
Now armed with my staple suggestions, what do you think? What would your choice to keep the enemy from the gates be?
As always, before taking random advice even from a trusted source such as myself, ensure that you are familiar with local, state, and federal laws so you don’t get a visit from the alphabet patrol.
That being said, let's cover one important piece of information: booby traps are illegal. Maybe there is a county in Bumblescum, Kentucky where it isn’t, but everywhere else it’s a no-go. The reason for this regulation is to make certain that EMS and firefighters can reach you during an emergency without requiring a bomb tech to go in front of them.
Fair, considering how hard they work for how little they’re paid, especially since some of you know what it’s like to wait for Explosive Ordnance Disposal to get to you.
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