What’s Better for Home Defense: Rifle or Handgun?

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Should you use a rifle or handgun for home defense? PDN Contributor and Owner of Bearco Training in Covington, Louisiana, Barret Kendrick explains why it’s best to keep, train and practice with both a handgun and a rifle or shotgun.

Rifle for Home Defense

Barret is carrying a shorter rifle, which works very well from a barricaded position. What happens when you need a firearm for home defense? You arm yourself, gather your family, get into a secure location, and contact authorities. If you have to use deadly force to defend yourself and your family against an intruder, this type of rifle would work very well for that. Shotguns work well too.

But if for some reason you’re forced to leave that barricaded environment, the rifle makes it difficult to accomplish things like opening a door and shooting, or holding a small child and shooting. What if you had to push a family member out of the way while carrying a rifle? That’s also difficult, due to the rifle’s weight and length. In these circumstances, the answer to the rifle or handgun question is handgun, because this is where a handgun excels.

Handgun for Home Defense

Considering retention of a firearm under stressful circumstances, keeping a handgun close to the chest works well. You can shoot a handgun one-handed if necessary, in case you need a free arm and hand to move a family member or carry a child.

Rifle or Handgun?

When you’re deciding what your home defense weapons will be, it’s best to keep, train and practice with both a handgun and a rifle or shotgun. This is due to their respective strengths in different scenarios — barricaded or moving — and because you don’t know exactly what your home-defense situation will look like and which weapon will serve you best in those moments.