Choosing the Right Gun(s) for You

One of my favorite expressions is, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”

Survival knives are fine, and everyone should have one in a bug-out bag. Packing a couple of other knives including a multi-tool and a Swiss Army knife is also a good idea.

But when it comes to defending your home, there is nothing as effective as a gun. And in most cases, guns.

The single biggest advantage a gun has over a knife is that to use a knife effectively you must be very close to your assailant.

With a gun, you can keep him at a safe distance and then drop him before he attacks, kidnaps, rapes or whatever else he has in mind when he breaks into the home where you live with other family members.

Some people are morally opposed to guns and claim they would never allow one in their home. OK, I can respect that. But if they or their families ever become victims of home invaders, they might regret their decision… if they live through it.

Unfortunately, violence is sometimes necessary to stop violent people. If someone else starts the fight, you have the right to finish it.

Guns were designed to help people defend themselves and protect their loved ones and families. Most people can use them solely for those purposes and sleep with a good conscience.

When selecting a gun to defend yourself and your home, the basic choices are handguns, rifles, assault rifles and shotguns.

If you’re preparing for a post-disaster situation, you should definitely have more than one gun. In fact, some suggest a pistol and a longer gun for each member of the family or team who would be using one.

Let’s look at handguns first.


There are two types of handguns: semi-automatic and revolver. Depending on the model, semi-automatic handguns can hold as many as 17 rounds, which are contained in a replaceable magazine. This means less frequent reloading.

Handguns are more complicated than revolvers and a little more expensive, but the simplicity of a revolver can be overshadowed by the fact that it is limited to six bullets before needing to be reloaded.

Handguns range from .22 to .50 caliber. This is a reference to the diameter of the bullet in hundredths of an inch.

A .45 caliber bullet is twice the diameter of a .22 caliber bullet, but weighs six times as much. The larger the bullet, the more damage will be done when it strikes the target.

A big advantage to a handgun is its portability. It can be easily carried and if you have to use it within your home, it’s easy to maneuver when you’re turning corners in doorways.

A downside is their limited range, but that’s not usually an issue within the confines of a house or apartment. If you’re dealing with more than one person charging at your home during a post-disaster situation, a larger weapon would be helpful.


Rifles, which have a wide variety of calibers and are used for both hunting and defense, can shoot accurately at a much longer range than pistols can and will accomplish a higher degree of penetration into the target.

Great for hunting or for defending yourself out in the country, they might not always be particularly useful in a home defense situation.

Assault Rifles

Designed for military use, assault rifles have a fully automatic firing capability, much like a machine gun. An example is the AK-47.

Unless you have a mob of zombies on your front yard coming toward your front door, you probably won’t need this type of weapon to defend yourself.


Spraying a number of pellets in a circular pattern, shotguns were originally developed for hunting wild fowl. The idea is that you increase your odds of hitting a moving target with a variety of pellets.

This eliminates the need for highly accurate aiming and is what makes it a good second choice – after the handgun – for defending your home. A shotgun’s range can’t compete with a rifle, but it can be lethal up to 100 feet.


You could have the most beautiful collection of guns in the world, but without ammunition they’d be useless except for their craftsmanship.

How much ammunition should you stockpile? That’s something only you can decide, but some experts suggest at least 1,000 rounds of each caliber. Wouldn’t you rather have too much than too little?

Practice Makes (Nearly) Perfect

Whether it’s a musical instrument, a sport or a tool, almost everything that is important to learn how to do requires a dirty eight-letter word called “practice.”

Not practicing your French horn or your free throws probably won’t get you killed, but failing to learn how to properly use your guns just might.

Like most things, shooting a gun accurately is a skill that takes time to develop. In fact, it might require considerably more hours than most endeavors because when it comes time to use it in a life-and-death situation, adrenaline and nerves will try to take over.

You absolutely must put in the time to learn how to do this correctly. Your family is depending on you to place yourself in the right position to defend them. And that means lots of practice.

It’s similar to golf. If you’ve ever tried to become proficient at this sport, you know how challenging it is. Every tiny nuance of your golf swing is crucial on every shot. If anything is off just a hair, it can make a huge difference in terms of where the ball ends up going.

Golfers talk about “muscle memory,” which basically means that when you’ve practiced your shot hundreds or thousands of times, your muscles seem to take over and know what to do. It’s like you’ve put it on autopilot.

Shooting a gun is similar. Once you attain that muscle memory, you will shoot much more accurately on a consistent basis.

But it won’t happen without going to the range over and over again to practice. Police and military forces know this, which explains why they spend so much time practicing.

So, find the gun that’s right for you, load up on ammunition and practice, practice, practice. Someday you will be very glad you did.