Guns & Weapons

The Best Gun for Home Defense: Which Weapon Will You Take Once The SHTF Scenario Occurs?

Best Gun for Home Defense

If you are a devoted prepper, then you surely know exactly what you need to survive: one of those crucial things is a good and reliable firearm. Before you start searching for the best gun for home defense, you should make sure that you have something to defend. If you are planning your stocks based on several SHTF scenarios that could come to life, you know that your stockpiles need to be ready.

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The first thing to think about is renewing your food and water stash; if you are working on renewing your supplies of water and food then you definitely have something to fight for. This is the moment when you realize that you could use a gun, so you are able to defend your supplies if the worst case scenario comes knocking at your doors.

To help you with making your choice when it comes to picking out the perfect survivalist gun and going for the one considered one of the best guns for home defense, we have reviewed a couple of firearms for you.

Maverick 88: reliability at its best

If you are looking for a weapon that is extremely easy to operate with, charge and maintain, Maverick 88 is a great choice by all means. This classic pump master is everything a beginner could want from a gun. You could, of course, do well with other types of guns and operate single shots and automatics equally with ease, but there is basically nothing similar to a pump mechanism when it comes to operating firearms. There is a fair amount of solid good pump guns, but our choice for beginners is Maverick 88 as we’ve already mentioned it.

Shotguns are basically a symbol of guns used for defense and almost everyone who knows anything about guns will recommend one of shotgun models, especially if you are new to the world of firearms. As a great addition to how easy is to operate Maverick 88, these shotguns can be found at fairly low prices, making this model one of the most affordable models available on the market.

Maverick 88

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The fact that Mavericks are cheap might trigger a question: If it is so good, then why isn’t it more expensive? Well, that is easy: the parts used for Maverick are manufactured abroad, so that is why the price is so low.

In addition, Maverick 88 is not much of a beauty as it doesn’t even have a wooden handle, so that basically lowers the price as well. For the money you are investing in your survivalist firearm, you are not risking with Maverick, as it is also simple to “switch” it to safe mode by only using an external button. Really easy operate with and very simple to use and maintain, making it one of the best guns for home defense.

Pros: Since Maverick 88 is a shotgun, you won’t have any troubles operating it or maintaining it that often in oppose to other types of firearms that have to be broken down and cleaned regularly. If you decide to go for Maverick 88, you are definitely choosing unquestionable reliability.

Cons: If you don’t learn how to use it properly, using this or any other shotgun might backfire and by backfire, we really mean: backfire. You certainly won’t enjoy the pain. But any gun is safe if you learn how to use it. Another thing to mention is that technique used for Maverick is not the best there is, as if you don’t operate it well, the shotgun may not fire when you need it to.

Beretta 92FS: a powerful choice

Enough said that the US army’s choice is precisely Beretta 92FS; and whose advice to take for buying a survival firearm than to follow up with military choice? First thing you will notice on Beretta is that its controls are extremely slick and well thought through as all controls you need, including the gun safety, are basically under your fingers and easily accessible. By having all controls greatly manufactured, you have yourself a functional gun that also looks great from aesthetically point of view.

See also: Best Self Defense Weapon: Be Alert, Be Prepared, Be Safe!

Some people take aesthetics very seriously even when it comes to firearms, and if you are one of them, it is guaranteed that you will like Beretta more than Maverick 88, although these two models are completely different from one another, both, mechanically and physically. You can easily switch to safe mode by pressing your thumb on a small button that is conveniently made to be placed underneath your thumb as you are holding Beretta. This gun even shows when the chamber is loaded, so you will certainly enjoy its controls and features.

As far as the maintenance concerned, you will be able to easily break the Beretta down, having clean access to its internal mechanism, which means that this gun is pretty much simple to be maintained and cleaned. Once you learn how to break it down, you will be able to do it every time with immense ease.  Now, when it comes to the trigger of this beauty, it might not feel natural at first as single action doesn’t have that natural flow you would expect. Shooting, however, is an entirely different story as you will like the way the bullets are flying out of Beretta.

Beretta 92FS

Pros: Great looks and thoughtfully designed and manufactured mechanism. It is also very easy and simple to set the gun to safe mode and trust its safety.

Cons: Trigger might not be so easy to operate with, especially if you are a beginner and not used to this types of firearm. If you have a lack of practice when it comes to shooting, you might be surprised by how imprecise you are with Beretta.

Ruger 10/22 s: putting your trust in statistic’s hands

According to statistics, Ruger is one of the most popular firearms when observed globally. There had to be a good reason for its popularity and that is why we are breaking it down to see what Ruger has to offer when it comes to the defense part of your preppers plan. First thing that makes Ruger 10/22 differentiate from other firearms is the unique rotary mechanism in its magazine; and that difference is only speaking in its advantage.

As confirmed by hundreds and thousands of satisfied customers, Ruger 10/22 is a way to live the dream when it comes to shooting, easily climbing up the list of top 10 best guns for home defense. It is very precise and what is also important, this gun is extremely light-weighted in oppose to what it has to offer. You can use ammo from several different manufacturers, and you should consider buying it in bulks as soon as you figure out what type of bullets suits you the best.

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Even if you are a beginner, you will find Ruger very easy to operate and get familiar with it in no time. Another great thing is that Ruger is extremely quiet even without noise suppressant which is a rarity in the world of firearms.  What you might also find as favorable with Ruger is that this firearm is pretty much affordable and easy to hold and operate, which makes it a great choice, both for beginners and people who have more experience with handling guns.

ruger 10-22

Pros: It is extremely quiet and easy to hold. Ruger is affordable and lethally precise firearm. Great for experienced shooters and beginners who are getting used to firearms.

Cons: You might have troubles getting used to strange looking magazine of Ruger’s round mechanism, but in case that is your first gun, every other gun you hold after getting used to this, will be simple.

Springfield M1A: precision of a rifle

A rifle can be your best friend once the SHTF occurs; and the thing is – there will probably come the time in that scenario when you will need to use your firearm. You can try any of the rifle models there is on the market, but our choice is Springfield M1A. First impression you will get from holding this rifle is that you have a real military firearm in your hands and you will be right.

M1A is one of the oldest military faves, and just like with Beretta, there is a good reason military liked it so much, so why not take their advice when choosing the gun for home defense? Holding M1A you will come to notice that it has an extremely firm and thick construction making it a solid gold in your hands when operated. One thing you might not like about it, even though its precision might make you go for it, is that M1A is really heavy and pretty larger than other firearms we have placed on our survival guns list.

That makes it a bit difficult to characterize it as a field weapon, but if you find a good spot and place it the way you feel convenient, every bullet will go where it is supposed to. M1A is, of course, as a rifle, extremely precise, but due to its heavy-weighted construction, you won’t be able to carry it around and use it on the move.

Another downfall is that M1A has a sight feature that doesn’t actually make shooting from up close very precise: in fact, you won’t be able to shoot at close distance by using this firearm. On the other side, if you are shooting on great distances, you have found your best friend in this rifle.

If you are planning on buying only one gun, you should consider buying another gun from our list, but if you are planning on having more than few guns around, M1A definitely deserves a place on your wish list.

Springfield M1A

Pros: great for shooting on long distances as its sight provides you with ultimate the perfection for aiming at distant targets. It also looks great and has a long history of being successfully used by military.

Cons: Very poor sight for shooting from up close, making it impossible to aim precisely at close targets. It is also very heavy, which basically takes out every option for portability. If you are planning on spending less than 1000$ on a gun, then you can’t even afford considering buying M1A as it is fairly expensive.

Springfield XD 9mm: portability in hand with defense

Handguns are in general very easy to carry around and in case of SHTF scenario; you would probably want to have a handgun near you so you could defend yourself. XD 9mm is another Springfield model we chose to put on our list and that is because this gun is certainly worth the money you are investing in it.

As far as the physical preferences concerned, XD 9mm is extremely light-weighted, especially in oppose to Springfield’s previous handgun series, so it is pretty compact and meant to be carried around with you and used while you are on the move, unlike our previous pick from the list – but it is probably a sin to compare a handgun with a rifle.

Due to its greatly designed barrel, when put on safe, you can really feel safe even when carrying it around near your body. Breaking down XD is very similar to any similar handguns and if you know how to maintain other models of that kind, you won’t have any problems with Springfield’s 9mm.

However, if this is your first gun of that or any kind, you need to know that you first need to dry-fire your gun before breaking it down to clean it. In order to have the gun working properly, perform regular cleaning and maintenance. XD 9mm is very easy to use and shoot with even if you are a beginner.

It is also easy to be broken down and assembled again as long as you know that you need to assemble the gun after breaking it down, before you put the magazine back to its place – otherwise it won’t fit. It also has increased grip safety along with being light-weighted and easy to operate with. Features like chamber indicator only makes this gun a survivalist must-have.

Springfield XD 9mm

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Pros: Safety grip, chamber indicator, easy to carry around, light-weighted and compact. It even fits enough ammo, although its body is not massive. Light-weighted construction makes it a perfect gun for home defense.

Cons: You might come across some difficulties when breaking down XD 9mm in order to clean it. But, in other hand, this is not a problem that XD’s manual instruction cannot solve.

Piston AR-15: survivalists’ legend among the guns

Talking about legends, we can’t miss on mentioning the evergreen AR-15. Even if you have already made up your mind about which gun you want to buy by now, learning a few things about AR-15 will make you reconsider your decision. So, what makes AR-15 so popular, giving it a status of a legend?

Made out of steel, AR-15’s bolt carrier is as observed by satisfied users from all over the US, a “piece of perfection” when it comes to firearm mechanism. As far as the looks concerned, this piece is perfectly manufactured as there are no sign of tools used on manufacturing piston driven AR-15; the finishing product is a smooth-looking gun. But what about the exterior and mechanism – that is what really matters, although aesthetics play a huge part when picking out any item we are planning on buying.

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To beginners, AR-15 may look a bit complicated to operate and handle as it has more than just a few components, among which are the gas plug and the gas block. The gas block is solid and fully secured as a part of this firearm and the gas plug can be removed and adjusted when the time for maintenance and cleaning comes, so there is not much to worry about when breaking down the AR-15; although it might seem a bit complicated at first.

This firearm also has a safe lock that prevents the cycling mechanism once the lock is set on – the system is practically impossible to fail you.


The gas plug is extremely adjustable, so all users can without any problem manipulate the AR-15 handle and operate the gun the way it suits them the best. The feeling of having AR-15 in your hands, as many users claim, is a unique experience when it comes to handling any type of firearm. When it comes to shooting, the bullets are being shot as with semi-automatic firearms. The Piston driven AR-15 is extremely light-weighted, so it is also easy to carry around; it certainly does sound like one of the best guns for home defense.

Pros: Precision is granted as Ar-15 works great on, both, long distances and close targets. It is light-weighted and easily operated with all controls clearly visible and easily accessible.

Cons: It might seem difficult to be broken down and assembled again, but once you get a hold of it, you will feel like you have owned AR-15 your entire life.

SHTF scenarios, any kind and any type imaginable, if part of our future reality, will surely create a need to defend what you have and stand up for yourself. Once the words mean nothing, the necessity for firearms might arise. As a survivalist and a SHTF prepper, the least you can do for yourself is to have something to defend and have a solid good firearm in order to do so.

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You can use our list to make up your mind and choose one of the best guns for home defense from our list and, both, be safe and feel safe.

See our piece on the best bug-out-bag weapons to give you more choices.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the information in this post has been helpful, please consider purchasing through one of the links in this article. Thank you.

About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • I think, that weapon Maverick 88 fit to any kind of people. Because you can use not lethal ammunition. It’s the best weapon for family, who live in country. If you live in city, you can have some problems with weapon, but I think it doesn’t matter.

    I also like automatic weapons like Piston AR-15, but I would not buy it to save my family from a thief or a maniac. Beretta 92FS a good pistol, but it has got very dangerous ammunition.

    Ideally you should use a Taser, of course, but it does not always help.

    • Indeed, it’s always best to use non-lethal methods to protect yourself and your family. However, there are situations when you simply can’t apply this rule

  • Another thing to consider about the purchase of your home defense gun is the ammo you will use. Bullets that over-penetrate can create unacceptable risk to bystanders such as your love one standing behind the attackers, your kids in nearby rooms, or friends, neighbors and other unintended targets behind the drywall. So also consider getting low penetration rounds that are also effective in stopping or incapacitating attackers while reducing risk of collateral damage.

  • That’s great thinking, Brian. The best SHTF gun should be extremely easy to operate with charge and maintain. The ammo should have enough penetration power that will not cause excess damage.

  • Are you an experienced prepper? If yes, then you should know already that one of the basic needs for survival against any threat at home is the gun. It is a self defense mechanism that gives you an edge over the opponent. This article will help you determine the best firearm to use when need be. Some of them are Piston AR-15, Springfield XD 9MM, Bretta 92FS, etc. Which of these gun is the best for home defense?

  • When choosing the best home defense gun, you need to consider reliability and statistics. For instance, the Ruger is among the most popular weapon, statistically. Personally, I would recommend the Ruger, but any of the reviewed weapons can be the best for you.

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