Same Old Question, Different Time — Conclusion

For part 1 (Rimfire) of this series, go here; for part 2 (Shotguns), here; for part 3 (Assault Rifles), here.; and for part 4 (Handguns), here.

As we come to the end of this little exercise, let’s look at Reader Wally T’s question again:

“What do you consider a minimum number of guns for home- and self defense for me and my wife, and which guns would you recommend?”

I’ve looked at the home-defense part of the question exclusively, because we can address the “carry” issue another time. So: what’s my answer?

The minimum number of home-defense guns for any household is three (3): a shotgun, an assault rifle and a handgun. (Remember, rimfire guns are really household items and not guns; but if you insist, then add a .22 rifle and handgun to the count.) Remember too that there should be at least one handgun per adult household member, so your own total will likely end up being greater than that.

The specific guns I would recommend for home defense are:

Mossberg SA-20  “Railed” in 20ga – mostly because its teeny 16″ barrel makes it handier in a small space than a 28″ hunting barrel.

Assault rifle:
AK-47 (WASR-10) in 7.62x39mm

Men (from): S&W Model 27 or Model 586 with a 4″ barrel in .357 Mag/.38 Special +P (revolver); Glock 21* in .45 ACP (DA-only semi-auto which functions like a revolver); Springfield 1911 in .45 ACP (single-action semi-auto).
Women (from): S&W Model 642 Lady Smith in .38 Special +P (revolver); CZ 75 D PCR Compact in 9mm +P (SA/DA semi-auto); Browning High Power in 9mm (single action).

For the record: I personally own or have owned at least one of each of the guns in the above categories, with just a couple of minor variations (e.g. S&W Model 637, not the 640/642; the Model 65, not the 586/686; the full-size CZ 75 D rather than the PCR; and the Browning Gold Hunter 20ga, not the Mossberg). I’ve also fired at least a thousand rounds through each of them, and likewise could write an entire post on their virtues (don’t make me do it).

None of the above should be taken to reflect any aspersions or slights on other brands, of course. These are simply my personal recommendations, based on my own experience and ownership. (I know a guy who has at least eight Ruger SP101 .357 Mag revolvers scattered around his house: bedside, toolbox, living room, kitchen, truck etc. – ten guesses which gun he’d recommend.)

Readers’ comments and differences of opinion are welcome, as always. In the next week or so, I’ll be talking about carry pieces for both men and women.

*As I’ve said many times before, my issues with Glock are personal (I’m not a fan of DA pistols in general; I think Glocks are pig-ugly; and it’s a furrin gun), but the issues are absolutely not related to the gun’s performance, which is superb. My prejudices should not prevent me recommending the best gun for the job, so I’m gonna hold my nose on this one.

That said, there are other striker-fired options, especially:

  • the SIG P320 is the new basic pistol the U.S. Army has chosen, and it’s available in several calibers and configurations. I’ve only fired it a couple times (and liked it), but it’s Doc Russia’s choice of sidearm (in .40 S&W) when he rolls out with the local SWAT guys, so there’s that. It can also be configured for women to replace the CZ in their category. (I still prefer the CZ, though. If I were at all interested in 9mm DA pistols, the “75” would be my only choice.)
  • the Kahr P9 is an excellent choice – a gunsmith friend prefers its engineering to the Glock’s – and the only knock on Kahr pistols in general is that they’re spendy. Like the P320, the basic design also comes in .40 S&W and .45 ACP variants. If you don’t want polymer on your gun, then go with the “T” line (like the T9).
  • The Springfield XD pistols are likewise excellent, albeit re-badged HS2000 pistols from Croatia (ergo furrin like the Glock). Rugged and reliable, they also come in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, and are highly recommended.



  1. I’m not sure I’d agree with your choices, but they’re valid and well reasoned. I’m not particularly a Glock fan either, and for the same reasons.

    It does remind me, however, of the conversation I regularly have with my wife about the collection. We’ve accumulated a bunch of loud toys, primarily military shooters from WWI and II, and thus with it lots of different calibers that have to be stocked, including some odd calibers that are a bit hard to find these days. My wife points out that this is not the way to go to prepare for the ZA.

    Of course, that’s not what the collection is about at all.

    Were I collecting to prepare for the ZA (or other similar nastiness) I’d carry only 4 calibers, based on availability and effectiveness: .22, .223, 9mm, and 12g. I can find all of those abundantly, and realistically those calibers can do anything I need to do, from self-defense to hunting game. You may choose slightly different calibers (I suspect you’d choose .45 rather than 9mm, 20 rather than 12g, and perhaps .308 or some other rifle caliber in place of .223) and be equally good to go.

    That’s why they make all those flavors!

  2. Eek. I carry one of your ladies’ guns – CZ75 PCR. Shoots like a dream, though.

    I have a Ruger 1911 I could carry around the house, though. I’m guessing a SA Blackhawk .357 wouldn’t count unless I could fan fast and accurately, huh?

    1. ‘S okay, Mr. Bix. I myself carry a S&W 637 Airweight, which is actually lighter than the Lady Smith. Somehow, my manhood doesn’t feel threatened.
      And by the way: I covet your CZ.

  3. I once had a Kahr K-9, which I really liked. Now have a PM-45, which is a little harsh on my gouty knuckles. My scandium J frame .357 S&W is likewise very harsh unless you feed it milder fodder. I haven’t come to any final conclusions as to concealability vs. comfort and ease of shooting.

  4. I’ve been carrying a Springer XD9 as a duty gun for the last two years after I decided that my 65 year old wrists (courtesy of Mrs Ritis little boy Arthur) couldn’t handle my 1911 Mil Spec any longer. I like the grip safety and even though the pistol is ugly as a mud fence it shoots well. Modern 9mm ammo is pretty good and I carry three spare mags on my belt. If you can’t hit them hard, hit them a lot. My off duty carry is a Kimber Ultra Carry II in .45 because my hands can handle the reduced state qual standards for back ups. I’ve also done the back up qual with my .44 special Charter Arms Bulldog and I wouldn’t want to be hit with that. As I’ve discussed here Mother’s nightstand pistol is a Charter Arms Pathfinder in .22 mag. She’s 4’10” and weighs about 95 pounds soaking wet. She can put six rounds into a quarter at 20 feet and if the stuff ever hit the fan some bad guy would have to explain to Saint Peter where those six holes came from. They’d be stoking up the fires to welcome the BG to his reward.

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