You might be a woman looking for your first self-defense handgun. Or you might be a lifelong ”gun person” that people come to for advice about guns. Either way this article is for you.
Every day, there are people who have never owned any sort of gun — perhaps have never even shot one either – decide to buy a self defense handgun. They aren’t gun people and are not going to become fanatic gun people, they aren’t going to hunt or target shoot They just want a home-defense handgun, and they want one appropriate for concealed carry if they decide to go that route.
With the entire positive and negatives and ifs, buts and ands being factored in, this is the list of handguns for self defense I came up with. This article assumes that the gun owner is a healthy being, with an average intelligence or better.
Long-time gun users will undoubtedly find the selection process interesting, and may wish to use this Top 10 article as a basis for their own recommendations.
1. Smith & Wesson 686 .357:
Most revolvers like this are simple and reliable. One major advantage of the Smith & Wesson is that it is small in size and will easily store in safe places.
Why number 1? Smith & Wesson L-Frame revolvers like the 686 are built to suit the needs of the most serious firearms devotees. Available in six and seven shot cylinders, the L-Frame has a strong, durable frame and barrel built for continuous Magnum® usage. As police officers and hunters will attest, this firearm is made to endure the heaviest usage.
2. Glock 21 .45 ACP:
This is the best home defense gun on the market. It’s both practical and reliable. This is quite useful for gun owners who live in cold areas where they require practice drawing from under heavy coats and firing with gloved hands.
For the caliber of choice in a home defense situation, I chose the .45 Auto round. It’s very powerful as well as accurate, and has ample stopping from close distance. The overall size of the round is smaller than some of the revolver loads such as the .44 mag and the .550 S&W, which gives the guns a much greater capacity. Even though it isn’t the biggest round available, it has ample stopping power in a home invasion.
The Glock 21 also has the safety built into the trigger, which makes it ready to shoot at any time. There is no need to worry about switching the safety when you want to begin firing. The Glock is simply meant to fire when you pull the trigger, period.
3. Rugger LCP:
Rigid is the key here, despite the Rugger LCP having a poor trigger and refined finish. Rugger has been developing some new good models lately that combines the three elements stated above. The gun is now licensed for home protection and law enforcement and was designed with both men and women and is quite practical.
4. The Glock 17:
It is one of the most reliable handguns on the market, often referred to as the Glock Safe Action Pistol. It belongs to a series of semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by the famous Glock Ges. m.b.H. The founder, Gaston Glock, had no experience in the design of firearms, but had extensive experience in advanced synthetic polymers. This knowledge helped him build a successful line of pistols with polymer frames.
5. Bond Arms Derringer Model 95:
In the late 19th Century, American gunsmith in the name of Henry Deringer became known for his inventive pocket pistols. His name, also spelled as “Derringer,” became synonymous with any pocket-sized single or double barrel pistol. But most recently, the derringer label became synonymous with an offensive denunciation of a pistol’s quality. This is because various companies, who shall not be named, produced poor quality replicas of the famous Remington Model 95. This resulted in the over-under double barrel pistols getting a reputation for being cheap, unreliable, and even unsafe to use as well.
Bond Arms has helped improve the reputation of the original Model 95 concept and redesigned it to be one of the most powerful, reliable, modern defensive handguns in the world. Unlike some derringers, with frames made of an unidentifiable light-weight alloy, the Bond frames and barrels are built from nothing but powerful stainless steel. Well done indeed.
6. Browning Hill-Power 1911 0.45 ACP:
John Browning, to this day, remains one of the finest gun designers of all time. It’s impossible to find any piece of technology over 100 years old such as this that is still in common use today.
1911. 0.45 is one of the most influential and popular handguns used by thousands of American today. If you do not believe me, believe this: Browning was so popular that the U.S military bought out his rights to the 1911 and he had to start from scratch. The gun was the standard issue side arm for the armed forces from 1911 to 1985, being used in WWI, WWII, The Korean War and the Vietnam War.
It is still popular among civilian shooters in competitive events such as USPSA, IDPS and Bulls eye shooting.
7. Berretta 90-Two:
The Beretta 90two is a series of semi-automatic pistol designed and manufactured by Beretta. It was released in 2006 as an improved version of the Beretta 92; the most obvious difference is the appearance. The futuristic-looking pistol was designed in response to a call for tenders for Soldato Futuro program of the Italian armed forces.
With its black glossy finish and exclusive lines, the Beretta 90-Two offers the perfect combination of form and function, and the caliber choices offer the ability to select the amount of firepower you want. Whether you need a pistol for home defense or just to shoot at the range, the Beretta 90-Two has all the features you need for a sturdy, reliable, and high performance gun.
8. SIG P226:
The SIG P226 is a full-sized, service oriented gun made by SIG Sauer. It is similar in design as SIG P220, but developed to make use of higher capacity, staggered-column magazines in place of the single-column magazines used by the P220. The SIG Sauer P226 and its variants are in service with numerous law enforcement and military organizations worldwide, making it also one of the best self-defense mechanisms.
9. Glock G-30:
For everyday use, a Glock G-30 in .45acp is highly recommended. It’s reliable, reasonably powerful, surprisingly accurate and very easy to shoots. Its very small structure can be easily fit into someone shirt without notice. But it is most known for its excellent out of the box precision, paired with the ballistic quality of this genuine big.
10. Springfield XD9:
This gun rocks. It almost never malfunctions and works when you need it to especially in self defense. It is one of the safest handguns, which is simple to load and has useful safe features, including grip safety
Handguns continue to be among the most regularly purchased home-defense firearms for several reasons. They are the easy to maneuver in confined spaces, and they can be held and fired with one hand, leaving the other hand free to operate a flashlight, open doors and so on. They can be held close to the body to help prevent them from being grabbed or knocked away by an intruder. A handgun’s compact size allows it to be stored in a small space, like a strong box in a dresser drawer. The market is currently replete with excellent defensive handgun options.
42 thoughts on “Top 10 Handguns for Self-Defense”
Glock, Glock, Glock. Bologna. I hate a hammerless pistol, I guess they did not include me in the survey. The first time I shot a strike fired pistol it took me back to my childhood and the squirtgun. I pulled and pulled and pulled and still no bang. I like a clean, definitive break on my trigger with around a 2 pound pull. I can shoot my Beretta 92 so well I don’t even practice with it any more.
45, 45, 45 Bologna. A 9mm won’t save your life? Bologna! Nothing will save your life if you don’t practice with it. I don’t mean hanging a full size FBI target and qualify with it, Bologna, a monkey could qualify with that target. I don’t mean hang a 10 inch paper plate and fill that full of holes, though you would be doing better than the FBI target. The practice I am talking about is hanging a 10 inch paper plate with a 2 inch dot on it and putting 4 out of 5 rounds in that dot at 15 feet. When you can do that you could protect yourself with a 22LR. I have always said a 22 in the eye beats a 45 flying by.
If you really want to practice, try shooting golf balls with a 22 rifle from 50 to 100 yards. I have drawn crowds doing that. Because I can shoot them on a roll. I wish I still had my facebook account so you could see the proof. No brag, just fact.
what a tool you are. sit down and let the big boys talk for a while.
He forgot to mention he lives in his moms basement still.
Alright dude. When you can take a rifle out out to it’s max effective range (no .22s…. I mean at least medium-weight, here. 500 yards minimum. Even that is absurdly close) and put a shot in a man sized target with a cold bore, I’ll listen to what you have to say.
Ahhh, like it or not, Glocks just work, every time. Not my favorite either, but no denying, they are ultra trustworthy and dependable. This was a “Best for Self-Defense” post. Keep practicing. maybe someday you will be good enough to face competition. Thats a whole other arena. Try it.
The only plastic pistol I have ever owned was a squirt gun, when I was a little boy and all I could do was wish for something metal. 🙂
I dont understand why you folks dont mention the Keltec p30 22 magnum pistol,it holds 30 yes THIRTY rounds in the clip and will stop a man in his tracks as the 22 magnum round is wickedly deadly, so you killers with your big bad 45s and 9mms should try to pack 200rds of your overpriced overweight rounds and then weigh 200 rounds of 22 magnums not even going to mention the PRICE of these big bullets compared to the $10 for 50 cci
The Kel-tecs are nice pistols too, if the owner is willing to do a “fluff and buff” as per faqs on ktog forum. Ruger essentially cloned the P3AT with the LCP and gave it better quality control and finishing. A half hour could save a buyer considerble faux-bucks, and given the sell-out at many stores, a buyer could consider a p32 (tiny, penetrates good but questionable stopping power, pocket pistol), P3AT (small, lcp equivelent, ok stopping power with questionable penetration through heavy clothing), PF9 (still fits large pockets, 9mm, slim-ish) or P11 (9mm, +P ok, wider with doube stack mags so more ammo capacity, fits coat pockets, cargo pockets ok). All excellent and affordable self-defense guns.
Really after years as a “gun guy” I think the most important thing is to have a trustworth gun nearby, and to sometimes practice with it occasionally.
What will you have nearby most of the time?
When the excrement hits the prop blades it often does so without any prior warning. Your pistol is for supressing fire in a firearms attack and retreating to your rifle / defenseable location. Its important that you have one with you and sufficient ammo to use it this way. Don’t the biggest baddest handgun for your nightstand… really if its always next to you bed then a shotgun or rifle is always better in a gunfight.
When possible, proper tool & skills for the job. Doesn’t matter what you got if you don’t have the skill to hit your target. There’s no second place winner in a gun battle.
“There’s no second place winner in a gun battle.”
The winner doesn’t even have to be in the battle as long as (s)he can set up the parties to fight and wear each other down…
What’s in it for Feinstein?
Being the gun battle backstop.
Colt 1911 Govnt SS the only gun I will ever own for self defence 9mm will bounce off a windshild 380 to and 40 well why not go 45 just my own preference.. and who can argue with 101 years of service..
Gun control is: hitting your target every time, no exceptions!
My vote goes to SW revolver! It will always fire, when you need it!
.357 – .45 – .40 – 9mm – even the .380 are all good calibres – given that anyone of these is shot into the same spot they will all do approximately the same damage.
So the most important points of purchasing a handgun is: First buy a reputable handgun from a reputable and established manufacturer – Springfield .45’s – 9mm’s & XD’s, Glock, S&W, Sig, Beretta, Taurus, Colt, just to name a few – break in your weapon with about 500 rds min – and then practice for proficiency and marksmanship – if possible attend qualified shooting and training schools and classes – if you don’t have the time or money – practice much at home and the internet via Utube offers a host of quick and very professional short training videos for free, also many highly expert combat and training videos are available on CD for a few dollars of hours of professional training.
You should be comfortable and knowledgeable with your weapon so that given a “situation” where the adrenaline is high you can draw and retrieve smartly and quickly under distractions and pressure.
Its bullet placement – bullet placement – bullet placement.
In Conn. State a State Trooper was shot twice in the gut by a .45 – he drove himself over 20 miles to a hospital and was treated.
In Texas. A policeman was shot six time with a .357 and he too drove himself to a hospital and was treated.
A robbery at a gun store: Three bad guys with a .45 – .44 Bulldog and a .357 entered and the two men behind the counter – one with a .380 and the other with a 9mm. All five opened fire – two crooks were shot fatally and one in serious condition, the counter men – one was shot in the side and survived – the man behind the counter with the .380 was the one who shot all three crooks killing two and seriously wounding the third. Shot placement – shot placement – shot placement, and if you think just because you have a large calibre and have the imaginary dream of a one shot stop – you are a novice and need much more training.
Lastly: If you don’t have God on your side – your done, no matter what cannon you have or how many you are.
In 1215, and warrior army of 100,000 battle hardened Albegensias, all on horse (in those days infantry were considered cannon fodder), faced an army of Catholics consisting of 800 infantry and 200 mounted, 1000 against 100,000 – the Catholics knelt down prayed the rosary and attacked. The Albegensians were slaughtered – only 8 Catholics were wounded and 2 killed – and that is a historical and recorded truth, a fact and an example of having God on your side.
That’s why I choose the .44 magnum Super Redhawk, double action revolver with teflon coated jacketed hollow points. The shock will kill the perpetrator.
And the recoil will take your hand off if your an idiot like me. Take my advice everybody, hold that MTFRK like a man, dont hold it like a mouse. 🙂
Especially with hot fkg loads..Goddamn cannon..
I agree with the list – overall. I carry 2 different models and sizes of 1911 in 45ACP. I also carry a G19, a Ruger LCP, a SIG P228/M11A1 (compact P226) and a Ruger Security Six w/ SS 4” barrel in 357 MAG.
Another in my home defense arsenal is a S&W Governor I keep loaded with 45 Long Colt. Guess I don’t understand the omission of revolvers which handle shotshells along with each of the popular 45 caliber options.
You nuts pushin’ the .22’s have a screw loose. They have shown to sometimes bounch off peoples skin. In the eye? Are you totally insane? Headshots are hard enough in a violent attack,which is why people are taught to aim center mass, and a .22 will riqu off a rib bone or breast plate almost everytime.
Good list,but i have a fav toward the 9mm and likethe 19 better than the 17 in Glock. But if you stay with the manstopper calibers, its mostly a taste, style, andlook issue. One question though, why ni Sigs? They are the cops favorite gun.
Why would you buy a sig when they will soon be free for the taking from the mobile resupply units?
as per their purchase orders,
If you must buy, buy a 40 pistol and a 223 rifle (preferably chambered in 556)
Just because you are unable to shoot like Alvin York, don’t think they are not out there. I can shoot anyone in the eye at 100 yards any day of the week but here is a video of a man doing it over his shoulder.
bounce off peoples skin????????????? what kind of people do you know? Are they zombies? I got a $1,000 that say you dont have the balls or conviction to let me shoot a 22lr (not magnum) at your bouncy skin from 50 yards , well how bout it TEX ?As far as “headshots” noooooooooo problem been shooting treerats in the head for years with a regular ol 22 nylon 66 even have some pics of an ARROW shot through the eye of a squirrel at 25 yards and just so you know I DONT CONDONE CALLING ME OR MY TYPE “NUTS”!!!!!!!
Steve there is no sense getting upset over this caliber issue. You and I as well as many others know the capabilities of a 22LR. I have argued this point many times and you will not convince a non believer. I think too many people buy a firearm from a recommendation of a friend or salesperson. It’s like the blind leading the blind.
The point I was trying to make was that you need to practice shooting your weapon of choice. Having a loaded pistol in your drawer with 2 extra loaded magazines will not help you. I have taken both men and women to the range to practice with their new purchase and was amazed on how bad so shot at 10 feet.
You need to practice regularly, with all of your weapons, to be ready when you need to use them. That is what competition shooters, military and the police do, they practice. At one time I shot at least 500 rounds a week. I am down to 200 rounds per week due to the cost of ammo but I still go practice.
Hey Leo,I was just trying to bait this tribe member (petey) with his negative nonsense(bouncing bullets) he probably doesnt even know which end is dangerous.I am a man in full control of my emotions(no happy pills for this hillbilly) and it will take someone actually putting their hands on me to excite/upset me as I have the patience of a bowhunter.Thanx for your thoughts and words,if your ever in w.va. give me a hollar and well shoot some,I have about 300 acres of family land to play on.
I live in Richmond, VA so we are not that far apart. I bet you have some good hunting up/over there. I would also love to come visit some day. Send me an email at email@example.com sometime.
using the term “home invasion” is deceptive.
chances are, the invasion will be with people in kevlar & ceramics.
large slow rounds wont help.
i’d recommend a FiveSeven for pistol and a saiga12 with a drum filled with slugs or “multi-loads”
the keltec is interesting, it’s not a p30 – it’s a PMR30 and i wouldnt shoot small bits of copper-coated lead from it.
however – load it with something like TSX and you may have something interesting for aiming at the head&neck.
the TSX loads are serious stuff!
Why all the negativity ? You forgot the – (slash) between “pmr” and “30” as in PMR-30 QUIT SPLITTING HAIRS petey our country in under full assault by the tribe and sold out elite and you want to split hairs, who are you and whats your AGENDA? the 22MAGNUM is a wicked round and its cheap and besides a pistol is a means to some breathing room to get to REAL DEFENSIVE capabilities like the 50 cal etc. So looky here petey try to say and be more positive and smile as the party is sure to get startd real soon.
That is the problem with people, they think since they cannot do something it can’t be done. Google sniper golf and you can find others who have the skills.
Here is another video for the doubters. This man shoots an aspirin on edge off the top of a ballon with open sights.
WTF is a “Browning Hill-Power 1911 0.45 ACP”? I assume from the picture and text you mean “Colt M1911 .45 ACP” and not the Browning Hi-Power 9mm? Two different handguns altogether, invented by the same man. Also, you *really* think a Derringer belongs in the top 10, over something like a S&W M&P9? Sorry for the cynicism, but it might be better just to link to gun blogs rather than offer this kind of advice. To your credit, most of the other guns in this list are good choices.
I’m with Leo! As with anything practice will make a huge difference, regardless of what caliber you are shooting! And YES even a .22lr will kill a feller. I have a buddy who had the misfortune of getting shot in the stomach, he said that it felt like he had got hit by a baseball bat!! Now that may not be the case everytime someone gets hit in the stomach but I’ll take his word for it. Practice . . . . get used to your gun, get to know it, this means shooting a lot (fun fun fun) but like I said, if you practice a lot, get to know your gun well, then you will be extremely confident should you ever need to defend yourself in a matter of a split second!
Finding the best gun for home defense can be a difficult decision, and is typically a very personal choice. I do agree however believe that one must own at least 1 firearm to protect oneself.
Shooting is a very personal thing, and finding a handgun that works for you is equally personal. Personally, I usually use a 9mm. As a shooting teacher in the marines, it’s what I’m most comfortable with. That said, there are pros and cons to every caliber, every handgun, and every style of shooting. The trick lies in matching the pros and cons to the purpose of the gun and the individual shooter. There are no absolutes in shooting.
I have and shoot autos and revolvers , I reload for what I have also , I ccw Charter Arms .38 Undercover DAO , daily have a lot of faith in the little gun , as for home defense I keep it and a Ruger GP 100 loaded and ready , also as another home weapon a Taurus Pt-92 , 16 rounds ready. As for a long gun for home defense , live rurally , a build gun M-4 , never know who might decide to come to try to kick down your door . Don’t see any need for a .40 , .45 just does it better , .40 was brought about by FBI wimps who can’t handle a more powerful handgun , 9mm is here for capacity , but it does have enough power . Don’t care for Glocks striker fired is not for me , also can’t shoot reloads in them , just a waste of metal and plastic , had a friend call them “disposable guns for disposable troops “, sounds about right to me . On another note the 2nd Revolution is coming , are ya’ll ready? Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.
Andy why do you feel you can’t shoot reloads from a glock? I also reload for myself and many others that shoot all brands of guns and glocks are no exception, glocks and many others have polygonal rifling without any issues
Just got back to this site , I looked into the Glock , what I had been going on was the older models not having a supported shoulder at the chamber , the newer models do have a supported chamber and reloads can be fired in these , although I prefer a S&W M&P 9 in a striker fired pistol over a Glock due to the grip profile fits me better , but if Glock is your choice all I can say is enjoy shooting ! Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .
I personally found practice with what fits one the best is the key, I personally carry a 16 shot 10mm and even though many well disagree this is my choice.
Say what you will I am armed with two sigs and a springfield for handguns and a moss 12ga and I garrentee I will stop anything comming at me at anytime …I win they lose…….period!!!!
What would you recommend in revolvers for home defense?
For both my wife and me. Thanks, Gary. Spokgary@gmail.com. Price range?
I bought an 17 yr old ruger gp,100 ,for 399 plus tax ,after a cleaned it and shot it in it still shoots two inches at 25 yards ,I also refinished the revolver it has a 6 inch barrel.six rounds 1.9 seconds .I used to shoot faster but im 78 yrs old now and have arthritis in my hands.