This started with this post on AR-15.com. A novice shooter is videotaped trying her hand at three home defense solutions: a .357 revolver with CrimsonTrace laser grips, an AR-15 rifle with an AimPoint red dot scope, and a stock 12 gauge Remington 870 pump shotgun. Result? She does best with the rifle, then the handgun, then the shotgun.
OK, but we already know that rifles are easier to shoot than handguns. They’re also generally more powerful and have more capacity. Better in most ways, really.
But like John Farnam says, we don’t use handguns because they’re the most effective weapon, we use them because they’re convenient and always available. If you know you’re going to be in a fight, you want a rifle. But if you know there’s going to be a fight – and you’re not in the police or military – Farnam has more good advice: the best way to win a fight is to make arrangements to be somewhere else when it happens.
A handgun is easier to hide in the house, easier to secure against visitors and children, and easier to hide behind your back when you answer an unexpected knock at the door late at night. A handgun also leaves one hand free to talk to 911 on the phone, hold a flashlight, or open doors. You have to ignore all of those advantages to think a rifle is better than handgun for home defense.