Chris Mijic is the owner of Impressum Media Inc. and founder of FirearmsGuide.com, “the first fully researchable objective global firearms, air guns and ammunition reference and gun values guide created for industry professionals and enthusiasts.” The following article is borrowed from the Science of Skill instructional program, Firearms Home Defense 101, which includes insights and guides from two experts in the firearms space on how to assess and choose the best handgun and shotgun for home defense needs.
When it comes to choosing the best weapon for you, context matters. At home, a handgun can be plenty of protection, but Chris Mijic advises a shotgun as the next step up for those who feel they need “a little more.”
A rifle is, literally, too much for protecting your home, says Mijic. While they can be fun to shoot, it’s important to understand why a rifle is unsuitable for defending your home and family. For one, they have the capacity to shoot 20 to 30 rounds of ammunition in a matter of seconds and can travel up to three miles away.
Most people don’t need anything beyond the distance of their backyard, and a shotgun is a good in-between range firearm. In addition, the risk of collateral damage from a rifle, i.e. missing the intruder altogether and instead shooting through walls or into the open and indirectly hitting other objects or people, is high.
Mijic advises keeping two thoughts front and center when purchasing a shotgun – barrel length and ammunition as appropriate for home defense. Short-barrelled shotguns are more convenient for travel and easier to store. Though traditionally more of a tactical feature, Mijic tends to prefer shotguns with a folding stock for even easier storage and mobility. Another important consideration is the shell type or ammunition. Any reputable manufacturer will have shells that are short and wide, usually a mix of bird and deer shot, and specifically geared toward home defense.
Brand can also be important, and Mijic prefers bigger American brands, though not necessarily because of better quality. Rather, bigger businesses (many of which tend to be based in the United States, though Mijic also notes some Italian manufacturers) have been in the game for a while and are more likely to remain in business for the longer term.
While you’ll find many other quality brands from many different countries (Mijic presents the technical specifications and prices of a wide range of guns on Firearmsguide.com), he makes the point that “many of them just pop out on the market like mushrooms, then five years from now they are all bankrupt.” You’re out of luck for easy replacement parts if a company goes out of business in five years.
Mijic names a Mossburg shotgun as a great option, especially for those on a budget who are looking for a more multifaceted firearm, as it comes with a longer barrel for hunting that can be broken down into a shorter barrel for home defense. While Mijic highly recommends American brands, he is no stranger to a global array of quality firearms at reasonable prices.
The CZ from Czech Republic is also a great option; Mijic recommends their 600 model in semi-automatic with a synthetic black pistol grip stock, a quality option with a fair price tag of about $900. Another great international option that’s a little more tactical are the Russian Saiga and Ration shotguns, similar to a Kalashnikov. Of course, America’s tedious relationship with Russian can make imports tricky at times, but the well-known Russian Kalashnikov now has a U.S.-based factory and their ‘hybrid’ shotguns are also a good option.
On a final note, purchasing and owning a gun can get tricky from state to state, as many have different laws in both respects. In summary Mijic says, “My advice will always be, go to your local gun shop. Talk with the owner. Ask them the questions. They’ll tell you everything. They’ll tell you what’s legal in your state, what’s not legal. That’s very important. You don’t want to put yourself in very problematic legal situation because you just bought something without even being sure.”
It’s imperative to do research and be clear on the legalities for having a firearm in your home, as well as the separate set of laws for transporting your firearm to the local range or just across state lines to a different state, says Mijic. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is also a great resource for those looking to get an introduction to the sport of shooting and multifaceted responsibilities of owning a firearm.
About Chris Mijic: Chris Mijic graduated from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, with a Bachelors degrees in Business and Marketing in 1997. Upon graduating he worked as a journalist and host of two TV shows on Croatian National Television for five years. From his broadcasting experience, he expanded to print publishing and co-founded the first Croatian PC and PlayStation gaming magazines. The next stage in his career found him as Director of Marketing of the Croatian business magazine Business Week and Director of Marketing of the leading Croatian political news magazine Globus, published by the largest Croatian media company EPH.
After he moved to the USA, he started his own business in the outdoor publishing market when he combined his military and publishing experience by founding Firearms Guide, the first hi-tech digital firearms, air guns and ammunition reference guide on DVD for Win/Mac. For five editions, Firearms Guide has been distributed in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia; now, the 6th Edition of Firearms Guide is published as a subscription based online as a guns & ammo reference guide, gun value guide, and schematics library for both gun industry professionals and enthusiasts.
Image credit: Gun Digest
Coach Daniel is the founder and head publisher at Science of Skill, LLC. A martial arts black belt and self defense instructor, Dan has spent years training with and interviewing some of the world's best self protection experts. His passion lies in encouraging others to train smart and to improve the skills that make them safer and stronger.
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