Why I believe we're kidding ourselves about long guns for home defense

Why I believe we're kidding ourselves about long guns for home defense

This is a discussion on Why I believe we're kidding ourselves about long guns for home defense within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I kinda hate posting something that is divisive. As someone once said, "I'm a uniter, not a divider." But I'm going to risk that to ...

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Thread: Why I believe we're kidding ourselves about long guns for home defense

  1. #1
    Member Array matheath's Avatar
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    Why I believe we're kidding ourselves about long guns for home defense

    I kinda hate posting something that is divisive. As someone once said, "I'm a uniter, not a divider." But I'm going to risk that to assert a belief I have that I think many fail to consider. I believe we in this community kid ourselves when we opt for any long gun as a primary home defense weapon. Make no mistake, I would prefer a long gun in almost any confrontation. More power, easier to aim quickly, many advantages. By far a better tool for fighting in all but the most phone booth-esque environments.

    However my primary issue with it is concentrated on that moment when we have to make the choice whether to pick it up. My point is that it is the ambiguity in our polite, peaceful life that makes the long gun less-than-ideal in most cases. Life in 2019 America is way more nuanced than life in 1873 America. Most of us live in polite areas. Meaning we generally portray ourselves as gentle folk. Polite. Peace-loving. Uninterested in engaging in hostility if it can be avoided. So let me share a couple realistic scenarios to illustrate my point. And they also illustrate why I'm resigned to the conclusion that a pistol trumps a rifle/shotgun as the primary go-to even at home.

    (1) 11pm, someone is knocking at my door. I feel very wary but being the neighborly person I am, I am not willing just to ignore the knocking. Even after I look through the peephole and see someone I don't know, I feel drawn to help the person who seems like they may be in need. Say it's a 16-ish girl. I sincerely want to help this person if she is in need because I know she is particularly vulnerable in our culture. However I have no guarantee she's alone, do I? To call the police seems a little strong because I don't know the situation warrants that. To yell through the door doesn't really work too well. Plus at some point this will likely lead to me opening the door anyway. I feel a strong compulsion to open the door because, remember, 99.99% of people we encounter mean us no harm and I generally want to help people in need - many, if not most of us do. I'm faced with an ambiguous situation. But let's remember criminals thrive on ambiguous situations. (Picture the guy who approaches you asking for money at the gas station.) So to open the door with a rifle in my hand (especially an evil black one) ensures that the encounter takes an awkward turn. Add to that, depending on the mood of any law enforcement officer on duty that night, such a decision could absolutely and realistically lead to my arrest... right or wrong. Consequently I might be inclined to open the door unarmed. OTOH, a pistol concealed on my person creates no such difficulty. I would be able to feel somewhat safe and still help a person I feel needs my help.

    (2) Several years ago, I lived in a nice, friendly cul-de-sac where everyone kinda knew everyone else. I had the most precious older lady for a neighbor. We talked often and I knew her grandchildren. Knew all about her family. Once when my dog escaped and was picked up by the dog catcher, she just kept him in her back yard for me until I got home from work. Precious lady. OTOH my other neighbor was a major thug. I'd tried to be friendly to him once or twice but was rebuffed. One day, i forget exactly what happened, but somehow I left my garage door open while I was away. Again I don't remember all the ins and outs but my older neighbor saw my door open and entered my home to check on something. Maybe she was attempting to check on me - I don't recall. Now imagine me returning to find my door open and hearing sounds that indicated someone was in the home. It was the middle of the afternoon so I was entering in broad daylight... Ambiguity again. Realistically I honestly doubt that I would call the police in this situation. Were I to grab my long gun and walk through the house, I would undoubtedly create a very awkward situation with this lovely older woman. I could almost certainly salvage the relationship... but it's not guaranteed. OTOH, with a concealed pistol I could cautiously enter my house to see what was up. Remember most of the time the odd situations are like this - not violent encounters.

    I believe when most of us envision home defense scenarios we imagine the scene little Ralphie encounters in A Christmas Story with masked marauders attacking our home-front. I just believe such a scenario is so uncommon that it doesn't represent reality very closely. I want to be prepared for that scenario, so I have long guns in the safe. But I know most situations are more nuanced so my primary is a handgun.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    You are conflating home defense with scenarios that may require concealment. Apples to oranges.
    Chuck R., Nmuskier, sgb and 6 others like this.
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
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  3. #3
    New Member Array JimCunn's Avatar
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    If you are coming in from your vehicle, carry a handgun. If you are inside, carry a 12 gauge.

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array G26Raven's Avatar
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    Matheath, each situation is different. In some circumstances, the handgun might be more appropriate, as you point out. In others, a "long" gun (or a short long gun) might be a better choice. Your home, your decision. My home, my decision.
    flh, sgb, Bad Bob and 9 others like this.
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    Answer the door with a concealed handgun. Go to bed next to a loaded carbine.
    Psalm 144:1

  7. #6
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    VIP Member Array sgb's Avatar
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    Different tools for different jobs ..................... however I will add that I have no problem creating an awkward situation when it comes to protecting me and mine.
    " It's easier to avoid conflict than it is to survive it, but if you have to play ..... play to WIN!!!"
    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammunition

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array forester58's Avatar
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    I don't have any loaded long guns in my home because they are so unwieldy in tight spaces and too easy to grab should someone be lying in wait. I like to be able to have a hand free to open doors, turn on lights or deflect an attack.
    To each their own on this just like carry gun choices.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array graydude's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
    It depends.

    I carry a pistol on me at home whenever I'm dressed. However, the one time I needed a gun I had sufficient warning and time to grab a shotgun which is what I had in hand as the criminal burst through my front door.

    My recommendation: have options for a variety of potential threats.
    Ride hard, shoot straight, always speak the truth

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array Havok's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    I generally like a pistol more than a long gun for home defense, however, I disagree with your reasons. When someone is on my property, Iím not concerned with how they perceive me and my firearm.
    We get the government we deserve.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array KILTED COWBOY's Avatar
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    I have both types at my disposal.
    I will use whatever the scenario calls for.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by forester58 View Post
    I don't have any loaded long guns in my home because they are so unwieldy in tight spaces and too easy to grab should someone be lying in wait. I like to be able to have a hand free to open doors, turn on lights or deflect an attack.
    To each their own on this just like carry gun choices.
    Why I believe we're kidding ourselves about long guns for home defense-shorty-forty.jpg
    A man has got to know his limitations.

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  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Rabbit212's Avatar
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    Those are my principles, and if you don't like them.....well, I have others.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    For example in your first scenario, you donít need to go straight to ďI need a gunĒ the second you hear a knock at your door at a strange hour. Home defense should be in layers. Maybe you have one of those video doorbells. The second they hit the doorbell or walk up, you can see video of the person or people there. If it were a group of people planning on something, you would see it. For instance, if a group of 3 guys walked up to your door and used the girl as a truck to get you to open the door, you would see it on video because your phone would alert you the second someone wakes onto your porch, even before they knocked on your door or rang your doorbell.

    Letís say that was the scenario, a few guys were waiting off to the side, with another walking around to the rest of the house. Not only would you see it on your video doorbell camera up front, your motion activated floodlights that wrap around your house would then sort of give you a rough idea where the other people are. If the lights down the West side of your house for instance were lit up, you would know they went that way. At that point, donít answer the door. Call the police, give a description of the people you saw, tell them you think itís about to be an attempted home invasion, and get your family to a safe spot and grab your rifle or shotgun and wait for the police to show up.

    If the scenario was just a random girl, with no evidence of any other shenanigans, and you felt confident in opening the door, Iíd certainly bring a handgun. You have to remember in this situation itís not pistol bs rifle for home defense, itís pistol vs rifle for answering the door. It may turn into defensive scenario, but at this point it isnít. For actually defending your hole, most people will be greatly better off with a rifle or shotgun, but when I answer the door I just take a handgun. Whether Iím already carrying, I grab a holstered gun and throw it in my waistband real quick, or I just answer the door with a pistol in my hand out of view behind the door, thereís really no difference.

    That being said, Iíve spent a lot more time answering the door then I have getting in gun fights. To just answer the door, Iíll bring a handgun. In an actual defensive encounter, Iíd like to have a rifle or shotgun if at all possible.
    Rockymonster and OldChap like this.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array johndp1911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Bob View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Very nice. Is that 45acp?
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  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Novarider's Avatar
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    11pm knock on the door scenario. First off I'm probably in bed since I wake up at 5am for work. I'll look through the blinds, if I don't recognize you I'm not opening the door. Girls are often used as bait. End of scenario.

    Open door scenario. I've actually come home to an open door before. I cleared the house with my carry pistol. Why the pistol? I just walked in the house to find something wrong, I'm not going to waste time opening my safe. If I found a neighbor in my house when I wasn't there I'd ask them what they were doing in my house. Don't care how nice they are if they weren't invited they don't belong. End of scenario.

    I don't care if I scare someone, they are on my property without my permission.

    Why do you think you'd be arrested for opening the door with a rifle in your hands?
    OldChap, OD*, Sister and 2 others like this.

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