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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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, I’m not concerned with how they perceive me and my firearm.
 

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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.
Shorty forty.jpg
 

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For example in your first scenario, you don’t need to go straight to “I need a gun” 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.

Let’s 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, don’t answer the door. Call the police, give a description of the people you saw, tell them you think it’s 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, I’d certainly bring a handgun. You have to remember in this situation it’s not pistol bs rifle for home defense, it’s pistol vs rifle for answering the door. It may turn into defensive scenario, but at this point it isn’t. 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 I’m 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, there’s really no difference.

That being said, I’ve spent a lot more time answering the door then I have getting in gun fights. To just answer the door, I’ll bring a handgun. In an actual defensive encounter, I’d like to have a rifle or shotgun if at all possible.
 

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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?
 

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Not saying you’re wrong in your scenario, only that I would prefer (and have) options depending upon circumstances. Two examples: Someone at the door when I’m up.....likely concealed handgun. Bump in the night when asleep.....short “long gun”. YMMV.
 
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Unexpected knock on the door - Handgun. The sound of a window breaking, I will have my 12 gauge. It doesn't have to be exclusively one or the other.
 

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If you are going around corners with a long gun and the gun passes the corner before you can see in order for someone to grab it, you're doing it wrong. (Think shockwave or mossberg 590). This means you will have to move it away from your shoulder. At room distances, point shooting shouldnt be difficult. There are some occasions where handguns just work better like answering a door. Searching and clearing a building or home is something that untrained/one-person folks should avoid. Handguns are not as effective as a defensive weapon. They just arent. That doesnt mean they cant be effective...
 

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This is why I don't play well on "If you could only have one gun" scenarios and polls. My go-to-gun varies from an NAA Mini-Mag 22M in my swim trunks pocket through a 12 gauge shotgun to a rifle for home defense out to 1,000 yards. If I use my shotgun inside of my house, it is carried at my hip with half in front of me and half in back of me. Point shooting is your friend at close quarters.
 
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