Gear Head Works “The One.” 300 Blackout Bolt-Action Pistol. New chassis, Remington 700 Action, Tailhook Mod 1, Athlon Optics 1-6×24 Scope, and Magpul Bi-pod. First four photos feature the larger but quieter GSL Technology(same company who designed and manufactured Gemtech from 1994-2015) GT-Mag 300 Win Mag Suppressor. Last set of photos is the smaller but louder Silencerco Omega 30 Cal Suppressor

A Beginner’s Guide to Home Defense Guns

home defense


Home defense is the literal act of defending your home against a threat. When we say “home,” we mean the physical property and the people and possessions inside it. What threatens a home could be a lot of different things: burglars, rapists, jackboots, wolves, bears — whatever you may encounter. The ideal home defense gun can address them all but primarily the threat most likely to occur.

The best gun for home defense is one that, when handled safely and competently, provides peace-of-mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a handgun, shotgun or rifle but there are certain qualities that benefit a home defense gun more than others. This article will detail what to look for in a home defense gun and we’ll use brands and specific models to illustrate examples.


Glock 17

Glock 17

Handguns are by far the most popular choice for a home defense gun because they’re the most plausible choice. Given their size and range, most handguns are intended to engage targets at short distances. They’re also highly maneuverable in enclosed spaces like inside a hallway or turning through doorways.

While the implied argument here is “smaller is better,” let’s nip that in the bud right now. Smaller is more comfortable for concealed carry, but the answer for concealed carry isn’t always the same for home defense. If you’re comfortable handling a hand cannon like a Smith & Wesson Model 500 or Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum, so be it. Let that be your home defense gun. This is America.

But a more practical solution is to consider what’s carried by those who put themselves in harm’s way every day as they patrol our streets. In the last century, law enforcement officers carried full-size .38-caliber revolvers with double- and single-action triggers.

For the time, the limited capacity and cartridge was proven reliable for the threats at hand, ie criminals with comparable weapons. Under the same conditions — which will likely be the case for a mugging or burglary today — the design is still effective. Many people trust revolvers because of their reliability: the cylinder will rotate with every pull of the trigger — never a failure to feed. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Starting in the 1980s, though, Glock paved the way for what now serves as the duty weapon for law enforcement across the country. The Austrian-company built a gun that directly addressed expressed needs of military and law enforcement leaders. They needed a lighter gun that could hold more bullets. So, Glock introduced the Glock 17, a full-size polymer-framed handgun chambered in 9mm.

The appeal to the design was that it’s lightweight, easy to use, and has a magazine that holds 17 rounds. Over the decades, a host of companies have adopted these characteristics of a duty weapon and offered their own, and in some cases, improved versions.

Today, the most up-to-date duty pistol is chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. It features a polymer frame, an internal safety rather than manual thumb safety, interchangeable grips, ambidextrous controls, a Picatinny rail for mounting a light or laser, and the slide will be optics-ready. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.


Remington Tac 14

Remington Tac-14

The second-most logical choice for home defense is a shotgun because they’re easy to use to address a threat. Unlike a handgun or rifle, shotguns don’t require precision accuracy to hit a target. A shotgun fires shot shells instead of a single projectile. The shot is comprised of small pieces of metal that look like ball bearings. As they fly through the air, the spread covers a large area with a tremendous amount of energy like a small net of death.

While there are multiple shotgun actions, the most common for home defense are of the pump-action variety. While some argue that’s because the mere sound of working the pump strikes fear in the hearts of home invaders, the more plausible explanation is they’re easy to use, easy to maintain and inexpensive.

Then, shotguns are also versatile. You’ll have a better chance of fending off a wild animal from a medium distance with a shotgun than with a handgun. Practically speaking, a home defense shotgun functions the same as a hunting shotgun. More to the point, a plain Jane pump scattergun will serve just as well as one decked out with tactical features. But, if those tactical features give you peace-of-mind, so be it. America is a free country, after all.

The drawback to home defense shotguns is limited maneuverability. Without proper training and practice, a shotgun is difficult to safely handle in an enclosed space. According to federal regulators, the shortest barrel available for a shotgun, to keep it under the mandatory 26-inch overall length, is 18 inches. However, gun makers have found ways to make a shotgun feel shorter than it really is. By changing certain characteristics of the design — like removing the stock and shortening the barrel — it can become a 12- or 20-gauge firearm instead of a shotgun. Maintaining that mandatory minimum length allows the design to be sold like any other firearm.

Another drawback to shotguns is limited magazine capacity, which is often tied to the length of the barrel, or more precisely the tube that rides beneath the barrel. Typically, the feature only allows for five 12-gauge shells and require a somewhat time-consuming reloading process. To address that issue, gun makers have started offering shotguns with detachable magazines or they’re applying novel feeding designs.

In 2011, Florida-gun company Kel-Tec introduced the Kel-Tec Shotgun, or KSG, to the U.S. This shotgun featured a bull-pup design, meaning the action was placed behind the trigger. This allowed designers to utilize two magazine tubes with an expanded capacity of seven rounds a piece. Now, a variety of gun makers, all trying to keep pace with one another, are offering features to expand magazine capacity.

Today, there are plenty of opportunities to find a maneuverable shotgun design with a capacity that could stop a threat two-times over. But if you’re comfortable with a good-old fashion pump with a five-round tubular magazine, that works, too.



Springfield Armory Saint

At last, we get to rifles for home defense. A rifle will send a projectile through the air with greater velocity, distance and accuracy than a handgun or shotgun. These attributes make a rifle the best option to engage faraway targets but also a less practical option for close range.

While a rifle’s long barrel limits maneuverability, a key argument against rifles for home defense is over-penetration. The fear being a rifle round, if discharged inside a house, could pierce through drywall and hit an unintended target. But this is America where the AR-15 is considered a modern-day musket. A symbol that reminds the government that U.S. citizens have an inalienable means to stand up to tyranny. So, if you’re trained and that’s what you prefer, there’s your answer.

However, there are reasons to prefer an AR-style rifle for home defense than just a sense of civic duty. They’re dubbed the “modern sporting rifle” because of their broad appeal. They have standardized controls and are highly modifiable. A standard AR-15 chambered in .223/5.56mm is easy to use, has very light recoil and uses a magazine that holds 30 rounds. Plus, you could attach just about every range toy and trinket available.

Unlike shotguns, there’s no workaround barrel length and the stock cannot be removed. If either are done, the act legally makes it a different type of weapon. The former makes it a short barreled rifle, which is highly regulated, and the other turns the design into a pistol. As of a few years ago, however, a compromise was found.

Circa 2012, Florida-based gun accessory maker SB Tactical introduced a stabilizing brace for the AR-style pistol. While the device was intended to fit around your forearm, there’s a general understanding — that’s been reviewed and approved by federal regulators — that you might shoulder the brace.

Since then, variations of the design have been released. Some of which are referred to as a flap rather than a brace. Nonetheless, since the firearm is classified as a pistol, there’s more flexibility with length and in turn maneuverability. With everyone wanting a shorter AR, gun makers have taken to extending their AR line up to include an AR pistol equipped with a tactical brace.

The Best Home Defense Guns

Walk into any gun store or gun forum and you’ll hear arguments advocating the merits for every type of gun, action, caliber, and brand. But at the end of the day, the best home defense is the one that you can handle safely and competently. Do those specific characteristics matter? Certainly. But treat them as guidelines rather than gospel.

For a great selection of firearms, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used Firearms

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Four Great Tactical Plinkers for Your .22 LR Consideration (VIDEO)

The words “tactical” and “plinker” often don’t come together. Yet, there are a growing number of companies that offer full-sized versions of their guns in .22 LR. Why would someone want this you might ask? Well, for starters .22 LR is cheap. Take, for example, the Aguila Super Extra High Velocity we shot, starting at $2.61 a box. Compare that to the same box of 50 rounds 5.56 FMJ from Aguila, with a MSRP of $19.58 and you’ve already got yourself a savings of $16.97 in the first 50 rounds alone.

Besides being cheap to shoot tactical plinkers also offer the added training bonus of being similar to larger scale models. The only difference in many of the models is the felt recoil when you go to shoot. This allows you to realistically train for pennies on the dollar compared to your larger caliber models, while still maintaining the muscle memory of the training. So without further ado, here are four great tactical plinkers in .22 LR from the Vault for your consideration.

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22

The M&P 15-22, just like it’s larger brother, comes with an adjustable stock. The collapsible stock coupled with the light recoil of the rifle makes this ideal for youth shooters. The rifle also features the familiar A2 style grips and sights. These sights can be folded down or easily removed if you want to add an optic to the top Picatinny rail. You can plink for a while with a standard 25-round magazine at affordable prices. Overall, the M&P 15-22 functioned flawlessly eating through all the Aguila ammo we could throw at it. It would be a hit for the youth or adult shooter alike

tactical plinkers

The M&P 15-22 is a consistent performer when training on the range. (Photo: Don Summers/

If you would like an M&P 15-22 for yourself, find it here in the Vault.

Rock Island Armory AK 47/22

Rock Island Armory is perhaps most recognizable for their 1911 designs, but a gun that they manufacture which may have slipped under the radar is their AK 47/22. You’ll find many of the same features on the RIA version as you would a typical AK. There is the standard safety selector switch which locks the gun. You’ll also notice the side charging handle which mimics that of an AK as well. Finally, you have an adjustable rear sight for elevation and an adjustable front post sight, again just like your typical AK.

tactical plinkers

The RIA AK 47/22 is an unusual plinker but fun to shoot nonetheless. (Photo: Don Summers/

The one thing that will be different from your typical AK is the these magazines go straight in as opposed to rocking in like that of your standard AK-47. If you would like to plink on the range with one these AK 47/22 rifles you can find them here in the Vault.

Mossberg 715P

The Mossberg 715P is a smaller pistol version of the Mossberg 715T. What makes this little gun unique is that it has a side-charging handle, coupled with a 6-inch barrel and A2 style grips and muzzle break. It’s 25+1-round capacity means you’ll be able to plink all day and have fun doing it. The pistol also feature Picatinny rail on the top, sides, and bottom, which allows you to mount a number of optics or accessories. For those of you who can’t handle the 48 ounce weight, don’t worry, there are also sling swivels.

tactical plinkers

This Mossberg 715P features many similarities to it’s older brother the 715T. (Photo: Don Summers/

Looking to plink at the range with a Mossberg 715P, find one here in the Vault.

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact

Finally, the last on our list of Tactical Plinkers is the Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact. This little pistol takes after it’s highly carried and touted M&P Shield 9mm. It features the same grip texturing, mag release, and takedown functionality. You’ll also see similar 3-dot white sights on the M&P22 Compact but where it differs is the rear sight can be adjusted for windage and elevation. Another feature you’ll find standard on the M&P22 Compact is the ambidextrous safety. This gun is used mainly for training and ate up all that Aguila we had.

tactical plinkers

The M&P22 Compact offers low recoil and consistent shooting. (Photo: Don Summers/

If you like this M&P22 Compact and want to train with one yourself you can find it here in the. Vault.


Whether you’re out for a good time or trying to do some serious training these tactical plinkers got you covered. With the cost of .22 LR being so reasonable it’s no wonder you see more and more companies making tactical plinkers for their customers.

Check out more tactical plinkers inside the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Turning the Browning Buck Mark into the Ultimate Range Gun (VIDEO)

Recently I pulled out one of my very first handguns and decided to breathe some new life into with a few upgrades. The Browning Buck Mark was the third handgun I ever purchased. I scoured the local gun classified for someone selling one because I was convinced I needed a .22LR handgun for practice. I found a great deal on one, drove an hour to a gun shop, met a guy, filled out some paperwork, did a background check, and went home with my new handgun. I don’t think this gun had ever really been shot and so I thought I had scored a huge win. The reality was, while I liked this gun, I didn’t really shoot it often. Then Sandy Hook happened and the cost of .22 skyrocketed to 9mm prices, so it sat and collected dust.

Fast-forward almost 10 years and I started thinking about how much fun it is to just plink. I considered buying a new .22 handgun, but then I remembered when I was working at a gun shop we had some cool upgrades for the Buck Mark pistols made by Tactical Solutions. I had wanted to do something back then, but there were so many other cool guns to buy I just put it off. I decided now was the time to revive the Buck Mark and give it a makeover.


I remembered when I was working at a gun shop we had some cool upgrades for the Buck Mark pistols made by Tactical Solutions. I had wanted to do something back then, but there were so many other cool guns to buy I just put it off. I decided now was the time to revive the Buck Mark and give it a makeover. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

I decided to go with the Trail-Lite OD Green fluted 5.5-inch barrel and the standard Trail-Lite scope base rail. Since I was already opting for an upgrade on this gun I decided to go all in and ordered in a SilencerCo Switchback RAW and a US Optics DRS (Dynamic Reflex Sight) to turn this into the ultimate fun gun for the range.

The installation process for the barrel and rail was very simple and straight forward. With two Allen wrenches and 10 minutes, I transformed my boring old Buck Mark into a cool looking blaster. Other than the cool factor, the biggest advantage of the Trail-Lite barrel from Tactical Solutions it the weight savings. At six ounces, the barrel is half the weight of the original barrel. The barrel is also threaded at 1/2×28 allowing for a compensator or in my case the direct attachment of a suppressor. The rail comes with an adjustable rear sight so I was able to use it immediately while waiting for my optic.


The installation process for the barrel and rail was very simple and straight forward. Two allen wrenches and under ten minutes and I had transformed my boring old Buck Mark into a cool looking blaster. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

The US Optics DRS was the perfect option for this upgrade since it has a small 2 MOA dot and weighs just under two ounces with the Picatinny mount. The DRS comes with the same mounting footprint as the Vortex Viper if you want to mount to a milled slide, but the Picatinny mount was perfect for my use and lets me easily take it on and off for storage. The $249 MSRP makes the DRS a great low cost option for handguns or even carbines. The controls are simple and the battery life, according to US Optics, is around two or three years on a single CR2032 battery.

The final piece of the upgrade was the SilencerCo Switchback. The Switchback has the claim of being the quietest .22 can on the market. What I liked about it, though, was that it is configurable in multiple lengths, is easy to clean, and can be used up to a 5.7×28. I opted for the “raw” finish figuring the two-tone black and titanium look would go nicely with the OD Tactical Solutions barrel. This was the most expensive part of the upgrade and of course comes with all the headaches that come from purchasing a NFA item including the extra $200 you fork over to the ATF for a stamp giving you permission to own it.


This was absolutely not an inexpensive project. With everything including the tax stamp, the retail total is right around $1,100. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

Let me just put this out there, this was absolutely not an inexpensive project. With everything including the tax stamp, the retail total is right around $1,100. Yes your read that correctly. Add in the price of the Buck Mark and you are at around $1,300 – $1,500 depending on if you find a used one or go with a new one. That might seem like a lot for a .22 “fun gun,” but this is the kind of project that most people would spread out over time. Then, items like the optic and suppressor are optional and both could be used on more than just this build. The barrel and rail from Tactical Solutions were around $300. This, to me, is a solid investment and definitely breaths some new life into a great gun. It was a ton of fun doing this, and the best part was watching my 12-year-old light up the range and ask me when we could go shoot that gun again.

For the Browning Buck Mark and other great pistols, check out the Vault and collection of Certified Used Guns.

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Started to put the CZ-USA Bren 2Ms through its’ paces yesterday. Shooting 4 different steel case(Golden Tiger, Wolf, Red Army Standard, Surplus). Not a single hiccup so far. Going to add an EOTech and Gear Head Works Tailhook Mod 2