10 Best Handguns For Home Defense (in 2023 and Beyond)

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If you’re looking for an effective home-defense weapon, handguns are one of the most popular choices.

Why is a Handgun Best for Home Defense?

The reason a handgun is the best choice for home defense is compact size makes it easy to store a handgun right next to your bed in a handgun safe specifically designed for getting your gun quickly in life or death situations. The size also helps if you’re in tight quarters, such as a hallway or stairwell.

While rifles are more accurate and shotguns more powerful, handguns are more than accurate enough for close to mid-range encounters and are able to be drawn quickly when your life depends on it.

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Which Handgun is the Best for Home Defense?

The best handgun for home defense is all about reliability and ease of use in our opinion.  In the moment you need a handgun it better work and you better be able to use it. There are other factors to consider like quality, accuracy, and capacity. We’ve put together a list of the very best to help you choose.

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How to Choose a Gun For Home Defense

Before we get to our list, we wanted to explain how we chose these guns. If you’re just interested in checking out the guns, you can skip to the list below.

Our main factors were the overall quality, reliability, accuracy, capacity and ease of use for each gun.

That means we went with the guns that we and other shooters have found to work very well every time and put shots on the target.

After all, when your life is on the line, you need a gun you can trust.

What About Stopping Power?

Although we also took stopping power into account, there are some misconceptions out there about handgun caliber and gun stopping power.

Many mistakenly hold onto the belief that the 9mm is much weaker than larger rounds, such as the popular .45ACP.

This was true in the 80s, but ballistics technology has improved dramatically, and 9mm is now much more effective.

If you don’t believe us, consider the fact that the FBI and several police departments went back to using 9mm handguns in 2015.

The reality is that any handgun has the potential to stop someone, provided you hit the right area.

With that in mind, here are our top ten picks for handguns for home defense:

What is the Best First Gun to Buy for Home Defense?

While this list includes guns in different calibers, we typically recommend a 9mm as your first home defense gun. Here’s why:

9mm handguns typically have a larger capacity than handguns with larger rounds. A 9mm often has a 15+1 or 17+1 capacity, compared to a 7+1 or 9+1 capacity for your standard .45ACP.

Statistics showed that New York City police officers had a hit rate of just 28.3 percent in combat situations.

It’s not easy to hit your target in a high-pressure situation, and that’s why a higher capacity is nice to have.

Also, 9mm rounds are cheaper which means you can practice with your gun while spending less.

The Top 10 Home Defense Handguns

Now, let’s dive into our top ten home defense handguns, starting at #10.

10. Beretta M9

Beretta M9 is an excellent all-purpose handgun for home defense

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The Beretta M9 is an excellent all-purpose handgun. In 1985, it became the sidearm of choice for the United States Armed Forces, and the military doesn’t choose a handgun unless it’s reliable and effective.

It features a unique 3-Dot Sight System for swiftly acquiring a target. The internal magazine bevel is designed for quick tactical reloads in combat scenarios. At 33.3 ounces, it’s lightweight and easy to handle.

If there’s anything negative to say about the M9 it’s the cumbersome safety/decock lever. The reason I say this is because it requires a two-handed grip to take the safety off which, as some M9 owners have pointed out, could be time-consuming in a sudden self-defense situation.

The longer trigger pull is also a slight drawback as the shooter may miss their target due to premature anticipation. Other than that, the M9 is a viable option for home defense purposes.

It’s very accurate straight out of the box, has a reversible magazine release to accommodate right and left-handed shooters, and it’s sweat-resistant to help you keep a solid grip on the gun.

9. Gen 4 Glock 19

The Gen 4 Glock 19 features night sights so you can aim well even in the dark making it one of the best home defense handguns

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Glock has long been a trusted name in handguns and its flagship gun is known for being simple, effective, and easy to use.

The Gen 4 pistol comes with three magazines and boasts enlarged reversible magazine releases. The Model 19 has interchangeable backstraps and rough-textured frames to enhance grip.

This one is good for all weather conditions and outperforms previous models in terms of ergonomics and performance.

Any generation of the Glock 19 is a great gun, but we like the G4 as Glock has consistently found ways to improve upon it. It features night sights so you can aim well even in the dark and has a variety of holster options.

8. Sig Sauer MK25 P226

Sig Sauer MK25 P226

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What Gun Do Navy Seals Carry?

The Navy SEALs carry the P226 as a side arm and this MK25 matches what they use. The gun comes with night sights and one thing you’ll notice right away is how ergonomic it is, fitting snugly in your hand for maximum control.

It has a hard anodized aluminum frame that’s durable and attractive, as well as a Nitron-coated stainless steel slide. It also features an integral accessory rail and a one-piece grip

The 9mm model can hold fifteen rounds whereas the 40 S&W version only has a 10-round mag.

There are several different variations on the P226 available, but they’re all comparable in quality, and the version you choose comes down to which features you want and the holster style that suits you best.

7. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

S&W Shield

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What is the Cheapest Handgun for Home Defense?

The cheapest gun for home defense that we can recommend without sacrificing quality and reliability is the Smith & Wesson M&P shield.  There are less expensive handguns for sure, but if it is a life and death matter you can go too cheap.

This Smith & Wesson M&P Shield may have a lower capacity than some of the other guns on this handguns for home defense list, but it’s a reliable performer and, best of all, it’s super compact, making it comfortable to conceal inside a waistband.

This centerfire pistol features a factory ported barrel and slide, and has a 5.3” fiber optic sight radius for fast tracking and immediate action.

Its eighteen-inch grip angle provides the shooter with smooth, dependable operation.

The nine milli is is a small profile weapon with durable corrosion-proof polymer frames.

The barrel length is just 3.3 inches, and you can stash this handgun just about anywhere.

6. Ruger GP100

Ruger GP100 is best revolver handgun for home defense

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What Revolver is Best for Home Defense?

The Ruger 1707 is our pick for best revolver for home defense.  Although our list has been short of revolvers to this point. When it comes to six-shooters, we love this Ruger and our preference is the GP100 with the 6-inch barrel which comes in handy for aiming.

The 1707 model has a stainless steel finish and a smooth-cycling triple-locking cylinder. Ruger’s patented transfer bar mechanism prevents against accidental discharge, making it the ideal firearm for those who have small children in their home.

The Black Hogue Monogrip significantly reduces recoil which is a very attractive feature for people who aren’t used to the harsh blowback of many firearms.

Since you’re only getting six shots with a revolver, barring a select few that carry more, it makes sense to go with a heavier round, and the 357 Magnum definitely fits the bill.

5. Colt 1911

Colt 1911 - Reliability is this gun’s home defense handgun strong suit

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It doesn’t carry the most bullets, it’s a heavy gun and it’s a bit larger than your typical handgun. All that being said, there’s a reason so many people love the 1911.

Reliability is this gun’s strong suit, but another benefit is its safety. Every 1911 has an upswept beavertail grip safety, requiring you to grip it firmly to fire the gun. This makes it much harder to have an accidental misfire.

The Colt Defender Series model has low-mount carry sights with dots that make it ideal for concealed carry. Essentially, everything is enhanced here from soup to nuts…or hammer to flared ejection port.

Its dual spring recoil system contributes to the longevity of this pistol while reducing the blowback.

4. Springfield XD MOD2

Springfield XD MOD2

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You’ll love the way the “Grip Zone” on this gun feels in your hands, helping you control the recoil. For a .45ACP, the Springfield XD has a great capacity, and the 4-inch barrel makes it another compact, lightweight option, perfect for close quarters.

The Melonite finish on this bad boy makes for complete corrosion resistance while the three-inch barrel length puts it in the top pantheon of easy-to-conceal firearms.

Accessories include a stainless steel flush fitting and a full-size XD Gear Mag-X Tension magazine. If you’re in the market for a compact pistol with a comfortable grip and you’re on a tight budget, the Mod 2 is the way to go.

3. CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical

CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical

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The CZ 75 isn’t just an excellent first home defense gun, it’s also a favorite among firearm enthusiasts. Like the Sig Sauer P226 (and its smaller cousin, the 238), there are different variations available, allowing you to find one with all the features you want.

The SP-01 Tactical variation has a side-in-frame design that offers recoil management. It’s another pistol that’s perfect for shooters who are looking for a comfortable grip as it features rubber grip panels.

There are also a huge range of holsters for the CZ 75, ranging from ankle, IWB and OWB, and shoulder holsters, made from a variety of materials.

The fixed night-sight system ensures that you’ll be able to see your target clearly under the blanket of night, and its cold-hammer-forged barrel is paired with a smooth double-action trigger.

With a comfortable grip, sharp accuracy right out of the box, a smooth trigger pull and an affordable price, this handgun truly checks all the boxes.

2. FNX-45


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If you’re looking for a gun that fits the term “hand cannon” without being so large that it becomes unwieldy, the FNX-45 is the right choice for you.

It packs a serious punch, and even though it’s big, it remains fairly steady when it comes to recoil. Even though it’s a .45ACP, its capacity is on par with most 9mm handguns.

It’s got 3-Dot Night Sights and a serrated trigger guard. The best part is how inclusive it is—this one is fully ambidextrous from safety levers to magazine release.

And if you’re looking to add a red dot, this one comes with two mounting bases. It’s truly a versatile firearm that is adaptable to any environment.

1. Walther PPQ M2

The Walther PPQ M2 has an ergonomic grip, but the real highlight is the trigger, perhaps the smoothest you’ll find for a handgun for home defense.

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Walther is well-known for producing high-quality, dependable guns that can go through thousands of rounds without a misfire and the PPQ M2 is their finest handgun yet.

It has an ergonomic grip, but the real highlight is the trigger, perhaps the smoothest you’ll find for a handgun.

This handgun is available with a 4 or 5-inch barrel. Although we like the 5-inch barrel for aiming, but you can’t really go wrong with either one.

This centerfire pistol boasts striker fire action and an extremely light trigger pull. For this reason alone, it’s an excellent choice for beginners who aren’t used to throwing their weight behind firing a weapon.

It’s got a Picatinny equipment rail, three automatic safeties, three interchangeable sculpted-grip backstraps for custom fit and a fast audible reset.

There’s very little this pistol doesn’t possess and, for that reason alone, it’s number one with a bullet in my book.

Is a 22 a Good Home Defense Gun?

No, while a .22 caliber firearm can be used for home defense, it is not considered ideal due to its’ lack of stopping power. Which is why we don’t have any on our list of the best handguns for home defense. While a .22 firearm can certainly inflict damage, it has some limitations in terms of stopping power and effectiveness compared to larger calibers like 9mm or .45ACP. These larger calibers generally offer better stopping power and are more likely to immediately incapacitate an intruder.

Handguns For Home Defense – Conclusion

If you’re having a tough time deciding between the handguns for home defense on this list, we recommend visiting your local gun range and renting a few of them.

But of course, don’t think that you’re only limited to the guns we’ve covered on this list.  There are many other great options out there as well, including some that can be had on a budget, such as the Taurus G2C or Canik TP9SF.

That being said, you’ll likely be happy with any of these guns for home defense, but the best way to decide which one is right for you is to try them yourself. Happy hunting.

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

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Will Ellis

Hi there, I’m Will and I’ll be your guide. Here at Gun News Daily, we support guns for self defense and competitive shooting. We believe that America should be free and support the 2nd Amendment.

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