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The home defense firearm is, by definition, a weapon kept in the home, accessible to those inside the home in case of some attempted break-in. Whether the break-in is an angry ex-boyfriend pounding on the door, a determined home invasion by practiced criminals, some other burglary, or even civil unrest washing into your neighborhood from the world outside, you keep a home-defense gun because you wish to be able to protect your family and yourself in what is your last refuge: the place where you live. The home-defense firearm is the most important piece of technology you will ever bring into your dwelling.

If they have their way, liberals, Democrats and leftists of every stripe would mandate that you and your family be helpless. They do not want you to protect yourself. They do not want you to be safe. Ignoring them for a moment, however, we ought to examine how to select this critical piece of self-defense technology.

Giving and getting firearms advice can often be an exercise in frustration (ask 10 people, get 10 answers), but if you adhere to the following basic principles in selecting your home-defense firearm, you’ll generally be OK:

Choose only an established firearm in an established caliber. The firearms industry, perhaps more so than other industries, sees a lot of fly-by-night, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow firearms companies. Every so often, a new gun company with a new (or perhaps not so new) product brings its gun to market, hoping to take the gun culture by storm. A few actually succeed and go on to become established brands. (Remember when a new, plastic-framed gun called the “Glock” was introduced to this country?) The same is true of calibers. Few of the new calibers introduced by a manufacturer will become truly popular on the market.

When you choose your home-defense gun, therefore, make your life easier by choosing a gun whose design and caliber have both been around for some time and that have become reasonably popular. It will be a lot easier for you to buy ammunition, spare parts and magazines, not to mention holsters and other accessories.

Do not choose an overpowered caliber. Bullets will pass easily through most interior walls and often through exterior walls. For this reason, avoid extremely powerful rounds that will penetrate deeply. A .44 Magnum revolver or a shotgun loaded with deer slugs is probably the wrong choice for home defense, in a very small home or apartment building. You must choose a reasonably effective caliber, of course, but penetration cannot be overlooked when considering the home-defense equation. Don’t choose the .44 when a .357 offers excellent ballistics and stopping power, for example.

This DVD will provide you all the info you’ll need for safe firearm ownership: “Handguns 101: A Guide for New Shooters”

Choose a weapon with which you are comfortable, with which you can (and will) practice. A gun that doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand (because it feels too big for you, let’s say) or that kicks so badly you’re afraid to fire and practice with it (online video sites abound with clips of people slapping themselves in the face with guns too powerful for them) is not a good choice for home defense. It will be awkward when you attempt to use it under stress, and you will not be inclined to practice with it.

Always choose a gun that fits your hand well, that you can carry and lift with ease. A heavy shotgun that is otherwise perfect for home defense, but which you cannot pump properly because of a shoulder injury, is not the right choice. The gun must fit you and must be easy to use and practice with if it is to meet your needs. Once you have chosen your firearm, you are also obligated to train with it (under competent instruction) and to practice with it until you are very comfortable operating it. The worst you do in training is the best you can expect to do in actual application under stress.

Choose a weapon that can be secured in a readily accessible (but still childproof) fashion. There are a lot of trumped up “statistics” and other pieces of misinformation floating around out there that falsely claim a gun in your home puts your family in greater danger than if you were unarmed. While this is anti-gun propaganda, there is a very real danger presented by any firearm that is not properly secured in the home (especially homes with children of any age). You must NEVER leave a loaded gun unsecured or “hidden” anywhere in the house. If the gun is not on you, it must be locked away in some fashion so that unauthorized use is prevented. The unauthorized user might be a burglar, an apartment complex maintenance man who’s let himself into your home with a key, or your very own children. Prevent accidents and misuse by making sure your gun is locked up. There are many security devices that permit fast, ready access to a loaded gun.

Choose a weapon that is completely legal. There are a lot of gun laws that make very little sense, many of which vary at the state and local levels. When you choose your home-defense gun, make sure nothing about your gun is in any way illegal. Just because you were able to buy the gun and its accessories doesn’t mean you’re good to go. Certain combinations of firearms and accessories are illegal when the individual components are not.

If you are forced to use your firearm in self-defense in your home, your actions and the weapon you use will be scrutinized very carefully by law enforcement. If anything you have done is not completely justified, and if your weapon (combined with its accessories) is not completely legal, you will face gravely serious consequences. A little homework beforehand can save you much stress later.

These guidelines are, arguably, must-follow rules for selecting a home-defense firearm. Keeping a gun in the home is a great benefit in terms of self-defense, but it is also a weighty responsibility. Treat it accordingly … and make your decisions armed with this information.

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