Shotguns Vs Handguns: Which Firearm Type Is Best For Home Defense?

If you plan to visit a firearms store to purchase a gun you can use for home defense, then you likely know that you will have a variety of firearm types to choose from. While you can speak to the store staff for advice on which gun type is right for you and your needs, you should first learn about the most popular firearm types used for home defense and the advantages and disadvantages of each gun type. 

Read on to learn more about the advantages of disadvantages of shotguns and handguns when used for home defense.


Shotguns are popular home defense firearms because they are affordable and reliable guns. Firearms that are reliable are less prone to malfunction when fired. These guns are relatively long, although they are available with varying barrel lengths.

Shotgun barrel lengths can range, and shorter barrel lengths are typically chosen when a shotgun will be used for home defense purposes, while longer barrel lengths are ideal for hunting. 

In addition, shotguns are relatively easy to aim compared to many other gun types, such as handguns, and due to their large size, shotguns are difficult to misplace. 

However, while many people appreciate the fact that shotguns are relatively long firearms, others find that their large sizes make them difficult to maneuver. In addition, these guns can have a strong recoil, also called kickback, which means they tend to produce a strong backward movement when fired. 


Handguns are also commonly used for home defense, and two common handgun types are pistols and revolvers. Both handgun types are relatively small and easier to maneuver around the home. In addition, unlike a shotgun that only holds a few rounds of ammunition and must typically be pumped between shots, a semi-automatic pistol can hold many more rounds when equipped with an extended magazine and needs no priming between shots. 

Another benefit of a small handgun is that it can be held and fired with the use of just one hand. Having one hand free during an emergency situation can be a benefit. 

However, a handgun can be a bit more difficult to aim than the average shotgun, so keep this fact in mind when making your decision between the two firearm types. In addition, handguns are slightly less reliable than shotguns and can jam up or malfunction in other ways instead of firing in rare instances. 

If you would like to purchase a firearm to use for home defense, then you have many firearm options. Shotguns and handguns are popular home defense firearms, and each gun type has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Talk to a firearm dealer to learn more.