Best Handguns For Home Defense – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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Are you looking for a new handgun to protect your home and family?

Maybe you’re a first-time gun buyer or are looking for a gun to keep in your nightstand but also take to the range.

We’ve done the homework for you on several excellent choices on the market today.

Comparison of the Best Handguns For Home Defense

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Can be modified to hold a variety of calibers
  • Runner-up for best handgun for home defense
  • Compact, but does not lose any stopping power
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  • Carries up to 10 rounds
  • Best first handgun for home defense
  • Manufacturer’s guarantee of 25,000 rounds with no failures
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  • Widely used as a competitive pistol
  • Best handgun for target shooting and home defense
  • Light recoil and improved sight radius leads to better aim
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  • Best 9mm Handgun for Home Defense
  • Fits many accessories, and is easy to maintain
  • Designed to meet the high demands of the United States Marine Corps
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  • Comes in a variety of color options
  • Best home defense handgun under $400
  • Good compact weapon for concealed carry
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Can Any Handgun Be Used For Home Defense?

Most any weapon can be used for home defense but in most cases you are better off with a handgun that’s accessible at a moment’s notice and is easy to carry and fire.

You want to be able to assess the situation, aim with accuracy, and take the necessary action in a flash. Certain handguns are better suited for home defense or concealed carry and others are more versatile. 

What Makes a Great Handgun?

There are a number of considerations when selecting a handgun, whether it’s your first time buying or if you’re looking for the latest model to add to your collection. Here are some things that make a great handgun stand out from those that are not as great:

Reliability

Your primary concern should be to get a pistol you can rely on to always hit the target. Detachable aiming sights and lasers can aid in accuracy, but a well-constructed weapon can hit the target every time in the hands of a pro. You also want to make sure your handgun can fire hundreds or even thousands of rounds and not compromise its integrity over a lifetime of use.

Size

Size is another factor to consider. If your primary goal is to get a new concealed carry weapon, look for a handgun with a smaller profile. However, if you wish to keep your pistol at home inside a dresser drawer, there’s a good chance a full-sized pistol might be a good option. 

Safety

Safety is always a prime concern, especially if you’re not as experienced. Be sure to select a handgun with easy-to-understand safety features, and make sure you know how to properly store or carry your weapon of choice. For example, if you want a pistol that prevents any accidental discharge, consider the trigger pull weight. Too light of a weight may pose a safety hazard. 

Find a Good Brand Name

For some, brand recognition alone may be enough to sway your decision. Look for a brand with a strong reputation, either for longevity and experience or for its use in other institutions. Many brands and weapons are used by first responders and military, so you have a better chance at a premium weapon by shopping those reputable names above others.

Quick Take - The Best Handguns For Home Defense

These are our recommendations for the best handguns for home defense:

  1. Ruger SP101 .38 Special
  2. Springfield Armory XD-S Mod-2

Review of the Best Handguns For Home Defense

Here are some of the best handguns available on the market today. Depending on your intended use for your next pistol, choose from the following options and you won’t be disappointed.

Pros

  • Few moving parts to this weapon
  • Operation is simpler than other options
  • Grips can be switched out to improve user comfort
  • Five-round barrel can be interchanged to hold different calibers
  • Quality construction – the frame, cylinder, and barrel are all solid stainless steel

Cons

  • Must handle with care
  • Some edges may be rough
  • Five shots limit your fire rate before needing to reload

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users are thrilled with this weapon. They note that the grips and triggers can be easily swapped out and the overall quality stands out above the rest. Some did mention that the spent rounds can get stuck in the cylinder, while others noted that you might be better off buying an after-factory case for better storage. On the whole, though, the owners of this weapon have no major complaints. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

First of all, the name alone is instantly recognizable as a formidable weapon in the right hands. It is compact, which also makes it useful for a concealed carry weapon. And with no hammer, it’s ideal for when the moment calls for quick action.

Who Will Use This Most

Many different kinds of customers will find this the perfect choice as a sidearm. It’s versatile for the experienced and is easy to learn for the novice. The ideal owner would be one who puts a premium on safety and the ability to respond to any threat.

Bottom Line

This is a solid revolver with a name that inspires confidence and a brand with an excellent reputation. Its sleek lines and solid construction make a perfect fit in your hand and you have the option to use other calibers, as well. Versatile, powerful, and portable – the perfect combination.

Best First Handgun for Home Defense:
Springfield Armory XD-S Mod-2

Pros

  • Reliable, smooth shooting
  • Fires versatile 9mm calibers
  • Provides maximum concealability with no bulging or exposition of your carry position
  • Boasts a width of less than one-inch, making it an ideal choice for concealed carry
  • Springfield tests this line of handguns for 25,000 rounds fired and guarantees its continued quality over time

Cons

  • Smaller magazine than some other handguns
  • May have less firing power – if you’re looking for something stronger than a last line of defense, you may need to look elsewhere

What Recent Buyers Report

Gun owners give nearly universal acclaim to this pistol, highlighting its value and size over other options. The majority of online reviews gravitate toward the narrow profile and acknowledge its fit as a concealed carry weapon, with key safety features that mean protection for the shooter, even in extreme situations.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is part of a larger Springfield family that has made its mark in concealed carry and competitive shooting. It is even the weapon of choice for law enforcement officials in several metropolitan areas. It is the handgun of choice for officers and homeowners, with a known reputation for longevity, which makes this a standout selection.

Who Will Use This Most

At the risk of repeating ourselves too much, those looking for their first concealed carry handgun should look no further than the XD-S. This would also be a great compact, easy-to-use choice for those looking to add a little more security at home for their loved ones.

Bottom Line

When protection is your purpose, and repeated use is expected, Springfield has the right balance in this dependable pistol. Quality construction and features useful to new and veteran gun buyers make this an ideal choice, knowing that Springfield will be a sure solution to your personal security needs.

Best Low Recoil Handgun for Home Defense:
Smith & Wesson M&P 9M2.0​​​​

Pros

  • Easy working
  • Quality materials
  • Excellent accessories
  • Ideal choice for novices or enthusiasts
  • M&P stands for Military & Police, which should tell you something about its reputation – trusted by our armed forces and first responders 

Cons

  • A little too large for concealed carry 
  • Might not fit the bill if you’re looking for superior power

What Recent Buyers Report

After hundreds of rounds, most buyers don’t notice any issues with aim or reliability. It’s ideal for a day at the range if you’re looking for a pistol with low recoil and accurate sights, and if you’re not absolutely sold on carrying it everywhere you go, it’s perfect as a home defense weapon.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you’re forced to choose only one pistol, this would be a great compromise between powerful size and compact usefulness. With two large magazines included and quick and easy firing rates, this would be the perfect gun to have on hand in a tight spot.

Who Will Use This Most

This line was designed for professional and personal use, with high marks from owners on its sport performance. If you’re not rabidly loyal to a given brand, this would be an excellent entry handgun or a reliable go-to purchase. 

Bottom Line

Nearly everyone acknowledges that you can fire hundreds of rounds without breaking a sweat and since it’s known for low recoil, you can fire with greater confidence that you’ll hit your mark every time. If you want a steady grip and aren't afraid of a strong kickback, go for this handgun.

Best Handgun for Target Shooting and Home Defense:
Glock 34 9MM Gen 4

Pros

  • Longer barrel and slides
  • Reversible magazine catch
  • Modular back strap system
  • Used in many competitive shooting arenas
  • The marksman’s pistol of choice, with many custom-made features to improve aiming and accuracy

Cons

  • Might not satisfy those looking for a compact profile
  • If you’re not focused on competition,  another choice might make more sense

What Recent Buyers Report

You guessed it, everybody loves this Glock’s accuracy. A casual shooting day at the range or a cutthroat shootout for the win – every kind of range shooter looking for an easy-to-handle handgun should strongly consider this as a premier option.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Some weapons are created to be used for a variety of purposes, but there’s something about knowing your gun was built to win that makes you cool under fire. You could certainly buy this weapon as a nightstand pistol, but you can be proud to take this one to the range any day.

Who Will Use This Most

Competitive shooters will be first in line. This one is built for them. Check out one of the other guns we’ve reviewed if you’re looking for a gun that isn’t as highly specialized or if you’re looking for a better balance of versatility and power.

Bottom Line

It’s who’s behind the trigger that ultimately wins the day, but if you want to give yourself the greatest chance of hitting dead center every time, you should definitely consider this handgun. With a quick draw and an even quicker trigger, this one rises to the top for your next range day.

Best 9mm Handgun for Home Defense:
 Beretta 92/M-9A1

Pros

  • Beretta is synonymous with handguns
  • Can also add extra sights to improve its aim
  • Known for accuracy, durability, and versatility
  • The military has used them for decades and have added their input to the latest models to meet their exacting requirements

Cons

  • Few faults here – is it a fault that you can only carry two at a time?

What Recent Buyers Report

This handgun often becomes a permanent fixture and standard for the discerning gun owner. At the risk of repeating ourselves, this weapon is a mainstay with the military, so buyers can be confident in its reputation for quality and reliability. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

From James Bond to John McClane, our favorite action heroes use Berettas, so this is more than a little wish fulfillment for most of us. Great for concealed carry, two magazine sizes, and fires 9mm rounds with ease – this fun is perfect for Hollywood, boot camp, or your neighborhood range.

Who Will Use This Most

This weapon comes at a slightly higher price, but for brand recognition and a solid 9mm pistol, look no further. It may be wielded by soldiers, but it’s accessible enough for most gun buyers to be the ideal choice for a premium pistol.

Bottom Line

This gun has credentials that would make any gun owner proud and a Beretta should certainly instill that pride in someone who wants a quality weapon to use for home defense or a quality day at the range.

Best Home Defense Handgun Under $400:
Taurus G2C 9MM

Pros

  • Excellent durability and construction
  • Semi-automatic with a decent-sized magazine
  • Smaller size makes it perfect for an inexpensive concealed carry weapon
  • Presented as the ideal “value pistol,” but still on par with some of the larger brands

Cons

  • Low cost may be a turnoff to experienced gun buyers
  • Doesn’t have the brand recognition of Glock or Beretta

What Recent Buyers Report

While some buyers report reliability over time and praise its use as a good everyday handgun, the most common praise for the 2C is the low cost. It seems the primary draw to this weapon is an easier entry point from a cost perspective – if that’s what matters most to you, then this is a perfectly viable option.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Again, the low cost. While there may be more reputable brands and more powerful handguns available on the market that we’d recommend first, if you’re scraping by and want a cheap solution fast, this is a great alternative to a more expensive pistol.

Who Will Use This Most

We would recommend this mostly for novice gun buyers. If you already have a selection of handguns and are looking to expand, we would probably steer you to some of the other options listed here. But if you’re looking for an occasional range day, this one works just fine.

Bottom Line

A high-value pistol with a decent track record. It fires 9mm rounds just like the big boys and may eventually stand at the same level as others. But for now, you might be better off sticking to what you know.

Pros

  • Three-point safety system
  • Highly versatile with interchangeable elements
  • Available with a variety of features and calibers
  • Relied on by members of the military and government agencies
  • Romeo 1-gun sight provides clear shooting with pinpoint accuracy

Cons

  • As with any product, some reported occasional quality control issues
  • Can be difficult to completely fill the magazine, final bullets take extra effort when loading manually

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a popular weapon with our Armed Forces and that reputation carries over to everyday users. Some observed the differences between the full-size and compact versions of this weapon, but many recognize this as a reliable choice that more than holds up over time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With a well-known brand reputation and versatile features, this is an excellent step up from a nightstand gun. While it may not be ideal for concealed carry, it is perfect for the range and as a home defense weapon. And, while every gun owner should be concerned with safety, it’s important that the P320 shines in that category.

Who Will Use This Most

If money is a concern, you’d make a quality choice with this pistol. Most people cite its reliability after hundreds or even thousands of rounds fired, making this perfect for someone looking for a go-to shooting pistol. A compact may fit in the nightstand a little better but experienced users see the value in this particular weapon.

Bottom Line

Grip and trigger fit just right, shoot for days without wearing down, and a premium on user safety – all backed by the pride of knowing you hold the same sidearm as our men and women in uniform. There are many different versions, but the P320 is a reliable choice for any gun owner.

Pros

  • Fires 9mm rounds
  • Extra magazines included
  • An excellent go-to for home defense
  • Constructed from highly durable materials, designed to hold up over time
  • Accurate and precise with every shot, for recreational shooting or emergencies

Cons

  • Not as easy to conceal
  • Less stopping power than higher calibers

What Recent Buyers Report

This handgun performs well with many different brands of ammunition. It is well-balanced and accurate, with a comfortable grip for repeated firing with consistent accuracy and fire rate. This weapon typically exceeds expectations, with a high rate of satisfaction among buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With excellent value and a strong brand reputation, this is an excellent firearm for veteran gun owners or those selecting their first pistol. Look no further for an accurate and comfortable weapon that can be used at the range, as well as for defending your home.

Who Will Use This Most

Buyers who are most concerned with reliability won’t be disappointed with this handgun. This is an ideal choice for newer gun owners who want an accurate weapon and those who want to add a quality piece to their arsenal. Many also recognize the brand's longevity and feel reassured choosing this product.

Bottom Line

With a proud history of quality weaponry, strong materials, and a wide variety of applications, this handgun is the ideal choice for any type of gun owner. With this in hand, you can feel confident in your ability to protect your home and loved ones and be proud of your weapon at the range, as well. 

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Handgun

As we’ve seen here, there are lots of handguns to choose from. It can be confusing to some with confronted with magazine sizes, a variety of safety features, customizable grips and attachments, and more. You may be content with nothing more than the look of the weapon or how it feels in your hand, without considering how it will perform under pressure.

Your best bet is always to do some research before rushing into any gun-buying decision. Take stock of what you really want in a handgun – are you using it only as emergency protection or is this a gun you’ll take to the range every week? Will you risk it gathering dust in its case or do you plan on carrying it with you wherever you go?

Be informed and make a smart decision when you go to your local gun dealer. Talk with other owners you know and don’t be afraid to ask about their experiences with the guns you’re deciding between. Be certain of the features that are most important to you and will best suit your needs. Plus, if you have the time and money available, there’s nothing wrong with having several choices at the ready at any given time. 

Conclusion

Some handguns are better for home defense or concealed carry. As long as you’ve done your homework, you have lots of great choices for your next pistol purchase. Be safe, and know that the right gun can add extra security for you and your home.

People Also Ask

While it’s impossible to answer every single question you could ask about purchasing a handgun for home defense, we’ve answered a couple of the most common ones here. Again, we recommend talking with the owner of your local gun range or gun dealer, or do some online research to find out more.

Is a 9mm Good For Home Defense?

In most cases, yes, a 9mm pistol is a solid, reliable choice for home defense. Everyone handles guns differently and more experienced shooters can take the recoil from a higher caliber, but if you want accuracy when it counts, a 9mm can give you a better chance at successfully hitting your target.

What is the Safest Handgun?

Handguns with manual safeties are an optimal choice for a greater assurance of safety. Automatic safeties can work, but a manual safety ensures deliberation before getting into an accidental fire situation. However, the shooter is ultimately responsible for the safe and proper use of any weapon in any instance.

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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