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Heavy Hitters Dish on their Home-Defense Gun Choices

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Protection of your family and home is undoubtedly high on the priority list if you’re reading this magazine. While there are a whole lot of concealed carriers across the nation, the number that keeps guns at the ready for home is undoubtedly much higher. Sure, you could just throw any gun on a nightstand and call it good enough — but that’s not what this is about. Despite what some Cheeto-fingers-on-the-internet will tell you, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the home defense problem. Every environment is different, as are the competency levels of those defending it. What a single 25-year-old studio apartment dweller chooses for hearth protection likely isn’t the same as what someone defending a family of five on 15 acres chooses. But it’s not just about firearms; there are some accessory choices dictated by contextual differences.

Keeping all of this in mind, we sought out a variety of professionals to comment on their particular home-defense guns, and more importantly, why they have those guns — simply telling you they use a 12-gauge isn’t very helpful. You don’t have to be a Special Forces guy or SWAT ninja to consider their rationales, so our hope is that after you read this piece you’ll evaluate the contents of your own nightstand. While there are some brand-names mentioned, think of each configuration as a loose guideline for a given situation and not an internet special, where all the parts and pieces have to match exactly. This is about choosing home-defense equipment, not points on the ‘gram. Still, we’ll disclose all of those parts and pieces, because we dabble in gear nerdery.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, nearly everyone on this panel has ties to the firearm industry and uses at least some equipment from companies they’ve got an interest in.


Brokos: My choice is the most universal handgun in the world, a Glock 19. I have a Shadow Systems MR918, which is a custom duty model. They are easy to manipulate, small enough for women to grip, and are extremely reliable. 9mm is a great round for magazine capacity and killing; just look at why the FBI went back to it. Over penetration is misunderstood I think — my take is don’t f*cking miss.

I teach at the lowest common denominator. I shoot the client’s gun or shoot duty carbines and pistols, and that principle applies to my home-defense guns. Not just for me, but also my wife and family of five kiddos. Two of them are out there surviving on their own, but we still have two teenagers and an adult kid at the house. They all know where the two pistols are placed in the house and are very comfortable with them.

Horner: We live in the country, so my bedside gun is a rifle because out here there are a lot of coyotes and other predators that can harm my family and pets. My bedside rifle is a Sig Sauer 516 10-inch SBR with a Sig SRD-556QD suppressor, Romeo4 red-dot, Juliet4 magnifier, Crimson Trace Rail Master green laser, SureFire Scout M600DF Scout Light, Armageddon Gear Sling, and it’s loaded with 62-grain Speer Gold Dot. I shoot this rifle every month or so, check zero and holds, and make sure the laser and light have batteries and are still zeroed. I am very confident with this rifle.

Daniel Horner’s Sig Sauer 516 10-inch SBR

Jacques: For several years, I have relied on an LWRC International ICA5 model for my bedside gun. Some of the reasons for choosing a carbine over a pistol include increased accuracy, magazine capacity, and the ability to incorporate better lights and lasers on the rifle. Little hardware tweaks are a Geissele SSA-E trigger, Gripstop, B5 Systems precision stock, and a Blue Force Gear 221 sling. For hardware, I run a SureFire SOCOM Mini 2 suppressor over a SureFire closed-tine WarComp, Aimpoint CompM5, and SureFire Scout for my light source with 12 o’clock tape switch that’s held in a Manta Defense pocket switch holder. Finally, a B.E. Meyers MAWL for a secondary aiming device with the visible green laser instead of backup iron sights.

While some may say the laser is a little much, I can carry a family member with one arm, provide aid, and stabilize the carbine to make accurate man-sized body hits if needed using that visible green laser. Sometimes a cheek weld could be difficult in some home defense instances. This may not be for everyone, but I can point to circumstances that’ll validate the use of a laser.

My ammunition is a Federal 62-grain bonded round. Twenty-eight of those in a Magpul PMAG with a Multitasker Magpod attached. I have a Blue Force Gear bandoleer containing extra mags, a standalone handheld flashlight, and a med kit hanging on the corner of the bed for grab-and-go, as well. I also keep a handful of chemlights and a front door house key in that bandoleer. If I can make it upstairs and secure the rest of the kids and choose to hold because the responding cops are arriving, I can clip a chemlight to the house key, snap the stick, and drop it out the window so they can make entry without wasting time and energy breaching the door.

I live in a rural part of Virginia, and the carbine is my response to all indoor and outdoor threats. I’ve had to dispatch coyotes that were threatening the animals, and I have everything on the guns and great ammunition for animals with two or four legs.

Reston: My current home-defense gun is a 12.5-inch BCM rifle chambered in 5.56. The rifle is outfitted with an Aimpoint T2, SureFire Scout Light, SureFire RC2 suppressor, Knights Armament iron sights, Lead Faucet Tactical two-point sling, and a SureFire 60-round magazine. The magazine is loaded with Federal 55-grain BTHP. I selected this configuration because I’m familiar with the platform and for its lethality from 1 to 200 yards. I’m not just a defender/protector of what’s inside my home; I protect everything that’s around it and what resides there. With one grab, I’m ready to not only be defensive but offensive, if the situation dictates.


Brokos: The more ammunition the better. I strongly suggest a magazine extension. I say this because I sleep in ranger panties and my family sometimes less than that — but, let’s face it, I don’t expect anyone to grab a spare magazine and place it somewhere in a time of stress or wake up and get fully dressed. I am also a big fan of a SureFire X300U on my blaster. My home-defense guns all have SureFire lights.

Jared Reston’s 12.5-inch BCM

Horner: Yes, a flashlight and a laser. But I feel the number-one thing for home defense is a dog that weighs more than 50 pounds. That will pretty much take care of most problems. Even if they are just big teddy bears, they are a huge distraction for a would-be intruder, and that will give you some valuable time to mitigate the situation.

Jacques: White light is an absolute must on any home-defense firearm. There are home defense events around the country, probably on a monthly basis, where a homeowner fails to positively identify someone they thought was an intruder. They end up shooting that person because they didn’t know who it was. If they had a light, they would have seen what they were aiming at.

I also love a red-dot sight on any gun. It allows me to keep both eyes open, which provides more information about what’s happening, and I can remain focused on the threat. Also, I like having a sling in case I need to carry a family member, or do anything else that calls for the use of both hands. After all, any bump in the night scenario will have me in my shorts — without pockets for a spare mag, flashlight, etc. So, the sling is a big assist.

Reston: Musts for a home-defense gun are a light and sights you can clearly see in low light. I prefer weapon-mounted lights, but there are advantages to a handheld, also. Now, if your home-defense gun is a rifle, then, at minimum, it should have an RDS.


Brokos: Some will take this the wrong way, but I’m not a fan of gun locks inside the trigger guard on guns stored in the house. I get that this presents a challenge to households with small children, but find a place they can’t get to it.

Horner: The number one no-go for primary home defense is a semiautomatic shotgun. I make my living with them, and they are very difficult to keep reliable. I have one in the bedroom, but that’s for shooting things that are trying to kill the chickens or harassing my dogs. If you do have a shotgun, I suggest using Federal Flight Control 00 Buckshot loads.

Matt Jacques’ LWRC International ICA5

Jacques: I don’t really have any absolute no-go’s for a home-defense firearm. If anything is a quasi no-go it’d be cheap gear. Home defense gear has to be rugged and reliable so it can be used if and when called upon without failure. Other than that, if it makes you more comfortable and more confident to safely protect your family, then train with it so you know what to expect if it’s needed in total darkness.

Reston: I do not think there is any hard “no-go” accessories as long as they are quality. The go-no-go evaluation process is well-thought-out and proven. You need to lay out the positives and the negatives and make your decision. Once the decision is made, seek out training for the use of the firearm and also tactics for clearing your environment. Tactics are often overlooked by the general population. I get that you’re not taking down terrorist strongholds or serving warrants on violent criminals, but moving inside your own home with a firearm should be done tactically. Clearing your house is an offensive procedure, and there are times for it. Staying in a closet with a gun pointing at the door is a defensive posture, and there are times for that. You need a weapon and the ability to handle both.

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