Long vs Short Guns for Personal and Home Defense

Picking a firearm for personal and home defense is crucial, and choosing between handguns and long guns can be a daunting decision. So before you head to a gun shop, it pays to learn how the two differs.

Handguns are intended for one handed use and movability, but generally lack the stopping power of long guns, which range from shotguns to rifles. On the other hand, long guns, like a shotgun barrel is made of fairly thin steel that is very smooth on the inside to allow the shot and wad to glide down the barrel without friction.

Many people who go to gun stores prefer handguns generally because of its size, weight, and design. They can be easily carried from one place to the next, which makes them ideal for vacationers. They can also be concealed easily. The concealability of handguns makes it the most common gunfight weapon. Most of the time, you are not actually expecting trouble, but you still want to carry a gun for your peace of mind. You bring something that you can manage easily.


Photo Credit: Ray Dumas

Additionally, the handgun barrel is shorter compared to that of a rifle or shotgun. The bores of many handgun barrels also have a grooved pattern like those found in rifles. If you have experienced shooting at an indoor shooting range and you have tried shooting with different types of guns, you have certainly noticed this.

It has been said, “Pack a handgun for the unexpected, but if you know you’ll be in a gunfight, always grab a bigger gun!” This is basically due to the fact that handguns cannot provide the same level of power that long guns can provide. A high-end .44 Magnum pistol will produce about 1,000 ft/lb of muzzle energy; a traditional “varmint” caliber, the .223, will produce about 50% more energy, and high-end rifles produce over 10,000 ft/lb!

If you are choosing a long gun, be sure that you take some time to practice. Accuracy can be a challenge when it comes to handling long guns, but with practice, a decent shooter can hit a man sized target at greater than 300 yards (274.3 m) with the proper rifle, due to the more commanding round, longer barrel and the longer sight-base. Those with heavy loads, such as 00 buck, can kick hard, making them tough to control without practice, so you better make it a habit to spend your weekends at the gun range.


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