Large caliber handguns and rifles to protect home and family

Today's focus is on larger caliber revolvers and rifles that are generally geared toward the more experienced gun owner as well as a general discussion of ammunition.


NASHVILLE, Tennessee, March 29, 2017 – Home protection begins with weapons awareness and gun education, along with knowing what type of firearms are best for the individual homeowner and their family.

Having discussed shotguns, pistols and revolvers in our previous article, Home Defense: Shotguns, pistols and revolvers, today’s article will focus on larger caliber revolvers and rifles that are generally geared toward the more experienced gun owner as well as a general discussion of ammunition.

When it comes to ammunition for handguns, whether for in-home or out-of-the-home use, copper hollow point bullets are the way to go. These allow those using the smaller caliber weapons we have already discussed to benefit from the maximum stopping power these bullets provide. Snakes, assorted varmints, unwanted home invaders and street cretins beware!

The next type of handguns to be discussed here are the larger caliber firearms, the 32, 38, 380, and 9 millimeter, frequently used by law enforcement on a day to day basis, as well as by civilians for maximum home security protection. As with the 22, the use of copper hollow point bullets that do the greatest damage and achieve maximum stopping power are highly recommended for this purpose.

These firearms have minimum recoil, and, like the 22, they come in multiple varieties of guns offered by multiple manufacturers. They are available as derringers, revolvers and semi-automatics made by Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Colt, Remington, Springfield Armory,  and Taurus. Other manufacturers also make great ones.

One exceptional addition to the above list are the Russian Makarovs that use a 9 x 18 bullet of about 95 grains. Using hollow points, these weapons provide excellent stopping power and no recoil and are the perfect small handgun for a lady.

9mm Russian Markarov – By Andrey Mironov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The snub-nosed 38 is also a perfect weapon for a lady. It’s light, compact, may be carried in the purse and packs a wallop.

The Smith & Wesson Governor revolver Image courtesy of

Home defense: Shotguns, pistols and revolvers

Larger caliber guns such as the 357, 40 caliber, 10 mil, 44 caliber, 45 caliber, and the 50 caliber have excellent stopping power as well. However, these guns are really only for skilled shooters due to the weight of the weapon and the kick associated with the bullets’ discharge. Similar manufacturers as those mentioned above make the larger caliber weapons as a separate line of firearms from the smaller ones.

A favorite series of large caliber guns are revolvers in the 44, 45, and 50 cal sizes. Yet another is the 1911 model 45.

1911 EMP® MODEL | Image courtesy

A big part of the interest in the long barrel revolver is for its use in hunting. But they clearly provide a greater level of protection for the homeowner with their increased firepower.

Back in the day, weapons with these calibers were mostly used to augment law enforcement, as large caliber weapons were needed to ensure those committing crimes either dropped their weapon when confronted, were seriously wounded in the encounter, or dead.

The Colt Buntline Special is a long-barreled variant of the Colt Single Action Army revolver By Ricce – Own work, Public Domain,

Lastly let’s touch on the use of rifles for home defense. Many times, a household or homeowner may own a rifle that’s used for hunting but nothing else.

Rifles are meant to be used by skilled shooters. It’s not like you see in the movies, where the pioneer women are shooting an old flintlock or single shot rifle into the air and an Indian, outlaw, or several of both instantly fall dead.

Calibers like 22, 223 / 5.56, 270, 300 win mag, 300 ACC blackout, 30-30, 30-06, 308/7.26, are what are generally found in the home today. A semi auto 22, 223, 300 ACC blackout, 300 win mag, 308, or a lever action 30-30 or 45-70 are the best to use for home defense.

Choose the semi-automatic and lever action over the bolt action rifles, because those precious seconds used to pull back and then push the bolt back in when loading another bullet may cost a homeowner his or her life.

A semi-automatic rifle allows for the loading of multiple bullets in a clip or into the rifle. Such a rifle permits firing by pulling the trigger for each shot versus having to pull and push the bolt.

Fully automatic weapons — guns where one pulls the trigger once and multiple bullets are fired—are not available to the general public. One is required to be a skilled shooter as well as had the training to use a fully automatic weapon.

Machine guns, except for collectors, are available for only the military or police. Why? These are weapons for war and not home defense, though, it may be argued that being able to spray bullets at an intruder is an acceptable and effective defense method.

Why that isn’t so is that these guns are hand held, you can’t accurately control the spray of fire, and you may accidentally go thru a window and hit a neighbor or shoot through a wall hitting an unintended “friendly.”

Differing skill levels should dictate the type of weapon you own and would use to defend yourself or your family. What constitutes best practices is dependent upon what the user prefers and whether or not one has training or is an untrained novice.

Readers of this column are strongly urged to engage in gun safety and training and mentally prepare themselves to defend and protect both yourself and your loved ones, realizing you might be forced to take another’s life when using these weapons in the protection of your family.

You may get additional information on gun safety and shooting lessons from local police departments, the NRA, and sporting goods and/or hunting stores like Bass Pro, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Dick’s, Sportsman Warehouse, Academy Sports and the like.

Protecting your home is essential, and the use of firearms begins with the knowledge of what your needs are, what these weapons can do, and how cognizant you are about the gun you own. Most importantly:

  • NEVER keep the handgun, shotgun or rifle loaded when not in active use for hunting or protection, and always use safety locks.
  • NEVER keep guns where little kids, can find or reach them. Keep them hidden away and secure from where any child, especially kids under 6, may reach them.

It cannot be emphasized enough to make sure your family is educated and always follows proper gun safety rules when around firearms of any kind. While this is common sense, one might be surprised at how many people fail in this regard. Many of the deaths attributable to accidents can be avoided if gun owners properly educate and train their families in the care and use of guns.

The guns identified in this article reflect the authors’ opinion as to what would work best for mostly untrained individuals who want to protect themselves and their families. Be safe.

Jim Berliner learned to shoot guns at a young age from his father, a career military officer. He is an avid hunter, sports fisherman, and surfer.

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