Home defense handguns could technically encompass any semi-auto or revolver in previous categories we’ve discussed, but those dedicated specifically for home defense use are less likely to be carried outside of the home, except for target practice, shooting competitions and hunting, as most are of a size and design that would exclude practical concealed-carry use. Nearly all of the handguns in this category are intended for open carry in either a dedicated belt rig or bandolier-style shoulder holster.

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Home defense handguns also includes a unique category of firearms that are built on rifle platforms like the AR-15, and while they are in fact handguns, their general purpose is to provide close-quarters battle (CQB) defensive firepower combined with the same optics and tactical accessories used on rifles.

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The home defense handguns category also opens the door to larger sized multi-purpose revolvers like the Taurus Judge and S&W Governor chambered for a variety of calibers from .45 Long Colt, .454 Casull and .45 ACP to 2½-inch and 3-inch .410 shotgun shells. The largest Judge models can chamber hard-hitting 3-inch magnum 000 buckshot, making these hefty, long-barreled revolvers practical for use both as a trail gun during hunting season as well as a home defense firearm. They can also be outfitted with laser grips or combination flashlight/laser sighting devices.

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Among large-frame semi-autos in this category are handguns that also have a duality of purpose, both for home defense and for shooting competitions like the Bianchi Cup, USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association), and IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) competitions, as well as target shooting at the local range. The average overall length of handguns in the home defense category varies from 8.70 inches to 10.5 inches, while most rifle-based semi-auto platforms are chambered in .223 (5.56mm) or 9mm with overall lengths of 20 inches or greater.


Bravo Company





Heckler & Koch






Magnum Research



Sig Sauer

Springfield Armory

Smith & Wesson


Wilson Combat

Windham Weaponry

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