A life-or-death armed encounter won’t likely occur after your morning ablutions and first hot cup of joe. Chances are, it will be dark, frenetic and terrifying. You will want every tactical advantage available. These are three home defense gun upgrades you should look into.

Lights: A light is indispensable. Without a light, the world’s best defensive handgun might as well be a Claymore mine. Especially in an environment populated with friendlies, light means the difference between life and death. Although it’s possible to manage a flashlight while running a gun, mounting the light directly on your weapon is an infinitely better option. In a crisis, a weapon-mounted light becomes one less thing you have to remember.

Lasers: I’ve needed a weapon twice in my life when bad people were involved. When pointing a hot weapon at another human being, I found I didn’t think to focus on the front sight, slow my breathing and contemplate my trigger squeeze. Training takes over, but your mind tends to work the big picture rather than the details. During those circumstances, a little red or green dot that points to where your bullets will go can make a tough task easier. It can also serve as a potential deterrent to deescalate a bad situation before it gets out of hand.

Suppressors: Guns are painfully noisy when you don’t have hearing protection. Touch off a firearm in an enclosed space, and the report is brutal. Permanent damage to your hearing notwithstanding, a gunshot can also keep you from subsequently hearing critical stuff such as “Daddy, come help me” or “Drop your weapon, this is the police.” The obvious technological solution is a proper sound suppressor.

Suppressors do not actually silence gunshots, but they can muffle them sufficiently to let you communicate. The three foundational tenets of the successful close-combat engagement are the capacity to shoot, move and communicate. A sound suppressor addresses the third precept.

All Together: You don’t have to outfit your primary defensive handgun with a modern light, laser and sound suppressor. Of course, if you followed that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, you’d defend your family with a decent rock and a garbage can lid because they’re so convenient. However, technology offers some serious tactical multipliers for our otherwise pedestrian home-defense handguns. Considering the stakes, it seems a good idea to do this right.

This article was originally published in ‘Ballistic’ Summer 2017. To order a copy, visit

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