Top 6 Home Defense with a Gun Myths

H/T AmmoLand.

How many of these myths have you heard repeated and believed?

I am guilty of the shotgun racking and of the AR-15 one.



USA –-( What is more frustrating than myths that get passed around with such regularity when no one pauses long enough to examine whether or not they are true? Maybe a case of the shingles, but other than that…

Here are some firearms and home defense myths that just won’t die.

It won’t happen to you:

“Who cares?” you might think. “It’ll never happen to me.” You’re right, it probably won’t. However, there are one heck of a lot of burglaries every year. Since “home invasion” isn’t a named crime, statistics are difficult to obtain. A “home invasion” can be a burglary. It can be an assault, It can be an armed robbery. It can be rape or murder. You get the idea. Since there is no specific tracking for violent home invasions, we have to look at the associated crimes. Depending on the year and source, consider these figures.

  • There are between two and nearly four million burglaries every year in the United States.
  • In about a million of these cases, someone is home when the intruder breaks in.
  • Over a quarter million people become victims of a violent assault associated with a home break-in.

That’s a lot of action. That’s as many as 10,958 self-serve home-entries each and every day. Or, you might think of it as almost eight per minute.

Oh, one more interesting tidbit. While most people assume that nighttime carries the highest risk of a home invasion, most incidents occur between the daylight hours of 10am and 3pm. Food for thought for your overall home security plan. Lock those doors during the day too!

A laser will just give away your position:

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this myth repeated. I think it persists because there is a nugget of largely irrelevant truth to it. There are a few things to consider before discounting the value of a laser sight on your home defense firearm.

First, are you planning to play a game of “Ninja find the other ninja” in your home as part of a defense plan? If your primary use of a firearm involves sneaking through dark villages and buildings so you can kick down a door and kidnap someone, then this myth is valid. A laser probably will give away your position. If your use case involves defending yourself and family from someone breaking into your home, you might want to reconsider your tactical plan if it involves you sneaking around playing cat and mouse with a band of tactical commandos who are going room to room looking for you. I’m sure there’s an example of a highly trained Delta Ninja Seal Omega Sector Assault Team planning a nighttime attack on one of our suburban homes, but the vast majority of cases are better resolved by hiding in place, armed and ready, while calling the police for backup.

As an industry acquaintance once said, “A laser won’t give away my position. What will give away my position is me yelling something to the effect of, ‘Get out of my house before I shoot your sorry @ss!’”

Second, laser beams are largely invisible. Unless your home is full of smoke or fog, all that’s visible is the light on the firearm itself and the dot on the target. With rare exception, the beam in between doesn’t show. Give it a try.

The only reason you see this laser beam is because the cave is chock full of smoke. Otherwise it would be largely invisible except for the dot on the wall.
The only reason you see this laser beam is because the cave is chock full of smoke. Otherwise it would be largely invisible except for the dot on the wall.

Third is the modern miracle of pressure switches. Lasergrips like the Crimson Trace models feature pressure-activated switches. Squeeze tighter and the laser is on. Loosen up and it’s off. There’s no hand-crank operation that fires it up continuously for an hour or so with no shutoff capability. If you need to move to a child’s room or discreetly escape, turn it off maybe?

Fourth, before you pull a trigger in your home in the middle of the night, you’d better be darn sure of what you’re shooting at. That means either there’s enough light so you can see your target (which means they can see you) or you’re using a light of some sort. A laser isn’t going to be the thing that reveals your presence.

I poke some fun at this myth, but it’s a serious topic. I don’t care if you choose a laser or not. What I care about is the ability to get shots on target as fast as possible in poor light conditions and from unconventional positions that tend to happen in a self-defense scenario. I’ve not found anything more effective than a laser at making that happen. Your mileage may vary.

Read My Related Article : Things You Learn Shooting Laser Gun Sights in the Dark

Racking a shotgun slide:

Is this one a myth or not? I’ve not yet found any volunteers to break into my house at night so I can rack an 870 to see if it freaks them out.

I suspect most people really, really wouldn’t want to hear this noise while trying to steal your Xbox, and there is the crux of the matter. Most “home entries” are not invasions but simple attempts to discreetly steal stuff. In two-thirds or more cases, the dude breaking in would much rather not encounter anyone, so I suspect we can agree that the dreaded racking noise would cause a sudden desire for Depends undershorts.

For the rest of the cases, I suspect we can also agree that it would be a great outcome if that racking sound ended the potential confrontation. Just don’t count on it. Be prepared for more, especially now that the intruder knows you’re home and armed.

Don’t use an AR-15 because it will over penetrate:

An AR-15 type firearm can actually make a great home-defense weapon. As with most things, the devil is in the details when considering penetration issues.

Shotgun loads may or may not penetrate like a hammer drill. It all depends on the ammo. Buckshot, for example, goes through many walls like butter.
Shotgun loads may or may not penetrate like a hammer drill. It all depends on the ammo. Buckshot, for example, goes through many walls like butter.

I hear lots of people say things like, “I use a shotgun as I don’t want to worry about over penetration.” That may or may not be a valid plan depending on the choice of ammo. Having shot through lots of scrap drywall in range tests, I can tell you that buckshot penetrates walls just like handgun bullets. That means it’ll go through lots and lots of them. After all, a 00 buckshot pellet is more or less a .32 caliber handgun bullet, but usually moving significantly faster at 1,500 or 1,600 feet per second. Of course, if you go to smaller shot sizes, like bird-appropriate pellets, penetration risk will be greatly reduced, as it will on human targets at ranges past a handful of yards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking shotguns for home defense. It’s hard to argue with terminal effectiveness. We’re only talking about over-penetration here.

Yes, I've actually tested this myth by doing weird stuff like this. Because science.
Yes, I’ve actually tested this myth by doing weird stuff like this. Because you know.. science.

Surprisingly, standard 55-grain FMJ and varmint ammo penetrates less than almost all buckshot and handgun projectiles. Although those little buggers are fast at near 3,000 feet per second, they’re light and tend to break up and tumble after hitting barriers. Usually the first and second drywall sheets start the upset and veering off course. By the third and fourth, things are getting wonky. Make no mistake, they’ll easily travel through multiple sheets of drywall, just fewer than other types of handgun and shotgun ammo.

Help is on the way in minutes:

As an AmmoLand News reader, you know the harsh reality of logistics. You’re the first responder to an event in your home. As committed as the local police may be, they’re always going to be the second responder.

Nationwide, the average police response time to arrive at the location of a call for help is about 10 minutes. Of course, that is the average of rural and urban environments. If you live in or near a city, your response times may get as low as four or five minutes. For example, in San Francisco, where you need a police response because you’re not to be trusted with protecting yourself, it will take just under six minutes on average. Other big cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York range from about six minutes to just under 10.

Here’s the problem. The average self-defense encounter goes from zero to “significant results” in about 90 seconds, again on average. So, no matter where you live, you’re not getting help in time to stop anything from happening. But you already knew that, right?

You’re more likely to get killed if you have a gun in the house:

We might as well end with a doozy. The anti-gun crowd loves to share a “statistic” like this one:

“If you have a gun in the home, you’re three times more likely to get killed.”

This little fake-news tidbit that just won’t die comes from a study by Dr. Arthur Kellermann. After years of stonewalling his data and methodology, a couple of things came to light. First, he only counted homicides, where the homeowner died. He didn’t study how many lives were saved by the presence of a gun. Considering that 92% of defensive gun uses don’t involve a shot being fired, that’s a big deal. So, by not including no-shoot scenarios and those where the homeowner didn’t die, he cherry picked about one percent of data to arrive at his conclusions. Oh, and then it was discovered that he also counted homeowners who were killed by guns that were NOT in their home prior to the attack. Meaning if a home invader came in with his back street special and killed someone, that went into his tally. Excellent science there buddy.

About Tom McHale

Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.


Author: deplorablesunite

I am a divorced father of two daughters. I am a Deplorable.

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