Is a rifle or carbine a good choice for home defense? Here’s how to make the choice!

I mentioned the .357 Magnum as being an exception to the power equation. This cartridge is very schizophrenic: out of a handgun it has one level of performance, but out of a long gun it changes significantly. The .357 gains a lot of velocity from a longer barrel, to the extent that it almost becomes a different cartridge; it is closer to the performance of traditional rifle rounds than the pistol calibers, but without the former’s recoil and muzzle blast. This makes it very easy to shoot well, and the lever-action carbines in which it is almost exclusively chambered have a simple manual of arms for those who are not firearms enthusiasts. If the carbine is a viable choice, the .357 Magnum is an excellent candidate.

via Is a rifle or carbine a good choice for home defense? Here’s how to make the choice! | Home security, Rifles.

I’ll eventually hit the lotto or find me a sugar mama and get my perfect gun travel kit: Take down lever-action and a revolver in .357 Magnum. Anyway, go on a read Grant Cunningham’s article, it is a damned good one.  And subscribe to his blog if you are have not done so.

8 Replies to “Is a rifle or carbine a good choice for home defense? Here’s how to make the choice!”

  1. A very good article Miguel. For some reason he seems to not mention the .44 magnum for some reason. And of course, time will tell if the S&W .500 mag will generate any long arms.
    Jeff Cooper actually wrote on this concept, calling it thumper,

    “The thumper was another idea of jeff coopers along with the scout rifle. It was his idea for a military short ranged weapon.

    18″ long with stock folder
    4.5 pounds unloaded Ghostring sights
    Clean trigger
    Chambered for .44 AutoMag (claiming a very unrealistic 1800 f/s from a 10” bbl)*
    Uses “advanced muzzle braking system” that both unlocks the action and pulls weapon forward thus mitigating recoil
    20 rd box mag
    Semiauto only”




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      1. “Chamber that in .45 ACP and you come real close to the Thompson.
        So why not the Tommy?”

        The Thompson fired from the open bolt, so that would affect accuracy. And it also weighed about as much as a Garand. While the weight might be a good thing on full auto, it likely would be a challenge in semi.




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    1. “And of course, time will tell if the S&W .500 mag will generate any long arms.”

      It has, and I own one:

      H&R Handi-Rifle in .500 S&W Magnum*

      Granted, it’s a single-shot rifle, but I can proudly say that I own a .50 caliber rifle that cost about $300 NIB. 😀 The recoil is actually rather mild, thanks to having seven pounds of mass to absorb the recoil energy of what is, after all, still a handgun cartridge.

      *No, I don’t know why they have it listed on their “Youth” page….




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    1. That depends on whether or not the receiver was originally designated as a handgun, according to ATF Ruling 2011-4, See specifically the part about the definition of a “pistol” under the NFA’s implementing regulations (27 CFR 479.11). To summarize the ATF ruling, a pistol that is converted to a rifle reverts to its pistol status when completely returned to pistol configuration. You just need to make sure that, in rifle configuration, the rifle barrel’s length is 16″ or greater and the overall length is at least 26″ (if not, you’ve built an SBR). However, a rifle that is converted to a pistol is subject to NFA jurisdiction. I know it’s confusing, but at least Mech-Tech gets to sell their kits without their customers becoming NFA violators….

      (Yes, I know this is a late response. It’s just that this post is linked to as “related” to the “Another 9mm Carbine few people will buy” post from 06 July 2015.)




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  2. I have a Marlin 1894 in .357 outfitted with a Williams fiber optic front sight and peep rear. I love it. I can group 9 shots (a full mag) into the diameter of the red fiber optic at 100 yds, which just about covers a 6 inch plate. Ballistics are incredible. Full house 125 grain JHP push about 2100-2200 fps at the muzzle, which is on par with a 7.62×39. At nearly 2000 fps on impact, a .357 bullet mushrooms instantly and gets to be the size of a quarter. Instant knock down on small pigs and coyotes. It is my “tooling around outdoors” gun.

    Personally, for HD, my fav is a 9mm carbine. I love my Kel-Tec sub 2000, but I also have a Ruger PC9. 9mm also gets a jump out of a long barrel, especially +p. I’ve clocked 124 grain +P black hills out my my PC9 at 1600 fps, which is hot for a .357. Virtually no recoil, simple blowback semi auto, and 15 rounds in the mag, out to 75 yds, it’s the best urban HD gun I can think of.

    A 12 gauge or AR15/223 is just too much gun in doors at hallway distances (50 feet max). A pistol caliber carbine is where is it at.




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  3. Had a chance a while back to fire a couple of .357 loads over a Chrony: out of a 4″ revolver, and a 16″ levergun.

    That extra foot of barrel gained almost 400fps out of both.




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