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Which Gun Is Right For Defending Your “Castle?”

You want to have a firearm in your home for self-defense. Many people do. In fact, tens of millions of Americans keep weapons for expressly this purpose… unfortunately for those just thinking about getting their first home defense gun, there are about as many opinions about what the “best” weapon is as there are gun owners.

Well, fortunately there are four basic firearms that you can use for self-defense. They each have their own pros and cons and they each should be considered before you go off and pick up a shiny new gun to protect your home.

Shockwave Mini

As with many things in the world of self-defense and firearms, there’s no one “right” answer. A lot of this is going to come down to you, your needs, your personal abilities and other factors. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Hopefully, however, we’re able to provide you with the information that you need to make an informed choice about the best way to defend yourself and your home. 



Shotguns are what a lot of people go to when they’re looking for a weapon for home defense. Unfortunately, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. While they do have their advantages there are some serious drawbacks.

Before we get into the pros and cons, there are two things you should absolutely know about shotguns: First, you absolutely should not rely on the sound of a shotgun being cocked to scare off an intruder – it might just make them decide to fire first. Second, semi-automatic shotguns are notoriously unreliable, jamming a lot and largely unsuited for home defense.

Pros: Shotguns require little in the way of accuracy. Basically anyone can pick one up, point it, shoot it and, at the very least, wing their target. 

Cons: The same thing that makes shotguns good for people who can’t shoot accurately makes them bad for, well… everyone. If you’re firing into a small room with a shotgun, we hope you don’t value anything in the room. What’s more, a lot of home defense shotguns are going to kick like an angry mule. 


A lot of people write off carbines because they think they’re too powerful for home defense. Still others swear by them as the best way to defend your home against an unauthorized intruder in the dead of night. 

Pros: The AR-15 is the most popular carbine in the United States. As such, there are a whole host of accessories you can add to it to make it fit your own needs, such as a foregrip, a light, and sights. They’re also incredibly accurate and can easily be carried “hands free” with a sling, allowing you to pick things up while you move around hunting for an intruder in the dead of night. Finally, nothing can match the magazine capacity available for carbines.

Shockwave Mini

Cons: Many of them are heavy, making them unsuitable for people unable to wield such weight. The overall length of the weapon might also make it likewise inappropriate for some shooters. 


Semi-automatics are weirdly still controversial. Some people swear by them as the be all and end all of handguns. Still others hate them because they jam up. So how do they rank as a home defense weapon?

Pros: The “jamming” issue is largely, though not entirely, a thing of the past. With a quality semi-automatic you should have very little fear of a weapon jamming up. Shy of a carbine, these are the best for magazine capacity, unless you are unfortunate enough to live in a state which restricts magazine capacity. They’re easily carried, require little strength to fire and don’t kick nearly as much as a shotgun. When you do have to reload them, it’s as easy as sliding in a new magazine and racking a round. 

Cons: People with grip issues might have problems with larger handguns. And while semi-automatics jam much less than they used to in years past, they can still jam, so having a spare magazine around in the event that yours jams is always a prudent move, bringing another moving piece into the equation. 


Just as some people swear by semi-automatics, still others swear by revolvers. And while they’re sure nice to look at they come with some serious drawbacks when it comes to home defense.

Pros: A revolver simply isn’t ever going to jam up on you unless it’s severely damaged or incredibly poorly maintained. Basically everyone has some sense of how to fire these if they’ve ever seen a movie in their life. 

Shockwave Mini

Cons: The main con with a revolver is capacity. You’rre not going to find a revolver capable of carrying 8, 10, 12 or 15 shots before reloading. When you do have to reload them, it takes quite a bit more time than a semi-automatic and requires much more manual dexterity – something you’re going to have in short supply in a life-or-death situation. 

Again, there’s no “one size fits all” solution here. But we hope we’ve been able to bring you a little closer to deciding what the best weapon to secure your castle is. 

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Protect Your Second Amendment Rights: Oppose SB 1160 and SB 1253 in California


On Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30am, the California Senate Public Safety Committee is slated to review two concerning bills that threaten the rights of firearm owners across the Golden State. As staunch advocates for the Second Amendment, it’s imperative for NRA Members and supporters of gun rights to take action. Senate Bill 1160 and Senate Bill 1253 pose significant threats, and it’s crucial to voice opposition to these proposed measures.

Senate Bill 1160: Annual Firearm Registration Requirement


Senate Bill 1160 represents a direct assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. This bill seeks to mandate an annual re-registration process for all firearms with the Department of Justice. If enacted, firearm owners would be compelled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles each year and pay undisclosed fees to maintain their registration status.

This onerous requirement not only burdens responsible gun owners with unnecessary red tape but also sets a dangerous precedent for government overreach into the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment. Under SB 1160, failure to comply with the annual registration mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $1000 and the potential confiscation of unregistered firearms.

Upholding Second Amendment Freedoms: Take Action Against SB 1160

It’s imperative for Second Amendment supporters to stand united against Senate Bill 1160. This legislation threatens the core principles of individual liberty and firearm ownership rights. We urge all concerned citizens to contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and vehemently oppose SB 1160.

Senate Bill 1253: Restricting Firearm Possession without Firearm Safety Card

Another concerning proposal slated for review is Senate Bill 1253, which seeks to further restrict firearm ownership rights in California. Under existing law, individuals are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Card to purchase or receive a firearm. However, SB 1253 aims to extend this requirement to possession, effectively prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms without a valid Firearm Safety Card.

This additional hurdle not only imposes unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners but also fails to address the root causes of crime and violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to firearm laws, rendering such measures ineffective at curbing illicit gun activities. Instead, SB 1253 unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens and undermines their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Defending Second Amendment Liberties: Oppose SB 1253

Senate Bill 1253 represents yet another attempt to erode the Second Amendment freedoms of Californians. By imposing stringent requirements for firearm possession, this bill unfairly targets responsible gun owners while doing little to enhance public safety. It’s essential for proponents of gun rights to take a stand against SB 1253 and advocate for the preservation of constitutional liberties.

Take Action: Protect Second Amendment Rights in California


As the Senate Public Safety Committee prepares to review SB 1160 and SB 1253, it’s paramount for NRA Members and supporters of the Second Amendment to make their voices heard. Use the Take Action button below to contact committee members and urge them to oppose these egregious bills. Together, we can defend our cherished freedoms and safeguard the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Do you live in California? What do you do to oppose greater encroachment on your right to keep and bear arms? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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The AR-15: A Versatile Platform for Every Shooter


The AR pattern rifle, affectionately known as the “AR-15,” has become a staple in the firearms community, offering unparalleled versatility and customization options. From budget-friendly builds to high-end boutique rifles, there seems to be a configuration for every shooter’s preferences and needs. But with so many parts available, is there truly a rifle for everyone? And is there even a wrong answer to the AR question?

Diverse Builders, Diverse Builds

The AR-15 has evolved beyond just a firearm; it’s now a sport in itself, with enthusiasts eagerly assembling rifles tailored to their specific desires. Whether someone is aiming for the cheapest build, the most boutique setup, or a specialized rifle for a particular purpose like suppressor use, the AR platform offers endless possibilities. This diversity among builders reflects the platform’s adaptability and appeal to a wide range of shooters.

Navigating Budget Builds: A Personal Journey

Recently, there’s been a surge in interest in building affordable AR-style rifles, prompting many to explore budget-friendly options. One such endeavor involved sourcing parts directly from Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA), a company with a reputation for offering budget-friendly components. Despite initial reservations due to past controversies and quality concerns, the experience of assembling a rifle from BCA parts proved surprisingly positive.

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Upon receiving the parts from BCA, there was a mix of anticipation and skepticism. However, upon inspection, there was a notable nod of approval for the quality of finish work, packaging, and overall presentation. While some parts lacked robust packaging, none arrived damaged, showcasing BCA’s attention to detail. Despite some vagueness regarding product specs, BCA’s use of 4150 CM-V and 416 Stainless barrels instilled confidence in the build.

Assembly Practices: Attention to Detail

Building the lower receiver proved relatively straightforward, but attention to detail was paramount. Proper torqueing of the castle nut, staking the end plate, and meticulous lubrication ensured adherence to factory specifications and optimal performance. The importance of using proper tools, lubricants, and assembly techniques cannot be overstated, particularly for critical components like the trigger and gas system.

Navigating Upper Receiver Assembly

While assembling the lower receiver was relatively straightforward, the upper receiver presented more complexity and significance. Attention to detail during barrel installation, gas system alignment, and muzzle device timing were crucial for ensuring accuracy, reliability, and safety. Thermal fitting techniques and proper torqueing procedures were employed to optimize barrel-to-receiver fit and gas system performance.

Range Testing and Final Thoughts

After meticulous assembly and function testing, the rifle was taken to the range for reliability and accuracy testing. Using a variety of ammunition types and optics configurations, the rifle performed admirably, showcasing respectable accuracy and reliability. While there were minor issues such as an over-gassed barrel, these were addressed with aftermarket solutions. Overall, Bear Creek Arsenal’s components proved to offer excellent value for budget-conscious builders, demonstrating that affordability doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality.

The AR-15 is a highly adaptable platform allowing builds for a wide array of preferences for all kinds of shooters. Whether building a budget-friendly rifle or investing in high-end components, the AR platform offers endless customization possibilities. While each builder may have their own priorities and preferences, the beauty of the AR-15 lies in its ability to accommodate them all, ensuring that there truly is a rifle for every shooter.

Do you own an AR-15? Have you ever built one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Mack W. Gwinn Jr.: A Tribute to a Firearms Pioneer


Mack W. Gwinn Jr., a visionary in the firearms industry, passed away on March 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and dedication to his craft. Born in Florida, Gwinn’s journey into the world of firearms began with his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces, where he earned several Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star during seven deployments to Vietnam.

From Military Service to Firearms Innovation

Following his military service, Gwinn transitioned into the firearms industry, where he made significant contributions. One of his notable achievements was acquiring the rights to the Colt IMP-221, a stockless, gas-operated bullpup pistol initially developed for aircrew survival in the U.S. Air Force. Redesigning the concept to accept the 5.56 NATO caliber and standard AR magazines, Gwinn founded Gwinn Arms and introduced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol in the early 1970s.

Pioneering Personal Defense Weapons

The Bushmaster Arm Pistol, an innovative pistol-sized firearm utilizing an intermediate round, predated the concept of personal defense weapons (PDWs) by a generation. Although not a commercial blockbuster, the Arm Pistol laid the foundation for Bushmaster Firearms and left an indelible mark on the industry.

Legacy of Innovation

Beyond the Bushmaster Arm Pistol, Gwinn’s influence extended to various other firearms projects and inventions. He held patents for extended capacity magazines and developed concepts for firearms applications ranging from target pistols to recoil reduction systems. His ingenuity and curiosity led him to explore diverse projects, including vehicle design and accessory development.

Remembering a Trailblazer

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.’s passing marks the end of an era in the firearms community. His contributions to the industry will be remembered for years to come, serving as inspiration for future generations of innovators. In honoring his memory, donations can be made to the Maine Veterans Project, and condolences may be expressed to his family at BrookingsSmith.

Mack W. Gwinn Jr. leaves behind a legacy of excellence, marked by his unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of firearms design and technology. His impact on the industry will continue to resonate, ensuring his place among the pantheon of firearms pioneers.

Do you know Mack W. Gwinn Jr? How about his famous firearms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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