While the OEM version only provides 10-round magazines, Shield Arms sells flush-fit 15-round mags. The first version of the Glock 43x lacked an accessory rail for lights/laser, but more recent models include one.
Don’t let the 43x’s small size trick you into assuming it has far more recoil than a larger Glock. The 43x has proven itself a relatively soft shooter, even to the point it’s preferred over the Glock 17 by my diminutive wife.
Really though, the Glock 43x is on this list because many who are looking to buy a gun for personal defense aren’t shopping for two guns, they want one that works as a carry gun and a home defense gun. The Glock 43x fits that to a T.
I’m sure some of you are reading this thinking “man, there’s too much 9mm on this list. What I want, is a gun chock full of .45 ACP". Welcome to the FNX-45!
The FNX-45 is a beast of a gun, carrying 15 rounds of .45 ACP inside its polymer grip frame. With night sights, interchangeable backstraps, ambi controls, and an accessory rail, the FNX-45 brings all the features you’d want from a home defense handgun.
The FNX-45 also comes with a threaded barrel and suppressor height sights, in the event you choose to use a suppressor.
The DA/SA trigger will take a little getting used to if you haven’t trained up on one, but this is an accurate gun once you’re used to it.
When fully loaded, the FNX-45 is a hefty package, but it’s one I enjoy shooting and would happily trust as my home defense handgun.
3. FN 509 Tactical
Another offering from Fabrique Nationale, the 509 differs from the FNX-45 in a few areas. These differences are primarily cost weight, and caliber, with the 509 coming in cheaper, lighter, and in 9mm, respectively.
Like with so many others on this list, the 509 Tactical has ambidextrous controls and interchangeable backstraps to customize your home defense handgun to fit your hand.
The trigger is exactly what you’d expect if you’re familiar with striker-fired pistols. It is effective for combat shooting, but less so if you’re going to spend the day trying to punch bullseyes at the range.
The 509 Tactical comes with 17-round mags, with extended 24-rounders also available.
The 509 Tactical also comes ready to upgrade and accessorize, with a mounting platform for reflex sights, an accessory rail for lights/lasers, and a threaded barrel for a suppressor.
While the 509 Tactical didn’t win the contract for the US Army’s new service handgun, it reportedly had an excellent showing in the trials, proving itself a worthy candidate for your next home defense handgun.
2. Sig P226 MK25
The gun made famous after being adopted by the Navy SEALS, the Sig P226 MK25 is a dream gun for many and an effective choice for a home defense handgun.
Night sights and an accessory rail mean the P226 is ready for night fighting.
A DA/SA trigger runs with pull weights around 4.4/10 lbs pull respectively.
Aggressive texturing enhances the already excellent ergonomic shape of the polymer grip. This also helps to further reduce the already mild recoil of the 9mm round.
15-round mags come standard in free states, meaning the Sig p226 MK25 mostly keeps pace with all the other 9mm’s in terms of capacity.
There’s a hell of a lot to like about the P226 MK25, the only thing holding it back from far more widespread adoption is the price. Like with most things, you get what you pay for. The Sig P226 MK is an excellent choice for a home defense handgun.
1. Glock 34
Here it is, the King of the Hill. The Glock 34 represents one of the easiest guns to pick up and shoot quickly and accurately. The long slide gives both a long sight radius and a low recoil impulse compared to smaller, snappier guns.
With three generations of Glock 34 to choose from, there are options regarding night sights, grip profile and interchangeable backstraps, and even the Modular Optic System for mounting dot sights. All the variants available today fit in the $500-$999 range.
The Glock 34 is the largest-sized Glock chambered in 9mm, yet still weighs only 26 ounces, a full 8 ounces less than the P226 as one example. This is certainly a problem for concealed carry, but as a home defense gun it is no liability.
17-round mags are the standard capacity for free state citizens.
Besides Glock’s reputation for reliability and the Glock 34’s accuracy acumen, a primary consideration for naming this the #1 choice for the best home defense handgun is this gun’s consistency.
This gun chews through whatever ammo you like, from cheap FMJs to high-priced JHP rounds. From +P to heavy subsonic rounds. The Glock 34 handles them all with less change in recoil impulse compared to other guns.
When you wake up in the middle of the night to a life or death scenario, the Glock 34 is as accurate as a scalpel and as reliable as a rock. You know exactly what you’re going to get out of this gun, and it won’t let you down.
Is a Pistol Enough For Home Defense?
Yes! While a rifle or shotgun provides increased accuracy and lethality, a handgun is certainly enough to defend yourself with. The best gun is the one you’re likely to have handy when you need it most.
Few people are willing to have a rifle or shotgun on standby near their bed at night, making a handgun more likely to be available.
What Pistol Caliber is best for Home Defense?
While caliber debates have raged for years, the most common defensive handgun round is 9mm. This caliber offers a great balance of lethality, mild recoil, high capacity, and affordability.
This is all or nothing. If your chosen home defense handgun is finicky at times, or malfunctions occasionally, it is absolutely not the best choice. No matter how expensive, cool looking, or popular it is, that gun is nothing more than a gamble.
If you have the chance to test fire a few guns side-by-side, one should stand out. Certain recoil impulses feel better than others, and differing ergonomics will lead you to shoot more instinctively (and accurately) with certain handguns, no matter how they compare on paper.
Head to a rental range or call up a friend with a diverse handgun collection, and work on finding out which gun you shoot well. Namely, one that fits your hand and feels like an extension of your arm.
If you’re like many gun collectors in this country, this consideration is already taken care of through years of comparison. It’s always nice to get out and see what’s new though.
Picking one of the big two (9mm, .45 ACP) means you’ll rarely struggle to find ammo (and thus practice more), and have your choice between two calibers with a great deal of real-world data showing the effectiveness thereof.
Less common calibers can definitely be effective but are usually quick to disappear during ammo droughts as manufacturers lean in to produce mass quantities of the most common calibers.
While many of us are great shots on the range under ideal conditions, real-world data shows hit percentages drop like a rock when we induce massive stress (like someone shooting back). The old Russian adage "Quantity has a quality of its own" rings true.
In 2005 and 2006, NYC police reported 17% and 28% hit rates for officer-involved shootings, respectively. Is your recent training as involved as the NYPD’s? Have you ever tried running a stress shooting course immediately after being woken up?
The bottom line, having more rounds available is an asset, even if you don’t end up needing them.
Finally, you should consider whether or not your chosen home defense handgun has the ability to mount a light on it. Trouble often comes at night, where the ability to ID and engage your target may hinge on whether or not you’ve got a flashlight handy.