Top 5 Full-Sized Handguns Suited for Self-Defense

Self-defense is a broad and all-inclusive term that covers both personal protection and home defense. When determining what kind of self-defense pistol to buy, it’s imperative to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for in terms of use – be it concealed carry, open carry or homed defense.

Though there are hundreds of handguns on the market designed to keep you safe, we at pulled together five models that are routinely listed among the best, especially when looking for a full-sized home defense handgun.

1. Glock G17

Glock 17

The Glock G17 is a notorious self-defense handgun, primed for protection. (Photo:

Glock is synonymous with reliability and ruggedness, proving itself over the years as a worthy contender in the self-defense and personal protection realms. It’s no surprise that it tops our list of Self-Defense worthy firearms. While the company has steadily churned out various models and generations over the years, the Glock G17 has remained one of the best options for many defense scenarios. A favorite among law enforcement and home defenders alike, the G17 offers a 9mm chambered semi-automatic design with 17+1 capacity. Measuring 8.03-inches in total length, the G17 delivers a 4.49-inch barrel.

If the full-size G17 is a bit too big for your liking, consider stepping down to the midsized G19 or even the compact-sized Glock 26. Likewise, if you are a fan of calibers that start with a “4” you can always up-size your Glock choice to a G22 in .40 S&W or a G21 in .45 ACP.


2. Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0

M&P9 M2.0

The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 offers a variety of options. (Photo:

Another favorite among professionals is the Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0. Also chambered in 9mm, the M&P series offers sizes ranging from full-size to the new sub-compact model. The full-sized variant features an overall length of 7.4-inches with a 4.25-inch barrel. Boasting a 15+1 capacity, the pistol comes with interchangeable palmswell grip inserts and a brand new M2.0 trigger. With compliant models to keep you legal in restrictive states and manual safety options, Smith & Wesson offers the greatest breadth in terms of semi-auto variety.

If the full-sized M&P9 M2.0 is just too much to handle, downsize to its compact compadre – the M&P Shield or Shield EZ – or the newly released M2.0 Subcompact. As with the Glock above, you can always up-caliber to a .45 ACP model.


3. Sig Sauer P226

Sig P226 MK25

The Sig Sauer P226, MK25 model pictured above, served the U.S. Navy Seals. (Photo:

Sig Sauer’s P226 is renowned for operating alongside U.S. Navy Seals. This 7.7-inch pistol brings a full-sized design to the table along with a 4.4-inch barrel length. The P226 comes in a few flavors – Legion, Legion RX, MK25/TACOPS, and Nitron Full-Size — with a 15+1 capacity.

The P226 series is pricey with its least expensive option, the Nitron, offering a scaled-down approach. Measuring 7.7.-inches in total length, the Nitron sports a 4.4-inch barrel. Though it comes outfitted with SigLite Night Sights, it doesn’t feature added benefits – like Cerakoting, X-RAY3 Day/Night Sights, Gray Guns trigger or ROMEO red dot compatibility – as seen in its sibling models


4. Ruger GP100

Ruger GP100

The Ruger GP100 is a reliable revolver. (Photo:

Self-defense isn’t all about semi-autos and Ruger’s GP100 proves that it can hang with the best of the best. Available in 6-shot or 7-shot models, the GP100 offers a plethora of models to choose from.

From 2-inch barrels up to 6-inch barrels, the GP100 series comes in .22 LR, .327 Fed Mag. .44 SPL, 10mm or, self-defense favorite, .357 Mag. The GP100 sports Hogue or wooden grips, depending on the model, and an adjustable rear sight.


5. Smith & Wesson Model 686

Model 686

The Smith & Wesson Model 686 comes in the self-defense favorite — .357 Mag/.38 SPL. (Photo:

Smith & Wesson’s L-Frame Model 686 is equipped with either a 6-shot or 7-shot cylinder and a durable frame. The Model 686 is outfitted with a 4.125-inch barrel and measures 9.6-inches in total length. A heavy-duty, stainless-steel revolver, the Model 686 is chambered in .357 Mag/.38 SPL.

Not only does this wheelgun look slick, but it has also served alongside law enforcement and on the bedsides of many home defenders.


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