Big Revolvers: Best Gun for Defense Against Home Invasion

May 24, 2012 11:10 am

A bold statement to make, we know… but when all variables are considered and the facts are laid out on the table, the decision becomes quite clear. Big revolvers simply make for the best home defense weapon system that one can buy.

Woa, hold on now… before the bashing begins, Survival Operations acknowledges there is no universal consensus on which type of gun is best for defense against home invasion. Revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, shotguns… The debate always comes down to these three weapons, and there is no clear cut answer to which gun is “best” because the debates rely on the home invasion scenario (do you live alone or with family? apartment or house? or ranch? is the round that you are firing from your weapon going to penetrate through walls and hurt a neighbor or family member? how many home intruders are there?).

So there you have it in a nutshell. The general consensus is that there is NO consensus on a “best” gun for home defense, but rather a best gun “per scenario”… Sorry, but Survival Operations WILL NOT accept some wishy-washy “per scenario” garbage as a final say in this debate. The scenario is already laid out, and it’s called HOME INVASION.

We have approached the topic in a unique way which has led us to the conclusion that there IS a “best” gun for defense against home invasion regardless of the scenario, and that gun that is the BIG BORE BEAST REVOLVER.

Survival Operations has discovered that when comparing the basic pros and cons of weapons for self defense, it is the cons of the revolver that actually place it above all semi-automatic pistols and shotguns for home defense. A revolver’s handicaps for defense against a home invasion can be compensated by utilizing a large bore revolver. And virtually all of the cons of using a big revolver can be compensated by simply having loaded the correct type of ammunition relative to your living conditions. Another bold statement to make… we know. But here are the cold facts for you to see and draw your own conclusions.

General Cons of Using a Revolver vs Semi-Automatic Pistol

- slow to fire in succession when compared to a semi-automatic pistol
- can be less accurate when utilizing double action due to increased trigger pull
- limited capacity of 5 to 7 rounds in a cylinder vs 7 to 20 rounds in a magazine

One could be quick to assume that these three major cons of the revolver would make this type of gun inferior to most semi-automatic pistols… and that person would be correct. Even we will agree that a semi-automatic pistol, such as a compact 9mm (Survival Operations favors the Glock 19), may be the most practical firearm for general self defense and EDC (every day carry). But what we are debating here is the best gun for defense against a HOME INVASION.

Let’s take a look at the most typical home invasion scenario and discover why a big revolver is optimal for defending your castle.

You awake in the middle of the night to the sound of breaking glass, a busted down door,
or worse, the intruder(s) is already in your residence. Statistically, there will be between one and three intruders with at least one intruder carrying a deadly weapon… So what do you do?Home Intruder

Anyone who has read The Art of War by Sun Tzu or has been trained by the military with knowledge of holding defensive positions knows that, along with the use of siege weapons, there is a 3:1 ratio of man power required to take a defensive position. So the first thing one should do in a home invasion scenario is to insure you hold a defensive position to better your odds of survival. Grab your gun, quietly bunker down in a dark corner of your bedroom, and keep that barrel pointed directly at the doorway or window to your room where you expect the first intruder to enter. Since you already know where the intruder will be entering, and your firearm is steadily pointed in that direction, you should be able to accurately land your first shot.Home Invasion Defensive Position

Because you had the surprise jump on the first intruder, there is a decent chance you will come out of that first incident unscathed. Now you have two more intruders to deal with, but because you just fired off a round and nailed the first target, you no longer posses the benefit of surprise. At this point, the remaining intruders will panic and make one of two decisions… Either bum rush your room and open fire, or turn towards the nearest exist and flee. If they rush you, be ready to unload the rest of your rounds in rapid succession.

What is important to notice is just how valuable your first shot will be in a home invasion scenario, and how you may not need to fire any additional shots afterwards, but in case you do, those subsequent shots will mean the difference between life and death. With the revolver’s cons listed above, you may be wondering how we have concluded this type of firearm to be the most ideal gun for home defense, and you would be right to question us. A simple .38 caliber revolver would certainly not be ideal for defense against home invasion. Even a hit from a .45 ACP may not always stop a man in his tracks. This is where the big revolvers come into play… Utilizing a big revolver chambered with multiple loads of ammunition will allow for the greatest stopping power and versatility when confronted by home intruders.

The Benefits of Chambering Different Loads in One Cylinder

Because large frame revolvers are built stronger and heavier than medium and small frame revolvers, they provide much less recoil when firing powerful ammunition allowing for quicker successive shots. Firing .38 special, .44 special, or .45 Long Colt from a large frame .357 magnum, .44 magnum, .454 Casull, or .460 magnum revolver will produce far less recoil than firing the same rounds from standard .38, .44, or .45 caliber revolvers. So, by using a big revolver, it is possible to have a “bear stopper” chambered first with all subsequent rounds in the cylinder loaded with the more controllable .38 special, .44 special, or .45 Long Colt ammunition.

Revolver ammo


Think about the most common home invasion scenario again…. You should have enough time to take a well aimed shot from your defensive position. By having a .454 Casull loaded in the chamber, your initial shot can easily be placed center mass on the first intruder by simply cocking back the hammer, pointing the barrel at your bedroom door, and waiting for the “dead man walking” to enter the doorway. With the .454 Casull producing nearly 2,000 pounds of muzzle energy (double that of a .44 magnum), you are guaranteed to hit your target with a massive concussive blast, a damn loud sound, and a blindingly bright flash in a dark room. There is an excellent chance the first intruder is either going to drop dead in his tracks or go into a state of shock after a hand cannon has gone off in his direction. Now, because you are using a .454 revolver, you have had the option of having preloaded the remaining rounds in the cylinder with the less powerful (but more controllable) .45 Long Colt. Considering the heft of most .454 revolvers, one will be able to fire .45 caliber Long Colt ammunition in rapid, double action succession with fairly good accuracy due to the low recoil of a heavier gun. The remaining one or two intruders, if they do not flee, still have to “walk the green mile” (over their recently deceased buddy) and into a dark room where approximately five .45 Long Colt caliber rounds await their arrival…


(.460 Mag, .454 Casull, .45 LC, .45 ACP, .22LR)

Now ask yourself what would have happened if you DID NOT have a man stopper chambered for your first round. Maybe you were using a 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP in a semi-automatic pistol. Would the intruder drop after one shot, or would they possibly start discharging their firearm in your direction while you continued to fire back? Maybe you’ll be just fine, but do you want to risk not having enough power to immediately put down the first intruder before his two criminal buddies come running in behind him with their guns blazing?

Because most home invasion scenarios provide for a brief time to ready yourself before an intruder enters your room, you should have enough time to grab your gun next to the bed and go squat in the corner. You should also have enough time to cock back the hammer on a revolver, reducing the length and force needed to pull the trigger, insuring the most accurate shot possible.

By using a big bore revolver and utilizing various loads of ammunition within the same cylinder, you now have a weapon system that can provide an accurately placed man stopping round while still maintaining the ability to place five subsequent .45 Long Colts on other targets in rapid succession.

“But what about bullet penetration” you ask? Glad you asked (if you didn’t, you should have) because over penetration is the number one concern when using a big revolver indoors.

Controlled Penetration Ammunition Can Prevent Collateral Damage

Without the correct ammunition, your big bore “man stopper” round WILL penetrate through your target… and the wall directly behind him… a few more walls… and quite possibly across the neighborhood. By knowing the correct ammunition to load, over penetration can easily be prevented, solving one of the most critical cons of using big revolvers for home defense.

Over penetration is the primary argument against using large bore caliber ammunition in defense of home intruders. By properly understanding the methods to reducing over penetration, this major con of big revolvers can be easily overcome. What you will need for your first man stopper “power shot” is a form of ammunition providing the most controlled penetration achievable. In fact, every round in the revolver’s cylinder will be using ammunition with set penetration depths relevant to your living conditions. In order to know which loads to use, all variables must be considered.

The three key factors to look at when choosing the correct ammunition for close range penetration depths on big revolvers:
- Caliber (.357 mag /.38 special, .44 mag / .44 special, .454 Casull / .45 LC)
- Bullet Design Configuration (FMJ, JHP, LSWCHP / Parabellum, Wadcutter)
- Bullet Weight (measured in grains)

For starters, controlled penetration is the ONLY type of ammunition you should be using. There is absolutely no reason to load your big revolver with heavy grain FMJ (Full Metal Jacketed) ammunition. Once fired you will never see that round again, unless of course the police show up at your door with a warrant for accidentally murdering someone down the street… Almost any ammunition encased in a FMJ full metal jacket will over penetrate the target and objects beyond the target. Simply put, FMJ has the highest penetration rate of any ammunition available to the public (AP armor piercing ammo not included). Often, a JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) will not penetrate deep enough to reach vital organs, in which case Survival Operations has found the LSWCHP (Lead Semi Wadcutter Hollow Point) to be the ideal type of ammunition used when JHP is not an option.


(Jacketed Hollow Point) vs (Lead Semi Wadcutter Hollow Point)

“With a big gun, why would JHP not be an option?”

A common misconception about JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) ammunition is that the bullet will not penetrate through walls. This is a complete fallacy. JHP provides for the greatest means against over penetration, WHEN YOU HIT THE TARGET. The bullet will expand, slow, and most likely stop once it enters the human target and expends all of its kinetic energy. If the large caliber round misses the target completely, the hollow point will often become plugged with drywall or wood and the jacket surrounding the hollow point will carry that bullet through many harder objects. The obvious solution would be to hit the target, right?! Well… just how high is your confidence level?

We will tell you now, NO ONE can be sure they will not accidentally discharge a random flyer in the heat of the moment. In life and death situations, the mind elevates one’s heart rate into what is called “The Black Zone” where the “fight or flight” response kicks in. When this happens, control and coordination over small muscle groups (required for accuracy) are replaced with control over only large muscle groups, making it very difficult to accurately land your shots. This is scientific fact, and if you do not believe us by now, just look at police statistics. Police officers score over a 90% accuracy rating at the range while landing less than 20% of their shots while in the field. Eeek! And these are cops?

With the understanding that subsequent shots may have a high probability of missing the target, penetration depth becomes a MAJOR concern when discharging a firearm indoors. But don’t fret. Survival Operations is about to provide you with a unique and proven solution for over penetration with big revolvers.

Survival Operations has developed “templates” for which ammunition to keep loaded at all times to prevent over penetration when using a Big Revolver for home defense.

- All loads chambered for the first shot will be utilizing a “man stopper” round with a JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) design. All barrel lengths should exceed a minimum of 4”. As long as you hold a defensive position in your home, you should be able to accurately land the first round that is cocked and ready to fire with little chance of missing.

- All loads chambered for subsequent shots will be utilizing a more controllable round with a LSWCHP (Lead Semi Wadcutter Hollow Point) design. LSWCHP is a type of controlled penetration ammunition that penetrates slightly deeper than JHP on soft targets, but much less than FMJ. Solid lead hollow points also deform faster than JHP against hard targets, hence lowering the risk of penetration when missing the soft target. Similar to the ogive shape of the common 9x19mm parabellum but with a hollowed out flat nose,  the lead semi wadcutter hollow point will penetrate deep enough into soft tissue to make contact with vital organs while still expending all of its kinetic energy within the target, preventing over penetration and maximizing stopping power. At the same time, this soft lead ammunition is least likely to penetrate through hard objects in case you miss a target on subsequent shots.

- All loads chambered will have varying bullet weight dependent upon the caliber size and bullet design configuration. The lighter the grain, the faster the bullet will expend its energy within the target and have less chance of over penetration. The heavier the grain, the further the bullet will travel through the target.

The templates listed below present our BEST configurations of ammunition loads specific to each revolver for achieving the ultimate weapon system for self defense against home invasion.

1.) The .454 Casull Revolver
Chambered round: 250 grain .454 Casull JHP
Subsequent rounds: 225 grain .45 Long Colt LSWCHP

Ruger Super Redhawk 454 Casull

Ruger Super Redhawk .454 Casull


2.) The .44 Magnum Revolver
Chambered round: 180 grain .44 Magnum JHP
Subsequent rounds: 200 grain .44 Special LSWCHP

Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum

Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum


3.) The .357 Magnum Revolver
Chambered round: 125 grain .357 Magnum JHP
Subsequent rounds: 158 grain .38 Special LSWCHP +P

Smith and Wesson M&P .357 Magnum

Smith and Wesson M&P .357 Magnum


4.) The .460 Magnum Revolver
Chambered round: 250 grain .454 Casull JHP
Subsequent rounds: 225 grain .45 Long Colt LSWCHP

Smith & Wesson .460 Magnum

Smith & Wesson .460 Magnum


5.) Taurus Raging Judge Magnum Revolver
Chambered round: 250 grain .454 Casull JHP
Subsequent rounds: 88 grain .410 Shot-Shell HP slug

Taurus Raging Judge Magnum

Taurus Raging Judge Magnum .410 GA / .454 Casull / .45 LC

Read more about the Taurus Raging Judge Magnum in our upcoming article;
“Raging Judge Magnum: Best Gun for Natural Predators”…

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