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Home Defense On A Budget

Updated on March 28, 2009

Times Are Tough...But

Economical Home Defense

In these uncertain times and with many Americans simply struggling to keep their homes and keep their families fed, firearms for home defense are not a high priority for many.

Well, that way of thinking is shortsighted. If the economy continues downward, violence and home invasions will increase throughout our society as has been proven by past economic downturns. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is the prudent philosophy to have, even for the growing numbers of American households which are struggling right now.

With that in mind, and with the welfare of your family in mind, what are some effective and economical firearms available for home defense? Keeping the idea of low cost the central priority, the .22 rimfire rifle is the firearm of choice if costs absolutely matter. Yes, I know that most of the firearm authorities, the gun magazine gurus, do not look very favorably toward any rimfire firearms for self defense or protecting one's home. And...I do agree in theory with them on that, but several or more quickly fired .22 Long Rifle bullets coming out of a compact semi-auto rimfire rifle will either put the home invader down or make him or her wish that they were somewhere else in a big hurry. The semi-auto rimfire rifle loaded with high speed .22 LR cartridges at living room distances has put more criminals to flight or at the gates of hell than any other firearm cartridge in the entire world. This so-called kid's squirrel cartridge is very capable out of a rifle, especially at short room distances. The semi-auto's ability to deliver multiple rounds very quickly just adds another layer to the stopping power equation.

The .22 rimfire does in fact have some distinct and little known advantages over more powerful centerfire cartridges. Did you know that rimfire rounds fired in a typical single family home or apartment usually will not cause extreme hearing loss or temporary blindness to the extent of centerfire rounds? Rimfire rounds also do not have some of the over penetration problems that many centerfire rounds have. This means that other family members in adjacent rooms are in less danger of projectiles that can penetrate through walls and doors. These extremely important caveats about rimfire rounds are usually never mentioned in the gun publications, for a good reason. Popular gun magazines are first and foremost trying to get people to purchase the latest and greatest gun which more times than not, is a very costly centerfire gun. Always remember that gun magazines make their money through advertising. And...who pays for the advertising? It's the firearm manufacturers of course.

So, if you want a good, reliable and oh so economical firearm for home defense because you're on a tight budget, I can recommend at least a few semi-auto .22 rifles from my personal experience with them. For starters, the Mossberg Model 702 Plinkster is right now the most economical auto-loading rifle on the market. One can purchase a new one at Wal-Mart for less than $120. They are also sold at other sporting goods stores for slightly more. These Brazilian made, polymer stocked semi-auto rifles are light, short in length and always go bang when the trigger is pressed. Extra factory ten round detachable Plinkster magazines are available for less than $15. You can't go wrong with the Mossberg Plinkster, the most economical .22 rimfire rifle sold in America.

If you can spend a little more, the Marlin Model 60 semi-auto .22 rifle, is slightly nicer and made in America. This is one popular .22 rifle with over 11 million sold and it's been in production since 1960 by Marlin, now a division of the Remington Arms Company. The Marlin Model 60 action is identical to the Mossberg Plinkster in case you are wondering, but the Model 60 has a tubular magazine which holds fourteen rounds, four more than the Brazilian Mossberg Plinkster. The standard Marlin Model 60 is equipped with a very plain but functional hardwood stock. This great auto-loading .22 rimfire can also be purchased at many of the same retailers as the Mossberg Plinkster. Again, the cost is higher at around $150 to $165 depending on the retailer.

The third .22 rimfire rifle that I am familiar with is the world famous Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle. The American made Ruger 10/22 is the largest selling civilian firearm in the entire world and has been for a long time. The Ruger 10/22 is extremely rugged with it's ten round detachable rotary magazine. This semi-auto is super tough as the armed forces of Israel have been using the 10/22 for decades as a very effective and discrete crowd control sniper rifle. They are that good, that effective and that long lasting. The standard Ruger 10/22 with hardwood stock is available at just about all retail sporting goods stores in America for prices ranging from $175 to a little over $200. This rifle will last several lifetimes and is most likely the best auto-loading .22 rifle out there. It is the standard by which all other .22 semi-automatic rifles are judged.

It is also important to keep in mind that ammunition comes with a cost. If one has a centerfire firearm for home defense and one can't afford the ammo to feed it, what good is your expensive gun? On the other hand, rimfire rounds are pennies apiece. Bulk packs of 500 .22 Long Rifle cartridges are less than $20 at most retailers. Presently, many centerfire cartridges cost at least $20 for a box and that's usually for a box of 20 rounds.

There you have it. These three .22 auto-loaders are the answer to effective home defense which will not break the bank. A loud whistle and or a home electronic alarm system are alternatives, but when you run out of breath on the whistle or the police are on the way due to the alarm system, how long do you have to wait until they get there? A firearm is certainly a deterrent to home invaders, but a gun is first and foremost the best and most effective deterrent to stop a violent criminal immediately.

Seconds do count and as always the police are minutes away. Knowing that, where does that leave you and your family in a gun free home...up a certain creek without a paddle?


Home Defense.22 Caliber Rimfire Semi-Automatic Rifles

Mossberg Plinkster 702 video

Marlin Model 60 video of rapid fire capability

Ruger 10/22 In Slow Motion Firing Rounds


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    • profile image

      CB-CAN-DO 4 years ago

      Hello Sean, since I wrote this Hub about 4 years ago, home defense on a budget has increased in cost considerably. The .22LR ammunition is now somewhat scarce, but is coming back at higher prices. Using solid point .22LR bullets is a good plan. The penetration will be much better than any hollow-point bullet which can fragment with minimal penetration. The .22 is still the best bet for inside a dwelling as less noise and less flash is always better than temporary blindness and possibly some hearing loss for the home defender. Thanks for the accolade on my Hub, Sean. Stay safe and you are well armed at home with your 702s!

    • profile image

      Sean 4 years ago

      I have 2 702s in the house ready to go. Also have a sr22 pistol for road trips or a day out 4wheeling. Had a 500 pump action that I sold to buy the two 702s did about 3 weeks worth of research befor making the switch. I feel it's a better fit for hd. Keep them clean and they fire great. I use cci round nose, and do not feel unarmed or underpowered. Would recommend to any one for hd or sd. Great article!

    • profile image

      Thomas 6 years ago

      An individual on a budget, I would tell them to check out the Ruger 10/22, new or used, out west here it is not uncommon to find good used 10/22's at the swapmeets or the local newspapers ! Also a person can also find used H&R .22 revolvers for sale, around $100-$120, and single shot shotguns for $30-$80 !Becareful in buying older automatic pistols, sometimes the safety dvices are defective ! And be aware that all used guns have been going up in price, even older junk guns, RG, Clerke, etc !

    • profile image

      CB-CAN-DO 6 years ago

      I personally like solid .22 rimfire bullets over hollow points for home defense as what one is looking for is maximum penetration from the 22LR. A solid round nose is also heavier, usually 40 grains. Remember hollow points are made for hunting small game. My suggestion for you Woody is to purchase several small boxes of High Speed .22LR solids and give each brand a try in your 10/22 or whatever .22 rifle you eventually get. Take your rounds and old phone books or stacks of newspapers/magazines and conduct informal penetration tests on your own. You'll eventually find the .22LR rounds that perform the best with your particular gun.


    • profile image

      Woody 6 years ago

      Nice discussion. I am considering ruger 10/22 or range rifle in .223. The cost of buying is a big difference as is the ammo for training etc. The 10/22 also would be fun for my grandsons who are all under 12. Any thoughts on using ammo to boost the knock down power of a .22? Quik Shok or mini max or other?

    • profile image

      dusty 7 years ago

      grate i would also recommend a .22 hand gun in my home we love to shoot both my sons and my wife have 702 plinkster my wife and i also have a phoenix arms hp22a cheap fun to shoot ive shot 1,000s of rnd through mine and were i cant carry my sig i carry my 22 with 3 mags and mags are cheap $16 each

    • profile image

      Home Defense Shotgun 8 years ago

      It never occurred to me to use the .22 cal rifle as a home defense weapon. The reasons being just as you suggest and that is the recommendations by others more knowledgeable than me. But I have to agree, that over penetration is a major liability concern. Using a shotgun there is the danger of a stray pellet causing property damage or worse personal damage to someone outside your home. Higher power weapons pose an even higher risk of over penetration. A good quality .22 Caliber semi-automatic rifle would definitely minimize the over penetration concerns and still offer a measure of home defense protection. Now that you have offered me an alternative to this issue I would like to investigate further.

    • profile image

      CB-CAN-DO 9 years ago

      I agree with you on Bonnie and Clyde during the Great Depression as they were considered by many as modern day Robin Hoods. It is a fact that Clyde Barrow did not steal money from a dust bowl farmer during one of the couple's bank robberies. On the other hand, the not reported news and history reinforces what I believe is true about criminals, violence and home invasions. As economic hardship increases, violent crime goes up. It has always been that way, even in ancient times. Home invasions are part of that. The "What have I got to lose?" mentality can become daily operating procedure for those who are losing their homes and families due to job loss and loss of income. Being prepared at home with a firearm right now makes sense. Remember that most home invasions and violent crimes are prevented simply by brandishing one's firearm with no shots fired and the invader(s) leaving the scene pronto. Violent criminals always want easy pickings without the chance of extra and instant ventilation holes in their own bodies. Thanks for your insightful comments, anjowi.

    • profile image

      anjowi 9 years ago

      hmmmm...being something of a history buff (and definitely NOT an expert on the subject) I have to take exception to your statement that past economic downturns have resulted in violent acts, like home invasions...the only violent acts I recall reading about during the Great Depression were done by: Bonnie and Clyde, who DID invade a few private homes, but kept the violence confined to banks and law enforcement officers; other bank robbers and Mafia thugs who shot up businesses and committed drive-by shootings, being copied today by self-styled "gangstas"; and criminals who targeted the very rich and kidnapped children or other relatives for ransom. There was no rash of home invasions.

    • profile image

      CB-CAN-DO 9 years ago

      Glad you liked the info, Tom. The 12 gauge for home defense is also a great choice for home defense as it can speak with extreme authority. More than one home invader has had instant brown underwear just by looking into the business end of a twelve gauge shotgun.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 9 years ago from Ohio

      Great hub...good info.....I just bought a 12 guage with a pistol grip. Home defense preparation is always a good idea. Thanks!


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