Building a Basic Home Defense Battery in California: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

In recent years, the rising concerns about crime and home break-ins have led many Californians to consider their options for self-defense. While it’s a natural instinct to want to protect your family and property, navigating the complex web of California’s firearms laws can be a daunting task. Fear not, as we’re here to help you build a formidable home defense battery that is both legal and easy to learn. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll focus on two California-compliant firearms that are perfect for beginners: the shotgun and a 5-shot revolver.

wrong house, bro.

“A revolver?! and a shotgun?” Yes, we hear you. And yes, we know there are better, more formidable approaches (depending on your level of training), but if you’re looking for a simple, affordable, bottom-line approach, we think this combo is hard to beat. In fact, if you are in California and are not yet armed, you’d be silly to not take our advice seriously. If you do, you’re armed with a reliable, super accessible, ready-to-fire California compliant handgun on your body, and inside your home, you’ve got a California compliant shotgun (Probably loaded with 00-buck) that can handle almost any situation imaginable.

Understanding California’s Gun Laws

Before diving into the specifics of building a home defense battery, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basics of California’s gun laws, and why we’re writing this article. California has some of the strictest firearms regulations in the United States, so it’s crucial to stay informed and compliant. Some key points to keep in mind that inform our selections include:

  • California’s Assault Weapons Ban: This law prohibits the sale, transfer, and possession of certain types of firearms, including many semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with specific features. It’s why we’re leaning shotgun here versus AR-15. That said, there’s more to be said on that topic.
  • Handgun Roster: California maintains a list of approved handguns that can be legally sold within the state. This roster details specific safety requirements that manufacturers must meet.
  • Magazine Capacity Restrictions: In California, the capacity of firearm magazines is limited to 10 rounds.
  • New Handgun Owner Concerns – All too often, someone buys a gun and is afraid to carry it, or carry it properly. As we’ll cover below, our handgun selection here removes those concerns.

Building a Battery – Let’s Start with a Shotgun

In the sprawling landscapes of California, the choice of a California compliant home defense weapon is paramount. Enter the humble yet powerful shotgun. Why choose a shotgun, you ask? Well, let’s break it down.

First, affordability. Shotguns can be likened to thrift store treasures in the firearm world: to the uninitiated, they may seem like a throwback or a relic; however, they are reliable, relevant, and cost-effective. This means you can protect your castle without breaking the bank. The absolute top-of-the line is still well under 2,000 dollars, and that’s after your purchase of a good light, which you will want to attach.

Next up, legality. California may have more gun laws than Hollywood has crappy sequels, but fear not! The shotgun is a California compliant choice for home defense. It’s like finding a legal loophole that’s also a weapon.

Finally, the pièce de résistance – stopping power. Shotguns are the ultimate in fight-stopping power. They’re like the Chuck Norris of firearms – one shot, and the fight is most likely over. We’ll spare you the Fudd myth that the simple sound of racking a shotgun will send the bad guys scurrying. However, what is not a myth is that a press of a shotgun’s trigger tends to put bad guys in motion. What’s also not a myth is that a fight with a shotgun is almost certainly going to be over within two rounds. There’s enough solid post-action proof out there that makes this a factual statement.

A manually operated, pump-action shotgun is both a reliable and easy-to-use California compliant option. The pump action allows for quick follow-up shots and is perhaps less prone to malfunctions compared to semi-automatic shotguns. That said, you’d also be well served by a semi-auto shotgun.

The cost and capabilities of a shotgun make it an attractive choice for home defense. A good quality shotgun can be purchased for a relatively low price, making it an accessible option for those on a budget. Additionally, the devastating power of a shotgun, with its high energy and multiple pellets per shot, can provide significant stopping power. While a carbine like the AR-15 may have a higher capacity, the energy and impact of a shotgun’s pellets make it a formidable choice for home defense. Yes, the shotgun has more recoil, but hey, that’s what training is for. And, no, the recoil is not as bad as you have have been lead to believe. As such, buy with confidence.

Due to California’s absurd laws, having an AR-15 for home defense may not make sense. Frankly, I’d much rather have a reliable Beretta 1301 I’d trained with extensively than a featureless AR or one that I cannot even remove a magazine from in case of malfunction.

Mossberg Shotguns

Yes, you could go for a top-of-the-line Beretta 1301, or Benelli M4 , but if price is a concern, Mossberg offers several California-compliant pump shotguns that meet the state’s regulations. These California compliant firearms neither possess features prohibited by the Assault Weapons Ban nor are they listed as assault weapons by the California Department of Justice.

Some popular shotgun models that are legal in California include:

Mossberg 500: The Mossberg 500 is a versatile and reliable pump-action shotgun that is available in various configurations, including a California-compliant version.
Mossberg 590: The Mossberg 590 is a slightly more advanced version of the 500, featuring a heavier barrel and a more robust construction. It is also available in a California-compliant model.
Mossberg 940: Looking move into semi-auto, then Mossberg’s Mossberg 940 is hard to beat, and compares favorably with the Beretta a300.
Maverick 88 – One of the most compelling aspects of the Maverick 88 is its exceptional value proposition. It’s not just an entry-level shotgun; it’s an entry-level, affordable (made in Mexico) pump shotgun that punches far above its weight class in terms of what you get for the price. Mossberg has managed to keep it incredibly affordable while delivering impressive performance.

The 5-Shot Revolver: A Simple and Effective California Compliant Handgun Option

Yes, there are a lot of great semi-automatic California compliant handguns on the market, and that list is growing every day. The choices can be daunting. But if we’re building a very basic battery, we’d making a case for simplicity, practicality, and the ability to quickly produce a fight stopper from a pant front pocket, you’re going to have a hard time beating a simple 5-shot revolver tucked in a Mika Pocket holster or something similar. What I would want is something that could be easily concealed, carried everywhere, and immediately produced in order to make an attacker instantly soil his drawers in shock/horror. This would especially be true if I thought there was the possiblity of being run-up on in a surprise attack, as has been shown in recent news.

The bottom line is that for those looking for a simple and easy-to-learn handgun for home defense, a 5-shot revolver remains an excellent choice. These firearms are easy to operate and maintain, making them ideal for beginners. They are also legal and affordable in California, as long as they meet the state’s safety requirements and are listed on the approved handgun roster.

Smith & Wesson 163070 Model 638 Airweight 38 Special


Dirty Bird Industries

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Eliminating The Fear of a Round in the Chamber

A loaded revolver in your front pocket is an excellent option for beginners due to its simplicity and ease of access. Revolvers are known for being reliable and easy to use, making them a popular choice for those new to firearms. The heavy trigger pull on a double-action revolver adds an extra layer of safety, reducing the risk of accidental discharge. This can help alleviate concerns about carrying a round in the chamber, as the trigger pull weight makes it less likely for the gun to fire unintentionally. If you’re an old, grizzled pro reading this, this may sound silly, but we assure you, this fear has stopped countless people from carrying and being able to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Imagine you buy a new California compliant handgun but a fear of accidental discharge creeps in your head, leaving you to either not carry, or carry without a round in the chamber. This is just not an acceptable approach, and it happens too often. We’ve seen it time and time again, especially for newer gun owners who have small children. Trust us, we get it. To be blunt, remember that hen you’re carrying without a round in the chamber, you’re carrying what is sometimes called a “dead man’s gun.” That means you think and act like you’re armed, but you’re not. You’re holding the gun that is going to get you killed. That’s what we’re trying to get you to avoid here. We want you to carry and be able to use the gun should the need arise.

If you choose to carry a firearm with an unloaded chamber, it’s best to approach it as you would a “truck gun” or a gun kept in a nearby closet, kept at a slightly more accessible location. Essentially, this means the firearm should only be used when you have the safety of cover and are in scenarios where time is not a critical factor. Again, not to belabor the point, but it’s best to think of yourself not having a gun, as you cannot bring it into action quick enough.

If there is not a round in the chamber, mentally, you should be considering yourself unarmed. A revolver removes this sort of problem.

We could go on and on and link to horror stories, but we trust you to do your own research here. In a self-defense situation, having a round in the chamber or ready to fire when the trigger is pulled is crucial. Thankfully, this is where the revolver comes in. Revolvers are simple to operate and don’t require much practice to become proficient. Ready to fire from the double-action position, the user can quickly draw the revolver from their front pocket and be ready to fire if needed. The heavy trigger pull on a double-action revolver (and often shrouded hammer) also provides an added safety measure, as it requires a deliberate and intentional action to pull the trigger, reducing the chances of an accidental discharge. Because this fact might make a beginner more apt to carry the firearm loaded and ready-to-fire, its why we think a revolver just might be the best approach. A double-action only revolver in your pocket is not going to go off. Yes, still be careful, but, it should give you enough confidence that you will actually carry it, and that’s what really matters. A gun is no good to you if it’s not ON you, ready to fire.

Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Double-Action Revolver


Dirty Bird Industries

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Training and Safety

As simple as a revolver is, and as much sense as it makes to carry one, It’s a common misconception that revolvers are beginner-friendly by default. While they may have a reputation for being simple to operate, it’s important to remember that all firearms require training and practice. Just like any other gun, a revolver demands a solid understanding of its mechanics, proper handling, and safe operation. So, don’t be fooled by the myth – whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a newbie, always make sure to get the training and practice you need to handle any firearm safely and effectively.

Proper training and safety measures are essential when handling firearms. It’s important to learn how to safely and effectively use your home defense battery. Consider enrolling in a firearms safety course and practicing at a local shooting range. Additionally, ensure that you have a secure storage solution for your firearms when they are not in use. This will help prevent unauthorized access and accidents.

One more thing on revolvers before we move on. I’ve bought many semi-autos and regretted later. That’s not been the case with my revolvers. Guns may come and go, but a good revolver is forever. If you buy a quality snub-nose .38, you will have it forever. It’s a timeless, fucntional tool that will never become obsolete. It will always fill a niche and have a treasured place in your growing arsenal. The bottom line is investing in a quality revolver is never a mistake, even as you grow and add more handguns to your collection. And no matter what your main handgun ends up being that you carry, it’s never, ever a bad idea to have that snubby tucked in your front pocket or in an ankle holster as backup. Purchase with abolute confindence that you’re investing in something that you will have forever.

Expanding Your Home Defense Battery

We hope this article has convinced you to take the leap and begin building a home defense battery. While the shotgun and 5-shot revolver make a formidable self-defense/home defense battery for beginners, there are other options available for those with a larger budget. In California, a variety of other legal and compliant firearms are available for addition to your collection. Be sure to check out our webpage for more info. In a perfect world, you’d eventually, have a more advanced, mondern semi-auto with higher capacity and the revolver we’ve discussed as your back-up.

So, let’s summarize: The main points to take away from this discussion are:

  • The cost-effectiveness and simplicity of a shotgun make it an attractive choice for home defense, particularly for beginners.
  • Shotguns have devastating stopping power due to their high energy and multiple pellets per shot, providing an advantage in close-range situations. In California, if I hear a bump in the night, or I have to scramble towards my primary firearm due to unforseen drama, I think I’d prefer a proven combat ready California compliant shotgun vs. neutered, bizzaro AR. While capacity is a concern for some, statistics show that most home invasions involve only one or two individuals, making the power of a shotgun with just one or two shots a strong deterrent.
  • A loaded (hammerless or covered hammer) revolver in the front pocket is quick and easy to access, with a heavy trigger pull for added safety, and just might make the difference between carrying or not or carrying an actual loaded, ready-to-fire California-compliant handgun.
  • Most importantly, remember to seek out training. Training is essential for anyone considering a firearm for home defense. Buy your guns, get to the range, and then seek out a professional.

Again, please, please, please remember that regardless of the type of firearm chosen, it is crucial to understand its operation, manipulation, and recoil management. Familiarity with the chosen firearm and regular practice will help build confidence and competence in its use. Training can be obtained from various sources, including professional instructors, and it is important to find a course that suits your needs and skill level.

As always, at Dirty Bird, we’re here to help. Feel free to visit or drop us a line with any questions or concerns.

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