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8 Home Defense Guns For Ban States [Guide]

Live in a state that places restrictions on guns? No prob! We walk you through some guns that can work in states like CA, NJ, NY, and others with bans.

As we all know, some states have firearm restrictions that are, to put it kindly, less logical than others. 

For example, states like California, New York, and Massachusetts have laws that make it tough to legally protect your home with the most effective weapons possible.

Home Defense Glock G19

Luckily, the gun industry is so large and vast that there’s still a wide variety of options, even within the most restrictive states.

I’ve gathered together some of the best home defense weapons that are still legal in states with strict gun control in place. 

Mossberg Retrograde 590A1 Shooting
Mossberg 590A

While these guns are a compromise over something like a proper AR-15, they can still provide the necessary firepower to protect yourself. 

So keep reading if you live in a ban state and need some ideas for home defense!

Best Firearms for Ban States

1. Henry Big Boy X in .357 Magnum 

The Henry Big Boy X avoids most gun control by being a manually operated firearm with a relatively low capacity and an internal magazine.

It’s a lever gun, something designed in the civil war era, although the X models modernize things a fair bit. 

1. Henry Big Boy X with EOTech in Desert
Henry Big Boy X

First, they ditch the wood for lighter, more durable synthetic furniture.

It even has a Picatinny rail and M-LOK slots for adding accessories. For home defense, a light is a must-have, and the Cloud Rein micro would fit perfectly on the gun.

We also get high visibility sights, and the gun is tapped to make adding a red dot easy. 

at Cloud Defensive

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The weapon is fairly light and handy with a 17.4-inch barrel. It weighs in at a little over 7 pounds and can hold seven rounds of ammunition. Sidesaddle devices now exist to make top-offs possible. 

21. Henry Big Boy X Stock Shell Carrier
Henry Big Boy X

Companies like Midwest produce M-LOK handrails for even more accessorizing. The threaded barrel makes the addition of a muzzle device easy. A good flash suppressor or compensator would be best since most restrictive states don’t allow suppressors. 

In .357 Magnum, you get a potent caliber that hits hard and expands well with defensive ammunition.

15. Henry Big Boy X MW2 Moving
Henry Big Boy X

On the flip side, the gun can use .38 Special, which tends to be cheaper for practice. You’ll need lots of practice because operating a low-capacity, manually operated weapon is never easy. 

It’s an old-school solution to a modern problem, but it’s tough to find a state that bans lever actions. 

at Kentucky Gun Co.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

2. SRM 1216 Shotgun 

Most ban states only allow 10 rounds in a gun at a time. The SRM 1216 is a shotgun that carries 16 rounds but gets away with it in ban states.

Because the “magazine” is four tubes that require the user to manually rotate the next tube into action. 

You can see it in action below:

Technically it’s only a 4-round magazine. They even produce models that require tools to remove the magazine, effectively making it a fixed magazine. Sixteen rounds of 12-gauge are nothing to joke around about. 

It provides plenty of power in a compact package. This is a quasi bullpup shotgun that delivers a semi-auto action.

The SRM 1216 delivers a fast-firing action that utilizes a roller delayed system much like the ole MP5 series of SMGs. 

SRM Arms M1216 Shotgun
SRM Arms M1216 Shotgun (Photo: GunsAmerica)

The SRM 1216 comes ready with plenty of rail estate for mounting optics, lights, lasers, cup holders, etc. It’s a very modern weapon that can be set up for righties or lefties with ease.

This gun is super reliable in my experience, and with a good defensive 12-gauge load, the SRM 1216 is a devastating weapon. 

It might not be as easy to handle as a standard AR-15, but it provides a semi-auto action with 16 rounds. With practice, you’ll get fast at rotating the tubes and keeping the gun in action at all times. Heck, if removable magazines aren’t an issue, you can purchase multiple SRM 1216 magazines. 

at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. “Compliant” AR-15 in .458 SOCOM

If you are willing to work with a compliant AR-15 with a fixed stock, a lack of a flash suppressor, and a 10-round magazine, then maybe an AR-15 in .458 SOCOM is for you.

CA Featureless Rifle Grips
CA Featureless Rifle Grips

If you are going to have only 10 rounds, why not have 10 big rounds? 

The .458 SOCOM was designed to be a close-range fight stopping round for SOCOM. While it was never actually adopted by SOCOM, the round itself has become one of the better options for straight-walled AR-15 cartridges.

.458 SOCOM (500gr)
.458 SOCOM (500gr)

It’s a very powerful round that can propel a 250-grain projectile at 2,150 feet per second and delivers over 2,500 foot-pounds of energy. 

That’s a fairly light projectile, and madmen have developed .458 SOCOM loads up to 600 grains. However, a good JHP in the 250 range will get it done with less recoil and more control.

If you aren’t hunting bears and focusing on home defense, then the lighter rounds work perfectly. 

Best Featureless Grips
A Few of Our Featureless Rifles

The AR-15 design already provides plenty of awesome ergonomics, plenty of options to ensure the weapon is compliant, and also easy to accessorize. A red dot and a light are all you need to keep things home defense ready. 

Is the recoil bad? 

Throw on a red dot!

Nope! It’s not 12-gauge pump-action shotgun bad by any means. It’s perfectly controllable and a ton of fun on the range. That being said, it’s not for everyone, and the ammo is super pricey. 

There also aren’t a ton of compliant options on the market, so you’re probably best off building your own.

It’s also worth mentioning that certain states only allow hunting with straight-walled cartridges, so your compliant .458 SOCOM AR can pull double duty for hunting and home defense.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Ready to start your build? Get some ideas at Featureless AR-15 Rifles [California Build Guide].

4. Beretta 1301

A tube-fed semi-auto shotgun with a capacity of fewer than 10 rounds rarely meets restrictions. If you want a pure combat-oriented shotgun, then the Beretta 1301 is tough to beat.

Beretta 1301 Tactical
Beretta 1301 Tactical — not the LTT Elite but you get the idea.

The Langdon Tactical variant known as the LTT Elite is the best of the best utilizing parts from Beretta, Magpul, and Aridus industries to produce one hell of a fighting shotgun.

The 1301 Tactical’s semi-auto action makes follow-up shots quickly, and the soft-shooting nature of the gun brings a new degree of controllability to shotguns.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Reload
The 1301 is pretty easy to operate.

SGA stocks allow you to reduce the LOP with ease and fit the gun to shooters, both big and small. The AK Zhukov handguard allows the easy mounting of white lights. 

Toss on a red dot, and you’ve got a very capable fighting weapon. Load it with good buckshot like Federal Flitecontrol, and you’ll be ready to go.

With the low capacity, you’ll need to train your reloads on the fly. However, it’s unlikely that eight rounds of 12-gauge won’t solve your problem. 

at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Want to see the standard Beretta 1301 Tactical in action? Check out John’s review or watch the video below.

5. Glock 34 (MOS Preferred)

If you want to take the home defense handgun route, then the Glock G34 offers you a great choice. You are isolated to 10 rounds in the most restrictive states.

However, the Glock series has been around for decades, and the magazines from the Gen 1s will work in any other gen. 

Stippled G17 and G34
Stippled G17 and G34

Let’s say you live in a state that did not enact gun control until recently. If that’s the case, it might be easy to find some pre-ban magazines floating around for the Glock 17/34.

That’s one reason to go Glock. Another is because it’s affordable, easy to upgrade, and one of the most reliable pistols on the planet. 

Glocks pretty much

The Glock 34 uses a long slide that will add some velocity, increase your sight radius, and provide a heavier, easier to control pistol.

I prefer the MOS Model to add a Trijicon RMR to increase accuracy, speed on target, and overall precision.

Another add-on would be a weapon light, like the TLR-1 HL. 

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

This 9mm Glock is easy to handle and likely easy to find. Even if you are stuck with 10 rounds, you can very easily purchase 10-round magazines for the Glock series of pistols.

It’s tough to hate on a reliable, proven, and affordable platform. 

at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

6. Smith & Wesson Model 327 TRR8 

Staying with the handgun theme, let’s take a peek at one of the coolest revolvers on the planet.

Revolvers typically do not fall under restrictive bans due to their fixed magazine design and relatively low capacity.

Check revolvers to be sure the cylinder fits well and is not loose. Also check to see I the cylinder lines up correctly with the barrel.

With that said, the TRR8 is an 8-shot revolver, which is somewhat rare. 

It’s a .357 Magnum, so you can also shoot .38 Special through it without issue. The TRR8 is quick to reload with its moon clip cuts. Reloading on the fly can be nearly as quick as an automatic when you toss moon clips into action. 

Effective Range 9mm 357 and 380 acp
.380 ACP, 9mm, and .357 Mag

Moon clips are essentially speedloaders that drop into the gun and provide a rapid reload on the fly. They are disposable in a fight and the preferred setup for competition shooters who need to shoot fast and reload faster. 

Smith & Wesson Model 327 TRR8
Smith & Wesson Model 327 TRR8 (Photo: The Firearm Blog)

.357 Magnum is no slouch in the ballistic department either. Recoil can be cumbersome, but the TRR8 is a heavy weapon, and that 35 ounces of metal help eat some of that recoil.

The TRR8 can utilize a series of rails to attach a red dot and light to ensure the wheel gun keeps up with the most modern of pistols. 

Modern Probs Modern Solutions

In action, the Performance Center design tends to provide a slick action with an amazing trigger. It’s a big gun and does big gun things very well.

The TRR8 provides a very modern revolver with complete compliance in states like California and Mass. 

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

7. Mossberg 590: 9-Shot, 20-Gauge 

For shooters who want a shotgun that’s compliant but also easy to handle, look no further than the latest models of Mossberg’s famed 590 series.

Mossberg has produced a dedicated 20-gauge tactical shotgun that holds nine rounds of 20-gauge. As a manual action weapon with a fixed magazine, it’s unlikely to hit the ban lists. 

Mossberg Retrograde 590A1 Shooting Front
Mossberg Retrograde 590A1

This 590 model comes complete with ghost rings sights which I’ve grown to prefer over the classic bead sight.

The new Mossberg M-LOK pump is present here for all your accessory mounting needs. I would ditch the stock for a Magpul SGA for the shorter LOP or even a Hogue youth model with a shooter LOP. 

Mossberg Retrograde 590A1
Mossberg Retrograde 590A1

Other than that, add a light and call it a day. A 20-gauge round is still a very potent fighting cartridge and will deal some serious damage to a home invader. With nine of them, you’ll be ready to quickly take on multiple bad guys if necessary. 

Using 20-gauge over 12-gauge reduces the recoil of the gun and makes it a much softer shooter and much easier to handle overall.

The 590 series have always been reliable fighting shotguns, and now that they’ve been 20-gauged, it’s perfect for smaller shooters or recoil-sensitive shooters. 

Best Pump Shotgun
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

8. Fightlite SCR 

Finally, let’s look at the one “AR-15” that’s proclaimed itself 50 state legal, and it’s a fascinating rifle design.

Sam Jackson Interesting Meme

The SCR lower is completely different than an AR-15 lower and implements a sporting style Monte Carlo stock. This design utilizes an integral buffer in the stock and a unique rat tail BCG. 

This lower allows you to use a standard AR upper receiver in .300 Blackout, 5.56, and any caliber that can use a standard AR-15 bolt. The SCR retains the semi-auto action, a good bit of the AR-15’s modularity, and its soft shooting nature. 

fightlite scr pistol lower
Fightlite SCR Pistol Lower

I’d actually say it’s softer shooting than a standard AR-15. Since you can use standard uppers or the Fightlite upper, you can mount M-LOK rails, optics, lights, and whatever else you may want on your SCR.

It’s perfectly capable for home defense and is super light and super short. 

The SCR is all kinds of cool and is the least abomination-looking compliant AR-15 design I’ve ever seen. It’s a fascinating option, and it’s very ergonomic. I live in a “free” state, and I own an SCR just because I respect the design so much. 

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons


While living in a ban state might feel like a bummer, there are guns out there you can use to defend your home.

These recommendations will hopefully get you squared away with your home defense setup.

18. Henry Big Boy X Vortex Viper

If you live in a ban state, what’s your weapon of choice for home defense? Let us know below! For more on securing your home, check out how to Stage Guns for Home Defense.

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21 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Thomas IVAN

    A very good choice for a topic.

    CORRECTION: Should read, "A tube-fed, semi-auto shotgun with a capacity of fewer than 10 rounds is rarely found to be deemed 'out of compliance' in regard to satisfying any given state's imposed firearm restrictions"...or something similar.

    February 9, 2022 7:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I just looked up the regulations for California shotguns, because I was pretty darn certain that the IWI TS-12 and SRM Arms shotgun shown here were not compliant, but according to 11 CCR subsection 5471, paragraph (ii), they don't meet the qualifications of a revolving cylinder shotgun, so they're good to go.

    Now...if only I had the cash to front for one....

    Also, one note: the .458 SOCOM is not a straight-wall cartridge. It has a bottleneck. For similar performance but a true straight-wall design, you would need to look at the .450 Bushmaster.

    February 8, 2022 7:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Not sure of the specific law, but I doubt the to state legal Fightlite SCR is legal in Chicago (guess it’s state not city, just realized my error).
    We have the “scary looking ban” so pistol grips on riffles an such are a no no.
    No suppressors or lasers cuz God forbid I’d want to save my hearing if I shot indoors or wanted quick target acquisition.

    February 8, 2022 6:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael Urban

    I really love this one as im from a ban state of New Jersey sadly....Right now im on a search for 15 to 20acres of land in WV or maybe TN or SC? Off Grid of course ;>) hehe Anyway I love the list i own most of the styles and brands of guns you mentioned. I have revolvers and shotguns and glocks although i went with the standard G19 lol i own two. One is tricked out while the other is all factory. I have a Mossberg 88 rather then the 590. At the time i didnt have big bucks. lol Also own the Henry big boy. A few Ars to say the least and am just now starting my .458Socom build! lol I decided to use that for home defend and already have some 250g and 300g rounds to be ready to see what it may like better? But as anything else i have a few different calibers of ARs so It was more about the power of the 458 that drew me to it for close in. The 458Socom and 45/70 i have are my bear guns! I really think if you have a carbine chambered in 45/70 that also would make for a good home defense gun. My problem with using my Henry is that it dosnt have the side gate. But the 45/70 dose! hehe I cant understand how there wasnt some kind of 1911 in there for the list? There are plenty of reliable 1911s out there these days!!!

    February 8, 2022 5:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Those states are also the type to charge you with thirty counts of murder for killing one armed home invader, though, so none of this really helps. The only safe option is to move back to America.

    February 8, 2022 4:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Your right. Here in SF, CA a guy was living with and taking care of his elderly mother. One day he came home from work to find an armed burglar robbing his mother. He managed to wrestle the gun from the burglar and shoot him. No serious harm done to the burglar and the burglar was arrested, but so was the homeowner for shooting the burglar who was in his home. The burglar was out of jail almost immediately. The guy who was in his home protecting his mother, himself and his home had a harder time getting out of jail. My wife and I live in an apartment and if our neighbors knew how well armed we are, they would be horrified and hate us. Meanwhile in our nice neighborhood, home invasions are on a radical rise. The lesson is, it's every man and/or woman for them self. The only people I would protect are my wife and myself. The rest are on their own. I'll mind my own business.

      February 8, 2022 7:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      California is actually largely a "stand your ground" state, which was completely surprising to me when I learned that. That holds true even outside the home. Imminent peril must be present, but that's really the only time when lethal self defense is employed anyway.

      February 8, 2022 7:48 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Douglas L Dicketts

        With a Soros backed Attorney General you can forget what the law actually says, if it's not PC you will get hung out to dry. Get your self defence insurance, you shouldn't need it in a perfect world but hey, look around.

        February 11, 2022 7:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael Clay

    Thank God I live in Texas . Nuff said .

    February 8, 2022 4:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Martin Deano

    I live in the fascist state of NJ. Got an RIA VR80 in the corner and a Springfield XDM Elite 9mm in a drawer 12 in. from my pillow. Across the hall my daughter keeps a Beretta 92X Performance in her nightstand. I like to think we got it covered.

    February 8, 2022 4:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Martin Deano

      3 More years until retirement. Wife is thinking South Carolina, I'm looking at South Dakota. LOL We'll see what happens. Can't wait to get the f#$%k out of Jersey.

      February 8, 2022 5:47 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jim Harvey

        I'll light a candle for you.. I live on a boat on the South Shore, so if I get "invaded" it will likely be out past the 3 mile limit (maybe more... you know....Pirates....) Carolina's are still nice... Not "invaded" by Liberal assholes from the North....YET.

        February 8, 2022 5:56 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Martin Deano

          Yeah, I'll probably wind up down south. If you gotta live in the city, South Shore is the best place. Stay safe, enjoy the ocean and get the hell out of there when you can.

          February 9, 2022 5:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    For California AR-15 owners there is a replacement part that makes your AR-15 a manual operated rifle. Called the Kali-Key. Just remove the entire bolt carrier group and the charging handle. It's lawful to have a bolt carrier group in your possession. Just not in the AR-15. The Kali-Key makes your semi-auto AR-15 the same as a bolt action rifle. No phony balogna parts needed. Just pull back the charging handle after each shot.

    February 8, 2022 4:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    The Resistance

    I live in the PRK (Peoples Republic of Kalifornistan). I recommend the IWI TS-12. Easy to maneuver in tight spaces, easy to service and packs 15 rounds of pain and CA compliant out of the box. Thanks Israel.

    February 8, 2022 4:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tim P

    Beretta 92fs, yipee ki yay

    February 8, 2022 3:36 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Among others. WOOHOO!!

      February 8, 2022 9:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    If I lived in a ban state, I think I would go with a Remington 870 Tactical with 00 buck and a 1911 with Federal 230gr HST.

    February 8, 2022 2:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Not Left

      If, I lived in a ban State, well, I wouldn't even have to own a weapon cause the nice policemans is always there to protect me. :-)
      Seems like this article is trying to sell overpriced macho pew pews. Far more reasonable in price choices out there, me personally, being a southpaw, a 500 Mossy, or a lever gun like a '94 in .35 or .44
      . Pistol is for real close-up for most folks, they find out after having to patch the holes in the walls after missing the center mass and all attached to it.
      Just setting here in my armchair.

      February 8, 2022 3:23 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        A Mossberg would work just fine, too. Pistol is something I'd have if I'd run through the 7-9 rounds in the Remington or Mossberg and still had a threat. I don't expect to, but mama always told me better safe than sorry.

        Your comment about the nice policeman protecting you made me snort and chuckle

        February 8, 2022 4:09 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          Pistol is also nice because they're so compact, especially compared to a shotgun. The federal law requiring shotguns to be 36" in overall length makes them less ideal for home defense than people think: you're going to come across paths that may require you to lower your weapon to pass.

          February 9, 2022 9:33 am
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