The reason I say a rifle is nearly useless in self defense is that is takes too long to ready and fire in an attack. Even for someone trained in the use of a handgun, a knife wielding assailant is at a distinct advantage at close range. This article
has a more detailed explanation of why, but states this "Bottom line: Within a 21-foot perimeter, most officers dealing with most edged-weapon suspects are at a decided - perhaps fatal - disadvantage if the suspect launches a sudden charge intent on harming them." This disadvantage would only be increased with a rifle.
Nah. Even a slung rifle can be readied about as fast as a holstered handgun.
That source is interesting indeed, but it should be used to highlight that a knife can be a very dangerous ambush weapon. I'll also point out that knife wounds are unlikely to be instantly lethal, so even if the assailant does stab the officer, the assailant will likely still be shot. Sudden ambushes are indeed an issue, but...ambushing someone with a firearm using a knife is not really a wise strategy. It often becomes a situation in which BOTH parties lose. Ditto for knife on knife fights, for much the same reason.
I suspect (though I could of course be wrong) that this assumes the officer's weapon is still holstered, as opposed to being in the ready-fire position already.
This is correct. Tuller drills start with weapon in holster in a normal carry position. The nature of it being a drill means you may be more aware than in every day to day life, and thus, respond faster, of course. Being ambushed when one is not expecting it is a hard thing to safely simulate with live fire.
Normally, one would carry a rifle slung, and a pistol in a holster. Neither would be in a ready position either for this drill, or for general public use. I note that while military personnel do use ready positions when combat is expected shortly, carry firearms in ready positions all the time is tiring, so, in practice, they mostly carry firearms in exactly the same way you or I would. Life ain't call of duty, having your gun out all the time just isn't practical.
Triple Log wrote:On another note, shotguns [i]generally[i] are thought of the best for home defense. The good ol' sound of chambering a round is enough to make any intruder think twice. And of course, other benefits: stopping power, less penetration through walls (hence less danger to others), whatever else I can't think of right now.
This is a common urban myth, I'm afraid. Self defense training will frequently seek to disabuse such beliefs. Relying on the chambering sound, a cocking sound, etc is...not considered reliable, or something that should be considered for defensive value. In any case, almost any firearm makes a fairly loud, distinctive noise when cocked, and thus, the shotgun isn't terribly unique here anyway.
Stopping power is something that is measured in many ways. Rifles generally move vastly faster than shotgun rounds. Size of round is larger on a shotgun, sure, but that is only one factor. Shotguns are generally superior to handguns in stopping power, sure, but not rifles. Penetration through walls, is, unfortunately, also something of a myth, though this will depend significantly on exact situation. There is no commercial shotgun round that isn't capable of blowing through four layers of drywall, and most of the time, the walls of your home will have only two. Yes, bricks or heavy wooden support beams are much better, but...they are also better for everything else. Still, a 12 ga slug will flatten a concrete block, and put dangerous shards out the far side, while many calibers of rifle are usually stopped by such things. The 5.56mm round favored for AR-15s, etc, is sufficiently fast that if it hits hard surfaces at an angle, it just shatters. This utterly destroys the thing hit, but doesn't retain nearly as much energy for penetration. Additionally, any scattershot rounds in a shotgun are somewhat more likely to accidentally hit more things simply because of shot spread at long range, thus posing a greater risk to those around you. Typical home defense ranges are short enough that the spread does little to help you actually hit the intended target, it simply makes misses riskier.
Ballistics is...complicated. Part of the issue here is that shotguns fire big, slower rounds. Slower rounds tend not to mushroom nearly as much, which means they penetrate further, and deliver less/slower stopping power. Fast, expanding rounds are far better for self defense in most circumstances.
And of course, shotguns typically suffer in ammunition capacity. Sure, there are obscure specialty shotguns that hold 10+ rounds, but the vast majority of shotguns are set up for 3 or less. Most handguns hold at least 6 rounds, often many more, and almost all rifles have at least 5 rounds, with, again, many holding a good deal more.
In general, rifles > shotguns > pistols. Each step is fairly significant. Now, there are reasons to use all of them(like, I already have a shotgun, and money is tight), but if you are looking for a home defense firearm, prioritize rifles over shotguns.
Additionally, on a related myth, do not, under any circumstance, rely on birdshot as a home defense round. It has a wide spread that is damaging, but very, very poor at stopping people. Or anything bigger than a bird, really. This combines a high likelihood of accidental injury to others with lower defensive value.