"If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun," Biden said during a live town hall on Facebook hosted by Parents magazine.
"You don't need an AR-15," Biden said, referring to the semiautomatic rifle used in some recent U.S. massacres.
"It's harder to aim, it's harder to use and, in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun," the vice president said.
Biden, who told viewers he had two shotguns in his home, said most military-style weapons aren't good for home defense.
He questioned the need for any hunter to use an assault weapon such as the assault-style AR-15, a civilian version of the U.S. military's M-16 rifle.
"If you can't get the deer in the second or third shot, you shouldn't be out hunting deer," Biden said during the Facebook session.
The White House has urged Congress to adopt universal background checks, ban certain types of military-style weapons and curb the sale of high-capacity magazine clips to reduce gun violence.
A magazine clip is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm.
White House efforts have faced stiff resistance from gun-rights groups including the National Rifle Association and individual gun owners.
Biden said Tuesday universal background checks are a common-sense solution to the problem.
"Everyone who purchases a weapon has to have a background check," he said, adding new gun-safety laws would not be a first step toward confiscation.
"There is no ban on guns," Biden said. "Nobody is going to take anyone's guns.
"I have two shotguns at home," he said. "They're in a cabinet. They're locked. There is ammunition there as well. No one is going to come and take my gun. No one's going to take anyone's gun. We're talking about a background check."
He also said the Constitution gives the government power to ban certain types of weapons.
"Now, if that were not the case, then you should be able to go buy a flame-thrower that the military has. You should be able to go, if you're a billionaire, buy an F-15 [jet fighter] loaded with ordnance. You should be able to buy an M1 tank. You should be able to buy a machine gun. You should be able to buy a grenade launcher. And you can't do those things," he said.
If Americans accept those limitations, the question becomes balancing the right to weapons for self-defense and sporting use against those that are outlawed.
Biden Thursday is to travel to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, about 10 miles from Newtown, where 20 children and six adult staff members were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He is to deliver remarks at a conference on gun violence hosted by Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn.