Need handgun advice for home defense

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by roweman07, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. roweman07

    roweman07 Scout

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    The wife and myself were up late watching a movie and had most of the lights in the house on. When we went to bed I had to go get my son a bottle. Less than two minutes time passed between turning off the lights and when someone violently shook our storm door on the front porch. I went over to see the door better and they did it again. I was standing right there! They had to know we were home. Called the police and checked everything out myself. While the police were searching the area someone pounded on our back door. They never were found. We don't have any problems with neighbors and no bad kids live in the area. there have been quite a few reported home invasions here in the last 3 weeks.
    I love guns, have plenty of shotguns and rifles, but never felt a need or want for hand guns. This experience has pushed us over the edge though. So I pose a question to you all; What would be a decent, low priced gun for home defense? I was thinking something in the .45 caliber. The wife is still leary of pistols and I want her to be able to handle it. Also having little to do with hand guns I don't know which ones the ammo tends to be more available for.
    We've installed a lot of newer security measures but we feel it is time to increase our security. We also plan to get our concealed carry permits now as well. We really appreciate any help that anyone has to offer!
     
  2. JOttum

    JOttum Scout

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    .45 is a pretty common round. If you are looking for one to use as a carry weapon, Glock has a lot of compact models that might fit the bill. Also lots of accessories for them and lots of gunsmiths around that can work on them.
     
  3. Oregon Jim

    Oregon Jim Tracker

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    All handgun major (9mm and larger) caliber differences are minimal in stopping a man when using quality expanding bullets.

    A 9mm is the cheapest to train with, has the most capacity, and allows for faster follow up shots.

    A glock 19/17 is always my recommendation but only if you are willing to get training or learn weapons manipulations in competition. Otherwise any talisman will work and .45ACP is the talisman of choice.
     
  4. demonfurbie

    demonfurbie Scout

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    for just home defense id say a nice 357 revolver with a 4in barrel

    you can load it up with 38s to teach the wife on how to shoot it, and 357 is plenty to deter anyone. another added benefit is that it has alot less moving parts and if the ammo doesnt fire just pull the trigger again no tap rack to have to teach the wife
     
  5. tanman2003

    tanman2003 Scout

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    If your not going to carry it get the biggest gun and largest caliber, highest capacity your wife is comfortable with shooting.

    That being said, glock has pretty much the best reliability track record out there for a semi auto. Its probably the cheapest gun without sacrificing quality out there.

    I also suggest a glock 17 as said earlier. Easy recoil, No safeties to fool with, just pull the trigger. holds 17+1 or 19 with an extension or 33 rounds with the glock 18 mag.

    you should probably call this your homedefense/bushcraft security gun since this is bushcraft. lol.
     
  6. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    For the two instances you mentioned, if it were me, I would get a 20ga Rem express with an 18 1/2" barrel, with a magazine full of #4 buckshot and a good ,small flashlight . I would not get close to the door but wait in the hall or far end of the room facing the door. After a 911 call and the bad guy(s) came in either door, I would give them the good news (after identifying that they were not a family member, neighbor, or cop). Handguns are fine but a shotgun is better for a home invasion, IMHO.
    I mentioned a 20ga as it would be a better gun for a woman, usually , and at inside home range, will be just as effective as a 12ga with proper ammunition.

    Train a bit with a shotgun at close range and you will be amazed.

    Regards,

    ezra
     
  7. Fiddlehead

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    How about a 12 ga for home defense and a short barrel .44 mag for the woods. I think a 12 ga is the best home defense gun you can have. Lots of choices for barrel lengths, folding stocks, ammo, etc.
     
  8. 2stoves

    2stoves Scout Bushclass I

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    I have a handgun, a rifle, and a 20g shotgun. For home defense I always reach for the shotgun. Why? I don't need to aim, it is a pump so I have multi shot, it is large enough to be seen so the intruder has no doubt I am going to shoot them, and I can shoot from the hip if needed.
     
  9. Yetee

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    +1 on the shotgun, the advantage to a pistol is that it is usually closer/easier to access than a shotgun. In a home defense pistol i would go a full size in any major caliber. Be sure you have a decent small flashlight as well and train with it. You only need it for identifying dont wander around the house searching with it on the whole time, all that does is makes a giant beacon saying "HERE I AM".
     
  10. Scroggins

    Scroggins Banned Member Banned

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    I would recommend a shotgun for defense in a home. Handguns have much higher risk of over penetration through both interior and exterior walls.

    A drawn shotgun is a big intimidator and might prevent a defensive shooting in itself. If not, and the trigger needs to be pulled it will do the job, and not mind if the attacker is hopped up on whatever superhuman drug, unlike handgun calibers.
     
  11. Jean

    Jean Guide

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    The handgun market is currently nuts, so I would stick with a shotgun or a carbine that you already have. There are some decent Internet videos on the proper battery for a long arm in structures and consider your ammo choices.

    If you have a game camera, set it up to cover your back door. The front door/back door game is usually used to steal something from the opposite yard.
     
  12. AnthonySmithXR

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    I'll second or third the shotgun. Nothing wrong with a pistol, but you've already got the shotgun and it is definitely not a buyer's market right now. As for a pistol, It's true that bigger is better (hence the shotgun recommendation). However, if you're gonna drop the cash, I'd get one that you would be confident carrying (like a compact or subcompact 9mm or .40) if you ever decide to get a license. It's a lot of cash to get two different guns, one for home and one for carry. Just mho.
     
  13. Makarov

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    I have to agree on the shotgun, the purpose of the firearm is defense not shooting someone. with a pump shotgun when you rack the slide the sound is a message that is hard to miss. If you do have to pull the trigger you have one of the best firearms available for the purpose. Mossburg makes a two barrel set up in 20 guage with a short 18.5 inch barrel and a 26 inch barrel your wife can take up trap shooting to keep in practice. It is what I gave my daughter when she moved out of the house.
     
  14. roweman07

    roweman07 Scout

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    Thank you all for the answers! I'm going to discuss some of the things mentioned here with her. I have a browning semi-auto 20 gauge but man that barrel is long. I just inherited a 12 gauge pump from my grandpa. It's a Mossberg 500 A. Haven't had much of a chance to look it over and see how it compares. But for what I found out that night, in the house my Browning was just way to long.

    Also, to clarify, I wasn't standing right at the door, literally, I meant that I was still up and was right there to witness it.

    We are leaning towards the handgun more for a couple reasons. There are a lot of kids in the house so I keep all of my guns locked up. With my upgrades it would take a minute to get in the house if they really wanted too and it would be extremely difficult to do so without setting off alarms. But it could be done. I can keep a handgun locked up on the headboard of our bed. I think we are going back and forth between a .357 revolver and a Glock.
     
  15. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Either of those handguns will do the trick with proper ammo and training/ practice for you both.
    Don't forget a flashlight...and good advice above about using it for identification not a search.

    Regards,

    ezra
     
  16. injun51

    injun51 Guide

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    I've been in security since I was in high school.

    1) First thing is make sure you have enough lighting around your home. Thieves fear light.

    2) This may not be practical, but a dog is a huge security plus. Thieves are afraid of big mean barking dogs.

    3) A handgun is great but you have to learn to use it properly and safely, as any other gun. Meaning hours at the range practicing safe weapon manipulations. A very hard, gross motor skill.

    4) Get some cheap motion detectors, (under $15 dollars a piece at harbor freight) and camouflage them and place them at strategic spots around your home.

    5) Look at the inside of your home very closely. Make sure all doors, windows and any other ways in are secure with at least one deadbolt on each door and a way to keep windows locked other then the cheap locking mechanism on most.

    6) Since you plan on using a weapon you need to choose a room that will be your "SAFE ROOM" in the house. (usually the master bedroom) The door here needs to be a solid core door in a very sturdy frame, preferably a steel frame with at least one deadbolt. (2 would be better) This is the room you will default to if someone gets inside.

    7) From the doorway of this room you need to look for SAFE shooting lanes. Imagine you are shooting at someone from this position. Where will the bullets hit if you miss your target?? Will they hit you neighbors home???
    Think collateral damage. Saving your family but wounding or killing an innocent person is what we are looking to avoid here.

    8)Always keep a phone in this room so you can call for help. (even an old cell phone with no plan will dial 911)

    9) Talk to your wife about these "SECURITY ISSUES" and make sure you are both on the same page. You may have to change your mindset to a SECURITY mindset. Learn to be more observant of things you have never thought of as being security issues. Being aware is a large part of being safe. If you see trouble coming you can better react to it when it rears its ugly head.

    10) Come up with a simple phrase or word that you and your wife know means to get to the "SAFE ROOM" immediately.

    I could go on for hours but this should be a good start. If you have any questions feel free to PM me and I'll try to help as much as possible.
    Security is more of a mindset then things you do. Get your head thinking in these terms and you might start to see thing in a different light. Hope this helps.
     
  17. santaman2000

    santaman2000 Guide

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    But remember this is true IF! And only IF! the battery is charged.
     
  18. santaman2000

    santaman2000 Guide

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    I would stick to 357/38 for now. I like 45 but it's expensive to shoot. I also like 9mm but at the moment, there is NO 9mm ammo to be had around here.

    I have a 380 as well for carry but while it will work in a home defense situation I'd really rather have a bit more firepower if carry weight and size isn't an issue.

    If you can borrow a friend's gun to try (both you and your wife) that would be ideal. Some gun shop-ranges will even rent guns. It will not only give you an idea what you and she like to shoot, but getting the ammo for it will give you some idea what it's like to find (and be able to afford) said ammo.
     
  19. Rider

    Rider Guide

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    The 38 caliber has failed US soldiers several times history and each time was replaced by a 40 plus caliber. Only common sub 40 caliber I really trust is 357

    sent from my dumb phone.
     
  20. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    One major concern for a family dwelling and a handgun for defense will be over penetration. You could easily shoot through multiple interior walls and injur a family member. A .45 ACP is a good compromise because it is low velocity and don't penetrate as much material.

    The .357 is a higher velocity and will penetrate more. Keep this factor in mind when pistol shopping. Another big one is to try the pistol out for yourself and your wife, shoot several and understand their mechanisms. A complicated auto may not be a good choice. While Glocks are enourmously popular, I cannot shoot one. I have to actually use an unnatural technique (for my hand) to disengage the trigger safety. So, be sure you can shoot the gun and can operate whatever safety mechanisms are on it. Some are more simple than others.

    Any pistol of a caliber large enough to stop an intruder is going to be loud and have some recoil, be sure to familiarize your wife and yourself with whatever you go with. I would go .45 in your situation. A proven tool. You can try out Glocks, Sigs and others in .45.

    Good luck, I hope you never have to use the pistol.
     
  21. 2stoves

    2stoves Scout Bushclass I

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    Along with all the good feedback you have gotten be sure you ask yourself and your wife the all important question concerning a gun. Are you willing to kill someone? Seems like a dumb question but many times I have asked someone why they are getting a gun and the answer always comes back the same. Why, for security of course. But, when it comes down to it, their purpose and hope is that the intruder will be scared off by the sight of a gun. I have actually been told "no, I won't shoot someone".

    If you or your wife are not willing to shout, aim, fire without pause, then ........................just saying
     
  22. Rusty Eagle Scout

    Rusty Eagle Scout Scout

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    This is the straight truth. Period.
     
  23. Ewker

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    Even the VP said "Biden on self-defense: ‘Get yourself a shotgun’
     
  24. santaman2000

    santaman2000 Guide

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    The only 38 caliber that ever "failed' the US military was the older 38s. The times they used the modern 38 Special they performed just fine.
     
  25. tim martin

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  26. bourbon&bisquits

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  27. Foilist

    Foilist Scout

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    And with a C&R license, which is cheap and easy to get, the brown truck will drop one off right on your doorstep! This will likely be my first C&R purchase in the near future.
     
  28. waterman308

    waterman308 Guide

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    you need to decide exactly what you want a gun for. Sounds simple, I know. is it just, and only for protecting your home? Carry with you? sporting or multipurpose (that usually happens once you get a firearm and need to practice with it).

    Assuming just purely for home defense - the simplest is the best. you will not be thinking as much as reacting. you will loose fine motor control, and will develop 'tunnel vision' (you won't notice much around you). All those things add up to: simple.

    The suggestion of a 20 ga pump shotgun is excellent. you can get (in most places) and extended mag tube that will increase capacity from 5 to 8 or more shells. You can also get a light /laser (mostly the light; a shotgun takes care of precision aiming for you!) with a pressure activated switch - as soon as you grip the gun, the pressure pad turns the light on.. anyhow.

    Downside to a shotgun is that it is unwieldy, very difficult to reload, or, difficult to load if you are starting from an empty gun (you may or may not want to have a fully loaded shotgun in the house), and it can overpenetrate (buckshot will do that, smaller bird or squirrel shot is better).

    Another good choice is a revolver. a 357 can be loaded with either 357 or 38 sp. the 357 is not recommended due to tremendous noise, flash, and recoil, not to mention overpenetration. The 38 with a home defense round is easier to control, and more than powerful enough. A revolver can be loaded with a speed loader too, so you don't have to keep it loaded. And best of all, it is simple. just pull the trigger. No magazine, no slide to rack, no safety, no doo-dads to fiddle with.

    And don't worry that it doesn't have as many rounds as a 9mm Glock. Even the police rarely 'empty' their magazine, let alone home owners. a few shots, almost always less than 6, is typically what happens, and more typically, just showing your are armed is enough.

    Bottom line is no 'one gun' will do everything. some will do most everything, and you will have to decide what you really need it for. And what ever you get, practice practice practice. not necessarily for accuracy, but for learning how to operate the firearm under dim light and diminished physical and emotional capacity.

    Be safe,
     
  29. VtBlackDog

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    I'd say a small carry gun (that won't snag on clothing) that you keep on/near your person for answering the door in the middle of the night; backed up by a shotgun. S&W J-frame (hammerless) that you can slip into a pocket when you hear something, plus an 870?

    I've done some competitive handgun shooting, and on the rare occasion when I think I hear "a bump in the night" the adreniline surge is overwhelming. I know I can out-shoot about 75% of people at the range with a pistol, but in real life those skills get shaken by "buck fever" pretty badly....hence the 870.
     
  30. woodsghost

    woodsghost Guide

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    A revolver you can leave loaded for 20 years and never have a problem. Autos need to have the mags switched from time to time to keep the springs from going bad. My fist choice is a revolver, double action only. Fewer odds and ends to mess with, and you should train to shoot well in double action, as this will be your default in a bad situation. I used to say "revolver for reliability" but this is less true nowadays with modern handguns. However, if semi-autos get banned, revolvers will still be ok (I hope).

    My suggestion is a Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special. Cheap, they have a model in double action only, and the .44 basically has the ballistics of the .45 ACP. For ammo, I would go with Buffalo Bore low flash ammo. .44 Special will be relatively cheap and available for the next few years because it is not a common caliber, and it is run in revolvers which are less likely to get banned. I would stay away from the .44 Magnum.

    A flashlight is a must for target identification.

    Learn to shoot one handed. I know most people recommend special stances and two handed grips. They are more accurate. But the stuff I have read says you will often need the other hand for other tasks, like the flashlight, light switches, the phone, maneuvering children or the spouse, handling a door, etc.

    I think a shotgun is a great idea, but I worry that leaving them loaded for extended periods will harm the magazine spring. 20 ga is not a bad idea, though defensive ammo choices are limited. Shotguns are also very "ban" resistant, pump-actions more so than semis. Please realize you DO need to aim with a shotgun. It would be nice not to hit family members who might not be behind you, and at home defense ranges (5-25 ft), shot does not spread out much. Make sure you are not just pointing in the general direction, make sure you are going to hit the bad guy(s)!

    Here are some links to the Buffalo Bore .44 Specials: https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=17
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=282


    And Charter Arms Website: http://www.charterfirearms.com/products/Charter_Firearms_products.asp

    And a pic of the Bulldog I was talking about earlier.

    [​IMG]

    For the record, I think you should go with Charter Arms because I have not seen anything bad about them, and I feel they have some of the best prices around and offer a model which I think fits your needs.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  31. oldpinecricker

    oldpinecricker Guide

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    45

    I had a few locked up in the house, and I've taken the time to take some pic for you.

    1911 pattern
    [​IMG]

    Sig P220
    [​IMG]

    HK USP compact and fullsize
    [​IMG]

    XD-45 compact and two fullsize XDm 45s
    [​IMG]

    I would include an Glock 21 and 30 but my Glocks currently on hand are only in 9mm and 40S&W.

    The only other worthy 45s I can think of happen to be the Beretta Storm, FN 45, and the M&P45. There is an Ruger 345 but I find the P-series to be less than desireable from my experinace. Basically you get what you pay for.

    If I were on an budget and wanted an 45 for carry and home defense I would be happy with an Glock 30, M&P45, or XD-45compact. Any of these will work. I think the sigs and HK's are a bit lofty in price for someone looking for an budget firearm.

    Oh yea. The 1911's, if that's your thing go for it. Im just not all that into them anymore.
     
  32. Rider

    Rider Guide

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    I was referring to power overall in most cartridges chambered for the 38 caliber.

    38 failed in 1900 and we brought the 45 LC from retirement. LEO now uses 40 Smith versus the older 9s and 38s...if I'm correct.
    Not to mention we're bringing the 45acp back because the 9 often lacks needed guts.
    FBI had the 10mm/40 Smith made specifically because they wanted more stopping power than the high cap 9 offered but they still wanted high capacity.

    sent from my dumb phone.
     
  33. waterman308

    waterman308 Guide

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    Hey just a clarification on the spring issue - they actually will do fine for several years. the thing that wears them out is.... USE!!! I wish my springs were worn :(

    If you only worked the springs in the mags once a year, they would last indefinitely. I have two .45's. My first is a Sig P220 and its two mags are always loaded, and only 'unloaded' a few times a year. mostly sit in the safe. they always run fine fine fine!
     
  34. Lg&m

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  35. 45jack

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  36. Rider

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  37. Yetee

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    Very important to remember. If you are going to rely on a firearm for defensive purposes you better have the resolve to use it if you have to. This is one reason why I really dislike it when people mention using the sound of a pump shotgun to scare off intruders. If you have already grabbed your firearm, you have deemed who ever broke into your house a threat. racking your shotgun may scare off an unmotivated attacker, but all it does to a motivated attacker is tells him where you probably are and that you are armed and he better act fast on you. same thing goes for flashlights, they should be off until you need to look at something and if there is nothing where you just flashed turn it off and move.

    Another very good thing to remember. at the ranges within a home even 18" home defense shotguns have a spread of maybe 4-6"
     
  38. Garm

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    A pump shot gun can be effective with out ever needing to confront anyone. Most people will not stay around to see if the gun is loaded or if you can use it if they hear that pump worked.
     
  39. woodsghost

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    Thanks. I am still cautious because I have seen, over and over, the warning on mag spring damage. However, I will keep what you said in mind, and not worry as much.

    Since I run with a revolver at home, mag springs are not an issue for my HD weapon. I have at times forgotten and left rifle mags loaded. Maybe it is not as bad a thing as I thought! I will still pay attention to them, but I will not be quite so worried.
     
  40. AnthonySmithXR

    AnthonySmithXR Guide

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    I jus read a story of a ww2 era 1911 that was discovered with a fully loaded mag. That's 50+years with the mag spring compressed, and it worked fine. Forgot where I read it.


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  41. AnthonySmithXR

    AnthonySmithXR Guide

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    If you've got kids (I think you said you did) you may like the ruger sr9/40 full size or compact. Forgive the blasphemy but its a better looking glock with a manual thumb safety.


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  42. bharner

    bharner Guide

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    Pretty much anything by one of the major manufacturers in 9, 40, or 45 will be fine. Note, hi-point, raven, jiminez et al do not count as major manufacturers for a good, reliable gun.
    357 will over penetrate and if your wife is using it mat be hard for her to get a follow up shot off.
    The ideal would be a 16.5" barreled AR in 300 AAC or 5.56 with good defensive ammo, a red dot sight and a light. 5.56 with good ammo won't over penetrate but 300 is a bigger hole in a bad person. An AK with those same accessories would be good as well but the adjustable stock and low recoil of the AR combined with the simplicity of a red dot means it's easy for either one of you to pick up and use.

    Tapatalk ate my spelling and grammar.
     
  43. VinoNoir

    VinoNoir Guide

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    Not if you keep it next to your bed.

    0124131942.jpg
     
  44. spike82

    spike82 Tracker

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    A Glock 9mm or something similar.

    Also you can often find Smith and Wesson .38 special full size police trade in's.
     
  45. Rockmonkey

    Rockmonkey Scout

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    Training will make more of a difference than the type of weapon you have available.
    There is something unmistakable about the sound of a shotgun or pistol racking is a good warning to anyone who might be in the house.
    Get her shooting each one and do it under various conditions.
     
  46. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have carried a Glock for many years and think it is probably the best semi-auto out there. That said, they are not the best for every person.

    My wife lacks the wrist strength to shoot a Glock and can't go more than a couple of rounds without a failure to extract. I have fired the same guns many times without a single failure of any kind. She carries a Ruger LCR in 38+P and likes it so much that she's about to convert me.

    My suggestion is to try out a few guns and see what works for both of you. If it were me and we were looking for a home defense handgun, it would be a full size 4" Ruger or S&W in .357.
     
  47. roweman07

    roweman07 Scout

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    Once again thank you all for all the advice and opinions! We really appreciate it! We have a lot to think about and discuss.
     
  48. pacondor

    pacondor Scout

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    I carry a Glock 30SF and my car gun is a G17. Never had 1 failure. Just bought my wife a LCR 38 and I really like it. Be careful with children though, the Glocks only have trigger safeties and the LCR has none. (well an internal lock) I would have to second the shotgun. I keep a Mossberg 20ga in the closet. Its unloaded because we have kids but I've had my wife practice loading it and she's pretty good. They're nice if just for the intimidation factor alone. Have you ever heard a shotgun rack in the dark? It'll send chills up your spine.
     
  49. Mountain Longhunters

    Mountain Longhunters Tracker

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    I would highly recommend a 12 or 20 ga shotgun. I would get a short barrel if it's only used for home defense (check local laws on length). Even high brass would have a hard time going through your walls completely. I would get larger shot but probably not 00 buckshot. Something like BBB. Make sure it's a pump too. It has a distinct sound. Technically you don't have to aim a shotgun as much as a pistol in close quarters meaning you can poke the barrel out from around a corner but keep your body/head protected.
     
  50. Scroggins

    Scroggins Banned Member Banned

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    I'll step out and let this take its course, but it's not at all a wise choice to use a handgun for home defense-period. Particularly when you state your house has lots of kids. Proximity to your neighbors is another potential liability.

    I'm sure you've done so already and will continue to do so, but please examine carefully the risks inherent with handguns, carbines and rifles for home defense. With other occupants in your home other than those located in your own bedroom (your wife) they are not the right tool for the job. Even if your nearest neighbor is 10 miles away, there are far too many accidental deaths as a result of over penetration. Personally I couldn't live with that regret, and am not comfortable with the possibility of someone else having to either. I don't intend to come off as self righteous so I apologize if that's how it comes across to anybody.

    God bless.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013

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