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microman
April 9, 2011, 02:25 AM
If I lived out in the country and had a large home I could see having
a pump shotgun as my go to gun for defense. However, due to my
job I live in a fairly small apartment in a large city.

Been thinking about since its such a small area and due to thin walls
etc, wouldn't a .38 special revolver be the ideal HD gun? Less penetration
than a 9mm less recoil and flash than a .357

Is the .38 special outdated?

Lokpyrite
April 9, 2011, 02:56 AM
The .38 is far from outdated, BUT it(no handgun) doesn't come close to the devastation that a 12 gauge causes. My situation is similar to your, I live in a very small apartment, I keep a S&W model 64 at the head of my bed but 4 feet away is a Mossberg 500 with a total of 20 rounds on board. If I have time I KNOW wich one I'd grab and it wouldn't be the revolver.;)

45Gunner
April 9, 2011, 05:15 AM
Living in close quarters with thin walls, surrounded by residents in similar situations would present a unique situation, I would think. I am trying to understand your points of view. If your go to gun is a shotgun, are we assuming a band of rogue BG's or a single intruder?

If you are dealing with a single intruder, would you not be worried about "collateral damage" or accidently killing the neighbor in the adjoining apartment? However, if you had a full frontal attack by a mob of intruders, then I would agree that the shotgun would be the way to go and that their bodies would most likely prevent anything else from penetrating thin walls.

Without knowing the statistics, I would guess that most break-in's are committed by one or two individuals. It tight quarters, as described, I would be inclined to go with something that offers ease of handling, has take down power, and yet will not kill a resident in an adjoining apartment. I think a pistol loaded with hollow point may be my first choice as I think it would give me the ability to seek cover behind a piece of furniture and offer more opportunities in the way I could discharge the gun, if it came to that. And, if it misses the target, it will cause damage to the wall, reducing the risk of accidently taking out a neighbor.

gearhounds
April 9, 2011, 06:50 AM
If a shotgun is your ideal choice in that particular environment, you could go with the old recipe of loading smaller shot for the first round or two. Within short distance, I would think #8 shot could be devastating, especially to the facial area, with little or no penetration to the walls. If you miss a vital area shot, the BG/BG's will know you mean business, and short of a contract killing, will likely beat feet. Adding security measures, such as perimeter alarms on door's and windows that can be armed while inside could also keep an intrusion from turning into a gunfight.

ClayInTx
April 9, 2011, 07:04 AM
Before making a decision I believe it would be well to get more (valid) information on the penetration of bullets and shot.

I recently had the chance to compare 9mm, .38 Special, and .357 against pine coupons (slices from the end of a log). The penetration was in the same order as listed.

All three were such that I would, in no way, count on a (typical) apartment wall stopping them or slowing them up enough to have no “punch” left.

A short time before the above test I saw the same kind of test with a 12 gauge shotgun using #7. Didn’t come even close to the pistol penetration, but still enough that if the wall is made of drywall, 2 layers with some insulation, it probably would make it all the way through and still have some “punch” left but not much.

You might look at some shotguns of less than 12 gauge.

I’ll admit these were not scientifically executed tests. These were in my backyard, wooded area with plenty of pine logs, and more like, “Hey! Hold my beer and watch this.” No, we weren’t really drinking beer. I don’t allow alcohol and guns to mix on my place, but I believe you get the idea of the scientific-ness.

Apartments are always a problem for gunshots of any kind and I know from experience that house walls are little better unless brick veneer.

Guns are made to shoot through things and most of them will do it.

JohnKSa
April 9, 2011, 07:41 AM
The best ways to avoid stray bullets from being a danger to your neighbors:

1. End the confrontation as quickly as possible. You may be concerned about where your bullets go and overpenetration, but your attacker doesn't care at all. The faster you can shut him down the fewer bullets he will fire to endanger you and your neighbors/household members and the fewer bullets you will fire.

2. Hit your target. Bullets that travel through a person (particularly handgun bullets from premium self-defense ammunition) will be mostly spent by the time they exit--if they exit at all.

It's also important to keep in mind that if either his bullets or your bullets injure a neighbor/household member, their best chance for survival is for you to prevail so you can rapidly summon the authorities & medical attention.

Finally, remember what/who the threat is. You and your self-defense gun are not the threat. The attacker is the threat. Your first priority is to neutralize the threat as rapidly and as quickly as possible. You don't want to get too concerned with secondary issues until you have come up with a reasonable solution to dealing with the primary issue.

I guess what I'm saying is that as long as you are making reasonable choices in self-defense firearms you shouldn't get too wrapped up in worrying about overpenetration.

If you were trying to choose between a BAR (fully automatic .30-06 rifle) using FMJ and a .38 special handgun using premium expanding self-defense ammunition then I'd say that the BAR/FMJ combo poses too much of a threat of overpenetration to be a reasonable self-defense weapon in an urban environment. Choosing between between various handgun calibers is a different story. Make your choices based on shootability and on effectiveness and don't get overly bogged down in overpenetration concerns.

g.willikers
April 9, 2011, 09:19 AM
As has been said, the skill of the defender is more important than the equipment.
Practice, practice, don't miss, don't miss.

catnphx
April 9, 2011, 10:36 AM
You can also strategically place furniture (that will slow or stop a round) in the places behind the spots where you're most likely to encounter a BG.

Edit: You should not used bonded ammo because that will keep the bullet together, which could lead to over penetration.

roaddog28
April 9, 2011, 10:39 AM
Best answer I can give is yes a 38 special 4 inch revolver will work in most HD situations. Again shoot placement is key. Also a good SD round is important. I use a 38 special 4 inch revolver. I load it with Buffalo Bore 158 gr LSWCHP +P. The reason. Simple I shoot the revolver the best. Of course a 12 guage will work. I am of the opinion that a 14 guage would work just as well and might not over pentrate. There is not way anyone can know what will work in a life or death situation. For me I want the weapon I can use the best and has enough stopping power to do the job. You have to make the decision. No one from here can.
Regards,
Howard

beex215
April 9, 2011, 10:53 AM
dont they still make the older tech hollow points that break into pieces? seems like that would fit here. frangible?

rodwhaincamo
April 9, 2011, 10:58 AM
I, too, live in an apartment with the same concerns. Despite living on the "good" side of town there are crummy neighborhoods nearby and the "rift raft" can be seen roaming the streets.
Come to find out, once I got to know a few of my neighbors, that the master bedroom windows are easy to get into, and that several apartments in our little vicinity had been broken into that way along with a few kick-doors. Oh great... Eventually we came home to find our window broken. The car has been broken into 3 times in less than 2 yrs
I have installed screw on window locks, cheapo alarms on the window and door, placed my reloading table in front of the bedroom window, and furniture in front of the sliding glass door [In the 2nd bedroom???] of my daughters room, as well as night lights.
This ought to buy us a little more time and ensure that an intruder[s] cannot get the drop on us in the middle of the night. And the dim lights are enough to identify the intruder[s].
There are the frangible types of bullets intended for such applications, though I have some in my 44 Mag, they don't seem to perform as advertised. Some merely causing flesh wounds, some not fragmenting but acting more like a fmj. I intend on doing some testing with the mock walls I have made [waiting on siding and insulation to simulate exterior walls].
I rather like my downwind neighbors and would feel better about using something less dangerous. But if it doesn't perform well it's 44 Spls with hollow points.
Another thing I have been considering trying are shotshells loaded with larger shot [4 to buck].
The 38 Spl would do well. I would suggest, if you are leaning towards such, to get a 357 Mag and use 38 +Ps. It would give you a larger range of uses. But I am of a mind to use larger calibers.

rodwhaincamo
April 9, 2011, 11:09 AM
I, too, live in an apartment with the same concerns. Despite living on the "good" side of town there are crummy neighborhoods nearby and the "rift raft" can be seen roaming the streets.
Come to find out, once I got to know a few of my neighbors, that the master bedroom windows are easy to get into, and that several apartments in our little vicinity had been broken into that way along with a few kick-doors. Oh great... Eventually we came home to find our window broken. The car has been broken into 3 times in less than 2 yrs
I have installed screw on window locks, cheapo alarms on the window and door, placed my reloading table in front of the bedroom window, and furniture in front of the sliding glass door [In the 2nd bedroom???] of my daughters room, as well as night lights.
This ought to buy us a little more time and ensure that an intruder[s] cannot get the drop on us in the middle of the night. And the dim lights are enough to identify the intruder[s].
There are the frangible types of bullets intended for such applications, though I have some in my 44 Mag, they don't seem to perform as advertised. Some merely causing flesh wounds, some not fragmenting but acting more like a fmj. I intend on doing some testing with the mock walls I have made [waiting on siding and insulation to simulate exterior walls].
I rather like my downwind neighbors and would feel better about using something less dangerous. But if it doesn't perform well it's 44 Spls with hollow points.
Another thing I have been considering trying are shotshells loaded with larger shot [4 to buck].

Glenn Dee
April 9, 2011, 12:10 PM
I'm also an apartment dweller. By choice.

My community is considered good, and safe by any standard. But as we all know... Doo Doo happens. I dont live a lifestyle that would involve my home in cash rich transactions. As most home invasions, push in's, and occupied burglaries are to some degree an inside job. But as we see the police make mistakes, and hit a wrong location, criminals i believe make a lot more mistakes than the police. So the possibility of a home invasion in any neighborhood is real. In my humble opinion.

All that having been said... For my home defense selections I do consider the safety of my neighbors, and friends. I keep a detective special at bedside loaded as follows. 1st round is .38spl shot, second and third rounds are frangible's, fourth round is 158gr swc standard velocity, fifth and sixth rounds are .38 JHP +p.

I also keep handy a Colt Trooper loaded with 6 .38spl standard velocity JHP's, and a 12ga Stevens 311 empty but with 12ga 00 buck, and 12ga slugs within reach of the gun, but hidden.

Some of my friends think I'm over gunned, and my non firearm enthusiast friends think I'm nuts.

Glenn Dee

microman
April 9, 2011, 01:05 PM
I am trying to understand your points of view. If your go to gun is a shotgun, are we assuming a band of rogue BG's or a single intruder?

Sorry 45Gunner,

I should have wrote my paragraph better. I used to live in a location
that was out of the city limits and neighbors were far away. My go
to gun then was a 12 gauge pump.

Now that my current living situation has changed I was thinking that
maybe a .38 special would do better in such close quarters as an
apartment. I am worried about all the people living around me as
well, if a defense situation were to happen. Thought maybe a heavy
.38 special JHP might offer good stopping power and not so much
penetration through walls and other things.

I really had not thought out if there were a multitude of bg's. In that
case scenario the revolver would not give me very many shoots without
a speed loader.

Crazy88Fingers
April 9, 2011, 01:10 PM
What about a 20ga shotgun? It should cut down on potential over-penetration, and it still has power to spare when it comes to taking down an intruder.

TCL
April 10, 2011, 12:18 AM
Think about the direction in which you might be shooting in the event of a home invasion. I live in an apartment too, but I'm right next to a golf course, and the layout of my apartment is such that the most tactically advantageous position for me to take up means that I would be shooting toward the golf course. That being the case, I don't worry too much about overpenetration (assuming it's at night - not too many people on the sixth hole at oh-dark-thirty.)

Bartholomew Roberts
April 10, 2011, 01:55 AM
Thought maybe a heavy .38 special JHP might offer good stopping power and not so much penetration through walls and other things.

I think JohnKSa has a good analysis of what the main threat/problem is - and as Clay pointed out .38 Special will sail through several typical interior walls - as will pretty much any load from any firearm that meets the FBI minimum criteria.

The problem is an inch of powdered gypsum backed by paper is not much of a barrier. You can punch your fist through drywall but I don't know many who can punch their fist througha sternum. Something that can do that is going to go through drywall.

45Gunner
April 10, 2011, 03:39 AM
I think this thread has provoked some decent thinking as has proven that we must all have a tactical game plan, regardless of our living quarters. This becomes especially evident and the game plan changes if we have a significant other and kids living with us. Tactics must be practiced as a group so everyone knows what is going to happen. Plans A & B must be rehearsed and Plan C has to be put into play when A & B may not fit the situation. Be prepared.

My wife and I used to go over our game plans on a semi-regular basis but have not in a long time. I am motivated to go back to the drawing board and rejuvenate our tactics.

T. O'Heir
April 10, 2011, 04:29 AM
"...Apartments are always a problem for gunshots..." Depends on the age of the building. Modern buildings, 20 plus years old, are a bunch of hollow, reinforced concrete, blocks. Designed to stop fires from spreading. Only the internal walls are dry wall.
The windows and the door present the only excessive penetration issue. A .30 M2 ball round won't penetrate the walls between units of a modern apartment.
The floor you live on matters too. Off the ground floor, in a typical modern building, you don't have much to worry about.
A ground floor of a modern building or a very old, fire trap, tenement, building or in the basement of a house, isn't the same, of course. Then, you need to consider penetration of any cartridge. A .38 will do.

ClayInTx
April 10, 2011, 05:00 AM
By Crazy88Fingers:

What about a 20ga shotgun? It should cut down on potential over-penetration, and it still has power to spare when it comes to taking down an intruder.

Seems to me to be the best suggestion yet.

shortwave
April 10, 2011, 05:58 AM
Also agree with Crazy88Fingers.

Also as well with furnishing the apartment(the best you can) as to strategically(spl?) keep rds inside your apartment. i.e. bookshelves, furniture,decorative rugs etc.

Seaman
April 10, 2011, 08:25 AM
Lots of good points already.

Sure don't want to hurt any innocent neighbors, but if the home invasion gang come crashing thru the door at 2 AM, (because there are lots of houses surrounding) my nightstand gun is either a 32 ACP, .380, 38 spl, 9x18 Mak, or 45 ACP (standard loads no +p) coming out of 3 inch or shorter barreled handgun. A 44 spl snubbie should be alright too, shorter barrel = less velocity = less peneration. Hollowpoint ammo would further lower the risk of overpenetration.

The 9mm para and 40 S&W are penetrators, and best avoided here, we had a recent tragedy when a cop had an AD shot go thru a house and killed a young girl lying on a sofa inside.

Teddy Roosevelt's bedside gun was a 32 ACP Browning M1900, which was the first Browning semi-auto pistol. His predecessor, McKinley, was assasinated with a 32 cal Iver Johnson revolver.

PS --- not to forget mags or speedloaders on hand.

Best of luck to you.

mnero
April 10, 2011, 09:40 AM
Let me tell you all a little something. I am an old sailor, a corpsman, so I have served with alot of Marines. We plan for, train for and think about combat situations all the time. That said, when the shooting starts and it is your cherry experience, you are in full panic mode(almost everyone) So how can any of us, who have never been in a combat like situation, expect to keep such a cool head that we shoot like we were at the range or hunting? You Won't! No insult, I didn't few do the first time. So if you are really so concerned about a potential 'home invasion' then get a decent reliable shot gun and load it with bird shot! You will hit your target at close range(no matter your state of mind) and probably kill him, certainly he WILL BE INCAPACITATED! Anyone who trys to tell you different is 'talking without experience' CLOSE RANGE BIRD SHOT KILLS BUT ONLY YOUR TARGET it won't penetrate the walls unless you are right on them. By the way this is a one in a thousand shot Home invasions are very rare even unarmed burglars are rare enough. We would all be much better served giving this subject less attention and paying greater attention to range saftey and safe hunting techniques.

robmkivseries70
April 10, 2011, 12:47 PM
Indoor self defense shotgun ammo = High Brass #4 shot. ;) , best, Rob

Bartholomew Roberts
April 10, 2011, 01:21 PM
The problem with using a birdshot that is light enough it stops in drywall is that it will have extremely limited range and basically requires an unobstructed frontal shot like a B-27 silhouette within that range.

Contrary to mnero's assertion, people can and do survive being shot with loads like #6 12ga birdshot and then continue to function. In fact, John Farnam has mentioned at least one case where a man shot his attacker in the face with a high brass #6 load at less than 6 feet, blinding him in one eye. That attacker then killed him with a load of buckshot and drove 2 hours home before seeking medical attention.

At the end of the day, you've got some hard choices to make on how much you want to trade effectiveness in order to limit potential liability from a miss.

The Real Wyatt
April 10, 2011, 02:01 PM
I see people recommending shotguns of a smaller gauge as being somehow less likely to overpenetrate.

Am I wrong in my assumption that shotshells have very similar velocities irrespective of gauge? In other words, double-aught buck from a 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge or 410 bore exit the barrel at quite similar velocities; only differing in the number of pellets.

Seems as if the danger of overpenetration, in case of a miss, is exactly the same.

Or are we saying that you're less likely to hit something on the other side of the wall with 3 pellets from a 410 bore than 9 pellets from a 12 gauge? That does make some sense.

I should think that in the OPs scenario, frangible ammo might be the best choice.

Crazy88Fingers
April 10, 2011, 03:25 PM
They will likely have similar velocities. But fewer pellets and lighter recoil will hopefully keep the lead where he wants it.

shortwave
April 10, 2011, 03:37 PM
Far as ammo in an apartment, my choice for ammo out of a 20ga. would be #3 or #4 lead. More than likely #3.

mnero
April 11, 2011, 05:49 PM
Surviving bird shot in the face at 6' is anomolous; it happened but probably once! You should not consider an anomoly when considering a hd strategy. You are in an apartment, not a house. As such there are simply limitations that must be observed. You keep you HI FI at a reasonable volume, you get a dauchshound or a poodle nota pitbull or a rot, and you don't load your shot gun with triple buck or rifled slugs! If it gets you killed, then you should have lived in a single family house! Better you die, then you live, but kill a perp and your neighbor and unlike the fellow that took bird shot in the face from 6' and was not incapacitated, people actually do kill their neighbors with stray lead! Gun ownership and employment comes with great responsibility, you can't just shoot up the building and say "well I had no choice"

mnero
April 11, 2011, 05:57 PM
Ah I just figured out what the disconect is. Most of us have never seen what a shot up person looks like, smells like...taste like, yeah you will taste it too. That is definitely the disconnect here. Let me tell those who don't know; it looks bad, it smells bad and it taste bad...you won't forget not ever. Sorry to be so damn preachy but well it hits home when I hear people talk about killing so casually. Killing is wrong it is always wrong; sometimes it is neccesary, but that don't make it right!

ice monkey
April 11, 2011, 06:10 PM
The Judge ...

Bartholomew Roberts
April 12, 2011, 01:34 PM
Surviving bird shot in the face at 6' is anomolous; it happened but probably once! You should not consider an anomoly when considering a hd strategy.

Survivor of accidental shotgun blast to face receives face transplant (http://blogs.abcnews.com/nightlinedailyline/2010/07/chrissy-steltz-wakes-up-every-morning-and-puts-on-her-face-but-its-not-just-make-up-she-literally-attaches-a-startlingly-re.html)
Woman shot in face by husband from 8' away survives (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1177829/U-S-face-transplant-woman-Dont-judge-people-looks--know-happen.html)
Mother survives being shot in the face as she slept (http://unionrecorder.com/local/x713539559/Trial-opens-in-Heidt-murder-case-in-southeast-Ga/print)
Anthony Swinson shot in the back of the head with .410 at contact distance. Survives by wrestling gun away from his would-be executioner (http://www.fox8.com/wjw-manshotinheadwithshotgun-2247619,0,6584707.story)
More "I survived birdshot" stories here (http://www.fox8.com/wjw-manshotinheadwithshotgun-2247619,0,6584707.story)

But really, is that all that shocking? The whole reason you recommended light birdshot is because it doesn't penetrate drywall. Is it any surprise it doesn't penetrate the skull or other bones either? If it doesn't penetrate the skull, then all it does is make a horrible, bloody, mess which may or may not be deter your attacker, depending on his psychological state.

And even if you still regard surviving birdshot to the head as anomaly, I'd note that it is an anomaly that is reported less and less often as shot size increases.

Better you die, then you live, but kill a perp and your neighbor and unlike the fellow that took bird shot in the face from 6' and was not incapacitated, people actually do kill their neighbors with stray lead!

OK, let's look at this from a different perspective. Two people are shooting in your home. One of them is the person who invaded your apartment. The other one is you. Which one of those two people is more likely to be a threat to your family or neighbors? Which one is more likely to stop shooting and presenting a threat to others once the other guy is stopped?

For that matter, do you think your attacker is as concerned with overpentration as you are? How does that safety outcome look when everything in your apartment provides him with hard cover but he can shoot right through the entire place with his ammo?

Gun ownership and employment comes with great responsibility, you can't just shoot up the building and say "well I had no choice"

This is a straw man argument that nobody here is making. Nobody is saying "shoot up the building" and nobody is saying that you don't have a very grave responsibility here.

Instead, I am pointing out that any firearm that has a good chance of immediately stopping a deadly threat by physically forcing the body to shut down is also going to pose a risk to anybody standing behind 1" of powdered gypsum and paper. Your body is much tougher than drywall and it is unrealistic to expect something that won't penetrate drywall to be effective in physically forcing someone to stop an attack.

I think most people would be better off putting their energy into training and preparation. Learn to use and manipulate the weapon well so that fewer rounds are necessary to begin with. Secure your apartment so that you have ample warning of threats and time to react. Look at your layout now and learn what directions are "safe" backstops and which aren't so that you don't have to make that call under pressure.

If you decide you are willing to risk greater injury or death in order to limit the penetration of misses, then realize that even limited penetration loads can still seriously injure and maim people and don't have unrealistic expectations that because you loaded your pistol with Glasers, you can now safely fire at will without regard for backstop. And realize that if you reduce your ammo to the point it won't penetrate two 1/2" pieces of sheetrock, well, chances are very good that your effective range is around 6-8' and even then you may need to shoot repeatedly to stop the attack.

8shot357
April 12, 2011, 03:26 PM
Without reading all the things that have been said (Deja vu), a good light load 38 should be good. I for one believe in the prefrages in the apartment thing.

Old Grump
April 13, 2011, 02:10 PM
My bedside gun is a 357 loaded with 158 gr LSWC 38 specials. That is for my bed to my bedroom door distance. When I get to my feet it is a 20 gauge shotgun loaded with #4 shot. Farthest shot possible in my house is 8 yards and that is close enough for a serious hurting. If I lived alone my choice would be different but wall penetration is an issue for me so this is my choice.

For inhouse distance in an apartment any of these will do but in a revolver. I have had problems getting them to feed in a pistol. http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/index.php/cName/38-special-frangible-ammo

NJgunowner
April 13, 2011, 02:17 PM
Shotgun with a light shot will get the job done and penetrate less drywall than the average pistol round. Then there's the whole "scare" factor of the shotgun. The average thug gets docile with any gauge shotgun pointed at them.

sirsloop
April 13, 2011, 02:30 PM
I usually would say use 00 Buck in a pump shotgun, but frangible ammo sounds darn good in this situation. I like .357 magnum :)

mnero
April 13, 2011, 03:38 PM
As usual grump makes good sense. A few incidents amongst hundreds of millions of americans is not an argument against bird shot to the face at 6' not incapacitating the victim. I will take my chances, besides my .38 is my first choice. At 6 or 10 feet I wouldn't miss, but if I thought different i would grab the twelve loaded as I said earlier.

Lokpyrite
April 14, 2011, 02:08 AM
#4 Buck or heavier, Don't be like Dick Cheney:D

ZCORR Jay
April 14, 2011, 10:23 AM
I agree with all the others that suggest a 20g. Hopefully just the sight of a gun will have the BG running and save you having to fire.

I'd say a dog is the best security system but a small apt is no place for a big dog.

Bubba in c.a.
April 20, 2011, 08:33 PM
One shot of .38 to center of mass= almost no chance of one-shot stop.
One shot of buck to center of mass= almost 100% chance of one-shot stop.
Is your perp a serious threat or are we just fooling around?

youngunz4life
April 20, 2011, 08:44 PM
reference post#6 with any questions

mnero
April 20, 2011, 09:23 PM
Bubba a .38 pistol at close range to the torso will stop almost any man; even if he is wearing a vest he will probably be knocked down. If a 9mm can do it certainly a .38 will work and the police carry 9mm's mostly. I like .357 but I only have one in a lever action rifle; guess I could always grab the henry:D

jhenry
April 21, 2011, 07:32 AM
A .38 to the vest is not going to knock anybody of normal human size down. You may fall down, or hop about and swear for a bit, but you are not going to get knocked down. Rumor and myth. Not a 9mm either.

madlink
April 21, 2011, 09:04 AM
This discussion is very helpful, as it makes me think about how I would handle a defense situation. That being said, the comment from mnero that "when the shooting starts and it is your cherry experience, you are in full panic mode (almost everyone)" is something to consider. Practice helps, of course, but when the situation actually arises I wonder how well I would actually perform. Probably not as well as I would like!

I keep a Glock 36 (.45 acp carry model, for those who don't know) in a drawer near the bed, with 185gr frangible bullets in the rounds. But nothing in the chamber: I don't want to accidentally pull the trigger on a round while retrieving the gun. I do worry about how well I could cycle the slide to load a round.

My pump shotgun, on a rack in the bedroom, has the following sequence of shells:
first: blank
second: #4 birdshot
third: 00 buck
fourth: #4 birdshot
fifth: 00 buck

I like the idea of a night light, to have some chance of identifying the person(s) in the room.

BfloBill
April 21, 2011, 07:47 PM
Madlink-Just my opinion, but what about replacing that blank with a non-lethal round? I just think a blank is like a bluff, and if the situation is serious enough to grab a shotgun I don't want to try to bluff.

OP- The first thing I would do is look into the construction of the building. Brick? Firewall? Which walls are they?
You could have a defensive plan where your lines of fire are at those walls.

Also, I think a shotgun in addition to being more intimidating, would give you more load options to reduce overpenetration.

Last, what ranges are we talking? The farthest I can shoot in my house realistically is 23'. My load choice for a shotgun would be different than if my distance was (like my parents house) 35' or (in my friends appartment) 12 to 15'.

madlink
April 22, 2011, 08:28 AM
BfloBill - What would be a non-lethal round, other than a blank? The blank is there to make lots of noise, to intimidate a "casual" intruder. Of course a drugged-up BG probably wouldn't be intimidated by it, but there is a real (#4 birdshot) shell right after that one, and a 00 buck just after that!

BfloBill
April 22, 2011, 08:45 AM
Check these out. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM831-5.html They fire a 40 gram bean bag projectile designed for "animal and riot control" for "behavior modification at close range".

I have no personal experience with them, but they could serve the same purpose as what you intend the blank for, but if the intruder is a determined attacker it will at least slow him down so you can jack one of your real rounds into the chamber.

I also saw (although I'm sure they would not be available to the public) an experimental round that was a taser round. It was a self contained taser that fits inside a 12 ga shotshell and is activated when fired. Obviously this is not the option I was referring to, I just thought it was cool.:D

Bartholomew Roberts
April 22, 2011, 09:29 AM
They fire a 40 gram bean bag projectile designed for "animal and riot control" for "behavior modification at close range".

Those rounds are capable of, and have, killed people - and that is when used by law enforcement officers who were trained in their use. They are a poor choice for home defense for the following reasons:

1. In many states, they are limited by the same laws that govern the use of lethal force - meaning if you can't legally shoot them with the buckshot, you can't legally shoot them with this either.

2. If it is a deadly force situation, then you face an immediate threat of death or serious injury that needs to be stopped quickly. In that scenario, shooting at someone with a round that isn't designed to either injure or kill but occasionally does is the worst of all possible worlds.

3. When police utilize these kinds of rounds, they do it while wearing body armor and with other officers wearing body armor backing them up with lethal force. Doing it in your pajamas by yourself might not be as successful.

This subject has been discussed in more depth here:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=445382

While I'd agree that having the first round loaded with a blank is a bad idea on a number of levels, I'd say that on the sliding scale of bad ideas, it is still a better idea than using a less-lethal round.

mnero
April 29, 2011, 02:55 PM
Really Henry? I have never actually seen it, so you may well be right. If you actually look at the amount of momentum the average 38 special +p has at 10' I think you are. Bubba suggested that it has a low chance of incapaciting one even with a torso hit; now that is certainly not true. Most men shot with a .38 round in the torso are going down. Certainly he is right that a 12 gauge shot gun with OO Buck will do better, but so would a bazooka or a grenade launcher. I saw that in the remake of the movie Scarface; how cool was that:D

Straycorpse
April 29, 2011, 03:35 PM
Let me tell those who don't know; it looks bad, it smells bad and it taste bad...you won't forget not ever. Sorry to be so damn preachy but well it hits home when I hear people talk about killing so casually. Killing is wrong it is always wrong; sometimes it is neccesary, but that don't make it right!

This may be true for most of us, that we don't know what it's like. But when it comes down to me and my family's safety I'm pulling the trigger. I live in Las Vegas where they seem to think home invasions are a weekend hobby. They were hitting houses as close as 2 1/2 miles from my home. The latest attack, a little over a week ago, was just 1/4 mile away.

I (now) own a G27 .40 and was thinking the same thing, that it may pass into my neighbors house. So I'm going to get a Mossberg 12 gauge for a couple reasons. I don't want to aim in the middle of the night. It will be pistol grip and have a front grip as well. I'm not concerned with 5, 6, or 7 +1, if they stick around after the first couple of shots they are some gutsy SOBs.
I would also feel more comfortable about the buck shot hitting various objects/furniture around the house and not penetrating the wall like the small powerful round from the G27. Even in an apartment there must be something in the way of you and your neighbor than just the wall. I can't imagine you pointing dead square at their wall, it should go through a door way/next room then into the wall? But if that is the case you can always go next door and find out exactly what room of theirs you're aiming at. You may get lucky and discover it's just their refrigerator and kitchen cupboards.

mnero
April 29, 2011, 04:07 PM
OOO buck might be a good comprimise on the penetration concerns. Is a rifled slug likely to go through an individual and still have any ballistic properties left or will it tumble around inside the person and therefore be of little risk to anyone else? I have never seen one used except on a paper target, but I would think they would not be likely to exit a person with much spin or force left in them. For me bird shot then a rifled slug in the second barrel, but I am wondering about the risk of using the slug? It is a 20 gauge coach gun.

Achilles11B
April 29, 2011, 10:11 PM
Quick question that's kind of on topic but kind of not at the same time:

I've seen a lot of .223 HD ammo that claims to be designed for 'maximum expansion without overpenetration', would these be good to even consider or would the frangible route be best?

mnero
April 29, 2011, 10:45 PM
I would be reluctant to use the .223 rem. If you hit the target it won't exit, as it tends to tumble inside the body and lose all of its ballistic properties, but if you miss and it goes through a very thin wall or a window, it may travel a good distance still.

Sriracha
April 29, 2011, 11:11 PM
I second the opinion that over-penetration is over-scrutinized.

Minimize the total number of projectiles fired by both you and the assailant.

If this means using 00 buck to quickly end the fight, then so be it.

jct61765
April 30, 2011, 01:13 AM
Glaser safety slugs or corbon. Very low penetration in walls, doors etc. Devastating to the human body. If corbon is good enough for the air marshals its good enough for me.

rjrivero
April 30, 2011, 07:19 AM
In Toledo, you just need a sock with a can of peas if you have the right mind-set.

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvg/story?section=news/local&id=6948142

Ghost22
April 30, 2011, 08:57 AM
Back when I lived in an apartment 2 years ago, I keep my 9mm loaded with 100 gr. Corbon Powerball (i.e. a 90 gr. hollowpoint with 10 gr. of rubber in the nose). Prior to buying the 9mm, I also kept a Winchester 110 gr. hollowpoint load in my .357. My philosophy was any load will be able to go through those very thin walls, but if I can cut down on how many walls it went through that’s at least reducing the risk of harming someone innocent. The light/fast hollowpoints I picked has less than optimal penetration on a target (10ish inches in ballistics gel if remember right), but are more likely to either stay in the target or lose most of their velocity if they exits. Also, a light/fast bullet is more likely to fragment if I missed and hit the siding the lined much of exterior my second apartment.

mnero
April 30, 2011, 10:03 AM
Jct, that is a great point about the air marshalls; I bet they don't want any holes in the plane:cool:

Bartholomew Roberts
April 30, 2011, 11:07 AM
I've seen a lot of .223 HD ammo that claims to be designed for 'maximum expansion without overpenetration', would these be good to even consider or would the frangible route be best?

Like anything .223 needs good ammo selection. Some of the really light rounds are so limited in penetration that they are limited in where they are useful. And as mnero pointed out, if you have a large window or plank exterior in your background, .223 and buckshot will both go through those; but .223 may travel much farther.

I would stay away from frangible ammo. Frangible is usually used to reduce damage on backstops at ranges. It tends to be less reliable than normal ammo and inconsistent in what it does from what I've read.

if corbon is good enough for the air marshals it is good enough for me

According to this article (http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/daily-news-article/air_marshals_warn_their_bullets_are_too_powerful/), Air Marshals use Speer Gold Dot 125gr JHP.

And you can learn more about Glaser Safety Slugs here (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336409[/url).

theblakester
May 11, 2011, 12:10 AM
IMHO, any round that will reliably stop a bad guy will also penetrate multiple walls, but to many people's surprise, most rifles and hand guns penetrate more walls than buck shot. If you value your life and your families' lives more than that of a bad guy, don't use bird shot for home defense in any dwelling, therefore #4 buck shot would be your smallest, least penetrating option. Practice, preparation, practice, practice and preparation are all very important. I live in a duplex, and I use #3 buck shot in my 20 gauge close to my bed (I keep my 12 gauge in another section of the house loaded with #1 buck shot). It's readily available at most stores that sell ammunition. I don't suggest attempting to clear any rooms, unless you have to get to a loved one in another room. Get insurance, and let the police handle that. If you do have to get to a loved one in another room, a pistol is more easily maneuverable, but in a shoot out a shotgun w/ buck shot will end the fight the quickest (assuming you do your part--center of mass). However, practice and preparation are key with any weapon you decide to go w/, because the best weapon to use is the one that you are the most efficient with. Oh ya don't forget to practice and be well prepared!
Check out these links for penetration tests with different guns and loads
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3.htm
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot14.htm
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot1.htm
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot22.htm

bigbaby
May 11, 2011, 12:25 AM
I live in an apartment, alone. So all I have to worry about is me. I keep a 38 pistol on the night stand. I have a few shot guns but they aren't usually loaded. I figure at close range, like anywhere in my apartment, I probably won't miss. Sure I don't want to hit the neighbors, but what can I do. I can't not shot at a burglar if he is armed or attacking. It's bad enough that you have to watch your back on the street, but these days you aren't even safe at home.

Bubba in c.a.
May 12, 2011, 02:04 PM
Much is said about one's responsibility for the end result of every round or every pellet sent down range. But in reality, could that be construed to mean that one should not shoot a dangerous perp if the background is not optimal???
What are you going to do? Re-holster and hope the next time the circumstances are better?
Up close and dangerous, my choice would be buckshot, and at room distance it doesn't really matter if we are talking 12 or 20, 00 or 4, low recoil or standard. At room distance, what is important is massive power and quick. Another good choice would be .223 hollow point or frangible, or any fat-bullet handgun round with hollow points. I'd even throw in .38+p.
Over-penetration can partially avoided by ammo choice. Misses sailing off into the distance can be partially avoided by training and skill. That's about where it stands. Using the BGs body as the bullet stop is the best deal.