So, this is my first post here, but I felt I should interject a little bit of info. I have been in emergency medicine for 10+ years in the Minneapolis area. Now people keep saying that .45, .44 mag, .40, 9mm are all better than a .38 because they make a bigger hole and I have to say, the most tore up gun shot victims when it comes to a hand gun is usually a .22 or .38 sometimes because the bullet doesn't have enough force to leave the body and will bounce around tearing up everything from the chest to the gut. Do they die immediately? No, but they don't usually have a great day. Do they get knocked down immediatly? Not usually, but they don't usually continue their fight either. I carry a Glock 21 in the winter when it is easier to conceal and a .38 sp or .380in the summer for ease of concealment. I am not scared that I will come out on the bad end of a because in reality, shot placement is more important than size.
Of course the reason I rarely see people with a gun shot would from a 12 gauge is that they go to the coroner, and I'm sure they were knocked down almost immediatly which means for home defense, a 12 gauge tactical shot gun is your best bet. hell load it with 2 rounds of #8 shot followed by a couple rounds of 00 buck if needed and you should have nothing to worry about.