OP, my recommendation is PF9, P11, 709Slim, CW9, etc. I'm sure there are other small pistols out there, just depends on how you are dressed (or lack thereof
) at the beach.
You can't shoot someone for stealing property. That's illegal and isn't known as a "justifiable homicide" in "self defense". It's if your life is in "great bodily harm or possible death".
Also, you can have a gun on you and are going to great lengths to do so. Why not also have your wallet on you? I don't get it. Don't get me wrong. In Miami, FL city I was born and raise I always have my gun on me. Rain or shine. Beach or hotel. If that's on me so is my wallet, keys, knife, ID's, phone, spare mag or mags. No reason to separate them unless I'm sleeping or in the shower. (The gun comes with me alone and either sits on the night table or toilet) yeah, home invasions suck.
Anyways, just keep it all together. No need to separate anything or justify why you want to carry at the beach. Obviously you have seen or dealt with something unpleasant. Just do it then. Also remember you CANNOT shoot anyone over property unless they are in your home or you are legitimately in fear for your life or serious bodily harm. If he pulls a knife of gun out on you while in the act. Etc. only you can make that judgement.
Also, in a beach...they're a lot of people for a long long stretch of open area. Any of those bullets that you miss, are going somewhere. And one better pray to God that they're going where you intended them to go and not anywhere else.
A tactic I was taught and learned (by the way is so much easier with soft sand under you) is either kneel/crouch and aim up at the assailant. Or drop down and spread your legs and open fire on the assailant. Thus changing your position as a target and aiming up in case any bullets are missed.
^ that takes a good amount of practice.
Anyways. Hope this helps
I'm also in FL by the East coast (Daytona, Cocoa, etc) and have carried a PF9 and 709Slim in just cargo shorts walking on the beach/pier. I'm always on vacation due to the nature of my job.
Its not only for protection of property, but BG's can rob you as you are walking back and forth to your car or hotel room, esp when its dark or isolated.
When you are carrying, all you really need is your CWL in your pocket, along with your ID if you prefer. ID is not required if you already have your CWL as that is a form of ID in itself. You can leave your cash, wallet, and electronic devices in the car if you don't need them.
And shooting at the beach? well thats the same as a shooting anywhere. People can be around in parking lots, stores, even inside your own residence. Its a general good practice to watch whats behind your shot anyway. You can't always control that though.