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Old December 19, 2012, 10:10 PM   #1
easy6
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Home Defense Handgun

I have read many of the posts in the forum pertaining to first time handgun purchases. I have also read many of those threads pertaining to home defense weapons. But my situation is slightly different from most, I am retired and need a handgun strictly for home defense. No target shooting, no competitive shooting and no conceal carry. I am also retired U.S. Navy, can somebody help me with a suggestion.
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Old December 19, 2012, 10:15 PM   #2
Cheapshooter
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A 12 gauge pump action shotgun!
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Old December 19, 2012, 10:18 PM   #3
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advice

Easy6: I would recommend a revolver in .38/.357 caliber. Simple and reliable.
A good pump shotgun would also be very effective.
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Old December 19, 2012, 10:26 PM   #4
Super Sneaky Steve
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Might as well go for an eight round .357 magnum. Like the Model 327 Night Guard. Comes with fancy Tritium night sights too.
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Old December 19, 2012, 10:28 PM   #5
jason_iowa
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If you are only going to have 1 HD weapon make it the 12g/20g pump 20g if your wife/gf is small. I think every home should come with a shotgun. Just like a fire extinguisher. Hope ya never need it but it should be there in case you do.

If you want a handgun also there are tons of choices atm. There may not be next year but right now there are if you can find em. So it really depends on your experience and what you are comfortable with. I would want something with dual purpose such as a carry/hd gun or if you are interested in handgun hunting maybe get something you could use for both. 357 with a 4in barrel is plenty for hd/ hunting <deer in iowa anyway> and carry. I carry one as a bug. There is a large variety of bullet choices and you can get revolvers in 6, 7 or 8 shot. It will shoot 38s for practice or low recoil defense ammo. It is probably one of the most versatile gun/ammo combos available.

As important as having a home defense fire arm is the plan is just as important. Getting everyone to a "safe room" where you can hold up and call the police. Just like a plan for a home fire this should be part of every households emergency planning.

Good luck!
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Old December 19, 2012, 10:30 PM   #6
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For simplicity and ease of use a revolver is hard to beat. A 4" medium frame .357/38 would be a very good choice in my opinion. Specifically a Ruger GP 100 would be my choice. An S&W 686 is also a fine choice. Loaded with quality +P .38 rounds with a speed loader or two at hand and you're good to go.

If you're comfortable with a semiauto then your options are many. There are many 9mm, .40, and .45 acp (among others) to chose from.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:11 PM   #7
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Go and actually handle and shoot some guns. See if there's a class that supplies guns. If you can't do that go buy a used glock or Smith M&P and shoot it and get the feel for it. Then if you don't like it you can get your money back out of it and you'll have a better idea of what you like and don't like in a pistol.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:21 PM   #8
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dont call 911 call .357

get yourself a .357magnum wheelgun
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:27 PM   #9
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.357 revolver or a 12 gauge, whichever you'd be more comfortable with.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:34 PM   #10
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My mother carries a .357 Ruger. But she only shoots the .38 spec out of it.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:40 PM   #11
AndyWest
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I agree that a 12ga is best for HD, FD (Family Defense, is that a thing?). EVERYONE knows the sound of a shotgun racking and that alone may be enough deterrent. But I'm a pistol guy too so if you go that way, any quality model above 22 will help you sleep as long as you get comfortable shooting it accurately. I keep a P226 40 in the nightstand.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:43 PM   #12
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So basically you don't have to compromise on size.

My answer to your similar question was a Glock 22. Full-sized, 15+1 capacity, .40 S&W. I had also considered a Glock 21, which is the full-sized .45.

However, your options of buying decent-capacity semi-autos may be significantly reduced going forward (eithe because of scarcity / inflated prices due to panic buying, or a new magazine capacity restriction).

So I'd say perhaps a Glock 30 (10+1 rounds of .45), a 1911-style .45 (8+1), or a full-sized revolver, perhaps a S&W 686+ in 3" or 4" with 7 rounds of .357 or .38.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:53 PM   #13
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Agree, no reason not to go with a full-size if you settle on a pistol. Glocks and SIGs are both great choices. Something you can grab and fire immediately assuming you keep it chambered. I prefer the SIG in this case cause it has a hammer and decocker. Less to think about when you're sleepy.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:54 PM   #14
chris in va
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Rent a few so you can assess how easy they are to shoot and work the controls. Revolvers are fine, but keep in mind recoil can hamper a repeat shot and reloading will take practice. I sold my Ruger for those reasons.

Also you MUST have a strong flashlight to identify your target. An elderly gentleman shot his wife by accident one night not realizing she got up to get a drink of water. He just saw a dark figure in the doorway of his room.
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:14 AM   #15
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Ouch, that's dark chris, but yeah something to consider. My P226 came with a free STL-900L light/laser. I consider the layzer somewhat silly but the light is decent and only requires a quick trigger-finger poke to enable. Nice option to have in a nighttime SD situation.
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:18 AM   #16
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4" GP100 .357
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:27 AM   #17
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Most of the recommendations for a revolver are spot on. Since you said "handgun" I assume you have a reason for that opposed to a shotgun. Caliber for home defenses should at least be a .38 or larger. A .357 gives you options of shooting either .38 or .357. Although I have not shot the new .45/410 handguns, that may be a good compromise between a shotgun and handgun. Some of the new 410 loads for these revolvers are pretty impressive. I would not want to carry those huge chunks of metal on my hip, but for a night stand home defense gun weight is not that important. Try shooting it w/ the 410 and .45 and see how you like it.

Do not go with an auto loader unless you are willing to spend the time to be able to manipulate it, clear jams, change mags, etc under stress just as easy in pitch dark as in day light. Most people think more bullets is the answer and are dead wrong. The answer is reliability.... which is a revolver. Self defense auto loaders are only for those who spend enough time with them to be be tactically proficient under stress. At the risk of insulting all of the self proclaimed gun slingers, most of the non LE public does not train or train properly with an auto loader for self defense.
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:27 AM   #18
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The Iron Rule is to find something that feels right in your hand and you can shoot well. And Practice, Practice, Practice.
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:40 AM   #19
AndyWest
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Colbad, be reasonable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colbad
Do not go with an auto loader unless you are willing to spend the time to be able to manipulate it, clear jams, change mags, etc under stress just as easy in pitch dark as in day light.
One could easily counter with trigger pull weight and alignment concerns with a revolver. And reloading times? Come on, we're talking about SD/HD. Both offer "grab n shoot" options under sleepy duress.
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Old December 20, 2012, 01:01 AM   #20
Lost Sheep
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More information, please

Welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice.

Depending on the layout of your home and its surroundings, a handgun may not be the best choice. Shotguns have already been mentioned.

If you are not willing to practice, get training. If you are not prepared for the legal and moral aftermath of a shooting, prepare. Review your insurance policies, too.

I don't know how much training you got in the Navy (I got some when I was in the Air Force, especially during my time in combat engineers), but home defense is sufficiently dissimilar that a renewal course is in order.

However, most of the same principles apply. Deterrence. Early detection and alert. Defense in depth. Have a comprehensive defense plan, including calling for backup (911) and (if applicable) escape and evade.

But, to your question.

A gun in the nightstand is next to useless if you are not practiced with it. Any gun is worthwhile if you know what you are doing.

.357 has been mentioned. Muzzle flash may blind you and the report will deafen you, especially in a confined space unless you put on hearing protection when you go to investigate that bump in the night. 38 Special is nearly as effective and somewhat quieter and more manageable. My opinion, 45 ACP is better in a close-range fight.

I mentioned my preference for shotgun. It is much easier to aim, less likely to send a deadly bullet outside your walls (to injure innocents outside). If your defense plan involves a stationary defense, it is hard to do better in most home layouts.

If you choose a handgun, stay away from the compact models. They are much harder to hit with. Full-size, hand-filling is best, but too long a barrel might be a disadvantage if you get into a hand-to-hand grappling session. So, if your defense plan involves clearing your home yourself, 4" to 6" barrel may be optimal.

Revolver or semi-automatic? Revolvers are simpler to operate. Autoloaders have higher capacity for ammunition. Choose caliber and action type first, then make a list of the guns that qualify Choose from that list.

My usual advice is to get a really decent 22 rimfire with target sights (Ruger semi-auto, Mark I or Mark II used or Mark III used or new or Browning Buckmark are good examples of semi-autos) Ruger Single-Six for a single action revolver or Smith & Wesson K-frame 22 or Taurus Model 94 revolver and spend time at a shooting range. There, you will get to see a variety of arms and if you demonstrate good gun handling skills, are likely to be offered the chance to try a few out. (Most gun owners are proud of their hardware and love to show it off to anyone they think might appreciate it.) In a lot of places, you can rent guns at the range, but in my neck of the woods, there are no ranges that rent.

Good luck.

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Old December 20, 2012, 01:21 AM   #21
ClydeFrog
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New home defense sidearm....

Hi:
If you are looking for a simple, basic handgun for protection, I'd look at a few NIB(new in box) .38/.357magnum stainless steel DA or DA only revolvers.
The limited ed Ruger Talo 4" barrel .357magnum is a great defense gun. Other top brands include the S&W 686+ 3" barrel or the 4" L frame. The Ruger GP100 .357magnum or the DA only SP101 snub could do the task.
For protection, I'd use factory made .38spl +P or +P+ rounds. Magnums are top rated but the blast, muzzle flash & recoil may cause major problems.
Good .38spl +P rounds include the Speer Gold Dot 135gr JHP +P, the Corbon DPX, the Buffalo Bore 158gr lead SWC-HP +P, or the Ranger T .38spl +P load.
See www.Brownells.com for gun care/cleaning products. A CLP like Ballistol, Gunzilla or LPX will maintain your firearm.
Learn the local gun & use of force laws. Your actions will be under investigation after a critical incident.
Be ready to protect yourself & use good judgement.
Clyde
ps: a Bore-Store bag is a good way to protect your handgun. It's easy to use & prevents scuffs, rust, nicks. I owned a bag for over 20 years.
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Old December 20, 2012, 01:23 AM   #22
youngunz4life
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buy a stainless steel 357 revolver either smith and wesson or ruger. choose the one that you like that meets that criteria.

the shotgun is a good buy and an added bonus, but if it is gonna be somewhere that you willnot have quick & easy access during sleeping hours, go with the revolver.
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Old December 20, 2012, 01:24 AM   #23
ROSANGHAL
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easy6, coming from the Navy and being retired what guns have you experience with already?
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Old December 20, 2012, 02:20 AM   #24
chris in va
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I will also add, in light of recent events may I suggest a small safe bolted to the wall/floor to prevent theft.
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Old December 20, 2012, 02:39 AM   #25
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Quote:
If you are only going to have 1 HD weapon make it the 12g/20g pump 20g if your wife/gf is small. I think every home should come with a shotgun. Just like a fire extinguisher. Hope ya never need it but it should be there in case you do.
An AR-15 is a far superior home-defense weapon than a shotgun in my opinion.

A shotgun's recoil can be difficult for some people, especially smaller shooters, whereas an AR-15 has barely more recoil than a .22. Also, AR-15s are generally shorter than shotguns and can be fired one-handed; pump shotguns require two hands. And semi-auto shotguns aren't nearly as reliable as an AR-15; and unless the shooter is extremely consistent, even a pump shotgun is less reliable than an AR.

Sure, a shotgun is usually more incapacitating shot-for-shot, but I can put at least two rounds center mass as fast as I can hit just once with most shotguns. And contrary to popular belief, you do need to aim with a shotgun; at home defense ranges the blast is only going to spread a few inches. Also, an AR is going to have a much higher magazine capacity and will be much faster to reload. In addition, light plastic-tipped .223 varmint rounds will usually punch through soft body armor but will penetrate far less through walls than buckshot, meaning you're less likely to kill your neighbors or family members in another room.

There's nothing wrong with using a shotgun for home defense, but I think an AR-15 is easier to use, more effective (especially against multiple attackers and people wearing soft body armor), and also safer for innocent bystanders because of less penetration through walls. The only real disadvantage is cost.
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