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Old December 2, 2013, 11:42 AM   #1
ATN082268
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Choice of handgun for Home Defense

Hello everyone,

I wanted to ask everyone what would be the best choice of handgun for Home Defense with the possibility of concealed carry down the road. In any case, the primary role will be home defense. I am a novice and cost isn't likely to be an issue unless you get really silly. I was kind of leaning towards a Smith and Wesson. 357 Revolver with a 3 or 4 inch barrel. Also, what ammunition would you recommend? Thank you.

Sincerely,

Andrew

Last edited by ATN082268; December 2, 2013 at 01:31 PM.
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Old December 2, 2013, 01:44 PM   #2
pilpens
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For defense (home or CCW), I like DAO or similar trigger with minimal external controls – for simplicity.
Following are good reliable conceal carry firearms and can easily do double duty as home defense firearms:
1. Kahr K9
2. Glock 26, 19.
3. Ruger SP101 .357.
4. S&W J frame - like a 640, 60, 36, 642, etc.


- How do you plan to store your firearm – a round chambered/on you, loaded in a safe, nightstand? What about during the day?
- If you plan to keep your firearm loaded, I strongly recommend keeping it in a holster so that the trigger is protected.
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Old December 2, 2013, 01:54 PM   #3
Buzzcook
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The short answer is a shotgun.

The slightly longer answer is whatever handgun you shoot best.
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Old December 2, 2013, 02:16 PM   #4
RX-79G
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For home defense I would favor something with a real DA trigger (10 lbs.) for at least the first shot. 3am is no time to have to remember where the safety is or good trigger discipline, so having a fairly firm trigger pull will keep you from an ND. Storing the gun in a holster is another decent safety procedure.

A revolver is a fine choice, with that in mind. For home an 8 round model would apeal more to me. A friend keeps his with the first trigger pull chamber empty, so the trigger must be pulled twice before it is fired, to prevent it being turned on anyone too easily.

Most any 9mm or larger auto will work as well as a revolver and hold more rounds. Picking a decent carry gun is fine. If you aren't going to carry, I'd choose longer barrels (less flash) and more capacity.

The best possible accessory are night sights. They allow you to aim in any light.
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Old December 2, 2013, 02:19 PM   #5
RBid
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Choice of handgun for Home Defense

The key to finding the answer is to ask relevant questions.

- what is your plan to balance weapon accessibility with weapon security?

- how much time are you willing to invest in developing proficiency with a weapon?

- where is your 'line' with regard to the extent to which you are willing to prepare? To clarify: some people are willing to bank on 6 rounds being enough. Others want 30 rounds on tap. Each of us can only prepare to a certain point, defined by our personal values and resources.

- do you need or want a weapon mounted light?

- what are your resource constraints?

- if you're trying to cover HD and concealed carry with one solution, what are your concealment needs? How much gun can you commit to carrying?


Figuring out YOUR answers to those questions will help you narrow down the possible answers.
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Old December 2, 2013, 04:11 PM   #6
ClydeFrog
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Guns and training....

First, I'd go & rent or borrow a few different styles & or brands you can try.
In general, Id start with a simple, stainless steel 5/6/7 round .38spl +P or .357magnum like a S&W 442/642, a 638, a Bodyguard .38spl(with a red laser aimer), a 686+ with a 3" barrel, a Ruger GP100 4" barrel, a Ruger LCR .357magnum or the top rated SP101 with a DA only format(my first handgun in 1993).
DA only weapons are far better because you avoid false claims of reckless use or cocking the hammer back in a lethal force event. The spurs can also snag or jab you in the side. I have packed DA only revolvers & semi auto pistols with 0 problems since the early 1990s.
A top gunsmith can convert a DA/SA revolver to DA only too. See www.geminicustoms.com or Clark Custom Guns. They do S&W & Ruger wheelguns.
With some revolver brands you can add a CT laser aimer; www.crimsontrace.com . A bright red or green laser can aid you in a home defense event. CrimsonTrace offers a free 2013 product DVD too.
I'd add that you should learn & understand the gun and use of force laws too. See www.nra.org www.handgunlaw.us www.gunlawguide.com .
Clean & service your firearm. Dirt, grit, dust, etc can cause a lot of problems even with DA revolvers. A good CLP & maybe some Hoppes #9 or Butch's Bore Solvent can help. Top brands include; LPX, Gunzilla, Ballistol, Slip2000, Weaponshield. Don't use too much CLP or gun oil. Excessive amounts of grease or oil is a common problem most armorers & gunsmiths see.
As for ammunition; use only factory rounds, no reloads or hand loads.
For .38spl +P, Id look at these brands; Speer Gold Dot +P 135gr, DPX, Ranger T/T Series, MagSafe SWAT, Buffalo Bore 158gr lead SWC-HP +P, Glaser Silver Safety Slug.

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www.sgammo.com www.natchezss.com www.midwayusa.com www.gunzilla.us www.shopcorbon.com www.mpro7.com www.weaponshield.com
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Old December 2, 2013, 05:00 PM   #7
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IMHO the best choice is what you will be comfortable with. For me, the "ideal" home/personal/carry defense gun is a Colt 1911 Commander in .45 Auto -- although I'm toying with building a Commander in .38 Super.

I don't think anyone else can or should tell you what's best for you.
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Old December 2, 2013, 05:20 PM   #8
David White
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Choice of handgun for Home Defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by RX-79G View Post
A friend keeps his with the first trigger pull chamber empty, so the trigger must be pulled twice before it is fired, to prevent it being turned on anyone too easily.
That is a very interesting insight. I applaud the advice as I don't think many assume their weapon will ever be used against them.
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Old December 2, 2013, 06:09 PM   #9
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I found this statement “interesting”

For at least the first shot. 3am is no time to have to remember where the safety is or good trigger discipline, so having a fairly firm trigger pull will keep you from an ND.

As a former US Marine, Former employee of the DOD, and a former sheriff’s deputy I have been around firearms in this and in other countries for many years and in many instances I was “around” those that were being shot in my direction.

I would like to point out that from 1911 until today many US servicemen have relied on handguns that had safety locks, and all have been around shotguns and rifles with safety locks. None have ever had any problems with them but for the reason of lack of training and/or lack of proper mindset.

Without a proper mindset and proper gun handling no firearm is “safe” any more than any automobile is “safe” when driven carelessly or recklessly.

Safety cannot be “designed” into poor gun handling anymore than crash proofing can be installed into a car.

Because you stated that the handgun may be used as a concealed carry weapon in the future I will answer with what I believe is the best advice I could give.

Get a handgun that you like to shoot, and shoot it a lot until you become proficient with it. Get some GOOD training in gun handling and in combative use of firearms.

As far as choice of guns goes, your choice is fine. A good DA 357 is a fine way to go. Is it “the best”? Well, that depends on the man you ask. But it’s a good way to go if not the “best” way to go. More reliability is better than less. More power is better than less up to the point that you cannot handle it, or to the point you have more than you need. (an example might be getting a Ruger Super Redhawk in 454 Casull)

In all deadly combat there are 2 factors that are all-important.

#1 is luck. If you are unlucky no amount of training and no weapon will help you.
If you are very lucky you will survive even if you do everything wrong.

#2 is the ability of the fighter.

#2 is something you can control. #1 is not.

So train and become as proficient as you can. Excellence in action is something that the fighter can have a great degree of control over and luck in not.

Remember that in deadly combat the act of shooting is probably only 2-3% of the equation. 97-98% of the equation is situational awareness.
This part includes knowing the ground, linier and circler access and avenues of retreat, communications, cover and concealment and so on.

Controlling the battle ground is by far the most important factor in ANY fight, from a potential mugging to the Battle of the Bulge.

Superior weaponry in an inferior position is still going to loose the ground. That’s why bunkers with machine guns and artillery can and have been defeated by soldiers with rifles and grenades only. When you loose control of the ground you loose the ability to dictate the action.

So get the best training you can and leave the rest to God.
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Old December 2, 2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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ATN, you have some excellent info to guide you already above. And from some folks who really know their stuff. So I'll be brief and give you my 2 cents worth.
I prefer a pistol over a long gun/shotgun for the reason that in a home invasion situation, you will most likely be in very close quarters. Coming around a corner, there is an easier opportunity for a BG to grab the end of your shotgun's barrel than a pistol. Then it turns into a hand to hand combat which could go wrong very fast. The gun you describe, a 4" 357 revolver would work very well. I don't know that I would want to use such gun as a CCW simply because I prefer the higher capacity pistols over revolvers. Plus a pistol is much faster to reload via clips than a revolver. Stay with 9mm or larger. As for bullet, remember, your talking close quarters. Any quality made hollow point is going to really ruin the BG's day. Also, another reason I prefer a higher capacity and fast reloading pistol over a revolver is that you are NOT guaranteed that there will only be one home invader. I forget the exact percentage, but the percentage of home invasions involving more than one intruder is very high.
Are their children in the house? If so, consider a pistiol with a good EASILY worked safety. I have a S&W 4013 TWS in .40 cal. I purchased this gun because it filled my needs. Not too big to carry, plenty of fire power, VERY reliable, felt good in my hands and shot very nice. But most importantly to me at the time with two children in the house, it had a very good safety system. The hammer block safety, plus it would not fire without the clip in the gun. So even though I had a trigger lock for securing the gun when I was not at home, when I was at home, I kept the clip close to the gun, not in it. That gave me piece of mind should little hands find it.
That's my thoughts. Like mentioned already, be sure to find something you feel confident in, and that feels good in your hands. And put in enough hours at the shooting range so you become proficient with your weapon.
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Old December 2, 2013, 07:46 PM   #11
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For me the perfect pistol for home defense and cc is a Sig P250c 9mm, has a DAO trigger and is easy to conceal.
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Old December 2, 2013, 09:07 PM   #12
skoro
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Choice of handgun for Home Defense

My choice is a S&W revolver in 38spl.

I can load it today and know that in a decade it'll function perfectly if needed. No issues with magazine springs or misfeeds.
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Old December 2, 2013, 09:11 PM   #13
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Find something you are comfortable with first. You need to shoot several to see what fits and feels right. The Sig P229 I think is perfect is not the first choice of everyone else for some reason.

It might br a revolver, shotgun or even an AK.
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Old December 2, 2013, 10:12 PM   #14
RX-79G
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Quote:
None have ever had any problems with them but for the reason of lack of training and/or lack of proper mindset.
What's the "mindset" of someone woken from REM sleep at 3 AM? I'll bet it isn't so awesome, or people wouldn't do all the stupid stuff they do when woken in the middle of the night.

I do agree that everyone can and should train themselves to use a handgun properly. I think that includes learning to control a DA trigger, and not having to rely on a very light trigger to shoot straight. (Crazy idea, I know.)

Regardless of how well anyone is trained, adding an additional layer of mechanical safety is just sensible. It isn't a replacement for good habits, but a parachute for when training fails. The military has never relied solely on training for the proper operation of weapons, vehicles or anything else dangerous. They are taught and employed in conjunction.


All of this is, as always, IMHO. But I think that new people will get more out of learning to properly use a revolver or DA/SA pistol with a hammer than starting with a Glock or SAO. Once you can pull a 12 pound trigger and hit a target there is not going to be any kind of gun you can't shoot well.
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Old December 2, 2013, 11:46 PM   #15
ATN082268
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I appreciate the advice everyone has given (or will give). It has given me a lot to think about.
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Old December 3, 2013, 01:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX-79G
A friend keeps his with the first trigger pull chamber empty, so the trigger must be pulled twice before it is fired, to prevent it being turned on anyone too easily.
This is a very bad idea; one of the worst home defense ideas I've heard in a while. So this means your friend has to pull the trigger twice to get his first shot off, which means his first shot - the most important shot - will take longer to get off and will almost certainly be less accurate. Also, since he knows the first trigger pull won't fire the gun, he may be tempted to "prep" the gun and pull the trigger once to ready him for the second pull that will actually fire a round. But what if he forgets to leave a chamber empty and accidentally fires an errant round with that first trigger pull, essentially firing a warning shot? In a self-defense shooting, a warning shot can have criminal implications.

Basically, your friend is training himself to treat his home-defense gun like it's unloaded, because it IS unloaded for the first shot. This seems like a recipe for a negligent discharge.

There are many other ways to ensure a gun isn't turned against you, but this is a terrible idea.
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Old December 3, 2013, 03:11 AM   #17
RX-79G
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As long as my friend doesn't give in to this apparently unstoppable longing to pre-stage the trigger he'll be just fine. He can operate a DA trigger well enough to pull it twice or more in a row and hit well at defense ranges (short range).

Of all the various things we debate being able to do under stress, I wouldn't have thought pulling a trigger twice would be so hard.
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Old December 3, 2013, 03:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX-79G
Of all the various things we debate being able to do under stress, I wouldn't have thought pulling a trigger twice would be so hard.
If you can't figure out for yourself why this is such a terrible idea, then there's not much I can do to convince you. All I can ask is that you and your friend both get some good self-defense handgun training, because anyone who thinks your friend's idea is a good one obviously needs all the training they can get.
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Old December 3, 2013, 12:49 PM   #19
peacefulgary
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There's certainly nothing wrong with a revolver, especially if you don't frequently practice stoppage drills (and few folks do).
But over all, I recommend a 9mm auto such as the Sig 239, Springfield Armory XDm 9, Ruger SR9, or Glock 19, or S&W M&P9.
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Old December 3, 2013, 03:58 PM   #20
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The Iron Rule of Self Defense/Home defense is that only the hits count. Better off with a 38 Special you have practiced with and can shoot well than a .357 or more caliber that you are not proficient with. A 4" .357-with adjustable sights is an execllent choice. Shoot 38 Special wadcutters until you are proficient the .357s to get familiar with them. and for Home Defense I think a good 38 Special load will do fine.
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Old December 3, 2013, 04:31 PM   #21
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When I'm asked this question I always say get a shotgun and have ServePro on speed dial.

I use a colt detectives special and an Remington 870 shotgun for home defense.
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Old December 3, 2013, 07:33 PM   #22
RX-79G
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I prefer a handgun to a shotgun because it is hard to answer the door casually with a shotgun, and it is a little less maneuverable.

We talk about home defense like it is going to be some sort of systematic assault, but more often then not it is something like a stranger at the door, a child arriving home at an unexpected time with a friend or a drunk. Being able to check things out with a firearm available but not obvious is a benefit in those situations. A long arm can be either too provocative or get left behind for fear that it will be.
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Old December 3, 2013, 08:02 PM   #23
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Home defense weaponry should be a well rounded thought. A handgun is a good idea for quick applications and home searching (not a good idea unless you have been specially trained in this activity). Shotguns are great for a safe room (where your family holds out, calls 911, and waits for the cavalry). A rifle can be beneficial if you are in a country setting and your neighbors are not close. I live in a small city but have at least one of each available. My handguns for this are a Beretta 92F, 4" S&W model 686, 4" S&W model 28, 4" S&W model 10, 3"S&W model 65. My wife's home defense handgun is a 2 1/2" S&W model 66. With the right ammunition a 3 or 4 inch S&W revolver will serve you very well. My shotgun is a 20" Remington 870 Wingmaster. My rifles are a Colt AR-15 SP1 and a Beretta CX4 Storm set up to match my 92F. Another piece of equipment is a good high output flashlight. A bright flashlight may blind the invader to the point they don't want to fight. I new of a guy many years ago who used a 1,000,000 CP rechargeable spotlight. With that shining at the subject he never had to fire his Colt 45 ACP.
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Old December 3, 2013, 08:30 PM   #24
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For general HD like answering the door, investigating an unusual sound, etc. a four inch K-frame S&W in .357 or .38 spl. is my choice. Either one loaded with .38spl. +P158 gr. LSWCHP ammo. For those loud smash/bang door shattering sounds I prefer a shotgun loaded with Buckshot. YMMV. tom.
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Old December 3, 2013, 08:58 PM   #25
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transitioning from k-frame 38spl to G21 w/light.
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