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Old May 12, 2012, 06:58 PM   #1
Deja vu
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Best type of gun for home defense in the suburbs with children in the home?

My sister knows I like guns and today asked me what kind of gun she should get for home defense. While I do like guns I live in a home where the nearest neighbor is about 3 miles away and the only other person in the home is my wife 95% of the time. I told her I would think about it an call her back tomorrow (being mothers day and all)

My knee jerk response was a 12ga pump but after thinking about there being kids in the home I was leaning more toward a rifle or a handgun.

What do you guys think?
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...

Last edited by Deja vu; May 12, 2012 at 07:06 PM.
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:10 PM   #2
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I think your first thought was a good one. However, for your sister, I'd say 20ga as apposed to 12ga. More controllable and still packs plenty of punch. I'm 6', 240lbs, and I prefer 20ga. to 12.
With kids in the house and neighbors close, a rifle is way more likely to punch through walls, and a handgun is more likely to look like a toy if the kids ever find it.
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:19 PM   #3
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I think a handgun is ideal for her. She can get a small bio-metric type safe that can sit under her night stand and will only open with a key or her fingerprints. Keeping the gun handy, loaded and ready to go while safe from the kids.

What kind of handgun is anyone's guess.
If she is the type who is willing to train, I would suggest going with the largest caliber mid to full size pistol that feels good in her hand. If she doesn't like the recoil of anything bigger than a 380, then 380 for her. If she can take a 45, then 45 it up!

If she is NOT going to train , I would suggest a double action only handgun with no safety. Something like a Glock, M&P or XDM. You aim, pull the trigger and it goes bang. Wham bam simple.

Picking a gun is like picking a car color, most everyone is going to have a personal preference and you really can't pick it out for them. If she feels intimidated maybe go to a local gun shop that rents gun with her and let her try out a few.

The reasons I shy away from a 12 gauge is because she will need to keep it locked up in a gunsafe or with a trigger lock on it to keep it totally safe from the kids. Making the gun difficult to access.

Good luck!
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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My second thought was a small pistol caliber rifle. May be a 38specials in a lever or pump action rifle. 110 grain JHP should not penetrate that much and 1 projectile has less chance of hitting kits than 9-12.
a bio-metric handgun safe may be a good option.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:29 PM   #5
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There are perhaps 50 correct answers to your question, and you just might get all of them. Only one of those answers will be correct for you.

My .02 …Depending on the female, a 20 ga might be better. Full stock, 18" or a little longer barrel.
Pistols are handier, but require more discipline. : The strongest revolver she can comfortably handle .. usually a .38 or .44 spl
Educate the kids as appropriate for them. For the immature, the Eddie Eagle approach is good. Remove the mystery for them. Kids are curious, so satisfy their curiosity in a safe, controlled manner... much better than them finding out on their own.
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Old May 12, 2012, 07:34 PM   #6
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Depends also on the size of her home. My new home is rather sprawling and a shotgun or AR is my choice there. However my existing residence is quite small and long guns are far too unwieldy here. My EDC is my best HD option and has been for many years. I would agree with the bio-metric safe as a need for a house with kids, something I've never had to worry about.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:41 PM   #7
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Personally, if you can, I'd suggest buying her a class or two at a range that has instructors and rental weapons. Let her get a feel for what might suit her.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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Personally, if you can, I'd suggest buying her a class or two at a range that has instructors and rental weapons. Let her get a feel for what might suit her.
I will do that, best advise so far
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old May 13, 2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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The choice of gun is the least of it.
Without training for home defense, anything she does will probably be wrong.
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Old May 13, 2012, 12:47 PM   #10
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My first thought would be making sure whatever you get that the children can't get their hands on it. No point getting a firearm to protect the children and one being injured or worse by getting access to the firearm.

And then some provisional training and advice on what firearm would suit.
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Old May 13, 2012, 01:07 PM   #11
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It was already mentioned to get her into a class. Best idea.

On an article I read about SD guns, a couple of things were pointed out. I will attempt to summarize it.

- a long gun has to be handled by both hands and can be unwieldy coming around corners and doors unless you have the training.
- a semi auto requires more training because you have to know what to do if there is a malfunction. And again, it may require both hands to operate the weapon to rack the slide.
- a wheel gun is the simplest form of SD gun. It still requires training. A double action only requires a a trigger pull. If it does not fire, pull the trigger again for the next round.

The use of both hands was pointed out because if your house is broken into, if you can get to a phone, you can call the police while still having control of the gun in the other hand.
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Old May 13, 2012, 02:36 PM   #12
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First how old are the kids? If they're young, I would say a semi auto shotgun with rounds in the magazine and none in the chamber should work.
Kids have seen enough pump shotguns,rifles,and handguns on figure out how they work.
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Old May 13, 2012, 11:05 PM   #13
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Good for your sister.

FIRST she needs to harden the house, and then set up a good home defense plan that will put her between the threat and her kids, and her kids in a safe place.

THEN she can figure out what gun she wants to do it with. She needs to get what suits HER best, not what a bunch of strangers on the Internet think she should get. Point her to for a good starting place. - one pamphlet on home hardening (the PPITH class is taught by many NRA instructors, this is just an online course outline)
Mindset - Skillset - Toolset. In that order!

Attitude and skill will get you through times of no gear, better than gear will get you through times of no attitude and no skill.
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Old May 14, 2012, 12:00 AM   #14
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i'd say a .380 hand gun with fragmenting bullets if the kids are in the next room separated by a thin wall and maybe a little insulation.

i think some people will disagree with this.

the reason i say this is because a .380 is strong enough to get the job done without serious over penetration, and fragmenting bullets are basically a ball of led shot compressed. when it hits a wall (or a bone) it fragments. you may have to unload more of them into your target to stop them, but even if you miss, hopefully they will reconsider and evacuate your home after they realize you're shooting at them.

just my opinion, but it really depends where the children are. if they are upstairs and you are downstairs, that's different. just don't shoot UP. and shoot whatever you see fit.

and if you're going to be gung ho about shooting on sight / sound, you probably need to train your children in what to do in case of a home invasion. also you need to tell them that once they are in their room, they should probably stay there through the night or risk getting shot......

or something to that affect. kidding about the last part.. but there IS SOME truth to it.

teach them NOT to come busting through your door at 4am, etc.

i'm incredibly jumpy when i'm asleep. any kind of disturbance wakes me up and sends me about 3 feet in the air... these days having lived with my girlfriend for 4 years, i don't immediately reach for a weapon or wake up throwing punches. i've trained myself not to do so when i hear her voice. but needless to say, she doesn't get anywhere near me when she has to wake me up for something.

the FIRST time she woke me up, she leaned over me and said "WAKE UP!" and literally got elbowed in the side of the head. of course i felt horrible, but at the same time, i was asleep, and that was strictly a reaction. but ever since then, she stands in the doorway to wake me up lol. i still jump though. anyway, yeah... if you're anything like that, be careful.

fortunately we don't have kids.
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Old May 15, 2012, 02:51 PM   #15
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I have several semi-automatics but I ended buying a used Ruger Security Six revolver with a 6" barrel for my wife to use for home defense (I use it too at the range, heh, heh). She feels more comfortable with that knowing that there is no slide to deal with, no worries about whether there is a round in the chamber, no worries about feeding, no worries about what to do if it doesn't fire, just pull the trigger again. Using .38spl +P ammo makes it more than enough for home defense, I feel.
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Old May 15, 2012, 03:00 PM   #16
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WASR-3 loaded with polymer tipped rounds.

Very light and very fast...they're break up quickly and dump energy in drywall or other barrier materials.

They're ugly but stone dead reliable.

Short LOP with Warsaw legnth stock make sit easy for smaller people to handle.

High cap mags are no problem to come by. More chances for her if shes a bad shot or there are multiable advisarys.

Recoil is almost non-existant..making follow up shots a breeze.

ammo is cheap to practice with and she'll really never need to clean it.

If the kids ever did find it they're never figure out the safey
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Old May 15, 2012, 03:32 PM   #17
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What HD gun for the home with children?

20 guage pump gun, so that the children will be able to manage it sooner.

They also can use it for trap shooting for 4-H!
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Old May 15, 2012, 03:49 PM   #18
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What the sister should do is read and ignore the shotgun, 380 and AK advice until she reads that.

Then she needs to get some realistic training in defending the home.

To be blunt - recommending long arms, fragmenting 380s and AKs is not the best first step.
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Old May 15, 2012, 04:30 PM   #19
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The choice of gun is the least of it.
Without training for home defense, anything she does will probably be wrong.
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Old May 15, 2012, 06:27 PM   #20
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Me to as far as, hardening the house, getting training, and all that stuff.
If the OP is handy with tools I would strongly suggest he visit his sisters home asap to see about making it harder to break into.

What firearm a person chooses depends on a lot of different circumstances. What the person is comfortable with, or what they are physically capable of using, how much training they have and how much more training they plan to get.
One thing that is often over looked is what strategy their home is best suited for and that they are comfortable with.

The way my home is laid out, I intend to hole up in my bedroom and wait for the police to show up. imho my shotgun is the best option for that strategy.

Other homes are laid out in such a way that the home owner may need to secure other areas in the home instead of staying in one place. For some people that would mean a different choice of firearm.
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Old June 3, 2012, 07:18 PM   #21
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A shotgun is not going to be with you when you need it most and yes time is important. Handgun on your person is what is needed.
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Old June 4, 2012, 07:25 AM   #22
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Smith & Wesson 5906.

1. DA/SA - first trigger pull is heavy.
2. Decocker
3. Safety
4. All stainless - heavy. Looks like a gun, not a toy that kids are more likely to play with.
5. Reliable, durable and controlable
6. Can find reasonably priced used ones - not made anymore.
7. They won't lose value over time.
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Old June 4, 2012, 07:30 AM   #23
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single or family

single.. a shotgun, pump action.

family... handgun with a lazer.
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Old June 4, 2012, 08:18 AM   #24
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I'd choose a 20 gauge skeet gun - open chokes, shorter barrel - and load it with target loads.

A "long" gun is held with both hands which might make it harder to lose to an assailant, a shotgun is more intimidating than smaller guns like pistols when pointed at an intruder, light-loaded shot shells are much less apt to penetrate walls than a single projectile weapon, a target or hunting gun pressed into use as a defense weapon has more credibility than one that's obviously intended to be anti-personnel as its first purpose, at least in some jurisdictions.

All that's been said here about getting training and practice is on the mark, IMHO.
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Old June 5, 2012, 05:43 AM   #25
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Lots of god advice, some not so good, IMHO. The firearm is but a small part of an effective home defense plan. As I do this for a living, here are some things to consider......

1. Have a discussion with the Sister and make sure she understands the impact of taking another human life. I have taught over a hundred women to shoot and just about 15% stated they wanted a gun to "scare" the bad guy and could never kill anyone. They get a junkyard dog and a different plan.

2. Assess what you have to protect. There are three major types of things in your house that are worth protecting. Those that can be replaced, those that cannot be replaced and those that you are willing to kill for to protect. TV's computers (Non-business?) and the like can be replaced with insurance. Things like grand ma's wedding ring, you decide. Kids, wife etc. That goes without saying.

3. The Tactical Plan. The shooter(s) must identify a "safe place" in the house that offers cover and concealment, is easy to get to, especially at night and behind which go all of your non-replaceables. (Kids, Mom, Grand Ma's ring if you so decide). Your field of fire is towards the entrances of the house. This is normally a hallway or a bedroom. This way, you are never shooting towards loved ones (Neighbors, maybe). While not a failsafe, we also consider the angle of the shot, Low to high, vice versa etc)

4. Always take / have your firearm, flashlight and telephone available at the safe place. If an intruder comes into your house, the unreplaceables go to a covered area behind you. You afford the thief the chance to take your replaceables and leave with no one being hurt. Its just stuff.

This is an over simplification of the doctrine, YMMV. Every scenario is different.

As far as firearm selection goes, a shotgun with target loads is not a good choice. Unless it is a contact shot (Muzzle very near the target) you will likely not be able to definitively stop the attack. Google the box of truth for testing of shotgun ammo on sheetrock. Simple is better as your fine motor skills will diminish if not disappear. For most women, we recommend a revolver in .357. Practice with 38 spc or +p and shoot the magnums in self defense. Shoot a bonded bullet. Some of my colleagues like corbon bullets, I am not so much a fan.

Someone recommended hardening the house to aid in delaying / deterring a would be intruder. This is also a good practice. Sun Tzu says the best battle is the battle never fought.

These are just a sprinkling of tactics we use for our home invasion clients.

The point is to have a plan and not just a gun.
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