Home defense... pistol or shotgun


July 20, 2005, 08:59 AM
I am relatively new to the gun scene and i am looking for the best choice to use of my three guns for home defense (at the bedside).

S&W 637 airweight 38 snubby

Ruger P95 w/ 3 15 round mags

Remington 12 G pump 7 shot i think (it was my late grandfathers and i really dont want it getting messed up, ive got it in a soft case right now)

Right now im using the ruger and if i used the shotgun i wouldnt wanna risk putting a light on it as i really dont want to screw it up.

Also the next gun i get will be for home defense... my p95 will be my duty gun, and my snubby backup gun... so i need a good home defense gun, something relatively small (no 4' long shotguns) i dont know.... you tell me

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July 20, 2005, 09:02 AM
Personally I would have to say,..........the shotgun hands down!! I sure wish I had a shotty!! :)

The Drew
July 20, 2005, 09:03 AM
Well, You've effectively removed the shotgun as an option...

You should be able to get a good pump for around $200 or less...

July 20, 2005, 09:06 AM
any suggestions on which one... i want a black pump that i can put a SUPER bright light on. i like that mossberg that is called a tactical shotgun i think.

it has a shorter barrel and a shorter stock than a normal shotgun...

July 20, 2005, 10:37 AM
for indoor defence use a 20g.

just as good as a 12g., but less noise, less overpenetration, less recoil.

my friend said his 12g. left him partially deaf for a few minutes when he forgot to replace his muffs. he was shooting 2 3/4" shells outside out of a long barrel.


July 20, 2005, 10:43 AM
I'm going to take a vry controversial approach. A shotgun, for sure, but a sawwed-off shotgun. Yes, I know it's considered a ClassIII and all if you aren't eligable than dont do it. But if you are, then I think it would be the best of both worlds. Shorter so you could move around easier, lots of power yet the lower velocity SHOULD (I might very well be wrong) lower the worry of overpenetration. Plus there is the slight bonus of being better able to make a snap shot since the wider shot pattern and all. The main downside would be excessive recoil and lower magazine capacity.

*Puts on flame suit* :uhoh:

July 20, 2005, 11:02 AM
The pattern difference between a short barrel and an 18" barrel would be very little across a room.

The Surfire forend light wouldn't "screw up" the shotgun you have. It easy to put on with no modification to the gun.

If you buy a new shotgun, be aware many of the accessories will not fit on the 20 gauge models, and the sound difference between the two is nil.

Personally, I like a revolver for inside the home defense. Much simpler to handle at 3 in the morning. My 870 with a light on it is nearby if I need it.

July 20, 2005, 11:15 AM
How about an AR-15 carbine with light JHPs?

July 20, 2005, 11:31 AM
Handgun or shotgun? Both. Remember, a shotgun takes two hands to operate. If you have an handgun in one hand, the other hand can have a flashlight or a phone calling 911. The handgun is easier to manuever in hallways and through doors. Consider the shotgun for a static, "defend the keep" position, i.e. in the bedroom with all familiy members accounted for, waiting for the cavalry to arrive. If you are covering a doorway from cover, it's great. The handgun is used, if necessary, to fight your way back TO the long gun.

I really have problems with gun-mounted lights, be they on a handgun or shotgun. Remember the safety rule about not pointing a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy? Well, with a gun-mounted light, where the light goes, the muzzle follows. What if that noise in the hallway at 2:00 am is your cat, your spouse or your kid? Something to think about...

July 20, 2005, 11:32 AM
I use a Ruger P-85, but I would like to get a Rem 870 or Win defender. May be my next purchase.

July 20, 2005, 11:39 AM
So I guess I am the first to reply that has gone to a Thunder Ranch class, Classic Clint Smith. "A hand gun is good for only one thing, to fight you back to a real gun." Use the biggest weapon you can control. A short barrel shotgun or carbine would be much better than a handgun, and the 9mm will be much easier to shoot a self defense round through than the air weight. Air weights are great to carry, but not good for much else. There are several inexpensive good quality pump shotguns on the market that come with short barrels. lights can be added to the forearm grip if by nothing else some electrical tape if you can't afford a mount or a fore end with a light built into it.

July 20, 2005, 12:45 PM
It's quite rare to GET to any longarm in time, actually. If you can do so, it will be mostly by luck. So you can just forget it. CCW the Ruger at home, and don't worry about it. There's a lot to be said for flipping on your home lights, you know. Especially if it will blind-backlight them, and put you in the shadows. You dont necessarily have to BE in the same room that you light up, either. The great majority of offenders don't make you shoot them at all, and the great majority of those shot in the chest with a good 9mm rd DO stop their attack.

July 20, 2005, 01:02 PM
With appropriate deference to Clint Smith, I prefer a pistol for home defense. So far, I've been lucky and haven't had to defend my home. Did answer the door a few nights ago with my pistol in hand; wouldn't have been armed, had I been depending on a shotgun, as I wouldn't have been as likely to carry a shotgun in such circumstances.

I feel comfortable with my ability to defend myself, anywhere, anytime, with my choice of handguns.

Red Tornado
July 20, 2005, 01:05 PM
Here ya go. Super Shorty (http://www.serbu.com/shorty.htm) The best of both worlds. Of course you have to have about $700. :( Anyway, I use a SigP226 with 15 9mm. My shotguns all have 28" barrels on them, making them somewhat unweildy. If I lived in a dangerous area, I'd consider getting an 18" barrel for the Mossberg, but the 9mm is more than I'll likely ever need.

July 20, 2005, 01:28 PM
I also use a handgun for home defense. I use a Ruger P95 with 3-15 rd mags. I did have to defend my home on one occasion, several years ago, and was not dissappointed with the handgun performance. I have a short barrelled shotgun, but it is in the bedroom closet. The P95 stays by the bed.

bad LT
July 20, 2005, 02:19 PM
If you are going to leave the weapon in a static locatiton, a shotgun is the superior weapon as it improves your chances of hitting anything you need to shoot and strikes a more decisive blow.

July 20, 2005, 03:08 PM
I was very seriously considering a shotgun for home defense and think they are great in that role but decided against it because I knew I wouldn't get the practice with it that I feel would be needed to be proficient. I am very comfortable with handguns and have chosen as my home defense gun a DAO Beretta Centurion in 40S&W. I guess the bottom line to my thinking is use what you are most comfortable with and know you will practice with. If I were in your shoes I would employ the Ruger for home defense.

July 20, 2005, 03:28 PM
What ever you are comfortable with. You should be able to use the weapon as if it was a part of you. Remember you may be just waking up from a sound sleep. Simple is good.

The 870 is a good shotgun. A pump makes a wonderfully terrifying noise when worked :evil: I don't have a light on my SG but only cause I don't know how to use it and it would be something to get in my way.
Shot gun w/ turkey or buck loads should work well.
You can pick up a used Mossberg 500 pretty cheap and get a 18" barrel for it.

I also keep my carry gun ( kimber officers model .45) under my pillow at night.

Disclaimer- YMMMV IMHO etc.

July 20, 2005, 03:38 PM
Are we talking about someone with little firearms training?

Then, I say the discussion is premature. Get some reasonable training with the gun you want to use as a primary weapon. Otherwise, each has pros and cons for a person who is familar with them.

Brian Williams
July 20, 2005, 03:42 PM
I more often grab a S&W 13 3" or a S&W 65 4" before anything else.

Black Snowman
July 20, 2005, 04:06 PM
Next to my bed I have a Mossberg 500A Persuader (20" 7+1 shot) I got new for $200. I put a Streamlight M-3 light on it ($125) with the Streamlight mount ($15). I have it loaded with 1 oz slugs. I use a handgun as a backup.

I prefer the shotgun for several reasons.

I can shoot it accurately even without my glasses as I can sight down the barrel or just put the center of the light on the target.
I can deploy it more quickly than a carbine.
It shoots a round that's very effective at stopping a target quickly. Very important in such close quarters.
Much harder to shoot myself with or get taken away from me than a handgun.
Big, strong, and heavy enough to double as a melee weapon.
Inexpensive. The gun was less than the cost of a shorter barrel for my Rem 11-87.

July 20, 2005, 04:31 PM
How about a claymore mine.... Its directional.... easy to set off..... and can eliminate that pesky intruder in 2 clicks. :evil:

Though clean-up would be a bugger. :D

July 20, 2005, 05:19 PM
I have both my p99 and I also have my 12 gauge 1300 winchester loaded w/ T 3" mag. I would like to have one of those double barrel coach guns.. now those are nice. not too short.. but short enough..

July 20, 2005, 05:35 PM
Something belt-fed. With a searchlight. :D I have a Rem 870, 18 inch barrel,
and a Scattergun Technologies +2 mag extension. I have absolutly No problems sleeping.

Oh yeah, one more thing. BA/UU/R

July 20, 2005, 06:40 PM
I have both ready.

Ala Dan
July 20, 2005, 06:41 PM
Unlike most folks here, I use a combination of firearms to include
1) a .45 caliber SIG-SAUER P220A, 2) a 12 GA Remington 870 Marine
Magnum, and 3) a Colt AR15A3 w/16" barrel. All these are backed up
with a 6" Smith & Wesson 686-5, .357 Magnum. :D

July 24, 2005, 02:59 PM
My $.02 cents worth.
If I lived in an area that dictated a need to keep an arsenal of weapons in my house in order to feel safe, I would move from that place without hesitation.
In my city, I feel very comfortable with my G26 on the nightstand. :uhoh:

July 24, 2005, 05:01 PM
My HighPower with 17 round mag in a GunVault at bedside, & Stoeger 12GA SxS coachgun standing in the corner of closet (with Aguila mini-shells for low recoil).

Pietro Beretta
July 25, 2005, 12:13 AM
My friend said his 12g. left him partially deaf for a few minutes when he forgot to replace his muffs. he was shooting 2 3/4" shells outside out of a long barrel.

Does this surprise you? :confused:
Your going to have hearing damage with any caliber, if your not wearing your muffs.

I know a few guys that have never worn muffs, and laugh when I wear them. Neither of them can hear worth a damn

July 25, 2005, 11:19 AM
I have discovered that using a shotgun as defense in a single room is probably ok, however, if you are moving aroud corners and through doorways even with a short barreled shotgun it can be awkward, atleast in my house.

July 25, 2005, 11:22 AM
Glock 30, backed up by a Mossberg pump (12-ga)--that's my choice.

July 25, 2005, 01:50 PM
Mossberg Defender 12-ga. #4 Turkey loads=goodbye scum :evil:

July 25, 2005, 05:57 PM
I keep 3 Glocks in two separate Gunvault electronic lock boxes. Two in the bedroom and one in my office. I keep everything else in my safe. I have a Mossberg 500 riot gun in there, but to use it I would need to know a head of time if the bad guys were coming.

Before I had kids in the house my Mossberg was my primary go to gun. Then I kept it loaded and in my closet. Can't do that anymore with rugrats running around.

Vern Humphrey
July 25, 2005, 09:20 PM
Clint Smith is right -- if you have a choice, choose the shotgun. The best approach is to have a handgun on your person and a shotgun in your safe room (which would normally be your bedroom.) When something goes bump in the night, reach for the shotgun.

1. The shotgun is more ergonometric -- your hands are separated, and even in total darkness that gives you clues as to where the gun is pointed.

2. The shotgun is a more powerful weapon.

3. The shotgun -- with #8 shot -- is not likely to penetrate the outer wall of your house and the house next door.

4. The shotgun is intimidating. When your knees are knocking and your teeth are chattering, you are sending a message. If you're holding a small weapon, the message might say, "You can take this gun away from me." If you're holding a shotgun, the message is, "This thing is about to go off."

July 25, 2005, 11:18 PM
I vote submachinegun. Get a supressed MP-5, best of all worlds with no hearing damage. :)

In all seriousness, I'd go with a shotgun.

July 26, 2005, 02:27 AM
I would suggest the Ruger, a Flashlight, and a Cell Phone with a handsfree.

I have this dilemna as well.

I have a bunch of C&Rs that are just not practical at all and:

Customized 1911 that is an heirloom

870 that I just today switched from a 28" to 20" barrel.

Yugo SKS

SIGP232 that no one but me likes to shoot

The 1911 is by far the most familiar of the weapons, and with CMC 10 rounders full of alternating 230grain HydraShoks, Silvertips, & FMJs, it qualifies as "enough gun." But it is an heirloom customized by my father, and I am loathe to part with it should I have to shoot an intruder. I don't really want the family pistol to suffer the rigors of a police armory. And I am not going to put a weapon light on it. So the 1911 is not ideal.

The 870 is by most common wisdom the ideal choice for home defense. But it is a duck gun with a 4+1 capacity, and up until just today it had a huge 28" barrel that is not suited to my tiny apt at all. The 20" barrel made a big difference, but the transformation is not yet complete. My main complaint with the scattergun, however is the requirement of two hands. I want to be able to weild a flashlight or use a cell phone or struggle with attacker or move kids out of harms way or any number of things that a one handed weapon could facilitate. So the 12ga stays loaded in the safe, away from the rugrats grasp. Not ideal, but as ready as I can safely get it.

The SKS is certainly "enough gun" with a 10 round capacity, especially when those rounds are 7.62x39. And the bayonet would make a nice back-up in a struggle. But the SKS is still a bit big for the tiny spaces of the apartment, once again, and while I don't plan on hitting anything but goblins, the rounds aren't gonna stop at these paperthin apt walls. So the SKS, like the shotgun is usefull for hunkering down, but not really a good "bump in the night" weapon.

Ahhh the unloved SIG P232. Originally my wife's pistol, but in reality, my fun gun. Everybody, (I mean everybody) that has fired this dislikes it except for me. Light weight doesn't soak up much of the recoil like "old slabsides" at the top of the list. But I love the thing. It is compact enough for at home CCW, and the Novak style 3 dots make for very quick sight picture. I like shooting it, despite some complaints with it's design. The biggest complaint is the round. The .380ACP is probably "enough gun" provided I use proper shot placement, but who knows how well I will shoot at 3am half-asleep, trying to figure out *** is going on. And it has a smaller capacity than the 1911, since no one makes big mags for it. But I am very comfortable with the little SIG, and even though I like it, it isn't gonna break my heart to part with it for awhile in the wake of last resort self defense.

So I keep the 1911 and the 870 loaded in the safe, and the SIG, cell phone, extra magazines and Mag-Lite by the bedside.

And I am working on getting a pistol that I can mount a weapon light on and getting the 870 into more of a HD shape that both my wife and I can use, (Shorter LOP).

One last thing. I can't really afford a weapon light right now, and a weapon light doesn't light up the sights. So my "make do for now" is $5 LED rotating night lights and a motion sensor nightlight from Target. I have the lights set up so they will occlude the hallway from which I will be coming while lighting up the front of the apartment.

I also have pictures on the wall that are set up so that I can see around the corners, but the same LOS cannot be traced back due to the lighting. Whenever I can't sleep at night, I practice checking things out quietly and trying to get sight picture in certain areas.

My set-up is far from perfect, but I am doing what I can.

July 26, 2005, 02:29 AM
Oh and it isn't conventional, but with the right ammo, I think this would make an excellent HD weapon.


Too bad it ain't legal here in Cali.

July 26, 2005, 04:39 AM
My question is, at 3am how are you supposed subdo an intruder and worry about hearing protection? I know it wouldn't be a choice, my hearing or my family. I will choose my family everytime! As many of you would as well. But this does worry me. I don't wear a "headset" when at the range, I wear earplugs. Don't have any hearing damage. But how deaf would I be right after shooting somone inside my living room? :eek: The other night I had to answer the door at 2am, and of course not expecting anyone I grabbed my gun. Although my parents told me a long time ago, that a robber isn't going to nock!! :uhoh: But nevertheless there are still those worthless pieces of sh*t that would nock and then gain entry into the premises that way. In which case they would get a double tap to the head. ;)

So, what's a guy to do. No hearing protection? I am speaking of shooting with my XD in .45 GAP. Also how would that compare sound wise to a 12 ga.? Does barrel length in a shotgun have anything to do with sound?

July 26, 2005, 01:00 PM
*any* firearm set off is loud. Any firearm set off in the confines of an enclosed space is VERY loud.

If you ahve a .22, I suggest trying this ONCE (and only once): in the great outdoors, on a nice, clear day, go fired one round without hearing protection. Realize that that tiny bit of powder is producing THAT loud of a noise. Imagine what that noise will do inside a closed room, reverberating off the walls. Afterwards, put hearing protection on, and never repeat that exposure. Trust me, your ears will still ring for a good half hour afterwards.

Then think of a 12g blast confined inside a room. think BOOM! :eek:

this site has a pretty good discussion of hearing protection in hunting (not indoors): http://www.nwtf.org/tips_adventures/adventures.php?id=277

As to shotty vs. pistol for home defense, there is something else you need to consider: your living space. Is your house all alone in the woods, with no neighbors nearby? Do you live in a cookie-cutter student apartment? Do you live in a cobb dwelling with many rock berms around it. Check out this site regarding overpenetration of walls and the like: http://www.theboxotruth.com/ (seems to be down at the moment)

Keep in mind that your engagement distance in most urban houses is under the 40' mark for a hallway, and under the 16' mark for most rooms. At that distance, most shottys will have to be actually aimed, not just point and shoot, although you will have a bit more leeway than a handgun.

I would suggest sticks. Go out to the yard, and get some sticks, and have you and your partner and or kids play the aggressor and you the defender. Play assault the bedroom/kitchen/family room. Figure out what would work best for you in defending your home, the best place to stave off an invader and so on. While you are at it, check on your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire evac plans (especially with kids). Make it a safety afternoon :D

July 26, 2005, 01:51 PM
I use two - A Kimber CDP (full size 1911) on the night table and a Remington Marine Magnum with #1 shot under the bed. At bedtime, the cellphone is always on the table along with a Surefire Aviator.

...and if they give me enough time there's 3 SKS's under the bed as well but I'd have to clean off the cosmoline first... :eek:

July 26, 2005, 02:04 PM
When things go "Bump!" in the night . . .

First up is the Springfield 1911-A1, complete with spare mags. If I run that one dry, [with spares...36 rounds] then the Mossberg/Maverick 88 12Ga gets to play.

After that, the Most Serious Artillery...US Rifle Cal .30 M1. Popularly known as "The Garand"

July 26, 2005, 02:10 PM
I use two weapons for HD. I keep a S&W 15 loaded with 138 G. hollow points within arms reach during the day. At night I keep my 870P loaded with #4 shot next to the bed. Please note I have no children living at home. When they visit the guns are on my person or locked in the safe.

July 26, 2005, 03:01 PM
1. HK USP Compact .45 with AmeriGlo Night Sights is next to me wherever I go, whether asleep or awake, and always with a minimum of 1 spare magazine.
2. Mossberg 590 Persuader (8rd tube) on a rail just under the bottom of my bed frame (laser sight for kicks)
3. DSA SA 58 Carbine with red dot sight. Just off of the dresser in an upright wardrobe.

1. If I need to check the house, or go from room to room real quick, the USP goes with me. if I get a drink of water at 3AM, it goes with me. If I answer the door at 4:30PM, it goes with me. If I answer the door at 2:30AM, it goes with me.

2. If I need to hole up in the bedroom, the Mossberg goes with me as well, into the farthest corner facing the door. The Cell phone dials 9-1-1.

3. If things really get ugly (riots, civil unrest, invasion, zombies :neener: ), the FAL comes out. And most likely, so do her friends and sisters. :D

I don't like the idea of gun-mounted lights. I don't want to point a weapon at anything I do not intend to destroy. If my GF comes home late at night after I fall asleep, or she's get a glass of water and it startles me, I'd rather have a flashlight in my off-hand and the USP in my main hand. Call it personal preference.

July 26, 2005, 09:29 PM
Whichever one you choose, train with it. Practice moving around with it in your home (unloaded, of course) both lit and dark. Practice getting to your 'safe room'. Practice loading it in the dark, (with dummy rounds) Plan your reaction and train accordingly. Practice at the range at the maximum engagement range in your house, if possible. I have a 9mm pistol :( and an 870 for HD. I prefer the 870 out of familiarity and confidence in my ability with it. I like Nick1911's suggestion of an MP5SD for the same reason, but $$$ doesn't permit it. ;)

July 26, 2005, 10:19 PM
I use a Remington 870 (http://home.earthlink.net/~uberphlubb/1911/m870.jpg) with low recoil 00-buck in condition 3.

I thought about using a pistol, but with a spread of shot equalling several pistol shots with one pull of the trigger and the intimidation factor a shotgun provides, I chose the shotgun. The shot spread would help connect with the target while I'm under stress as well.

If I don't sense an immediate threat, I may be able to subdue someone by racking the shotgun. If there is an immediate threat, I can end that as well.

Vern Humphrey
July 26, 2005, 10:32 PM
I thought about using a pistol, but with a spread of shot equalling several pistol shots with one pull of the trigger and the intimidation factor a shotgun provides, I chose the shotgun.

The intimidation factor of a shotgun is an important point in its favor.

But as for the spread of shot, I recommend measuring the longest shot you could reasonably make in your house -- I would be surprised to find it would be much over 15 feet. Try patterning your gun at that range, and your pattern will look like a ragged rathole.

July 26, 2005, 10:33 PM
Yes, but that's better than a SINGLE hole. I'd imagine most shots in my house would be 20-25ft.

July 26, 2005, 11:47 PM
I keep my pistol with me. The shotgun stays in the bedroom. If the need is upon me either are in reach. So far I've never experienced a home invasion and only once caught a criminal tresspass. We've all survived to this date and I'd like to stretch that record a little further. However, for the record, the shotgun (Win. Defender 12 ga.) holds seven rounds of 00 Buck and the .45 also has seven. Surely it would be over by then! :D

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