What gun?


September 29, 2005, 11:58 AM
I'm 38 years old ... going to get my first gun for Christmas. Finally convinced my wife the government will not protect our family in the case of an emergency. Here's my question: We can't spend a lot of money ($350 max) and want something that we can use as home defense. I'm thinking of a shotgun, but need some more info. I don't know enough about guns to know what would be best. I want something my wife can use, or even my 12-year-old daughter if it ever came down to that. I'm considering an inexpensive shotgun. Any comments? Good idea? Bad idea? Any better ideas? Really, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

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September 29, 2005, 12:05 PM
A good inexpensive pump shotgun is always a good way to go. 20ga will kick less than 12ga and would be more gentle for women while being very effective. Otherwise I'd go with a .38/.357 revolver 4". S&W, Ruger or Colt (possibly Taurus). Look at CDNN website or J&G Sales for good deals. You'll need a local FFL to do the transfer, but the prices are good. You can go to a pawn shop and offer 50% of their marked price. Negotiation is encouraged.

Good luck and stay safe.

September 29, 2005, 12:17 PM
CDNN will not advertise guns on their website, you'll have to download their pdf catalog to look at the guns. I've dealt with them too many times to count and they're always good people.

I bought a Mossberg 500 from the local Wal-mart. Cost me $200. A 12 gauge is going to kick no matter how you cut it. How bad depends on the load. You should be able to find something that you, your wife, and your daughter can handle.

As far as revolvers go, there are lots of PD turn-ins out there. Many, many S&W 65s, 66s, and 19s. Any of those 3 would do nicely in a 4 inch barrel. Ruger Security Sixes are still around and are very tuff revolvers. I see them now and again for the $250 range. A used Ruger SP101 (5-shot) or GP100 (6-shot) would be an excellent choice also. I got my Ruger SP101 9mm used for $250. GP100s are a bit more difficult to find used at a decent price.

You've got to consider the interior of your house also. Your walls are going to be your backstop. Too much juice in the ammo will result in overpenetration and the possibility unintentionally of hitting something/someone in the next room.

September 29, 2005, 12:27 PM
Shotgun is good way to go for what you want. With a 12 yr old to take into account, a 20 ga is a better choice. They need to shoot for familiarization with the weapon, so lower recoil is a must for beginners. 20 ga is fine for self defense, but as always for more experienced shooters, there are more effective guns including 12 ga.
As far as type, I suggest a pump, since they will hold 5 rounds, and are more dependable than semis, and also cheaper. This gives you the best start for the least amount of money. Seems a no brainer to me.

September 29, 2005, 12:38 PM
I'm with Gunpacker on this. I prefer 12 gauge, but that depends on the 12 year old's ability/strength. Given your criteria, I do not recommend a handgun as your first firearm.

September 29, 2005, 12:48 PM
I wouldn't hesitate to order from them again. You should pay

CDNN's Price
Shipping (~$6 from CDNN)
Dealer Transfer (should be no more than $20. Some Dealers gouge)

There should be NO SALES TAX

September 29, 2005, 12:51 PM
+1 on the shotgun. 12 or 20 gauge.

Fred Fuller
September 29, 2005, 01:00 PM
You need two, not just one- a handgun and a long gun. The handgun can be holstered and carried if need be and is manageable with one hand if you have other things to hold onto at the same time. The long gun is likely more powerful and will extend your useful range out a bit further.

For the amount you specify it should be possible to get both, with judicious shopping. A trade-in service revolver is a good bet for a first handgun, likewise a good used pump shotgun (PD trade in or just a used gun). You will need a friend who knows guns to help you do your shopping, and assist you and your family with training after you get your firearms.

If you really only want one gun, I would suggest a 9mm HiPoint carbine. They are mud fence ugly and get sneered at a lot by gun snobs but they are short, manageable in tight quarters, adequately powerful and do not have an overly complicated manual of arms.

Congratulations for stepping up to the plate on this important issue, good luck to you all and stay safe,


Pistol Toter
September 29, 2005, 01:03 PM
20 ga Mossberg model 500 will do the job nicely. :)

September 29, 2005, 01:05 PM
I'd also go with a shotgun. If I were to only have one gun for all around use then that would be it. The versailtity is in the numerous loads available and access to ammunition.


pete f
September 29, 2005, 01:36 PM
A question for you. How big are you? if you are 5' 8" or less, a good compromise in my mind would be the 870 remington 20 ga youth.

a one inch shorter a half pound lighter and you can find them for about 230 bucks. Load the 20 gauge with BB or Four buck and you will be quite happy. your daughter will have a shotgun to learn how to shoot on and you will have one that will be reliable and fully adequate for Home defense.

You do not need a pistol at first, you need a dog to give you warning to get the shotgun. Your 12 year old needs a dog too. will be good for her and it will give an alert.

If you are big and it looks like your daughter is going to be taller than 5'6" and you think she can handle it , then a twelve gauge will work too.

Have you fired a gun before ? If not then, seek some good qualified instruction before you get too far into this. Ask around, do you konw any shooters at work? Guys who you know go hunting? talk to them or look up local classes. Is your daughter old enough to take Hunter Safety classes in your state, both of you take those classes together nad you might really find them informative even if you do not hunt.

If you lived close to me I would be happy to take you out and let you shoot a variety of things to see what you liked best, I am sure some other from the forum would offer the same, too.

September 29, 2005, 03:07 PM
Man, THR is full of smart people, they all agree with me!

20ga pump is your ultimate 1 gun family gun.

Next on the list, to round out a basic kit:

.22 lr rifle. Marlins are a good value.
.357 mag revolver. Rugers are a good value.
.22 lr revolver.
Some kind of high-powered rifle with optics. A Savage .308 with Burris optics is a good value and very accurate with a wide range of inexpensive to high-quality ammo.

September 29, 2005, 03:13 PM
Go to WalMart and buy a Remington 870 Express in 20 gauge and for good measure, pick up a Ruger 10/22 .22lr, if you afford it, so your wife and child can learn the basics of shooting on the cheap. Some folks will squawk about buying guns at Wally World, but you will not find what you need, new, for better prices. Their price on the Remington is $255, while the Ruger is $160. Both of those models are the most basic versions, but are absolutely the pump shotgun and .22 rifle by which all others are measured.

Camp David
September 29, 2005, 03:36 PM
"...I'm thinking of a shotgun, but need some more info. I don't know enough about guns to know what would be best. I want something my wife can use, or even my 12-year-old daughter if it ever came down to that..."

I would argue against the shotgun unless your wife and daughter learn to fire it (a lot) at the range... even then the shotgun's recoil, even light, will discourage them! Further, hiding a shotgun in a home yet having it accessible when needed will be difficult. I would instead recommend a small, simple to operate, single action revolver, small caliber, perhaps .22 Magnum!

The benefits of a .22 Magnum are numerous: Little or no recoil, loud, able to do damage but not life threatening unless it hits vital organ, and inexpensive to fire. When a .22 magnum is paired with an easy to operate single-action revolver, where only action is cocking hammer and pulling trigger, the benefits are apparent. While the .22 many not be a man-stopper by any means, having a woman and daughter learn to fire the heavier recoil of the larger calibers may prove difficult.

Again, give the .22 Mag consideration.

September 30, 2005, 09:42 PM
I think a good .22 Lr (Ruger 1022) rifle would be a good start. You will have money left over so I would also choose a used .38/.357 revolver (S&W, Ruger, Taurus). .22Lr has very low recoil and accuracy. The revolver is simple to operate and maintain.

September 30, 2005, 10:28 PM
If you have no history in handling firearms, take a class. A good choice as mentioned above, 20 or 12 guage pump shotgun. Mossburg makes a shotgun called a Maverick. It's ugly flat black, works like it should, and is inexpensive. Just what you want in your case, effective and affordable. After you decide the gauge, buy a few boxes of shells with the money left over and practice like your life may depend on it. Learn to shoot that thing from your shoulder and hip. Just get comfortable with it, period. Makes no diff. which gauge you choose, both will work effectively with the right load, but the twenty will be more fun to shoot recreationaly for your wife and child.

September 30, 2005, 10:55 PM
i'm sorry to say i disagree. the shotgun has a heavy recoil - even in 20ga - for a beginner. it is vital that all three of you get very familiar with whatever gun you choose and it will be difficult to convince your wife and daughter to put very many rounds through it once they experience the recoil. the manual of arms is also pretty complicated for a beginner and it is easy for a novice to "short stroke" the action, causing a stoppage that only an experienced firearms handler can clear quickly. i agree that a shotgun is ideal for home defense but it's not for beginners. i recommend the hi-point carbine like lee mentioned. it is light weight, easy handling, accurate, reliable and it has very light recoil. it should be easy to train all your family up to speed quickly on it. they retail for about two hundred dollars so spend the money you save on ammunition and training. training is the most important part of the equation. any firearm can be used effectively to defend your loved ones if you train. oh, and the vpc (formerly handgun control inc.) hates it so it must be good, right? :evil:

here's a link to the 9mm carbine (http://www.mkssupply.com/carbine.asp) they also make a .40 caliber version.

October 1, 2005, 12:18 AM
Thanks for all the great advice. It looks like I've come to the right place. My wife was very wary about having to spend $500+ on a new, reliable weapon, but that doesn't seem to have to be the case at all. So, thanks! I'll let you know what happens. Oh, I also found out someone else at church hunts and shoots skeet in his back yard (country), so I should be able to learn from him. Can't wait.

October 1, 2005, 12:21 AM
+1 the 20ga

Walmart 1100 youth here

October 1, 2005, 10:17 AM
New Hi-point 9mm carbine (about $175) and used .38 Special revolver with a 4" barrel (about $200). Covers the bases, and very near what you want to spend total for both. Revolver doesn't need to be a S&W or Ruger, a Taurus will do for less money, and has a lifetime warranty. You likely won't be shooting a lot (not a recommendation, just fact for most self defense homeowners) unless you get interested. If that happens, then you can upgrade later. 9mm and .38 Special ammunition is among the lowest priced, so it won't break the bank to practice.

Many folks like shotguns for home defense, but the recoil and muzzle blast can be intimidating for beginners (IMO, don't start flaming me). The Hi-point has no recoil, and the lazer on the model so equipped works very well indoors. Also, in my experience, ladies seem to like revolvers better than semi-auto handguns. Simple to operate, and "feel right" in their hands.

October 1, 2005, 10:29 AM
my choice a .38/.357
A 12 y/o girl can manage it.
Find a nice used one, they're all over the place.
Then get everybody out to the range.


October 1, 2005, 11:08 AM
Remington 870 express combo-comes with two barrels, a short one for HD.

For handguns I would reccomend a revolver.

October 1, 2005, 11:00 PM
Marlin 1894C lever gun in .38/.357 mag.

Agreed all along with the 20 ga. pump gun, but had to backtrack as some folks pointed out a 20 ga still does generate some recoil. Lee Lapin suggested the Hi-point carbine and I had to agree that was a *much* better idea. But a lever action pistol-caliber carbine is:
1) Easy and lots of fun to shoot!
2) Not threatening to look at - unless it is pointed at you.
3) Potent enough with factory .357 mag ammo (like Federal red-box 158g jacketed soft points) to deal with an intruder, but very gentle and cheap to shoot with .38 - so the whole family gets some trigger time.

Worst drawback is the tubular magazine - loading 9 rounds takes at least 30-40 seconds (not 2-3 seconds like pushing in a box magazine), but you can top off without removing anything (like a box magazine). Howver, when you want to unload it, you have to cycle the lever for each round left in the tube.

Just a thought. And if you and your family ever take up Cowboy Action Shooting, you already have one appropriate rifle.


October 2, 2005, 12:48 AM
Southern Ohio Gun (http://www.southernohiogun.com/surplushandguns.html) has some used GP100 revolvers for relatively little money, though they're set up oddly. (double action only, spurless hammer, fixed sights) They also have Star BM pistols, which are nice solid 9mm handguns based on the widely liked 1911 pattern.

I also like the idea of a lever-action 357 rifle, though there's something to be said for Kel-Tec's rifles. Larger magazines, more easily loaded and rendered safe IMHO. 9mm is cheap to practice/play with, and quite adequate for home defense (Remington Golden Sabers)

Ala Dan
October 2, 2005, 09:50 AM
I agree, that a good inexpensive shotgun is the way to go. With that in mind,
we have a 12 GA made in China (for New England Firearms) that is almost an
exact copy of the Remington 870 Express; on close-out for only $130! :uhoh:
It has a 28" barrel, and a wood stock and forearm. To ship, we would need
a signed copy (in ink) of the receving dealers FFL; along with extra funds for
S&H. We only have 'bout eight left in stock, so if you are interested you had
better hurry!

Contact Info:
Simmons Sporting Goods
2001-2nd Ave North
Bessemer, AL 35020-7133
PX: (205) 425-4720/426-0490
Ask for Clay Simmons

October 2, 2005, 10:35 AM
Looks like you got plenty to go with so far so I'll be the first to welcome you to THR :D

October 2, 2005, 10:39 AM
.22 lr rifle. Marlins are a good value.
.357 mag revolver. Rugers are a good value.
.22 lr revolver.
Some kind of high-powered rifle with optics. A Savage .308 with Burris optics is a good value and very accurate with a wide range of inexpensive to high-quality ammo.

I agree with everything except the last bit. Why would he need a high powered plinker when he can hardly afford 350 for home defense? the .22lr pistol/rifle combo is a no brainer if he can afford it later, and if he goes with a 12ga for defense then a good .357 is another good investment to make, but I don't see the point in buying a long distance rifle.

Like the majority of the people here, I would go with either a 12ga shotgun or a .357/.38 revolver.

I recommend buying a Remington 870 off of www.gunbroker.com - used, they should fall right within your price range, and they are the classic home defense shotgun. I also don't like the safety placement on the Mossberg 500, but that's personal preference. both are fine shotguns and should work should you ever need to use them.

also, I don't know if anyone has mentioned Taurus yet, but they make fine revolvers for a very decent price. their semi autos are iffy but I trust their wheel guns. look for a .357 with a 4" barrel - should you go this route, buy some .357 145gr Winchester Silvertips for defense, and some cheap .38 FMJ for target practice. HOWEVER make sure you put at least 50 rounds of your defense load downrange; you need to be comfortable with what you will be shooting should you need to use it in self defense. the .38 is great cheap plinking, but you need to be sure of yourself should something arise.

also, .38 +P is a respectable defense round, and you could use that in your .357 as well, should the need arise.

October 2, 2005, 10:45 AM
Over a longgun. Remember that in an emergency situation law enforcement will be looking to harass/disarm/shoot you. It would be best to have something that you can conceal. I think all the revolver suggestions are good. You may have an easier time finding a revolver in .38 special from S&W in your price range then .38/.357. Don't be afraid to rely on .38 special, in fact it may be a better choice given all the potential users. If this is going to be your "one" gun then stay away from Taurus. They make some good revolvers, but some of them have issues that are difficult to fix.

October 2, 2005, 11:03 AM
what issues are you referring to specifically?

i've never encountered/heard of any myself

loose cannon
October 2, 2005, 01:45 PM
if you buy a used shotgun with a tube magazine.above all replace the mag spring with a new 1.alot of these guns are left loaded for long periods of time or may get rust on a spring weakening it.

if your mag spring fails your weapon will not feed the followup rounds and you will have a single shot,good news is in most cases a well placed single round of 12guage will do the job.

sometimes the badguy brings friends.

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