Which of these 3 home defense carbines for girlfriend?


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 30, 2009, 06:11 PM
I want to encourage my girlfriend to train on some light-recoiling carbine when she goes to the range with me, as she does sometimes, so she'll be comfortable using it for a worst-case scenario (home break in). Don't want to do shotgun, as that's too much recoil. Don't want to do handgun, as this also recoils a bit much for her taste, and is a little too dangerous for her skill level right now, what with the short 'turning radius', for lack of a better phrase.

So I'm thinking a pistol cal longgun would be a good choice for her to be able to control well during practice and not be scared to use. Here are three carbines (two of which I have, and one which I plan to possibly get) - which one and why?

1. IMI Timberwolf, .357 mag pump, iron sights (or ??? put on the rail?)
2. LSI Puma 92, .45 colt (it's really in .454 casull, but I'd load up some really light loads for her). This one has a recoil pad and 20" bbl, with a Williams FP rear peep and brass bead front.
3. Marlin 1894, .45 Colt, iron sights (or ??? put on the rail?)

In either .45 Colt, I'd load up cowboy-equivalent loads.

Is the levergun or pump going to be easier to operate under stress?

OR, would the new Grendel 30-round .22 mag pistol be a better choice than any of these? (I don't think so, but will consider input on this)

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December 30, 2009, 06:15 PM
in long arms, my wife prefers pumps over any other action. she started w/ a 10-22, and w/ the sole exception of the little ruger, she'd rather have a pump.

Brian Williams
December 30, 2009, 06:44 PM
Good luck finding a Timberwolf, get a Marlin 1894 in either 45 Colt or 357.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 30, 2009, 06:46 PM
I have the Timberwolf and the Puma - the one I don't have is the Marlin. :) So I guess the question becomes, is it worth it to get the Marlin (kinda wanted one anyway), or use one of the two existing?

December 30, 2009, 07:05 PM
Does she like dogs?

December 30, 2009, 07:31 PM
Among leverguns, I would think about a Marlin 1894 in .357.

However, for your concept in general, I would rather get a 5.7x28mm upper for an AR lower, or just get a 16" AR, perhaps with a muzzlebrake if need be to minimize recoil.

December 30, 2009, 07:36 PM
what about beretta cx4 storm, usgi m1 carbine, or kel tek carbine

December 30, 2009, 07:41 PM
I like my lever action, but I am not fast with it at all. I would try and find a pump BTH.

December 30, 2009, 07:46 PM
I'd vote for a USGI .30 M1 Carbine. Most definitely powerful enough, very light and easy to handle, very fast firing, gentle recoil, and 15 rounds. What's not to love? You can also replace the handguard with an aluminum one that has a tac rail on it, for a red-dot or laser. One of the most perfect CQB/SD carbines ever made, IMO.


December 30, 2009, 08:06 PM
M1 Carbine.................:D

December 30, 2009, 08:13 PM
Which of these 3 home defense carbines for girlfriend?

I would have to see pictures before I could let any of them go; and the wife would have to sign off on it.:D

December 30, 2009, 08:30 PM
Another vote for the USGI M1 carbine...unless it has to be one on the list, in which case I would go with the Marlin (especially considering you want one anyway), but the IMI .357 Mag. wouldn't be a poor choice either.


December 30, 2009, 08:32 PM
I thought of recommending the M1 Carbine right after I read the title. It's a perfect gun for home defense for anyone, recoil sensitive or not.

December 30, 2009, 08:38 PM
I'd be concerned about a pump action with an inexperienced shooter. It's easy to short stroke it under duress.

December 30, 2009, 08:46 PM
What about a Mini 14 in .223 cal?

Float Pilot
December 30, 2009, 08:59 PM
You need to think about over-penetration through your walls and the walls of the next house. Particularly if her skill level is near zero.
M-1 carbines are neat little guns and easy to shoot, but they will also punch through a house wall like butter.
I had a (SD) "stupid discharge" once with my duty 45 (sig P220) and the 45 acp Golden saber round when through my sheet-rock, 6 inches of fiberglass and then through T-111 siding before it continued top cruise down the street.

They do make low recoiling shotgun shells in 20 gauge as well as 12s. My daughter was shooting skeet and trap at age 12 with low recoiling ammo and a Beretta semi-auto 12 gauge. I think she weighed 102 at the time.

Bird shot loads work fine within 30 ft and occasional trips to the trap, skeet or sporting clays range seem to work out better for some gals, than blowing holes in paper. Its more instinctive and lots of the shotgun shooters like to dress up and have dinner afterwards. Snobby yes, but an easier sell for the women folk..

December 30, 2009, 08:59 PM
Either 45 would be my choice. Take her to the range and have her try the ones you have. Only she will find the one most comfortable for her. My young son prefers my Marlin cowboy in 45 with the cowboy loads over the 10-22.

December 30, 2009, 09:00 PM
pumps can be kind of long in the reach for people with short arms. unless the ergos are there, I'd skip the pump. A lever is pretty n00b friendly, and lots of fun. Heavy JHP's intended for the ACP in the .45 loaded to 1050fps ought to be fabulous HD rounds. I suspect the heavier ones designed for ~850fps would expand really fast at 1000fps and limit over-penetration. Also if you keep them subsonic you'll be much happier after the action is over, and there's no doub they'll do the job. To limit over-penetration in the 185gr's you'd have to drive them supersonic, I think.


December 30, 2009, 09:01 PM
Another vote for the M1 carbine. They are very reliable and easy to shoot.
A marlin camp carbine would be a good alternative.

I'm not a fan of leverguns, and they seem like they would be easy to 'short stroke' under extreme stress, but I might be wrong about that also.

December 30, 2009, 09:06 PM
FMJmike beat me to it.

Would it be feasible to grab a M-1 Carbine?

December 30, 2009, 09:25 PM
Good god, it is like people don't read the poster's question and respond with things that are not necessarily applicable. Anyway.
I would take her shooting and let her decide, really they are all great choices. Large apertures (ghost rings) would be fool proof on the levers, not sure on sights for the timber wolf. I wouldn't go with any electronic reflex sight because if you leave them on they die real fast, the exception being an aimpoint which lasts over a year of constant on time. Biggest thing is which one she likes and if she doesn't like guns then the gun won't do much good when the time comes anyway. If I had to pick I'd go with either lever, leaning towards a marlin with an xs sight. People have a tendency to short stroke a pump in stress, although this is usually with longer actions not a pistol caliber length action. What's most important is how the weapon fits her (length of pull) because cycling the action on a lever or a slide action quickly and reliably will depend on the LOP. Good luck, hope to hear how things go.

December 30, 2009, 09:31 PM
is the shotgun recoil being excessive your opinion, or your wife's?

December 30, 2009, 09:51 PM
Get a Marlin .357 and shoot .3 Specials out of it.

December 30, 2009, 09:51 PM
the puma in .454? damn...i want that! so thats my choice. if she gets used to the .45 colts you can load up to give more bang.

Avtomat Kalashnikova
December 30, 2009, 10:01 PM
+1 on the M1

December 30, 2009, 10:06 PM

They can be awfully light if you leave off the tacti-crap. 5.56 will put people down better than any pistol caliber and is the very definition of 'light recoil'.

If 90lb ARVN liked them your girlfriend ought to too.


December 30, 2009, 10:16 PM
As an addition I like the m1, but I have found them to be sensitive to bullet profiles and magazines when it comes to feeding. Not to mention that other rifles were not part of his original question.

December 30, 2009, 10:27 PM
Out of those probably the marlin. Id probably grab a M1 carbine though.

December 30, 2009, 10:33 PM
I like the m1, but I have found them to be sensitive to bullet profiles and magazines when it comes to feeding.I have been using Speer HPs, and they feed well in my USGI carbine...in others I can't say. I have also had good luck with USGI magazines (but 30rnd ones will cost you, fortunately I like 15s for all but range use) as well as the Korean magazines that are very reasonably priced (bought a 15rnd for about $10, and a couple 30rnd ones for $12.50/ea).


December 30, 2009, 11:00 PM
You might want to check out Keltec sub2k's . I have a .40/Glock 22 version and my wife really enjoys shooting it. It's very easy on the shoulder and when loaded with doubletap 155gr gold dots it puts out ~1500fps/775ft/lbs.

My wife does not like to shoot my LSI Puma .44 mag even with .44 specials. She complains that the stock "diggs" into her shoulder. Maybe your .454 with rubber butt pad will make it a better choice.

December 30, 2009, 11:05 PM
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Dr. started this thread just to see how many guns people would recommend OTHER than the ones he listed....


December 30, 2009, 11:09 PM
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Dr. started this thread just to see how many guns people would recommend OTHER than the ones he listed....I picked one of each...one that wasn't on the list for his viewing pleasure, one that was that he doesn't own...the "right answer" ;), and one that he already has...for no other reason than he already owns it...so I guess I am covered (covered in what I don't know :uhoh:).

December 31, 2009, 11:50 AM
I.M.I. Timberwolf in 38/357. This is currently my wife's rifle of choice.
I had an M1 Carbine that my wife did not care for.
Best to let your wife shoot and choose.

December 31, 2009, 12:19 PM
ill go with the M1 carbine. its girl friendly & a piece of AMERICAN HISTORY cant beat that

December 31, 2009, 01:56 PM
M1 carbine...little recoil, easy to use relatively inexpensive to buy and shoot, extremly deadly and/or intimidating!

December 31, 2009, 01:59 PM
Marlin camp 9.

A few on GB right now for around $400ish.

December 31, 2009, 02:03 PM
Pumps have slide releases & safetys that have to be operated to load an empty gun and shoot it..

M-1 Carbines have bolt handles, safetys, and mag releases that all have to be mastered & remembered. And a couple of them are placed almost on top of each other!

For the simplest manual of arms for an inexperianced shooter, I'd say it has to be the lever-action carbine.
All you have to know is stuff the ammo in the side, rack the lever, and pull the trigger.

So simple a caveman can do it under stress!


December 31, 2009, 02:07 PM
Maybe you should have written it like this:
Which of these 3 home defense carbines for girlfriend?
Probably wouldn't have helped. You'd still get SHOTGUN recommendations of all things :rolleyes:

I'd start by taking her to the range and letting her shoot all three. I don't think any one of them would be a bad choice. However, the Marlin is clearly the way to go as it would give you an excuse to get a new gun :evil:

December 31, 2009, 02:14 PM
M-1 Carbines have bolt handles, safetys, and mag releases that all have to be mastered & remembered. And a couple of them are placed almost on top of each other!

Keep an M1 carbine with a loaded magazine, the chamber empty, and the safety off. Pick it up, pull the slide back and let it go, and you're ready to rock. How hard is that? My carbine is the easiest gun to charge that I have. I would absolutely go to it for HD use.

December 31, 2009, 02:26 PM
I'd load up some really light loads for her

Is that necessary? How hard would any of those rifles kick with full house loads?

I've never shot a carbine chambered in a handgun's cartridge, but always heard/read that the recoil is very light.

December 31, 2009, 02:27 PM
I've never shot a carbine chambered in a handgun's cartridge, but always heard/read that the recoil is very light.
If "very light" is relative to full house .454 loads, then they're probably an excellent idea :D

December 31, 2009, 02:31 PM
That's my question; how much recoil energy would a rifle produce when shooting that round? More than a .357mag rifle? More than a 30-30? More than a .25-06?

The ChuckHawks recoil table (http://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm), FWIW, lacks the info on a Casull chambered rifle anyway.

.30 carbine -- 3.5 ft. lbs.
.223 Rem ---- 3.0 to 3.9 ft. lbs.
.45 Colt ----- 4.0 ft. lbs.
.357mag ----- 4.7 ft. lbs.
7.62x39 ----- 6.9 ft. lbs.
.30-30 Win -- 11 ft. lbs.
.25-06 ------ 12.5 ft. lbs.

Anyone know where a hot .454 Casull load would rank in a rifle's recoil?

ol' scratch
December 31, 2009, 02:33 PM
I have one since we are so far away from what the good doctor asked. Get a RPG or or or a double rifle in .458 Lott. They don't have much recoil and they are great for those elephants that break loose from the zoo. :neener:

Recommending an M1 carbine or AR is just as goofy. Stay within the guidelines of the post. It seems the thread has been hyjacked by M1 carbine enthusiast. Try and over come your ADHD and READ THE GUIDELINES!!!

There must be a reason he asked to stay within a few specific firearms. I vote for the Marlin 1894. I really like the Marlin.

December 31, 2009, 03:11 PM
Anyone know where a hot .454 Casull load would rank in a rifle's recoil?

No hard numbers, but it sounds like they kick a bit. Let's see, 6lb gun, 325gr bullet, 2200FPS, and 54,000CUP. There's no way that's not going to kick.

December 31, 2009, 03:17 PM
Hmmmmm. There are some impressive numbers there. That'd make for one heck of a hard hitting HD weapon!

December 31, 2009, 03:45 PM
Of the three rifles Tad wrote about, I have the Marlin 1894 in .357. I like lever actions, but one had better practice with them quite a bit if expecting to handle one in a stress (self defense) situation. It's pretty easy to short stroke a lever action (and Marlins like to be chambered aggressively).
One of the pump guns would probably be more intuitive in that type of scenario, if it fits the shooter!.
Best bet, as others have suggested, is to take her to a range and let her determine the best rifle.

All that said, I use a semi-auto (AR-15) for my SD long gun. I'd prefer a shotgun, but since I had a pacemaker installed recoil is an issue.

December 31, 2009, 04:08 PM
I would go with the Puma. Back in August you posted pics of one w/ a 16" barrel ( I googled the Puma to find out what it was & stumbled on your earlier post); that would be a good house gun for anyone with smaller reach IMO. My wife is 5.0' even, and cannot work a pump properly with her shorter arms. The lever would fix that; I am sure the 20" would be nearly as handy.

A lever gun w/ hot .45 LC's would be nearly ideal from an OP / fast handling / pointability standpoint.

December 31, 2009, 11:51 PM
I'd let her shoot different rifles until she finds something she likes. If she's a beginner shooter, I'd go with a Marlin Cowboy in 38 Special. If she's a bit more experienced, the Marlin Cowboy in 45 Colt is also good. As for sights, Ghost rings are simple and don't require rails. Rails, Optics and Lever Action Rifles don't belong in the same sentence

January 1, 2010, 12:49 AM
Pistol cartridge carbine?

Kel-tec Sub2000. Buy 2 for the price of an M-1 Carbine and you can both practice together with the same gun.

9mm ammo is a lot cheaper and more readily available too.

Oh, and did I mention it folds? And can use Glock mags available everywhere? And can hold 33 rounds?

And all you have to do is pull the trigger, which is a lot simpler than working a lever action in a high stress situation.

January 1, 2010, 12:55 AM

maybe a good choice? Best of both worlds. No idea on reciol, wish I had one to let you know

January 1, 2010, 01:55 AM
The Timberwolf.

It will be much easier to use a pump action over the lever in a high stress situation, and you won't have to worry about a finger or other part of her hand getting pinched in the action when the need to use it arises.

I don't think you'd need any kind of optics, but perhaps look into the plastic orange and green fiber optic style sights. Using the KISS principle, line up the colors on the target and make it go boom.

Other than that, I would opt for the M1C as well. Yes I know it's not on the list of choices, however this is the weapon of choice with my wife (she's about 5 foot 6 and crazy recoil shy) and she's really good with it.

January 1, 2010, 02:25 AM
Which rifle does your girlfriend find the easiest/most comfortable to operate?

January 1, 2010, 02:36 AM
Which rifle does your girlfriend find the easiest/most comfortable to operate?
which ever she opperates well

January 1, 2010, 03:27 AM
I bought my wife a Mini 14 and she felt it was a little to heavy. I recently bought an M1 for myself and well she took it over. M1 carbine is without a doubt the best bet. However, if you want the best answer it would be.....

The one she chooses.

January 1, 2010, 01:10 PM
I first got my wife a Ruger .357 and she's learned to shoot with .38's. At 44, she's never even held a gun before. She's now very comfortable with it, and, it's always ready. Pull the trigger and shoot. I did not want her to have to take the time with mag's, slides, safetys, nothing. Pull the hammer back if you want to, but grab and shoot, because in a real life situation I wanted all thought process taken out of it. There may be zero time to react. And she loves shooting that damn thing.
Then I bought her the Colt .22LR that looks feels (a little lighter) just like my Colt AR. She's gotten so comfortable and good at shooting it, that she can now handle my AR with some level of confidence. The training was fun, ammo is dirt cheap and we enjoy going to the range together.
So in my opinion, get her a revolver, teach her to shoot it, and we'll piss on the grave of amy M F'er that tries to invade your house.

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