Next HD gun for the family -- shotgun/carbine


May 8, 2011, 09:12 AM
My wife is a competent shooter and has shot most everything in our gun armory. Considering my frequent business travel, she knows how to reach firearms and use them should there be any evil-doers breaking in while I'm gone. The go-to gun at present is a S&W Model 10 with 110 gr. Federal Hydra-Shok, but I feel that controlling a handgun during high stress might be difficult and that we should shift to a shoulder-fired firearm instead.

My wife has fired the shotguns (all 12-gauge), but this may be a bit too much for her to handle confidently since my wife is quite petite and doesn't have the body strength for it. Two options under consideration are a 20-gauge shotgun or a carbine, most likely the Beretta CX4 in .40 S&W. We're leaning towards the latter since I have plenty of handguns in .40 to share ammunition with and that the size and mild recoil of the CX4 make it easier to handle for my wife.

It's hard to beat the advantages of a shotgun for home defense, but confidence and controllability give the carbine the edge. The reviews of the the CX4 have been generally positive (and the accessories like a flashlight are a big plus), but I wanted to reach out to the THR faithful for comments on the CX4 (especially for HD) and other carbine recommendations, preferably in .40 S&W.

Thanks in advance!

If you enjoyed reading about "Next HD gun for the family -- shotgun/carbine" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 8, 2011, 03:09 PM
Just spoke to my wife again about this. She's not a fan of the shotgun (never has been), so this may be down to a carbine of some sort. Perhaps even lever action .44 like a Marlin 1894, but the preference would still be the CX4 in .40. It's tougher to strap a flashlight to the lever action. :)

May 8, 2011, 03:52 PM
Thompson SMG or SBR BAR.

If little Bonnie Parker can handle them, it should be a problem.

May 8, 2011, 05:52 PM
Thompson SMG or SBR BAR.

If little Bonnie Parker can handle them, it should be a problem.

:) There's something to be said about toting a Thompson SMG down the hall to meet the bad guy(s). They would probably soil themselves right there.

It's a great firearm for certain, but it's too heavy for my wife to wield with any degree of confidence. I picked up a Thompson on display at last year's NRA convention in Charlotte and loved it. Heavy? Yes, but oooooooh it felt so cool! :)

May 9, 2011, 01:09 AM
Why not an AR15? Low recoil, adjustable stock for those of smaller stature, less likely to overpenetrate than a pistol-caliber carbine, and numerous options for mounting a light (or any other accessory you can think of).

May 9, 2011, 06:54 AM
Why not an AR15? Low recoil, adjustable stock for those of smaller stature, less likely to overpenetrate than a pistol-caliber carbine, and numerous options for mounting a light (or any other accessory you can think of).

Yes, definitely a contender but the preference would be a pistol caliber carbine (9mm/.40/.45). Can you believe I don't own an AR15 yet? I own 14 guns and not a single AR...I need to get on that soon! :)

May 9, 2011, 07:06 AM
My wife's primary is an M-1 carbine. But I will admit, I inherited mine, and I'm not sure I would get around to buying one if I hadn't.

May 9, 2011, 07:39 AM
Consider a Hi-Point carbine. For $250 or whatever they cost, you can't really go wrong buying one just to try it out.

You can buy one used to try it for $150 or so. Though the newer versions have rails which are very useful on a HD long gun to mount a light on.

And unlike the pistols, the carbines have a pretty good reputation.

May 9, 2011, 07:43 AM
Hello friends and neighbors // Hard to beat a short barreled 20ga., if wall/house penetration is a worry or an M1 Carbine if it is not.

I sometimes wish I had known about the CX4 .40sw before going with the CZ75B.
Unless they start making one that accepts the CZ mags.:D

Other than it being easier to grab, I think in conjunction with a .40sw handgun the CX4 is the perfect HD weapon for your wife.

May 9, 2011, 10:23 AM
Thanks, Content. The weight and size of the CX4 are very attractive as an HD firearm for my wife. She and I cannot find a range in our area that has one to test fire, so we may need to take the plunge and just buy one. The CX4 reviews are pretty solid, so I think this will be a safe bet. She only wants a flashlight on it, but it's nice to know it can be fully kitted if need be.

May 9, 2011, 10:26 AM
You could buy two, maybe three Hi Point carbines and a boat load of .40 for the cost of one CX4.

I don't know what your income/ budget is for this HD gun, but my Hi-Point 9mm sits next to me when I sleep. As you already have .40 caliber guns, the Hi-Point does come in .40. Mine wear a Streamlight vertical grip and a Streamlight TLR-1. The only drawback / negative comment I've ever had a bout Hi Point is the low ammo capacity in the carbines. 10 rounds in a mag goes to zero pretty fast even in the most ideal situations. The 15 round promags, I've heard are junk, and I don't know if thee mags come in .40.

The Berreta is a great gun, no doubt about it, just too costly for my tastes.

A 12 or 20 gauge shotgun would also be a great HD gun. My 12 gauge is my backup HD weapon. But if your wife feels 12 is a bit much, I don't blame her. My wife is the same way. A Mossberg 590 in 20 gauge would be a nice option to explore, too.

Personally, I'm not in favor of the AR as an HD gun, but thats just my .02.

May 9, 2011, 11:00 AM
Thanks, USAF Vet (btw, thanks for your service! I am a Navy vet myself...). I haven't given the Hi-Point much thought, but I will definitely check it out. For the record, I am *not* a gun snob -- I have owned "cheap" guns that worked great and expensive guns that didn't. I don't have an issue with the HP, except the capacity. I believe that the Beretta is a 17+1 in .40 (can't recall), which is a big advantage. If I can find a used CX4 on the market, I might snag that.

It's interesting that your wife has the same issue with the 12 gauge. It must be the weight/recoil ratio relative to the shooter's body size and strength. The heavier the shotgun, of course, the better the recoil management, but my wife struggles with the weight of it. The same holds true for my 13-year-old son, but my 16-year-old really loves our 12-gauges.

The other reason why my wife is gravitating towards the pistol carbine over a 20 gauge is that she shoots our Springfield XD40 quite well and this has given her confidence in the caliber. She does struggle sometime with the XD's slide (that recoil spring IS stiff), and with the nervousness of dealing with a break-in, she would likely handle a carbine much better. The shoulder will stabilize the gun and the charging handle will give her better grip with nervous, sweaty hands.

May 9, 2011, 11:17 AM
Hello friends and neighbors // Nothing wrong with a life time, transferable, 100% warrenty either.

The carbines are dedicated to Hi Point " carbine " mags is all, you can even get a folding stock.

I don't have one but a friend likes his Hi-Point .45 pistol.

May 9, 2011, 11:23 AM
Saiga 20 shotgun? The action on 'em absorbs a chunk of the recoil, so it is lighter than with a pumpy.

May 9, 2011, 11:34 AM
Another pistol-caliber carbine to consider is the KelTec Sub-2000 ( You can get versions that accept pistol mags from a number of companies--currently in .40S&W they have versions that accept Glock 22, Glock 23, Beretta 96, S&W 4006, and SIG P226 mags, so if you own any of those pistols you would have mag commonality.

May 9, 2011, 12:20 PM
I own a CX4 myself for home defense.

My wife is too small to use a shotgun. She is also too weak to work the slide on a handgun. Yes, I know I could always buy a revolver, but the handgun permitting process in New Jersey is such a pain that it is just not worth it.

The CX4 is unique because you have the ability to add two cocking handles, one on each side. I keep the CX4 locked up, with a magazine in the gun, and no round in the chamber. If my wife needs the gun, she unlocks it, and cocks it by placing the buttstock in her groin, and uses both hands to work the cocking handles to chamber a round.

It is less than optimal, but but it works for her.

I've put 3500 rounds through my CX4 in the past two years without a problem. Yes it is expensive, but buy once, cry once. I wholeheartedly recommend the CX4. You can buy a cheaper pistol caliber carbine, but you'd be hardpressed to buy a better one.

Steve H
May 9, 2011, 12:26 PM
For quite a while now my wife has been talking about how nice it would be to have a 18" pistol grip 20 ga. Yesterday she got one for mothers day.........I'm going to start her on it with "low base" target loads and work up from there. The thing that I like is this is something she picked out so she is more fired up about using it.

May 9, 2011, 12:27 PM
another vote for the Sub 2000...thats on my list for sure

May 9, 2011, 12:29 PM
Thanks, hirundo. I will give the Kel-Tec a look-see, but I am concerned that the LOP may be a bit too long for my wife. I don't believe that it is adjustable downward since the stock tube also contains the bolt and return spring.

cl4de6 -- you described my wife's situation perfectly, which is why I believe the CX4 is the right choice. At present, her go-to gun is our S&W Model 10 and she can flick gnats with it, but her control and aim could be a very different story during a break-in with periods of tremendous stress (hey, probably mine, too). The carbine has obvious advantages for bracing and control. Having an ambidextrous charging handle is a real plus, also.

Thanks, everyone, for the great input and feedback from the always excellent THR faithful! Much appreciated!

May 9, 2011, 12:36 PM
Google "The Box O Truth 20 gauge", before you go that way.

The Hi Point carbine I bought has been great. I wanted a pistol caliber carbine and the others were more than I wanted to spend. It's a much stouter more robust weapon than the price would lead you to believe (mine is .45acp and cost $260 purchased from an online auction site). After 500 rounds of Winchester .45's there was one FTF on the last round in the magazine. I started reloading for it last week. It ate everything, including rounds I know did not pass the drop test in my 1911 barrel.

Accuracy for HD is O.K., the best so far is about 1 in. at 25yd. I have a feeling the 9mm and 40S&W will do better. I can close that up with hand loads.

My gun shop tells me that used ones sell quickly so if you don't like it...

My daughter shoots it well (5-7 ~120#), she thinks it's homely, I think handsome is and handsome does. The shock absorbing butt helps a lot, to make this a comfortable weapon for a small person to shoot. It's got rails for lights, optics and lasers.

I thought I'd try it because there wasn't a lot to lose (and the maker offers a no BS warrantee). I became a fan.

May 9, 2011, 05:22 PM
I like my Hi-Points plenty, but I understand your position on magazine capacity. Hi-Point is coming out with 15 round magazines (which are hopefully better then the Pro-mag ones), but given how long we had to wait for the .45 carbine to come out...

I have to say, pistol caliber carbines are joys to shoot and very handy, not to mention rather cheap to practice with. Your best bet would be to find a rental range that has a few different carbines and try them out.

I know that your wife isn't to keen on shotguns, but you might want to investigate a short barreled gas-operated 20 gauge. It'll be less handy and have a lower capacity then a carbine, but its still very respectable.

How does she feel about the whole pistol vs carbine thing?

May 9, 2011, 06:40 PM
How does she feel about the whole pistol vs carbine thing?

She feels that a carbine would be a good fit for her since she is accomplished in pistol and knowing that the recoil would be less and control would be higher with a carbine. Those are all big pluses to her. She has never warmed up to shotguns and I don't think she ever will. My youngest son wants a 20 gauge this summer, so I might use that as a segue for her to shoot shotguns again. If she doesn't take to the 20 gauge, then I can probably scratch that off of the list. Pistols and carbines, however, seem to be just fine with her. I have told her that if her confidence with pistols is high, it will likely be much higher with a carbine.

May 9, 2011, 07:02 PM
Does the Kel-tec have a rail for a light?

May 9, 2011, 07:02 PM
My Momma is under 5 foot and 120 pounds and she loves her M-1 Carbine.

May 9, 2011, 10:20 PM
Does the Kel-tec have a rail for a light?

Yes, there are rails you can add on and even a quad rail modification if you like. There is no shortage of mounting accessories on the K-T Sub 2K.

If you enjoyed reading about "Next HD gun for the family -- shotgun/carbine" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!