Which Firearm for Home Defense?


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reaxn
May 29, 2011, 04:46 PM
Hey everyone,

1st time gun owner here, and I'm looking for my first home defense firearm. Unfortunately my LGS owner is unable to get ahold of the SIG P226 that I so dearly want, so I have to start researching all over again. I'm looking for a 9mm.

I've been to multiple gun shows looking for firearms, and have held many Berettas, Springfield Armory, Para Ordnance, etc. I also prefer a metal frame moreso than polymer pistols.

What would your recommendations be for a 1st time pistol owner?

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rogerjames
May 29, 2011, 04:51 PM
Shotgun is your best choice. Big stopping power without the fear of missing the BG and accidentally hitting a loved one or neighbor from penetrating a wall

reaxn
May 29, 2011, 04:56 PM
Mainly interested in buying a pistol. I should have mentioned that I own a 20 gauge

MaterDei
May 29, 2011, 05:01 PM
Hi, reaxn. Welcome to THR!

The Sig is a great option if you want a 9mm pistol for HD. Have you considered buying online? You can buy the gun at a good online store and let your LGS handle the transfer for you. budsgunshop.com or gunbroker.com are good places to start for your online purchasing.

If you're not interested in buying online then let us know what your looking for in a gun and what your LGS carries and we'll try and steer you in the right direction.

hanno
May 29, 2011, 05:01 PM
I teach pistol and have a fair number of handguns to choose from. The one sitting on my nightstand is a S&W Model 625 (.45 ACP revolver).

If you are looking at semi-autos, consider the CZ 75 line.

If you search the threads here and other gun boards you will find them highly regarded.

Here's my CZ 75 SP-01:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0603/kraut/CZ%2075%20and%20Kadet%20Kit/SP01-left2.jpg

PO2Hammer
May 29, 2011, 05:02 PM
Find a different LGS and get what you want.

Sometimes the guy at the LGS can get a little lazy and will steer you toward something he can readily get or has in stock.
In the metal frame 9mm's, the Beretta would be my second choice behind Sig.
Fore home defense I would stay away from 9mm 1911's. That platform was designed for 45acp and the 9mm version can be finicky.

Furncliff
May 29, 2011, 05:02 PM
I was shopping for a used 1911, when I found my first center fire pistol. I still have it - a CZ75b. It's been ten years and it's still my favorite 9mm. CZ makes good stuff and they have several flavors of 9mm to choose from. You owe it to yourself to hold one to appreciate how nicely made they are. Not to mention a lot of bang for the buck. Here's one sight that specializes in factory and custom CZ's...

http://czcustom.com/

The other suggestion I have is a 9mm 1911 if you thing you like the 1911 platform. RIA makes one, here is the least expensive place that I have found...
http://centerfiresystems.com/AC-RI1911TACA9MM.aspx

CTGunner
May 29, 2011, 05:03 PM
If you really want a Sig you could order one online and have it shipped to your local gun store. There are many stores that stock them. For what it's worth my first home defense gun was a Smith & Wesson 686 (Revolver). I still own one for HD but it's a + model (holds 7 rounds), has a Gold Bead Front Sight, and a fantastic trigger job. Why? 1. Straight up reliability 2. Incredible Accuracy 3. Ammo Choices (light shooting .38s to full power .357s) 4. Manageable Recoil.

My other 'go to' for HD is a Glock 17 with Night Sights, and a rail mounted light. Why? 1. Straight up reliability 2. Cheap to practice with 3. Capacity 4. Price - I picked mine up for about 350 on the used market.

CZ is a good option if plastic is off the table.

MaterDei
May 29, 2011, 05:06 PM
hanno, the CZ-75 is a great suggestion for somebody looking for a 9mm HD pistol. The original pistol in that family, the Browning Hi-Power would also be a good choice.

rogerjames
May 29, 2011, 05:17 PM
Mainly interested in buying a pistol. I should have mentioned that I own a 20 gauge

You're original question was "best gun for home defense". My opinion is that PISTOL is not the best choice. You seem to have made a decision before you asked your question. :eek:
Since you already decided that a pistol is the best choice... any will do

Zerodefect
May 29, 2011, 06:25 PM
Glock or 1911.

What kind of house are you in? Suburb? City?
A shotgun with an Aimpoint T1 is handy, especially the new Keltec KSG.
An AR15 carbine with an Aimpoint would be even better.

catnphx
May 29, 2011, 06:59 PM
Unfortunately my LGS owner is unable to get ahold of the SIG P226 that I so dearly want, so I have to start researching all over again. I'm looking for a 9mm.

Buds has a few of the Sig P226's ... check them out. Don't give up on the dream of owning a P226, reaxn. I'm sure other places have them too but this was just my first look at Buds. Good luck!!

Buds Gun Shop - Sig P226 (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/28/products_id/30564)

Another P226 @ Buds (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/28/products_id/75528)

And Yet Another P226 @ Buds (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/28/products_id/76379)

One More P226 @ Buds (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/28/products_id/76380)

P226 with Night Sights @ Buds (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/28/products_id/50869)

Ala Tom
May 29, 2011, 07:30 PM
I recently made the same decision. "Home Defense" simply means you do not need a small gun as for Concealed Carry. You don't want to coddle an intruder with a light touch. You want to disable him quickly. Caliber should be .40 or .45. I chose .40 and chose S&W because I read many good accounts of servicing. When I priced new guns in .40 cal, the S&W M&P stood out at ~$500. I bought one. I also bought a .22 pistol that has a very similar feel for low-cost practice (S&W 22A). Now I alternate 100 rounds .22 for $20 and 50 rounds .40 for $30 at my local indoor range.

Before getting these guns, I had not fired and gun for 45 years. But at that time I did fire the .45 and the .357. I could handle some recoil. It was like starting from scratch. I'm not the best shot yet but I can get the job done.

yhtomit
May 29, 2011, 08:14 PM
Be cautious about shooting anything indoors, including that 20ga. Go visit The Box O' Truth (http://www.theboxotruth.com/) to see that penetration is a serious concern from all kinds of ammo and through some surprising barriers.

Just sayin' :)

If you're looking for a 9mm, I would vote for a) whatever your favorite is after shooting several ;) and b) as a suggestion, make one of those several a Cz-75 or other gun in that family and see how you like it.

timothy

SpentCasing
May 29, 2011, 08:21 PM
3rd Gen S&W (59xx, 915, 910)
Beretta 92FS
CZ75s are great too.

Welcome to THR.

Tomcat47
May 29, 2011, 08:25 PM
SIG P226...

A whole lot of them here!

www.gunbroker.com

miles1
May 29, 2011, 09:54 PM
Metal= Beretta 92FS

Polymer=Glock 17/19

Both excellent guns IMHO that are very easy to maintain,clean and reliable shooters.

IdahoLT1
May 29, 2011, 10:22 PM
I love my Beretta's but theyre not the best choice for everyone. A good option is the S&W 3rd gens. You can one and then build a bit of cash to buy your SIG when you find one. CDNN has S&W 5906's for $299.

hirundo82
May 29, 2011, 10:44 PM
I can see settling for something else if the gun you wanted was something unusual but this is a P226 we're talking about, probably one of the top 5 selling 9mm's. Buy online (Top Gun Supply (http://www.topgunsupply.com/sig-sauer-p226/) is my preferred source for SIGs) or find another store.

miles1
May 29, 2011, 11:47 PM
I recently made the same decision. "Home Defense" simply means you do not need a small gun as for Concealed Carry. You don't want to coddle an intruder with a light touch. You want to disable him quickly. Caliber should be .40 or .45. I chose .40 and chose S&W because I read many good accounts of servicing. When I priced new guns in .40 cal, the S&W M&P stood out at ~$500. I bought one. I also bought a .22 pistol that has a very similar feel for low-cost practice (S&W 22A). Now I alternate 100 rounds .22 for $20 and 50 rounds .40 for $30 at my local indoor range.

Before getting these guns, I had not fired and gun for 45 years. But at that time I did fire the .45 and the .357. I could handle some recoil. It was like starting from scratch. I'm not the best shot yet but I can get the job done.
Bad advice on so many levels.

bigfatdave
May 30, 2011, 10:36 AM
Mainly interested in buying a pistol.If you already had a gun you were entirely familliar with and wanted to use it for HD, that would make sense (example, carry pistol doing double duty) ... but you can't buy those skills or that muscle memory, so if you don't intend to practice regularly for carry, a pistol for HD only doesn't make a lot of sense.

Rifleman 173
May 30, 2011, 10:45 AM
Layer your home defense options. That means using a shoulder-mounted firearm like a shotgun or medium caliber rifle for your primary defense tool. You back up that rifle or shotgun with a big bore pistol just in case. Both of the firearms you back up with a good fighting knife, bayonet or sheath knife just in case things get really nasty. Home defense is something you really want to think over hard and long. A good defense is one where you can expect to engage two or three doped up scumbags at one time. Trouble seldom comes alone and when possible it brings a pal with it. With that thought in mind, I'd say use a good pump tactical shotgun for your primary defense tool, a good Glock 21SF for your back up pistol and a Kabar fighting knife for "last ditch conflict resolution."

Ole Coot
May 30, 2011, 11:21 AM
Use a full size 45 to get to your shotgun. Nothing like a shotgun in my personal opinion. I can blow an invader and any wall down, no close neighbors and my wife would be behind me.

Mr.454
May 30, 2011, 03:48 PM
DO NOT buy some second choice. Go to Buds online just like I did and buy your Sig. Trust me never settle for some other gun unless you want to be selling it down the road. Twenty rounds of 9mm will do the job, especially in a hallway or stairway.

Walking Dead
May 30, 2011, 06:59 PM
Whichever you are comfortable with and can operate accurately in the dark of night or in a stressful situation.

DevilDog0402
May 30, 2011, 07:04 PM
I gotta ask. What kind of gun shop can't get a Sig P226? It is one of the most popular handguns in the country...

You may be able to find a very nice used 226 or a law enforcement trade-in online.

pdosh
May 30, 2011, 07:39 PM
If you want a SIG, get it. I've got one in 40 and it's nice. You should look at the re-certified guns. Should save you a little coin. SIG is a little higher cost, but they are nice. I've switched to S&W M&P because I think it's better for competition within my budget and also because of the double action first shot requirement. But for a range/home defense gun the SIG is great.

shockwave
May 30, 2011, 07:46 PM
The 686+ is always worth a shout-out.

http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r136/southerneditor/SW686-plusbullets.jpg

Nacho Libre
May 30, 2011, 07:47 PM
Glock of Sig.

Effigy
May 30, 2011, 08:15 PM
A handgun is fine for home defense. The idea that shotgun pellets don't penetrate walls is a commonly circulated fallacy. Check out this ballistics comparison:
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm#OVERPENETRATION

The shotgun also has the disadvantage of being a 2-handed weapon, which can limit your ability to do other things. Here's a good video by Massad Ayoob discussing the limitations of a shotgun for HD (start at about 2:15):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kjt4TLrcEo&feature=related

If you want a pistol, get a pistol. If you want a SIG P226, get the 226. You're generally better ordering it online and having it transferred through a local FFL because the internet has the best variety and often the best prices, plus no sales tax. Supporting local businesses is great, but don't compromise on a major purpose on that account.

rogerjames
May 30, 2011, 09:27 PM
A handgun is fine for home defense. The idea that shotgun pellets don't penetrate walls is a commonly circulated fallacy. Check out this ballistics comparison:
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De...VERPENETRATION

The argument is not that shotgun pellets can't penetrate walls. The argument is that a shotgun pellet penetrating a wall is far less likely to be lethal than a pistol round penetrating a wall.

How 'bout you post a link to that fact

webfox
May 30, 2011, 09:50 PM
Have you found a range that rents firearms? That's the best way to see which firearm you are most comfortable with.

I have a Beretta 92FS for home defense. (The .44mag is a little excessive, though I do have specials in it when it's sitting in the safe.)

Effigy
May 30, 2011, 09:55 PM
The argument is not that shotgun pellets can't penetrate walls. The argument is that a shotgun pellet penetrating a wall is far less likely to be lethal than a pistol round penetrating a wall.

How 'bout you post a link to that fact

If you think that's the case, the burden of proof is on you. I already posted my info regarding penetration of shotgun pellets versus handgun bullets.

DevilDog0402
May 30, 2011, 09:59 PM
The argument is not that shotgun pellets can't penetrate walls. The argument is that a shotgun pellet penetrating a wall is far less likely to be lethal than a pistol round penetrating a wall.

How 'bout you post a link to that fact
While buckshot may not penetrate walls as much as a rifle or handgun round, it will still be quite deadly in the average home.


This shows 2 3/4", 00 Buck, 9 pellets penetrating 7 sheets of drywall, which would be equivalent to 6 1/2 walls. Pretty lethal in most homes...

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm

Jed Carter
May 30, 2011, 10:02 PM
I would get the P226, you may want to try http://www.impactguns.com/ or Buds http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php and have it delivered through your LGS. SIG is one of the few manufacturers that have quality Tritium night sights available. H&K, CZ offer glow in the dark sights but not Tritium, perhaps a Glock G17 or G34 with aftermarket Tritium sights installed, not real fond of the factory plastic sights. I used a P226 .357SIG for my HD pistol for many years, just replaced it with a G17 with Trijicon night sights and a Surefiire X400 light / laser combination. G17 and X400 were cheaper together than a new P226 with a rail and no light.

Effigy
May 30, 2011, 10:07 PM
@ DevilDog0402: Good link. Note that on the previous page it also shows #4 buck giving similar penetration.

rogerjames
May 30, 2011, 10:11 PM
If you think that's the case, the burden of proof is on you. I already posted my info regarding penetration of shotgun pellets versus handgun bullets.

Do you understand that "shotgun" tells us nothing about the cartridge being used? Do you understand that a 12ga can shoot buckshot, birdshot, slugs, etc?

Your link uses 00 buckshot as their shotgun load :rolleyes:

Nobody that I know would recommend 00 buckshot as a home defense round. Most would suggest something more akin to #4 buckshot for home defense, specifically to avoid some of the penetration issues demonstrated by your link.

Shotgun does not tell you anything about penetration.

Effigy
May 30, 2011, 10:13 PM
Read the rest of the linked article. At the end, they specifically talk about #4 and birdshot loadings being ineffective for defensive purposes. Also note that the #4 buck penetrated six sheets of drywall in the test.

EDIT: By "linked article" I'm referring to the one DevilDog posted.

rogerjames
May 30, 2011, 10:17 PM
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm

This is the entrance of the slug into the 12th board, along with the expanded slug.
Lessons learned:
1. Notice that the #4 and #1 Buck penetrated 6 boards. In previous tests, 9mm, .45 ACP, and M-193 out of an AR all penetrated all 12 boards.

So, it seems that these loads do not "over-penetrate" as much as some have led us to believe.

Effigy
May 30, 2011, 10:27 PM
It's a matter of degree, and one I don't think is worth the amount of emphasis some people give to it. The fact is that the buckshot penetrated multiple walls. The fact that it doesn't "over-penetrate as much" as a pistol bullet is of minor consequence, because it does overpenetrate. Hence, you could very well kill an innocent behind a wall while using a shotgun for home defense, so you still need to be mindful of backstop just like you would with a pistol or rifle.

Once we accept that shotgun pellets do overpenetrate (albiet less than a bullet does), it's on more even footing for comparison with a handgun. The points Ayoob makes in the video I posted are relevant to this comparison. Both guns have advantages and disadvantages, and it's perfectly reasonable to prefer one of the other. Claiming that the shotgun is the single best HD weapon under every circumstance is not reasonable, and most people who make that claim do it on the misguided assumption that a shotgun won't overpenetrate.

rogerjames
May 30, 2011, 10:55 PM
Once we accept that shotgun pellets do overpenetrate (albiet less than a bullet does), it's on more even footing for comparison with a handgun. The points Ayoob makes in the video I posted are relevant to this comparison. Both guns have advantages and disadvantages, and it's perfectly reasonable to prefer one of the other. Claiming that the shotgun is the single best HD weapon under every circumstance is not reasonable, and most people who make that claim do it on the misguided assumption that a shotgun won't overpenetrate.

Ok, let's get a few things straight.

First of all, we are not dealing with absolutes, we are dealing with relatives.

Absolutely, you could be hit through a wall and killed by a shotgun pellet.

In relative terms, we are concerned with probabilities and minimizing risk, not absolutes.

Your link shows that ... http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm... shotgun loads penetrate 1/2 as far as 9mm loads!

In addition, an 00 buckshot pellet weighs 3.49g and #4 buckshot weighs 1.34g. A common 9mm bullet is 115 or 124g! So it penetrates twice as far and weighs 97x's more!

To break this down for you, you would have to get hit with 32 00 buckshot pellets to equal the weight of a 9mm round, and they would still hit penetrate half as far. :uhoh:

sargents1
May 30, 2011, 11:03 PM
Which Firearm for Home Defense?
Hey everyone,

1st time gun owner here, and I'm looking for my first home defense firearm. Unfortunately my LGS owner is unable to get ahold of the SIG P226 that I so dearly want, so I have to start researching all over again. I'm looking for a 9mm.

I've been to multiple gun shows looking for firearms, and have held many Berettas, Springfield Armory, Para Ordnance, etc. I also prefer a metal frame moreso than polymer pistols.

What would your recommendations be for a 1st time pistol owner?

As others have said, if your LGS can't get a P226, get a new LGS or tell yours to stop being lazy. Sigs aren't exactly rare...

As for which 9mm Metal frame gun you should get...well, you have many good options. Sig (as you have already expressed a liking for) makes a very nice gun. So does CZ (as others have mentioned), Beretta, Smith and Wesson and Ruger all make good quality metal frame 9mm guns. Most of these guns have the same mode of operation, DA/SA operation (if you dont know what this means, just ask, someone will be happy to explain it.

Here is a short list of guns that are roughly equivalent to a Sig P226 in terms of size, capacity, and function.
- CZ75B and variants. Excellent accuracy (maybe better than Sig), reliability at a midrange price. Buy with confidence.
- Beretta M92 and M9A1 (the military designation of the M92). Good accuracy, reliability at similar price to a CZ. The US Military uses Berettas, so despite what some haters say, they are bound to be very good guns.
- Smith and Wesson 5906 or other older metal frame Smith 9mm. These are out of production, but are available used. I have no personal experience with this particular model, but Smith has a good reputation. I would have no hesitation about buying a used Smith as long as I could check it over first.
- Ruger P85MKII and P89. This was Ruger's entry into the US military trials to compete with the Beretta and Sig back in the mid 1980's. I dont know if Ruger actually submitted these for testing in time, but they are good guns. Cheap on the used market (they stopped production a couple years back), very reliable with decent accuracy. These guns have a fairly heavy trigger that can be difficult for some shooters. I have a P85MKII and I trust my life to it, it's my nightstand gun.

You really wont go wrong with any of these guns. If you can try before you buy, you should.

I would encourage you to explore the polymer frame guns before you buy. Glock, Smith and Wesson M&P's, Springfield XD's are all Excellent guns at reasonable prices. Glocks do not have a manual safety which bothers some folks, but they are super simple and easy to use. The Smith M&P and Springer XD can both be had with a manual safety if you prefer. I have shot all of these guns and I like them all pretty well. I own a Glock 20SF in 10mm, but if Smith and Wesson made an M&P in 10mm, I would trade my Glock in and get the M&P for the ergonomics. I will say that the Polymer guns tend to feel different in terms of recoil, they are lighter (in mass) and when compared side by side with a metal gun, I feel that they are a bit snappier.

If you are really new to handguns, make sure you get LOTS of practice ammo and spend some quality time with your new gun, whatever you get. Any of the guns I have mentioned should serve you well, but only if you take the time to get good with it.

Good Luck.

Effigy
May 30, 2011, 11:22 PM
@ rogerjames: You're mistaking grams and grains in that comparison. A 00 pellet weighs about 3.5 grams, which is about 54 grains.

It's true that the bullet will penetrate about twice as much, at least in terms of drywall. That's a disadvantage of choosing a handgun over a shotgun for HD, but it's not enough reason enough for anyone to proclaim that a handgun is downright inappropriate or inferior as a HD weapon. The handgun has other benefits, probably the most significant of which is being operable with one hand. This allows you to do other things like using a phone, opening doors, carrying things, and so on while still being ready to shoot.

miles1
May 30, 2011, 11:26 PM
The 686+ is always worth a shout-out.

http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r136/southerneditor/SW686-plusbullets.jpg
Or a Ruger GP100......

rogerjames
May 30, 2011, 11:38 PM
@ rogerjames: You're mistaking grams and grains in that comparison. A 00 pellet weighs about 3.5 grams, which is about 54 grains.
I've been learned :D

Jonah71
May 31, 2011, 11:11 AM
I like the CZ 75B. As I've stated in another thread, it makes a good heavy club if you need it too.

Br
May 31, 2011, 01:17 PM
Not sure it even needs repeating at this point, but I agree with the majority: find a different LGS or order online. Buds is good. The P226 is a great 9mm, and one of my all time favorites. If that's what you want, "stick to your gun" if you'll pardon the pun, and get it from a place that sells them.

I can't imagine a LGS that doesn't carry SIGs, or at least wouldn't help you order one.

p.s. I'm really hoping the shotgun penetration discussion can either cease or move to another thread, that's been discussed almost as much as "which firearm for home defense". ;)

Guns and more
May 31, 2011, 01:32 PM
I like CZ's for the money too, but my advice would be this:

Go to all the gun stores in your area. Hold all the pistols you like.
One will feel right in YOUR hand.

Forget what everyone tells you.

Oh, and buy quality to start.

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