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best home defense round

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by riflenut, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. riflenut

    riflenut Well-Known Member

    hey there i know this question has been asked before, but iam asking any way!! A co worker of mine has never owned or fired a gun period. He wants a hand gun and wanted suggestions. I personally told him if it were me with no experience with firearms,he would be best with a revolver in a 38 special cal. for home defense, a snubnose in 2 or 3 " barrel. I felt with the ease and simplicity of a revolver would be best! I also told him to go to the local range and practice, practice,practice.He digs the autos he has seen on tv, but I told him to start with a revolver first.
  2. longbeachbum

    longbeachbum Member

    I posted a similar question a while back and 38 spl probably got the most votes. Lots of people thought 357 mag was too much medicine where over penetration is a danger, and also where you are shooting in enclosed spaces without ear protection. In any case since starting that thread and reading the replies, both my Ruger SP101 and GP100 in the house are loaded with 38 spl +P JHP, not 357 mag.
  3. Clifford

    Clifford Well-Known Member

    20mm H.E. Rounds... That will take down just about any house that may try to attack you:neener:

    Seriously thou, you can't go wrong with a good SWC .38 special
  4. ScramasaxDurango

    ScramasaxDurango Active Member

    I have a GP100, which I love. It'd be a good choice for him-- if offers the flexibility of either .38 or .357 depending on necessity
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    For HD I think a shotgun is best. If he wants a handgun IMO you gave him good advice about using a .38 Special. (although I would recommend a 4" barrel over a 2" barrel) Along with over penetration possibilities the "flash-bang" effect delivered by a .357 Magnum touched off in a dark confined space (like a bedroom at night) is devastating. A .357 Magnum is VERY loud indoors and the flash is blinding.
  6. Quickstrike

    Quickstrike Well-Known Member

    Something like a GP100 would be nice. With a barrel 4 inches or more to help with excess flash and recoil.

    Or get a good semi-auto like the M&P in 9mm. He will like it more = shoot it more.

    The shorter lighter trigger pull of a striker fired auto is easier to shoot well under stress for people with less experience imo.
  7. LHRGunslinger

    LHRGunslinger Well-Known Member

    I agree with ArchAngel. A PUMP shotgun is best for home defense. In a home invasion scenario you're probably going to be asleep. So having something you can score hits with every time you pull the trigger is very beneficial. Pump guns also have the advantage that in the unfortunate event of a failure to fire you cycle the action and ta-da fresh round. There is also the fact that pumping a shotgun in a quiet home in the middle of the night makes a very distinctive sound which in and of itself might dissuade the invaders.
  8. Stainz

    Stainz Well-Known Member

    My decision years back resulted in my 642, 2" 10, and 4" 64 all being loaded similarly - Remington R38S12 .38 Special +P 158gr LHPSWC's. They make from 840-900 fps. Their softer lead insures proper soft-tissue opening for better stopping, while a LSWC often leaves little more than the LRN in such a case (Actually, a 148gr full wadcutter - normally a target load - starts with a .357" diameter hole - and retains it.). The softer lead comes apart in studwalls, too, lessening collateral damage. I keep speedloaders and moonclips loaded with them for my .357 Magnum revolvers, too. Even stored in a safe, they are accessible.

  9. snooperman

    snooperman Well-Known Member

    A 38 special +P..

    would be fine.
  10. shockwave

    shockwave Well-Known Member

    A .357 magnum revolver loaded with .38 spl is a good choice. I wouldn't recommend a snubnose, as a 4" or 6" barrel will offer more control, accuracy, and ballistic power. For HD purposes, there's no need to limit the size or weight of a handgun, as one would do for a concealed carry firearm. The snubbie makes compromises for ease of carry, and there's no need to compromise when it comes to HD.

    Yes, the advice above about a shotgun is well worth considering. In the overall scheme of HD, my sense is that a handgun should be the first purchase because it is more versatile. You can always grab a revolver from close by, point it and shoot - even if you're still laying in bed as an intruder approaches.

    You can grab a handgun, put it in your pocket or hold it down by your leg as you investigate a suspicious event. The shotgun seems more useful when you've gone to barricade mode, or when you have a bit of advance warning and you know you're going to need maximum firepower. It's also a bit more difficult to use a shotgun and it's harder to practice it in tactical usage. So handgun first, then add a shotgun later if you think it necessary.
  11. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    a revolver in a 38 special cal. for home defense, a snubnose in 2 or 3 " barrel.

    I agree with you to the point you say revolver. I'd make it a 4" (easier to shoot) and a 357 (more factory ammo power options than any other caliber). I also think this fits the "if you only had one handgun for everything" category.
  12. oldfool

    oldfool Well-Known Member

    38/357 yes, the guy can make his own choices, now and/or later, big power range to choose from
    snubbie, no, not for a non-CCW
    4" to 6" barrel, far more "shootable", even for the experienced, more so yet for inexperienced
  13. Tallinar

    Tallinar Well-Known Member

    I've fortunately never had to experience a HD situation, but I'm convinced that a 12 guage pump would be the ideal thing to have nearby.

    Right now I have a 12 guage SxS in the bedroom closet.
  14. Manco

    Manco Well-Known Member

    I concur with the others regarding barrel length--4-6 inches would be ideal for home defense. The only advantage of snubbies is that they're easier to carry concealed. Those who are suggesting a 12-gauge shotgun for effectiveness make a strong point, but it may not be ideal for everybody, and it's a whole topic in itself. If you want a handgun for home defense, then a .38 Special (or .357 Magnum loaded with .38 Special cartridges) would be a great choice--in general but especially for a beginner--although for most people learning the basics with a .22 LR revolver would still be highly beneficial (heck, even an Airsoft pistol can help).

    Regarding defensive ammo, the most proven and perhaps respected load is the 158 grain LSWCHP +P "FBI load" (if you're going to practice mostly with LRN or FMJ ammo for cost-effectiveness, then at least shoot a few LSWCHP each session because they may feel a bit different). Winchester's offering (X38SPD) is the easiest to find and probably the most used among professionals, and I personally prefer its terminal ballistics. However, many here seem to prefer Remington's version because the bullet is made of softer lead that expands more readily (resulting in less penetration). I'm sure that the modern premium JHP loads will be effective, as well, but often expansion is emphasized over penetration, and I'm one of those guys who place penetration at a higher priority level.
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Why would he want a handgun instead of a long gun for home defense? Folks really have some exaggerated views of what you can hit with a short gun at 3AM. Esp. if the thing you're shooting at is shooting back. Tell him to get a long gun.

    If he's dead set on a revolver, he should get at least a 4" and preferably a 6" in at least .357 but preferably .44 magnum. The goal is not to minimize the damage. Quite the opposite.
  16. L-Frame

    L-Frame Well-Known Member

    Buffalo Bore 38 +P, 158 gr. LSWCHP. Great load. Takes a proven round and amps it up to 1100+ feet per second. Still controllable. Won't deafen you like full load 357's will, and BB uses flash suppressed powders.
  17. LHRGunslinger

    LHRGunslinger Well-Known Member

    .50 Guncrafter Industries Model 2 with a Surefire light firing 300 grain JHP's. Their advertising line is that they can provide an effect on target similar to the .44 Magnum with the recoil of a .45 ACP. Yes it's expensive, but it can put lead on target and get the job done.

    EDIT: Or better yet a LAM with both a flashlight and a visible red laser.
  18. Lar1911

    Lar1911 Well-Known Member

    Look at an AR in 556. The reason is the 556 disintegrates going through dry wall (Google 556 penetration)

    A 9mm will go into the neighbors home in comparison.

    A shotgun is a good overall gun but a lot of people think it's going to be a big pattern at a rooms length and it won't. While it is a good choice, don’t think you just point and shoot.

    And most important no matter what you get, train. Practice bringing the sights up, practice how to move around the house with it, how to pie a door....
  19. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    Though my hip-gun is a 9mm, my after-I'm-in-bed gun is indeed a revolver, specifically a Taurus 66 .357 loaded with Remington 125gr SJHP +P .38 Special rounds. I've used this set-up for more than two decades.
  20. Manco

    Manco Well-Known Member

    Not that this is a bad idea at all, but at least going by the numbers this load will kick like a .40 S&W and will have a bigger blast as well. This is just a warning for those who might be better off starting with something lighter.

    True, but it comes pretty close to light .357 loads. :eek:

    It will still easily penetrate several walls, so I for one wouldn't rely on this as a safety factor.

    Great advice, although I have to say that as much as I like and often advocate .38 Special for defensive purposes, there is usually a tradeoff with regard to live-fire training because the most affordable range ammo is often noticeably lighter than defensive ammo in this caliber.

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