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Attributes of a home defense handgun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by txgolfer45, Feb 13, 2010.

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  1. txgolfer45

    txgolfer45 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Assuming you put in the time to familiarize yourself with your selected handgun, what attributes are important to you when selecting a home defense handgun?

    I'm not looking for a caliber war. More interested in trigger type, round capacity, type of sights, handgun type (revolver vs. semi-auto) etc.

    For me, I have a choice of Glocks, Sig P226 DA/SA, Ruger GP100, 1911 Commander or Govt Model and a S&W 442.

  2. bsctov

    bsctov Member

    Mar 5, 2009
    A reliable gun that can hold the most amount of the largest bullets you can shoot well.
  3. txgolfer45

    txgolfer45 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I really wanted my G23 to be my HD handgun. But, it is a jam-o-matic with a Streamlight TLR-1 light on it. I'm thinking of getting a G17 or G21SF. Currently either use my 1911 Commander with night sights or my G19 with light attached.
  4. content

    content Member

    Jul 27, 2009
    South Carolina, born in Valley Forge Pa.
    Hello friends and neighbors // It used to be my S&W 586 6" .357

    The 586 had to do everything HD/SD/Hunting.
    I now think a HD/SD handgun should be a snubbie due to the take away factor of a longer barrel when grappleing. The 6" would be very easy to grab.

    Now I have a S&W 442 1 7/8".
    It is either on me or in the pocket of a pair of shorts next to the bed. I get up, put on the shorts and I have the 442 and a flashlight set on pulse at hand.

    Trigger: For me it is DAO (safer)
    I had a guy tell me about the time his dog jumped up and cocked the hammer on his IWB 638:what:

    Round capacity: 5 shots of .38+P
    As soon as I get the 870 up the 442 is back up.

    Sights: Lacking on a 442 (black on black)
    I asked the women in my family to suggest types of nail polish they thought might be good. Mom won with the "Wet Shine Diamonds" hot pink. The pink is easy to focus on and the "diamonds" actuall sparkle with very little light. Improved my groups at the range right away.

    Type: I'm a Revolver guy
    No safety,no racking,no hoping I oiled it enough
    I have semiautos but I shoot some weapons better than others.

    Grips: I prefer the Hogue extended grips for my 442.

    MY main reason for using the 442 is that I practice with and carry it more than any other handgun I have right now. So my muscle memory and mind set should be tuned in quicker if I awaken to trouble.

    So I suggest,from those you list, you use the handgun you are most tuned in to naturally. The one you can grab and shoot the X without thinking.(too much)
  5. txgolfer45

    txgolfer45 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I'm most accurate with my Springfield TRP. But, I just got it and haven't tried JHP's with it yet. So, the Kimber Pro Raptor II gets the nod for now.
  6. oldfool

    oldfool Member

    Jul 18, 2009
    Thomasville, Georgia
    anything that any street cop is real likely to be seen wearing
    or anything any street cop was real likely to be seen wearing in the last 30 years
    not what they maybe did or did not have CCW
    that is a whole different genre, and application

    why might you suppose they wore 'em

    other than that, if you were wondering if you should choose what I choose, the answer is yes !
    who woulda' ever thunk it ?

    S&W k-frame, full size, 38/357

    "I have a choice of Glocks, Sig P226 DA/SA, Ruger GP100, 1911 Commander or Govt Model and a S&W 442."
    you have it more than merely well covered, friend
    442 = CCW
    any/all the rest - whatever you shoot most/best
    (why settle for shorter vs. more pointable/shootable under stress conditions and possible dim/low lighting for the sake of smaller/ligher ?)
    if you shoot 'em all same, rotate 'em every week and sleep well !
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  7. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Central Ohio
    #1. you should be able to pick it up, look at something (In the dark) and find you are naturally aiming where you are pointing. (IE the grip isnt at a wierd angle, etc. etc.

    #2. Reliable, Reliable, Reliable! (I'll take a working .22lr over a jamb-omatic)

    #3. Then all of the "Normal" selection criterea that you may use to select any gun.
  8. RebelRabbi

    RebelRabbi Member

    Jan 22, 2010
    Reliable, simple to operate, no external safety levers, night sights, picatinny rail mounted flashlight, heaviest caliber YOU can shoot well. Seems to favor the Glock or Sig from your list.
  9. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    Hayward, WI
    1) reliable
    2) reliable
    3) reliable
    4) simple

    A 4" barreled .38 special with fixed sights shooting 158 gr LSWCHP (+P if you can, regular pressure if you can't). S&W Model 10 or 64 are inexpensive & easy to find examples. In your case, the 442 will suffice.

  10. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    May 22, 2003
    Lexington,North Carolina...or thereabouts
    Double action revolver. 4 or 5 inch barrel.

    Caliber: .44 Special or .45 Colt. No +P hot rod stuff, please.

    Ammunition: 240-250 soft lead SWC...respectively...solid or HP...with a muzzle velocity in the 750-800 fps range.

    Make: Smith & Wesson. A pre-war .44 Hand ejctor model woud be a plus. A Taurus 5-shooter would suffice. A Charter Bulldog would do in a pinch. A case could be made for a single-action revolver as well. Of course, any handgun would rightly be a backup for a short-coupled 12 gauge shotgun. 20 gauge for the arthritic or small statured folks would be fine.
  11. LouisianaMan

    LouisianaMan Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    St. Francisville, LA
    Key questions for me: does it need to be used by someone else too, e.g. your wife? Or does your family situation dictate that you unload/reload it frequently, e.g. small children in the house? The former could mean revolver if wife doesn't want to practice much. The latter could make an auto your choice.

    Another Q is perceived threat. If low, revolver could be fine, or simply pick whichever you like most & want to own. If high, auto for firepower, ability to attach lights, etc. Also, do you have a longarm available or is the handgun all you've got? If the latter, I'd lean heavily towards auto.

    The older I get, the more I lean towards getting guns I like, rather than the ultimate defensive machine. My lifestyle, life history, and location are "vanilla," so I feel I can afford to make that choice, since I can hardly imagine a situation where armed, aggressive resistance won't suffice. (But I also have a pump shotgun loaded with buckshot under the bed--the sidearms are to go check out the bump in the night, the shotgun is first choice if I hear the front door getting kicked in.)

    When I lived in Houston 1990-92, the so-called "kick robbers" were terrorizing the area around my home--about 1-mile radius. M.O. was 3-man assault on house at zero-dark thirty, overwhelming the family. There, I chose a loaded AR-15 AND a Beretta M92FS, and my wife was "qualified" with a .38SPL snubbie. Reloads on hand for all guns.

    I'm Neanderthal about sights. I figure at night I'm shooting the way I trained in the Army--over the sights, not through them. Were I back in Houston, I'd have a flashlight on an auto anyway, and would shoot to the light, not thru the sights. My 2 cents.
  12. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    The gun you use for home protection should be accurate,and make the bad guy fly backwards like in the movies.;)
  13. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 28, 2005
    Lewisberry, PA
    Forgive me if I derail this, but I think you might be asking the wrong question. Handguns are marginally effective as best.

    Handguns are what we use because we can't have a long gun nearby.

    In your house, you can have a long gun. Handguns are much more difficult to shoot well than a long gun. Long guns are much more effective fight-stoppers than handguns.

    Handguns are handy. But in my house, I want to have long gun to deal with a problem. If I found myself dealing with a problem at home with a handgun, it was because it happened too quickly for me to physically go get a long gun.

    But chose whatever you want. As long as it's reliable, and you can handle it well, make it work to solve the problem. It's not the tool, it's the man behind it that solves problems. Get some training and find what works best for you. It doesn't revolve around capacity, or trigger type, or any of those other things you mentioned. It matters what you can make work. And only you can answer that question, not any of us.
  14. ByAnyMeans

    ByAnyMeans Member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Queens, NY
    I keep a handgun and shotgun ready for home defense, situation would dictate what is chosen.
    I personally wanted a handgun with a good capacity for caliber, night sights as well as a full size grip. It goes without saying that it must be accurate and reliable. From there I chose whatever fit these requirements and I shot the best with regards to speed and accuracy.
  15. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Northern California
    1917 S&W .45 acp might be a good choice,or...a BHP.
  16. Ford

    Ford Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    1. Reliable
    2. I shoot it well
    3. Night Sights
    4. rail for a light
    5. prefer 5" or longer barrel, for sure not shorter than 4". (for longer sight radius and bullet performance.)
    6. magazine capacity
    7. I prefer a SA trigger but dont mind any other besides a DA/SA trigger. Just never like them
  17. SNoB

    SNoB Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    "Reliable, simple to operate, no external safety levers, night sights, picatinny rail mounted flashlight, heaviest caliber YOU can shoot well. Seems to favor the Glock or Sig from your list."

    I have to agree with this. A pistol mounted light can give you a big advantage if you are going to check out a strange noise in the dark of night. Keeping your weak hand on the gun instead of holding the light, and a really bright light to stun/disorient a BG for a split second.
  18. hobgob

    hobgob Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    Mine is my beretta px4 9mm with trijicon night sights, 18+1 capacity. DA/SA with decocking function. Good for keeping under the bed. just my preference. I have had plenty o practice with that pistol. However, from your choices. I would go with the sig. I find their triggers are a bit better, plus i believe most of the better models come with night sights. good capacity. not a fan of the field goal sights most glocks come with. sig may be more expensive, but i have had nothing but good experiences with them. the triggers are fanfrikkintastic!
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  19. CZ223

    CZ223 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    when it comes to defensive weapons

    Remember the KISS principal. In a high stress situation you want to have to remember as little as possible. A good revolver or a Glock, in my case a G23, is just about perfect.
  20. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    Somewhere between the Eastern Block states and Flo
    Read post 13 a dozen times, because BullfrogKen hit the nail perfectly on the head.

    We can't answer this question for your. All we can do is tell you what we choose and our rationale.

    I frequently carry a handgun even while around the house. As Bullfrog points out, the only way I'll be using it as a primary is if I can't get to a long gun in time.

    When I sleep, I keep a gunvault beside my bed (I have a 3 yr old) with a 4" S&W 686 Plus loaded with .38 +P. It is my dedicated HD handgun (it doesn't get carried), so it just stays loaded in the gunvault. I chose it because there are no manual safeties to mess with, no slide to rack and the DA trigger is long and heavy enough that I don't worry about clutching it half asleep at o'dark thirty and firing off a shot by accident. Plus I shoot it pretty well, and 38 +P out of a big heavy 686 has very little recoil and blast, making follow up shots VERY quick and easy (I am a 38 guy at heart). But YMMV.

    Actually, in the last week or two I've been considering switching out the 686+ for my 4" S&W Model 15. The 15 has a lighter, no-lug barrel that swings much easier between targets than the big, comparatively clumsy feeling 686.

    If I can safely get to my closet, I'm retrieving my 12 gauge pump from a high closet shelf, out of my son's reach, (it, along with my gunvault, gets locked in the big safe during the day) and handing the 686 off to my wife.

    Our "safe room" is my 3 year old's room, which is a fairly open / straight shot from our room, so the 12 gauge works great for me. I won't be room clearing, just making a straight shot to his room where we'll hunker down until the cops arrive.

    Again, YMMV, but you have seen my rationale for the choices I have made. Your rationale and resulting choice may vary, but it is something you should think through carefully for yourself.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  21. labhound

    labhound Member

    Feb 8, 2010
    Pump 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot and ready to pump, S&W model 64 loaded with .38 spl hp and one of of my pistols with loaded mag (12 to 17 rounds) ready to rack.
  22. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

    May 29, 2003
    A reliable high capacity semi auto equipped with a Streamlight TLR-2 laser/light.
  23. kludge

    kludge Member

    Jun 15, 2006
    Fortify. (make it more difficult to get in, reduce your "target" potential)
    Time advantage. (give yourself as much warning as possible, alarm, dog, etc.)
    Train. Plan. Train to your plan.
    Have a backup plan. Or two. (the backup plan should include a friend with a gun, the more friends the better)
    Communicate the plan. Practice the plan(s).

    Now on to the gun...

    1. Reliable. (goes bang every time, ammo is included in "reliable")
    2. Simple. (anyone who needs it should be able to use it)
    3. Full Size. (you don't have to conceal it, so don't paint yourself into that corner - implies ~4"+ barrel length, and standard capacity magazine/cylinder, adequate caliber)
  24. SideArmed

    SideArmed Member

    Dec 28, 2009
  25. stonecutter2

    stonecutter2 Member

    Jan 29, 2009
    Bloomington, IL
    I use an S&W Model 19-4 2 1/2" snubbie revolver. My reasons and opinions:

    1. Reliable - I keep it taken care of, there's no "ammo feed" potential for problems, no springs to not function, etc. It stays put and is ready for action whenever I've asked anything of it.

    2. Accessible - a firearm doesn't do much if you can't get to it when you need it. I keep mine in a little gun vault safe, key operated (took out the batteries in the keypad as i didn't want a failure when i needed it). In this regard, I'm looking to buy a few well-used, but reliable, older revolvers after I devise some secure ways to place them around the house. They don't need to be pretty, they just need to work if i need them.

    3. Long trigger pull - I'm of the opinion that i should really have to work a little to discharge my weapon. I'll take a little hit in accuracy to prevent an accident. At the range where i'd need to fire (huddled in a bathroom waiting for the cops), an inch or two off won't matter, but as i've gotten used to double action (and really the Sigma is what i'm talking about here, the Model 19 isn't bad for DA trigger pull, but enough to make me feel safer).

    4. Sights - indifferent to night sights. I should be able to see what i'm firing at, if i'm going to fire. Standard revolver sights are fine by me.

    5. Capacity - 6 will do, more is better, but then you get into pistol territory. I do have an S&W Sigma 9mm i would trust my life with, but it had a magazine go weird after sitting too long while loaded (slide wouldn't stay locked back with no rounds in mag).
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
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