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Handgun for Home Defense

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by jwalker497, Feb 26, 2009.

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  1. jwalker497

    jwalker497 Member

    Feb 22, 2008
    I was thinking of a picking up a handgun to compliment my shotgun for home defense but don't know where to begin. In trying to narrow this search down to a few options, here are some of my parameters. Please let me know if there is a make/model that would meet my criteria - I am sure there are many.

    1. Caliber - I'd prefer a 40 or a 45 at a minimum, not interested in 9mm for this purpose. So I am not sure which would be better for HD, a 40 vs 45. based on my research, I am leaning towards the .45 to avoid over penetration. PS - should the 50 be considered here? I know nothing about the 50ae
    2. Capacity - I guess I would want as much capacity as possible since this will not be carried and weight/size is not an issue
    3. Look/Design - I really don't have a bias towards one design over another, ie 1911. I like most pistols. However, I do like Stainless guns and would prefer this one to be stainless and/or polished - something shiny and cool!! Since this won't be carried weight is not an issue.
    4. Reliability - Obviously since this scenario would include defending my home & family, reliablity is a top priority.
    5. Cost effective - I don't want to sacrifice reliability or performance but I am also not willing to drop 1G on a pistol so I would prefer it to be $750 & under, preferably $600 & under, although I relize I might be strectching.
    6. Other Factors? - I would consider adding any other considerations/features that I am missing and/or you think are important to add to my list.

    Look fwd to hearing some reccomendations.
  2. Hungry Seagull

    Hungry Seagull member

    Feb 19, 2009
    M&P .45 cal that I picked up recently for about 630 retail.


    I felt that the .45 was a common enough caliber that ammo isnt a problem.

    Magazines hold 8 round each, I feed em 5 because I dont count higher than 5.

    There is a rail and changeable grips in three sizes that may accomodate a trace laser or rail laser in future.

    The gun felt good in my hand, your hands are going to be different.

    It is a hammerless gun and will fire without magazine inside it it is explictily marked on one side.

    I fired some rounds and consider myself the shakiest gun in the USA for medical reasons. My video has it putting a total of 8 hits out of 10 fired at two targets at 7 yards.

    By the 10th shot I had a sort of a working image of sight and put one round between two other rounds in the paper cutting out a good section of it.

    That was gratifying.

    That is good enough for me.

    Speer Lawman ammo first then straight to Gold Dot ammo for HD, but continue to use the lawman for range plinking.. call it.. .50 cents a shot.

    Shotties are Moss 500 20 ga and Rem 870 12 gauge. Wife has a C2 Taser that also fires as a stun gun after she closes the distance to the attacker if the probes are not effective or miss.

    We pretty much covered it all.

    My closest second was a XM, but the shine and feel was a bit bigger than I liked and the Colt Combat Commander .45 was too old school for me with all that hammer/safety stuff hanging on it It was time to move forward into a brave future.

    I dont regret the .45 I think it fires well and puts em within 6 inches more or less where I aim. That is good enough for me.

    Shotguns are nice, but you are not always going to get to one in time.

    Finally I testify that the M&P .45 hs a small peep hole in the gun just above the Chamber for you to determine if there is one loaded and ready to fire in the chamber. It has already saved me from serious injury as I went through the though process and human type holding gun close while wondering why the 4th trig pull didnt go. Turned out I didnt pull far enough and saw that there was still a unfired round in there.

    When empty the gun locks open.

    Cleaning is easy peasy. Took 5 minutes tops with a big brush, pads and some solvents and gunoil.

    The shop had stacks of M&P 40's and all sold out so I was stuck sort of with the .45 However it is enough of a fun to shoot to make me want to go to range alot more just to shoot it.
  3. walker944

    walker944 Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Texas Hill Country
    Para Ordnance P14-45 PXT LDA

    I have several .45 ACP handguns. One I recently picked up is the Para P14-45 for $640 (used). As the name implies it's a .45 ACP that holds 14 rounds. The particular one I go is a stainless. It's built off the classic 1911 platform, with a few modernizations. The PXT in the name is for Para's power extractor, and the LDA stands for Light Double Action, which gives a nice smooth trigger feel to each fired round. I have taken it out twice in the last month since I bought it and really enjoyed shooting it. It's a full-sized handgun, which helps to absorb the recoil. I have no problem shooting .45s, and this one was a pleasure. The high round capacity makes it a very attractive home security advantage. Sorry, don't have any pics, but you can look on GunBroker or just Google it and you'll see what it looks like. Good luck with your search. You really should go to a local gun shop or gun show and just look at and hold a lot of guns and start to narrow down what feels right to you and meets your criteria. We can all give you a crap load of opinions, but it all boils down to what turns you on. :D
  4. wrc376

    wrc376 member

    Feb 25, 2009
    lawyers like to spin "shiny guns" as man killers and the owner as a nut... if this is for home defense (chance it actually gets used as such) you will want at least a matte finish like brushed stainless get one with a lawyer safety- ie: stainless 80 series colt .45 or the like.
  5. possum

    possum Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    Concord, N.C.
    caliber dosen't matter because all handguns suck regardless of caliber, and the only reason you should use the handgun in hd is to fight your way to the long gun that you should have been using in the first place.

    i highly reccomend xd's, and glocks. i am not a fan of 1911's for hd.ccw etc, to me they are range guns, and that is the only time i shoot mine, just for fun and just because i have it. i don't carry or use it for anything else. this isn't becasue it can't perform it definetly can but the limited capacity, and manual safety are negatives in my book for a fighting gun. there are many great options, my hd gun is a sa xd service model with a weapon mounted light. has over 12,000rds and still going strong, highly reliable, and very accurate. 12+1 capacity.

  6. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    You may want to consider a revolver. If capacity is a big issue there are 7 & 8 round 357s around. A 110 or 125 jhp will probably penetrate less than that 40 or 45 you're considering. The higher velocity of the 357 will cause the bullet to upset and fragment reducing penetration. A N frame gun's weight will absorb plenty of recoil and if it's a HD gun size wouldn't be an issue. A revolver might not meet your looks or design criteria but the manual of arms is easy and might gain some points in the reliability field.

    Just something to consider.

    the only reason you should use the handgun in hd is to fight your way to the long gun that you should have been using in the first place

    This sounds good but handguns are much easier to carry on a daily basis for most people. Most confrontations are usually over pretty quick so fighting your way to a long gun is not an issue. A long gun can be a serious detriment if that is what you're depending on. Ever try to use a long gun when you're sitting in a car? Or lying in bed? In close quarters?

    I'll agree if you're going to a fight you should have a long gun over any handgun. Going to a fight is not SD or HD however.
  7. benderx4

    benderx4 Member

    May 4, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Okay, this may not be what you're looking for but it's what I use to protect my family (1 upstairs and 1 downstairs.)

    It's above your budget, but it's being used to protect your family. For me, it was worth the extra bucks and I actually found the gun itself used on HKPro for $750.

    IMHO, this gun is about as reliable, accurate, comfortable, and lethal as there is. 12+1 of potent 45acp JHP, adjustable sights, match trigger, and 120 lumens of blinding light. Out of ammo? Stab the BG with your flash surpressor, or gouge out his eyes.


    If you want something "shiny and polished", pick yourself one of these guys:


    Two great guns, same caliber but two different purposes.
  8. Travis Bickle

    Travis Bickle member

    Dec 20, 2008
    The obvious choice to me is a Ruger P in .40 S&W. They're tank tough, reliable as a Kalashnikov and very affordable. The major drawback of the Ruger P is that they're very bulky and difficult to conceal, but concealment isn't an issue in home defense situations.
  9. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Dedicated medium frame .38spl revolver is my suggestion.
    Especially a good used OLDer one.

    -.38spl is a low pressure round, as is the 45ACP.
    I don't do .40, and that .40 has a loud sharp crack when fired indoors.
    Many students, chose .38spl, .44spl, 45ACP because they were low pressure, and the 9mm because they could afford to practice a lot, and therefore shot it well.

    Bear in mind these students tried a variety of gun platforms and calibers.
    The .40 was not popular at all with ladies, due to sharp recoil and many of the guys felt the same way.

    Folks did Mr H's drill, 5 shots at 5 yard and the paper does not lie.
    The same gun, and folks shot the 9mm better than the .40.

    -With the monies saved on a good used K Frame, for instance, monies left over can go for lessons, and ammo in which to take lessons.

    -Home gun, the chance exists you will go down. Now can another family member run the gun?
    Could your neighbor?
    If nothing else being able to keep tabs on BGs while first aid is given to you, and 911 is being called.

    Just my thoughts...
  10. David E

    David E Member

    Aug 3, 2008
    Sorry, don't know Mr. H or his drill. Could you provide specifics, please?

    Thanks !

  11. D-Man

    D-Man Member

    Jan 31, 2006
    Caliber - Either .40S&W or .45ACP will work just fine (heck, I think 9MM is fine too). You'll need to find which gun works the best for you, and then determine what calibers you can get it in.

    Capacity - in .45ACP you may be limited a bit by grip size. For example, the H&K USP45 sounds great, but you may find that the grip is too large for you to handle. Sticking with the H&K family, the new HK45 is easier to hold, though capacity is reduced to 10. The XD45 feels much slimmer with the higher capacity. Another good choice would be the M&P45 which 'only' holds 10. The .40S&W grip sizes usually aren't that bad for most people.

    By the way, are you in a state limited to a certain amount of rounds in a magazine?

    Look / Design: Looks should probably be at the bottom end of qualities you need (though I know where you are coming from). Design is important - do you want a safety? What kind of trigger do you like (DA/SA, Glock-like)?

    Reliability - Huge factor. This is where a revolver becomes highly regarded, though I believe most semi-autos cared for properly would be OK.

    Cost - For $750 you will be able to get something that has everything you want.

    Recommendations - I'd have you take a look at the M&P45, XD45, Sig P220 (.45) and P226 (.40S&W). The Sig's might be at the limit of your price range new. The H&K45 is going to be a bit higher.

    I'm not anti-Glock by any means, but believe that the M&P and XD are much more ergonomical.
  12. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    all over Virginia
  13. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    Glock foetee
  14. broken

    broken Member

    Jun 14, 2008

    3rd generation s@w .40 or .45 many choices,fullsize compacts,built well,great deals,even tsw series.good luck.
  15. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Personally, if my life depends on a pistol, it will be either a SIG 226 in .40S&W or an H&K USP Expert in .45 ACP. Add night sights for home defense, with Hornady TAP or XTP ammunition. If either combination fails, God wanted you dead.
  16. Hungry Seagull

    Hungry Seagull member

    Feb 19, 2009
    That's ok. If HE calls, you go with jubilant feet.

    What is not ok is the trauma, screaming and other associated mortal messes associated with a death.
  17. pogo2

    pogo2 Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    .357 revolvers

    I've used a variety of handguns over the years for home defense, but currently I use two S&W .357 magnum revolvers, one upstairs and one downstairs. They are a 686 and a 66, both with 2.5 inch barrels. Sometimes I will carry one while at home. I like these because:

    1. They are very reliable and simple to operate, in case my wife has to use one.

    2. They don't have safeties to think about when half asleep or stressed. Just pull the trigger.

    3. I think 6 shots will be enough in 99% of cases.

    4. The caliber has a good track record of stopping somebody.

    5. They look very intimidating from the muzzle end, and might discourage somebody without having to fire.

    6. A short barrel is harder for an attacker to grab.

    7. No worries about having a semiauto slide pushed out of battery in a close quarters fight.

  18. Jbabbler

    Jbabbler Member

    Dec 22, 2008
  19. rockheadd

    rockheadd Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    For home defense I'd get the loudest, biggest and cheapest one you could find to distract the intruder on you way to your shotgun...
    Sorry, I'm totally unqualified to answer this question....
  20. Anna's Dad

    Anna's Dad Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    Central Florida
    I would highly recommend the Smith & Wession M&P 45. I actually own the 9mm, but I would have preferred the .45--it just didn't exist when I bought.

    You should also consider the Ruger P345. It is well within your budget. I have owned one for years and it has been an excellent performer. It has its detractors, particularly becuase of some of its mag safety, but I've never had a problem.

    I'm not a "cocked-and-locked" kind of guy so I'll let others recommend the 1911 platform. Also not a Glock fan, but I'm sure others will praise them as well.

    There are really just so many choices out there.

    You could probably get a used or CPO Sig 220. Sigs are fine guns. Even a used H&K USP in .45 would probably slip under your price restrictions.

    If you know anyone near you, endeavor to try a few out before you buy.

    Good luck.
  21. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Jwalker, I've gone with a Glock 21. But I recently made one modification. In stead of the 13-round magazines, I've upgraded to the 30-round magazines manufactured for use with the KRISS submachine gun you may have heard about (http://www.kriss-tdi.com/products/kriss-smg-45-acp.html)

    Now be careful: The Scherer extended mags are readily available but you want to avoid those.

    So with two of those, I now have a bedside gun with one reload and that provides 61 rounds of a potent 45 caliber in a reliable system.
  22. bondmid003

    bondmid003 Member

    Feb 18, 2009
    HK USP, it comes in various calibers (mine's .40) and also comes in a Tactical version. The USP can be a bit pricey but you can't beat the quality of an HK

    FMJMIKE Member

    Mar 3, 2007
    Copper Hill, Virginia
    Get a Glock G-21 .45 ACP with night sites..................I did.........:D
  24. sig228

    sig228 Member

    Sep 24, 2006
    South Florida
    Go Plastic

    Any decent quality plastic pistol will do. Most have high capacity magazines. As far as price and reliability, your best bang for the buck in your price range with sacrificing quality is either the S&W M&P or a Glock. Both can be found in .40 and .45 for around $500 and are extremely reliable. Glock trigger is better and smoother than the M&P, that's a given. Both come in compact sizes also in case you want to carry. Compact Glock accepts the high cap magazines, not sure about the M & P. Since $ is an object now, later get yourself a good quality laser from Crimson Trace, such as the LG-660 for the Smith or the LG-436 for the Glock.

    Stay away from ANYTHING with a safety. When you are fumbling for your gun in a crisis situation, you want to point and shoot, not point and squeeze the trigger and have to start over again after you realize the safety is on. Safeties are great on cocked and locked single action carry guns that you have practiced and practiced with, not on your primary HD weapon.

    Did I say Stay away from ANYTHING with a safety?

    Good luck.
  25. Justice5

    Justice5 Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Washington State
    I also like the idea of one without a manual safety. As mentioned above, less to think about when you hear your door kicked in, in the middle of the night in a dead sleep. I have mostly Glocks, and love them. Not nearly as accurate as my 1911's at the range, but I'm more comfortable with them. Point and shoot is all you have to think about to get it to go bang.

    From all of the posts I've read recently, the XD's are sounding pretty dang awesome. I haven't shot one, but I hear nothing but good from them.

    As far as caliber, I think more importantly in a handgun would be your choice of ammo. I'm no expert and I shoot what I'm issued, which are always hollowpoints. I'm happy with .45 cal. I guess the only problem there for shooting indoors, is lack of penetration (through walls and such) if you need it. Some of the actual experts on this site could give you recommendations on choice of ammo, any caliber that you choose. And most importantly, you are getting SOMETHING to protect you and your family!
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