Home defense handgun

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by MattyT, Sep 8, 2014.

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  1. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Sigh.

    "What house defense gun for unenthusiastic shooter only willing to put in the bare minimum effort?"

    No, not a shotgun. They are creatures of vast noise and recoil, and generally disliked by folks fitting that description.

    No, not a handgun, they take more to master than they're willing to put in, and specifically, not a double action revolver with its heavy, nuanced trigger.

    This is where the pistol caliber carbine shines, so why do anything else?

    Oh, and blame the feds for making PDW form factor guns legally problematic.
     
  2. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

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    We really don't know how strong her desire is to have a gun for home defense until MattyT posts some clarification. Let's not understate what I wrote, which was "if" she insists. I don't know what the rest of you husband's experience is, but my wife's quiet, nonchalant expressions of want often need to be perceived as insistence. We have the contradictory situation of she "could care less" and yet she wants a gun for home defense. So in the framework of the information given by MattyT and to answer the specific question he asked we can at least give him the courtesy of a specific answer and if any of us are so inclined, some apparently are, a laundry list of related information and options. MattyT until you post more specifics about your situation I don't think I have anything more to add in recommendations. In closing, in my youth decades ago, and before then, the medium frame .38 Special DA revolver was the default, no brainer option almost always suggested by everyone for the situation MattyT described. I don't see any new pistol designs that have changed that. We are not talking about picking out something so mundane as shoes/pants/pick whatever and I am nearly certain MattyT understands the nuances and differences of the two situations.
     
  3. MattyT

    MattyT Member

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    Thanks everyone for their well thought out answers so far! Our house has a somewhat tight hallway so I do not think a carbine or shotgun would be proficient for her. I think a handgun would be best, but the problem is that she trusts me to get something that she can handle. She does not care to try one out or go hold some at the stores. She asked me to get her one and yes I believe she will use lethal force if the need arises. My thoughts were to find out what models seem to fit small hands the most and one with a light recoiling round. That is how I came to my two original choices. I like Deanimator's comment about taking her out to dinner after a range day, I think that would appeal to her enough for her to practice! After reading all the posts I think I am leaning towards a medium frame revolver, but I won't give up on asking her to go to the gun shop with me. The problem with showing her how to use my current handguns is that they are all snappy 40 s&w and 10mm, with the exception of a 357 Blackhawk Single Action. I don't think she would be comfortable at all shooting those or even being able to hit something, since she hardly ever practices. This is why we are needing something more tame.
     
  4. Warp

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    Why does the tight hallway matter?

    Do you expect her to be moving around the house trying to clear it or something?

    Do you expect her to be clearing the house moving through the tight hallway with a handgun in a position of close retention?

    Unless you have children that she may want to move to, there's no good reason for her to do anything but take up a position with the gun pointed at the door to the room she is in while waiting for police to respond, and for that, a carbine/shotgun is probably superior to a handgun
     
  5. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    It certainly matters to me, as my home has similar restrictions.

    Unless you're just going to hide under the bed any time you hear a noise, you're going to at least need to see if windows are broken or the front door is standing wide open. And that of course leaves aside other family members, especially children. I guess you could just yell down the hallway, "You're on your own kids, good luck!"

    For me a non-NFA long gun is pretty much useless. I couldn't even get out of my bedroom door without banging into something. And I'm bloody well not going to call the cops every time I hear a noise. I once heard a huge crash in my living room one night. I grabbed an M1911 and a flashlight and went out to see what happened. One of the shelves of a bookshelf had collapsed, dumping books all over the living room floor. If I'd hid under the bed and called the cops because I heard a noise, I'd have looked like and actually been a fool.

    A long gun may be a useful self-defense tool, or an utterly worthless one. It depends entirely upon the correlation of specific environmental factors.

    Telling somebody what's absolutely suitable for THEIR environment without ever having even seen it is an exercise in arrogance.
     
  6. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    Small shotgun such as a pump .410 loaded with large birdshot.

    If you MUST get her a handgun, definitely a .38 revolver. After some fairly intense training from me, my wife qualified for CHL using my Colt Series 70 45 ACP scoring 247 out of 250. She was very proficient with it and knew how to use it. But when it came time to buy her a carry handgun, I bought her a lightweight 2" 38. VERY simple top use and after some instruction she's very handy with it.

    35W
     
  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    MattyT,

    The tight hallway can actually be an advantage since she can hold at one end and have the entire hallway as a bottleneck to shoot down.

    Do the two of you have kids in the house? Are the bedrooms all on one end of the house where they can be defended down that hallway where anyone coming down the hall has to come facing the end of a gun?

    As importantly, is the house hardened to keep people out effectively or is the money going to be spent on this gun better spent on improvements to keep someone from breaking in in the first place? Remember that a firearm is the last ditch last resort life saver after a number of barriers have been breached and not the first thing we think we need to spend our money on. New locks with long deadbolts setting into security striker plates that have deck screws going all the way into the framing around the door frame, short screws on hinges replaced with the same long deck screws, window locks, exterior motion sensor lights, perimeter fence and landscaping that puts intruders off, a family friendly dog to let you know that someone is approaching outside and that won't welcome strangers with a just a wag of the tail until introduced, an alarm system that is prominently posted, ...

    There are a lot of things we're supposed to do to keep bad people away from the door and from getting through the door that provide better protection than a gun.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  8. BLB68

    BLB68 Member

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    If she's not invested enough to participate in the selection process, then I'd have a talk with her about how much effort she's going to put into learning to be safe and proficient with the firearm.

    I'm going to suggest one good reason for her to shop with you, and leave it at that: Fit. Most experienced shooters can shoot well enough with whatever they have at hand, but finding a gun that's a proper fit means less effort spent on adjusting your grip and translates to better results, especially for a brand new shooter. So, whatever she ends up with must be reliable, accurate at the ranges anticipated, of sufficient caliber to get the job done, and it must fit her hand.

    Here's a link on how to try on a handgun: http://www.corneredcat.com/article/choosing-firearms/trying-on-a-handgun/

    IMO, you should discuss this with her, and show her the link to explain why she should come with you shopping.

    Failing that, a medium framed revolver is a good choice, as it's going to have a lot of grip options. I'd look at used/trade in S&Ws. It seems like there are still a lot of Model 10s around for good prices. Budget in a bulk ammo purchase, too, so she has a supply to learn with.

    I also wouldn't dismiss a long gun. If you're going to end up putting that handgun on a nightstand, then a long gun will do just as well for holing up in place. Of course, you can't stuff a long gun in your pocket to discreetly answer the door, either.
     
  9. Warp

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    Please read my entire post before responding, not just the first sentence.

    Thank you.


    Edit: Here, I"ll copy/paste the rest of it so you don't have to scroll up:

    "Do you expect her to be moving around the house trying to clear it or something?

    Do you expect her to be clearing the house moving through the tight hallway with a handgun in a position of close retention?

    Unless you have children that she may want to move to, there's no good reason for her to do anything but take up a position with the gun pointed at the door to the room she is in while waiting for police to respond, and for that, a carbine/shotgun is probably superior to a handgun"
     
  10. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    Smaller hands = get a bigger gun.

    Don't presume a smaller gun would be better. She would likely handle a larger capacity pistol or revolver better than a smaller one which would recoil more and make it harder for her to get a good purchase on the grip.

    Your best best is to get a full-size, high-capacity pistol that has a light mount like the Springfield XDm. With 20 rounds on tap, a flashlight mounted on it, and a bit of practice time at the range and practice getting out of bed and presenting arms (with snap-caps, please) she would likely be very, very comfortable and very well-armed for self-defense.
     
  11. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    We do not have children, and this is how I've trained my wife to handle a situation. Most bad-guys would walk away from a well-armed woman rather than walk into a barrage of bullets.

    If you have kids, practice sensibly how she would gather them together and then hold her ground with her weapon and a cellphone.
     
  12. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    I would like to suggest that a high-capacity pistol is the best choice, even with a woman. Why? They can handle one just as well as any man with a modest amount of training and practice at the range.

    If you're going to carry, sure, I could understand using a lower cap option in revolver or pistol. Home defense, however, means you can have a 34 ounce pistol with 20 rounds at your disposal that's very easy to handle and shoot.
     
  13. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    So AGAIN, you're going to call the cops and hide under the bed every time you hear a noise?

    What are you going to do when they stop coming?
     
  14. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    An XDm won't limpwrist like a Glock would. Give it a go, I bet she would love the XDm.
     
  15. Warp

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    I do not know what you are referring to or why you are asking that question.

    But this isn't my thread, perhaps you should direct your questions and input towards the OP.
     
  16. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    Clearing a house is an advanced tactical skill, not recommended for someone who doesn't know what they're doing as bad guys are crafty and could linger. A bad guy won't bother entering a room if there are bullets coming from it. A cellphone call to 911 from a well-armed woman should be enough to wait out the badguys.
     
  17. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    Shotguns are fine, but they require more room to operate and can be wieldly. Also, they only offer a handful of rounds. High cap pistols with a flashlight mount are the way to go, I'm telling you! XDm, bud, you won't regret it.
     
  18. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    Moved this earlier to Handguns, General. Moving back to GGD because the discussion has broadened.
     
  19. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    Vertical coffin; white-light/strobe.....

    Id advise the member to research the spec ops/SWAT term: vertical coffin.
    A narrow door frame or hallway is not ideal for CQB, :uhoh: .
    I'd add that a pump shotgun or carbine won't work very well either IMO.
    See the recent event in Detroit MI where a female home owner/mother used a Hi Point carbine. She fired 2 rounds, saying it was warning shots, :eek: then used the firearm to scare off a pack of thugs. One brazen(stupid :rolleyes: ) robber returned & nearly got smoke-checked by the female gun owner.
    The woman prevailed but I don't think her "warnings" were a smart move & Id think even she would agree her tactics were flawed.
    Another young pregnant mom(19 or so) shot at 2 house breakers with a 12ga shotgun. She directly asked the 911 operator for permission to use deadly force. :confused:
    Finally a stay at home mom in my metro area, fired a few "warning shots" at a registered sex offender who was seen wandering around her yard. The mom wasn't a happy camper & was fully ready to shoot the RSO if needed, ;) .

    Going to a gun range or pistol club then shooting a few snubs & mid size(K frame) DA or DA only revolvers is a great plan.
    If the lay-out or rooms of the home support it, Id agree that a strobe type flashlight or "white-light" weapon add on with a strobe could help in a high stress event.

    Not to stray off topic, or to steam up any hand corps tactics guys, but, the hit film The Purge(2013) has a few scenes of what not to do with a big house or "room clearing" in low light. Granted these were upscale home owners not HRT or DevGru operators but you get a better idea of why white-lights/strobes/1913 rail add-ons can be counter-productive. :uhoh:

    Another Youtube clip from about 12mo ago shows a few Daytona Beach Florida cops making entry onto a house with a violent hostage taker holding a blade to a victim's throat. The officers used lethal force & had pistols with white lights in a cramped room. The video is graphic but it displays the + uses of white lights.
     
  20. Warp

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    As an invader/attacker, a long narrow hallway is the last thing you want to advance down when a defender with a firearm is at the other end.

    That's what you call a fatal funnel perhaps, or maybe you call it a 'vertical coffin' for the attacker.
     
  21. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    That's it in a nutshell.

    Let her choose what works for her. If she's limp-wristing an auto, it's like a poor choice, no matter how fine of a gun it is. She should first and foremost be comfortable and effective shooting it. In my experience, many women are very uncomfortable with "all that stuff going on right in my face", to quote my GF. Both my daughters have a similar viewpoint.

    For home defense, the choice need not be a snub-nosed .38 either. It could be a 4" or 5" barrel Longer has its own set of benefits, not the least of which is less flashback. Don't make your wife worry about her gentle hands getting bit or her pretty little nose getting scorched. Even if you know that won't happen.
     
  22. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    This: 500 Cruiser, 6-Shot, .410 Bore and this: Remington HD Ultimate Defense Ammunition 410 Bore 3" 000 Buckshot equal five "rounds" every time the trigger is pulled, for a total of 30 "rounds" or projectiles. And at 29", it ought to be handy.

    Here at the house I have a shooting range and frequently men bring there wives/girlfriends out to "teach" them to shoot. Invariably, they've bought them the latest, greatest semi auto complete with a large capacity magazine housed in a beer bottle sized grip. The outcome is always the same; an irritated, frustrated wife/girlfriend who shoots no better than she did when she arrived.
    My wife's two closest friends were started in this very manner by their well meaning husbands who both bought them "cool" little semis. De-cocker? Magazine release? Wait...is THIS the safety or is it this other thingy? They BOTH now carry .38 revolvers.

    My youngest daughter, 20, who still lives at home, has enough just enough interest in shooting to occasionally on her own wander out behind the shop to the range to shoot a box of shells. She's not interested enough for me to let her use a semi auto, so she keeps an old 4" Colt Police Positive in her bedroom.

    To me it boils down to this: if a woman has no interest in learning about handling a handgun properly then practicing with it, she needs to learn the basics of handling some sort of shotgun.

    35W
     
  23. Warp

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    Are you seriously recommending a no-shoulder-stock shotgun for a small non-shooting non-firearm enthusiast female?

    Please...no.


    Also, I'm not sure how the cylinder release on a revolver is so much more simple than a magazine release on a semi auto...
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  24. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    Absolutely, but there are models available with shoulder stocks too, but then that upsets the folks who think a SD firearm should be small enough to twirl, as though it were a drum majors baton, in a broom closet.


    It isn't more simple than a magazine release, but it's not required to operate (fire) the revolver. And the fact that the cylinder release is the ONLY device as opposed to a magazine release, a slide release, a safety and a de-cocker (if applicable) makes a revolver more simple.

    Trust me, hang out at a handgun range sometime and watch the fiascos as women try to learn (and remember) how to operate that sweet semi their husbands bought for them.

    35W
     
  25. Warp

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    Neither a semi auto's mag release nor a revolver's cylinder release are required to operate the firearm, provided that it starts out loaded, which is probably how an HD handgun is going to be kept. But in point of fact, you can load a semi auto without ever using the mag release...you may not be able to load a revolver without using the cylinder release (this assumes you don't for some reason keep your HD handgun with an empty mag in it for some weird reason)

    I have yet to find the manual safety or decocker on any of my semi automatic handguns. If you pick a gun that has both a safety and a decocker and expect a non-shooter who is not familiar with it to know how to use those under stress, that is a failure in your part, not the gun's
     
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