Home Defense Weapon of Choice

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by heyabbott, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. heyabbott

    heyabbott New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    I'm new here and I'm sure you've discussed this before but I would like to know what knowledgable people about guns would chose for a home defense firearm.

    I'm looking for something reliable, doesn't need constant maintance but with stopping power.

    I was thinking about some sort of pump action shotgun, maybe with a pistol grip. Hopefully the sound of the rack will scare some one off.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. 1952Sniper

    1952Sniper New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,133
    Location:
    Texas
    Welcome aboard! You came to the right place. Although the opinions are sure to vary wildly. Every time we get into one of these conversations, everyone has a different opinion.

    I do think a shotgun is a GREAT home defense weapon. Just make sure that you know how to use it proficiently. And choose a load for it that won't penetrate walls, killing other innocent people on the other side.

    A pump action is fine as the "old standby". The racking sound really does put the fear of God into an intruder. But it could also give away your position or cost you precious time chambering a round. In my opinion, an intruder should get ZERO warning. If he's in my house in the middle of the night without my permission, and I find him enough of a threat to pick up a firearm, he will die with no warning. Giving him a warning only puts you and your loved ones at risk. It's not worth it.

    Pistol grip is a great choice too. Easier to handle, especially in tight spaces. Get a shorter barrel, like 18". Better spread on the target means better chance of hitting him.
  3. fishermanben

    fishermanben New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    197
    A shotgun is an excellent defensive weapon; however, it is really not made for close-quarters, indoor combat. I would think that .357 revolver with a 4-6 inch barrell would be a much better choice.

    Ben
  4. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2002
    Messages:
    8,889
    Location:
    Texas
    12 ga. pump with #8 shot. ;)
  5. heyabbott

    heyabbott New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    I was thinking about a revolver, no shell casings to pick up :) , but under pressure would I have a better chance of hitting someone with a shotgun?
  6. fishermanben

    fishermanben New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    197
    hopefully, if you're in the same room, you can hit them ;) . As with any new firearm, you have to practice. I for one, would not want to be in a close quarters battle with a shotgun. I'd rather have that for the 15-75 yard gunfights. Shotguns don't round corners very well. If you feel more comfortable with long gun, I would consider a short carbine in a pistol caliber. If money isn't an issue, consider an MP5. :D

    Ben
  7. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    6,858
    Location:
    Colorado Rocky Mountains
    Imagine yourself waking up from a sound sleep, something is wrong, adrenaline pumping. Do you want to pick up a handgun, where accuracy is necessary, or a shotgun where pointing it in the general direction is usually good enough? After emptying the shotgun, if it is still necessary to continue shooting, you should be awake enough to handle a handgun. (if you can see) Even then, you have to consider how many walls the handgun ammo is going to go through, and aim accordingly. Do you want to HAVE to think about this, in this kind of scenario?

    I agree with what 1952sniper said, my first defensive weapon is a 12ga (semi-auto) with one in the chamber. If the intruder is already that far into my house, he gets NO warning from me, which might give him the chance to get a bead on me.

    IF your choice of home defense is a handgun, you MUST be proficient with it. How often do you practice with it? How many times have you shot it in the dark, with or without, using a flashlight? Shooting it at the range, with well lit targets, is NOT going to cut it for “most” home defense situations, which happen mostly at night. Making SURE of your target, and practice Practice PRACTICE, is the key.
  8. llama.45

    llama.45 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    406
    Location:
    sewanee,tennessee
    i use a handgun but mine is equipped with night sights and i shoot several hundered rounds a week and i have practiced in daylight and dark.if u arent going to practice very much u should go with a 12 gauge shotgun
  9. fishermanben

    fishermanben New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    197
    Well pickenup, I disagree with you on one level. I think that a revolver is the easiest repeating firearm to operate. It won't jam, and a misfire is much less likely to give the intruder an advantage that could kill you or your loved ones. If you have a misfire, you can just pull the trigger again. A shotgun barrell just seems like too much to traverse hallways and doors with--God forbid you have to open a door, and find an intruder on the other side of it. Now if you could get a nice 14in barrell w/ a short stock, that might be a horse of a different color, but it will still require a great deal of proficiency in case you jam or misfire. I don't know the size of your houses, but mine is small. It is 5 steps from the front door to my bedroom, and by the time I hear an intruder, I figure I have about 3-5 seconds before I might 'have' to fire. There is no senerio where I will look down from my staircase and see an intruder entering the family room; in fact, the furthest I could possibly shoot is about 5 yards.

    I know that I'm going against a huge group of people who believe that shotguns really are the best choice for home protection. I just question how much thought has really been put into it. All indoor gunfights are not created equal. A shotgun would be excellent in a school, factory, or office building, but most of our homes are much smaller with more tight and blind corners. I'd rather have a revolver handy especially if my wife/children were not extremely proficient at operating a semi/pump shotgun action.

    Ben
  10. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Messages:
    13,850
    Location:
    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    I use a handgun, too, since I don't have a short barrel 12 gauge.

    If I had a short barrel 12 gauge, I'd want it semi-auto with a shell ready to pull the trigger!!!!!!!
  11. Neil

    Neil New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Messages:
    678
    Location:
    Stanwood washington
    DITTO. :D:D:D:D
  12. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    6,858
    Location:
    Colorado Rocky Mountains
    While I agree that a revolver is the most reliable, and simplest weapon to use. A semi-auto shotgun (with one in the chamber) is a pretty simple choice for clearing a path, especially when you are only half awake. If you don’t trust your shotgun to be reliable, you NEED to get a different shotgun.
    I trust mine.....with my life.

    Contingency plans must be made for all different kinds of scenarios. From a short confrontation, to a house fire, to a running gun battle, and everything in between. There is still the possibility that something is going to happen that you have no plans for. There is nothing you can do about that. But by not making ANY plans, you could leave yourself defenseless. Not a good idea.

    The main difference I see here, by what you are saying, is that most of you are going on the “offense.” My plan is to be in a “defensive“ mode. Come and get me sucker. Once it has been determined that there IS a problem, the phone call to 911 is being taken care of by the other half. With the prevalence of cell phones now days (which should be sitting on the nightstand) who cares if they cut the hardwire phone lines. After being shot at, then knowing that you have called the police, if the perp(s) is/are still hanging around, you must have something REALLY valuable in your house.

    I have no reason to traverse hallways and doorways, be it with a long gun, or short. I am not going looking for the perp. Holding a defensive position is a LOT easier and safer than presenting your body, AS A TARGET, in doorway after doorway. Sorry guys, I will let y’all play hero, I will hold down the fort, and wait for the troops to arrive. Upon arrival, THEY can clear the house.

    If it does boil down to a firefight, after the 8 rounds are used from the shotgun, the handguns (with extra mags) are right there. If the melee continues, there is a rifle with a 75 round drum loaded and ready to use, right next to the 42 and 30 round mags that are loaded and ready for the rifle that “she” will be using. After which, rebuilding the house will probably be necessary. ;)

    But I will START with the 12ga. who’s ammo will fairly easily go through a wall made of drywall, and still do damage to a body, but will not be traveling down the block, through another wall, and killing Andy, Beth, or one of the kids.
  13. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    6,858
    Location:
    Colorado Rocky Mountains
    Oh and a P.S.
    I have seen more than one revolver jam. On one occasion it was a hardware malfunction, more often, it was an ammo problem. But it CAN happen.
  14. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    2,948
    Location:
    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    Pickenup,

    I'm all about the shotgun. Anybody with one is several notches higher on the foodchain. But the statement you made earlier "pointing it in the general direction is usually good enough" is a misconception. Especially at indoor distances.

    Most people don't want to use buckshot in a home, so I'll stick with #4 leadshot on this. In the first few feet, the pattern is a couple inches in diameter. After that, you get about one inch of spread per yard, which will vary from gun to gun. (Lead shot tends to deform the most in the barrel, especially from a full choke, and gives you the loosest pattern because all the deformed pellets fly wild. That's why turkey shot is copper or nickel plated. Regular lead is too loose from the extra full choke.) Let's say your hallway is ten yards long; best case you will have about a ten-12 inch pattern if you catch someone just coming in. Now keep in mind that a grown man can cover seven yards from a stand still in just over a second. So if they charge you, your pattern might be three inches wide moving at a moving target. Sure you don't want to use that little bead on the barrel to aim with?

    It is a fact that most shootings occur at conversational distance. A large amount of those are at touching distance. I don't know if you've ever tried it, but hiting an armed moving man at five feet is as hard as at fifty yards. People burning adrenaline fuel are real fast. Not to mention your own heart rate once it gets above 100 bpm, you lose precision muscle control and funny things happen to your vision, so not using sights is going to make your shot placement miscalculations even worse. I'm trying to say that just eyeballing it ain't enough when you might only get to pull the trigger one more time.

    But I agree with you about the practice, practice, practice. Just remember: What you do right, and wrong, in training is exactly what you will do in a fight. I'm living proof of that dumb little phrase.

    Anyway, like my old first sergeant used to say, "Aim at the middle where they is the widest boy!"
  15. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    6,858
    Location:
    Colorado Rocky Mountains
    delta13soultaker

    Point taken.
    I admit I was a little loose in my description of aiming techniques before. You are absolutely correct in that the pattern (even from a short barreled shotgun) is NOT going to spread enough inside a house, to allow you to just point it in the general direction. You do have to pay attention as to where ANY weapon is pointed. My point was more for the fact that with a handgun, you only have one chance (per pull of the trigger) to hit the perp. With a shotgun you have multiple chances that one (or more) pellets will find their mark. I will endeavor to watch my wording in future posts. Thank you.

    Et all. About home defense weapons. Ask almost any war veteran why 12ga. shotguns were used for close-range weapons. Here is a little military quote I picked up.

    Notice how they say that the shotgun was SUPERIOR to every other weapon, except full autos which sprayed MULTIPLE rounds. The shotgun has been PROVEN in close-range combat.
  16. wuzzagrunt

    wuzzagrunt New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    NYC
    delta13soultaker: thank you. You saved me a fair amount of typing.

    A near miss from a 12 gauge would give me all the incentive I need to re-evaluated my current enterprise. The sound of someone racking the slide on a pump shotgun would cause me to retire to a more thoughtful place, where I would contemplate the wisdom of the choices I've made in my life-specifically, the choices made in the last minute or so.

    But......we're not talking about me--or even most people. A defensive firearm is most needed for those times when you encounter people for whom reason and ordinary deterrents are not sufficient. Then, you want to be sure you can put the lead where it will do the most good. Even with a shotgun, that requires practice, and AIMING. Firing a 12 gauge from the hip, while averting ones eyes from the unpleasantness, may work in movies. Real life requires better tactics.

    Shoot to hit, and keep shooting until there is nothing more than a gurgling sound issuing from the steaming pile at your feet. A shotgun provides your best chance for a "one shot stop", but that is not guaranteed. People have been known to survive a hit from a shotgun, long enough to do you harm. That is especially true of miscreants whose performance is chemically enhanced.

    Nothing you can hold in your hands will guarantee a cessation of hostilities, with one shot. Well........maybe a 3.5" rocket launcher, but that is a poor choice for a CQB weapon. Especially for indoor use.
  17. Smoky14

    Smoky14 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Nowhere NM
    I just went through a shotgun course, 200rnds half of which were slugs, now that is a sore shoulder.
    Lesson one: Shot size at room distance is small and a miss on a moving target is easy.
    2: Racking slide is for the movies, noise
    3: Reduced power loads are just as good as magnum at close range, and they are easier in the old body. Wish I'd have had some for the training.
    4: If possible let the fight come to you, going through a doorway is not a way to start your day.
    Hope that helps

    Smoky the painful
  18. IShootBack

    IShootBack Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2,522
    Location:
    Virginia
    The sound of a pump shotgun slid racking a round in the chamber is a frightening sound. It surely means it's going to get noisey real soon.

    I have a remington 870 for that purpose. Used, it cost me around $150.

    Plastic stock and parkerized barrel. virtualy no maintenance.

    If I was going to get a special purpose gun, I'd probably go with a 20 gague because it is easier for the warden (my wife) to use.
  19. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    2,948
    Location:
    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    You'd be surprised how many people when first introduced to the combat shotgun think they are going to see stop-sign sized patterns from 20 feet, but actually see grapefruit sized patterns. Maybe it is the movies. But there is nothing like a demonstration right. Part of my training-aids are a stack of old targets showing patterns of 00B from 5 to 40 meters; just to put a visual perspective in troopers minds before they go red on the plywood horde.

    The flip side to that tight pattern density (as far as it not being the room clearer it is said to be) is that there is where it has its devastating lethality. One buckshot pellet, or a few birdshot pellets, is really no more effective then a 32 ACP bullet. But a whole wad of tight pellets striking at once is a hell of a lot of trauma. Once the limitations of the weapon are understood, then the awsome advantages of it may be exploited.

    On stopping power, I know for an unpleasant fact that buckshot will flatten an Iraqi sized male so fast you will wonder if someone else was shooting him too. And the less-than-lethal ammo is a wicked thing and leaves a fellow sprawled in a heap babling, drooling, and eyes rolled to the back. But every once in a while somebody beats the odds and don't get dead very fast. I think of it this way: there have actually been people whose prachute failed and they bounced off the sod and lived. No hand is played until the last card is shown. If there are one in a billion people who can survive getting hit by the Earth, I figure there's gotta be a few too mean for just a scattergun huh. I read some fatal shooting statistics, and one of the instances discussed a young man whose heart was destroyed by point blank 12 Ga. #8 shot and he ran 100 ft away before dropping. I'd say he was still alive enough to shoot back or stab the shooter. (One more reason to fire controlled pairs.)

    Racking slides as a show of force is a judgement call. There could be some times when things are escalating and no avoidance is possible and racking the slide could make a point, but that is purely circumstantial. Most times, if you rack it, you are already crossing the line of no return. And don't think a fool won't call your bluff. We had a soldier who had a few of his personal weapons in his vehicle after a day at the range, then later he and a buddy went for a drink that evening and got in an argument with a group. So he tried to drive away but a crowd blocked him. He stepped out with his shotgun, loaded it in plain sight, and told them to move. They called him everything but a white boy and he fired a round in the air. In most places, they would have moved, but those dudes yelled "Get him!" He fired three shots into the group, wounding 3 men and 2 women, and his family paid big settlments to drop the charges. Apparently Texans will call a bluff.

    There are weak points to a shotgun. You can do everything right and still suffer from these. If for whatever reason you must operate the gun with one hand, you will be struggling. Practice this and you will see. Even a semi-auto, if not held very firm, like with one hand, may not cycle correctly. If you must get in the prone with a pump gun, you are going to have an adventure racking the slide with speed and still maintaining low profile. (Note: Never get prone if an opponent has a higher vantage point because you actually become a bigger target than if you just kneel. Also, being prone cuts your visual situational awareness in half.) Another thing that I've seen a lot is that under duress and while quickly shooting and moving, some firers will take mental shortcuts to move faster and "short-chuck" the gun, which makes an ugly jam. The way I keep soldiers out of that trap during training is the way I was taught. As soon as I see it, they are rodded and cleared off the range and sprint to the "Tree of Woe" or "Truck of Woe" or "Rock of Woe" or whatever is really far away over and over until the next few firing orders are over, then join another group coming back up. When they do their next few series with steam coming out there helmets and hearts pounding off the scale, it helps to remember which shortcuts to avoid. But cicilians have to find different control measures to enforce good habits. The only way to find out if you have a tendancy to short-chuck is to fite under time and stress.

    On "superior" weapons. I won't argue that. Everyone has a favorite. If I ask 10 guys what their favorite fighting gun is or what worked best in combat (I have 22 yr olds with 2 or 3 tours too) I will get 10 answers. Some people even swear by the M9. There are a lot of different combat proven weapons. But there are a lot of different guns to be proven because combat is a dynamic madness that requires different tools and different applications and different methods. No matter what a man does, including nothing, he will most likely be wrong, so just do something. If a shotgun is your tool, for your application, and with your method, then you have something you are confident will carry you through...so gidiyup.
  20. djohns6

    djohns6 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2002
    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Other things to consider : How many other people will be in the house ?
    What type of construction ? Large caliber handgun and rifle loads will
    over penetrate and endanger other family members or even neighbors .
    There's more to consider than '" revolver or Auto " ?
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Self Defense Tactics & Weapons My weapons caliber are good to home defense? Jul 7, 2014
Self Defense Tactics & Weapons Best home-defense shotgun for a tall guy? Apr 1, 2014
Self Defense Tactics & Weapons Inexpensive home defense pistol? Mar 26, 2013
Self Defense Tactics & Weapons home defense ammo Feb 2, 2013
Self Defense Tactics & Weapons Plan for a home defense situation? Jan 19, 2013

Share This Page