New to Firearm Ownership, Need Advice

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by Midnight Raver, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Midnight Raver

    Midnight Raver New Member

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    Hello,
    I've been interested in purchasing a firearm for sport and home defense. I can really only afford one right now.

    Would you guys recommend a pistol or a shotgun?

    Pros/cons?

    Thanks
  2. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I think it depends wholly upon what is right for YOU. Shotguns, rifles and handguns all have their advantages and disadvantages. So it depends on what else you will be using the gun for. For example; shotguns generally make excellent home defense weapons, but are not very concealable. Handguns are generally more concealable, and make good defense weapons in the right caliber, but are limited in range and to some extent, accuracy when compared to long guns. Also you should try shooting several different types and in varying calibers to see what you are comfortable with.

    Hope this helps some at least.


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  3. 01brian

    01brian New Member

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    Welcome to the Forum, I have a little experience...as I had to recently make those same decisions. I guarantee there are a ton of fella's here that can help way more than me, but I thought I might as well kick it off.

    I separate sport and home defense, so that's already two different guns for me.

    For home defense, I chose a Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun. It’s reliable and easy to use.

    I also have a pistol. I view my pistol as my weapon until I get to my shotgun or depending on the situation my rifle.

    I think both are a good start and don't have many cons to either one. Most of the cons are dependent on your environment or personal prefrences.

    Being new as well, I opted to do lots of training and practice.

    Brian
  4. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum, Midnight Raver;
    You've found a great place with lots of friendly people with lots of expertise. You should get some great advice from them. I can suggest you also browse the various sections of this forum because you might get some further ideas of what's good.

    You could go to a gun shop or fair and try handling a few different kinds of guns to see what feels comfortable, and also go to a range or store with a range that rents guns and try a few out.

    You've started well by coming here. People here are always ready and willing to help.
  5. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    If you could only have 1 firearm, period, and it had to satisfy sport and HOME defense.. I'd get a shotgun. if money is tight.. get a mossberg 12g pump it's one of the cheapest.. a 500a model.. and it's also time proven.

    at home, the very racking of a shotgun slide SHOULD send a common burgler running. the weapon is rugged and sturdy and not picky about ammo in it's correct chambering. the action is a hair loose meaining virtually no chance of hung ejections, failed ejections, or failures to feed / load. it is a 'long gun' and as thus has 'hand weapon' capability in the dire event you run out of ammo and the thug still has some bit /fight left in him, thus you can fight defensively with it, or butstroke / use it like a (expensive) staff if in extreme need.

    in the sport realm, a 12g gives you many options for hunting foul or other animals like deer and hog, close range, as well as smaller varmint game with fine shot ( squirrel.. etc.. ). lastly, while not a snice as a double or auto, a pump CAN be used to shoot clay targets. my first shotgun was a pump and i got pretty good shooting clay discs out of the air with it.

    soundguy
  6. Midnight Raver

    Midnight Raver New Member

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    Thanks all. As far as a pistol- is the general consensus that automatics are better than revolvers for self defense?
  7. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Pistol:
    Pro - can be handled with one hand, leaving other hand free to hold flashlight, turn on room lights, push child back into bedroom, etc.
    Pro - is small and can be held close to your body, making someone snatching it away improbable

    Con - Short barrel makes it extremely loud inside house.
    Con - of the three possible home-defense guns - rifle/pistol/shotgun - the pistol is going to be the weakest of the three. Shoot somebody at living-room range with a 30/06 and he's probably gonna fall down. Shoot somebody at living-room range with a 12 gauge and he's probably gonna fall down. Shoot somebody at living-room range with a 9mm and he MIGHT fall down, or he might stand there and return fire.
    Con - pistols are much harder to be accurate with than guns with shoulder stocks - rifles and/or shotguns
    Con - pistol normally has greater penetration. Miss the bad guy and go through two sheet-rock interior walls to hit the kid or dog in another room.

    Shotgun:
    Pro - Much easier to hit your target with a long gun that it is with a pistol
    Pro - Buckshot will, pretty much, take down anybody you shoot with it.
    Pro - does not have, usually, as much penetration as a pistol, so less likely to go through walls and hit innocents, if you miss the bad guy

    Con - loud as hell inside
    Con - requires two hands, so holding flashlight or turning on room lights is more difficult
    Con - extends two feet in front of you, so while going through doorway, from living room to kitchen, bad guy standing off to side can grab barrel and possibly twist gun out of your hands
  8. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so. While I prefer revolvers to automatics, I have many autos and shoot them frequently. But at night, with the adrenalin pumping, don't want to be worrying about safeties, and racking slides and magazines. Double action revolver - just point it and pull the trigger. The only advantage I see, for an auto in a "self defense" situation is it normally carries more ammo. I suppose it is possible that 6 or 8 people are breaking into my house, so that 15-round magazine on the Beretta 92 would be handy. But it's more likely it's just one gun. And the five or six rounds in my revolver should do fine.
  9. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    Not necessarily. As a general rule, semi-autos will hold more ammo than a revolver, but the reliabilty of a quality revolver can't be beat. Reliabilty is, in my opinion, THE biggest factor in a self defense weapon. It doesn't matter how pretty it is, how expensive it is, or how accurate it is if it fails to go bang when you pull the trigger. Not to say that semi-autos are unreliable, just that revolvers have less moving parts and therefore less to go wrong. You can buy a good quality auto, say a 1911, and never have a failure, but when your life depends on it, even one failure can cost you your life. That said, practically every police officer and our military trust their lives everyday to autos or semi-autos, and they serve them well.

    It's kinda like deciding which type of vehicle to buy, if you are limited to one. Whether to buy a sportscar, a pickup, 4-wheel drive SUV, a family sedan, or a practical gas-saver.

    Whatever you decide on, make sure you buy quality. Once you decide what type of gun you want, we will certainly give advice on the brand and caliber is best.


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  10. Midnight Raver

    Midnight Raver New Member

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    Some great advice here, thanks.

    I'd been leaning towards a shotgun, and reading your posts here strengthens my interest in them.

    Would you suggest a pistol grip?
  11. lawdawg

    lawdawg Member

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    I personally like a full shoulder stock on a shotgun (better control), but some full stocks have a pistol grip as well, and they are fine. The standard in self-defense shotguns is the Remington model 870 pump action in 12 gauge. But Mossberg and others make quality shotguns as well. Semi-autos are just as good, and maybe better in some's opinion as a pump action. If home/self defense is the ONLY function of the shotgun, get one with a 18-20" barrel. If you also plan on hunting with it, then get the appropriate length for your hunting needs. Also if a 12 gauge is too much recoil, then a 20 gauge or .410 can also be adequate for home defense. I prefer 00 buck or slugs, but again, there are other choices that may be more suitable to you.

    This is what I bought for home defense;

    http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/shotguns/model-870/model-870-express-tactical.aspx

    But there are many other choices that are just as good and maybe better.


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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  12. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Remember what was said about accuracy with a hand gun? The same thing applies to any short gun. Shotguns get harder to hit with, and control, as they get shorter.
  13. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    If you mean this
    [​IMG]

    not just no, but HELL NO. The whole advantage of the long gun over the pistol is that shoulder stock. Even if you are shooting it from the hip, the stock placed against your side helps in accuracy. Taking the shoulder stock off and putting that abomination on turns it into a big clumsy pistol with a 20 inch barrel. You have all the cons of both the pistol AND the shotgun, with none of the pros of either.

    If you mean this
    [​IMG]

    well, that would be up to you. Some people like that "AR/AK" stock. I, myself, don't, but if it appeals to you, and you can shoot it good, go for it.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  14. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    i agree.. full but stock or butstock with pistol grip ( where legal )... especially if it is a dual purpose gun....
  15. gvw3

    gvw3 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I think a lot depends on where you live. Since you can only afford one gun.

    Do you have a spot where you can shoot a shotgun? Since you are new to firearms you need a lot of practice. If you live in a metro area you will have a problem finding a place to shoot the shotgun. The inside ranges will not allow shotguns.

    If you go with a pistol the cost of ammo can limit your practice. My 44 magnum can cost up to $1.00 a shell to shot. The 22 lr on the other hand is $0.03 a shell. The 9 mil is also cheaper to shoot.

    I always recommend people start with a 22 lr as folks new to firearms need a lot of practice. You can always get the other guns latter.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  16. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    i taught my wife with a ruger mk somethig.. good guns.

    hold their value well. hold enough ammo that they COULD be used for self defense.. if nothing else was handy.

    In a catastrophy / end of civilization situation.. I see a 22lr being a small game gun of choice to own since 1k brik oc ammo is soo small. a 22lr rifle would not be my home defense gun though.. if I had another choice.

    now.. a combo gun.. a 22lr/20g that's a POSSIBILITY like a stevens 24 or so eh?
  17. gun runner

    gun runner Former Guest

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    I would go with a 12 gauge pump shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot and yes make sure it has a stock on it.

    Also install a flashlight on it. You want to make sure you hit your target and hit it fast. Sometimes with a pistol you might miss but most likely with a shotgun its a 99.9% chance if your not blind your going to hit the target. Good luck.
  18. pickenup

    pickenup New Member

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    Welcome to The Firearms Forum.
  19. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Welcome to TFF. my .02 on a few of the questions you have had.

    Best home defense firearm for most situations would be a 12ga as others have stated also.

    I wanted to know, what you defined as sport? If you're looking to just practice and plink at the range, shoot competitions or hunt.

    The first gun I will most likely be reaching for is a revolver, nothing at all wrong with a semi-auto, it's just that I prefer the reliability of a revolver.
  20. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Y'all aware this is a zombie thread, from last June, ain'tcha?
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