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Old 02-17-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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If you do not mind buying used, check page 59 here

CDNN Sports, Inc. 2010-6 Catalog

for the S&W 5906 9mm for $299.99...supposed to be a really nice gun.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:18 PM   #12
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A semi-auto for somebody who has never fired a gun before?
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by NGIB View Post
And yes, I saw this was in the handgun section when I recommended a shotgun...
I would have to agree with the others that suggested a shotgun, if I could only have one gun in my house, it would definitely be a good old pump shotgun.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:28 PM   #14
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The reason I recommend a shotgun in this situation is that a shotgun is ready for defense from the moment you open the box & load it. I've seen many folks brand new to handguns completely miss a man sized target at 10 feet. Shooting a handgun well is not as easy as some folks think whereas a shotgun can be a "point & fire" with good results...
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by amoroque View Post
I would have to agree with the others that suggested a shotgun, if I could only have one gun in my house, it would definitely be a good old pump shotgun.
I agree.

Originally Posted by BlackWidow View Post
A semi-auto for somebody who has never fired a gun before?
Why not? That's what I and my wife did, no problems.

We tend to "baby" new users a bit much treating women too delicately. Nothing wrong with that but they are tougher than we give them credit for. JMHO.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:37 PM   #16
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Welcome to the forum! I see you're already getting a lot of advice, and I'm guessing that it's starting to get a little overwhelming.

The way I see it, you actually have three areas that need to be addressed:
1. Learning to shoot.
2. Planning your home defense.
3. Choosing at least one gun.
Learning to shoot. Until you have planned the defense of your home, I recommend learning at least the basics of shooting a rifle, pistol and shotgun. As stated earlier, a .22 is a great place to start. When it comes to a shotgun, you can learn on a big gun, just use low-power bird shot. The reasons for learning on a .22 or low-power shotgun are that it's easier to concentrate on the fundamentals when there isn't as much noise and recoil, and it's just cheaper. Get some training. You've already said you want to do this, and you're right.

Planning your home defense. This will probably tell you which type of gun you want to get. Get some training. You will probably be able to find a class on home defense. I strongly recommend you take it. There are innumerable variables in planning to defend your home, and the more of these you can think of, the better. You've already mentioned having a couple of youngsters in the house. So not only do you have to find a way to store your gun so that it's safe from them, but you need to be able to get to it in a hurry. That might mean a gun safe or some other security device. You will also need to be able to identify them in the dark. You don't want to mistake them for bad guys, and you don't want to mistake bad guys for your children. You'll need to have a way to either get to them or bring them to you should someone break in. And we're just getting started. You'll have to consider your home's layout. Is there a room or even a closet that can be used as a safe room? Are there other people who live in the house (everyone should be aware of what to do in case of emergency)? Do you have pets, especially a dog? I know this seems daunting, but it isn't all that bad. Some night, while you're watching TV, think about what would happen if someone kicked in the front door? Where in your house could you and your kids go in the time it would take bad guys to find you? Once you start looking around your house in that light, many of the answers will occur to you. But a good home defense class can help give you some options.

Choosing at least one gun. Once you've planned your defense, you'll have a much better idea of what gun you'll need probably a shotgun or pistol. You might find you will be more comfortable with more than one gun, such as a pistol at hand and a shotgun strategically stored. You might want a gun that you can mount a light on. You'll also be thinking about caliber and types of ammunition.

Going back to your original requirements. For a pistol, I'd recommend something full size, as long as it's comfortable. A full-size gun will hold more ammo, will aim better, and will shoot softer when you're practicing. For a shotgun, I'd say get a pump action. It's simple, reliable and inexpensive. You can also find low-recoil shotgun ammunition which will reduce the chances of shooting through walls (or bad guys) and damaging people on the other side.

You said you want something that's easy and quick to load. I'm guessing here that you stipulated that because you don't want your children to get hold of a loaded gun. Depending on your circumstances and the gun you choose, there may be a better way. I mentioned a gun safe and security devices above. I say "better" because they keep a loaded gun out of the hands of your children but put the gun into action faster than loading it when you need it. If I guessed wrong, or if you don't find anything that sets your mind at ease, you'll probably want something that's magazine-fed. Then you can keep a loaded magazine separate from the gun. If you need it, just slap it in and rack the slide. But I recommend a quick-access safe or locking device.

Well, I've gone on for quite a while. We'll all continue to offer you advice for as long as you want it (and maybe beyond). But we'll really just be helping you fill in missing pieces here and there. You're going to have to outline for yourself your overall strategy. Once you do that, the particulars will start sorting themselves out.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by BlackWidow View Post
A semi-auto for somebody who has never fired a gun before?
I don't quite get that objection.

Ditto on all shotgun comments, although I keep a handgun in the bedroom as my primary home defense weapon (Springfield XDm 40). Wife won't go for shotgun next to the bed.

Just be aware... guns are a lot like potato chips. You can't have just one. You'll get more. And although not a good home defense weapon, you will likely buy a .22lr as one of your first 2 or 3 weapons.

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Old 02-17-2011, 05:43 PM   #18
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Jay, welcome to the world of firearms and this forum.

First, congratulations on making the decision to seriously take defense of yourself and your family into your own hands. "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." The concept of self defense is not to kill an attacker, but to stop their behavior. If that can be done by merely drawing a firearm, that is a win-win, but a firearm is deadly force, and should never be displayed with the intent to frighten anyone. If it takes one shot, or 10 shots to defend yourself, that is what it is. The number of shots you must fire is not necessarily up to you, but is up to your attacker.

Forget everything you have learned about guns from TV shows and the movies. It is all wrong. (An exception can be made for some of the self defense programming available on cable and satellite TV. Some of those can be very instructive.)

It can be said, being new to guns, that you don't know what you don't know. What did you have in mind? A handgun, rifle, shotgun, or do you know exactly? If being used primarily for home defense in an urban area, I would recommend either a handgun or shotgun. Most rifles can over-penetrate and unintentionally take out a neighbor.

With handguns, there are many, many makes and models to choose from, but the basic platforms, or operating systems, are revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. Each of those platforms have what can be called sub-platforms. Handguns have the advantage of being small and maneuverable, but less powerful. Semi-automatic pistols usually have more shots available for defense than revolvers or shotguns, so they compensate for being less powerful. (Although there are some major caliber revolvers with 7 or 8 shots capability.) Some well known firearms instructors like to say that a pistol is only good for fighting your way to your long guns.

Most folks will agree that a pump action or semi-automatic shotgun, when loaded with proper ammunition, can be the most devastating home defense weapon. The obvious drawback with shotguns are their size. They are somewhat more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. Their size is controlled by state and federal law.

Some folks will recommend a certain brand and model they like, but keep in mind, what works for one person, will not necessarily work for you. Some will insist that only the latest "Whiz-Bang model X-1" is the absolute best gun in the world, and others will disagree and recommend a gun they prefer. It can be rather overwhelming to someone new to the gun world.

Another major decision in selecting a firearm for self defense, is that of caliber. There are never-ending debates among firearms enthusiasts as to which caliber is "best." That is like the never-ending debate about which pickup truck is the "best." What works for some, won't necessarily work for others. We each develop our personal preferences in automobiles, and the same goes for firearms.

I think it can be generally said that bigger, more powerful calibers work better for defense than smaller varieties. Because of my background as a military and police instructor, homicide investigator and private contractor, I prefer .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols. I also like the .40 caliber weapons. In my opinion the minimum caliber adequate for self defense is the .38 special +P revolver, or the 9mm semi-automatic pistol. But that's just me. Others may disagree, but my experience is in real world shootings, not theory. Having said all of that, I would not want to be shot by a .22 caliber weapon, but those are not something I would recommend as an adequate self defense weapon. Sure, the small calibers are better than nothing, but so is a sharp stick. A .22 can be deadly and in time, someone shot with one may eventually bleed-out and die, but the idea of self defense is to stop the aggression NOW. Not eventually.

Once you have the caliber issue sorted out, think about ammunition. A firearm is only a bullet launcher. It is the bullet that does the work. Some bullets are made for practice, or competition and some is specifically designed and engineered for self defense. The self defense ammo is more expensive, but self defense is no place to go cheap. Practice with the cheaper stuff, but make sure your firearm will work with the self defense ammo too. Most major ammo makers have a line of self defense ammo, and with competition in the firearms market what it is, it is all good. I have my preferences and others have theirs. There is no "best" ammo. Likewise, despite what you may have heard, there is no such thing as a magic, one-shot-stop bullet. Once a bullet contacts the outer layer of flesh, they can do amazing acrobatics and are totally unpredictable. Most police and private instructors teach multiple shots to stop a threat. One shot stops are certainly possible, but you can't count on it.

Quality firearms are expensive, but again, self defense is no place to go cheap. The loudest sound you will ever hear in a gun fight is; "CLICK." Guns are expensive, but consider what other machine you will ever purchase that will last several generations. I own two guns that are over 100 years old and keep on tick'n.

May I recommend that you find a professional firearms trainer in your area, and invest a few dollars for an hour or two of his/her time, to explain the various options and let you handle them to see what fits you the best. Then enroll in a self defense oriented training school, which is different than a hunter safety, or concealed carry class. I also recommend that your spouse or SO, also enroll in professional training with you. Instructors can be found online, or you can get personal recommendations at local gun shops or gun clubs. Try to get personal recommendations. As with anything else, there are good insturctors, and some not-so-good.

Last, but certainly not least, make arrangements for safe and secure storage of your firearm. Get a safe designed for dry storage and quick access. Don't get some cheap, metal lock box, but a real safe. They come in various shapes and sizes. Safe storage is important if you are not carrying your firearm when you leave home. No one, police officers included, is safe from home burglaries. Don't leave your gun laying in some "secret" place. Trust me, burglars know exactly where to look for guns. With children in the home, safe storage is critical and mandatory in some states. Some pistol safes have biometric and combination locks designed to keep unauthorized folks out, but will allow you to quickly enter and arm yourself in an emergency.

I hope this has been helpful. If I have missed anything, I'm confident that some others will be able to fill in the gaps. A word of caution. Gun ownership can become a habit forming and expensive passion. I'm up to three safes full. It's like eating peanuts, once you start it is difficult to stop.

PS: Please join the NRA. Help us keep our firearms rights intact.

Need Help Selecting Gun - General Handgun Discussion
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:13 PM   #19
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Remington 870 pump in 12 ga or 20 ga should fill the ticket. THERE IS NO MISTAKING THE SOUND OF A ROUND BEING CHAMBERED (PUMPED) INTO THE BARREL!

i haven't seen ANYONE mention your children, you have a 5 y.o. and a 1 y.o.! you NEED to think about an alarm system can't leave a shotgun (a weapon) anywhere that is out of reach of the 5 y.o. (unless you lock it up behind some sort of door)! my 3 y.o. can already open doors and drawers, use several stools of assorted heights, AND knows how to use door locks (JUST BY WATCHING MOMMA AND DADDY). the reason i make this statement, if you can't get to your firearm within a minimal amount of time, AND GET TO YOUR CHILDREN TOO, then your just spitting in the wind.

my $.02.

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Old 02-17-2011, 06:37 PM   #20
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I would also recommend the pump-action shotgun in 12 guage or 20 guage. For one thing, your kids would have a hard time "playing" with something that size; i doubt a 5 year old could carry it or even point it at himself accidentally, long gun vs. short arms. They sell inexpensive and semi-decorative wall hooks to hold the shotty out of kiddie reach. It is a simple weapon to use reasonably well. As far as the intimidation factor, you could add a scary light to it, but that big hole in the end of the barrel should be enough.

I have a Mossberg model 500 in 12 guage; it has never required repair (bought very used in 1995); it has never failed to fire; it was cheap to buy as is its ammunition; many different accessories are available for it. I would recommend you consider one; rent or borrow one to try it out. There are many variations of this model 500; several are setup for home defense with 20" or 18.5" barrels. If you decide to hunt some birds or small game later, a longer barrel can be easily swapped in place of the HD barrel.
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