Safe choice for our family
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:01 PM   #1
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Default Safe choice for our family

Hello every one:

We recently moved to a nice neighborhood in a nice little town in Massachusetts. We had checked with local police before purchasing the house and were told that there was nothing to worry about.

It turns out that that is not quite the case as there are a few rental housing units in the vincinity that are occupied by - shall we say- sketchy characters who are (pretty openly) involved with drug dealing. Supposedly that problem had been taken care of but it just so happened that there was a shooting recently.

All the neighbors are now willing to claim our little village back by filing all sorts of paper work, getting involved with local politics etc.

My wife now, somewhat surprising to me, mentioned that she may be intersted in buying a hand gun for a worst case what-if-scenario where the local thugs may start to be pissed off and go after people objecting to their line of business. I am personally not overly concerned as I find it unlikely but then again...

So IF we seriously considered this I would put safety first (just like with anything else) as we have to small children. So the proper licensing (which is probably a pain here in MA...) and training would come first.

So here are a few issues that I am wondering about. And I may add that I know really nothing about guns and have never fired one in my whole life. Honestly, I would even say that there is a certain element of fear involved which may or may not be a healthy emotion when approaching this.

1. Which gun for both of us?
I don't see us purchasing more than one hand gun. We would need something that is easy and safe to handle for a left-handed woman and a right handed man. Though my first instinct would say semi-automatic, I read that revolvers tend to be better in that regard for beginners and for our purpose of offerning protection should any one intrude the house.

What should I consider as far as weight, barrel length and all those other technical things go so that such a firearm could be easily used by both of us?

2. How to store it safely?
You obviosly want to make sure that thieves and even more importantly our children will under no circumstances have access to a gun in the house. So a safe seems an obvious choice. However, how does that work in an emregency situation? Will you remember the code? Will you find the keys? And then assemble the gun? Where do you put the safe? Bedroom? Office? Upstairs? Downstairs?

3. Does a gun in the house call for stepped-up security all around? Such as an alarm, surveilance, motion protector?

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:02 PM   #2
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1. Which gun for both of us?

I would recommend a 38 special revolver for both of you. It works both left and right handed. Get the largest one whichever of you can easily hold and pull the trigger using the first joint of the trigger finger.

2. How to store it safely?

You need a box safe that meets any requirements of your state. Gun store sells them. I recommend your bedroom because most bad things happen at night.

3. Does a gun in the house call for stepped-up security all around? Such as an alarm, surveilance, motion protector?

Not really. A plan of action is more important. For example, if you or your wife hear a noise at night, your plan should be to get the children together in one room. Call 911, lock the door, and wait behind the bed or something else. If you hear a noise outside the door, yell, "I have a gun do not come into the room". If the door opens anyway shoot two times. Save the remaining bullets for what happens next. 99 out of 100 times you will hear footsteps running away after you yell gun.

If they continue to come into the room after the two shots, empty the gun into them.

Buy your gun from a store that will provide at least 4 hours of training or what ever your state requires.

Good luck

John

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:06 PM   #3
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In regards to what type of handgun, I suspect you'll get as many differing opinions as there are members here. For someone who wants only one gun for the well defined and specific use of home/ personal protection, I would select a double action revolver in .357 magnum. It can be loaded with mild .38 special loads for practice and full power .357 loads for defense. Barrel length would be 4" for ease of use. If it will be in a safe or secure storage the majority of the time, and carry is not a concern, a steel frame would be okay and the additional weight would help with recoil.
Secure storage is dependant on how secure you want or need the firearm. For storing a gun securely and safely (in regards to small children), there are several small safe type boxes that can be bolted to the floor/ wall etc. so the box cannot be removed. There are also safes that use fingerprint memory to unlock, which eliminates the need to find a key or remember a combination under stress.
I think your statement about training was perfect. Even if you never plan to use use a gun for anything besids home protection and it will be locked up otherwise, you should know how to use it. I wouldn't suggest anyone purchse a gun for defense unless they have made a strong commitment to regular training and practice consisting of more than firing a cylinder full once a month. Not everyone needs to go to Gunsite or Thunder Ranch, but absolute comfort with the gun in your hand and firing it is essential for defined defensive purposes.
As far as increasing other security measures is concerned, I would really have to say that depends on your personal opinion. Determining if having a firearm in your home makes your house more or less of a target for burglary if you're away is pretty subjective. I don't mean to sound irresponsible by any means, as there are serious issues that can arise froma stolen gun, but if someone wants to steal it bad enough they will. Just like cars with security systems get stolen, it could happen. Secure it properly and you've done all you can to be responsible.

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:10 PM   #4
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And I would STRONGLY disagree with the above advice about shooting someone for opening the door after they've been warned. You would be hard pressed to make a legal argument that you were in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death just because your commands were ignored. Only shoot after you've POSITIVELY identified the target, be it paper, an animal or a human.

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:57 PM   #5
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These types of questions always concern me. You are definitely going to be getting a ton of recommendations on what gun is for you - and I am not going to add to that because it will be overwhelming for you right of the bat. What I would like to address is the addition of a firearm to your home itself.

Can I ask you a couple of questions?

Have you, or your spouse, ever fired a weapon before? Because if you haven't, you might want too go to a gun range and get some hands on before you even decide to start setting money for a possible purchase. A handgun is something that is a serious purchase if you don't have a background with that sort of thing. Having one won't make you any safer, knowing how to use it safely and effectively will make you safer.


How do you feel about protection, and along those lines, the death of someone possibly wanting to hurt you? Can you honestly say, in your heart, that you would be willing to pull the trigger on someone if the need arose? because if you can't honestly say that, and mean it, a firearm may not be the best purchase for you.

People here, on this forum, have millions of rounds of fired ammo in their histories. Most have military and/or LE experience. Even so, there is a story a month of someone who was carrying a weapon, legally, and was confronted with a situation where they felt they reacted incorrectly by NOT pulling their weapon. They errored on the side of caution and there is nothing wrong with that, but it happens THAT fast. And if you are not prepared for the outcome that would include a firearm in the equation, I would suggest looking at spending that money on beefed up security instead.

Those are the first questions I ask of anyone who approaches me about advice on a first gun purchase. Once you get beyond that stuff, then you can start talking specifics.

If shooting is something that you are interested in, it's a wonderful and very enjoyable hobby that is quite addictive. But, owning a firearm comes responsibility of how to safely handle it and that comes from proper instruction & practice, practice, practice.

JD

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
These types of questions always concern me. You are definitely going to be getting a ton of recommendations on what gun is for you - and I am not going to add to that because it will be overwhelming for you right of the bat. What I would like to address is the addition of a firearm to your home itself.

Can I ask you a couple of questions?

Have you, or your spouse, ever fired a weapon before? Because if you haven't, you might want too go to a gun range and get some hands on before you even decide to start setting money for a possible purchase. A handgun is something that is a serious purchase if you don't have a background with that sort of thing. Having one won't make you any safer, knowing how to use it safely and effectively will make you safer.


How do you feel about protection, and along those lines, the death of someone possibly wanting to hurt you? Can you honestly say, in your heart, that you would be willing to pull the trigger on someone if the need arose? because if you can't honestly say that, and mean it, a firearm may not be the best purchase for you.

People here, on this forum, have millions of rounds of fired ammo in their histories. Most have military and/or LE experience. Even so, there is a story a month of someone who was carrying a weapon, legally, and was confronted with a situation where they felt they reacted incorrectly by NOT pulling their weapon. They errored on the side of caution and there is nothing wrong with that, but it happens THAT fast. And if you are not prepared for the outcome that would include a firearm in the equation, I would suggest looking at spending that money on beefed up security instead.

Those are the first questions I ask of anyone who approaches me about advice on a first gun purchase. Once you get beyond that stuff, then you can start talking specifics.

If shooting is something that you are interested in, it's a wonderful and very enjoyable hobby that is quite addictive. But, owning a firearm comes responsibility of how to safely handle it and that comes from proper instruction & practice, practice, practice.

JD

Thanks JD for the honest and thoughtful answers/questions. These are very legitimate concerns and these are exactly the kind of questions I have to myself - and my wife for that matter who brought up the issue in the first place.

So, no, neither of us have ever fired a weapon of any kind. And to be honest, it is somewhat of a "foreign" concept to me in the first place since I grew up in Western Europe where gun ownership is very restricted and - to be honest- frauned upon among "normal" citizens.

My views on these issues were over the years certainly part of a transition into a slightly different value set all. I mean, I have always been slightly "different" and "un-Europeaan" in many respects (feel free to take my nick as an indicator...), but, yes, taking forceful protection of your family and home into your own hands is still something I don't think should be taken lightly as you and others here correctly point out.

No, even though I can understand how one can get drawn to the fascination of shooting as a hobby, this is not my intention ( I already have expensive interests enough for which I don't find any time...). And yes, you are right, we are talking here about a potential threat from specific people who may become pissed off enough for disturbing their little illegal business that a hypothetical intrusion may result in shooting somebody dead. How realistic such a scenario is I don't know. I understand that all this only makes sense with proper and lengthy training - if at all: I could have as many guns in the house as I wanted but somebody could still shoot you in the back in the driveway or simply run you over. Or do other damage.

My more technical questions related to that in a bigger sense as I was trying to undestand some of the terminology.
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:31 PM   #7
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Well MassL - It would appear you are of sound mind on the subject and are not caught up in the "newness" of it, which is very good.

I think a trip to a local indoor gunrange, with a licensed instructor, for an hour or so would help clear up many a question before you move forward with doing too much research. As you have stated, there are plenty of things we would all rather be doing ( hobbies ). Range time and an instructor would probably run you less than $100 for you and your wife, and would be a great way to get started.

Once you know if handling a firearm is something that you are okay with, then you can sit and discuss with your wife if using it at a time of need is something you can "wrap your head around". I will be honest, it's not for everyone.

Personally I believe that if you have skill with a firearm, you have a duty to your family should a need arise, which is why my fiancee' has now had A LOT of training, not only in shooting, but in tactics, cleaning, storage and the whole 9 yards. Owning a firearm is great - but it doesn't do anyone any good if it sits in a desk drawer gathering dust. You stand a better chance of hurting yourself, or someone you love, if you aren't familar with it.

But, feel free to ask as many questions as you need too. Hit me with a PM if you have something you need. There are plenty of good, knowledgable people on this site that are "here to help".

JD

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Old 06-16-2008, 09:53 PM   #8
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Take as many classes as you can.

Familiarize yourself with the specifics of using a firearm in the line of self defense. Become comfortable with the fact that you're buying weapons with the intent of possibly killing another person. Save enough cash in case you need to pay a lawyer in the event that you have to defend your decision to kill another person.

Try as many firearms as possible in as many different calibers as possible before choosing what you like.

Buy your chosen weapons and 1000 rounds of ammo.

Join a range and use that ammo to become proficient with your weapon.

Go back to the range at least monthly to burn a few hundred rounds to maintain your competence.

Consider a shotgun for in home use.

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Old 06-17-2008, 03:26 AM   #9
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I recommend these things so often that I get tired either typing or hearing myself say it:

May I suggest that you begin by reading these two books - Which, even after a lifetime of handling firearms, I still enjoy reading through every now and then.

1. The Basics Of Personal Protection Inside The Home

2. The Basics Of Personal Protection Outside The Home

You are going to need competent firearms safety and marksmanship training. I would encourage you to review, NRA Training Programs and then call the NRA's Firearms Training Division at, 1.703.267.1430

Here is a picture of my wife's first handgun. One we both trust, find easy to use, carry, and shoot often -



It's a Ruger SP-101 w/ 3" barrel in combination caliber of 357 magnum/38 special. My wife carries this little revolver in a Kramer Leather pocket holster with 2 Bianchi speed strips. It's a great first gun for anyone; and, an excellent gun for a woman to use. (I, sometimes, carry it as a backup!)

You're going to need a small gun safe - One that's big enough to hold BOTH your pistol and the ammunition. Believe it, or not, Wal-Mart often has an excellent selection of small gun safes in stock. I always recommend that any gun safe should be kept within easy reach and strongly bolted to the floor.

Wal-Mart Pistol Safe

There are plenty of other reasonably priced gun safes, too. If it were my gun safe, it would be bolted to the floor and have a mechanical spin dial/lock. Good luck to you!
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:06 AM   #10
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Mass, 6/17/08

You have received a number of good replies to your questions. I'll first address the last question- does having a gun mean you need to beef up your home security? No- your home security should already be updated due to your perceived increased threat level at your home regardless of whether or not you choose to arm yourself. A home consult by a reputable security agency might be a good first step. And don't forget the four-legged type of security alarm, a dog will provide 24 hour warning and only needs a little food and attention in return. It doesn't have to be an attack dog, just one that makes noise if anyone unfamiliar approaches. Plus they are good with kids.

Which gun to get? As others have suggested a simple revolver in 357/38- special caliber is fine. Ruger and Smith and Wesson both make reliable products. But before you pick a pistol it is best to get some basic training and try several different types of pistols. I googled the topic: firearms training Massachusets, and a number of training options appeared. You might look around on the computer, get some names and numbers, and then make some calls and visits to their facilities and talk to the instructors. Also talk with your local sheriff to see if he has any firearms training recommendations. Your trainers and sheriff should also have ideas on what sort of safe or safety devices you need in your location.

Lastly- It doesn't matter where you live or work, whether it is in a safe "gated community" or in the slums, unexpected violence can and does occur on a regular basis. You have to decide if you want to take the steps to safeguard your family if no one else can. Having a weapon does no good if you are unwilling or unable to use it. This means getting firearms training, buying an appropriate weapon, and getting intermittent practice. All of this costs time and money. Hopefully you will never have to use this hard-earned training but even if it's only helpful once in your life it will have been worth it (it has been twice for me).

best wished- oldandslow

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