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What should my first firearm be (using for home-defense)

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Old 06-09-2008, 01:50 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of your imput, guys. I understand that a shotgun would be the best way to go for home defense (scary as hell I'm sure if someone ever pointed one at you or racked, spray makes a hit moch more likely, especially in a situation where you're jolted awake by shadows lurking around in the house). I'm going to get a concealed carry permit as well, and would like the option of being able to carry my gun. I can only afford one for the forseeable future, so a shotgun is out of the picture for now. You can count on me getting one in the future though. I'd like a revolver, I trust them, and the notion that, if a round failed to go, I could just pull the trigger again and cycle to the next is comforting. What bothers me is that I've only found one left handed revolver (Charter Arms Southpaw, a 5 round, .38 +P), and left-side opening cylinders are a pain in the ass to reload if you're a lefty. I suppose I could get either a Taurus 7 round or a S&W 8 round .357. This might be stupid, but my worry is that me and a gun toting trio of robbers will get into a firefight, and I'll run out of ammo. That may be because I watch too many movies, though... Can anyone recommend a quality ambidexterous gun for under $600?
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ninj A. Cat View Post
Hey guys,

After a neighbor was robbed while their entire family was home, I decided that I needed to step up and take the role of protector of the household, so I've decided to buy a handgun (I'm totally new to firearms, so don't hesitate to make suggestions or correct me if I'm wrong; that' how I learn!)

I've been searching for a good home defense handgun (parents were scared to death of shotguns.) My price range is $600 or under. Here's what I was thinking: .40 S&W, 12 rd. or greater capacity, at least a 4in barrel, and, most importantly, AMBIDEXTEROUS CONTROLS (or at least the ability to have a gunsmith switch them.) Here's what I've come up with, in no particular order:

1. Beretta PX4 Storm
2. S&W Sigma
3. S&W MP 40
4. Steyr M-A1
5. Springfield XD 4"
6. FN FNP-40
7. Glock 22 (maybe 23)
8. EAA Witness

First of all, are all of these ambidextrous? I'm a lefty. Which one(s) do you guys recommend? Anything I'm forgetting? Since it's for home defense, should I go DAO? Should Picatinny rails be a deciding factor? Anything bad about polymer frames? Would a ported gun really blind me if I fire it in the dark? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
Wow! Complicated questions. Hmmm, where to begin?

OK, start by reading a few books. Here’s the first one that I would recommend:

Personal Protection Inside The Home

Here’s another -

Personal Protection Outside The Home

Personally, I would NOT recommend a shotgun as a primary weapon for home self-defense; AND, you really have to be careful whenever you rack a shotgun slide against an unseen intruder. There are bad hombres out there who will only use the sound of that slide cycling in order to line up their own sights on YOU!

Neither should you choose any weapon that you might have trouble wielding inside the narrow confines of a house; and, don’t choose any firearm that you might have to use to discharge a wider than normal shot pattern inside your own home.

Of those pistols on your list, the only ones I would consider for serious use are the Glock and the Steyr; however, you should be made aware that 40 caliber anything is tough for a beginner to learn how to shoot. Where caliber is concerned: In a semiautomatic pistol you go, either, up to 45 acp or down to 9mm.

(Yes, a big 45 acp caliber pistol is relatively easy to learn how to shoot because the heavier recoil impulse is, also, nice and slow – Consequently, it is easier to learn how to manage.)

There’s, also, something to be said for choosing a revolver as your first handgun. The caliber would, of course, be 357 magnum. This gives you a wide choice of ammunition to choose from; and, you would, also, have the option of practicing with (or, even, carrying) 38 special rounds. While we’re on the subject, any handgun will jam; so, you need to learn clearance drills.

The principal difference between revolver jams, and semi-auto jams is that when a revolver jams, it’s going to lock up the entire cylinder; and, it may take some doing to get that cylinder open again. Generally speaking, semiautomatic jams are, both, quicker and easier to clear; but, again, you will need to learn how.

It’s not the safety that you have to be concerned about on, either, the Glock, or the Steyr. Instead it’s the magazine release! I wouldn’t short either pistol on this point, though. I, myself, am an ambidextrous pistol shooter; and, it’s not all that hard for me to keep my left index/trigger finger away from a right-handed magazine release.

Glock is presently offering an ambidextrous magazine release on certain models. This is a result of design changes the factory made for the army’s anticipated – and now defunct – new pistol trials.

As far as I’m concerned whether or not a pistol has an ambidextrous magazine release isn’t a critical issue. I’m able to switch my Glocks with a right-hand magazine release from one hand to the other without ever hanging up on the mag release. However, because of the way Glock is presently designing ALL of their new magazines, I strongly suspect that future Glocks will come with ambi mag releases. My point is; ‘So what!’ This has, and will continue to have, no effect on how I shoot, either, a Glock or a Steyr pistol.

If you get a Glock with a right-hand magazine release the only disadvantage to you will be that you’re going to have to slightly shift your grip in order to release a magazine. Because your trigger finger should be outside the trigger guard, anyway, this is really no big deal. (I do it all the time.)

A true double action only (DAO) trigger isn’t a necessity; and, probably, won’t be available to you as an option on any of the pistols you’re presently looking at – Unless, of course, you are willing to consider a revolver.

Picatinny rails? (Funny! I grew up right next door to Picatinny Arsenal.) For civilian self-defense, you can forget about any practicality from using Picatinny rails on a handgun! This is another bizarre consequence of Glock’s efforts to create a military pistol for the defunct army trials.

In my considered opinion a civilian should never attempt to hang a flashlight on his handgun. Gun-mounted combat lights are not for individual gunmen. Instead, a gun-mounted light is a tool that is best used by a multi-member assault team where one shooter can (and will) back up another.

A combat light can be very useful; and, it is especially useful – and safer for you, yourself, to use – if you carry that light in your support hand instead of mounted on the end of your gun. Someone is, of course, going to bring up the subject of laser pointers. You can get one; they are, certainly, ‘uber-cool’. However, I see no place for a laser pointer on, either a home defense or a carry gun. Otherwise, lasers make great training tools; and, in my own experience, there is no better way to learn how to point shoot than with a laser.

In my experience there is one, and only one, significant drawback to purchasing any polymer frame pistol – They, all, require a significant break-in period of between 3 and 5 hundred rounds before you can absolutely trust them for everyday carry and serious work.

I carry a muzzle-ported pistol. This said, I wouldn’t especially recommend that you spend the extra money to purchase a C-Model Glock. What a lot of shooters do is to buy the standard pistol, and then, later on, purchase a muzzle-ported barrel for it. The answer to your specific question about muzzle flash is that flash depends in large part upon the type of powder used.

Most self-defense ammunition is low flash; consequently, I doubt very much that you would see any flash at all. I reload my 45 acp ammunition with Alliant Red Dot powder; and, I almost never see any flash. (Yes, I’ve participated in dusk and night shoots with my muzzle ported pistols – Maybe, one round of a dozen will show some minor flashing. Like I said, it’s not really an issue.)

Other than this, you shouldn’t be firing your home self-defense pistol in complete dark - anyway. Cooper’s Fourth Rule of Firearm Safety states;

Always clearly identify your target, and what is behind it!

Good luck to you.

Last edited by G21.45; 06-09-2008 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:34 AM   #13
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Well first off if you're totally new to guns you're getting way ahead of yourself thinking of a CCW permit which by the way you only need to carry a gun off of your property legally .

Second even with a CCW forget some big drawn out gunfight in which you''ll be swapping magazines like Bruce Willis in the movie "Last Man Standing" it just ain't the real world anymore than main street gunfights at "High Noon" happened in the Wild West . As a matter of fact it is historical fact that the Wild West only existed in Hollywood and penny novels . Then , like now most criminals were cowards and when the good guy started shooting back 99 % of the time they ran for their lives .

With the neighbor being robbed your first consideration should be in securing the home . First and foremost rule #1 is actually use the locks on the doors . I am amazed at how many people will leave a door unlocked because a family member is due to come home even when they may not be due for hours , let them use a key just like you did and get over it .

Even if you will be in your yard mowing or whatever take the key and lock the door while outside , we have had burglaries here with people home yet outside doing yard work . Criminals may not be the smartest people in the world but they are fantastic opportunists .

When /if you get a gun remember that it needs to be secured from a potential burglar just in case and under the bed or hidden on the closet shelf doesn't get the job done . Stores like Walmart sell little fireproof safes for around $100 and will suffice for a handgun at the very least it keeps them from using your own gun on you and they will have to lug a 50+ LB safe out if they want to steal it .

If you live in a house rather than an apartment the #1 crime deterrent you can have are a couple of medium sized dogs , they don't need to be killers just good noise makers that draw attention and sounding like killers wont hurt at all .

One important thing to do is do a walk around of your home thinking like a criminal , how would you break in , think fast , quite , unseen and fairly easy thats what they do then do it again after dark . Try watching the television show "It takes a Thief" a few times if you have cable .

Do you leave your blinds and drapes open at night with lights on turning your home into a "Showcase" of things that someone may want to steal ?

Do you have small children in the home or who visit regularly to consider ? Do family members have questionable friends that they allow in the house ? Are they on board with this whole little plan of yours or are any of them afraid of guns ? Do they have big mouths ? The last thing you want is some teenager running around telling everyone you now have a gun in your room .

Forget the crap you hear of not missing with a shotgun at hallway distances , unless you have a 50ft+ long hallway and you're at one end and a criminal the other . At 10-15 even with a completely open choke you get a pattern that if you're lucky is slightly bigger than a cantaloupe , I know I've tested it with more than one shotgun using a HUGE piece of cardboard as a target .

Go with a 4 inch 357 for the home and as a starter/learner gun then after hundreds and hundreds of rounds and dozens of trips to the range trying various Auto pistols consider purchasing one .

Taurus makes fine autos with ambi controls in every caliber you could want , when you get ready to step up to an auto consider a 1911 , it's only the best damn fighting gun ever designed in the most effective caliber . Anyone who says they couldn't get a 1911 to run either was incompetent , ignorant of the design or didn't have a decent Smith nearby to tweak it for a little money and yes it's worth it if you have to send off a 1911 for a couple hundred worth of tweaking .

Just remember the gun is the last line when it comes to home defense here , it's kinda like in the movies when the military goes to Defcon 4 , you do everything you can to avoid it , yet you train your butt off to make sure if it comes to it you can fight if you must and fight effectively .

Good luck and forget the wives tales like "If you shoot someone drag them back in the house" kinda crap , it is called tampering with evidence and you'll get caught and sent to prison because once you get caught in a lie no1 will believe the rest of your story .
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:54 AM   #14
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A Glock Model 22 with night sights and lots of mags and ammo would be just fine.

All of the advice that you have been given has been excellent however.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:02 PM   #15
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Buy a tax stamp, get an MP5SD and run frangible, subsonic rounds.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:09 PM   #16
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Oh come on, my Rock Island .45 has never jammed, and that's with hollow points as well as FMJ's. The Rock Island Armory .45 is a good gun, I don't care what anyone says.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:04 AM   #17
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I personally like the 357 revolver also, for several reasons, but the best reason is that it is the highest rated caliber at one shot stops. I f you must pull your handgun it should be to protect your and your families lives. What better protection can you ask for than 96% one stop shots.
Keep on doing what you are doing now and you will keep on getting what you are getting now.

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Old 06-15-2008, 11:27 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone,
You've helped me realize that there's no one answer to the question, and I should find what fits me best... I've been shooting with a variety of semi-autos in different calibers, and decided that I should start simple and go with with a revolver. For me, a revolver would be dependable and easy to use in a heated situation I'm planning on a .357 with a 4" barrel (which is, ironically enough, the first handgun I ever shot.) The ability to practice with or use the cheaper .38 makes it even better for a budget concious college kid like me. I've been looking at these models, and have gotten my hands around all of them:

Ruger GP100
Taurus Tracker 627 Ported
Rossi 971

The big question now is blued or stainless steel. I'm thinking stainless because of corrosion resistance, but I like blue for the sneakiness factor (and I think it looks cooler, too.) I really like them all, and all feel very solidly built to me. The Tracker is ported and holds 7 rounds, so I'm leaning towards that right now, but the Rossi is significantly cheaper, though. I do believe that Taurus owns Rossi, so if Taurus is reliable... Does anyone know of any reliability issues with any of these models? Anyone want to suggest which of these I should pick?
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:29 AM   #19
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Shotgun! No ifs ands or buts! And a .357 snubbie as a back-up with a 14 oz. lead-weight billy in your back pocket as a last resort.
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:18 PM   #20
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G.21.45 has it right once a again. be weary of people who start rattling off EXACTLY what you need. your decision has to be based on a number of factors too many to list. Are there others in the house who may have to use the weapon? how often do you plan on training? have you done an overall survey of your home (it's contruction, how many levels, lighting, etc.)? also, nowadays the cost of ammo becomes a factor. prices have skyrocketed. acquiring a firearm should only be one faccet of your overall plan. remember, MINDSET, TRAINING, EQUIPMENT.
A lot of diehard shotgun fans here. i've stood near a shotgun being fired inside a house a number of times. it's not fun. imagine putting a phonebook against your head and then someone smacking you very hard across it. the recoil, blast and noise work against rapid follow-up shots. liability wise, you can't predict where every pellet will hit (if you shoot buck). and yes, the rounds will penetrate drywall and bounce around the opposing room! Please believe me. also, manipulating a shotgun requires a lot of fine motor skills. these skills diminish as your heart rate increases.
what do i use for home defense? i keep a Glock 19 with streamlight TLR-1 light mounted and winchester t-series loaded in my nightstand (i have no children). i also have my AR in the gun safe, loaded mag, no round in chamber. most importantly, i check my doors at night, and keep a phone in my bedroom. this is what works for me (i hope it does).

Last edited by coltm4; 06-16-2008 at 04:22 PM.
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