IT’S NOT, SO MUCH, A QUESTION OF WHAT FIREARM YOU WILL USE TO DEFEND YOURSELF IF YOUR HOME IS INVADED, INSTEAD IT'S MORE A MATTER OF WHAT YOU WILL DO!
You know, I'm surprised at the comments made by those who haven't specifically recommended the use of a shotgun for home defense: Their advice is remarkably sound and shows a lot of CQB savvy! A pistol is my own first line of defense. I will use it, first, before picking up an, 'M-Forgery' w/ a couple of 30 round magazines attached. (Goodbye home equity appreciation!)
Shotguns and revolvers are for amateurs – NOT gunmen! Semiautomatic pistol malfunctions are quick and easy to clear IF you know how; and, revolver jams can take more hand strength than many people have in order to get the gun back into service. I’ve been teaching people how to shoot for many years. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a dozen times: Under even mild stress, someone who is only reasonably familiar with a revolver is going to start dropping and scattering shots as he double action cycles the trigger. (And single action fire often doesn't work well on moving targets - Especially when that moving target is firing back!)
Yes, I know pistoleros who handle their revolvers well, including two women; but, these people fire 100 + rounds each week and are possessed of much better than average revolver handling skills. (My own wife is one of them!)
robocop10mm, and coltm4 are only too correct. Shotguns, and large centerfire weapons, ARE extremely loud when fired indoors and can be thoroughly disorientating. If someone mentions, ‘racking the slide’ in order to scare off the bogeyman one more time I think I’ll scream! If you try that with an experienced gunman, his reflexes will take you out long before he, himself, has a chance to even think about doing the same thing! I know this is the internet; but, what are you, nutz?
You think you can’t miss with a shotgun at house clearing distances? Well, I used to have an acquaintance who, probably, lived far longer than he should have because someone did, in fact, miss his head twice with a 12 gauge shotgun at about 15 to 18 foot distance. (He seemed to think this was funny, and used to joke about it!)
The principal reason I don't respond to, 'bumps in the night' inside the house with a tactical entry carbine is because, first of all, it IS my own home; and, second, the neighbors on both sides certainly aren't going to be safe once I begin tapping out a series of wicked short bursts!
For many years I used a long barreled 22 caliber S&W Model 41 for home defense. I used to keep my Model 41 with two extra 10 round magazines next to the bed. It would have been an extremely easy pistol to fire in the dark while inside the house: There was no muzzle flash, minimal percussion, comparatively little noise, and it was easy to aim. At inside-the-house distances it wouldn't have been a problem to quickly dump all 10 rounds out of the first magazine into a 6" circle.
About two years ago, and after my neighbor's drug peddling kid took five 40 caliber rounds through his dining room window at 1:30 in the morning, I began to rethink this decision; and, I quickly realized that most plywood and sheetrock rooms are, in fact, largely indefensible.
Which brings up two salient points: One, I keep my gun safe near where I sleep - Not like so many of my shooting acquaintances who keep their own gun safes as far away as one or two floors removed from their bedroom areas. Two, once I get to my gun safe I've got 2 options: I can hunker on down behind the heavy steel walls and door and prepare to engage (or continue) from there; or, I can grab one or two slung carbines and DO THE REALLY SMART THING by taking the fight outside the house where it actually belongs, and where I will quickly pick up decisive advantages in: reaction time, freedom of movement, and available hard cover!
Back in 1990 our home was invaded! If you're close to a gun, no matter how large he is or how well armed, one guy on your turf is really no big deal. (I wasn't armed - and, that was the last time in my life that I haven't been armed inside my own home - but, our Pit Bulls proved to be more than a match for him!)
I learned some interesting lessons, that day, about defending home and family. First, once the fight begins neither party wants to remain inside the house. The overwhelming desire is going to be to escape! However, a woman with children might be better off to remain physically isolated inside a bedroom while her home is being invaded; and this is, in fact, exactly what we teach many ordinary citizens to do in a typical home defense classroom. (Where I usually keep a majority of my personal opinions to myself; but, this is the internet, so ...... !)
If you're suddenly cornered, you do need to barricade yourself as quickly as possible. Do NOT, under any circumstances, go to investigate the threat. If it's a false alarm, time will reveal the mistake; if it's a genuine threat and you haven't got backup, BARRICADE YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES AND STAY PUT! Three things you should always have with you when you retire for the night are a cell phone, a flashlight, and a properly secured gun.
This being said: If you’re able to escape, 'the box' and get out of the house, I would encourage you to do so. Me? I've got 3 large windows and 1 extra door in my home that will allow me to quickly exit; I've, also, got plenty of hard cover immediately adjacent to the house.
Quite frankly, once I get outside, I feel sorry for anyone caught inside my home. Why? Because he’s going to be in the same crappy position I was in when he, first, arrived. He'll, probably, still be somewhere inside there, too, when the police finally arrive! AGAIN, IT’S NOT, SO MUCH, A QUESTION OF WHAT FIREARM YOU WILL USE TO DEFEND YOURSELF IF YOUR HOME IS INVADED, INSTEAD IT'S MORE A MATTER OF WHAT YOU WILL DO, AND HOW WELL YOU WILL DO IT!