This is a discussion on Suggestions within the Guns and Knives forums, part of the Everything But Cigars category; I have to agree with the shotgun as well. The are only two reasons I keep a semi auto instead. ...
I have to agree with the shotgun as well. The are only two reasons I keep a semi auto instead. The intruder would never hear the shotgun cycle over the noise of our two Rhodesian Ridgebacks barking and surrounding them, and I don't want to hit said dogs with shotgun pellets. But believe me the care and feeding of a shotgun is much cheaper.
TRAIN, TRAIN, AND TRAIN. It doesn't matter which one you choose. I have shot; skeet, trap, sporting clays, 5 stand, and steel with my old Rem 870 (with 3 extra barrels). I use the same load for everything, 1oz of #8.
If it isn't "something", then it will be "something else"!
I agree that a 4" Revolver is a great choice, either .38 Special or .357. I recommend the .357, it's a real stopper. Plus, it can shoot .38 rounds for training/reduced recoil. Concerning over-penetraion: Make your first few shots either Glazer safty slugs or Magsafes. They are frangible rounds that do not over-penetrate, but do MAJOR internal damage. I recommend Magsafes a little more highly, because the do penatrate a little better. I am pretty sure they both are still made.
Concerning shotguns: They have many pluses, but also many negatives.
Plus: Major damage, affordable, training is cheap/fun, versitale (hunting/home defense).
Negatives: Possible over-penatration, slow to employ, tough to navigate in tight places, can be take away (scumbag can possibly grab it.)
My recommendations for shotguns: Remington 870, or Benneli Nova. Both are pumps, very reliable, and affordable. Purchase a extra barrel, 18" turkey barrel. Handy in close quarters...
As far as ammo:
1 st shot: 1 1/8 oz #7 1/2 birdshot. Slim chance of hurting anyone on the other side of a wall, but massive damage @ close range. If you doubt me, find a road-killed deer and shoot it at around 4-8' from the end of the barrel (that may seem close, but in a house the action would be close), then check out the crater...there will be massive internal damage!
2nd shot: slugs all the way!!! Buckshot is cool in the movies, but slugs lay things out COLD! I know you might doubt me, but most bear/dangerous game guides use slugs... 1 oz of solid lead packs a hell of a lot of enery!!! No need of fancy slugs, just standard 1oz lead. I have shot piles of deer through the years with just about everything imaginable. I have recovered them shot with high powered rifles and had them run over 100 yards on occasion (with a completely exploded heart, by the way). Every deer I have shot with a slug has hit the ground dead, dead, dead!!! But, over-penatration can be a problem....
The most important things: train as much as resonably possible, and prepare yourself mentally for the possability of taking a human life....
Either one would make a good choice, but each has their advantages and disadvantages as discussed above. In summary:
- certainly more intimidating
- you can change ammo to suit your desires for the level of penetration and your (and gf/wife) tolerance for recoil
- much less maneuverable if you need to go bring kids to your "fallback" room.
- the shot will expand, which makes a precision shot a risk if you need to do it
- Reliability is second to none
- rounds likely to penetrate a few walls
- my personal opinion is that I wouldn't trust them for a precision shot either
- lower firepower...there's plenty of cases where people have been shot 5 or 6 times with a handgun round and didn't go down.
I'd recommend that you take a look at some autoloading handguns. Many modern brands are just as reliable as revolvers and shotguns with modern ammo. It would give you more rounds and still maintain a good level of maneuverability. If you do decide to go with a shotgun, please do not depend on racking it to scare someone away. There are hardened criminals out there that aren't intimidated one bit. Just be prepared to use either one should you need to. Make sure you check out the laws in MD regarded the use of lethal force.
Some more advice:
Concerning over-penetraion: Make your first few shots either Glazer safty slugs or Magsafes. They are frangible rounds that do not over-penetrate, but do MAJOR internal damage. I recommend Magsafes a little more highly, because the do penatrate a little better. I am pretty sure they both are still made.
NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE FRANGIBLE PISTOL AMMO FOR SELF DEFENSE.
That stuff is absolute garbage. It does NOT do "major internal damage" it does not penetrate enough to do "major" damage to anything. Why on earth would you use ammo that turns a normal leather or denim jacket into full-protection body armor? Handguns simply do not have the force and kinetic energy behind them to do sufficient damage to stop an attack without penetrating and damaging major blood vessels or internal organs. Frangible ammo does not penetrate through the fat layer, much less through the muscles and bones protecting those vitals.
The over-penetration issue is internet superstition. A bunch of BS. Find me one, just ONE reliable report of an innocent bystander, or anything valuble, being damaged by a handgun round that fully penetrated a bad guy. Yeah, sure, if you miss completely, then you might have a problem. But a pistol round fired through a human being, if it even fully penetrates, will not have much behind it at all when it exits the far side.
But hey, I was only a Tac instructor for the NM DPS for 6 years, and this IS the internet, so don't just take my word for it. The FBI did a fairly comprehensive study regarding handgun wounding factors and effectiveness. Read their report here:
The Remington 870 is the way to go. I would upgrade with some features like a AR styled stock and a Hogue forend. Also, going with something like this: KZ Remington 870 Picatinny Forend will provide you with more options like foregrips, tac lights, etc.
Shotgun ammo comes in a lot of varieties so there will be something for whatever your needs are. Gunsite put out a shotgun training DVD, Tactical Shotgun For Self Defense Special Edition, that is worth checking out.
And slugs do do the most damage. Recently in my neck of the woods, a guy was trying to break into this gentleman's house. Well that scared him enough where he grabbed his shotgun and fired off a slug. The aspiring intruder was killed and on the news they showed the home owner's front door. A huge hole in the door resulted from just one slug. Nuff said.
There is some good advice here.
I'll add my two cents. The racking to "scare" someone who has entered your home sounds like something to avoid, all that does is give 'em time to find YOU.
I keep a semi auto hand gun (chambered) and a 18 1/2" barreled shot gun, off safety, fully loaded, one in the chamber and a full tube.
Shot first, period.