Discussion -- Suitability for home defense ... shotgun, handgun or other gun?

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Thread: Discussion -- Suitability for home defense ... shotgun, handgun or other gun?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Question Discussion -- Suitability for home defense ... shotgun, handgun or other gun?

    Question: For defending your own home, how do you see the suitability of firearm selection against armed intrusion? Choices are a shotgun, a handgun, or a different type of gun.

    Consider the various issues at hand:
    • The layout of your home and the challenges you'd have.
    • The place where you'd be having to defend against intrusion.
    • Whether you'd have others to protect.
    • Whether you'd be hunting him/them down or in an ensconced position behind a barricaded door.
    • Suitability factors of a handgun versus a different type, depending on the scenario.
    • Penetration concerns, either into the next room or into the neighbor's residence.
    • Whatever else seems to you to be an important consideration for selecting a particular gun in a particular situation.


    For me ...

    In a quick break-in scenario, I'd much prefer a handgun. I'm competent and quick, and it can work as an extension of my hand without thinking. Not as much firepower as a shotgun, in a sense, but I am more comfortable with it. 14+1 rds is quite a lot of lead in the air, if delivered accurately. The penetration issue would be a risk, here, but I believe I'd win out with far greater accuracy over my shotgun.

    If I were barricaded in my "safe" room and defending against armed attack, I'd much prefer a shotgun for the primary weapon, given the firepower and ability to cover the entrance to the "safe" area. One or more handguns would be backup. Ammo's all there in the "safe" area. In an ensconced position? Give me a shotgun as primary, every time. The ol' Ithaca 37 12ga does nicely, here. Few penetration issues (to the neighbors), by comparison to a 9mm bullet, IMO.

    Haven't gotten comfortable with an alternative gun, at this point. I've toyed with an FN P90, and that's an amazing possibility. 50rds of 5.7mm on tap. Ooooh. I've had an AR-15 but didn't get comfortable with the operating controls. I've got a shorty AK "pistol" on order, so we'll see how that goes. 7.62x39mm seems a bit stout for my residence, given the proximity of neighbors. 5.7mm seems a bit more tolerable, given the frangibility through residential walls. So would the 5.56x45mm .223, but the AR's out. Oh, poor, pitiful me, when it comes to non-standard choices. I'll get there, though I don't know that I'll ever be as comfortable with any of these alternatives as the old stanby: handgun + shotgun. But that's just me.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    When it come to in-home defense, I too choose the handgun. 12guage has some attractive attributes, but like you said, extension of hand. Also if you're focused on one threat and another suprises you up close (or anytime you get real close in, I think the handgun is a lot easier to control and wield while fighting with the off hand, or just to aim at an extremely close target.

    One more thing I consider is that there is always a chance the BG or an accomplice grabs a wife or kid hostage. If they try to retreat I may be forced to take a shot, and I want that shot to be accurate and not of the spreading type. If I live alone or peraps just me and the wife, maybe a shotgun cause I'll just hole up in the bedroom. But for now I have a herd to protect.
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    My current long gun set up is a Colt 9mm SMG with EOTech, Surefire, and three point sling. I prefer a 5.56 or pistol caliber AR style carbine for HD, for several reasons.

    1. Skill/familiarity. I am simply better with the AR then I am with a shotgun. I've had some fairly extensive training with the SG, but nothing approaching the "trigger time" I've had with the AR platform. I’ve cleared innumerable rooms/building with an AR (both training and real world). I can hit faster, hit more, hit more accurately, and hit multiple targets faster with a carbine then I can with a shotty - pure and simple.

    2. Capacity. Probably a non-issue, but I like 30 more then I like 8 (or less). A shotgun of equivalent length to a Colt SMG or M4 will have significantly fewer rounds available. No, I don't spray and pray, but if I have to shoot someone (or several someones) I want the option to shoot them multiple times and/or in multiple places (I'm thinking failure-to-stop drills here...) Also, reloads (if I have a mag related malfunction or otherwise need to get new rounds into the weapon) are MUCH faster with an AR then they are with a shotgun.

    3. Light. Of course, this can apply to shotties, too. A dedicated, weapon-mounted light is a great asset. I know, this means I have to point the muzzle at whatever I want to illuminate, and I know that violates one of the Rules, but if I fire without properly identifying my target I am breaking a much more serious rule. With the safety on and my finger off the trigger, I'm willing to point my weapon at something in order to illuminate it. The other advantages (and disadvantages) of lights have been gone over ad infinitum, so we'll just say I like them.

    4. Penetration. The house I currently live in has thick cement block and stone exterior walls, and heavy plaster coated interior walls. Penetration is less of a concern then in this house then in most frame-and-dry wall houses in the States. However, it is still a concern for any round. I think that many people underestimate the penetration capacity of 12 gauge 00 buck, and overestimate it in 5.56. In 9mm, a light, fast, expanding round seems to be the best compromise between penetrating the BGs enough, without penetrating walls/furniture/whatever too much. At the end of the day, the chances of hitting an innocent through an exterior wall is infinitely remote in most home defense situations, so penetration is not my primary concern. In an apartment, or with other family members possibly in the line of fire, it would certainly be higher on the list of things to think about.

    5. Other factors. At this point in my life, I'm comfortable moving with a carbine/SMG length AR in tight quarters. It is an extension of my hands; I can strike with it, I can illuminate with it, I can engage with it quickly and accurately, I can possibly "intimidate" with it, and so on. With the sling (and my training) I believe I can defeat any disarm attempts at least long enough to get my handgun into play. The system is short and light enough to maneuver/control with one hand while opening doors or otherwise manipulating things with the other hand. So, for me, it is the best choice. As always, YMMV.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    I am about the same as OPFOR, same reasoning for going with an AR. I can just shoot better with a long gun if I need to put 1 shot right where it counts.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    M4 protects the home, 870 protects the house, and the pistol protects me.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    The first thing I grab when something goes Bump in the night in a .357 once I'm sure no one is coming in the bedroom then I grab the 870 from the closet.
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    I am about the same as OPFOR, same reasoning for going with an AR. I can just shoot better with a long gun if I need to put 1 shot right where it counts.
    same here as well...I'm just more comfortable putting that one shot where it needs to go

  9. #8
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    If you get close enough to me in my house that I need to shoot you then several other avenues of protection have failed.
    That's not to say that I don't have a handgun and a sub ready at all times, I do. Depending on the time of day there is one handgun worn, one nearby and a sub nearby. During sleep just the latter two.
    If woken I will grab the handgun and phone, measure the threat and take it from there.

    I don't have penetration concerns, the only ways into my house are from directions where there are natural berms between me and my neighbors, who are not too close anyway - we all have acre lots. Nobody in the house to get in the way other than my wife, and she's going to be right beside me throwing lead at you too.

    My only real problem is my dogs, they are enthusiastic in the home protection side of things and would likely get in the line of fire. But if possible I would take time to command them and if not I would hope I miss them, can't say I would be pleased if I hit my dogs but if it really is shooting time then it really is shooting time.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    My only real problem is my dogs, they are enthusiastic in the home protection side of things and would likely get in the line of fire. But if possible I would take time to command them and if not I would hope I miss them, can't say I would be pleased if I hit my dogs but if it really is shooting time then it really is shooting time.
    Dogs are pretty good at getting ducking and out of the way.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Senior Member Array Pitmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Dogs are pretty good at getting ducking and out of the way.
    But can they do it faster than a bullet is the question.
    Pitmaster

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  12. #11
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    Jeeze, I can't believe anyone would take a pistol over a shotgun in a home invasion situation, espically with mutliple intruders. Then again, I'm not a gifted shot (espically at night with stress), I guess for someone who can shoot great, a pistol would seem pretty good.

    My main concern with a pistol would be stopping power - lots of people can live after being shot with a pistol round, but a 12g at close range is very deadly.

    Again, you wake up in the night and there three guys armed with knives and bats high or meth - you would really try to show off some speed shooting skills witha pistol round as they charge you or would you rather 7 rounds of 00

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array purple88yj's Avatar
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    The first thing I am grabbing is my .40 or .45 and a flashlight or cell phone if I am solo. I can move more efficiently with my handgun than I can with my shotgun. Once I am "in position", then I want my shotgun. My wife knows that when the bump happens that she is to head directly to the closet with her cell phone to retrieve the Winnie, meanwhile I will be positioned such as to be able to see directly down the hallway leading to the bedroom. Anything moving down that hallway has no means of cover or concealment, and would be eliminated well prior to making it to the kids room, which is literally feet away from the master.
    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out." British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    For me it is the Sig in the night stand for the first bump. If I hear more things I don't like that is the time for the Mossy. Unfortunately the layout of my house is tactically problematic. I have a ground floor master, with the boys rooms upstairs. If I am going to secure their rooms I pretty much have to clear the house.

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    If I am startled out of a sound sleep I go for my light mounted G-23. Likewise if I am in a variety of other rooms where I only have a pistol with me, that is what I'll use.

    If I have any chance to get to a weapon of choice, it is my Colt AR-15 Govt. Carbine with collapsable stock. I have three 30 rnd mags loaded with Hornady TAP Personal Defense .223 for the home. I have a total of about nine 30 rnd magazines already loaded but only three with the TAP rounds. I like the AR with a collapsable stock for all the reasons OPFOR outlined. I also have tritium iron sights on it as well.

    If I make it to my "safe room" from an ensconced position I will have three or more weapons; a pistol or two, the AR-15 and the 12 ga. Mossberg.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    I immedialy pick up the 9mm or .45 & the flashlight on the nightstand & grab the 870 leaning on the door jamb on my way out of the bedroom, as I clear the bedroom there is a long hall leading to the front door. I have 7 rounds of #4 buckshot to clear the hall & the pistol is still fully loaded. I have neighbors all around & would be more concerned about penetration with the pistols than the buckshot.
    I bought a used 20" barrell & a mag tube extension for my old Wingmaster for ~ $60 total. I'd rather be holding it than anything else I own if someone were to crash the party especially at night.
    Just the sound of an 870 cycling would scare the stuffings out of most people.

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