Thanks for the replies everyone. Part of the reason for asking these materials questions is to decipher the different options out there. I have been looking at semi-auto pistols from S&W, Sig, Springfield and FNH, but won't buy anything until I get a chance to shoot a variety of different options. There is a range near work that rents, but I can't go until I get the FOID.
Since some of you mentioned training, my girlfriend and I are signed up for the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course which happens in about 5 weeks. The instructor already contacted us and seems very nice.
cn262 mentioned having plans for home defense which sounds like a good idea and I will do some research on how to be safe when living with a family away from town. I am really looking forward to the chance to get a "real" dog again. I always felt safer when I had two dogs.
I have to disagree with the bolded statement. 00 buck is going to easily pass through drywall.
Originally Posted by archer51
I've seen tests comparing 00 buck, centerfire handgun and centerfire rifle (.223) penetration of drywall. The .223 was the least likely to overpenetrate. Those bullets are so light and going so fast that they start breaking up very quickly. 00 buck and centerfire handgun passed through multiple sheets of drywall. I can't remember if he was using hollowpoints, but I'd guess that a fast (i.e., +P) 115gr 9mm hollowpoint will pass through fewer sheets of drywall than 00 buck.
My HD gun is a good-old S&W Model 10. It is an ex police gun that I bought from Bud's online for a whopping $269.
It is simple, reliable, and very accurate. It is also the only gun my wife feels comfortable (and is competent) shooting.
I have some pretty decent guns that could be used for home defense (my Mossberg 590a1, Glock 19, and AK come to mind), but I keep coming back to the model 10.
This gun lives on my nightstand.