With all the hysteria around possible gun control laws driving up the cost of semi-auto everything, and its associated ammunition, I thought I'd share a bit of advice for anyone just starting their self- and home-defense collection.
First, do not think you HAVE to have a semi-auto military-pattern sidearm or rifle in order to defend yourself. They are nice, but you can defend yourself very well with 19th century technology - at a fraction of the cost.
For your handgun options, do not overlook the revolver. Two of them will cover just about any realistic civilian scenario.
For your rifle, consider a lever gun - possibly in the same caliber as your revolver, or in the harder hitting .30-30. A lever gun hits hard, fires pretty darn quickly, and the magazine tube can be topped off on the fly. It's worked for well over 100 years - and it still does. It also lacks the social stigma attached to military-looking semi-auto rifles. In some areas, that matters.
And finally, a good shotgun is hard to beat. ANY shotgun will do, even a sporting shotgun. Do not think you must have an extended mag tube and other tactical goodies to defend your home. A standard pump action with a 4-shell tube is likely more than enough firepower for home defense - especially when backed up by your handgun(s). Even an old double barrel will do.
Think outside the box, and you can be well defended without getting ripped off. I hate seeing people get ripped off.