Get a shotgun for now, and put your valuables and gun in a safe when away from home.
Gun Safe Buyers' Guide
Best investment you'll ever make.
This is a discussion on put in a really uncomfortable situation..... within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Get a shotgun for now, and put your valuables and gun in a safe when away from home. Gun Safe Buyers' Guide Best investment you'll ...
Get a shotgun for now, and put your valuables and gun in a safe when away from home.
Gun Safe Buyers' Guide
Best investment you'll ever make.
"Give this to, uh, Clemenza. I want reliable people, people who aren't going to be carried away. After all we're not murderers in spite of what this undertaker thinks."
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
Here are some things it took me a lot of reading and sorting through information to figure out. If there's anything you have a specific question on, I'm here to help and of course everyone else here is too.
If shopping for a handgun (I have zip expeience with shotguns or rifles)
The first big question is, revolver or semi-automatic pistol?
1. Do you have issues with weakness?
For the revolver, the big question to answer is, can you comfortably, reliably pull the trigger. If the trigger is difficult, a gunsmith or the manufacturer can perform some polishing and other things to reduce the resistance by up to 20%. If this works for you, terrific. If not, a pistol will (generally speaking) have a lower trigger pull weight and may be for you.
For the pistol, can you "rack the slide" or pull the top portion "slide" back. This action will pull the first bullet from the magazine and put it into the chamber, or chamber a round. If you have difficulty racking the slide with one pistol, it may not be a probelm with another. If it is a problem with all pistols, a revolver is for you.
2. Are you getting this gun as a "something to have in the house" aka hunk of metal to be grabbed when.... or are you getting this gun for concealed carry?
If it's to have in the house and won't travel with you, you will be freer to decide on a larger size, possibly larger capacity model. If you are planning to carry it with you daily, chances are smallness of size will be one of your bigger deciding priorities.
Some folks I've read said it best. 1. Buy the biggest (caliber) gun you can handle. 2. If you aren't carrying it when you need it (because it was too big to wear comfortably/conceal reliably), you're going to wish you bought a smaller gun.
There are several (!) threads here and elsewhere on the internet about caliber. There are a LOT of thoughts and disputes on what caliber is best, however these things appear to be fairly univerally accepted:
1. .22LR is an excellent caliber for inexpensive target shooting, for learning and getting familiar with operation and takedown of guns etc., and quite perfect for "plinking" (shooting noisemaking targets for fun) or for small-game hunting (less mess, easier targeting). What a .22LR is Not considered good for: self defense.
2. .380 -- this is a caliber that is hotly debated. Some folks swear against carrying it for self defense. Others just adore it for that purpose. Whatever your own personal choice, there is definitely a market out there for ultra-concealable, very-small, smaller than palm-size .380 semi-automatic pistols. I have never handled one, however it seems these days every visit to the range I see at least one, if not more than one, young-to-mid-age, solo male shooter happily shooting his .380 at the range. Don't know if they are using it for carry or just target shooting, but I've read plenty about folks using the Taurus LCP as a back-up gun (BUG) or as their every-day carry (EDC). Bullets for these are scarce and therefore expensive, but if you are getting one for carry (not target shooting), you won't have a big ammunition expense, you can carry the same 50 bullets with you everywhere for a decade if you wish*.
3. .38 special all the way up to .45 ACP or GAP -- the range it seems most folks will recommend you purchase your gun caliber in.
4. .50 caliber or above -- appears (to a newbie like me) that you would have a) a VERY hard time handling the recoil with a caliber this big b) a VERY hard time explaining to an officer or jury why you needed such a humongous caliber for self defense and c) a VERY hard time ensuring that your self defense (SD) bullet actuall stops in the thing you targeted, instead of travelling through it and on through walls, cars, and other people on the other side of your target. This is an issue with all calibers, but once you get to the highest calibers it appears that all reason turns into the utterly ridiculous. Like killing a fly with a hammer.
* no matter what gun you buy, "carry" or "home defense" - the recommendation I keep reading everywhere is that you run at least 300 rounds through with the ammunition you plan to actually use as self-defense ammunition, to make sure that the gun and ammunition like eachother and are a realiable team, and that you plan to practice shooting this gun/ammo combination at the absolute rock bottom least, once every 6 months. So you would, actually, have expenses related to ammunition, but not as large as you would if you found yourself shooting monthly or weekly or even more often. If you think you are going to get into shooting as a sport, think very hard about caliber choice as ammunition expenses mount rapidly.
Many folk, both people here online and in person like salesmen at the store, will probably guide you towards purchasing a revolver. There are certain truths about the revolver that make it very appealing for someone who both has no real experience with a gun and plans to do very little in the way of educating themselves about guns. They have very few moving parts, if a bullet fails to fire the only thing you need to is pull the trigger again to get to the next bullet, they tend to like whatever ammunition you give it (less finicky), and apparently they continue to work even when quite dirty, should you choose not to clean it. Everyone, keep me honest.
If, like me, you are intending to educate yourself about guns, how they work, intend to actually clean your piece as instructed by the manufacturer, and you anticipate actually training with your gun, both at first to become competent and then at regular intervals to maintain competency, you may find yourself making a choice similar to mine: going for the semi-automatic. It is true, it's a more complicated machine to operate, but not by all that much. It's true, there is something to field-stripping and cleaning it. But, not so complicated that it can't be learned in a single session. And while it's true that given a malfunction, there are more steps required to clear the malfunction and keep shooting, again I find that the complexity is not so great that even a beginning woman can't handle it. Depending on which pistol you choose, the added capacity you can get with a semi-automatic may far outweigh any of the learning curve arguments against one.
That said, the most concealable pistols are single-stack, meaning only one "column" of bullets in the magazine in the grip, making the grip smaller and therefore the gun more concealable. Single-stack magazine pistols, for the most part, still have a capacity benefit over a revolver (most snub-nose revolvers like the Taurus 850 or the Smith & Wesson J-Frame series including the 642 Airweight can hold only 5 bullets). Larger frame revolvers generally speaking carry only 6 bullets. Many single stacks hold 5+1 (meaning 5 in the magazine, 1 in the chamber), 7+1, or 9+1. Double-stack magazine pistols tend to hold 10 rounds or more, depending on the size of the frame on the gun.
Anyway, depending on your needs (carry, home defense, concealability, capacity, ease-of-use, reliability, initial cost, resell value, other) your ideal first gun could look like just about anything. Figuring out what you need first is the best way to hone in on what family of guns you are interested in.
PS Personal learnings on ammunition: I bought a .40 S&W caliber pistol. I love it. At the range, my ammunition is perhaps 15-20% more expensive than it would be if I had chosen a 9mm handgun. .38 special ammunition, which is would I would be b uying if I went for the revolver I was looking at, is also cheaper than .40 S&W, appears to be about similar to 9mm.
I have not priced .380 ammunition mostly for the reason that no one near me ever has any. I have overheard conversations regarding .380 ammunition in 3 different places and all of those speakers agreed that the manufacturers are simply not making it according to a regular schedule. Apparently, the same machine that makes .380 also makes another hot selling caliber that has a 250% (or greater) return on investment, and it takes about 6 takes on each end to change over the machines to make .380. So, none of them like to change over the machine because that means they are losing something like $6 million a day not manufacturing that other caliber. Overheard at the outdoor range a few days ago, one of the range masters was bragging on the great price he gets on .380 ammo. 3 shooters within hearing of him asked him how. He said he calls his dealer every night at 7pm or else the next morning before 7 am. When the dealer gets the .380 in, he's always first in line. Apparently, that dealer only gets a few boxes at a time and this range master snaps it all up, every time. So.... in my neck of the woods, a .380 caliber gun would be a serious commitment to hunt down ammunition if I ever plan to shoot it.
.357 Sig - I liked everything I heard about this caliber except the availability. It costs about the same as the .40 S&W, has an excellent history of stats on stopping power, but if you're looking for something stronger than 9mm it seems the younger/fewer stats .40 S&W is the one to go with because you can actually find it. .40 S&W tends to have more recoil than 9mm and for that reason some don't like it. I happen not to have a problem with it.
People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.
- Abraham Lincoln
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
- Winston Churchill
Get a shotgun immediately and learn how to use it. It is cheap, easy to find, easy to operate and very effective. Its also the safer choice around kids.
I like the "keep your valuables away from home" idea mentioned by Retsupt99.
I would also think about a restraining order against this guy "just in case". That way you have documented your wishes that he not be near your home and children. It will help you just in case something did happen and you had to use deadly force.
Training . . . . get some self-defense training as soon as possible. Many places will supply you with a handgun or a choice between several handguns. Try out as many as they will allow you to try and that will help you find one that you will actually use if and when it is needed.
“I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.”
- Barack Obama Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004
I have thought of one thing no one has mentioned. And it's an important one for young couples with 3 kids who undoubtedly live paycheck to paycheck. I know I do.
You need to budget your money. A lot of people are throwing out suggestions as if money isn't an issue. Heck, I'm even guilty of this.
So, along with your research and setting priorities, be aware of the cost. It takes time to amass what many feel to be an adequate level of security so you have to prioritize where your cash goes and understand you won't be able to have everything at once.
Like I have said before, for many of us it's a complete lifestyle change and an ongoing endeavor. For my wife and I, we have personally sacrificed going on many a vacations just to upgrade and add to our level of security in our lives.
Don't over do it and don't over extend yourself financially. You have 3 kids who no doubt absorb a bulk of your family income. As it should be. So don't go crazy and neglect important family obligations.
"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."
Remember that you can harden your house and get a shotgun for the home protection. But at some point you will have to leave. While waiting for a permit and obtaining a handgun get yourself and have your husband get some pepper spray and hand to hand training. Your family is a target as well especially your husband, there are other ways to you besides the home. my 0.2
HK P2000 .40SW
Para Ord Tac 4 .45acp
XD 9 Service
XD 9 SC
Taurus 651 .357 mag
I am curious if anyone has gotten a brinks home security system or whatever company? And how much it costs a month approximately? I am thinking about rearranging the home to make it safer as well....right now my bedroom is on the first floor, and the kids are also on the first floor, my ex's room and my husband room for him to sleep in during the day are on the second....i am thinking i should switch them...so if someone wants to access the kids and myself, they would have to make it up the steps first.......
Tanya, you've been given some very good advice, and even reached a conclusion or two on your own.
This is smart thinking. If you can,learn to look at your home with an eye towards trying to be the intruder. While people are throwing out suggestions I will just second reading Massad Ayoob and Cornered Cat. Both of them know their stuff, and are experts in their respective fields.i am thinking i should switch them...so if someone wants to access the kids and myself, they would have to make it up the steps first.......
Another book by Mas that you should consider is, "The Truth About Self Protection". I'm sure you will find it eye opening. Good luck in your quest for safety. Having seen evil face to face on a daily basis and dealing with master manipulators I can empathize with you, sympathize, not so much.
Before you introduce firearms to the equation I would definately seek training in usage and the local law. Mas' book, "In The Gravest Extreme" will help with the law part and will give you a solid foundation to build from. Also, when you go to the grocery Store spend some time in the Magazine Aisle reading "Combat Handguns" as Mas has a column in there titled "Self Defense and the Law". You may find that beneficial.
In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I, as well as many people here on this forum are LFI grads.
Tanya, wow sorry to hear about the accident and the disability. Sometimes things like that really change your whole outlook on life, showing us just how precious and fragile life can be.
The idea of moving the bedroom upstairs is a great idea and like Biker RN says thinking like an intruder is a great way to evaluate your security at home.
Good lighting is another thing to think of, keep the house lit up well at night, and get rid of any tall bushes near doors and windows where an attacker might hide. Thinking one step ahead of the BG is all part of self awareness, try to always practice it.
There are a lot of little things you can do to stay safe, when you are out and about always keep an eye of things around you. Watch where you park when you're running errands, look for well lighted areas close to the door but away from vans, keep your car doors locked always and look around the parking lot for potential trouble before you get out. Sometimes just paying more attention to what is going on around you can keep you out of a potential bad situation.
Home security systems aren't as good as the commercials make them seem. By the time the monitoring company calls you, then calls the police and they are able to respond, it could be too late. Keep a cell phone with you at all times and use it if you need to. You can buy inexpensive home alarm components, door sensors and install them yourself for an audible warning if a door is opened without the expense of having them monitored. The audible squeal might be enough to scare an intruder away, plus a warning for you that a door has been opened. Be sure to have a plan in place of what to do if somebody does get in uninvited, set up a "safe-room" with a lock on the door and make sure you can get everyone into that room quickly. With young children it might be hard to teach them what to do. It might be best to use the kids room as the safe room, you could probably reach it faster than getting the three of them into one room. If you have a door at the bottom of the stairs putting a lock on it would be a good idea, one more barrier for an intruder to get through always buys you more time.
Again keep that cell phone handy at all times along with a good bright flashlight. If you do end up getting a shotgun for home defense consider a flashlight mounted on the barrel as well, for two reasons, the safety of being able to identify what the gun is pointed at, as well as blinding the attacker.
Stick with us and I'm sure you'll get even more good info, browse through some of the threads for more security tips there are a lot of them.
Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.
Lots of good advice. I'm gonna try not to repeat all of the good points.
One thing I don't remember reading about was if you've talked to your kids about your ex. I believe I read that they are very fond of him, and that is not exactly the best thing. Keep in mind that kids aren't aware of what's going on, and even if they are, they cannot grasp the entire concept. You really should talk with them about your ex, and how he's not a good guy and he's not allowed in here. The last thing you need is for him to show up while you're in the bathroom or elsewhere and the kids to let him in.
Also, think about the kids school. Do they know your ex? Was he at one time allowed to pick the kids up? You want to make sure that he cannot have access to them on the way to school (and back), and while at school. The last thing you need is for them to be walking home from the bus stop and have him offer them a ride. (He's not a stranger to them, he's their "friend.")
People have mentioned "safe rooms", and they're a great idea. A place where you can lock yourself in, have a way to defend yourself, and call for help. I would have 2 (one up stairs, one down stairs) and teach your kids where they are. I would have an "emergency word", so that if they hear it, they instantly run to the closest safe room. Make a game of it if you have to. Randomly call it out and see if and/or how fast they respond. Just don't make it a "boy who cried wolf" situation. You don't want them to think you're just playing if the time ever arises.
Another tip I've read is to have a password so they know it's safe to open the door. In the event your kids make it in the safe room and you do not, you don't want any bad guy to threaten to harm you in order to coerce them to open the door. 1 word so they know to run and hide, and another word to let them know it's safe to come out. Just be sure you're not completely scaring your kids, so they grow up to be paranoid about every little thing. You want them to be confident and prepared.
And don't let your guard down for 2 reasons.
1) He's not the only person you should be concerned about. Home invasions seem to be on the rise across the country. Rich neighborhoods as well as lower income housing. You shouldn't live in a state of paranoia, but you should always be aware of your surroundings and prepared.
2) You don't know when your ex and his girlfriend might get really strapped for cash. It might be 6 months from now, and he might think he knows of an "easy score". Also, what if she dumps him? He might be distracted by his new girlfriend for now, but if she leaves the picture, he might turn his attention to "winning you back".
I'm sure this is an emotional time, but just put yourself in your kids shoes, and make sure they get a decent understanding of what's happening and what to do.
Some of the people on here are against home security systems for whatever reason. I think it is mainly for the delay that the security system would have between the alarm going off and officers arriving. It may also lead you into having a false sense of security. That being said. Before I deployed last time I made sure I got an alarm system for my house and got a pistol. As some have said that first pistol is no longer around, but the alarm system is. The one we have has the tone that sounds when the doors or windows are opened and when armed immediately sounds the high pitched alarm. My wife and I both know that that alarm will not magic up the police and use it as a call to the highest alert/a call to arms. I like the Alarm system. If I wasnt in the military and didnt have to worry if the next house I lived in would allow dogs (mine currently doesnt) we would have a dog as well. This deployment I put up motion lights around the exterior of the house. Let me tell you those things are great. As has been said your children are a huge part of your new safety plan. My kids are older so when I got on my safety kick they thought I had lost my mind, but once I showed them some videos and articles (you having younger children could just make safety a fun activity and stress the importance later) they have taken responsibility as well. I wish you luck. This site has taught me alot since I have joined and I hope it helps you.
On alarm systems, I think they're a great tool to have. Like anything else, you shouldn't rely on just 1 tool. Some/most can be set to beep when doors open. That's great with kids so you can tell if they're sneaking out to play in the yard. Also lets you know if someone opens the door when they shouldn't.
There's a few good reasons to have one.
1)Deterrence. Have a sign in the windows that says it's there. I think a good number of BG's will just go to the next house that doesn't have one.
2)When no one is home. Alarm sounds, BG's run. Even if they take something as they leave, I don't think they're going to stick around, regardless of how long it takes for the police to come.
3)Smoke/heat detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Most systems should come with a few. These are great, especially when no one is home.
They're a tool, but not the end-all-be-all. Don't depend on them to save your life, but they can be useful.