Saturday, March 08, 2008

Recommendations for Home Defense Weapons

I got pinged by a friend for recommendations for home/self defense firearms. He is about 5'7" and his wife is a petite 5'1" and both are slender. Neither are sport shooters and his shooting experience is mostly in the US Navy (22 year vet). Sent him the following message (photos removed)...

Got your message and I have some suggestions.

Previously, we talked about this and I suggested that this gun, the Bulgarian Makarov Pistolette (Pistol) was a good inexpensive alternative. You might remember it which is why I'm including a photo (deleted here).

It might still be a good choice price-wise but prices have gone up a lot. Given that your wife ought to be able to use whatever you have in a pinch and that it ought to be safe with everything at rest, I have another, albeit more-expensive-than you-might-have-expected, suggestion. The Ruger SP-101 in .357 Magnum.

The important points to remember are that you do NOT need to shoot .357 Magnum ammo in the revolver but can use ANY .38 Special ammunition. This is important for several reasons.

1. If you get a
concealed handgun permit this gun is small enough for you to carry and yet it has sufficient weight to make shooting .38 Special ammunition easy and controllable for your wife.

2. It can sit in whatever storage position (bedside table, small safe, etc,) loaded without any springs under tension and be instantly usable.

3. These guns have a wonderful reputation for reliability and accuracy, they are strong like little tanks.

4. Ammunition can be found anywhere and even the very mild target loads are
effective but if you guys get more competent you can move up in power to the
.357 Magnum barn burners without having to change guns.

5. The guns are easy to find and there is no premium tacked onto their price.

The model I'm talking about, KSP-331X, has a MSRP of $572 but you should be able to find it for less quite possibly for as little as $400-430.

As to shotguns, again, I'm thinking that your wife needs to be able to use it in a pinch. The standard thing is the Remington 870. You don't need anything fancy though and any good used 20 gauge pump shotgun will be both effective and light enough recoiling that your wife can use it. It will have the added advantage of not shooting out through the side of your house and hitting any of your nice neighbors. You will want to store it with the chamber empty, hammer released on the EMPTY chamber with ammo in the magazine. When you go to use it you simply operate the pump, point and shoot. For the Remington, you can get a "youth model" butt stock that will shorten the gun up to make it easier for your wife to shoot and you'll still be able to use it comfortably as well. In fact, Remington's 20 ga. youth model, order #25561, is about ideal for your use. You don't need all the tactical stuff the gun shop might try to sell you. Get 20 ga. #3 buckshot 2-3/4" shells.

I have a couple of other recommendations.

1. Tell NOBODY except the most trustworthy in your circle of friends what you're doing. Don't let them wander around and see your guns or where you store them. ESPECIALLY don't let their kids in on the "secret" as they WILL tell their friends and your home could then be targeted. Think, "loose lips sink ships."

2. Arrange for some remedial training for yourself and training for your wife. Take it separately at first. That way neither of you will be self conscious.

3. Learn the law in your state on use of lethal force (which should be part of your training above).

4. Have a plan. That is, pick a safe room, study the avenues of approach (how the bad guys would get there), and know where your bullets would go if you did have to shoot.

5. Have an alternative communication device (cell phone) as it is now common to cut the phone lines. Have a plan with the wife as to who calls the police and who covers the door, etc. Practice the plan.

Most importantly, and this might apply to your wife more than to you, but one needs to know that one can actually pull the trigger when/if put in that situation. Otherwise, having a gun might be a liability.

It is sad to say but the children of your friends must be suspect. I can't tell you how many people I know who were robbed or burglarized by people who learned of their particular valuables and the location of them through their children, children's friends or friends of friends. Kids talk without regard to consequences.
I should also have mentioned that one should read "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob. This book lays out all the considerations one must make before committing to armed self-defense in today's world. It is somewhat dated with regards to technology but the legal and moral considerations are still applicable. After all, the gun is only a tool.

I recently ran across this nifty size comparison for pocket pistols. It is a PDF file, so I recommend opening in another tab/window. Some neat info and graphic information!

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