T Nation

Best Type of Gun To Buy?


What is the best type of gun to buy for home defense?
I have no kids, live alone, and have never fired nor handled a loaded weapon in my life.
any suggestions on types of weapons and training necessary, would be appreciated.


IMHO, a shotgun is the best firearm for in-home self defense. These are the reasons: First, the shot scatters, covering a large area, which in a low light situation increases your chance of hitting the target; Second, if you use bird shot as opposed to buckshot, there is less chance of excessive penetration of walls, reducing the chance that an innocent bystander will be hit; Third, a shotgun requires less investment in money, time and practice to become proficient compared to a handgun.

As far as training, the place you buy your weapon, whatever you chose, should be able to direct you to whatever training programs there are in oyur community, so long as it's not a pawn shop or something like that.

Hope this helps.




too big? okay...

plasma pistol.

too halo? okay...

one-eyed wonder weasel.

too figurative? eh...

in case you can't yet tell, i can't help you out here.


First, check with your local gun laws as I am not sure what New Jersey regulations are. Next, do you live in an apartment or house? You do not want a larger caliber hand gun for apartment defense as the slugs can easily pass through a couple apartments.

How often do you plan on practicing shooting? If the answer is seldom, then a handgun is probably not what you need. If you do decide on a handgun, I would probably lean towards a revolver such as a .357 (.357 can also shoot .38 special rounds which are cheaper for practice). With a revolver you can set it by your bed and pick it up and shoot all the rounds a 100 years later. With a semi-auto you will have to change the clips every 6 months to a year as they tend to loose their 'springyness'. A good choice for home defense is also a 12 guage, pump action shotgun. You do not have to be a good aim and the sound of the shell being chambered is very distinctive and can deter many a people, saving you the hassle of shooting them and dealing with lawerys, judges, cuddly cellmates etc.


Excellent post. I was about to post the exact same thing.


I like the latter in terms of advice. I'd personally use a Remington T11-87 with Small Load shells. Won't penetrate the walls, good spread so it'll help with accuracy, easy to load. The "T" stands for trap, so it helps in terms of finding places to train. The Automatic makes a pretty good loading sound and the pump action sounds silly. It's a tad pricey, but you can't ever go wrong with a remington. There are cheaper versions by different manufacturers that have similar guns, you can find shot-guns at your local walmart.


If your looking at a pump shotgun, I'd personally go with a Benelli Nova. Probably the most reliable, easy to use, 12 gauge shotgun with very little recoil. They list at around $400, but you can find them for close to $300.


A survey of inmates convicted of burglary was done a few years back. One of the questions was what was the most intimidating thing to them, and what made them leave a house prematurely. The sound of a large dog barking and the sound of a shotgun racking were the top answers, an alarm was one of the lowest.
For reasons mentioned above, a shotgun is great for home defense. Intimidation factor, easy use, accuracy (or no need of) and lack of penetration. Just keep in mind, with a shot spread, your stuff is gonna get torn up. Then again, maybe better torn up than stolen, maybe better your stuff hurt than you.
I also agree with the above posts, for home, a revolver is best. Concealment and size is not much of a factor. Consider hollow point rounds, more tissue damage, less penetration.
Also, remember that any gun is useless unless you know are trained. Perhaps the only thing more dangerous than a trained marksmen with a weapon is somebody with no training with a weapon. (Be careful or you'll hurt yourself)




The advice above is great - as pointed out, you can put 38 loads in a .357 revolver. Great bedside weapon, this is what my sweetie has. The reason you would want .38 loads is that the magnums will go through the asshole, through the walls, and kill the neighbors dog. Which might not be a bad idea, situation depending.

Revolvers are also inherently safe, despite what you see in the movies. No way to make them go off accidentally.


I agree with either a shotgun or revolver as well. Nothing will turn a crook around faster than the racking of a shotgun.
I also suggest that you practice shooting your weapon, you need to be familiar and comfortable with your new buddy.
One more thing that I don't think was mentioned...mentality. You need to be mentally prepared, you could be shooting to kill.


Get a used gun- Guns hold up to enormous beatings so as long as u have reasonable vision- you can find a good buy at a gun store

BUT- Definitely test and practice some with the gun- any gun can have slight kinks that need to be worked out. Find them at the range not in the foyer


A pistol-grip 12ga. shotgun is the answer. Most makers manufacture short barrel, pistol-grip shotguns. You can get them in either semi-auto or pump. They are easy to shoot and aren't so cumbersome as the full length guns. They also look badass.


Mossberg or remington pump shotgun, its a good intimidation factor and easy to use. But get a handgun for a back up, colt 45 or some kind of glock. I would buy used if I were you.


A Snakecharmer .410 is the perfect sized shotgun. It has a pistol grip, but not nearly as much kick as the .12 guage. Much easier to wield in a hurry.


tech nine with an extended clip

**my gun expertise comes from many hour's playing Rainbow 6 type games :-p




If you get a pump action shotgun you will need to practice working the action so you don't half pump it when you get your adrenaline flowing.

I have seen dudes fuck up duck hunting and not get off a second shot.

Guns are addictive. If you actually practice with the one you bought you will just want to get more.


If you have no previous firearms experience i suggest that you go to the nearest range/training facility near you and see if they offer intro classes on introduction to gun safety safety. The NRA has certified instructors through out the country. The other option is going to a training facility like Gunsite.

I have a remington 870 police magnum. I kept the barrel length at 18 1/2. For defensive loads i use Federal Powershok f127rs (rifled slugs). There are a few things that need to be cleared up first is you never, ever use a bird shot as a defensive round the pattern is way to large even at 15 yards.

WMD and deuce mentioned innocent bystanders gettin hit or rounds going threw walls. Deuce wrote: You do not have to be a good aim and the sound of the shell being chambered is very distinctive and can deter many a people. Mike, You shoot a shotgun like you shoot a rifle meaning sight alignment and good trigger control, none of the "pray and spray" stuff that is being said. You factor the proper fundamentals of proper gun safety,trigger control,sight alignment and lots and lots of rounds downrange the "what if scenario" wont happen. Mike if you need more help let me know.

 BTW deuce also wrote: With a semi-auto you will have to change the clips every 6 months to a year as they tend to loose their 'springyness'. Funny my Glock 21 "clips" magazines have been with me for 3 years and i havent had one

single malfunction.


The type of gun you want depends upon how much effort and time you are willing to put into learning to use it properly. I agree with a shotgun being a good weapon. It is easy to use and does have a intimidation factor. On the down side most are long and kick pretty good.

I would stay away from pistol grip only shotguns= the angle of the grip really put a hurt on your wrist if you shoot full loads, and are harder to hit with. A good stock will also allow you to butt stroke some one if needed. Stay with the major manufactures like Remington (my favorite) Mossberg, Winchester. I like the pumps (mainly because they are all I ever used). Try out different styles and makes and find the one you use best. Then sign up for training.

See if there is a NRA sponsored class nearby. Not only will the teach you how to shoot, but more importantly WHEN to shoot. I personally use a Glock Model 22= 40 caliber pistol. I an trained with this weapon (also shotgun and rifle). I carry it every day at work and qualify every 6 months.