Get them a MAC10 ...
My parents aren't a fan of guns. My dad did have a .22LR bolt-action, .410, and .32 Winchester special when he was my age and a bit younger and hunted squirrel and rabbit with them, but he gutted them when my sister was born...he didn't want accidents, which is understandable.
So here's the deal. My parents don't have any form or fashion of HD. While they live in a nice neighborhood, there have been several breakins around their subdivision lately, and I don't like the idea of them being unarmed if someone broke in while they were home. While my dad would fight someone off, my mom would be completely defenseless, and the thought of my parents being subjected to violence without protection terrifies me. They respect my right and reason to carry a concealed handgun, but have no interest in one for themselves. I even asked Dad a couple of months ago if they had any kind of firearm in the house, and his answer was no. Both of my parents expressed that they don't feel the need to arm themselves, and I personally think it's a bit irrational to not have a means of defense, even if it never has to be used. Being that my mom is retiring this year, she'll be at home a lot. I don't want someone invading our house and her being defenseless and alone.
I'm thinking the best way to go about it would be to buy them a handgun. That way, they don't have to go purchase one, they only have to know how to safely handle it, and use it if ever necessary. And they won't have a receipt (I'll have the receipt) to go get a refund at the store.
If I do follow this route, what do you think I should get them? Teaching my mom to use an autoloader probably wouldn't work. Not that she's incapable of learning, but her devotion to learning how to handle/use something she's not a fan of isn't that great. The best gun for my parents would be one that both can use, and both could pull out of a drawer and pull the trigger. I'm thinking a revolver in .38 special. A .357 mag would be too much for my mom to handle if Godforbid, she ever needed to use it. I'm open to other suggestions though about the way to go about the whole deal, and also on firearm selection.
Shotguns are the best home defense guns IMO.
Your parents are adults, and old enough to make their own choices in life, even if you disagree with those choices. They respect your desire to own and carry a gun. Accord the same respect to their desire not to.
Not everyone should have a gun. Anyone insufficiently motivated to go get their own gun won't bother to train, anyway, and the gun will probably be more of a danger than a help.
Having said that, I think either a .38 revolver or a 20-gauge pump would be good home defense weapons. A 12 would be better if you go the shotgun route because they'd then have more options other than shotshells (slugs, sabots, rubber, beanbags, etc) which could save some repairs to the decor, but a 20 would be more easily handled by a novice, and everyone knows how a pump-action works. If it's still too much your mom can back it against a door jamb facing down the hall or towards the front door. A .38 is totally adequate as well, but a revolver is going to produce a lot of muzzle flip so the perceived recoil, especially in a snubby, is going to be significant.
I'd recommend a Ruger .357 like the GP101, between 3 and 4" barrel, and just load .38s in it. This'll be a heavier gun than a S&W or Rossi snubby, so there'll be less recoil, and you have both the simplicity of a revolver and the ability to trade up on shot power if it turns out your mom is made of sterner stuff than you think
Thanks for the replies. It's something to think about.
If they don't want a gun, don't get them a gun. Odds are it's just to sit there collecting dust.
My first question to people who ask me personally about what gun to get for home or self defense is "Are you mentally prepared to use the gun against another person? If you had to, in defense of yourself or family, honestly, could you kill someone?" If they aren't mentally prepared to use the gun, what's the point of having one? Sure, they could pull the gun and potentially scare someone away, but there is also the potential that the BG will call their bluff and end up with a gun. IMO, your parents aren't at all prepared to use a gun against someone, and until they are, are probably better off not having one. It's probably best just to get them a baseball bat or a Mastiff.
That's a very good point. If you had asked me that question, the answer would be, "If someone breaks into my home and threatens the lives of me and my loved ones, they won't live to tell about it." That doesn't imply that I'll go hunting someone down in my house...like I've said before, I'll take my sniper's perch at the top of the steps, and if they come up those steps, they're finished. They can have whatever they want from downstairs, but coming upstairs endangers lives, and I won't give them the chance to harm myself or any others.
If my parents were asked that question, you would probably get different answers from my mom and from my dad. However, if they were put in the situation, their actions would speak louder than words, and I doubt they would give the same answer now as they would if they were in the situation where it was their lives, or the perp's.
FHF: Remember your parents are likely very set in their ways and unlikely to change in this regard without a change in their perception of the likelihood of a home invasion. That's the discussion. Of course my replies are influenced by my experience with my parents on other issues and my own wife (who won't allow any firearms in the house). :-(
You absolutely know that your way is right. Well, so do they, and only they have the absolute right to make that decision for themselves. Any other way is tyranny.
Buying them a gun won't change the way they think, and won't make them use it either. We all die, someday. Them, too. And if they die as the result of their own poor decision, so be it. That's their choice.
Don't force your ideas on them. All you'll do is alienate them, make them angry, and make them dig their heels in even harder.
The truth hurts sometimes...maybe if the next-door neighbor got bludgeoned to death by an invader, they'd open their eyes. Well, as far as I'm concerned, I choose to defend myself. I guess in the end that's what matters.
If your parents respect your choice to own and carry, I would say thank them for that by respecting their choice to not own and carry. Not everyone wants a gun, even those who once had them. Leave it be. If you can talk them into a taser, great. But do not buy them anything they do not want to own. Even if you buy them a gun, they probably will never use it, even when they have to. They have their reasons for not wanting one like you have your reasons for wanting one. Respect that and let them defend themselves as they feel comfortable.
I could see where it could be more of a danger than help. I'd hate to think either of my parents would point it at someone, then back out and drop it on the floor, or let the BG take it from them.
I guess I should talk to them about their personal safety, and not mention any kind of weapon. Just stress to them that as they're retiring and will be traveleing more, as well as losing physical ability to fight a BG off by hand, will contribute to them having a higher chance of an attack. They tend to take the "it'll never happen to me" philosophy, whereas I take the "even if it'll never happen to me, I'll be ready for it if it does" thinking. There's nothing wrong with either, just differing opinions.
Why not see if they want to get a dog? IMO, a dog is the the best derrent to most burglars. Again, similar to the gun, I wouldn't just buy them a dog, but maybe talk to them about considering getting a dog as some sort of HD. And of course they make great pets too
If you want to buy them something make it an alarm system as they indicated they don't want a firearm and if you try to force it on them I can almost guarantee that will go badly.
My parents have two labs. While they're completely unferocious, they'll let them know if someone's outside, which is usually enough to deter a home invader as they know someone inside is awake, alert, and suspecting something's not right. Granted, they bark at everything that moves, but one time I was sculking around outside after working on my car, Dundee (yellow lab) comes around the corner and sees my rear end sneaking around a corner and went completely bezerk. The bark didn't say, "Hey, someone pulled into the driveway." It said, "Guys, get your behinds out here, there's some Asian that thinks he's a ninja sneaking around the yard, call the cops!!!" Dumb dog...he still kept barking at me after I showed myself and petted him. I'm sure he glad he doesn't have a gun!