Hideit brings up a good point. My g/f is has trouble racking the slide on my 92FS and G19 (both 9mm) and can barely, and I mean barely, rack the slide of my .40 and 357sig guns. So barely I don't trust her to do it while actually loading a round. Forget about the 45 all together.
You might want to try handling some and seeing if you have trouble even racking an autoloader (which will probably be a given during a class). I prefer autoloaders over revolvers, but they don't do you any good if you can't rack it.
Lisa, I'm at work so I may not remember these sources 100%. Please be tolerant.
First, your mental attitude... I second the recommendation of the cornered cat website, and it's by a female. Also, Armed and Female book, by Paxton Quigley. Also, try Massad Ayoob's book, In the Gravest Extreme, which deals with the psychological aspects of self defense and justified homicide. Both of these books are somewhat outdated now but both have tons of timeless info. This is not an easy topic to deal with and I encourae you to think through this very personal issue first.
Second, assuming you have the mental decision, then I would recommend the largest caliber handgun you can comfortably shoot and will practice with. You would be better off with a small caleber like a 22 that you will practice with regularly and therefore will become proficient than a larger caliber that you can not afford or stand to shhot.
Third, as to the sfety issue with your child, there are many ways to deal with it and mine may not work for you but if your son is a new born then he can't get to it anyway but this may not work when he is a todler and into everything. My only suggestion is to carefully think through how you would access the firearm in a critical situation when you only have seconds and are very stressed out, probably in the dark.
Just my .02. Good luck to you. It is always nice to welcome another female to our ranks. We appreciate the sacrifice your family is making for our country. Take care.
Last edited by Mike Barham; 05-19-2008 at 01:18 PM. Reason: fixed author names for easy web searching
1st off - Thank you for your family's sacrifice and congratulations.
2ndly (please note that this is only my opinion) - It sounds like that you want a gun RIGHT NOW, because you do not feel safe in your neighborhood.
As I will probably get yelled at/flamed for giving you this advice, go ahead and get a gun now.
If you went the training route, you might have to save up for the course(they can be upwards of 200$). you would have to wait to take the course, take the course, then figure out what kind of gun you want. After that, your state might have a waiting period.
So your looking at 3 weeks? a month? 2? - the whole time you are living in the same neighborhood.
If would be sad if something were to happen to you or your family while you waited to get yourself a gun because of our advice.
So, lets assume that, since you live in a rough neighborhood and all the money that should go to soldier's family's is being spent by our government on stupid crap, that money is an issue.
1. I would recommend an inexpensive revolver (used Smith and Wesson or Charter) or a cheap easy to use semi-automatic pistol (Hi-point 380 / Keltec pf9 or P3AT). If you can get to a gun show, get one there.
2. Go to a gun store and ask to buy a training DVD - basic self defense shooting / home defense
3. Go to Walmart and get an airsoft or a nerf (yes nerf) pistol - use it to practice aiming and any drills that are on the DVD. This way you won't be starting off with a gun.
When you feel more comfortable, use the gun.
3b. (in the same Walmart trip) AND get yourself a really bright Flashlight
4. Since you have a newborn, him picking up the gun and hurting himself is unlikely for at least a year. So I would not worry about it as much. If you want some security on the cheap, get a Kobalt toolbox(18.99 retail) from Lowe's or Walmart. Then lock it with a padlock with a key. Put the key on a necklace. Keep the key around your neck when you are in the house or apartment and when you sleep.
PRACTICE opening the toolbox in the dark. Runnning to the toolbox, etc... (opening/pulling out and aiming the gun - use the nerf gun for this)
Hope this helps,
Last edited by kenn; 05-19-2008 at 01:50 PM. Reason: got some tenses wrong - surreptitiously typing this at work
If you feel you are in danger now, and need a gun now, then get the gun. Get yourself a quality revolver (used or new, depending on your budget). Probably a Smith & Wesson or a Ruger.
If you go this route, get yourself to the range and talk to the range officer and see if he or she can give you some pointers. Practice with your gun. You need to know what to expect. You do not want to be finding out how much recoil the gun has and learning how to aim it for the first time when you're defending yourself.
Flashlight. Get one.
Here's where I disagree:
No Hi-Point. We want the gun to work. They're crap IMHO. Hell, we don't even have a Hi-Point forum here. That's got to tell you something. No Kel Tecs. I have a Kel Tec. Others here have Kel Tecs. Most will agree they are not range guns and are not that fun to shoot. Why? Your hand takes a beating because they are so light. We want you to practice with the gun, and practice properly, not flinch and develop bad habits because you're anticipating recoil. In fact, no auto. Autos have a higher learning curve. You need to practice more with them, more can go wrong with them, and they require more maintenance. If you haven't taken a class, don't go the auto route.
No gun show. Unless you've done your homework or go with someone who knows what a good deal is, the guys there are vultures! Go to a reputable gun shop and build a relationship with the people there. You'll also have a place to bring the gun to if there is ever a problem with it.
No Nerf. Get some snap caps (basically dummy rounds) from the gun shop, and practice with your actual gun.
Gun security. It's not just the newborn we're concerned about here. There will be family and friends that are in the house. We don't want anyone stumbling upon the gun. Additionally, I'm assuming you're not at the point of getting your concealed carry license, therefore you need a secure place to lock up the gun when you're not home. If budget is a concern and you can't get a dedicated little gun safe, then for the same cost as a tool box and a padlock, you can get a lock box with a keypad. This will eliminate the need to worry about carrying a key with you or fumbling with a key in a high stress situation, like burglary or home invasion.
I'm indifferent on the DVD, since there is some good stuff out there and there is not.
Welcome! It's REALLY great to see a woman who is realistic about crime/violence and is willing to take a step toward protecting herself and her family. The guys have given great advice. As for a safe, my sister got me this for Christmas:
It's large enough to house a couple handguns, magazines, a bit of ammo, and money. It comes with two keys for the lock, but the main lock is programmed with four buttons. There are countless variable ways to program the keycode, and it's got the cutouts so you could easily punch in your specified code in the dark. You can operate it with a battery (lasts about a year), or plug it in. You can also mount it (it comes with a drilling template).
Trigger locks are dangerous. I don't want ANYTHING touching the trigger unless it's my own finger, which is all I have control over.
As far as keeping the gun out of the hands of your son, consider applying for a CCW permit. That way you can have the gun concealed on you at all times, and the likelihood of your son sneaking off your own body is pretty slim. Not to mention, if you don't feel safe in your neighborhood, if and when you ever need a handgun for defensive, it might not be in the home.
Good luck with your search for the right handgun. Also consider a 20-gauge Remington 870 to keep at home if you think home invasion is a possibility.
as far as safes go - i found this at walmart... http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=7801927
i bolted it to the floor in my bedroom closet, however you can put it just about anywhere, even a dresser drawer. the code is 4 digits and easy to open if you practice. you can keep the gun loaded and ready in there and still keep your child safe.
Lisa, I agree with the information given. Something that works for me and you might think about. I have got a Concealed Carry Permit and Carry in my home. I have young Grandchildren in the home a lot. I keep all my guns locked in a safe except the one I am carrying. I might be in another room when an intruder kicks the door in and not have time to get to the safe and open it. I keep it within reach at night. A gun is of no use if you don't have it at the exact time you need it. Just some thoughts and the safety training comes first. You made the right decision to get education first.