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  1. #1
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    What to pick for home protection?

    Long story short, I was recently attacked and held at knifepoint in my own home before I managed to get away... Unfortunately, the police have advised me that there isn't much, if anything they can do for me.

    So, I need to up my home security. Obviously, I'll be getting a home security system (probably brinks), and secondly, I'd like a handgun.

    I have very little experience, and I'm just not sure what to pick. I want something that will keep someone down if I fire it on them, but not something I can't handle.

    I'm told a revolver is the best way to go, as they're more reliable that an auto., but I did a tid bit of reading and some things say that over the past few years automatics have caught up to the reliability of revolvers, making the need for a revolver more or less obsolete, is this true? Are there any questions I'm not asking that I should be? What is your guys' thoughts on the matter?

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  3. #2
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
    BeefyBeefo is offline Senior Member
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    First, welcome to the forum, and I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    I have very little experience, and I'm just not sure what to pick. I want something that will keep someone down if I fire it on them, but not something I can't handle.

    I'm told a revolver is the best way to go, as they're more reliable that an auto., but I did a tid bit of reading and some things say that over the past few years automatics have caught up to the reliability of revolvers, making the need for a revolver more or less obsolete, is this true? Are there any questions I'm not asking that I should be? What is your guys' thoughts on the matter?
    The whole "myth" about revolvers being more reliable used to be true many years ago. This is not the case anymore with most modern semi-autos made by the major manufacturers. Having said that, the ultimate home defense weapon is a shotgun. So, unless you're going to get a CCW permit and have the handgun on you at all times, I think your best answer is to purchase a shotgun. These are easier to shoot and much more effective. Just my .02

    -Jeff-

  4. #3
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Automatics are only as unreliable as the shooters skill for the most part. If you use good quality ammo, and become proficient, skill wise, auto's don't fail as much as one would think.

    I'd second the idea of a shotgun. Pistols take quite a bit of practice to handle under duress. But, it never hurts to start learning, that's for sure.

    Zhur

  5. #4
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    what's a ccw license and how do i get it?

    and why a shotgun for home protection? i thought they had shallow penetration (correct phrase?)

  6. #5
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    what's a ccw license and how do i get it?
    It's a concealed carry license and it varies by state. What state do you live in?

    -Jeff-

  7. #6
    Blackmagic14 is offline Junior Member
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    remington 870 shottie, best HD weapon around IMHO

  8. #7
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Revolvers are simpler to load and operate than semiautos, and are often the best choice for new shooters (especially those who aren't dedicated shooters) for that reason. My Glock pistols are easily as reliable as any revolver I've ever owned, so I wouldn't choose based on that.

    I'll dissent with friend BeefyBeefo a bit on the shotgun being the best gun for home defense. There are many HD situations where a two-hand gun is awkward or difficult to use. Holding a housebreaker at gunpoint while calling police is much easier with a handgun than a shotgun. Moving through the house to investigate a suspicious noise (versus an all-out home invasion) is much easier with handgun, because one hand is free to operate doors, lights, etc. Answering a knock at the door is done much more discreetly with handgun than a shotgun.

    A shotgun is a very good weapon when used from a fixed position, as in when behind your bed and covering the bedroom door, but not as good once you have to move around. This is doubly true for folks not trained in weapon retention techniques, which is 99.99% of gun owners.

    There is certainly no arguing with the power of a shotgun loaded with buckshot, but the shotgun brings disadvantages not fully balanced by the awkwardness of its use in many HD scenarios. Home defense isn't just about shooting. In fact, most HD scenarios end without a shot being fired.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 11-07-2008 at 04:09 PM.
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  9. #8
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    I live in IL.

  10. #9
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    I live in IL.
    No concealed carry licenses in Illinois (which is part of the reason I just recently moved out of the state). Maybe it's time to move.

    www.handgunlaw.us might be a good website for you to browse around about gun laws in the states.

    -Jeff-

    Where in the state do you live? Do you have any gun ranges/shops in the area?

  11. #10
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    Felix, sorry to hear what happend to you. Good thing you were able to make it away in one piece. Be aware that you'll be getting a lot of opinions thrown your way as far as what's better for HD (Home Defense), but I think everyone will agree that ultimately it lies on what you can handle and what you're comfortable with. Which means that you should probably locate your nearest range that rents a variety of guns (hand guns and shotguns) and then give them all a try.

    Now, if you feel that you're still in danger of being assaulted again and you have the need to make your purchase ASAP, I would suggest a Remington 870. If the Remy is out of your price range, then go for a Mossberg 500 and when able, supplement the shotty with a handgun that feels comfortable to you. Being an XD owner, I'd point you in that direction.

    By the way, my preference for an HD weapon would be a handgun for the reasons Mr. Barham describes in his post.

  12. #11
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeefyBeefo View Post
    No concealed carry licenses in Illinois (which is part of the reason I just recently moved out of the state). Maybe it's time to move.

    www.handgunlaw.us might be a good website for you to browse around about gun laws in the states.

    -Jeff-

    Where in the state do you live? Do you have any gun ranges/shops in the area?
    especially when you consider it was the police who told me that there is enough evidence to possibly get a conviction out of my case, but the court and field are so busy with "bigger" cases that my situation wouldn't be granted the time needed to lock in the conviction. Seems like a pretty bad state to not let someone carry a gun, making us more or less sitting ducks to violent criminals who have no regard for such laws or permits.

    For my next question, can't you get hollow points for a glock 9mm? how do those perform?

  13. #12
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Mike Barham is right as usual. I guess I will change my original wording to say that, "in a situation when a shotgun can be used, a shotgun would be more effective than a handgun". In general a handgun is better considering it can be used in many more types of situations than a shotgun. I guess my point was, if you aren't going to carry the gun on your person in your house, than in most cases I would think a shotgun would be the better choice. If you have the time to go retrieve a handgun, than you'd also have time to go retrieve a shotgun. Is that better, Mike?

    -Jeff-

    P.S. - The best idea would be to have both.

  14. #13
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeefyBeefo View Post
    P.S. - The best idea would be to have both.
    Now you're talking!

  15. #14
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    those are good points from both sides (handgun:shotgun), and I understand, but I still don't understand why the shotgun is the "best" (ignoring mobility). I thought they had a lousy penetration, which is why they're used for birds?

  16. #15
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    especially when you consider it was the police who told me that there is enough evidence to possibly get a conviction out of my case, but the court and field are so busy with "bigger" cases that my situation wouldn't be granted the time needed to lock in the conviction. Seems like a pretty bad state to not let someone carry a gun, making us more or less sitting ducks to violent criminals who have no regard for such laws or permits.
    Hence my reasoning for moving out of the state. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states that do not issue CCW permits to its residents. Although some other states make it almost impossible to get one, most states are "shall-issue" meaning you can get one as long as you have no felony convictions, etc. Check out that website for information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Felix
    For my next question, can't you get hollow points for a glock 9mm? how do those perform?
    Hollow-point ammunition can be had for really any gun/caliber, and they are ideal for self-defense. Look around the forum there is a lot of information regarding ammunition. Also, I think normal citizens can still purchase hollow-point ammunition, but that's another Illinois has tried to ban several times I believe. Once again, time to move...

    -Jeff-

    ETA:
    Quote Originally Posted by Felix
    those are good points from both sides (handgun:shotgun), and I understand, but I still don't understand why the shotgun is the "best" (ignoring mobility). I thought they had a lousy penetration, which is why they're used for birds?
    There are certain loads that are extremely effective for self-defense. In particular, I think 00 buck is common, although there are others around here that have much more knowledge about that than I do.
    Last edited by BeefyBeefo; 11-07-2008 at 04:29 PM.

  17. #16
    f00lish1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    For my next question, can't you get hollow points for a glock 9mm? how do those perform?
    You can. I went with Federal Personal Defense Hydra-Shoks based on a lot of good reviews.

    A word of advice, to get more info for your questions, you can use the search feature at the top of the page. There are plenty of threads here that have addressed a lot of "newbie" questions already.

  18. #17
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Having both would be idea, especially since a good shotty can be had for relatively cheap.

    I guess my point is/was, that clearing a home, or investigating any sound that is proceeded by breaking glass is probably not a good idea no matter your skill level. Mike has pointed out the senario before of having to "retrieve" a young child or other family member, and that's probably the only exception. A fixed position (off center) with cell phone and gun trained on the door is probably the best place to be. You control the environment. For most beginners, guns are going to be a two hand affair either way, and the likelyhood that a bad guy is simply going to obey your commands is probably low. Once they see you are armed, they are probably going to bolt faster than someone with the Taco Bell squirts. The need to hold them at gun point is going to be small. The alternative, the unfortunate for everyone alternative, is that they don't retreat, and it's rare that someone will need to be held at gunpoint with 2 or 3 00bucks in and around their general area. That being said, you could tell us more of your situation, it might help narrow the scope of the conversation.

    Zhur

  19. #18
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    those are good points from both sides (handgun:shotgun), and I understand, but I still don't understand why the shotgun is the "best" (ignoring mobility). I thought they had a lousy penetration, which is why they're used for birds?
    Defensive shot gun loads ie. 00 Buck, are basically 8 or 9 30 caliber projectiles coming out at around 1200fps. That's like shooting 8 or 9 times at a relatively small area with one pull of the trigger. That is why they are devastating. Bird shot is about as big as a BB at most, 30 caliber is bigger than a pencil eraser, for comparison.

    Zhur

  20. #19
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    well, my situation is unlike most others. This wasn't your basic break-in. I've crossed paths with a maniac who tried to lunge a knife in my gut (i managed to fight him off/disconnect our lock (my hands on his wrist)), and in the midst of our encounter with the police, he promised to have me killed or disfigured. I'm currently in hiding until I can afford proper protection and have a solid plan for when he quite possibly comes after me again... thank you CPD. Anyways, my point is that if I hear a noise or breaking glass, chances are, in my situation, that it's someone looking for ME, and not my possessions.

    I think what I'll likely do is get the shotgun and a 9mm with some hollow points and safety training, as well as a solid home security system and a bulldog and some sort of safety network comprised of friends, family, and what ever police force I can get on my side. Any of suggestions or words of wisdom?

  21. #20
    Felix is offline Junior Member
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    For getting comforitable with my weapons, is there any reason I shouldn't choose more affordable ammo (and obviously keep the good stuff in my lock box).

    Will it feel the same when firing some nice hollow points or 00bucks compared to some crappy range rounds?

  22. #21
    Ptarmigan is offline Member
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    First, sorry to hear about what the incident you were involved in.

    Second, is a handgun even an option? You mentioned CPD. If you are in Chicago, I am pretty sure you can't legally own a handgun. In that case, the shotgun is the way to go.

    If the handgun is an option, I always recommend a nice full sized revolver for new shooters. They are very easy to keep ready for home defense. I like any of the Smith & Wesson K frames, and something like a model 10, which is .38 Special with fixed sights would be great. If you are not going to carry it, I suggest one with a four inch barrel. Get a good JHP like the Speer Gold Dot or Remington Golden Saber and you will be set up nicely.

    If you really want a semi-auto, I like Glocks. They are very simple to use and easy to shoot well. I prefer the 9mm, again with a good JHP round.

  23. #22
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarmigan View Post
    Second, is a handgun even an option? You mentioned CPD. If you are in Chicago, I am pretty sure you can't legally own a handgun. In that case, the shotgun is the way to go.
    I believe you are correct, which is why I was asking which part of the state he lived in. Although the city was sued almost immediately following the outcome of the DC case, I believe Chicago is still fighting it, and I'm sure they will drag it on as long as possible. As far as I know, the Chicago ban and a couple of bans in the suburbs still remain in effect. Many of the suburbs immediately overturned their bans due to the lack of many to fight the lawsuits, but I'm pretty sure Chicago is still under a handgun ban.

    As Ptarmigan said above, if this is the case, the shotgun is your only available option.

    Also, do you even have a FOID card?
    http://www.isp.state.il.us/foid/

    -Jeff-

  24. #23
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    It sounds as if the lunatic won't be the type who is deterred, so I'd go for the shotgun first, on the assumption that he's going to require shooting if he shows up with bad intent. If you hear your front door being kicked in, hole up a "safe room" with the shotgun trained on the door and get 911 on the line.

    Low-recoil ("tactical") buckshot loads offer relatively mild recoil and all the penetration you'll need on an unarmored opponent.

    A pistol is still best for roving defense, and handy to have around if you can legally get one. Your idea of a layered defense is an excellent one, and you should absolutely pursue it no matter what gun you choose.
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  25. #24
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    Good advice up there (as usual). Some other random thoughts.

    If you live in an apartment or condo (or other dense housing) give some thought to what happens if a bullet goes through a wall. Even a humble 9mm will go through a bunch of layers of drywall (something like six or eight). Smaller shot (like #3 buckshot) will cause major damage without as much wall penetration.

    My wife and I have a pistol, a shotgun and a .22 rifle. If I heard glass breaking I think she'd get the FNP 9, I'd get the shotgun, and we'd BOTH aim for the bedroom door. It wouldn't hurt to buy both.

    Some glossary:

    CCW - permit to carry a concealed weapon

    JHP - jacketed hollow point round -- usually considered the best anti-personnel bullet

    FMJ - full-metal jacket round -- usually cheaper and great for practice

    frangible round - designed to break into pieces on impact. Sometimes used in apartment/condo settings to reduce shoot-through.

    What a terrible story. I hope it has a happy ending.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 11-07-2008 at 07:26 PM. Reason: Discussion of illegal activity.

  26. #25
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
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    Are you serious? I wonder who will make it here to close the thread first. Let's take bets! Mike? Todd? Bruce? Who will it be?!?!

    So much for this thread...

    -Jeff-
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 11-07-2008 at 07:27 PM.

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