Well, I've given this some serious thought since we were burglarized this past Memorial Day weekend. Happened while I was on my way home from work (night shift at the time) and my wife, my 15 year old daughter and my 9 and 6 year old boys were all upstairs asleep. A 45 year old man came onto our back deck, stacked some patio chairs under the kitchen window and slid the window open then climbed over the kitchen sink and into the house. Yes, the window was unlocked. Picture that time of year... nice weather, springtime, smells good. My wife had opened the window during the day and didn't lock it when she closed it.
Anyway, when I got home, I got out of the car in the driveway and when I was walking to the front door, I stepped on my wife's car keys. "What the heck are these doing here? I bet she dropped them. Oh well."
I got to the front door and when I went to unlock it to go in, I saw it wasn't quite closed all the way. Almost latched, but just barely open. "Well, that's REALLY weird. She ALWAYS locks the door. Must have been real tired at bedtime or had a rough day..."
I went in, sat my lunchbox on the counter as always and just because, looked in the garage to make sure her car was there. I was just starting to get the idea something wasn't "right". All was well so I went back to the kitchen and noticed a breeze coming in the window. "Well heck, she left the window open!" Now, my wife does daycare at home and loves it but sometimes she just has a really rough day if a baby (or two) are real cranky and after she gets the house cleaned up and our kids put to bed she's really wore out. I was still thinking it had been "one of those days". Well, I went to close the window and for some reason stuck my hand through to check if the screen was closed and it was wide open too. Even weirder... Ya know, it's REAL easy at this point to still not figure out there could be a problem.
Well, I went upstairs and halfway up I could peek past the upstairs floor (open stairway) and could see my wife's butt sticking out from under the blanket which she'd kicked off due to it being a warm night. Lookin' good! Went on in and gave her a smootch and told her she'd kinda scared me and then told her all about what I'd found when I got home. She was pretty groggy and just kinda gave me a "Huh, that's weird" mumbled answer and went back to sleep.
In the morning, the phone rang and woke us up. We decided to let the machine pick up and lay there listening. A voice came on saying they were from our credit card company and that there was "suspicious activity" on our card. "What the heck???" We got up and went downstairs but missed the call. My wife started looking for her purse to find our credit card before calling back. THAT was when we figured out that her purse was gone and I looked outside and saw the chairs stacked under the window.
Luckily, the burglar didn't go upstairs (that we know of). He just took her purse and went out the front door. Well, we figured out later that he also took both of our digital cameras that were sitting on the counter too. We were supposed to be leaving that morning to go camping so we had them ready. I was sure it was some teen age kid doing it on a dare or something but a few days later the police arrested a 45 year old black man who had quite a record of theft and drug related things. He claimed he got the card from his girlfriend who the police described as a "known crack addict". When I found out that it wasn't a teenage kid it really floored me. You start talking grown men committing burglary when people are in the house asleep and you start thinking about a burglar with a weapon, a burglar who could commit rape, a burglar who might have the INTENT to harm or kill your family. THAT is not a fun thing to have to think about.
So, yea, I've thought about home defense quite a bit since then. I need something that my wife can use confidently. Something that can be just "pointed" or "kinda sorta aimed" or shot easily in low light. Something that is powerful but doesn't shoot a heavy bullet that would go through multiple walls because all of us sleep on the same floor and the kids bedrooms are almost in line with the door to our room which is the most likely point of confrontation. My wife is not a "gun person". She can shoot but doesn't like recoil. She's actually a VERY good shot when she shoots but that has always been controlled conditions with me coaching. I want a handgun because I want to be able to keep it loaded and in a drawer or someplace similar. My kids are all familiar with guns and don't mess with mine but I don't ever keep a loaded gun laying around where their FRIENDS might find it so concealed but accessible just to the point of company not noticing it's presence is my idea of a sensible control.
I've decided that I want to buy a Taurus Judge. Probably in the 2 1/2" version but I've not quite made up my mind on 2.5 or 3" yet. I'll have to let her handle them first. Myself, I have multiple guns handy and ammo close by if needed when I'm home. Ammo of choice will be the new Winchester defense/tactical or whatever it is they call it with the 3 "pills" and some bb's behind it.
Any use in a real situation would be to either hold someone at gunpoint until the police arrive or to ventilate an honest to god aggressor and put him down hard and permanently. I won't have to deal with someone outside and honestly, if I did, it wouldn't be a shooting situation unless I could see they were armed and felt threatened. I don't think I'd shoot someone because they were stealing my lawnmower out of the shed. Scare them away or hold them up for the police, sure. Shoot em? Not for that. For my needs, shotgun or handgun fill the bill. In reality, it'd probably just be whatever weapon I grabbed first that had ammo handy. Planned defense is not something I worry about for myself but I do think about it for my wife.
Even writing this, I'm thinking I need to get her to the range and make her truly proficient with at least two or three different weapons. Hand gun, rifle, shotgun or whatever she wants. I want her to be able to load and unload in the dark. To be able to tell what ammo goes in the gun by feel in the dark. To know if she needs to pull the hammer back or can just pull the trigger. To know where the safety is on whatever weapon she picks up and how to cycle the action if needed. I take it for granted that I myself could get up in the dark, grab a shotgun and know by feel whether it's my 12 or my 16 and be able to put the correct ammo in it. I could also tell by feel that I'd grabbed a box of 16's but had the 12 in my hands and could either grab the other gun or a different box of ammo. In a more organized situation, I might have certain ammo in a certain place and be able to go directly to it in the dark. She should be able to do the same.
Before the burglary, I never gave this stuff much thought. I always thought I'd be there to protect my family but just going to work on a daily basis makes that impossible. I've gotta help them help themselves. This last time, we really got lucky. It cost us a couple hundred bucks for the camera and a hassle with the credit cards but nobody got hurt. For a while, it changes your whole mind set. You don't feel safe in your own home. You check and recheck locks at bed time. You feel like you've been violated in some way. Like your home might not be quite the safe haven you thought it was. But you LEARN from it too. That your protection is up to YOU. That police are very helpful but by definition they show up after the fact 99% of the time. The old saying "God helps those who help themselves" means something new....
Sorry I got so awfully long, just haven't really talked to anybody about this since it happened and it was kinda good to get it out. Might help somebody else stop and think about their own situation.