Shooters Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I friend wants to buy a handgun for home defense. He has never owned or fired a gun. I respect the opinions of the many knowledgable gun owners on this forum. So, what would you suggest?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
585 Posts
Does he live in a house or apartment? If you shoot a bullet and it misses the target it could injure another person especially in the apartment situation.

For Home Defense I would start off with a 12 guage Shotgun. Remmingtion 870 with a pistol grip. You can run some light loads that the drywall will stop yet splatter the intruder. If nothing else the sound of a 12 guage being pumped will scare anybody.

If he wants a handgun nobody can argue that a model 1911 in .45acp is an excellent close range hand gun. 9mm just dont have the same knockdown power and a .44mag may go thru the person and the wall behind it. May different makers are available. Colt 1911's are the standard.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
65 Posts
A.J.;
Since your friend has no experience with a handgun what he needs is something that is simple and easy to use, safe and effective: a double-action revolver. But before acquiring any handgun he should go to the range with someone experienced. Zeppelin is correct in that where he will be using the gun is critical as to the choice of caliber, or even if he does, in fact, want to choose a handgun at all.

Either way it is important that you or someone else experienced with firearms assist him in both his choice of weapons and, at least his initial training. Take him to a local gun club meeting. Some of our local gun clubs provide training for new shooters and most of the old farts in the clubs, like me, are eager to help, hard to shut up, and will even let someone like your friend try out several guns just to see what he likes.

J.P.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
Hi AJ,
I don't mean to be a problem but in this persons case I think the right answer is... Get the handgun you are willing to shoot and practice with. If he is unwilling to practice and develop some reasonable level of skill, I would suggest he get a dog, better locks or an alarm service. If he is willing to practice than the answer is, as a new shooter, to get a good 22, 32 or 38 that is easy to shoot, will not tend to cause flinching and is also inexpensive to shoot. Maybe he would like to get into sporting clays, then he has a home defense weapon to boot. Though we all want the perfect combative weapon for defensive purposes, I believe we are best protected with the weapon we are most familiar with. A competitive cowboy action shooter would be a fearsome threat to an intruder with his 45 colt SA. I did not think this up by the way. I stole it from Jeff Cooper. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth.

Bill M :)
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
36,236 Posts
Apartment walls rank right up there with toilet paper as far as bullet-stopping properties.

My guess is the only thing that would give any hope of not penetrating through the walls and killing your neighbors would be the really frangible loads like the Glaser safety slugs and Mag-Safe.

They are expensive, but you don't plan on shooting many of them in a year's time.

Even my light 12GA target loads would blow through sheetrock at close range.

Your friend would be well-advised to get some safety and basic marksmanship training, preferrably at a range that has guns for rent so they can be tried out.

I would say for the novice, they should start with a double-action revolver.

If the novice really wants to learn to shoot well (which is different than shooting for defensive purposes) they will be money ahead also getting a .22 handgun, of the same basic configuration. Ammo costs will quickly make up for the purchase price of the .22.

A class on the deadly force laws of your state would be well advised, and could prevent serious trouble down the road.

Caliber isn't but a small part of the equation, when you consider the whole topic of self-defense and discouraging the criminals from bothering you in the first place. As suggested, upgrading the apartment's security as best you can is the first and most important step.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
585 Posts
A 12 guage loaded with 7 or 8 shot or some of the new mini shells would have a real hard time penetrating 2 layers of drywall from 5 feet and be leathel on the other side especially if you hit the intended target with the jist of the blast. 00 or a slug of course would blow right through it.

Hitching up with a gun club of course is absolutly the best thing to do. Most all of us experianced shooters do own a .22 to practice plinking with. I even used to practice with a .22 pellet pistol. Ran out of pidgeons to shoot at tho~~

Shot placement is #1 but I would hate to stake my life on a .22 or a 9mm especially at 2 am when I am half awake. I can be a little off with the 12 guage and still hit the target. Plus just the sight of it may scare the intruder out! :O)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,463 Posts
If he's never fired a gun, then I suggest you take him out and let him fire some of yours...and your friends...or take him to an indoor range as RENT some. Let him see first hand what does and doesn't fit, how much recoil he cares to handle, and which type he can actually hit something with.

IF all he can do well with is a .22, then he's better off with that than with a more powerful one that he misses with. Once he practices a bit, he can always move up in power...but the first thing is to get the experience/practice first.

IF he's like amny, he just wants to OWN one (like some tailsman that will magically keep evil at bay by it's very existance) rahter than shoot one. For folks like that, it had beter be dirt simple and easy to shoot (and actually, for folks like that, I'd tell them to spend the $ on a good alarm system and a big dog).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,463 Posts
If he's never fired a gun, then I suggest you take him out and let him fire some of yours...and your friends...or take him to an indoor range as RENT some. Let him see first hand what does and doesn't fit, how much recoil he cares to handle, and which type he can actually hit something with.

IF all he can do well with is a .22, then he's better off with that than with a more powerful one that he misses with. Once he practices a bit, he can always move up in power...but the first thing is to get the experience/practice first.

IF he's like many, he just wants to OWN one (like some tailsman that will magically keep evil at bay by it's very existance) rather than shoot one. For folks like that, it had beter be dirt simple and easy to shoot (and actually, for folks like that, I'd tell them to spend his $ on a good alarm system and a big dog).
--------
In a way, folks like that are a blessing to the rest of us...used guns in mint condition eventually find they way into our hands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I would buy a 4 inch .357 magnum from any of the big 3(Ruger, Colt, S&W) and a bunch of inexpensive .38 specials.

After a few 100 rounds of .38s if you feel comfortable, try a few .357s, if these are too much go back to the .38s or .38+p.

The .38 special is a different animal out of a 4 inch barrel than they are from the many 2inch snubnosed carry revolvers from which they get their weak reputation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys, excellent suggestions. I feel pretty good that we are on the same page. I am a member of a gun range and thought it would be a good idea for him to rent different guns to get the feel of size, loading procedures, recoil, etc. I like autos, but a small revolver is a good choice for a novice. I'll bet a shotgun would be a bit much for him. Of course, as we all know, it takes more than the simple act of pointing a gun at an intruder. You have to have to constitution to pull the trigger and live with the consequences. I didn't think about suggesting a dog or home alarm. In fact, I think for this person, that might be the best solution. Thanks again.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
105 Posts
For the novice shooter, and many other people as well, I think it is good advise to consider a quality double action revolver in 38 Special or 357 Magnum. Shoot the 38 Special ammo, especially while learning the basics. Good choices would include, but not be limited to the following:

1. S&W model 64, 38 Spl. 3" or 4" barrel
2. S&W model 65, 357 Mag. 3" or 4" barrel
3. S&W model 66, 357 Mag. 3" or 4" barrel
4. S&W model 686, 357 Mag. 4" barrel

While there are certainly more "glamorous" choices available,
any of these will serve the purpose very well. Don't forget to include eye and ear protection and a proper selection of cleaning equipment as necessary items from the start.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,463 Posts
There are exceptions...wife never could shoot a revovler worth a hoot, but she took to semi-autos just fine. Would think that a revolver would be the easier to learn with, it was for me and probably is for 90% of the population, but don't think it is a sure thing.

So long as they actually do practice, then there is little wrong with a .38/.357mag. revolver that fits their hand well. Hands do come in a wide variety of sizes, and again, the big ones doen't always like the big griped guns ( I wear an 8 1/2 glove, but still shoot my best with a K-frame RB).

If he decides he just "gotta have' a semi-auto, then look to a good quality 9mm for the cheap practice ammo available....but stear him towards the revolver if possible.
------------
I usually have one or two simple fixed sight .38's on hand, not just for my own use, but for letting beginners shoot. Most do well with a K-frame 4" (or the older Colt D-frame 4"). Step mother liked the 3" J-frame..it's hers now. One big guy (6'4" and 310 pounds) decided that a 4" N-frame (mod. 28) was just the ticket for him.

But when i opened the gun case to my wife, she tried all that I had (never having been told about recoil, se wasn't afraid of it, and only felt the .41mag was a bitt 'too much"). I turned her loose in a gun shop, only giving myself veto over a crappy gun...not the gun type, and she bought a Colt .45 GM. She named it "Fred" ans still has it and shoots it 26 years later.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
585 Posts
I suppose a 700 nitro express would be out of the question eh?

Forgive me but this is the first time I have heard people suggest a revolver over a shotgun for minimal defense. Have your friend try a 12 guage with Aguila Minishells. At 2 am when the blood is pumping I dont think the kick will be noticed but then again I am a big bore pig. The group I shoot with all have class III guns, large 454's, 480's etc but we all have 1 thing out of the safe at night, a 12 guage.

Just call me big Lead Zeppelin :O)
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
36,236 Posts
I don't think that there is anything terribly wrong with a shotgun, but again, will the shooter have time/opportunity to practice? Shotguns are no more 'automatic' for the user than any other type of gun (or club, bow, spear, knife, rock, etc.). Patterns don't spread appreciabley at across-the-room distances, you still have to hit what you are aiming at! Jump a bunny right under your feet and shoot it without thinking at spitting distances, oops, guess we'll be having hamburgers tonight!

I shot trap/skeet/sporting clays for a few years, still hunt with a 12GA, and can run shells through it as fast as I want, but hand my pump shotgun to a novice, they are still going to have trouble, especially in a high-stress situation. Autos can jam if not held firmly, pumps can be short-stroked rather easily, etc., etc. For an experienced shooter, muscle memory and training take over, the novice has no such experience to draw on.

Get out to the range to practice, a shotgun KICKS if you don't mount it properly or doesn't fit, no one is going to shoot a gun well that they are afraid of. At least a handgun won't smack you in the face (hopefully!) like a shotgun that doesn't fit properly.

I've shot dead tree limbs off with loads of birdshot, blew through several inches of hard dead oak without the slightest difficulty, ounce and a quarter of #8, at about 1200fps. I still think that there is a significant danger of ANYTHING that goes bang when you talk about stuff like apartment walls. My house has 4 inches of limestone, all my neighbors have masonry too, so anything short of my .458 isn't going to kill half the neighborhood.

Anyway I'll admit that I haven't TRIED it, I could be wrong, one of these days I'll stack of several layers of wallboard and see what happens. Heck a cast iron bathtub stopped a .357 that I shot once (long story, varmit in an old house at the deer camp), you never know.

The Aguila load is an interesting thought, although it's so short that a person would have to be careful to esure that it functioned perfectly with their gun. At the beginning of the thread I actually thought about suggesting a side-by-side with that very same load! Anyway I waited a bit and the thought passed.

Don't think that I'm being anti-shotgun, or critical of anyone's posts (it's a good discussion), I guess my point is more that ANY gun choice needs to be made very carefully, and with commitment from the shooter to be proficient with weapon, practice, and be prepared to use it in a high-stress situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Although I agree that a shotgun makes a more potent defensive arm, A.J.s friend is looking for a handgun. To all the above excellent advise, I would add the following: If this is to be his friends first handgun, he wants a 22, which with low ammo cost, noise, and recoil, can instill good shooting habits. If it's going to be his only handgun, he wants a 4", medium frame 357, which is almost foolproof. Double action autos add magazines, chambered rounds, and safeties to the complexity equation, and single action autos add the concern of which mode to carry it in. I've been shooting for 30 years, and the thought of carrying a 1911 cocked and locked scares the daylights out of me. Also, I think I would add Taurus to the list of decent manufacturers.

Darrel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
827 Posts
I just wanted to second Longhunters opinion. Also you can get the blued versions of the guns he mentioned, there is usually a good selection of these guns used in most gunshops.

1. S&W model 64, 38 Spl. 3" or 4" barrel= model 10 (blued)
2. S&W model 65, 357 Mag. 3" or 4" barrel= model 13 (blued)
3. S&W model 66, 357 Mag. 3" or 4" barrel= model 19 (blued)
4. S&W model 686, 357 Mag. 4" barrel= model 586 (blued)

Also-Ruger GP 100 in .38 or 357 stainless or blued
Ruger Security Six or Speed Six .38 or .357 stainless or blued

andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
You know you guys are going to cost me some money. I've been absorbing all the suggestions. So, I checked my S&W catalog and found the Model 66 (357) to look rather nice. Called a gun store and one could be ordered in 4" for $484.00. Might just have to get it for myself. Is it a handy gun and is that price good?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
A.J.

You may want to shop around if you are willing to buy used, I have seen these guns for less than $400.

I would also look at the ruger gp100, which can be had for even less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I was in a local shop in NH last night and they had several examples:

S&W Model 10 blue 4 inch .38 special $195
S&W Model 65 ss 4 inch .357 $250
S&W Model 19 blue 4 inch .357 $295
S&W Model 586 Blue 6 inch .357 $295
Ruger Security six Blue 4 inch .357 $275

and several others.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top