Now that we have the inevitable “just cock the shotgun and bad guys pee themselves” idiocy out of the way, let’s look at some facts that can really help you.
In my 20+ years of teaching people to shoot, I would submit to you that a shotgun is not a good choice for a woman who is “mildly anti-gun”. They’re very heavy. They’re extremely loud. The muzzle flash will scare her. She won’t like the pump action necessary to reload. It’s not a gun to start anyone with.
I love 'em. I have one in my closetand [del]Annie Oakley[/del] my wife is great with one, but it’s not her go-to gun should something happen.
I’m not saying don’t get one, but let’s think of what your wife is capable of and willing to do.
For absolute ease of use, a 4 inch barreled revolver in .357/.38 is fine.
There is no safety to remember to flip off, there will be no jams due to holding the gun too softly -many women do this- and the recoil is manageable. The.357 is a devastating round, and what my wife carries.
My other suggestion is a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. My only reason to suggest this as well is the higher round count. You can find one that will hold up to 20 rounds. I’m not suggesting she just lay down suppressive fire when the back door opens, but she may feel more comfortable knowing she has more than enough to handle a couple of bad guys with no reloading. Having her feel comfortable is key to her agreeing to learn, to practice, and pick the thing up when something bad is going down.
Before you even buy anything, take her to a range, rent a .22 pistol, and start from there. It’s just like driving. 15 year-olds are nervous and have no idea what to do. We don’t buy them Corvettes and say good luck. We start slow with a regular car, build some skills and move on from there.
Same thing with guns. When she sees that she can be firmly in control, she’ll be able to step up in caliber comfortably and feel at ease with the whole gun-as-a-tool concept.
Proper training is the key, so find a range that offers instruction. I’d even go so far as to suggest you find a female instructor. I’ve met many “ew-a gun” people in my life, and I understand they require a different touch than most folks.
Safety around kids - frankly that’s the easiest part. As mentioned above, teaching kids early on takes the wonder out of a gun and removes 99% of the problem of “kids and guns”. A gun on my kitchen counter is not an object of awe. It’s in the way of making a PBJ sandwich and will be moved to my desk without anyone shooting the neighbor kids accidentally.
There are many solutions, but my favorite is a Gunvault. I haveseveral around the house, including in my trucks. There are a few places even I can’t carry, but that’s no reason to leave a gun unsecured in a vehicle to be stolen by some punk.
Therefore, your intelligent course of action is thus:
Find an instructor and start off easy.
Determine which gun and type she’s most comfortable with. Why her? She’s the lowest common denominator if you will, and what she uses will work for you.
Buy it and practice with it.
Research frangible ammo or discuss with your instructor. This is ammunition that will not penetrate walls and hit Buffy and Jody, but will be trouble for the bad guy you hit directly. We’re all about safety here at Camp Ducati.
Obtain a fast-access gun safe that keeps kids and burglars out, but gives you your gun instantly.
All that said, a good monitored alarm system, big dog, HD cameras at eye level to capture great images of your visitors, and locking the doors and setting the alarm day and night should be your first layers of protection.
Should all this fail, and momma don’t want no guns around, consider a replacement model, preferably from Texas.