Thank you for all the responses. I’ll try to address some of the questions that have come up.
Our dog is a mixed breed poodle, standing fairly tall but only 45 pounds. As long as she hasn’t just come out of the pool her hair makes her look a bit bigger. She has a surprisingly ferocious bark and growl, but is the biggest wuss in the world when it comes to actually confronting a stranger. She’s a great watch dog, but she’d make a pretty poor guard/attack dog.
My wife actually does have some firearms experience. This may sound difficult to believe, but she took a shooting class (.22 handguns) at her private Catholic high school. So, she’s fairly well educated on the subject but is still somewhat uneasy about having guns and ammo in the house.
My shooting experience is limited to perhaps five summer camp experiences with a .22, maybe a dozen times shooting a .22 at my grandparent’s house, two years of ROTC training in which I fired a total of about 80 rounds through an M16 and about the same on an M60, and one trap shooting experience with both a 12 gauge and a 20 gauge. I’ve shot a lot of blanks through the M16 in training exercises, but either my aim magically degraded to near zero, or the (now retired?) MILES gear was way off because I couldn’t hit squat. For what it’s worth, I can consistently get nickel to quarter sized groupings at 50 yds on all the rifles I’ve shot. My uncle-in-law, an experienced shooter, was very impressed with my trap shooting skills and was surprised to learn that I’d never even held a shotgun before. All of this was obviously under very controlled conditions and I realize that the breathing techniques and such would probably go out in the window in a SHTF situation since I have no training in that area.
Someone mentioned paintball. I used to be pretty bad-assed at paintball, mostly in woodland and simulated urban/indoor settings. I don’t know how much that would help me out in a home defense scenario.
Regarding the guns but no ammo issue, I meant to say here that I’ll be inheriting some guns from my late grandfather but that I do not intend them for home defense. Thus, I do not have any need for ammunition in the house. I have absolutely no intention of using them, unloaded, to intimidate a would-be attacker.
My wife and I are not high temper people and we’ve never had an argument where we’ve even yelled at each other. Neither of us have ever “flipped out” and we don’t drink too much. If I were to flip out, it’d be ninja style anyway, and I wouldn’t need a gun. I suppose that when we have kids there’s the possibility of a really bad seed, but for now I firmly believe that there is no risk of intentional domestic violence.
This doesn’t really have too much bearing on the issue being discussed, but I do have several years of martial arts experience and would be cautiously confident going up against an unarmed person that is roughly my size, or a bigger person that I knew had no training.