Serious Question for Gun Owners - NOT POLITICAL

First I have never owned a gun. I have done a little hunting many years ago and some sport shooting. I have also never shot a handgun.

That said, I live out in the country and have a wife and 2 year old in the home that I want to protect. I do not plan to become a gun hobbyist but I have been seriously considering buying a gun solely for protection in an extreme situation.

All that said, I truly have no idea what type of gun I should get, where to even get it and if I should take some homeowners gun courses beforehand. I do not have any hunting or gun owner friends so I have no idea where to start.

Do I just to go my local Walmart and buy one? Maybe I should head to the local police station and ask them? Any advice is appreciated from gun owners but PLEASE let the politics to one of the dozen or so other threads on the subject.

If it matters I am 6-1 220 and pretty fearless so I do not want a “little lady” gun. I would like something that is easy to use but I am sure a .50 cal desert eagle is not required either.

Oh and I am great at Xbox military FPS games… :eek:;):p:D:smack:

What with a child, I’d think you couldn’t keep a firearm away from him and still get to it quickly.
Get a friend or neighbor to teach you how to use the darn thing, for certain.

I plan on getting a lockbox and ensuring that for certain!

There are differing opinions on this, of course. I think that if your only goal is at-home self defense, a 12-gauge pump shotgun is your best bet. Wal-mart has them. You should get some sort of instruction on how to use it, and you should find a way to practice occasionally. If you live out in the country, I would bet most of your neighbors have shotguns. Maybe a neighbor could teach you how to use it.

I agree. It is easier to aim than a pistol, and you might want to go duck hunting sometime. :slight_smile:

Since the OP is looking for advice, this is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Thirded on the shotgun.

You might start by reading these two recent threads.

I’d definitely suggests taking a general course in firearms safety. You will also want to become very familiar with your state’s laws on self-defense, so you know under what situations you’re legally justified in shooting someone.

The big decision (once you’ve decided for sure that you actually want to own a gun at all) is between a shotgun and a handgun. Shotguns are deadlier, but despite the myths in self-defense situations you still have to aim one to use it effectively. Because of their size, they are more difficult to store securely, but they’d also be more difficult for a young child to accidentally fire. Many women find a 12-guage a hard gun to handle because of its heavy recoil, and in an emergency many people have a tendency to short-stroke a pump-action model (which will cause it to jam). If you decide a shotgun is the right choice for you, I’d recommend finding a range that will allow you to fire different models until you find the right gauge and loading mechanism for your situation.

Handguns are much less lethal than shotguns, but their short barrel makes them far easier to maneuver inside the confines of a room. Their compact size makes them easy to store in a small gun safe - but it also means that a youngster who somehow manages to get his hands on the weapon will find it much easier to shoot himself with it. There are two basic handgun designs: revolvers and semi-automatics. Double-action revolvers (which are what you’d want for a self-defense gun) have a longer and harder trigger pull and hold fewer shots, but are simpler to use and ultra-reliable. Semi-automatics have a lighter trigger and generally can hold more rounds (although this isn’t an absolute), but are more prone to jamming (which you need to learn how to clear quickly in an emergency). If you decide a handgun is the right choice for your situation, again I’d recommend renting several different models (both revolvers and semi-automatics) until you find the right one for you. And give a TON of thought on how you’re going to safely secure that weapon away from your toddler!

A shotgun wouldn’t be a bad choice, but I’d argue that a handgun would be more practical and safe, especially with a child in the home.

To safely store a shotgun, you either need a safe or some sort of trigger lock on the gun. Either of those options will make it less accessible quickly when you need it.

If you get a handgun you can keep it right next to your bed, or wherever you want. You put it in one of these…

Bulldog Deluxe Pistol Vaults

There are many makes and manufacturers of these little finger operated safes. They can be opened in the dark and are easy to use yet safe for kids in the house. You can spend less than $100 for a cheap one or several hundred for a high end one.

I spent $100 on mine, don’t recall the manufacturer, and have never had a problem with it.

artimis’s post above mine is excellent. I was going to say the same thing but I’ll just +1 to him. My $.02 would be to consider a revolver. They are really easy to use and easy to shoot. Plus they are cheap.

artemis mentioned short-stroking a pump, get a semi-auto.

Also, in future years when the kid is a bit older, de-mystify the gun. Take him/her to the range so they can hear how loud it is, how destructive(blow apart a few watermelons) and teach safe handling.

The first thing you need to consider is whether you are willing to take a life. Most gun owners consider that a no-brainer. Better a dead attacker than dead family. But seriously, you need to be ready and willing to kill a human being and deal with the psychological fallout. If you are defending yourself or your family, there are no warning shots. There’s no ‘shooting to wound’. You aim for the center of mass, and the assailant lives or dies. He often dies.

I am a non-violent person. I have guns. But my guns are for collecting and for recreational use. I could use them for defense, but that’s not why I have them. I don’t want to hurt or kill anybody. But if it’s ‘me or him’ or ‘my girlfriend or him’, it’s going to be him.

Buying a firearm specifically for defense means you have to be ready to kill if you have to.

It depends partly on how you plan to defend yourself. If you plan to lock yourself in you bedroom and wait with gun aimed at the door, it’s hard to beat a shotgun. If you’re going to go downstairs to “check out that noise” a long gun might be too unweildy.

My usual advice (and personal household defense weapon) is an M1 Carbine. Right now there’s speculation that prices might be high because people are panic buying, but it’s a nice “split the difference” between the power and accuracy of a long gun and the lightness and rapid fire of a pistol.

And with a 2 year-old in the house, you’ll be better off with a handgun as wielding a shotgun one handed with the other arm occupied with the child can be rather difficult. Not to mention the difficulty of working the pump.

Will only you be using the weapon? Or will your wife be using it too?

If your wife will also be using the weapon, then you need to make sure both of you can handle the weapon, obviously. This may – or may not – rule out a 12 gauge shotgun, for example.

I guess that’s from my thread. An M1 Carbine is lightweight, easy to use, more accurate and easier to aim than a handgun, has almost no recoil, and its fairly weak round might not penetrate too many walls. (It still will penetrate walls though, and this is something to consider.)

Personally, if I were going to get a gun for defense, I’d go for a 12 ga. pump loaded with #6 shot. The wad might go through a wall, but most of the shot probably won’t.

Yes! Another good idea is to tell you child that he can handle the gun any time he wants to - all he has to do is ask Mommy or Daddy. Kiddo asks, you go get the gun out of the safe, make it safe, and let him handle it. Show him how it works, have him “help” you clean it after a range session. Go over the basic safety rules (muzzle control and trigger discipline) with him each time. This helps convert the gun from “exciting object of MYSTERY!!!” to “boring tool” in the kid’s mind (which changes to “boring and a bit scary” after a session or two at the range). Kiddo will probably ask to handle the gun a few times, then lose interest.

Always remember Hollywood is giving your kid a gun education - of exactly the wrong sort. You must actively counteract that if your kid’s going to be safe around firearms!

I’m not a gun owner, so I’m just spitting the digested conclusions of other threads like this one, but something that always stuck in my mind was the recommendation to have a pump-action shotgun for home defense, because nine times out of ten, all you have to do is make it go ka-chung ka-chung and the intruder will leave.

Since you’re out in the country, it seems to me that having to deal with an aggressive animal is also a possible scenario. Think about what animals you might have a problem with and get a gun big enough to stop one.

And then there’s option C: don’t lock anything up. That’s what I do. We have three children, and it’s never been a problem.

This, a thousand times! Be honest with yourself when you think about this question, it’s important. You don’t want to find out too late that you can’t pull the trigger; at that point, the intruder is likely to take the gun away from you and use it on you.

There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t think you’re capable of killing another person. But if you can’t, you don’t even want to think about adding a firearm to your defensive plans!