Shotgun vs Handgun


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I'm thinking of buying a shotgun: Awhile back there was a running debate about the usefulness of a shotgun for home self-defense. Size, weight, the ability for a spouse to use it, or would they, you catch the drift of the questions I'm asking. What gauge, and length of barrel is best? I'm even thinking of buying a handgun called the Judge. What do you think?

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Buy a pistol or buy a shotgun, don't bother with the Judge.

I prefer a handgun, but I also carry one as part of my profession.

A shotgun is still a good home defense weapon, as long as you know how to safely handle/use it.

How firearms familiar are you? How about your spouse?

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My wife and I have shot cans and targets with a 22. Killed the mountain side, the targets pretty much survived with out a scratch. The Judge is to heavy and during a home invasion, I'm not sure I could hit anything with a handgun. At least with a shotgun I could use it as a club. Over the years I have worked on some terrible bullet wounds, most of the time we just confirm that there deceased and let the PD, sheriff continue with there investigation. But I'm begainning to worry about how bad the bad guys are getting. If I buy a shotgun for home defense should I buy a shot barrel, they look pretty mean.

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I'm not sure I could hit anything with a handgun. At least with a shotgun I could use it as a club.

You'll end up doing what you practice doing and thinking about. If you're thinking about using a shotgun as a club, how about you get a club instead? This is a serious suggestion.

If I buy a shotgun for home defense should I buy a shot barrel, they look pretty mean.

If someone has decided to enter your home, probably knowing you are at home, they probably won't be stopped by something that looks mean. They'll probably be taking it away from you and using it on you.

This is only my opinion here, but a deterrent is only something that makes a bad guy want to move on to the next target. "He's got a mean looking shotgun" is more of an attraction, unless bad guy knows that your trained and dedicated finger is on the trigger and it's pointed at him.

Mindset - if you're worried about you and your wife using what you get, then place a very high importance on that worry. You don't rise to the occasion, you fall back on what you've trained and practiced.

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First thing is for you and your spouse to go to a firearms for defense class.

Now if you can accept the fact that someday you might have to kill someone to keep you spouse safe, kids maybe, friends or other family then it is time to get a firearm.

So now you have that firearm how many times do you fire it a week, how many different situations do you practice for, when shooting at targets do you get those with no human type faces or do you get them with a human face, can you pick your firearm of choice up and fire and not stop and think it is another person you are shooting at ?

If you can not see yourself or your spouse shooting another person and I mean to kill then none of this wounding stuff because you don't know if they are on drugs, are a harden killer, rapist or what and if they broke into your home knowing you are there they had no intention of stopping by for milk and cookies.

Now as to which firearm that is a very personal question, I have both you mention and for different reasons. I have a shotgun yes with a sort of short barrel 20 inches as it fits me best, gauge that is dependent on who will be using it again sort of if you and your spouse are not used to recoil then maybe a 20 gauge would work, but I know most use a 12 gauge as to rounds to have double OO buck works well it is a load the FBI and many other police and military like.

A pistol again caliber is related to recoil and you need to go where they have a lot of different calibers you can fire and see if you can handle the recoil and yes barrel length can affect recoil as to how well you can handle it. Most common calibers are 38 special, 357 mag, 9mm but some think this is to small even though our military have it and there is an issue in and of itself as they are going back to old 45 auto in many cases, why because a 230 grain full metal jacketed bullet does say something when it hits it target. This caliber takes lots of firing to get used to in the 1911 frame that is most often found but it an be done if you want to work at it.

Getting really used to any firearm you chose is all about shooting it; in the case of shotgun think around 500-1000 rounds for each of you. For a pistol think around 1000-5000 to get the basics and even more to keep current with either firearm.

Now you have your firearm(s) yes more is better to a point; where is it going to be kept, do you have kids in the house or come over, do you have relatives that are just plain noisy, and lastly if things go bad how fast can you get to where you have your firearm(s). How much ammunition to keep on hand and where to keep it. What kind of holster for a pistol?

For a shotgun do you get a pump or side by side or a semi auto, are you a hunter if so what other barrels are you going to want for your shotgun. Do you know how to clean them, do you feel safe holding a firearm or does it make you feel nervous, does it make you feel powerful, what is your mind set when you have a firearm in your hand?

The bottom line is if you have a firearm for self defense can you kill another person to protect your life or others you care about? I know many will not be so blunt but I have found if you can not see yourself killing another person to stay alive then you had better not have a firearm in the house as it will be used to kill you more than likely if it is found.

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Nope they have classes for pistol and if you can find one for shotgun find an instructor who teaches the police and military how to use them.

Utah concealed carry requires you to have a concealed carry in your own state now because they got so much flak about people having permits from Utah and not their own state one.

Most of the classes I have attended in several states now because of moving around are an all day affair and they need to include live fire if not then I don't have much belief they teach you anything really. One I attended even had a demonstration of when to use and when not to use a firearm and they where using blanks so there was real sounding shooting going on.

Never ever thing you know it all about firearms I have had them for 50 years and still learn something new all the time and that is how it should be.

Best of luck and do so safely and they can be a lot of fun to shoot and if needed keep you and yours alive to see another day.

I will not get into the reaction of what you will do if you do have to kill someone but this I will tell you if the police start questioning you don't say anything until you talk to your lawyer. They will do their best to get you to say something and just don't. It can and will be used against you in court.

If you just can't not say something then tell them you feared for you life and then shut up.

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Why don't you ask a criminal lawyer about that statement you might just get a big surprise when you here the answer.

I have and even talked to some who deal with that kind of issue on regular basis and I trust them more than what anyone else might say.

Anonymity you are so correct and I wonder just how long before the society fails and the rats come out of the sewers.

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I look at the type of guns out there as the same as the type of saws you have...

You use a circular saw for different applications than a table saw and different from a hacksaw...

It's the same with guns.

Shotguns are intended to be used on small wide-range targets - like a cackle of flying ducks.

Rifles are intended to be used on big single long-range targets like deer.

Handguns are intended to be used as an easy-to-carry and/or easy-to-conceal short-to-medium range shooting equipment.

Of course, guns can be dual-purposed - a shotgun can just as easily kill a person as a cackle of flying ducks.

But, it's like that Ford (or was it Dodge) van commercial - you don't buy a sports sedan to carry a bicycle... or some such.

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  • 2 months later...


No one should ever put you in the position of feeling you have to have a firearm because so many others have them. Having said that the next best thing is to have others who have accepted the responsibility that goes with having a firearm close to where you live.

If you live in a rural area then it might be in your best interest to learn about firearms and shoot some to see it you change your mind about them.

I think having a firearm that you just can't see yourself using to defend yourself is asking for it to be used against you when you need it most. But if you have no means of defensive how are you going to protect yourself if the situation comes up and you need to defend your right to live? There is no easy answer to this question and I have made my choice and will most likely live by it as long as the good Lord allows me to.

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Having a firearm that you don't know how to use or are afraid to use is a firearm that most likely will end your own life.

I understand not wanting to know anything about firearms but the time is soon going to be at hand were it is part of getting dressed just like in the 1800's it is a tool to be used for good or evil or maybe both and if you don't have one or are afraid of using one then you had better have someone or more around that do and come to your aide.

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A shotgun is a short range weapon if using what is called shot as the load if using a load called a slug then it will go much farther and through much more things much like a pistol bullet.

A shotgun loaded with shot #6 is a good one as there is lots of lead pellets in the load, they are fairly large buy lead shot standards you can go larger and use#2 or 4 if you want to go larger but you really gain little when looking at distance and effective use. The FBI load is what is called #2 shot and it was used because it made a big mess real fast and also stopped the baddies real fast. I like #6 better as it is can also be used as a hunting load so has two real purposes one to help you acquire food to eat and the other to keep you safe if needed.

Don't ever think that a shotgun blast will not be lethal at close ranges before it has a chance to open up it acts much like a big heavy slug and when it opens up some it acts like many little lead balls all on a course to cause some kind of reaction to something in the path of the shot.

Also if considering using a shotgun if you live where the walls are thin you will send some shot into the next living area, yes it goes through thin walls quite nicely. It travels a shorter distance than a pistol bullet but it will go through the normal house walls if they are thin sheet rock walls with hollow cores which is what most interior walls are in our homes.

Nothing that is classified as a firearm in most cases is not capable of going through the interior walls of your home. Yes you can get down into some of smaller calibers and it becomes and interesting discussion as to just how small you can go and still have something that will save your life.

Never ever get the idea that a firearm will not do damaged if aimed correctly and fired at another human being. Whether it stops the threat or not is sometimes up to the victim and also whether the person doing the shooting is willing to fire again if needed. We are not talking of just flashing a shotgun or other firearm at another person intent or harming us we are talking of taking the action of firing the firearm to protect us or our loved ones here.

You need to train, yes I said train your family to hit the floor and hide if some people with bad intent enter your home. Why because if you fire your firearm in the house and a bedroom is behind a baddie and it goes through them, through the wall and your loved one is standing there they just maybe hurt also and we don't want that to happen. Another issue is they come to the door of their bedroom and the baddies now have a human shield to use to get you to drop your firearm and then it is a very bad situation as now they have your firearm to cause damage and your prints on it and the shells and if they have gloves on how do you prove you did not shoot your own loved ones, even if they kill everyone in the house? So when the cops come in it looks like a murder suicide and you get labeled as the deranged person. I know you are dead but those you leave behind do not need to remember you as this kind of person do they?

It is all well and good to talk about this or that firearm but if you are really intent on having one or the other or both being discussed here go get some real training from someone who instructs the police, military, security individuals preferably at least two of these groups and is current on what is and is not a good thing to have for defense in the home and just what it means to use them to protect yourself or others that are in your home.

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Shotguns take too long but if its all ready to fire then it would be more useful but way more dangerous to have around. Let me tell you a story. Short I promise.

My husband, our first baby and I moved to Oakland. We had little money so grabbed a cheap apartment and settled in for the night. We were sleeping on the floor on a mattress with our baby between us. Me next to the wall. A little, what would be called a saturday night special, under the pillow.

Now its important to know I dont see well without glasses on.

So anyway I woke up in the middle of the night to see a man at the foot of our bed. He was standing there looking at us. When he saw I was awake he started motioning for me to get off the bed, quietly. hahaha sure I will. I am really stupid you know.

Anyway I thought about the gun. I am fine with guns and not a bit afraid to shot at someone. I could see he had something in his hand that he was motioning to me to get off the bed with. My husband started to make waking up noises. So what do I do?

I am good at looking stupid so I did my best. I pointed to my eyes and blinked a lot and strained my eyes as if to see what he was trying to say. I patted my husbands shoulder and made sure he didnt wake up. The guy got so frustrated he left the room and jumped out the bathroom window. After I woke my husband up we looked around. I found my scissors just outside the window where he had dropped them. Along with the classifieds where he had circled unskilled jobs for hire.

Now the point of my story is we had the gun and I can use it. Smart works a lot better and is safer, if possible. If it came down to it I would have used the gun but glad I didnt have to.

Find some other ways to make yourself safe.

A good dog perhaps. Good locks on your doors and windows. A phone very close to the bed. An alarm system if you can afford one. Theres lots of ways to do safe and most of them dont involve guns.

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Now using your safety system ideas

Alarms system can be disabled or bypassed

dog can be put down very easily

locks on doors and windows glass is easy to cut and not make a sound doing it

A firearm isn't always the answer agreed but then again nothing is really. The best idea is refuse to be a victim, you may get hurt but never make it easy for the baddies. Also always assess your options and then act them.

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Now using your safety system ideas

Alarms system can be disabled or bypassed

dog can be put down very easily

locks on doors and windows glass is easy to cut and not make a sound doing it

A firearm isn't always the answer agreed but then again nothing is really. The best idea is refuse to be a victim, you may get hurt but never make it easy for the baddies. Also always assess your options and then act them.

An persistent bad guy is going to cause you trouble for sure but even simple things like dogs, big and loud preferably, are known to deter burglars and other criminals. I highly doubt most burglars know know to disable alarms. I know when we have been uneasy we have put pop cans around on the floor. I know a vietnam vet who has a yard full of them. No one is getting even close to his house without him knowing it.

The truth is you can be creative about safety without a gun, or have one as a very last resort.

Let me ask you this. Do you have kids, ever, in the house? If so is your gun going to be locked up with the bullets in another place? If you do, how long would it take to get your gun out, loaded and ready to shot? If not do you plan on having the gun loaded, ready to shoot next to the bed? So what happens if you are in the kitchen or bathroom when someone breaks in? Going to have one in each spot or just carry it with you at all times?

When all else is considered, is it really even practical to have a gun for protection?

They are slow to get at.

They are dangerous to have around kids if they are ready to shoot.

They can be used against you very easily.

Can you really shoot someone for wanting your tv?

If you can answer those questions honestly after careful thought then I would suggest a cheap .21

caliber pistol. Easy to use. Inexpensive and easy to stick under your pillow or in a body holster to carry around.

Actually I would rather suggest a cell phone under your pillow with 911 on quick dial.

Edited by annewandering
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First the size of the dog matters little, it is the sound that someone outside the house is what counts. Even a recording of a dog has been know to work sometimes.

reality check here all one has to do to make a burglar alarm not work is cut your power line and yes they do know how to do that. To much TV and movie reference to this simple fact

No one is making the claim a firearm is the first line of protecting yourself or your family.

Yes there are kids in my house at times and yes they are locked up and the firearms are not my only means of defense.

As to the condition of my firearms you will have to break into my home for that answer.

When it is all considered is it better to fight or die in a home invasion only you can answer that question no one can answer that for another person.

I doubt that a firearm if placed correctly is slow to get to and why would you have it unloaded in your home for self defense purposes anyway? That would be like leaving your door unlocked because you can not find your keys always. Just not a good idea or do you think leaving your door unlocked is a good idea. It is true many should not have a firearm because taking a life is not an easy thing to do, but then is it easy to watch those you love shot in front of our or raped or beaten.

First there isn't a .21 caliber firearm that I am aware of, but then I don't know every firearm made. So I will assume you mean a .22 caliber firearm. So lets look at this firearm well it has low recoil, ammunition is cheap and so are many of the firearms that use it. If you shoot someone with it many times you better have a lot of ammunition on hand and easy to get to, better hope your victim is willing to wait for you to reload. If you want a pistol that will do some good get a 9mm, 38 special, 40 or .357 mag, something that will stand a good chance of stopping your attacker.

As to keeping your firearm under your pillow read up on how many folks do themselves in with the firearm is there.

Cell phone and 911 good idea but look up the average response time in your area. Sorry but sometimes it is like 15 minutes or longer and that is plenty of time to cave your head in and be gone if the baddies want too.

What has not really been addressed is that:

first a firearm is not for everyone

second if you have a firearm and need to use it you need to know ahead of time that you are willing to take a life if necessary

third no one is making the claim that a firearm is always the answer to have a good means of defense. Think baseball bat, kitchen knives, hammers, screw drivers, and many other tools that are around most homes today.

fourth you have to decide what works for you where you are and then make sure it never changes and if it does what will you do to modify your safety.

No one here can give you these answers and only you can be held responsible for your safety and those you love. I have made this decision and have taken the steps to make this a working system for me and mine and will it work I hope I never have to find out.

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