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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings gunatics. I was hoping I'd never have the need to own a handgun, but after last night, I think there may be justification to protect myself and the house.

OK. First some background. I live in a suburban neighborhood that has always been a fairly quiet area. However, my house is located on the main road, and has a very visible wraparound driveway (relative's business, his trucks are parked in the back w/tools and such). Down the street about a mile, some might consider the area a mild "ghetto". I'm not talking southeast DC, but there's constantly folks walking up and down the street. More recently, the street walking folks have started walking past my house fairly frequently (at least one or two loners per night walk by). I'm pretty sure there's probably drug activity going on at a nearby house that I cannot pinpoint. Maybe once every 2 or 3 months, someone will knock on my door to beg for money. After telling them no, they'll disappear. No big deal, but a slight pain in the ass.

Well, that brings me to last night. Just after sunset (not even pitch black yet), I'm in the kitchen grabbing utensils to dig into some tasty home cookin' and I hear a noise. There are two guys behind my house arguing. Expletives flying all around. I look out, to see them both kinda chasing each other around my car :confused: . I step outside and ask what the eff they are doing in my backyard. One starts mouthing off to me, and starts charging toward me, reaching in his pocket. The other guy then clobbers him in the back. I run back inside, grab the blade, and dig for the shotgun. Finding the shotgun (unloaded) I walk back outside (shaking like a leaf mind you), and see one of the guys running. The one that charged me earlier started stepping back saying "c'mon man, nobody needs to get hurt" etc. as he slowly heads toward the street. I'm almost in tears of anger just shouting to get the hell off of my property. For the record the gun is not being pointed at anyone. For the first time in a while, I truly was fearing for the life of the girlfriend, and myself.

This leads to the question. Should I consider purchasing a handgun to keep in an easy to locate area of the house? I was REAL nervous about having my shotgun unloaded, as the other guy could have easily started shooting. But at the same time, I don't want to hurt anyone else, and definetely don't want any trouble. If I had a handgun, I would certainly go to the gun range and learn how to use it properly. The shotgun isn't nearly as convenient in a "need it now" situation. Also, in case anyone wonders, I did take a hunter safety course as a young teen, and have hunted waterfowl for most of my teenage life, so I already have the basic knowledge of gun safety (i.e. don't point at anyone, regardless if loaded or not, etc.)
 

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Plunk,

First things first...welcome friend to Gunatics.
Second I am so very happy things worked out for you in that you were not harmed or your property damaged.

I read your posting twice and I've got a lot of feedback for you.
Unfortunately I'm waiting on a client to patch me in on a scheduled con-call.
I'll come back tonight with counterpoint, comments, ideas, and...it's time to head over to Walmart and load up on some ammo for that shotty.

There are other things and procedures to put into place as well.
Nothing on the level of OMG they gunna git me paranoia or anything.
Just sensible, simple, and practical procedures & methods to put in place toward the worst. Kind of like how you have auto insurance, wear your seatbelt, have smoke & fire detectors, and wear a condom and/or use the pill.
Nothing more than measures to protect yourself, plan and simple.

I'll be back as will no doubt many other fellow Gunatics...

- Janq

"Violence is everywhere." - City Councilman and Fmr. D.C. Mayor Marion Barry at a press conference toward his January '06 mugging by two persons with a firearm within his own personal residence
 

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Welcome to Gunatics Plunk10!

I'm happy to hear that all worked out so far.

Sounds like you have a reasonably good grounding for a gun owner. Only you can decide if a handgun is best for your personal needs. Pros are that it is easy to bring into action, easy to tote around, and easy to keep concealed if necessary. Cons are a general lack of stopping power compared to a long gun.

If you do decide to keep a handgun for home defense, make sure you get at least a minimum amount of handgun training, and hopefully more. Every person has a right to defend themselves in their homes with the most efficient tools possible, which is right and just and the way it should be. However, the last thing the gun owning community needs is a rambo blasting away without regard to their own or other's safety.

So start with something like the NRA Basic Pistol course, which gives you a basic level of familiarity with safe handgun handling and operation, and go from there. And DEFINITELY become very very familiar with your state's laws regarding self defense in general, and as it relates to your domicile. Some states demand that you retreat if at all possible, other states allow you to shoot anyone on your property without saying anything, and there is a whole range in-between.

Personally, I have a loaded handgun in a quick-access safe in a somewhat central location in the house, so at full tilt I can have it in operation in at most, 15 seconds. Keeping it in a quick-access safe lets you keep it loaded, safe from children and dumb adults, and prevents theft somewhat.

To expand on what Janq mentioned is overall home security.. a handgun is an absolute last resort for any type of conflict, and it is far better on the pocketbook and memories to defuse things before anyone gets to enter your front door. A couple of things you can do quickly and easily is install motion sensitive lights around entrances and possible traffic areas. If you have any bushes big enough to hide a grown human, trim them back so they cannot. Even grabbing a fake alarm company sign and placing it on the front yard will provide a level of passive defense. These 3 cheap and easy things to do can deter a large percentage of bad things that can potentially happen.

The key is to get your neighbor's house to be a more attractive target than yours is. ;)

Anyway, that all said, you might want to pick up a handgun anyway simply for the fun of it at the range..... Target shooting is a blast!
 

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Jamz offers really good advice. Plus keep in mind, at least one person knows you have a shotgun in the house.
If you don't have a safe, you may look at a cheap safe.

A shotgun makes a good home defense weapon. I think most Gunatics have one for their own home defense. Plus nothing instills fear like the sound of a pump shotgun.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. This gives me some homework to do. (gotta check the MD laws). What kind of law would I be searching for? I'm not so sure how to check the books.

Also, I need to consider a cheap safe that holds a shotgun. Anyone have a recommendation?

Also, I was considering a handgun before, as I agree, they would be fun to take to a target range. I already enjoy skeet/trap shooting, and I'm sure using a handgun is an entirely different animal.

A friend was recommending a revolver. Again, I hardly know anything about handguns.
 

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A pistol is a fiiiiine tool that can help you out in life if use properly.

There are revolvers, and there are autos.

Autos are pistols like Glocks, HKs, Sigs, etc. I use a Glock 21 for home defense (as well as a shotgun). On my Glock 21 I have a laser/light mounted on it which helps in weird situations. The laser is such a helpful tool in a panic situation where target aquistion is very important. The light also helps to illuminate the said person. Both are very intimidating when you're on the other end. The Glock 21 shoots .45ACP which is a pretty big slow moving bullet. I use hollowpoints for home defense.

The reason I use this Auto pistol is because it fits my hands well, it's very reliable (Glock reliability), it can shoot a lot of bullets out of a single magazine, and it's pretty damn accurate.

Everyone is different! EVERYONE! So what I suggest you do is go down to the shooting range, rent a few pistols that you might be interested in (perhaps ones we suggest for you), and pick the one that fits you the best... You'll know right away which one you shoot the best with.

So my recommendation for you is the Glock 21, that is if your hands are decent size. Glock recently came out with a slim grip Glock 21, same pistol, but the grip is a bit slimmer for smaller hands.


So yeah, there's pistol #1 for you to try. It's .45acp which is a GREAT defensive round. Much better than 9mm, and I think everyone will agree with me on that.

(For a G21 you're looking to spend around $550)
 

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I have a Ruger 357 as one of my home defense guns. A magnum wheel gun can be awfully intimidating. But unless you are a good shot, then the shotgun is better. You may want to look into a pistol caliber carbine like a Ruger pc9 or pc40, Keltec SUB 2000 or such. You have the better control and sighting of a long gun, but not the penetration of a rifle which creates issues of safety and liability.
 

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Well Plunk, glad everything is O.K. so far.

I have to agree with just about everything posted so far, all very good advice...but the one piece of advice I didn't see, go to a range where you can try as many different handguns as possible before you buy. 3 main things you are really going to want to be looking at when buying are:
1. How does it fit your hand - If it doesn't fit your hands well then you're not going to be comfy shooting it, also you want it to fit right for point-ability (real word? don't know). Most self defence shooting is done well under 20 feet, so a lot is point and shoot, something to get comfy with at the range.
2. Reliability - you want a firearm that's going to shoot EVERY TIME you pull the trigger
3. Stopping power - you want a firearm that's going to produce sufficient force to stop the threat as quickly as possible, you don't want a 9mm with FMJ rounds punching small holes though the target, you want a round that's going to expand very quickly and maintain as much of its weight as possible (self defence rounds are made for this)

Hope this help and good luck!
 

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Draken said:
Well Plunk, glad everything is O.K. so far.

I have to agree with just about everything posted so far, all very good advice...but the one piece of advice I didn't see, go to a range where you can try as many different handguns as possible before you buy.

Hope this help and good luck!



brucelee said:
So what I suggest you do is go down to the shooting range, rent a few pistols that you might be interested in (perhaps ones we suggest for you), and pick the one that fits you the best... You'll know right away which one you shoot the best with.

I said it!
 

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Draken said:
3. Stopping power - you want a firearm that's going to produce sufficient force to stop the threat as quickly as possible, you don't want a 9mm with FMJ rounds punching small holes though the target, you want a round that's going to expand very quickly and maintain as much of its weight as possible (self defence rounds are made for this)

9mm FMJ will put a target down. It is just as lethal as anything else. It is shot placement, wound cavity, in THAT order of importance when it comes to taking someone down. A huge ass hole in someone's arm isn't as deadly as a round through their pump or a round to the dome.

IMO people that talk about 9mm being a wussy round or incapable of stopping someone should put it to the test.

It is more about energy transfer than it is about "Stopping power" (which doesn't really exist, and makes you sound ignorant of wound ballistics when you say it).

Most deaths from gun shot wounds are from blood loss. It doesn't matter if it is internal bleeding because the round transfered so much energy and created enough hydrostatic shock to crush yer innards or if you have an 8" exit wound.
 

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9mm works fine as long as its good ammo. The issue with 9mm putting someone down is not that it wont do it, it just wont to it quickly with FMJ ammo and a shot to anything but the heart or brain(head shots are bad since you can be looked at as wanting to kill them instead of defend yourself. It just shows intent which is bad in hippie laden areas). The key is the transfer of kinetic energy in your target as much as shot placement. FMj 9mm tends to go through the target and keep going, hence not expending energy in the target, and not creating a large enough hole to compensate for it. Your defense ammo makes sure the bullet swells, thus encountering more resistance, hence expending its energy in the target. All good things.
 

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The Ghoul said:
9mm FMJ will put a target down. It is just as lethal as anything else. It is shot placement, wound cavity, in THAT order of importance when it comes to taking someone down. A huge ass hole in someone's arm isn't as deadly as a round through their pump or a round to the dome.

IMO people that talk about 9mm being a wussy round or incapable of stopping someone should put it to the test.

It is more about energy transfer than it is about "Stopping power" (which doesn't really exist, and makes you sound ignorant of wound ballistics when you say it).

Most deaths from gun shot wounds are from blood loss. It doesn't matter if it is internal bleeding because the round transfered so much energy and created enough hydrostatic shock to crush yer innards or if you have an 8" exit wound.
I never once said a 9mm is a "wussy" round, was just using the 9mm FMJ as an example of a not so good home defence round. Hell, my first reach HD firearm is my Ruger P89DC 9mm with some 95 grain HPs, lower level of the house and want all energy spent as soon as possible, and I fully trust the ability of those rounds to take down anyone coming into my house with a well placed shot.

The way a lot of people I know think of stopping power is how much of the bullet weight is retained, the muzzle energy, and how far does it penetrate ballistic gel...Yes, I agree, there is no single way to measure stopping power, and I always assume center of mass shot placement. Now we all know thats perfect world and that almost never happens.

And finally to Brucelee..Sorry man, missed that :)
 

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plunk10 said:
Greetings gunatics. I was hoping I'd never have the need to own a handgun, but after last night, I think there may be justification to protect myself and the house.

OK. First some background. I live in a suburban neighborhood that has always been a fairly quiet area. However, my house is located on the main road, and has a very visible wraparound driveway (relative's business, his trucks are parked in the back w/tools and such). Down the street about a mile, some might consider the area a mild "ghetto". I'm not talking southeast DC, but there's constantly folks walking up and down the street. More recently, the street walking folks have started walking past my house fairly frequently (at least one or two loners per night walk by). I'm pretty sure there's probably drug activity going on at a nearby house that I cannot pinpoint. Maybe once every 2 or 3 months, someone will knock on my door to beg for money. After telling them no, they'll disappear. No big deal, but a slight pain in the ass.

Well, that brings me to last night. Just after sunset (not even pitch black yet), I'm in the kitchen grabbing utensils to dig into some tasty home cookin' and I hear a noise. There are two guys behind my house arguing. Expletives flying all around. I look out, to see them both kinda chasing each other around my car :confused: . I step outside and ask what the eff they are doing in my backyard. One starts mouthing off to me, and starts charging toward me, reaching in his pocket. The other guy then clobbers him in the back. I run back inside, grab the blade, and dig for the shotgun. Finding the shotgun (unloaded) I walk back outside (shaking like a leaf mind you), and see one of the guys running. The one that charged me earlier started stepping back saying "c'mon man, nobody needs to get hurt" etc. as he slowly heads toward the street. I'm almost in tears of anger just shouting to get the hell off of my property. For the record the gun is not being pointed at anyone. For the first time in a while, I truly was fearing for the life of the girlfriend, and myself.

This leads to the question. Should I consider purchasing a handgun to keep in an easy to locate area of the house? I was REAL nervous about having my shotgun unloaded, as the other guy could have easily started shooting. But at the same time, I don't want to hurt anyone else, and definetely don't want any trouble. If I had a handgun, I would certainly go to the gun range and learn how to use it properly. The shotgun isn't nearly as convenient in a "need it now" situation. Also, in case anyone wonders, I did take a hunter safety course as a young teen, and have hunted waterfowl for most of my teenage life, so I already have the basic knowledge of gun safety (i.e. don't point at anyone, regardless if loaded or not, etc.)
if people came near my house begging for money 2 to 3 times a month.... i definitly be worried stiff...

THEN 2 random people arguing in your backyard and one reaches for his pocket.... come on...

definitely get a fence... if you cant then i would really consider these 2 factors as more than enough reason to get a handgun...

stay safe bro
 

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DontTreadOnMe said:
if people came near my house begging for money 2 to 3 times a month.... i definitly be worried stiff...

THEN 2 random people arguing in your backyard and one reaches for his pocket.... come on...

definitely get a fence... if you cant then i would really consider these 2 factors as more than enough reason to get a handgun...

stay safe bro

Fuck the fence! Get a WALL!
 

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The 12g shotgun is a GREAT home defence weapon.

If you are going to get a handgun, most will recommend a .45 or magnum round.

.45, 10mm (magnum auto), 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum.

What ever you purchase, make sure you have a working knowlege of the weapon, an easily available place to store it, and practice, practice, practice.
 

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brucelee said:
Fuck the fence! Get a WALL!
Definitely make it taller that 6'. I speak from very recent experience when I say that 6' just isn't enough. I can think of at least 3 different ways to get over, one of which takes less than 3 seconds (probably closer to 2, I didn't get my exact time). 7' will easily triple or quadruple that time by limiting the methods to getting over it.
 
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