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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to this site and am picking up a ton of information ( faster than I can process it all ! )
I'm looking for suggestions for a home defense handgun. My carry weapon is a .38 spec S&W 642 which is also my home defense gun currently. From reading here I see that opinions vary so I'm just looking for some thoughts before I purchase my next gun. I'm mostly trying to decide if a .45, .40 or .357 is the best buy.
( I have 9m and .32 and really want to add to my collection as well ).
I use +P ammo in my .38 , but have seen a few different thoughts here regarding the best home defense ammo. ( hollow point Vs semi wad cutter).
I've been shooting for about 50 years (since about 8 years old) but only in the past couple of years when I retired did I decide to get my carry permit and become more serious about really learning about more than the couple of guns my dad gave me....So I'm trying to catch up on what I should long ago have learned ! I'd appreciate any suggestions.
 

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For strictly a HD gun that you're not going to try and conceal - your options are pretty much wide open. Some feel that for familiarity reasons you should stick to one gun or one type of gun for both.

I personally use my Glock 39 for both ccw and HD, but that's basically because its my only practical choice for HD for the current time. Actually my ideal HD gun wouldn't be a pistol at all. It would be an Remington 870 with an 18" barrel - Fixed Cyc or I/C choke. Magazine extension - some sort of tactical stock, sling, with a light.
 

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As mentioned, the best home defense gun is a long gun, whether a shotgun or carbine chambered for a pistol cartridge doesn't matter much. A long gun is much easier to learn to shoot well and has a much higher hit ratio than a handgun in typical hands. Their downfall is manueverability in tight places such as going around corners and through doorways. In any event, I would not put a sling on any long gun for use in the home as the sling has a nasty habit of catching on things such as doorknobs, being in the way of loading or plain handling the gun, and there is no real need or use for one, after all, you aren't going to be marching in formation several miles with the gun.
As a home gun, what you have now is probably more than adequate, a 38 Spl snub nose that one practices regularly with stoked with 110 gr hollow points (either +P or not) is a pretty good combination. On the whole, a hollow point bullet is the best choice as a defensive round as it is supposed to expand and deliver more of its energy on the target. A semi-wadcutter is designed for deep penetration which is accomplished by not expanding. It is also designed to cut neater holes in paper targets for ease of scoring than a round nose bullet. The 9mm with 115 or 124 gr hollow points it feeds well is also a very good option and one you currently have.
As for any future purchases, any of the ones you are looking at (45, 40, and 357) would be fine though maybe not substantially "better" than what you currently have from a chambering perspective. Whether 45 ACP, 40 S&W, 357 SIG, or 357 mag, the ammo costs will be pretty comparable, "stopping" ability is very similar, and the choice of caliber mostly coming down to the style of gun you want or vice versa as the 357 is mostly a revolver round while the others are mostly semi-auto rounds. Except for the 357 SIG, I currently have or have used all the ones mentioned above and feel they would make a good choice for your expressed purpose. This doesn't narrow things down but it is the best I can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help.... I agree that a long gun would be optimum, but it also isn't practical for me at this time either ( my long gun safe is difficult to get to in a hurry)...I remember " back in the day" when just about everyone kept a shotgun behind the bedroom door !

Again, thanks for the info ...
 

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The "FBI Load" for 38 Spl. is 158 gr. LSWC-HP hollowpoint and +P loading.

The nice thing about a .357 mag is that they shoot 38 Spl. It's serious defense, but what you have is serious defense.

I recently got a Springfield XD "Tactical" (5" bbl) 45 ACP. This features the "compact grip" -- two mag lengths/capacities. One is short, 10 rd, and provides a short grip for CCW. The other is longer, 13 rd. and extends the grip length about 1 1/2".

I put a Glock GTL 21 laser on the rail. This makes the gun function nearly like a very compact shotgun. I put the red dot on the target and pull the trigger. Laser allows you to keep your eyes on the target -- AND you can keep the dot on the target without having to line up a sight picture.

Long gun for defense -- That's the preferred option. My nephew just bought a Rem. 870 and uses a cable bore lock to secure it. The lock runs through the ejection port and out the bottom of the load gate.

I'm not a big fan of the 40 Smith. I reload, and it's complicated to reload. Mostly though I think I resent picking up 40 Smith cases on the range, thinking they're 45 ACP.

The design concept on the 40 Smith is to put 45 ACP ballistics in a 9mm frame size gun. Law enforcement was looking for a more potent round than the service 9mm -- which was bouncing off streamlined windshields.

The 40 fills the bill and the 9mm frame size results in a gun that can be gripped by women with smaller hands.

The 40 Smith works, but if you're looking at 40 Smith, you may as well get a 45 ACP and have all the ballistic options of a 45 ACP that the 40 can't meet. 45 ACP provides a larger dia bullet, heavier, and at the upper end of the load range, more energy to the target.

In the nightstand I have a Smith & Wesson Mod. 629, N Frame, 44 mag, stainless. 4" barrel. I can carry it as a side arm. I can "download" or shoot 44 Spl. loads for a faster follow-up shot.

Hands down for home defense it's hard to beat.
 

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Well, you carry a revolver, so why not use a revolver for home defense? You will probably be just as well off using your carry 642 as your home defense gun, but then you don't get to buy a new gun, and we can't have that. I say get a .357 Magnum revolver. Something like a Ruger GP100 with a 4" barrel or a K frame Smith with a similar length barrel.

http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAFamily?type=Revolver&subtype=Double Action&famlst=8

I don't know what the deal is with Smith & Wesson's website. Every time I try to link to it to show someone what revolver I am talking about, the sight is down. Anyhow if you want an auto, then I see no reason not to go with a .45 ACP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: re: Best choice for home defense

killerb said:
Well, you carry a revolver, so why not use a revolver for home defense? You will probably be just as well off using your carry 642 as your home defense gun, but then you don't get to buy a new gun, and we can't have that. I say get a .357 Magnum revolver. Something like a Ruger GP100 with a 4" barrel or a K frame Smith with a similar length barrel.

http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAFamily?type=Revolver&subtype=Double Action&famlst=8

I don't know what the deal is with Smith & Wesson's website. Every time I try to link to it to show someone what revolver I am talking about, the sight is down. Anyhow if you want an auto, then I see no reason not to go with a .45 ACP.

Ha ! You actually hit the nail on the head..... If I use only my 642 I don't get to buy a new gun ( no fun in that ! ) The 642 still stays close by, but I couldn't resist a deal I got on a Kimber Ultra Carry II with Crimson Trace ....so now I have my .45 .... I also wanted another 9mm since my only one was my Luger and I don't want to shoot it so often....So I got the Ruger SR 9....really nice ! You can go through a lot of 9mm in a hurry !
 

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I would go with a double action Ruger stainless revolver with a 4 inch barrel in 357 magnum. You just point and shoot, no safety to fumble with, no misfires or jams to clear. If 6 rounds of 125 gr 357 isn't enough then you're in deep ****.
 

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12 guage for me, mossburg with 7 ready to go 00 buck and .38 +p with crimson trace for wife with a stinger flashlight for me and maglight for her...that's just the bedroom :wink:
I'm a believer in having a weapon "hidden" in plain sight near our primary spots in home.
1. bedroom
2. living room
3. den
4. bathroom (l like to read) :oops:
 

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OK, you already have a good HD gun. I'm sure your 9mm is probably a good carry gun, so now you need something to shoot just for fun.

I'd go with a good .357. First of all, three types and power loads of ammo: .38 Sp., .38+P, and .357 mag. It makes a great target gun and plinker with .38s, and the +P and mag loads for serious stuff. Great for a woods gun, too. With the right barrel length you can hunt with it. Probably the best all-round cartridge out there.

For a single action fun gun, go Ruger.
For double action, S&W.
 

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Re: re: Best choice for home defense

rmarcustrucker said:
12 guage for me, mossburg...
He's right, if you do enough reading/research you find the best home defense is really a scatter gun. The only reason we all use a pistol for our ccw is because its too hard to conceal a shotty or m4, etc. Go over to Shotgunworld.com and checkout the "basement," tactical shotguns. After much research my last purchase, for home defense, was the Mossberg 590, it's amazing.

At home you don't have to conceal it so might as well step up to the scatter gun. As it has been said many times before, a short gun, handgun, is used to fight your way to your long gun, shotgun/rifle, that either wasn't handy OR that you should have never left to begin with :shock:
 
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