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I traded in an old Remington 1100 standard barrel that I got in a garage sale about 15 years ago for 100 bucks. The gun shop is willing to give me 250 dollars credit. I am looking for a home defense/backpacking pistol for my wife and I. They had a Grendel P-12 there for 180. Is this a reliable self defense gun? Is it a good carry gun?
 

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Not all that familiar with them, but I believe they're only available in .380 Auto (9mm Kurtz).... not a caliber I would consider for your intended use. .38 Spl or 9x19 is really the starting point.

Also, I've not been that impressed with the few Grendels that I've seen....never seen a 12 though, just a couple 10s.... they're not as bad as the Davis and its cheap kin, but I'd not call them a really quality firearm, either.

For whatever use, if your wife isn't a "gun person", go straight to a DA revolver and forget the autoloaders. Just point it and pull the trigger.... the refined process of Single Action firing can come later. Check out a Ruger SP-101 in .357 Mag with a 3" barrel.... packs a heck of a punch, but you can shoot mild .38s as well. Built like a little Sherman Tank, and all Stainless, so getting it wet isn't going to give you a heart attack. Going street price NIB is $375-$400, and a really clean used one would be $300-$325.
 
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