I'm planning on buying my first gun soon for home defense. I narrowed my options down to a pump-action shotgun or a 4" .357 dual-action revolver. I think I'll probably get the shotgun now and may revisit the revolver at a later date. I've seen lots of recommendations for the Remington 870. For those in the know, does that sound like a reasonable choice in an 18" barrel?

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Both would be good to have. It's a lot easier to sleep with a revolver than a shotgun, and that's what I have within reach at night, a .357. I put glow-in-the-dark paint on the sights. It is absolutely reliable, nothing to go wrong, and at the same time very safe, even if I am half-asleep. If you live with people, you don't want to blast thru a wall with a shotgun and accidentally and hit them. You could do that with the .357 too, but it would be less likely to hit somebody at least. Just depends on the situation. I'm not in a dangerous situation so I don't bother with more than the hand-gun, but I can see why somebody might want the shotgun too. The sound of a shot-gun pump in the dark is the scariest sound in the world, so it's got that going for it.
Hi Don. I haven't shot it for a while, but I think that's the good thing about a revolver--no thinking involved. I've had it for a long time. I do have .357 rounds in it, and you know now that you mention it I have never shot it in the dark--that would be interesting, I'll have to do that. I have a 9mm Beretta that is much more fun to shoot, but I would never depend on that unless I used it every day and was totally used to it. You're right, being cool enough in the situation to get them where you need them would be the challenge.

I have a S&W Airlite .38 special that shoots +p+ rounds--that is a very cool gun (I think, some people don't like it)--it weighs like 7 oz, internal hammer, and it fits in my pocket (if my pants are loose enough), but that thing sucks to shoot! It's incredibly painful. But it's good to carry around when paranoid.
Everybody hates my Airlite! I would never shoot anybody with it unless they were actually touching me or close enough to, so I don't figure I really need to practice with it. It's got a massively heavy trigger pull, but I'm sure adrenaline would make it feel a lot lighter. I'm never going to shoot anybody by accident with it, that's for sure. Really you never saw a tinier, more concealable gun with that power, that's why it's cool. And the lack of hammer makes it fit in the pocket so well.

The .357 is a S&W with a 6 inch barrel.

It's not the reliability of the automatic that I'm worried about, it's the reliability of the operator. The beretta is really nice, so fast, but realistically there is no way I'm going to practice enough to be proficient with it in the middle of the night, and I would worry too much about an accident. I can see why a professional would want to use one, but they can practice every day. (Actually I do have one of those practice air pistols that's exactly like the beretta that I could shoot in the house, so I don't completely have an excuse, but still, I just don't mess with it enough.)

Thanks for the advice. I guess it's just a compromise, better to have something to use even if ideally something else might be better. Someday when I retire and have more time I'll shoot more and not have to get used to things again every time I pick them up. That .357, I've had it so long, it's just easy and comfortable. (I need to try night shooting with the .357 rounds! That was a good idea.)
A shorter barrel like the very short Airlite? ;-) The centennial looks exactly the same but twice as heavy.

That would be a dumb bad guy to grab the barrel of a gun.
Dumb and dead, I mean.

Don I just don't see why I need to practice with a revolver, that's the benefit of them. I'll probably never shoot that Airlite again, or only rarely, just if somebody wants to see how much it sucks to shoot.
Interesting. I think I hit cans (some of them) at about six yards (with the Airlite). And it was like ten degrees F outside. The .357, I could do better with.

I'm not saying practice is bad, but since I just don't do it much, that's why I prefer the revolvers for defense.

I sure hope I never have to do that for real. I did save myself with a shotgun onetime, but I didn't have to shoot it--the sight of it was enough. Hard to keep a shotgun handy all the time tho, and too dangerous.
See, it's stuff like that that makes you realize that the people who want to take our guns away are almost as dangerous as those we actually may need to defend ourselves against.

My drunken ex (armed with a knife) knew I had a gun, so he was more cautious than he would have been otherwise, yet he still broke the window and tried to get in. Seeing the gun even in the state he was in made him change his mind. (That was a 12 guage from my Dad too. Those can come in handy.)
vjack, you might consider the Taurus Judge as a possible answer. As a shotgun revolver its easy to secure and get into play as well as fire when needed. Loaded with .410 #9 (or whatever you may favor) its a great home defense weapon for those in the 'burbs and/or with kids in the other room (good stopping power in the home, minimal wall penetration). Its heavy enough to handle well even with the big boom it makes (which helps to frighten off the BG all by itself). And although it will fire 45 long colt (which is fun) that's not a great home defense round unless you have a LOT of home and land to cover - in which case you can load a couple shotshells and a few rounds of 45LC as well.
Roger that, but vjack asked about home defense and not self defense. I find there to be a distinction and personally believe that a few rounds of 410 #9 will be a very effective deterrent against an intruder, particularly if said discharge is at or near the intruder's eye level. Given that I have close-by neighbors I would prefer not to penetrate my home's walls - or theirs - and the 410 seems well suited for that. Lastly, the revolver format of the Judge is a bit easier (imho) to present and operate from a bedstand. About the only thing that would be nice to add would be the racking sound of a pump action... still, Taurus is not stellar in their quality and the Judge has a few documented flaws - - but this is just a reply for consideration, and not necessarily the right answer for all.
I'm a tool geek, so my view is, whatever tool does the job for you, feels right (ergonomically) in the hand, and works with you to get tight clusters and accurate single shots in extensive practice is the right firearm for you. Nothing out of the box can guarantee that; the ultimate variable is the shooter. Buying a firearm doesn't make a person a marksman any more than buying a sport bike makes them a motorcyclist, buying land makes them a farmer, or buying a backpack makes them a hiker.

I wouldn't have a shotgun for home protection, but that's me--I prefer precision and control to firepower. As I've worked through scenarios and practiced drawing, it feels a lot easier to not tip my hand that I'm carrying or reaching for a Sig P225 or P6 if confronted with such a situation than it would be with a larger firearm. I also don't wish to have different tools for personal protection at home and in my daily life outside it, and wish to build skill with that one tool. Hence the compact pistols. My views may change over time, but that's where I am at present.

People often bend my arm about "firepower," "stopping power," etc., but I still go with skill over size. Physics forbid I'd ever need ballistics to stay alive...but if so, I'm betting that I could do all the tissue disruption necessary with three magazines of eight 9-mm rounds and years of practice.

One last thing: I have never assumed that my firearms alone would constitute my means of self-, home, or loved one defense. There is no guarantee that ANY firearm or weapon will stop an aggressor cold/immediately 100% of the time. Adrenaline does odd things to bodies, in situations of extreme confrontation.

But then I do tend to go for more complicated answers in all parts of my life. :>

Thanks for listening.

According to a cop I know the best gun to get for home defense is the snubnosed revolver. The reasons he said it's the best is 1) they're cheap so there's always one in a gun shop, 2)the rounds are easy to get from anywhere, and 3)for personal security you don't need long range weapons which would waste the firepower and you probably wouldn't need more than 6 rounds at a time anyway.
I bought my first gun today, a Remington 870 12 gauge.




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