Most of us already know about women being told to use their car-keys against an attacker in the advent of an emergency situation on the street. That is a good example of anything can be a weapon.
For our homes, hopefully we're a little more prepared than that. But before choosing "the best" weapon for you, you have to look at your living situation.
If you have a lot of kids coming and going at all hours of the day and night like a bus terminal, than your choices are extremely limited simply because you might not know if the person coming in the door is your kid or not.
I know someone who once lost his house key and decided to climb in through a window to get in. His wife almost made herself a widow because she was ready to shoot at the very moment that he finally realized that his wife was standing there with a gun in her hand.
And of course, there is the case of the husband who likes to stay out drinking with the boys till late before coming home. If he's one of these guys who sees no reason in announcing himself as he's stumbling in the door, he could have a problem waiting for him inside. And no ladies, no matter how mad you are, you can't shoot him just because you might really want to!
Other limiting factors are things such as if you live in an apartment or have roommates who come and go for example. So before figuring out what we need, we really have to assess our needs and choices.
As for living in an apartment, I'll be real frank and say that I think a small caliber pistol is the best defensive weapon in the way of firearm. Because of the concern about a round going through a wall and entering a neighbor's apartment, I think that that concern can be minimized with a small caliber firearm such as a .38 revolver and the right kind of ammo. And yes, ammo manufacturers actually make ammo these days that are designed to reduce travel upon impact.
For example, "frangible" ammo is designed for use at close quarters to reduce the danger of ricochet.
One "frangible" ammo type is the "Glaser Safety Slug" which is designed for self defense in conditions where others might be injured by standard bullets, and they have a proven track record for safety.
The bullet design can produce large shallow wounds in flesh while failing to pass through structural barriers thicker than drywall or sheet metal. These qualities make it less likely to strike unintended targets, such as people in another room during an indoor shooting. Also, when it strikes a hard surface from which a solid bullet would glance off, it fragments into tiny, light pieces and creates much less ricochet danger.
You see, while a pistol and a shotgun are great for close quarters when someone is breaking in the back door -- and a shotgun will give you some range and a wider pattern -- I need to have a rifle in case a predator is after my livestock.
While I don't own one, I have been trained in the use of an M16 rifle. The civilian version is the AR15 rifle. I am not against owning one, I just have others that I prefer over an AR15. And even though that's the case for me, I really believe that the AR15 can be a good home defense weapon in rural areas. But frankly, I really don't think that I'd use one in an urban setting.
The problem that I have with citizens using an AR15 in urban settings is the exact same problem that I have with law enforcement officers using an AR15 in urban settings -- bullet travel and lousy training.
And yes, the weapon that won the West was the American shotgun. That shotgun, which was handed down from generation to generation in most American families, was used for hunting small game, birds, and family defense. Back then, as is the case today, a person with a shotgun didn't need a lot of practice to learn to hit what they aimed at, and shotgun were not complicated to use.
Like the 911 operator, an alarm system is of absolutely no use when you have a violent criminal breaking down your door.
Shame on you if you have nothing to protect yourself or your family with. The basic solution to that problem is to get a gun. And if you're uncomfortable using a pistol, get a shotgun. The Mossberg 500 would be a good choice.
Criminals don’t like guns when they are used against them. And yes, it is absolutely true that they don't like the sound of pump shotgun chambering a round and getting ready for business. Frankly, the racking of a pump shotgun speaks an international language which can be enough to deter even the most hardened of criminals.
And yes, Home Defense means Family Defense!
While I'm partial to pump action shotguns like the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870, a side-by-side shotgun may be easier and less complicated for some folks.
Fumbling with safeties or a slide release can put you in danger. For that reason, as much as I like the pump action shotgun, the old standby side-by-side shotgun may be a better choice for some folks. But, either way you go, training is important.
As for prices? I believe a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun can be had for under $400. Stoeger side-by-sides are about the same price.
A good quality .357 magnum revolver, such as a Ruger SP101 cost about $700 while a Smith & Wesson Model 60 will run around $800.
The .30-30 Marlin Model 336 lever-action rifle, which of course is a great deer rifle, will run you about $500. The Marlin 1895 lever-action rifle in .45-70, which is a great bear rifle, will probably set you back around $700. A basic AR15 is running between $1000 and $1200 these days.
Of course, shop around for deals just like anything else. Also, watch for when they're on sale and you can safe a lot of money!
So all in all, as you can see, if you need to have a shotgun sitting in the back of a closet or over a door, a pistol in a drawer out of the reach of children yet accessible for quick recovery, a rifle in the back of the door for that midnight prowling big cat, you have options.
It's all a matter of wanting peace of mind in the event trouble comes your way. And yes, the guns shown above would be my choices to pick from.
Good luck with making your choice.