You are thinking of getting a firearm for personal protection. There are two parts to personal defense. Your home (castle keep) and where you go. The bulk of discussions on the web about carry firearms border more on calibers, actions and a ton of opinions by some who have never been in a situation, or the training to handle a situation.
This is important, to certain types of people who consider opinions gospel, but it is in the second tier of consideration. The first tier is your qualifications and needs.
A hit with a .380 is taken more seriously than a miss with a .45, though a 230-grain ball .45 whizzing within hearing range 6-10 inches from the brain or hitting something close might deter anything or anybody. Racking a Remington 870 has a similar effect on the libido of a perp.
The best one yet and he tried marketing it…an enterprising individual has a flash recorder hooked to his home alarm, motion detectors and the house intercom. When it switches to night safe mode it is not a doorbell anymore. It goes into safety mode and blurts out "Welcome intruder, 870 rack, 870 rack, the police have been called, a large dog growls and then states you are now fair game". He was a sound technician at Disney and knows how to create these things. I prefer a thirty-eight special in an indoor urban development, and it can be lethal and controllable, more so than an AR.
With 24 hours in the day, eight of those hours might be spent in your bed asleep, eight out of your house at work, and the last eight, eating, shopping, movies, or other activities. For the AR to be functional , you need advance warning, remove the locks since kids are in the house, remove it from its case. Slam a clip home and charge it. You will lose because of not having an early warning system. For “ castle Keep” a good alarm system and/or a large unfriendly trained Pit Bull or my preference a friend has is a Rottweiler.
The Rottweiler is powerful, calm, trainable, courageous and devoted to its owner and family. Loyal and protective, it will defend its family fiercely if needed, seemingly immune to pain. This breed needs an owner who is strong minded, calm, but firm and able to handle this dog’s massive size. The Rottweiler is a docile, natural guard dog with a laid-back, reliable temperament.
Another thought, is some of the home defense weapons are really offensive weapons. You are unlikely to keep an AR-15 loaded by your bed and ready to "rock and roll". I have seen demos where the AR was almost as fast as the M-16 for intensive and defensive purposes. Remember adrenaline can do funny things to you. And their maybe kids behind that drywall.
And do you want high speed .223's flying through your house in a panic defense posture. Remember it was the unstableness of the .223 round when it hits something like flesh that does the damage. I would rather have for the money, two carry guns with two trained adults, proper flashlights and range time properly adhered to.
My friend has the KEL-TEC, great for those weight conscious bike riders. TREK bike trails. We have parts of the trail, that I feel most comfortable having it with me. And thats not a water bottle, its Mace. In groups, many of us carry, I don't care as long as we stick together. I do carry, it's a good area, but we have had incidences warranting self defense. On one occasion, two kids with knives threatened a man and his wife on our trail. You don't do that to a former Army Ranger. They didn’t need the police, however, they needed the ambulance for the numerous broken bones and cuts they incurred. Score one for the good guys. See the Kel-Tec Page.
My medium winter carry is my Glock 27 for all around under jacket or shirt carry and most occasions. Light in a Galco paddle and a shoulder rig. Reliable, small profile and ported by BOB. See the GLOCK page.
A Simple Mossberg, Remington, Benelli Nova Tactical Pump - My defense load. 2#6’s, followed by 2#1’s or Buckshot, followed by a one ounce sabot type slug. The theory, two work well, two more heavier do better and the sabot with rifle rounds will take out his gas tank or a tiger. A Sumatran Tiger who I am very familiar with had gotten out of one of our local zoos, and was about to attack the Veterinarian Zoo Keeper when it was put down with large shotgun rounds.
For the gals, you don’t need the 357 potential for close defense. See the SP-101 Page
Carpenters have tools and can be easily spotted in Home depot saturday a.m. But they know how to use their tools and have a working knowledge of what each individual tool can do. This comes from experience and sometimes a lot of trial and error. But an errant nail hitting a junction box, or a shoddy build can only be repaired by another person with skills. A mis-placed or errant bullet might not.
The concealed personal defense weapon really has to be part of you, your circumstance, and your abilities. It has to fit your lifestyle, be concealable, reliable and accurate for it’s intended purpose, which is a defensive position. Note lately the emphasis on understanding the "stand your ground law".
You are to learn to defend yourself and those dear to you, it is not to be used as a house-clearing weapon, unless it is your job, nor are you ready to join the battling bastards of the Bastogne Forrest or the scenic IUD laden rolling hills of Afghanistan. Only Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone can do those wonderful stunts you see on TV.
It has been written a thousand times it is something you hope you will never have to use for its intended purpose. Years ago I wrote a piece about what I call positioning in URBAN ENVIRONMENTS and I developed a chain of rules to prevent “bad things from happening”.
1) You must be completely be familiar with it, keeping it clean, dry lubed and fully operational. That means the same drills as for IPSC, IDPA, Combat Shooting Clubs, and other courses of fire. Strong hand, weak hand, multiple targets, double tap etc.
2) It must fit you and be controllable, comfortable to carry and easy to shoot. No sense in a high-energy situation having a weapon that’s not right for you. My IPSC firearms have three-pound triggers but my carries have five, or more because adrenalin makes Superman out of all of us.
3) It must be concealable and subjective to the law. Sufficient to do the job and equally sufficient to deter it’s use and that means a clear understanding of the law. States vary on the use of deadly force. When they say the criminals get a better deal with the law than you do, believe it. See how many of them are out on the street.
4) The decision to carry a gun should be made if you understand all these rules. That means practice and familiarity so the process to defend yourself, if needed is automatic, in its use, but the decisions to use it are clearly in your mind. It’s a two-part program, clear thinking and decision, step one, and “full performance” if needed, step two. “Full performance” is a working tool combined with proper discipline and guidance.
5) Many in a street fight had wished they brought their Kalashnikov along. The answer is, a weapon is as good as the practice put into it to make the shooter “one with the weapon”.