Some things to consider when looking for firearms: I am going to take this in chunks so please bear with me, but I need to set a base line for you to start from. First off realize that there is no right or wrong only what is right and wrong for you. Think of it as a Chevy / Ford question. Some people are Chevy people and some people are Ford people and some people are Prius people. The first thing you have to get out of your mind, though, is that bigger is better. Several well placed shots with a .22 are more effective than a miss with a Dirty Harry hand cannon .44 Magnum.
The first thing you have to come to terms with is: when it comes time to use it, are you going to be able to point it at someone and take their life? Realize that in a crisis situation where medical services are no longer available, even shooting them in the leg you are probably going to be taking their life. If you are not absolutely sure you can do it, then don’t get one or you are just going to be supplying someone else with something they are going to kill you with once they take it from you. Be realistic about this decision. If you can’t, it does not make you a better or worse person, just different. If you can’t, then take heart you are not out of luck entirely. You do still have some non-lethal options. First and foremost is something called “Bear Spray”; you can get this at sporting goods stores like Cabela’s or Bass Pro shops. This is similar to Pepper spray but has a much larger range and a whole lot more of it in a can. As the name says, it is for Bear Deterrent and is carried by people in bear country. In a pinch you could even use something like Wasp and Hornet spray. They have a long range and I’m sure if you spray them in the eyes with that they are going to think twice about coming towards you again. A fire extinguisher will even work in a pinch. A face full of that is going to put them out of commission long enough to give you a head start.
There is something to be said about Bows, which include: cross bows, compound bows and long bows. But these take lots of practice and are not conducive to protecting the house or apartment. They don’t do real well in conceal carry, also.
Now let’s say you feel that a firearm is right for you. Let’s discuss some basics about the different types of firearms. One side note for some of you in stricter areas: if you can’t have a normal pistol or rifle, some areas will allow you to have black powder. A black powder pistol can be a VERY effective weapon in the close range of your house if someone is breaking in. Some of them are quite nice but take a lot of research to make sure they stay effective especially if you are in a humid environment. A second option would be an “Air Soft” gun, these use some form of compressed air to fire a small projectile. They are available in pistol style and different rifle styles. Again, you’ll need to check the state and local laws.
You also have to take into account any children in the home and how you are going to secure the guns. Just having one in the nightstand with children or teens around is a definite “Don’t”!!!
Some very important things to take into consideration as you start to make your decision are the Laws of Physics. Don’t worry I’m not going to get complicated on you. It is something we need to talk about so you have a basic understanding of why things work the way they do. I’m sure you have heard of the law that talks about the “equal but opposite reaction to an action”. This is where that comes in: the smaller and lighter a gun is, the less mass it has to absorb the energy created when the gun fires (called the “Kick”). That means the firearm is going to go one of two places, either your shoulder with a rifle or into your hand with a pistol. A larger caliber in a lighter gun can really hurt to shoot. Be realistic if you get one, you NEED to practice with it and if it hurts every time you shoot it, you are not going to practice. Not practicing and then trying to rely on “spray and pray” is no plan at all. Also if you think you are going to try and shoot like you see in the movies where they hold the pistol sideways and shoot “Gangsta Style” DON’T. If you think that’s how to shoot, go back up a few lines and stop reading where we talked about Bear Spray. You should not get anywhere near a real firearm. Shooting a pistol sideways is a good way to shoot the person standing next to or even behind you because when a gun fires, the end of the barrel tends to go up due to the “kick”. If you’re holding it sideways, the end of the barrel is going to still go “up”, but in this case that means the bullet will be going to the side. The result of that is you will, more than likely, miss your intended target and, possibly, hit the person standing next to them. Maybe.