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I keep three by the bed, each has it's unique purpose.Really, a gun is only good if you have time to hold it and think for a moment, but if you have to think, "should I go for the gun, or hit him with anything I can grab", the gun might get used against you, grab something and bludgeon the guy to death, .Keep a gun in the bathroom where you shower, you are at your most vulnerable there.
Nobody mentioned the good ole pellet gun.No help for HD, but for cheap and legal target practice out in the yard, there's nothing better. If you can fire accurately with a pellet gun, you can do it with any gun. The only difference is the recoil.
This is not neccesarilty (completely) true with all pellet guns. Using a spring powered gun for the best accuracy it is neccesary to only loosely hold the gun without pushing it into your shoulder; in order to avoid vibration from throwing off aim. Nevertheless, your point is good. quick video on "artillery hold": http://youtu.be/ZLed_nD5ixA
I don't know much about guns, but shooting through the walls of your home might kill own of your family members. Are there shotgun loads or bullets that are designed to have enough power to stop an attacker but lose energy rapidly if they penetrate walls?
I think what solar says is one reason that if you get a gun for HD, you really need to get familiar with it. A whole lot of things change when you are aiming your gun for real and you do not want to be figuring out how to use it. With bird shot a really close range some will make their way through a wall or a door but they will not be a danger to anyone for very much distance. They sell ammo that opens up the patter pretty quick which is probably much better in a HD situation. I think the shot gun is idea for a lot of reasons. One can be purchased at a pretty low price although I would not buy the lowest cost you can get because I have and had problems with their actions. The ammo is not overly expensive and there are lots of ranges where you can practice. I also agree that there are few on this earth that would not know what the sound of cycling a round into a pump shotgun is all about. I think that in most instances the invader is not going to hand around. Hunter safety courses are usually free and probably a good place to start as they are mostly about gun safety with some hunting tossed in. Gun shops would now where safety courses are as well. As far as shotguns being plugged I do believe that is because that is the normal regulation for hunting. I do not think it is illegal to take those plugs out for personal use but check your local rules to be sure. The plug is just a piece of plastic that prevents the spring from being compressed all the way. I have never had a problem with a remington pump, but had had problems with mossburg.