Help with 2 guns...


New Member
Oct 30, 2008
I'm looking for something for personal protection. I often arrive home late and while I have dogs, they'd welcome thieves warmly, as long they had treats =)

Also, with the possibility of certain weapons being banned in the near future, I heard a radio show host talking about an AR, I believe 20-gauge, with a shorter barrel (16 inches perhaps).

This is where I become the deer locked in the headlights. So pardon my ignorance and please feel free to educate and admonish, if necessary.


Active Member
Oct 13, 2008
Im not sure of your question but girls will choose the AR with a 16 inch barrel as its lighter. You can buy a nice one for about 900. Then you can buy something called red dot scope that fits on top to help you aim. Those can be anywhere from 50-350 bucks. Im sure more people will come along and post more information for you.

Remember there are no dumb questions. Just dumb democrats


Active Member
Oct 13, 2008
Also you should post your budget. For something for the home i would suggest a 20 guage shotgun. Those will only run you around 300 or so.


TGT Addict
TGT Supporter
Mar 28, 2008
What type of firearms are you thinking about for protection? Will this be a carry gun? Truck gun? Strictly home defense?

Give a bit more about your needs and preferences and we'll point you in the right direction. If you have time, swing by a local trusted gun shop and have a look at some of the options. You'll want to handle and 'try on' as many options as you can so you know what fits and what options you like and dislike.


TGT Supporter
Feb 21, 2008
Austin, TX
Hi Annie! Thanks for joining us! :) I'm sure it is pretty overwhelming. There are only about a million different firearms out there to choose from. As Shorts said, if you could answer a couple questions we can give you a better idea of what may work for you. You mentioned 2 guns? Is one intended to be a home defense gun, and the other maybe a carry gun?

For home defense, personally I would recommend a shotgun or a handgun. Depending on your size, a shotgun may be a bit large and uncomfortable for you, in which case a handgun might be a better alternative.

Shotguns are fairly standard as far as pump actions go. Most of them operate similar between different brands and models. There are many different types of shotguns, however I'd say pump actions are probably the most common. I can go more into detail if you decide a shotgun is what you're looking for.

When it comes to handguns, there are many different calibers, and if you ask 20 different people they will likely recommend 20 different calibers to you! ;) It's really easy to get lost when it comes to that. For a home defense gun I would recommend something in at least 9mm or .38 special, as those calibers are easily sufficient for self defense purposes. The truth of the matter is that pistol calibers are not very effective at disabling an attacker, at least not nearly as effective as rifle calibers. People will argue over various pistol calibers, but the truth of the matter is that there is relatively minimal difference compared to the damage rifle calibers can do. My whole point is don't worry about finding the "right" pistol caliber. If it's 9mm or .38 special and larger then it will work just fine. I can go more into that later if you'd like, but I'm trying to not make too overwhelming of a first reply to you. ;)

If a handgun is what you're looking for, I would recommend finding a shooting range that has guns to rent. I would hande as many different handguns, and try to find something that fits your hand well and that you feel comfortable with. I would also try to rent some of the ones you like and see how they feel while firing them, and determine what you like/dislike.

Also, if you could post what area of Texas you're from there may be a forum member in or near your area that may be willing to help you out, take you to the range and give you some pointers/advice, etc etc. We're here to help, so please don't be afraid to ask questions.


Active Member
Jun 27, 2008
When I was looking for my first gun, I took a shooting class, then I spent time renting guns to see which one I like. For me, caliber wasn't the first concern. I wanted to find something that fit my hands and that I could shoot well. Once I found my gun, caliber was an easy choice. If you haven't taken a basic shooting class, that should be your first step. A shooting class will make you better prepared to select a gun.


Active Member
Jul 25, 2008
Elgin, Texas
Academy has a Maverick 12 Ga. pump for home defense built by mossberg for about $180. Don't buy a shotgun with a barrel less than 18" or a rifle with a barrel less than 16". That makes it NFA and will get you in a lot of trouble if not done right, and a $200 tax stamp. A pistol would be a better option if you want to carry it in your vehicle and have it on your person as you get home.


New Member
Oct 30, 2008
First, thanks for the initial input.

Secondly, I'm expecting to pay 2-3k for both weapons.

Now to answer what was tossed out in some logical order

I'd like a small handgun to carry with me in my car. I've heard rifles are the weapon of choice for the home.

There was a mention of a "trusted" gun store. This is where I have a problem. Who is a trusted gun store? Is there a link in this site for trusted dealers? I realize anyone can buy advertising, but I'm looking for somewhere I can go who'll be like family. My goal would be to find a dealer where I can look, sample, learn to handle, care, and maintain... somewhere if I have an issue, not feel uncomfortable about approaching them.

I have co-workers who do magazines, gun shows, Academy, Gander, etc, but that's not for me. If I was well established in my gun etiquette these would be okay. For now, though, I need something more.

Oh, and I'd like suggestions on where I can get gun classes.

In most things in life I can usually muddle my way through. Guns are not something I'm willing to do that with, so again, I appreciate your time and patience.


Sep 20, 2008
If you are in the Houston area, Spectre Firearms in Spring is a great place to buy, very competative prices and a knowledgable group of guys. I have purchased my last two pistols from them, not to mention can usually be found hanging out there in my down time. As for a range, Shiloh (forum sponsor) is a GREAT place to shoot, and they offer instruction as well. Many of us on here also instruct, I am currently working with one of my wifes co-workers and her mom, and have one of my daughters Brownie moms that will be starting with me soon....


Event Coordinator
Apr 27, 2008
Annie, it's great to have you here asking good questions.

With your budget you have a lot of choices. You can get a solid, working rifle & pistol, ammo, gear/kit, and classes; or you can get a limited edition, custom rifle & a pistol. I like learn new stuff, so I tend to spend my budget on classes and boring stuff like ammo, targets, and tape.

Since this is going to be a lot of info. to take in, you might do it in stages. I gotta run, but I'll add more later.



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