Originally Posted by alnorth
I actually did consider buying a 12 gauge shotgun, but my budget only allowed for one or the other. I had planned to practice in a local indoor range, so I went with the handgun.
Incidentally, in case I decide to go back later for the shotgun, is there anything you should look for in a home defense shotgun, or are they all roughly the same?
Part of buying guns depends upon if it's multi-use or not. If you want a gun for recreational target practice and home defense a pistol is fine. If you're looking at a shotgun part of the question to ask is, is it home defense only or do you think you might want to use it for hunting or skeet shooting later?
If you want to be flexible then you'd probably look to buy a more traditional shotgun. There are a number of possible options here, see what reviews are there and what values you have. If you're looking for a home defense only gun then you might look at a shorter more tactical shotgun but those tend to be fewer in options and more expensive but the shorter lengths make it more maneuverable.
The pistol can work fine but it just requires you practice quite a bit more. You want to get to the point where shooting and aiming is just natural so that when the extremely stressful HD situation happens you don't think, you body just reacts with muscle memory.
The reason that I tend to recommend a shotgun for novice shooters is that I know people who will say yes I'm going to shoot a lot but when they get a gun, life happens and it sits on the shelf. The statistics are real on this, a gun in a novice's hands can be more dangerous to them than no gun at all. I'm being a bit nanny here, but it's what was beat into me as a kid with gun safety and responsibility.