Which gun should I use as my large house pistol?


I live in a really bad neighborhood. I made probably a bad choice. I inherited money from my father when he died, and I used it to buy a house, free and clear. Unfortunately, the amount of money I had only permitted me to buy a small (780 sq ft) house in a bad neighborhood in Los Angeles (Echo Park) and after living here a while, I quickly wised up to how bad it was. You can hear gunshots several times a week. I have a long back yard (the house dates back to when people kept vegetable gardens) and in the very back is a tiny garage/shed for a Model T Ford that won’t fit a modern car. It is falling into the ground, and the locals love to investigate it or hang out on my property and smoke and drink there. You always see the police helicopter in the vicinity. To cope with this I made some home improvements: the wall and fence were already there, but now my gate always has a big master lock on it, I have motion sensing floodlights, burglar bars and doors, a large German Shepherd from the pound (unfortunately the dog is a coward and only good for show) and recently, a 0 motion activated camera to find out who is snooping in my back yard. I have given up the idea of using my 20 gauge shotgun for home protection. I am a small man, (five foot four, 118 pounds) and I think something with a long barrel would only be taken away from me. Now, whenever I leave the house after dark to throw out trash, or get something out of my car or whatnot, I slip a small pocket pistol into my jeans. Usually a .25 auto. I don’t want anyone to know I am carrying, and a large pistol just makes my pants start fall down. But obvously, I have to have a bigger gun than that if someone breaks in. I currently sleep with a loaded Spanish Star Super Model B in .38 Super under my pillow (basically a 1911 clone), with an extra clip. I keep it loaded with +P 130 grain hollowpoints. The gun is c o c k e d with the safety on. My significant other and I have begun to sleep together in the same bed (it’s getting cold) and my other has expressed great anxiety over sleeping with a c o c k e d and loading pistol in the bed. I have a bunch of guns I bought cheap when the Los Angeles Police shut down all the pawn and guns shops in Los Angeles (only one remains in the city limits). Which of these guns, if given a choice, would you think would be the safest to put under your pillow with a round in the chamber: 1) Walther P5 9mm 2) Smith & Wesson Model 39 9mm 3) Smith & Wesson Model 10 Military and Police .38 Special 4) Colt Trooper Mark III .357 Magnum 5) Polish VIS-35 Radom 9mm 6) Walther P1 (Alloy Frame P38 used by postwar Bundswehr). 7) Bugarian Makarov 9 x 18mm.
I hesitate to use either of the revolvers. They both reload very slowly, empty very quickly, and the .357 I think would be both deafening and blinding to me inside a house. Right now I am leaning towards the Walther P5 because it was specifically designed to NOT have a safety you need to remove, and it is designed to be safe with a round in the chamber. The only reason I wouldn’t use the P5 is that it only has a short three inch barrel, one inch of which is chamber. The only good 9mm’s I have are my brother’s L.A. County Sheriff’s 147 grain hollow points, and I wonder if a basically 2" barrel will have enough velocity to open up the hollow points. In any event, my room mate has stated a total unwillingness to sleep with me in a bed that has a c o c k e d and loaded pistol, even with the safety on. Which gun would you pick?

You are aware that burglar bars are simply pieces of metal screwed into wood right? And in my case, screwed into wood that dates back to 1918. You can tear burglar bars right off with a short piece of 2" x 4" or any strong stick. I have already come home once to find my bars bent and my house broken into.
I once shared an apartment with four other guys, and I had poor security. I once woke up to a huge guy pinning my arms to the bed and making suggestions about forcible romance. At the time, my .32 Colt Detective Special that my father gave me when he threw me out was in my nightstand and out of reach. I decided then and there I would always sleep with a loaded gun in the bed with me.
He is not afraid of a gun in the bed. He is afraid of a C O C K E D and loaded gun in the bed.

As I said, I have burglar doors, so I don’t know why my doors would be the vulnerable part. Burglar doors are a second door, like window bars that fit in front of the door like a screen door. When they broke into my house, they tore the bars off with a two foot length of 2" x 4" they left in the grass.

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10 Responses to “Which gun should I use as my large house pistol?”

  1. Mr.357 says:

    I would go with a man sized gun like a .45 ACP or .357 Mag.

  2. PunGunSun says:

    First off, I’d make my SO happy by relocating that pistol to the nightstand!

    So you have a .38 Super? Are you somewhat proficient with it? That’s a lot of gun if you are not. My recommendation is that you find which of these guns you can accurately shoot and hit a target twice in succession. THAT’S the gun you need to use. There are very, very few "first shot kills." The average police shootout is seven yards. The average gunfight is three yards. There’s no sense in shooting something that you can’t quickly resight and get off a quick second shot with.

    My recommendation, BTW, is for you to trade in some of this iron for a Glock 9mm WITH laser sights.

    Here is a link for them: http://www.glock.com/downloads/GLOCK_Gen4_en.pdf

    You will find Glock Model 17s to be a nice choice, even if you have smallish hand. This particular pistol (the Gen4) takes that into account by providing the buyer with a variety of grip backstraps to suit his liking.

    The Glock 17 transfers very little recoil to the shooter, even when using heavy loads. Even women don’t seem to mind it, so small guys like you shouldn’t mind it either. (Works for OLD guys like me, btw…)

    Next, equip it with some decent rounds. I like the FBI-bullet-style Winchester 147-gr 9mms.

    Here’s a link to them:

    Then, buy a good combination flashlight/laser sight. Here’s a link to a good one: http://www.streamlight.com/product/product.aspx?pid=81#tabs

    I have an older version of this on my .45. I love it.

    Laser sights are great for a several reasons, not the least of which is you can dot the target even if your glasses are off, never mind if it’s too damned dark to see the iron sights, or if you’re scared stiff.

    If it’s combined with a gun-light, you then get to see (and conveniently blind) the target in a darker room.

    Glock 17 Gen 4, Winchester Bonded PDX1 ammo, Streamlight TLR-2 flashlight/laser sight combo.

    Will cost you about $ 600 for the gun (guesstimate), $ 20~22 box (20 rds) for the ammo, and $ 242 (Amazon.com) for the TLR-2. Call it a grand once you add in a carry holster. (If you’re this worried about your ‘hood, you need to carry.)

    Buy five boxes of the PDX1 ammo, so you can load both mags, being left with 60+ rounds to get accustomed to shooting that load in your gun and ensuring that it functions well with them it will!). (Get CCI Brass Blazers at $ 11(box of 50) at Walmart to practice with.)

    Oh yes, stock up on some silhouette targets, and find a range where you can shoot them at 25 feet. Unless you are already a good pistol shot, forget the pistolero 50 and 75 foot stuff and concentrate on being able to fire off kill shots in that distance. Go to the range at least once a month.

  3. Uncle Pennybags says:

    Given these circumstances, I’d go for the .357. With good self-defense hollowpoints, it’s an excellent weapon for self defense and it’s DA, so you don’t have to leave it c0cked.

  4. John Wayne says:

    WOOO, long question, lol, but if I had to choose a pistol for home defense, it would be a Springfield Armory 1911 GI Mil Spec. 45 acp.

  5. thinkingblade says:

    Of the guns you have, the three I am familiar with are the Smith and Wesson Model 39, the Walther P5 and the Makarov. Personally, I think any would be suitable for what you are talking about doing, but my selection would probably be the Model 39 – particularly if you have the steel frame version instead of the aluminum. It’s a pretty well proven design and, at least to me, a relatively natural pointer and heavy enough to stabilize and shoot comfortably even under stress. As I remember it is a dec0cker design with safety and I think with hammer block safety (but I’m not sure on that piece, but I think so) so about as safe as is reasonable to have with a round chambered.

    Of course, with the 39 you can dec0ck it and not engage the safety if you are concerned about disengaging the safety in a critical circumstance.

    I would assume you had considered getting one of the small single pistol safes with a quick open lock or something of the sort so you could have the Star near by rather than convert to something else. Why did you choose not to do that? It would seem that it might assuage your SO regarding the loaded gun issue. Considering the modifications you have indicated you have made to your house, I would think that the additional time to retrieve something from a bedside single gun safe would be an acceptable delay for the added security.


  6. Patrick says:

    If you are comfortable shooting the .38 Super, stick with it. A good compromise for your partner and an idea which has further merit as well might be to put the pistol in Condition 3. This means the magazine is loaded, but the chamber is not. This does two things. The pistol isn’t c0cked, which alarms some people, and it also forces to you be awake enough to cycle the slide before being lethal.

    You can c0ck the hammer even with the chamber empty as this makes it easier to cycle the slide to chamber the first round. Don’t worry about losing a round of capacity, as the chances of needing to fire more than two rounds is much smaller than the chance of even needing to use the firearm.

    If you go with the 9mm, I suggest Hornady Critical Defense hollowpoints which will expand at those velocities and be more reliable than other hollowpoints in feeding.

    The .38 Super is also a loud gun with a lot of muzzleblast, as you know. Be prepared for that; it just won’t be as bad as a .357 Magnum, though .38 Special is all you would really need for home defense anyway.

  7. Kid with a 12 gauge 7.0 says:

    I agree with josh,Also have you ever heard of a head board or nightstand?

  8. Zakonye says:

    Hornady Critical Defense rounds are designed to work in shorter barrels.

    So they would be a good choice for your Walther

  9. tttttttttoooooooonnnnnyyy says:

    i’d go with a 357 you can put 38’s in it and you can also put some hot rounds in it and put a crater in the guy and get one with a 3 to 4 inch barrel so it’s not huge if they see a magnum they will run and never come back especially with ine up there ass. 🙂

  10. JOSH 4.0 says:

    Come on Newell. You could at least break that down into paragraphs.

    Do the local hoods carry around plasma torches? I don’t know how else they could get through your burglar bars.

    Provided you aim true, any of the guns you listed would be acceptable in a home defense situation.

    Added: It is very easy to replace the screws holding the burglar bars with lag bolts or long Torx screw. Conifer wood like what your house is framed with actually cures to a harder degree than newly cut lumber. I’ve seen old growth wood in homes built a hundred years ago that is as hard as concrete. As long as the screws actually hit wood, not just siding, they will hold. If the flanges of the bars are not the right demension, have them modified or new ones made. $80/hr is pretty standard rate of pay for a metal shop. Most people don’t realize that doors are the most vulnerable entry point into a building. 10 Schlagg or Kwickset dead bolts don’t do a bit of good if the jam isn’t reinforced. I don’t mean the physical door frame, but the actual jam opening.

    Why would the ex Soviet special forces dude be afraid of a gun in the bed?

    For his and your peace of mind, pick up a cheap pump shotgun. You can get a new Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 for less than what you spent on the camera. A shotgun is the best home defense weapon. Plus, you can lean it up next to the bed as to not interfere with your relations.

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