Budget Minded Guns for Home Defense

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No matter what gun you choose, remember safe storage. Bedside options, like the ArmsReach, keep guns secure and close.

No matter what gun you choose, remember safe storage. Bedside options, like the ArmsReach, keep guns secure and close.

Editor’s Note: We’re starting a brand new series here on GunsAmerica, one that will delve deep into the best tools for home defense. But there’s a catch–we’re not looking at guns and gear that will break the bank. We’re looking at the bottom of the price spectrum. These articles will look at affordable ways to get the job done. And here’s the first installment from GunsAmerica writer D.S. Standard:

The Ruskies, Iranians, ISIS, Boko Harum and Al Shabob be damned. They pose limited harm here in the Heartland.But crystal-meth, crack cocaine, molly, mental illness, poverty, corruption, illegal immigration and plain old orneriness have resulted in frequent violent home invasions, assaults and burglaries. These nightmares headline the local news. Coincidentally, the Nation’s police forces appear overworked, overwhelmed, over-regulated, demoralized and  incapable of responding in time to prevent your family from being violently thrust into harm’s way. Unfortunately, it appears it is time, once again, for all decent Americans to plan for the active defense of our homes, and ourselves, against malice-filled evildoers. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a Navy SEAL to defend your homestead from invasion, and you don’t need a fortune to get the rugged and reliable tools needed to do the job right. Here is a look at budget conscious, effective and dependable handguns–the logical place to start.

A reliable handgun with sufficient “fight-stopping” power

American law enforcement and the US military have embraced two basic handgun designs for the past 100 years, large-bore revolvers and semiautomatic pistols. Our defense and law enforcement forces have effectively used .38 Special, 9mm and .45 caliber projectiles in laying down the law to the rogues of the world. .357 Magnum and .40 S&W are two additional, well-proven and reliable, fight-stopping, law enforcement calibers. Many, many home and business owners have additionally brandished popular semi-automatic handguns from American firearms manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson, Colt, Ruger, Springfield Armory, as well as from a variety of foreign gun-makers such as Sig Sauer, Glock, Taurus and Beretta and Browning. The iconic firms of Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Colt have been leading the revolver manufactures, though Taurus and others are taking over.

Large-bore revolvers, also vetted by decades of military and law enforcement hard use, have proven to be more idiot-proof (soldier-proof); but are usually limited to 5 or 6 rounds of lethal business. Semi-automatic pistols generally have higher ammunition capacities, 6-17 rounds of persuasion; but are a bit more complicated to operate and maintain than revolvers. With some training and care, both can be effective, reliable fight stoppers and great assets in your anti-invasion home defense plan.

Don't let the variety of options get confusing. All of these have bullets that are roughly the same size.

Don’t let the variety of options get confusing. All of these have bullets that are roughly the same size, but the loads are very different.

Let’s consider the calibers

The .38 Smith & Wesson Special, typically known as the .38 Special, was invented by Smith & Wesson ballisticians in 1898 as a revolver round. Extensively proven, this hand gun was fielded by the US Military during WWI and generally employed by the large majority of American police departments from the Roaring Twenties up until its replacement by lightweight, high-capacity, Glock semi-autos firing the 9mm during the 1990’s. The typical 200 grain .38 of an inch diameter projectile traveled at almost 700 feet per second until it deposited just over 200 foot pounds of energy into its target. Several other sizes of projectiles for the .38spl were fielded by military and law enforcement over the decades of use culminating in the development of the .357 Magnum made famous by the fictional Harry Callahan(AKA Dirty Harry).

The .38Spl cartridge is a proven and reliable man stopper, when placed in an assailant’s center of mass although it has occasionally not performed quickly enough when the target is significantly amped up on drugs or adrenalin. In that case, the Mozambique (2 to the body, 1 to the head) and, or, head shots are recommended. For a home defense round, we rate the .38spl a solid B grade. The .357Magnum is an amped up, more powerful cousin of this round, an A.

Once you decide on a caliber, the options really open up. There are multiple options for bullet designs.

Once you decide on a caliber, the options really open up. There are multiple options for bullet designs.

The 9mm cartridge also known as the 9mm Luger and 9x19mm parabellum (Latin for “prepare for war”) was invented in 1902 by Georg Luger for the Luger semi-automatic pistol and the new -fangled submachine gun. To this day it is a NATO military round and carried by many additional military and law enforcement agencies worldwide, including the majority of American police departments and by the US military, in their Beretta M9 pistol, since 1985! My first pistol, the Smith & Wesson Model 39 was chambered in 9mm. I bought it because the cops in my town used it.

9mm pistols typically fire a 124 grain bullet at about 1200 feet per second and dumps just shy of 400 foot pounds of energy into the target while the 115 grain projectile typically travel 1300fps and imparts just over 400 foot pounds of energy into the target. These fairly inexpensive rounds are usually carried in a magazine which provides between 12 and 17 rounds, giving the shooter two to three times the firepower of a six shooter! Many bad guys have been stopped by 9mm rounds although there is a near constant debate among the shooting community of its efficacy and knockdown power. Military expert and civilian shooting champion Ernest Langdon, a friend of mine, swears by it. We recommend, that if forced to employ it, that you place a good number of projectiles in your threats’ center mass, and head, in order to accelerate the stop. Additionally, we recommend you use the same hollow point duty ammo that the police in your community use. (If hollow points, or magazines w more than 10 rounds, are illegal in your jurisdiction, MOVE to a FREE STATE like New Hampshire or Wyoming) Grade B+ due to the capacity and low cost.

In every case, there are bullets meant for training and bullets meant for defense.

In every case, there are bullets meant for training and bullets meant for defense.

The .45ACP cartridge also known as the .45Auto was designed, in 1904, by legendary firearms genius John Moses Browning to provide additional knock down power to our troops after .38 caliber rounds failed to stop enemy troops with sufficient authority. John M. browning’s model1911, .45ACP semi-auto pistol fires the heavy 230 grain bullets at 830FPS and delivers just over 500 foot pounds of energy into the target. Lighter 185 grain .45ACP bullets travel over 1,000FPS to also deliver about the same energy. The US Army’s former General John T. Thompson considered these “real man stoppers.” The larger .45ACP projectile, being significantly larger than the 9mm and .38 projectiles, is known for creating large wound channels in the evil doers impacted by them.

Col. James Cooper, considered by many to be the “Father of Modern Pistol Craft”, swore by this round and is famous for saying “any handgun round is acceptable as long as its caliber starts with the number 4”. Many Special Operations military units, with the liberty to select their, mission-specific firearms, still use the .45ACP in their pistols in order to ensure rapid incapacitation of their targets, despite the fact that the larger cartridge size means fewer rounds in each magazine than a 9mm (7 or 8 vs 13 or 17). Finally, the US Army has been debating returning to the venerable .45ACP for the last decade. My kids can handle the cartridge in a 1911 style pistol, and it’s my go to sidearm WTSHTF. Grade A- due to lesser magazine capacity.

There are listings on GunsAmerica.com for less than $300 that are of suitable caliber for home defense.

Big bore, small price tag.

Taurus guns offer solid performance at a rock bottom price.

$239- The Taurus Millennium G2 chambered in 9 mm weighs only 22 oz and has a 13 round capacity and 3” barrel. It fires in single or double action modes, has a loaded chamber indicator, an adjustable rear sight and a Picatinny Rail for a weapon light a light or laser. MSRP: $434.59 The more you practice with this 9mm, the more likely you are to hit the intruder’s center of mass. It has been proven that center of mass hits end fights and aggressive behavior from thugs.

Revolvers are making a big comeback.

Revolvers are making a big comeback.

$269- A used Taurus 82S .38 Special with a 4″ barrel is a classic and reliable handgun with very few parts to ever fail. This timeless six shooter design firing the proven .38spl cartridge has knocked the fight out of many a dirt-bag over the years, and it will certainly comfort you as your front door gets kicked in. Practice frequently so all your shots will hit the perpetrator’s breadbasket.

The Taurus guns are solid, inexpensive options.

Big bore, small price tag.

$275- “The Taurus Model PT-845 in .45 ACP caliber features a 4″ barrel, polymer frame, 3-dot sights, ambi safety, accessory rail, DA/SA trigger system, interchangeable grip inserts, mag loader and two 12 round magazines.” Invaders normally find it difficult to continue when 2 or 3 rounds of 230 grain .45ACP projectiles have been introduced into their chest cavity. Sometimes the drug fueled thugs require an additional one or two to the brain pan.

On the higher end of the dollar scale, is the battle-proven Beretta M9 or Model 92. The 9mm Beretta sidearm has been carried by US Service-Men & Women longer than any other sidearm in US Military history. It replaced the Colt Model 1911 .45ACP pistol in 1985 and is carried by the lion’s share of the US Military today, 30 long years of service. The Beretta’s 15 round magazines contain more than twice the ammunition of the 7 round .45ACP it replaced. In deference to such service, I include it in the list and have found one, with an accessory rail and two mags, on GunsAmerica.com for $699. It’s not cheap; but it is not expensive, especially for the proven reliability of the gun.

There is another type of modern handgun and cartridge combo which one might, thoughtfully or purposefully, consider in a desperate home defense situation. I call these “Hi-Capacity Stinger Pistols” (HCSP) as opposed to “fight stoppers.” As thinking beings, we know life involves tradeoffs. In the case of this trype of pistol, we are trading the “knockdown” power or larger projectiles for the enhanced accuracy associated with minimal recoil and rapid

Two examples of these are the .22WMR cartridge fired from the Ketltec PMR 30 semi-automatic pistol and the 5.7×28 cartridge fired by the FNH 5-7 semi-automatic pistol.

The .22 Winchester Magnum cartridge is a significantly amped up .22 caliber projectile. The 30, 40 or 50 grain, hollow-point projectiles are fired at 2300, 2000 and 1800 feet per second from rifles, delivering 300 or more foot pounds of energy into the target. What’s neat is this same round, when fired from a pistol, travels at a considerable 1200-1500FPS out of a hand gun.

The 5.7x28mm cartridge, developed in 1990 together with a Personal Defense Weapon as a high velocity, small caliber, round potentially capable of replacing the venerable 9mm parabellum. Most projectiles are 23, 28 or 31 grains and they typically travel from about 2300 to 2850 feet per second from a 10 inch barrel.

The FNH Five-Seven pistol was developed in 1998, eight years after the FNH 5.7×28mm cartridge was released. The Five-Seven is a lightweight(less than 1 ½ pounds) polymer pistol with a 30 round magazine capacity, ambidextrous controls and low recoil. The 30 round capacity and the ability of the 5.7x28mm round to penetrate body armor, in certain situations, makes this set-up worth considering for a home defense situation. 30 rounds of high-velocity attitude adjustment, in a very lightweight and handy form factor would give me a certain amount of confidence. Another reason I plan to acquire and, severely, test one of these is that it is rapidly being adopted many military and law enforcement units across the world, including the United States Secret Service. Good enough to protect the President, probably good enough to protect your family. There are 11 various FNH 5-7 pistols currently on sale at GunsAmerica.com ranging from $800 to about $1400. $800 is not “low cost”. This is included because the Secret Service endorsement makes me think that the dependability and lethality may be worth a few days of Ramen Noodles and PB&J sandwiches. And, when it comes to defending hearth and home, sacrifices are allowed.

Not the best looking gun, but how much does that matter?

Not the best looking gun, but how much does that matter?

Listed on GunsAmerica.com for $540 the Keltec PMR 30 seems to offer significantly more bang for the buck. The PMR 30 is another pistol on my short list for immediate testing. It is a full-sized, polymer based pistol which holds thirty .22WMR cartridges and weighs less than a pound and a half; fully loaded. It comes pre-drilled to accept a micro-sized red-dot sight and has factory installed fiber optic sights as well. The PMR typically fires it’s .22WMR rounds at 1200 FPS. Again, 30 rounds of 50gr projectiles just might serve you righteously during the dire moments of a violent home invasion. 2 Keltec PMR’s, chambered in the hot .22WMR round, are currently listed. They are both new and include two 30 round magazines. I would certainly recommend installing a Docter Optic or Burris type micro red dot for low-light rapid target acquisition as I suspect most home invasions occur under the cover of darkness, and the dot should help with sight alignment under duress. I repeat, 30 .22 Winchester Magnum rounds. Wow!

The Kel-Tec looks even stranger, but it works great.

The Kel-Tec looks even stranger, but it works great.

The final class of reasonably priced, portable, home-defense implements are the hybrid handgun/shotgun large bore revolvers which fire, either a 45.ACP or .45 Long Colt, and a .410 shot shell. This is a beautiful concept. The defensive home owner now has the option of loading his/her Taurus Judge or Smith & Wesson Governor with a smorgash board of 230 grain .45 ACP rounds and five #000 buckshot pellets encased in each .410 shell. I can envision home invaders, warmly welcomed by this combo meal of lead projectiles, not sticking around for coffee and dessert.

These revolvers offer the option of using a wide variety of ammunition.

These revolvers offer the option of using a wide variety of ammunition.

There are currently more than a dozen Taurus Judges available on GunsAmerica.com. A used one is available for a very reasonable $250 and $450 seems to be the price for a brand new in the box Judge. With this steel masterpiece, you can now be Judge and Jury within the curtilage of your domain.

They're bigger than most revolvers, but still concealable.

They’re bigger than most revolvers, but still concealable.

Ten Smith & Wesson Governors are currently available on GunsAmerica.com. They range in price from $699 to $995 which has them trending out of the “low-cost” segment. The special nature of these weapons, and their particular suitability for home defense, makes me forgive their pricing and include them in this list. I look forward to testing them and determining the reason for the significant difference in pricing between the two brands’ execution of the multiple projectile, big bore revolver.

The special nature of these weapons, and their particular suitability for home defense, makes me forgive their pricing and include them in this list. I look forward to testing them and determining the reason for the significant difference in pricing between the two brands’ execution of the multiple projectile, big bore revolver.

  • Note: The Hornady Ammunition company has a unique new self-defense .410 cartridge being sold under their “Critical Defense” Sub-brand. It just sounds awesome and I will try it as soon as I can get my hands on some.
  • From their website: “ This .410 shell …the Critical Defense® 410 features a unique Triple Defense™ projectile stack consisting of two 35 caliber round balls topped with one non-jacketed FTX® slug.
  • Unique to the Critical Defense 410, the 41 caliber FTX® slug actually engages the gun’s rifling, and contacts the target nose-on, enabling the patented Hornady Flex Tip® technology to assist in expansion for greatly enhanced terminal performance. Each 35 caliber round ball is made of high antimony, cold swaged lead to resist deformation and provide excellent penetration. The 410 Critical Defense is loaded to 750 fps at the muzzle with 294 ft lbs of energy.” Your faithful writer is going to get his hands on some ASAP and fill you in on the hype.

In summation, if you should one day suffer the misfortune of a home invasion, most of the handguns mentioned above should, reliably, be able to help you make the evil doers realize the magnitude and consequence of the error of their ways. Whether the home invaders are repelled by a belly full of .22 Magnum rounds, a face full of .410 slugs, a couple of .38spls through the heart and lungs, an earful of 9mm hollow points, a magazine full of 5.7×28’s through the pelvis or a .45ACP hardball in the nose, if they survive the rapid reorientation of their innards and simultaneous redirection of their bodily fluids, they likely will never invade another home during the remainder of their lives. Unfortunately, guns are the answer to the home invasion. Fortunately, now you have some ideas on which ones you might like to add to your Steel Security Blanket.

Stay tuned every two weeks for another installment of Low Cost Home Invasion Defense Tools. We will discuss, shotguns, rifles, weapon-lights, lasers as well as training, tactics and tips for defending the hearth and home. If guns are the answer, GunsAmerica.com has what you need!

About the Author: D.S. Standard is a poly-lingual international adventurer, a certified NRA instructor, a certified 1 Mile Marksman, and an accomplished martial artist. He and his family hail from New Hampshire, where they try to live up to the State’s “Live Free or Die” credo and they hope that you will experience Liberty, rather than safety, in your lifetime.

{ 252 comments… add one }
  • DKroll July 30, 2017, 11:55 pm

    “If hollow points, or magazines w more than 10 rounds, are illegal in your jurisdiction, MOVE to a FREE STATE like New Hampshire or Wyoming”

    “BUDGET MINDED Guns for Home Defense”

    If I had to guess, I’d guess it’s a hell of a lot MORE expensive to pick up everything and move halfway across the country than someone that needs a “budget minded gun” can afford. Not to mention that one of those gripes is almost superfluous (since that only applies in New Jersey and only outside the home), and the other is astronomically unlikely from a statistical standpoint. Let’s get real, the reason we want “hi-cap” magazines isn’t because of an actual need, it’s because we don’t believe other people have a right to tell us what we can’t have.

  • KarVer May 12, 2017, 8:32 pm

    Diety Harry Callahan revolver was a S&W model 29 44 magnum not a 357

  • Alysia Merrell February 9, 2017, 1:08 pm

    Fantastic post however I was wondering if you coul write a litte more on this topic?I’d be very thankful if you coulpd elaborate a little bit more.Thank you!

  • Raven Lee November 14, 2016, 7:30 am

    Harry Callahan’s signature weapon was a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver chambered in .44 Magnum, not a .357 magnum as many people believe.

  • Rem870 October 20, 2016, 4:25 pm

    Thanks, very interesting article and good selection of guns and calibers.

  • Lyn Colton September 20, 2016, 8:10 pm

    What handgun would you recommend for 1st time gun owner for home defence & WTSHTF. I intend to practice as much as possible but can’t afford expensive gun. Also, a big factor is that i have arthritis in the palms of my hands, so i need an easier to pull trigger. Any input would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Dennis May 15, 2015, 10:05 am

    Very good info on the guns and ammo. Though your info on the 38 spl is out dated you were shooting a 200 grain bullet when the most comman round found in most stores ia a 158 grain bullet.I myself perfer a 125-140 grain bullet.
    Then there is you choice of 22 mag pistols. You couldn’t have pick one of the worste one out there. I’ve had three of them and none have worked worth a DAM. If you want a good 22 mag pistol look at the EXCEL 22 MAG It might have only a 9 round mag but it is very reliable. It is fussy on ammo when you first breck it in but after you have shot around 100 round though it no problems.

    • Mike Smith December 25, 2016, 5:42 pm

      My keltec pmr30 is the revamped version without the fluted barrel. And has functioned flawlessly with 500 rounds of 36 and 40 grain cci maxi mag and armscor. The armscor has a bit more snap than the cci. So i recommend using that in the pmr30.

  • Mike Bernard May 9, 2015, 3:12 pm

    I liked your comments but some of the guns where a bit pricey and I had just bought a Sccy cpx2 for less then 300.00 and it shoots really good 10 round mags adjustable rear site nice gun for the money

  • The Troll May 3, 2015, 1:13 am

    Good article. Couple of small points: some of his ballistics info is a tad optimistic, mainly in the 9mm and 45 ACP areas. You can calculate your own FPE as follows: bullet weight x velocity x velocity, divided by 450,400 (to convert to ft lbs). The number doesn’t tell you everything (9mm and 45 ACP have similar energies, but the 45 makes a wider wound track and engages more tissue), but it is somewhat useful. The best 38 Spl loads seem to be the old 158 gr +P lead hollow point (“FBI load”) or the newer (1995) Speer Gold Dot loads, especially the 135 gr +P made for short barrels. The old Remington semi-jacketed 125 gr +P loads do well in gelatin too, and I once saw one used in a suicide where it blew out the left side of the heart just fine after punching through the rib plate. With revolvers, don’t overlook Charter arms, especially the Bulldog Pug in 44 Spl. This grand old cartridge does nicely with hollow points. Recoil is snappy in the Charter, but in a midweight gun (Rossi 720, if you can find one, or a S&W 696) the recoil is mild, about like a 38 +P in a K frame. Look for police trade in autos, many in 9mm, which can be found at good prices. Many have been carried much but shot little (especially admin guns!). Don’t let some surface finish wear deter you from a potentially great gun. I own handguns of every major type, except HK, and most were bought used. STAY SAFE!!

  • Daryl Coda May 2, 2015, 6:20 pm

    I would go with a shotgun for home defense. A Remington 870 is not expensive.
    https://youtu.be/kfjJCe19lvY

  • riedog May 1, 2015, 6:14 pm

    So let’s start this off with I was Army and now spend my days selling guns for a living.

    So unless I missed something here are my thoughts.

    1 A hand gun is for you to fight your way to the long gun you should have had to begin with.
    2 9mm over all is hard to beat for someone that’s not going to shoot a lot. But the ease of shooting + cost to practice make pulling the trigger more fun = better shooting = more rounds in the target + higher capacity a overall hard package to beat.
    3 For me less expensive 9mm = Stover Cougar aluminum frame longer service life + frame mass reducing recoil/better ballance + rotating barrel less recoil + old/proven design from Beretta
    4 SHOTGUN easy-to-use + reduced recoil + inexpensive +small = Rem 870 Jr. Compact. 18.75″ barrel short stock. The only mods needed are to change the choke or just remove it. Nice things to do: chop the for end so you can feed it with the action open , a mag tube extension.

  • Rick P April 30, 2015, 4:16 pm

    I am currently debating ths subject with my daughter and her man. He was in the military and proposes the Baretta M9 (which incidently is coming out in .40S&W and .45ACP), because he has trained with them which is an excellant reason. My daughter has fired a variety of calibers, revolvers and semis, but is not what would I’d call trained or proficient. In an emergency you revert to your training, which I, because of my career choice, have had much of. To finish it is my opinion that should an incident arise (God forbid) a quality 4″ revolver with .38 special plus P’s (at least) with good hollow points with proven expansion is “almost” idiot proof. I love .45ACP, but all my daughter has to do with the mentioned revolver is point & shoot until the threat is over. I do advise basic training on how to open the wheel and the direction the wheel rolls if time prevents you from fully loading. My training enables me to clear a double feed or stove pipe or any stoppage, if you can’t what you have is a rock.

  • SDV April 30, 2015, 9:43 am

    I couldn’t get past the author refuring to Col. John Dean “Jeff” Cooper as James Cooper.

    • Grahame September 21, 2016, 9:10 pm

      Or that Dirty Harry made the .357 Magnum famous.

  • Thomas April 29, 2015, 11:20 pm

    Hey, check the driver’s license for proper age before you hire article writers! (Most) everyone knows that Harry Callahan (AKA Clint Eastwood) carried and made famous the .44 Magnum; NOT the .357!!!

  • SuperMike April 29, 2015, 9:19 pm

    Two practical points;
    1. A .45 acp is subsonic (speed of sound being about 1,130 fps) and won’t have the added “crack” to burst your eardrums, nor the huge muzzle flash of a magnum that can blind you in a dark room.
    2. Trying to use a long gun in an emergency situation when you’ve been sleeping, would be awkward and slow.
    It’s much easier to just reach over to your nightstand/headboard with one hand, point, thumb the safety, and fire.

    Thank you, COLT and John Browning !

  • Harry Calahan April 29, 2015, 3:01 am

    Do better research! The “Dirty Harry” reference was incorrect…..He only used a .44 magnum revolver, not .357 magnum
    as the article mentioned.

    • Nick G June 10, 2016, 9:56 am

      Actually a modified SW 41 mag. They (Harry) simply called it a 44.

  • Mark Maples April 29, 2015, 1:36 am

    Most of the guns shown are Tarus which they are good. However for a few dollars more you can buy a good solid used gun from most gun shops and online shops. I have bough Smith, Springfield, Walther and others for good prices because they were used. Shop around before you buy and see how a gun feels. Fire it if at all possible or talk to a friend that has one and see what they think. Might even borrow it and try it out. As for caliber consider things before you decide. Where do I live? In town or urban area. Where do I go? Am I mainly in town or in the open country? Am I by myself or are others with me most of the time? What level of power can I handle? Is 6-10 shots enough or do I need 15-18? Are there others in the house such as kids, etc. A pistol with a magazine disconnect might be just the ticket for you. For me it is not a big deal as I am single.
    I carry different guns for different situations. In town I carry an 8 shot 45 with extra magazine a lot. When going out of town I carry a 16 shot 40 with extra magazine cause there may be no help available to me. I also have 9mm and 357 Sig. that I carry. In all of them I use a good reliable hollow point or frangible projectile to minimize hitting innocents. I choose what I carry based on the environment that I will be in and what dangers I might face. No one gun is the perfect solution for all situations. I realize some people do not have the funds to have more than one pistol to use. If you have only one be sure that it is within reach at all times. If you can only afford one gun all the more reason to research things thoroughly and be sure you can use and like what you buy.
    By the way the line about Dirty Harry is wrong the cartridge he carried and was referring to was the 44 Magnum in a Smith & Wesson Model 29.

  • Valerie April 28, 2015, 5:27 pm

    Thank you all soo much for the dialogue. I bought a Tarus .357 2in after getting involved with a man who refused to believe that being battered was learned behavior I never learned. He didn’t believe me until I bought the gun. At 115 pounds and age 55+ I find it easy to shoot and with practice have developed confidence and accuracy. I am angry and saddened that I will be forced to expand my arsenal as attacks against easier targets is shamelessly on the rise. I will look forward to future articles on suggestions for concealed carry.

    • 380Lover April 30, 2015, 8:46 pm

      Good for you, Valerie!
      I am sad that I had to help someone else like you to take her first steps in your same direction. On the plus side, IT WORKED, and she is safe now. I wish you the same result.
      Check out USCCA sometime: their Concealed Carry Magazine is one of the best out there, working both to help train one’s mind as well as their carry “rules” and “tools”.

  • Steve April 28, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Just FYI, the .357 was not made famous by Dirty Harry. That was the .44 magnum in a S&W model 29.

  • Chris Baker April 28, 2015, 10:19 am

    To quote you: “enforcement over the decades of use culminating in the development of the .357 Magnum made famous by the fictional Harry Callahan(AKA Dirty Harry).”

    Sorry, but Dirty Harry used a 44 magnum. A Smith & Wesson model 29 if I remember correctly. The 4 bad cops in one of the movies used .357s but Harry gave a very good reason for using the 44 instead. At least it was, in my opinion. It made so much sense to me that I sold my model 13 and bought a Redhawk. Reduced loads do indeed work wonders on reactive targets. Great for the pin shoots I used to do.

  • Plugger April 28, 2015, 9:57 am

    This is information from an article about the movie Dirty Harry: The now iconic revolver carried by Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the film is a Smith & Wesson Model 29, chambered in .44 Magnum. As the script originally called for a S&W Model 29 with a 4″ barrel, this eventually proved troublesome for the filmmakers, since the Model 29 was no longer in production at the time. Before shooting began, Eastwood contacted Bob Sauer (then a representative for Smith & Wesson) to acquire the gun for the film. It was a challenge, but Fred Miller at the plant had a couple assembled from parts eventually. To better familiarize himself with the weapon’s handling and recoil, Eastwood took one to a gun range and fired live rounds through it. Unlike the gun in the script, the only barrels acquired for the guns in this film were the 8 3/8″ barrel and the 6 1/2″ barrel. Both can be seen used in some scenes. The blanks it fired were custom made since the 5-in-1 blank didn’t fit the chambers. It is said scriptwriter John Milius was presented with one of the actual guns used in the film as a gift later on.

    As for Harry’s line in the film about the .44 Magnum being “the most powerful handgun in the world”, one should note that even in the 1970s, the .44 Remington Magnum cartridge had been eclipsed in size and power by the .454 Casull round, however, the first widely available commercially sold revolver chambered for the .454 Casull would not come for another ten years, so his statement for the time frame is accurate.
    End quote. There is also a picture showing Mr. Eastwood holding the revolver. You can clearly see the markings which state: 44 Magnum. If this would allow I would post a picture.

  • CxG April 28, 2015, 7:26 am

    So I can’t understand why every pushes new guns. Started the article off with great references to Smith’s, Colt’s and Rugers but then showed a bunch of Taurus’ with price point examples. Look, go get yourself a good 3rd generation Smith 59x, 69xx in semi-auto that you can find now for under $300.00 with 2 mags at many LGS’s. Some even less than $250.00. Or, you can even get yourself a good Ruger P85/P89 for around $200.00 in 9mm. You can also find a Smith Model 36, 37 or 64 in .38 special for around $300 or even step up to a Model 65 for around $300-$350 depending on condition. These older guns are old but they freaking work better than a new Taurus. I don’t get the fascination with buying “New” just to have a new gun that’s a piece of crap. Taurus makes bad guns. They just are. Every Taurus I’ve had in my hand had issues. Ultra-Lite blew up in my hand. Millennium was a part-time DJ because it keep jamming. They just don’t make quality guns. People who don’t know guns are like some people who shop for cars. Would you rather buy a 2014 Kia sedan with 10k miles over a 2010 Honda sedan with 35k miles….No. So why buy a Taurus if you can get an older Smith, Ruger or if you really hunt a Colt revolver (yes, I’ve got 2 for under $350.00 just this past month both in .38 and .357) that will work when you can it to? Someone needs to write a more concise article on older, quality guns. When I saw the title this is totally not the article I though I would read. But hey, as the world turns so does it on different schools of thought. I always put an older Smith, Ruger or Colt in the hands of newbies. And they never ever disappoint. Never!

  • Johm April 28, 2015, 6:01 am

    You made a couple of pretty glaring mistakes in this article. 1. Dirty Harry carried .44 magnum, not a .357. 2. U.S. military forces’ standard carry pistol from WWII until 1985 was the 1911. that’s 40 years or more.

  • Dr. Sam April 28, 2015, 12:52 am

    I haven’t read all of the above and someone may have mentioned this: 1911 to 1985 = 74 years. Little bit longer than the M9 has been carried.

  • JimmyD April 28, 2015, 12:07 am

    Ok first off Dirty Harry carried a .44 Magnum and secondly anyone whos shot .9mm in combat will telk you they wished they had a bigger bore weapon which is why the Marines went back to the 1911 and most law enforcement carries .40 cals

  • Andrew N. April 27, 2015, 11:54 pm

    I currently own one Taurus and will NEVER own another. The only thing worse than the quality of the gun is the customer service at Taurus. I sent a bad magazine in for replacement ( Their warranty, not mine ) and was treated like a thief in the night expecting them to honor their warranty. ALWAYS send an item with a Postal service needing a signature. Even then, they treat you like a criminal. The PT-22 is so bad you are better off throwing it at the target. Your chances of hitting the target improve greatly that way. Even at 7 yards it’s a “squeeze and pray”. Have a LARGE backstop. My Firestar .40 shoots tighter groups at 25 yards than the PT-22 at three yards. No kidding. My friends have tried with the same results. I keep it as a deterrent for those looking at a Taurus. Friends don’t let friends buy a Taurus.

    • JM March 7, 2016, 1:47 am

      I have a Taurus PT 24/7 pro .40 caliber and love it has never jammed or anything at all my wife just bought her first gun on her own and came home with a .380 jimenez lol it jams almost every round and spent round i let her try mine and she loves it now she wants it and bride me with the .50 desert eagle so i guess she wins lol but i haven’t seen anything wrong with my Taurus . sorry for long post

  • fang April 27, 2015, 11:28 pm

    blah…blah…blah…..quit talking and go to baltimore with ALL your guns and wipeout those worthless coons ! “the only good ni**er is a dead ni**er !

  • Bruce Piner April 27, 2015, 11:23 pm

    The 9mm Baretta M9 has been carried since 1980. I make that 30 years. The M1911 in .45 acp has been carried from 1911 (when adopted by the Ordnance Board) until 1985 that is 74 years! Common at least get the history right.

  • Joseph April 27, 2015, 11:21 pm

    Pushing Taurus a little? Slightly biased?

    • 380Lover April 30, 2015, 8:40 pm

      Umm…you must not have a Taurus?
      I don’t have enough of them, myself!
      🙂

  • Howie April 27, 2015, 10:30 pm

    I love my handguns, but when your talking about a cheap and devastating defensive gun… it’s really hard to beat a pump action 12gauge. My buddy’s gun store has nickel plated Rock Island 6 shot 3 inch 12’s with a “speedfeed” stock for under $250. And I’m not just talking about home protection, though our camper will be home for awhile. Wife and I are moving to Montana in less than a month and will be living in our truck camper in remote big bear country at times. Loaded with Federal’s 1oz slugs (438grs) at nearly 1800fps for almost 3000fpe = good cheap power and protection. Hard to argue with a “scattergun’s” abilities and price.

  • Pete in Alaska April 27, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Lot of comments here, some worth the read, others not do much. The artical was ok as far as it went but the inaccucries cut into its reliability.
    From my point of view it matters little if you choose a wheel gun or an auto, caliber is also somewhat unimportant too, although I agree that things like energy, mass, bullit diameter, energy into target and so forth have different results in and on a target.
    My point is that it makes little differance if it’s a .22 LR or a .500 S&W or anything inbetween. Revolver or Auto, 5 rounds or 30.
    What matters is ones ability to use the weapon they have, correctly, and place the first shot and hopefully with some luck the second as well in either center mass or a head shot.
    This is about training, range time, training and just when you think you are good , more training.
    One must understand their platform until it is simply a part of ones hand. One should understand the pros and cons of their caliber choice and train to its streanths.
    Training and knowlage make the differance late at night in the dark. The platform and caliber of choice is just a “dumb” tool and only as good and effective as the hands that hold it or the mind that directs them.
    Training, mussel memory, suititonal awareness …. These are ones weapons. A firearm is just a tool that can extend, be a force multiplier, or just level the playing field.
    In the hands of an untrained, little practiced mind a firearm may be a danger to the user, the users family or friends and not so much to a “threat” if encountered.
    Whatever one has and chooses to keep as a “home defense” firearm. Learn it, know it, understand it’s potentials, train with it, and train and train.
    If the moment comes, god forbid, that you need a firearm it’s best that your brain know what it has in hand and how best to use it ….. Even if your half asleep. Training your brain is the weapon. Without the training the firearm cannot reach it’s potential.
    That’s my opinion. Disagree as you like but it won’t change the reality.

    • 380Lover April 30, 2015, 8:38 pm

      Well said, Pete. Anyone reading here will do well to read your comments. Twice!
      I feel badly for anyone who manages to violate our house at night. It will take me 2 weeks or more to fix the [blood-stained?] holes in the wallboard after the event. Taurus, S&W, Springfield, Ruger, Winchester, and Bernadelli-Beretta will all greet him, loudly…

  • Jim April 27, 2015, 8:49 pm

    Really got on a wild tangent here and away from the subject, Unless Dirty Harry is going to be standing late watch or set up in his hide in your attic! I will go back to Mr. Smith’s original response about having a shortened shotgun handy- Personally I think that’s the best suggestion yet. I keep my .380 within reach of my bed, but I also have a shortened 12 gauge at hand. It’s an older single shot with an 18 1/4″ barrel. Looks like a single barrel variation of an old coach gun- the stock is also cut down. Something Mr. Smith failed to mention, if you are shortening a shotgun make sure that the overall length is at least 26.” That’s as important as having the barrel at least 18.” I believe that poor old Randy Weaver’s family was shot by the FBI, not that the barrel of a shotgun he cut off was less than 18″ but the overall length of the shotgun was less than 26″- Word has it that the overall length was 25 5/8″.- A mere 3/8″ too short. Also, the barrel isn’t measured from “the end of the chamber,” but the entire length of the barrel with the bolt closed (chamber included).
    And Chris- This was not a bad article! I’m sure if you would like to write a comprehensive comparative piece, it would be published, It just gets to me when someone jumps to criticize but never really does anything positive to add to the discussion- other than gripe and nay-say!

  • Sheldon April 27, 2015, 8:14 pm

    where are the shot guns for home defense?

  • Ron April 27, 2015, 6:08 pm

    A very interesting piece I have to say. I like the fact that you showed that a decent reliable handgun can be purchased for less than $1k. I have been carrying a beat up Combat Commander for years now, and I paid about $300 for it used. I do occasionally carry my Glock 19, just to change things up a bit.

    I only have one issue with the piece, where you said; “The 9mm Beretta sidearm has been carried by US Service-Men & Women longer than any other sidearm in US Military history. It replaced the Colt Model 1911 .45ACP pistol in 1985 and is carried by the lion’s share of the US Military today, 30 long years of service.”

    I think the M1911 was carried far longer than the M9, about twice as long.

    Semper Fidelis

  • BRASS April 27, 2015, 5:52 pm

    Good premise for the article and generally on track but I see some, what I consider factual misrepresentations. “… 230 grain bullets at 830FPS and delivers just over 500 foot pounds of energy into the target. Lighter 185 grain .45ACP bullets travel over 1,000FPS to also deliver about the same energy.” … are a couple that I find unlikely. Referring to John Dean “Jeff” Cooper as James Cooper is another. It seems the author was either not well versed or careless in his assemblage of material and proofreading was as well.
    I’ll leave the choices of handguns aside as that is always, like a woman’s looks, in the eye of the beholder. Pure statistics can be manipulated to support or condemn any firearm, the objective review of practical value comes from in depth knowledge and experience.

  • Angelo April 27, 2015, 5:49 pm

    I agree the article has its faults but the fact remains. It will be read by many. Hopefully it is somebody on the brink of deciding to finally step up and protect what is theirs and not rely on 911 that takes advantage of the information. The author should of finished up the article by mentioning the key to any home defense gun/weapon execution is training; lot’s of it.

  • Russ--------BACK TO TOPIC! April 27, 2015, 5:43 pm

    Great review.
    Very comprehensive for someone trying to make choices.
    I really liked the author, his presentations are very real and human, and by no means PC. Thank You for that!
    I enjoyed his graphic and somewhat morbid humor.
    It really helps the people commenting, use their 1st amendment right , and shines a light on liberals that don’t belong here at this firearm forum.
    Suggestion for the Admin; Hire D. S. Standard full time – Fire- S.H. BLANNELLBERRY
    They both may start fights, but Standard’s seam to be productive, and Blannelberry’s attract liberals here, and consequently comments get incriminating or destructive.
    I simply do not read or view anything with his name on it, but am noticing his name on the majority of articles. Disappointing.

    PS. just to straighten out the Harry Callahan comment; In the “Gauntlet” Ben Shockley (Clint Eastwood) had a S&W model 66 .357.
    For sure Harry’s gun is the .44 model 29, however, in the movie Magnum Force all of the fascist cops use a .357 and in fact, Harry does request to shoot the gun of Davis after the shooting competition and later, at the climax, Harry pistol whips Red to death with a .357 as well.

  • Frank April 27, 2015, 5:25 pm

    In your discussion of the 45ACP, you neglected double stack modern 45s. In many home invasions, there are likely 2-4 perps, and 8+1 or a 6 shot revolver may not carry the trick. Also most do not have a rail for a Tactical Light.
    I recommend something like a Springfield Armory XD 45 with mag extender giving a capacity of 15+1 45ACP. With the grip & trigger safety of the XD, it behaves just like a revolver from a safety standpoint, and has a much more crisp trigger for double taps. Fitted with the Crimson Trace Tactical Light with grip switch, (Nice and compact) along with night sights, you have a very good chance of survival if multiple bad guys kick your door.

  • jrkmt1 April 27, 2015, 5:14 pm

    I would like to say that this article, and forthcoming series, is improperly titled. It should read “Affordable Guns for Home Defense”. Cheap refers to low or poor quality items, no matter how much or how little they cost. I’ve lost count over the last 50 years of how often I’ve used what’s supposed to be a high-end product (doesn’t matter if it’s firearms, cars, large or small kitchen appliances, electronics, etc.) and found it to be crap.
    Contrary to what the author states regarding the affordability of the Beretta 92FS, $700 IS expensive, especially considering most people have to save up for a minimum of six months to accumulate that much cash! (It would take me almost two years to save $700 on my current income.)
    There are several handguns listed that shouldn’t even be in this article. The first being the Beretta 92 followed by the FN 5-Seven, Kel-Tec PMR30, Taurus Judge, and Smith & Wesson Governor. These are anything but affordable for many people. Many of the commenters aren’t taking into consideration that at an average of $400 used, Glocks are not really affordable. New, they are even more.
    The dollar cap for “affordable” should be about $300-325 and “moderately affordable” somewhere around $400-450. Their are a number of manufacturers that put out a good product in these price ranges.
    Some of the firearms I would like to see in future articles include the Armscor M200 and M206 .38 Spl revolvers, the various models of Charter Arms revolvers in different calibers, Hi-Point pistols in all three chamberings they offer, Kel-Tec pistols, Armscor M5 shotgun, Mossberg shotguns in 12/20 gauge and .410, Jimenez pistols, as well as other inexpensive or moderately affordable firearms.
    There are also many inaccuracies in this article that have been pointed out by many of the commenters. One inaccuracy I haven’t noticed mentioned is the author states that the Beretta M9 has seen the longest service in the US military over any other handgun. From its acceptance in 1985 to present, that is only 30 years. The M1911/1911A1 saw SEVENTY-FOUR years (1911-1985). I think that’s a few years more than Beretta’s 30.
    Unless this series of articles is more to the point of firearms and equipment that is actually AFFORDABLE and expensive gear is left out, better written, and with less inaccuracies I seriously doubt I’ll continue reading it.

  • Jay Smith April 27, 2015, 4:30 pm

    I see a lot of problems with this article. Mostly it left out some of the best, low cost handguns available. I suspect they are trying to push certain brands. Cheap is a relative thing and some of these guns are not cheap. Also I rely more on shot placement than I do caliber.

  • Brian Ross April 27, 2015, 4:27 pm

    Best value for dollar with stopping power that I’ve found is an Enfield surplus revolver in the original 38-200 British loading. The Brits tested extensively when they changed from 455 MkII to the 38: real world testing, not gelatin. The 200gr bullet is unstable at the 500 – 800 fps velocities: it tumbles when hitting. Low recoil, DA only for simplicity, fastest reload in a revolver. Best: under $100 bucks anywhere you find them. Negative: 38 S&W not as easy to find.

  • Dan April 27, 2015, 4:26 pm

    TPS
    You seem intelligent and experienced but please stop saying less-than-lethal. The term is less-lethal because even these options can be lethal at close range and/or used improperly. We can’t have people thinking less-lethal is a perfect option if they are unable to bring themselves to possibly kill somebody. Less-lethal has killed many people by “mistake.”

    I agree it can be an option but people need to know the limits and train well as with any option. Be well.

  • Mason Hamilton April 27, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Sorry about that – all the typos above – between my limited time, spell check and diminishing eyesight seem to have had their way with my writing – I hope you can interpret my mistakes and where my spell check substituted entirely different meaning words.

  • Mike Douglas April 27, 2015, 3:33 pm

    An A- for the 45acp because of fewer rounds…….duh! Has the author ever heard of the Para Ordinance 14 round 1911, or the Llama 45 with the 14 round mags? I have the Llama, but it would be tiresome to carry, and I weigh 275lb. The Llama is one accurate SOB!

  • Mason Hamilton April 27, 2015, 3:25 pm

    I would disagree – not a good article. Clearly the majority of the commenters have never experienced a home invasion and clearly not between 2-3 AM when it is most probable to occur. If you are lucky and your invaders are inexperienced/incompetents you might be awakened by their entry noises and have time to access a weapon. Successful access probability is proportional to proximity/time – meaning your weapon has to be within arms reach of your sleeping position and assuming no case or locking devices.

    A bed side case like the one in the photo is not only problematic to unlock and open under stress and still half asleep in the time allotted, but if the home intruders have already accessed your bedroom they are now holding your bedside case or at the minimum controlling your access to it. Any defense you mount needs to instantaneous, pre-planned, pre-rehearsed enough to become instinctive/reflexive – and not require more than one or two component moves to firing i.e. access/extract, swing to and confirming target (not your wife, 8 year old, dog or an extraneous household noise) at the same time taking off the safety and then firing. No more, and not likely less.

    If the invaders are experienced/more skilled – you may awake when and if they enter your bedroom to interrogate you regarding where you keep your valuables – and again in position of any obvious home defense weapons. If they have already found your valuable, you may never wake up at all (they’ve come and gone) – or ever if they decided they didn’t want any interference.

    Given that the scenario I gave is a more probability accurate scenario than what most of you seem to imagine (apparently largely based on your Hollywood created perspectives) and as well the article’s author’s obviously limited experience there is more you need to consider: First, if you go to bed/sleep with your home defense weapon locked up and or further from you than arms length, you might as well not have one in the vast majority of home invasion scenarios. You are confusing home invasion tactics with ground assaults, civil unrest, “Mars Attacks” or other TV entertainment, etc. scenarios where there might be some extended advanced warning. The author’s lock box (photo) is a fine way to store firearms for the coming collapse, civil war, and or Mars attacks and that aren’t expected to be used for sudden home invasion protection – day or night. Stored and locked weapons – and regardless of the devices used makes them mutually exclusive to and impotent – for sudden home invasion defensive use. If you live in a household with small children exposure you will have necessarily have to be more creative with both the concealment of your emergency instant access home invasion protection. You will also need a very good attorney to make the case that competent concealment is equivalent to and more practical for defense that intricate locking mechanisms. Because you will never be acquitted should you use a gun that isn’t kept locked away for defense by your non-peer jury of non-gun owners in any situation that goes to court. That would be almost all situations today involving the discharge of a firearm. This would argue for a lockable gun case to be in your possession – and who will testify if it had been used in case at hand – certainly you nor in the necessarily dead home invader.

    Regarding choice of weapons for typical home invasion defense – the choice of a long gun – rifle of short gun are very problematic due to speed of access and maneuverability in the typically tight confines of the bed, bedroom, hallway, etc. where you will most probably meet the invader.). If you are serious about home invasion defense there is no reason not to become competent with a more appropriate weapon – a highly concealable and maneuverable with one hand – handgun.

    The choice of a handgun for bedside access over time means that construction materials become an issue – with dust, bed lint and handling rust. Either polymer or stainless steel construction will be the most functional over time without surface degradation. Polymer construction likely eliminates revolvers – as should be because for indoor night shooting – the flash from between the cylinder and barrel will likely blind you limiting sight and accuracy for a second shot. Additionally, the typical revolver cylinder produces copious amounts of powder and lead spray perpendicular to the weapon that could also injure a proximate bed partner. This is less of a problem with double action semi-autos where you only contend with barrel flash – away from you and reduced – and not lead spray. If you are familiar with your double action semi-auto it going to be the least problematic of your choices. If you aren’t going to be intimately familiar with your home invasion defense weapon. A single action semi-auto might be better in that you won’t be firing any premature rounds (nervous and or involuntary finger squeezes – it happens) without pulling back the hammer first – arguably an advantage. Bottom line – if aren’t intimately and frequently familiar (muscle memory development) with operating your chosen defense weapon (regardless the type) it’s also arguable whether you should have the weapon to start with. There are always baseball bats.

    Regarding home defense calibers – it probably is less important than the other factors already mentioned – since in all cases you will necessarily (assuming you have any critical thinking skills) be shooting frangible projectiles – either shot matrices or hollow points to prevent wall penetration. Unless you are specially trained and or a in current practice Mossad agent – I suggest you forgo .22 caliber even in hollow point because though very lethal in the right hands – are critically dependent on precise shot placement to provide immobility of the aggressor. As mentioned 9mm and .45 frangibles are likely to be your best choices (and similar calibers – though cost and availability for practice will be higher) in between. Most magnums are going to penetrate walls even with frangible projectiles. I once felled a 8 inch diameter cottonwood tree with a single .44 mag. hollow point – so it isn’t going to have much problem with sheet rock and wall studs – or concrete blocks for that matter.

    The best defense from home invasion is understanding and studying what is most probably likely to happen – based on home invasions in your neighborhood. Chose a weapon that will serve you and your family in the safest ways possible – both in critical timing and situational functionality and be intimately familiar and comfortably reflexive in their competent use.

  • Ray April 27, 2015, 3:14 pm

    I’ve never seen a .38 projectile in a 38spcl. .38 is the case size, not the projectile size like most calibures. Projectile size in a 38spcl is nominally .357 and in s 9mm is .356.

  • Jason C Woodruff April 27, 2015, 2:59 pm

    I\’m interested in purchasing a pistol or two to protect my family and myself.

  • Jason C Woodruff April 27, 2015, 2:57 pm

    I’m interested in purchasing a pistol or two to protect my family and myself.

  • Mikelasnicov April 27, 2015, 2:43 pm

    This is an incredibly poorly written article. Col. James Cooper, seriously? Beretta the longest used service pistol. Dirty Harry used a .357 Magnum. Plus I think a bunch of the bullet statistics on the ballistics are wrong as well. Really this is not a mainstream media gun article, this is from a gun website, these non facts should be corrected and never should have happened.

  • OafDawg April 27, 2015, 2:10 pm

    The gun used in the filming of Dirty Harry was a S&W Mod. 25-5 in .45 “long” Colt. Don’t know if they couldn’t get a Mod 29 for filming, or they wanted an even bigger hole in the end of the barrel for the bad guy to stare into. But either way, there’s no way that was a .35 cal hole in the end of Dirty Harry’s gun!

  • Roy hackett April 27, 2015, 1:51 pm

    My PMR-30 would not tolerate the Burris Micro red dot. My gunsmith cold not make it work. This sight rides the slide and the increased mass fails the autoload process. I bought a CHIAPPA revolver Rhino 4″ and it was jamed up out of the box. Why did I not inspect this a the gun store, you ask? Because I am an idiot and trusted the vendor and my gun shop. They took it back the next day. The CHIAPPA revolver has a hammer that does nothing toward firing the round and is connected by a clockwork of parts. The bullet fires from the bottom position of the cylinder. For me, pure sexy, but pure junk.
    Roy

  • max hoyle April 27, 2015, 1:48 pm

    I currently have 4 Taurus revolvers, all are good, accurate,dependable shooters. I have had 3 Taurus autoloaders, none was worth a crap! The first one of the tip up barrel .22s it jammed 10 or 12 times out of every 50 rounds of ANY brand ammo! Thats bad but the 9mm Slim was awful! Had it a month and shot it on 5 or 6 occasions, was brand new, in maybe 20 full 10 round mags never got 10 cartridges to fire in a row, more like 3 or 5 from every mag wouldn’t ignite primers, every single magazine had misfires! The last one, an 45acp Millennium started the same behavior after about 400 rounds, same as my friends identical gun, his went back to Taurus 4 times and mine once, but needs to go now as it will not ignite any brand at this time! Each trip back to Taurus cost about $25, as they do not care about this at Taurus. When mine came back after visit to facyory it shoy less than 100 factory rounds befor it stopped, even fixed, who is going to trust its to protect they’re life? Keep this in mind when looking for a low cost defensive pistol!

  • Rocky April 27, 2015, 1:41 pm

    “…the .357 Magnum made famous by the fictional Harry Callahan(AKA Dirty Harry).”;
    Ah… Ahem! Detective ‘Dirty Harry’ Callahan used a .44 Magnum, not a .357 Magnum. Just saying…
    Other than that, it was a good article. I own many of the weapons mentioned above and my go to, WTSHTF piece is the very same one on which I was weaned, at the tender age of 17 years, oh so many years hence, by my dear old Uncle Sam; the .45ACP
    note; I’ve read, that a 9x19mm JHP can make a hole the same size as a .45ACP FMJ… While this may indeed, be true, a .45ACP JHP would make an even bigger hole while providing far greater energy upon impact. They weren’t comparing apples with pales evidentially and must have had some point to make… or a reason for pushing the 9mm Parabellum. These days I usually make a compromise between projectile size and capacity and carry a .40 Caliber loaded with JHP rounds… As with all compromises, there are deficits in every comparable category.

  • Larry April 27, 2015, 1:37 pm

    magic rooster, Just curious why the comment about Taurus? Thanks

    • Magicrooster April 28, 2015, 5:44 pm

      Taurus firearms are either feast or famine. You get one that works, or you get a paper weight. I have had 4 that were flawless. The next three I bought came “factory f*cked” from Brazil. All three had obvious flaws in the trigger assembly which were detailed in a letter I included with the guns when I sent them back. All three went back three times each. After the third time each, I sold them. These were all revolvers, two 605 .357’s and one 22 magnum. So I can’t speak to the semi automatics, just the wheel guns. I still have two Taurus revolvers, one 22 LR snubby and one 22 mag Tracker. They work fine and I will fix them myself before I send them to South Florida to be sh*t on by the Taurus Monkeys. This is not gospel, just my experience and my resulting opinion.

  • Ross Walters April 27, 2015, 1:29 pm

    I keep a Taurus Millenium Pro 9mm in my mattress holster rig. Bought cheap on sale five years ago it has been totally reliable and easy to shoot. Problem is I can’t hit a barn door with those awful Heine sights but I don’t live in a barn so no problem. The ‘cocked and locked’ single-action status of the pistol is okay for home defense but I wouldn’t concealed carry anything except a double-action firearm.

  • Scott Silva April 27, 2015, 1:08 pm

    Barely past 2 paragraphs and already glaring errors… Did anyone do ANY research?

  • davud April 27, 2015, 1:03 pm

    what a confused story. what’s a $1,200 pistol shooting 60-cents-a-round JHPs doing in a piece about budget handguns? and then there’s the $540 .22 – you can get a SW MP and a couple range sessions’ worth of practice ammo for that.

  • magicrooster April 27, 2015, 12:59 pm

    Taurus? Really??. I would rather the whole world know I found my wife working in a whorehouse than to buy another Taurus firearm.

    • Larry April 27, 2015, 1:42 pm

      Why the negative comment regarding Taurus? Thanks.

      • magicrooster April 28, 2015, 2:06 pm

        Taurus firearms are either feast or famine. You get one that works, or you get a paper weight. I have had 4 that were flawless. The next three I bought came “factory f*cked” from Brazil. All three had obvious flaws in the trigger assembly which were detailed in a letter I included with the guns when I sent them back. All three went back three times each. After the third time each, I sold them. These were all revolvers, two 605 .357’s and one 22 magnum. So I can’t speak to the semi automatics, just the wheel guns. I still have two Taurus revolvers, one 22 LR snubby and one 22 mag Tracker. They work fine and I will fix them myself before I send them to South Florida to be sh*t on by the Taurus Monkeys. This is not gospel, just my experience and my resulting opinion.

  • petru sova April 27, 2015, 12:58 pm

    As far as the caliber controversy simply ignore it. Bullet diameter does not kill as proven well over 115 years ago by the Greatest female hunter that ever lived Agnes Herbert. She found no killing power difference between her 6.5 Mannlicher rifle and her .450 double barrel elephant rifle. She stated proper shot placement and penetration was what killed animals dead. Is it not amazing no one has learned about this in 115 years. More closer to modern times Pistolero magazine went to Mexico and shot pigs which are anatomically very close to humans, (the only difference is that pigs are better behaved) with the .38 special .357 mag 9mm and .45acp and found no difference in killing power. In other words caliber size was irrelevant.

  • bob April 27, 2015, 12:57 pm

    For those who have semi-autos for defense, but do not exercise them on a regular basis, either start doing so or get a revolver. The springs in my .45 clips collapsed after a year or so of constant compression, leaving me with no 2nd shot

    • Don Crawford April 27, 2015, 8:07 pm

      Unless they are defective from the factory, springs will only wear out by repeated cycling, not constant compression. It would seem unwise, to me, to not use something that I trusted with my life for a period of one year or more. Regular practice not only improves the shooter, but proves the equipment to be trustworthy as well.

  • Jeremiah April 27, 2015, 12:55 pm

    The gun Dirty Harry carried was the iconic .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29. Dirty Harry is the 1971 crime film that introduced the character of “Dirty Harry” Callahan to movie audiences. Clint Eastwood stars as SFPD Inspector Callahan, who is assigned to head up the investigation to catch a serial killer who calls himself “Scorpio” and who threatens to kill a citizen of the city each day until his ransom demands are met. Dirty Harry was the FIRST FILM in the film franchise and introduced the now iconic .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29.

  • petru sova April 27, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Beware of laser, tritium and red dot sights. Gun Week Magazine carried an article several years ago about a young college student who came home a few days early in the night and his police officer father shot him dead with a handgun with tritium sights. If he had simply used a flashlight to illuminate the area he would have instantly seen it was his son. Also remember red dot and laser sights are electronic devices and they have notorious records of failing due to shot circuits, internal corrosion and dead batteries, just what you need in a crisis situation.

  • 'ol shooter April 27, 2015, 12:43 pm

    The .357 Magnum made famous by Dirty Harry Callahan? Don’t you mean the .44 Magnum, in which Harry used light Specials, by the way? Better do your home work before you write an article. Your credibility is dubious, at best.

  • TPSnodgrass April 27, 2015, 12:37 pm

    There is a huge difference between INEXPENSIVE and CHEAP hand guns for personal defense. Inexpensive are far more RELIABLE than “CHEAP”. That is a large quantifiable difference in my limited experience in carrying firearms professionally for the last 42 years. Yeah, I just turned the BIG 60 and still don’t FELL like “retiring”. My experience with Tauus handguns has been extremely disappointing. I’ve had two of the revolvers both were model 605’s in blue steel, .357 magnum caliber. On both revolvers, I “broke” the trigger, literally snapped them off while at the range on separate occasions. After getting them back from the factory, I sold them fully disclosing what had happened to ME. I have tried the polymer framed pistols from Taurus, they felt good, but had terrible triggers for ME. Not to my liking at all.
    When I started out in law enforcement a LONG time ago, at the age of 21, we had a choice of a revolver from Colt, Smith & Wesson or Ruger. Now, there are so many choices in pistols and revolvers, I get a massive migraine (and I can’t) if I try to remember ALL the brands, styles, etc. WE are truly blessed to have such a choice to choose from, which makes it even more important to give our shooting brothers and sisters excellent well researched RELIABLE, ACCURATE information when we are sharing our enthusiasm. This article not only missed the mark, it has left a “ring in the barrel” of GunsAmerica.com and they own this one completely.

  • Ronald Peardon April 27, 2015, 12:27 pm

    “The 9mm Beretta sidearm has been carried by US Service-Men & Women longer than any other sidearm in US Military history. It replaced the Colt Model 1911 .45ACP pistol in 1985 and is carried by the lion’s share of the US Military today, 30 long years of service.”
    The above statement does it for me. I am unsubscribing from the GunsAmerica blog. This writer should be sacking groceries or picking up aluminum cans tomorrow. The nicest way to phrase my criticism is to say that this person is incompetent.
    To be clear, the .45ACP was adopted in the Colt M1911 in, to the surprise of the article’s author, 1911. It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. Doing the math, the M1911 in .45ACP, in one form or another, was in federal service for 75 years. (Still is in certain units.)
    To make a mistake like this discredits his opinion of the entire subject matter.

  • Roger April 27, 2015, 12:19 pm

    Cheap is right … I wouldn’t depend on these to defend myself, my family or my home, much less own one. There are many good options out there under $500, so why buy this junk.

  • Chris April 27, 2015, 11:57 am

    Sure wish an editor had looked this over. I can forgive the basic math errors and not knowing what gun was in Dirty Harry carried; but why bither setting up rules for your list only to ditch them so you can include the Five-Seven and Governor?
    And for the love of god stop saying stupid crap like:
    “when the target is significantly amped up on drugs or adrenalin. In that case, the Mozambique (2 to the body, 1 to the head) and, or, head shots are recommended”

    Really in a midnight home invasion you “recommend” a Mozambique drill? A drill you yhen have to explain to the reader, wo incan only assume its not a commonly known drill for the readers. On multiple occasions you recommend headshots, at one point saying multiple shots should be placed to the head (9mm section); who exactly was this article writwn for? I was hoping for a what the title offered what i got was mall ninja fanboy nonsense.

  • Jerry M April 27, 2015, 11:43 am

    Ditto the comments on the .38 Special. We’re talking about the .38 Special, not the .38 S&W which used a 200 gr bullet with black powder. How about the Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special. I got the impression that Taurus was sponsoring this article… You talk about the ballistics of the .38 Special but only call the .357 an “amped up cousin” to the .38 and give it an A. You then give the .45ACP an A- because of it’s “lesser ammunition capacity.” Most single stack 1911 pistols have 8-round magazines standard with 10-round available. Once your get into the double-stack, you’re looking at 12-14 rounds mags. Most defensive .45 ammo is closer to the 400 ft-lb range

  • Bill April 27, 2015, 11:30 am

    Interesting article although I was offended by his calling soldiers idiots.

  • David April 27, 2015, 11:25 am

    You misstated the facts Elmer Keith made both.357 and .44 mag famous get your facts straight if you are going reference a movie so iconic as Dirty Harry get it right

  • Capt. Bracken April 27, 2015, 11:21 am

    Got to agree that this article must have been written by a novice. Aside from the fore-mentioned Dirty Harry caliber mistakes there are number of other historical errors, i.e.,”The 9mm Beretta sidearm has been carried by US Service-Men & Women longer than any other sidearm in US Military history”. If my math serves me correctly the .45 Cal 1911 Government model adopted in 1911 and carried for 71 years until 1985 would have the 30 years that the U.S. military has carried the 9 MM Beretta (1985 to 2015) beat by 41 years.

    The ballistics and caliber discussion ignored some critical considerations. One of them being that of modern bullet design. If you are in the military and your choice for side arm ammo is limited to FMJ (full metal jacket) design then you are probably going to be better off with the biggest projectile you can get. Give me a .45 cal…make it a .46 cal if you got it. Among other things one of the primary reasons the U.S. military switched from .45 to 9MM was not due to better performance (In FMJ), it was to standardize our ammo with the other NATO counties, (politics).

    For civilians, modern bullet manufacturers have come a long way in recent years and have designed high performance ammo that has blurred the lines between various calibers. If you look at terminal ballistics tests of the top performers in most of the generally accepted mainstream defensive calibers, (9MM, .40 S&W, 45ACP), you will find that there is very little difference between them. Wound channels are almost indistinguishable Lesser calibers while better than nothing have always paled in comparison to these calibers while bigger calibers, which get the job done well, have generally been considered to have excessive recoil and over-penetration issues.

    This shifts selection criteria to other considerations such as tactical and cost factors. With modern ammo the 9MM performs for all practical purposes as well as the .45 ACP. Typically you will find that most modern pistols will carry more 9mm rounds than .45 or .40. This means you will have more ammo available to deal with your problem…drug crazed or multiple assailants. I may be wrong but I believe it was Clint Eastwood who said in a western when asked why he carried so many guns…”I don’t want to die from lack of shoot’n back”.

    The next tactical consideration would be recoil or more importantly one’s ability to to handle it and make fast accurate follow up shots in life or death situations. Felt recoil is mostly a matter of firearm weight vs. cartridge power. Generally in most firearms the 9MM takes the lead here as well.

    Now, taking cost in consideration, which is where this article began, the simple ratio of the less expensive ammo is the more shooting practice one is able to afford means you are going to be able to become more proficient with your chosen side arm if you can afford to get out and practice more. Very important if you are on a budget. Once again the 9MM comes to the forefront as 9MM is commonly available and generally less expensive and than the other common calibers.

    I was raised in the military during the .45 ACP era and I have shot it in competition. I love this caliber. However, when I looked at it objectively I had to admit that for personal protection the 9mm with with well designed modern civilian ammo and taking tactical and cost factors in consideration takes the lead. If however, some of our misguided law makers ever ban hollow points or limit us to ball (FMJ) ammo I’ll get my.45 back out. Sorry about the long response but this article should have covered these considerations.

  • Larry Wilson April 27, 2015, 11:09 am

    How can I trust you if you don’t even know what “Dirty Harry” carried. You stated it was a 357, however it was the great big 44 Magnum that made him famous.

    • TPSnodgrass April 27, 2015, 12:28 pm

      The author of this article apparently equates move screenwriting with reality. Not only was his information horribly inaccurate, it borders on outright lies.
      I would have thought that the GunsAmerica blog staff, would have been a BIT more careful than allowing this hurried inaccurate unedited piece of effluvium to be published and attached to an otherwise outstanding blog and website.

  • Philip April 27, 2015, 11:04 am

    Very good article, and I appreciate it. I have three semi-autos that I love. I have a Sig Sauer P220 Nitron 45 acp, and it is a very accurate gun, but somewhat bulky and heavy for everyday carrier. My two favorite carries are my Kahr 40 cal which is very light and easily concealed, and very accurate. My second is a Taurus Millenium PT-145 Pro 45 acp which I love to carry. The Taurus is fairly light and conceals well, and if I ever have to use it in a lethal situation they won’t walk away. I like the Kahr for a bedroom weapon; because with no safety on it I don’t have to worry about that in a dark bedroom in the night.

  • Big Brother April 27, 2015, 10:46 am

    (1) If you are involved in a shooting remember they will keep your gun as evidence and you need a back up gun !
    (2) The police are not your friend SAY NOTHING to anyone ! Except your lawyer ! Tell them you have nothing to
    hide but are following your lawyers wishes !
    (3) Remember bullets go through WALLs // Next rooms & neighbors houses ! You are responsible if they get hit & damages !
    (4) Remember you felt threatened and was in fear for your life or family member !
    (5) Do you want to spend thousands & time in court for someone you don’t KNOW ?
    (6) Call for an ambulance (best use a second party) if you tell them there has been a shooting they will stage until the police
    come and clear the scene !
    (7) When they show up do not have a gun near you !!!!!!
    (8) When they show up !Be scene doing CPR trying your best to save the person !
    (9) Take down the names of anyone there ! They may leave before the police get there !
    (10) GOOD LUCK IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A SHOOTING !

  • Spencer April 27, 2015, 10:39 am

    Great article and excellent information. The only improvement would be to proofread again. Typo’s and other errors are distracting. Otherwise great.

  • Jeff Ferrante April 27, 2015, 10:37 am

    The writer is an idiot!

  • gym April 27, 2015, 10:25 am

    Just pick up a 6 shot 38 used police revolver, if you want cheap. Maybe 300 on slickguns.com, surely not a PMR or an FN.

  • jim April 27, 2015, 10:19 am

    you omitted used S&W model 10-36-15 and the bargain kel tec & Khars

  • Noel P. April 27, 2015, 10:08 am

    Great overall article. The dirty Harry comment is debated beyond belief. My take is that you are wrong about the M9 being the longest serving sidearm as the 1911 was in service for 74 years and the pitiful M9 has just broken 30. There is the argument that women can’t shoot the 1911 and that is generally accepted but go back to that round and give the women a Standard B M9. I’ve carried Standard B weapons before and all they are is normally a revolver such as the M&P .38 SP or maybe a Colt in .45acp and My favorite was a Combat Masterpiece by S&W. The M9 has already met its death knell anyways and Beretta has been told to bow out of the contest for a replacement pistol. Within ten years it will be history and the 1911 will still be used by many servicemen.

    • Rob April 27, 2015, 2:21 pm

      Glad someone else noticed that too, the M9 is the longest serving US Military sidearm?!? Ever heard of the 1911? I hope someone wasn’t paid to write this drivel. This article should be taken out behind the shed and shot.

  • David April 27, 2015, 10:03 am

    I’m surprised since you mention Col. [John] Cooper that you didn’t mention his favorite gun the CZ 75, nor did you mention the newer CZ’s (polymer P-07 and P-09 both hammer fired DA/SA), and you’ll find just about any CZ for less than $600 (sale price is typically in the $400 range).

    These are all slide in frame, low bore-line, highly accurate and low recoil semi-autos.

  • Jasper April 27, 2015, 9:55 am

    The number of errors in this article are legion, to say the least.
    With all of the errors, many of which have been pointed out, it is hard to really give much credence to this article. When the title of the piece is factored in, “Cheap Guns …”, well it just becomes ridiculous in nature!
    There are a number of inexpensive reliable firearms out there. Most are not very pretty, and some are kind of clunky, but several have great reliability and are in fact cheap.
    An FN* anything is not remotely cheap! And the 5.7 X 28 is a questionable round at best. As for penetrating body armor, only those loadings sold to police are able to do so. One more error in an error filled article.
    Want a reliable, cheap pistol, look at Hi-Point. Ugly as sin, best warranty in the business. Available in calibers actually proven to be reliable for self-defense. Not some .22 magnum, which looks kind of good on paper, not very good in real life!

  • Sambeaux April 27, 2015, 9:51 am

    Not a mention of a Hi-Point? Whoa… Yes I am ready for cat calls, cause I have put many rounds down range through a .40 and it worked flawlessly where my S&W Sigma misfired a few times. Hard to beat their price for economy. Available in .40, .45 & 9 mm.

    Cannot believe the 10mm was not rated in the discussion, either.

  • Richie Bast April 27, 2015, 9:45 am

    Was there a reason the .40cal wasn’t included? Close to twice the volume of fire. A muzzle velocity equal or higher than the .45cal, and over 400 foot pounds of energy. You can get used .40cals’ for around $400. What’s not to like?

  • john creveling April 27, 2015, 9:42 am

    “The .38 Smith & Wesson Special, typically known as the .38 Special” Last I knew the .38 S&W and the .38 Special were two different cartridges.

    • jrkmt1 April 27, 2015, 7:44 pm

      The .38 S&W and the .38 S&W Special are two different cartridges. The .38 S&W has a tapered case with a length of .775 inch (19.7mm). The .38 S&W Special (now simply called .38 Special) has a straight walled case with a length of 1.115 inch (29.3 mm). The .38 S&W also uses a bullet of .361″ diameter, approximately 4/100 of an inch larger than the .38 S&W Special.
      If you don’t believe me, do the research. It’s real easy to Google it.

  • Mike47 April 27, 2015, 9:39 am

    What about 40 cal in a nice Gloc?

  • Sparticusj April 27, 2015, 9:35 am

    I carry a Taurus TCP738 .380. But after shooting about 750-1000 rounds total out of it, throughout ownership, and properly maintaining, I had to send it back to Taurus with a cracked slide and cracked frame rail. Never shot anything but Winchester 95grain FMJ out of it. Waiting to hear back from Taurus.

    I have a Police Service-six .357 and an old Rigarmi 25 auto. Both with over 1500 rounds through them and no problems whatsoever, except the mag spring getting weak but that is to be expected. Gonna look for something more reliable like the new New Order 9mm NO9. It’s made in Clairton, Pa out of solid billet with lifetime warranty for $675. Can’t beat that. I heard they are making left hand models as well. .40sw and .45auto coming soon. Check them out. Neworderfirearms.com

  • petru sova April 27, 2015, 9:32 am

    I realize these articles are to sell new guns but if we look at the original title and one is an “Old Fox” one does not buy newly made cheap guns. What one does do is look around for older weapons that are overlooked or shunned by the elite snobs of the gun purchasing world through ignorance or prejudice. Contrary to popular belief Spanish pistols are not all junk. They got this bad reputation during WWI when lots of handguns were needed by the warring people in Europe at the time and many small shops used very soft metal to build them. But as time moved on so did the Spanish gun industry. Even today with more Old Foxes around you can still get very good deals on used Spanish handguns. Just recently I bought an Astra Firecat .25 acp for the princely sum of only $260 almost new in the box. It was all “High Quality” “Old Fashioned” steel not modern junk plastic, not modern junk castings, not modern junk sheet metal. Workmanship including bluing was out of this world, a far cry from the thrown together rough finish garbage being made today. Astra made an outstanding .380 clone of the high priced Walther PP and PPK and Star made a cute .380 single action that looked like a mini 1911. Many of these guns can be bought very reasonably due to the ignorance of the average gun buyer looking to buy “the latest and the greatest” plasticky wonder turd. And lets not forget the greatest 9mm double action pistol of the 20th century the Star Model 30. While snob Sig-o-files on their forum wax and wane over previous made German Stamped sheet metal slide models the Star was made of all forgings. So much the better for the price of the used Star is still reasonable which means there are more for me to buy while Sig-o- files fight over high priced stamped sheet metal pistols with the latest MIM cast parts in them. Would I buy even a high priced new gun today. No way! I have been around to long to get suckered into wasting my money on such trash. But by all means do not believe anything I say. Please disregard the above post as I will be going to a gun show soon and want the prices on the “old gems” to remain low so I can buy up more of them and be proud to own an “older quality” made gun. I want you to go out and by “the latest and greatest” plasticky, stamped sheet metal and cast iron pistols because you see that will make you happy.

  • Pat April 27, 2015, 9:31 am

    Can’t take anythng in this article seriously. First, the author gets somthing as simple as Dirty Harry’s gun wrong. But then, and this is where he loses all credibility, is the use of the term “knock-down power.” This is a myth. Second, there are only two physiological reason to fall down when one is shot: Cranial breach, or a shot to the CNS (central nervous system). One cannot be knocked down simply by being struck by a bullet, despite the protestations of the .45 ACP crowd. Physics, Newton’s Third Law (for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction) proves this concept false. For it to be true, the shooter would have to fall over backwards after having shot the gun. Third, yes the .45 creates a bigger wound channel, but the implication that this relates to more blood loss is false, as the actual difference is negligible.

    And don’t even get me started on writing style: Never start a sentence with a number…it must always be spelled out.

  • AKman April 27, 2015, 9:28 am

    All please note this articles headline is: CHEAP guns for home defense. This sidelines the high dollar stuff.

  • John April 27, 2015, 9:28 am

    Say bud the 357 was immortalized by Dirty Harry really where did u get ur info if I am not mistaken it was a
    Model 29 , 44 magnum or maybe u saw a different version or script
    Thk u sir

  • Mike Stroven April 27, 2015, 9:27 am

    I find the ommision of .40 S&W models in this article to be almost as disturbing as the numerous factual errors.
    The S&W Shield chambered in .40 or 9 can be had for around $400. It’s great for concealed carry and home defense – though I would personally lean toward a bullpup 12ga for home defense…

  • Jason April 27, 2015, 9:18 am

    Lots of things good guns left out of this article and some that were in it shouldn’t have been. And if we are to go buy used prices then that opens up the field to a lot more guns. I agree with an earlier comment that shotguns should definitely be included here. There are now at least half a dozen lesser known brands of 12 guage pump guns that can be had for under $200.00 new. A fee of them even accept Remington 870 accessories.
    And yes,the SCCY 9mm should have been included. As well as the Kel Tec P11. And ugly as they are the Hi Point line should’ve been included. If we are to include used guns then what about the Makarov or the Tokarev ? Why not include Bersa or Llama 1911 style pistols? And the once plentiful and dirt cheap SKS.
    But if we are talking about tight budget guns then why mention the FN 5.7 at all? There is nothing cheap about it or any other FN product. Even the ammo is expensive. I’m calling for a rewrite of this article with better research.

  • JD April 27, 2015, 9:10 am

    I hate when people start suggesting guns. But guns on a budget should always include Charter arms

  • Stu April 27, 2015, 9:08 am

    Don’t want to unload on the author regarding errors (most have been stated) but hoa can someone that owns a S&W Model 39 notknow the history of the series59/39’s. It was NOT the Glocks in 1990s that saw the 38spls go in police holsters, it was the S&W Model 59. The history of the S&W 39s/59s is the history of autoloaders (starting in the mid 50s) in the US… Not the late comer Glocks. Even today on GunsAmerica and other online sites police departments are turning in their cashes of 59s in fully reliable and functional condition. This is FIFTY-EIGHT years of service since the Illinois SP adopted the 39 in 1957!! These are top quality workhouse pistols that can be had in one varient or another (8 rnd / 15-17 rnd) in the $350 – $500 range. While some of the best examples fetch in the $800 + range for the guy with bucks.

  • bill April 27, 2015, 9:08 am

    .38 Special “an inch in diameter”?
    Col “James” Cooper?
    How many errors are allowed in one article before the author loses all credibility?

    • jrkmt1 April 27, 2015, 7:24 pm

      If you read the article correctly, the author said, “The typical 200 grain .38 of an inch diameter…:. Point 38 ( .38 ) when read by itself is thirty-eight hundredths or 38/100.

  • Allen P April 27, 2015, 9:06 am

    OBVIOUSLY some of you missed the whole THIS IS A SERIESof articles STARTING with handguns. Yes the author made some shall we call them tactical errors but not everyone are SUPER GENIUSES like some of you seem to be.

    I would like to take a moment to mention the SCCY CPX 9mm line of pistols. As for bang for your buck this is a great piece of Hardware for the price. I picked mine up at my local gun show for $215. It was a Factory referb that came with the same warranty as a new (only difference is referbs only come with one mag). This is a 10+1 double stack DA only pistol. While is does have a long and heavy trigger pull is still a high B to low A grade pistol. Comes in 2 configurations CPX-1 (manual safety) and CPX-2 (no manual safety). They are ENTIRELY made in Daytona Beach, FL. and have something no other manufacturer has. If your CPX is stolen and you have the serial number on the Police report SCCY will send you a NEW IN THE BOX at no charge to you. Beat that ANYONE.

    • James April 27, 2015, 9:30 am

      What? ” hold on bad guy stay outside till I get my gun back”……Really dude my point is why does it have to be sent out in the FIRST place. Who is at fault when YOUR “factory referb” gets stolen ?

  • Former Marine April 27, 2015, 9:03 am

    Absolute worst article from Guns America ever. As most have pointed out, the fact checking on ballistic data (which can be done in a few minutes with the internet, not like in the old days where you had to go to a library & get actual books if you didn’t have them yourself) is woeful.
    Unforgivable is the Dirty Harry faux pas and unconscionable is the misprinted name. Col. JEFF Cooper (USMCR-Ret.) is rolling in his grave and God forbid R. Lee Ermey read this article. Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if the ghost of Chest Puller himself pays the author a visit!
    Also, other than the Taurus firearms mentioned what about this article spoke to budget consciousness? Additionally, is the target audience novice shooters? If so there was too much information & it was poorly presented & confusing. If not then there was too much information & it was like asking a mathematics professor if he knows what basic addition is.
    I could have written a better article on the subject in the time between when I wake up on my days off & when the Rockford Files comes on my antenna TV (& Guns America, if you’re reading these comments I’d love the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is & personally apologize to the author of this article if that isn’t the case).

    • bill April 27, 2015, 9:09 am

      I agree: definitely the WORST article I’ve ever seen from GunsAmerica. If this was the first one I read, I’d never read it again. Get rid of this guy!!!

    • Phil Cuff April 27, 2015, 9:46 am

      Chest Puller? See? Mistakes can happen to the best of us.

      Chest Puller. GUNNY?

  • kss&w40 April 27, 2015, 8:56 am

    I loved the article i have ruger sr40 and the 249.00 Taurus pt740 1000 rounds later work flawlessly.had glocks and sigs but got tored of paying to high of prices for same performance. ..so keep up good wotk on informing even though you were wrong on a few things and ignore the know it alls on here. Just find something your comfortable with and use it…

    • Frank April 27, 2015, 6:13 pm

      You are 100% right.

  • Karl Childers April 27, 2015, 8:54 am

    How did the FNH Five-Seven end up on the “Cheap Handgun” list. Your site has them listed for over $1000. Overall good research on the main article, but looks like two or three people were involved in the writing. Harry Callahan never used a .357 magnum as his side arm in any of the Dirty Harry movies. He revolver was a S&W Model 29, .44 magnum. He did test shoot David Soul’s Colt Python .357 Magnum at the shooting competition in the movie, “Magnum Force”. That was just to get ballistics for the bullet. Please research all of the examples you use. Most of your market are too gun savvy to pull this one off.

  • Steve April 27, 2015, 8:49 am

    Dirty Harry made the .44 mag famous, not the .38 spl

  • NoFearNoWorriesNoSweat April 27, 2015, 8:38 am

    As a gun collector and having many handguns capable of fending off unwanted intruders, I still like my old reliable Single Action Uberti 45 long colt for my home defense. These single action handguns can be purchased for around $350 new to as low as $275 or less used. When suddenly disturbed during sleep, I like the fact that you first cock the hammer prior to pulling the trigger. This gives me a split second not to accidently drop a family member. A center of mass hit with a 45 long Colt on a person of ill intent will completely destroy any further efforts on his or her part to injur, kill, rape, rob, or harm my family.

  • Steven April 27, 2015, 8:34 am

    What about 32 Magnum? More power than a standard 38 Special, and very accurate. Lots of revolvers in this caliber ( H&R 504, N.E.F. R-73 in particular) can be had for under $200 bucks.

  • Mike T April 27, 2015, 8:19 am

    Springfield Armory is NOT made in America… it is made in Croatia!

  • steve April 27, 2015, 8:16 am

    Not a mention of HiPoont?…….made in the USA, and guaranteed for life…….I paid $160 for my .45

    • RON April 27, 2015, 1:05 pm

      I LIKE MY HI-POINT. (NOT ENOUGH ROUNDS) BUT IF YOU MISS YOU CAN BEAT THEM TO DEATH ! (HEAVY) NEVER HAD A MISS FIRE.
      WHEN I WAS BUYING MINE ANOTHER CUSTOMER WAS PICKING UP A CUSTOM 1911. OVER $1600. HE SAW MINE AND COMMENTED HE HAD 4 OF THEM. 1 IN HIS CAR, 1 IN HIS TRUCK, 1 IN HIS BOAT, AND 1 IN HIS QUAD ! THEY ALWAYS SHOT AND IF THEY WERE STOLEN IT WAS NOT A GREAT LOSS. (NOT $1600)
      I CARRY A SMALL 9MM CONCEALED BUT MY NIGHT STAND GUN IS THE HI-POINT

  • Phaedon Iliadis April 27, 2015, 8:11 am

    Would you please let me know your opinion for the CHIAPPA revolver Rhino 2″ barrel 357 Mag. as a home defense.Thank you in advance for your kind attention.

  • Steve April 27, 2015, 7:57 am

    I like the Keltec KSG. I don’t have to worry about aiming, just fire. The sound of cocking is enough to strike fear! 12 rounds later, I think it would stop anyone!

    • Retrocon April 27, 2015, 9:20 am

      Oh, please do aim! At indoor distances, the spread on your KSG is likely to be only a few inches.

    • jim April 27, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Steve…is your last name Biden, by chance? That comment about the sound of “cocking” (which is not cocking, it is racking, i.e., placing a shell into the chamber), will not induce paranoia in a home invasion scenario. What it will do, however, is alert the intruder as to your precise location. Regardless, by the time you have awakened to a noise, or someone standing near you, found your shotgun, “cocked” it noisily, the intruder has already shot you, stabbed you, or damaged you in some other way. I’m just curious…after you “cock” your shotgun, what do you do next, tell them, “Freeze, or I’ll shoot”.

      I hope you reconsider what the real-world scenario will most likely be in the event of a home invasion, or a quiet intruder in the night.

    • jrkmt1 April 27, 2015, 7:12 pm

      Another person who applies mythical properties to a shotgun. Contrary to popular misconception, effective shotgun usage requires more training and practice than rifles and handguns. I don’t know about you but I would rather have ten or twelve hits from a 12 round mag than capping off twelve shots and hoping I hit something. By the way, in order to properly hit something with a shotgun you have to AIM it, just like you do a rifle or handgun.

  • rxman April 27, 2015, 7:53 am

    Nice information. It would be helpful to detail the usability of the the guns in the hands of the inexperienced. ( elderly, women,). Wheel guns vs autos, the kick etc.

  • Dan April 27, 2015, 7:22 am

    Good article, but it’s an article about cheap HD handguns.
    Are there no editors in your department?
    Half of the guns mentioned are not budget, and many of your facts are wrong.
    Sylvester Stallone made famous the 357 in Nighthawks.
    While Dirty Harry did shoot a 357 in Magnum Force, he made famous the 44 magnum.

  • James April 27, 2015, 7:20 am

    Taurus suck! EVERY one I had(3 of them)I had to send back for repairs and when they FINALLY came back I got rid of them!, You could not give me a Taurus!
    GLOCK42 GLOCK17 GLOCK34 GLOCK43 get it shoot it DEPEND on it!

  • AJMBLAZER April 27, 2015, 7:09 am

    A very poorly written article full of lots of obvious errors. No wonder there is no name on it.

    .38\’s special has been .355 inches wide for over 100 years and is commonly loaded in 158 grains or smaller. 200 grain bullets are exceedingly rare as a factory loading.

    • Mike K April 27, 2015, 8:46 am

      Well aid and spot on. This piece certainly does reduce my respect for GunsAmerica.

    • ToroFlow April 27, 2015, 12:50 pm

      I agree with your comments on .38’s. There is an about the author below the article though.

  • Scott T April 27, 2015, 7:00 am

    If you’re debating the Judge vs the Governor…spend the extra $$ and get the SW. I own one and it’s a high-quality, well-made gun. I run two .410 handgun loads in it, along with 4 .45acp rounds. It’s a beast. I’ve shot the Judge; doesn’t have the fit or finish of the Governor.

  • Joe April 27, 2015, 6:58 am

    I’ve owned and fired most everything on the list at one time or another but not the 5.7 or the judge as of yet.
    Pmr 30 is a fun gun to play with but will it suffice in an emergency ? probably…
    I still prefer my 1911 A1 in .45 next to my bed over all the rest. It was my side arm on watch in the military and still is my go to piece for home defense.
    I think my next bucket list piece will be the 5.7. If it’s good enough for the FBI it must be worth it’s salt.

  • Marlinlever April 27, 2015, 6:55 am

    For a new gun I think the Ruger SR9E is hard to beat, although I would pick up at least two more magazines as it only comes with one. Also, used M&P40’s have flooded the market, ditto Glock 22’s. Usually can be had for $350 with extra magazines. But get what you can afford and YOU shoot it with YOUR ammo that will be loaded for self-defense so as to make sure it functions. As for the PMR30, good luck with ammo at the moment and they can be picky about the ammo selection that they will feed reliably. But realize also, that even the mighty .22 magnum out of a pistol length barrel is just barely more powerful than a .22lr with hyper velocity ammo out of a rifle. And No, I don’t want to be shot with any of it.

    • Frank April 27, 2015, 6:00 pm

      Marlinlever, I have just bought a Ruger SR9 and was wanting info on a good SD load that will cycle thur 100% of the time. Being you have the sr9e I pick you or anyone else that has a ruger sr9.

  • Catfish51 April 27, 2015, 6:55 am

    Hey nobody is perfect ya the article has some mistakes but it gets the points across.There are numerous choices for both fire arms and calibers.The one you are comfortable with and can shoot well with is the best one for you.Some people have smaller hands and a single stack magazine works better for them,some people because of different features cannot shoot a semi as well as they can shoot a revolver or visa versa .Bottom line is you have to be able to put the bullet on target or the game is over so get something that you can consistently hit the target with and that’s your home defense gun.

  • Floyd McCarty April 27, 2015, 6:28 am

    Would someone please explain the hate for Taurus firearms I have had five starting with a model 85 which I tried to shoot the rifling out of and sold for 150. I have a 24/7 in 45ACP, a 45 845, which I did have to send in for service. My first gen pt 140 is still going strong. What am I missing? I have Smith and Wessons Springfields, that I would hate to treat like my Taurus products.

    • Gary Oldani April 27, 2015, 7:37 am

      Luv my taurus . Have a pt740 that shoots flawlessly round after round

    • RJH April 27, 2015, 8:14 am

      You aren’t missing anything. I have two Taurus products that are the first line in my home defense, a Taurus 66 seven shot .357 and a Rossi (Taurus) Tuffy 5 shot in 410/.45LC. The second is my wife’s favorite. A really controllable design for her smaller frame yet she can pump out 5 horrendous shotgun loads like the Home Defense loads mentioned in the article.

  • ed April 27, 2015, 6:13 am

    Why not talk about 10 round capacity states 99% of all gun articles written in gun magazines are written about guns that cannot be bought in 10 round states or for example my state mass has an incredible list of guns that are not approved for purchase by our lawmakers

    • Allen Parker April 27, 2015, 8:49 am

      Ed you need to MOVE. We might poke fun at you for a bit but we do “accept” Yankees in the south. As far as what to consider if not willing to relocate. A very affordable, accurate, well-built option is the SCCY CPX pistol. There are 2 configurations both in 9mm CPX-1(has manual safety) and CPX-2 (no manual safety). 10 round double stack mag. Admittedly this weapon takes some getting used to as it is DA only with a LONG HEAVY trigger pull BUT with practice is a great piece of hardware.

      • TPSnodgrass April 27, 2015, 12:20 pm

        Allen,
        As you are aware, most people living in a particular state, are not able to quickly relocate(move) out of that state due to employment or other constraints. Instead of abandoning them (our brothers and sisters in arms and political thought/freedoms) to their own devices and leaving them twisting in the political winds of Progressive/Marxist Flatulence, you did a good thing by referring them to alternatives that they can readily use to defend themselves from both violent predators and the useless scumbag Progressive/Marxist Plantation Politicians who demand that they disarm themselves and turn butt up in submission to the FSA members. (Free SH** Army)
        Sccy pistols are NOT legal in some states, my native state of California doesn’t allow the CPX-2 for example, and is actively trying to legislate through inane legislation restrictions, the ability for its taxpayers to defend themselves from predation. We can encourage our brothers and sisters to secure extra magazines and revolver speed loaders through reputable online dealers so that they are “legal” in their state, and perhaps when out-of-state, can shop and bring back things that are not available in their state, should they choose to drive themselves and not fly. Each of us is responsible for our own salvation, and while we could sell our home and leave my native state(NorCal Native myself), FEW people like us, have that real option at present. WE need to NOT blow them off. So good for you for suggesting an option. California is our most populous state, and yes, there are far more conservatives there than MOST states, however with a population greater than the country of Canada, our conservative brothers and sisters are still outnumbered. They deserve out help.
        Speed loaders and 10 round mags are still “legal” in California, get LOTS of extras folks, you are going to need them.

  • Sean Thorton April 27, 2015, 6:12 am

    Pleas do an article on affordable shotguns for home defense. Already have an automatic, my conceal carry Ruger 380 LCP.

  • martianone April 27, 2015, 6:01 am

    A poorly written article, full of errors. If there is an editor, these errors should have caught.
    The article touches on a few cartridges, then jumps to some fire arms with little connection between. What about reviewing the strengths or weakness of each firearm type, eg. pistol, revolver, shotgun, carbine, etc? Then discussing attributes of the cartridges for those firearms? The writer should also consider various non-lethal approaches, before firearm use. A 5 or 10 lb dry chemical fire extinguisher sprayed the an invader’s face will disorientate and confuse the bad guy very quickly, consider this before spilling blood all over your place?

    • ColtsRKing April 27, 2015, 7:50 am

      Fire extinguisher? Are you kidding me? What happens, if the one blast from the fire extinguisher fails? Will you then have time to arm yourself? Even if the fire extinguisher works, how would you then find the intruder or your own backup firearm, after filling the entire room with dry chemicals? Finally, which is more important, your family’s safety or the life of a scum bag intruder? If you take a fire extinguisher to a gun fight, the spilled blood may be your own!

      • sparwolf April 27, 2015, 5:37 pm

        if you empty even a small co2 in someone’s face you should have plenty of time to get your weapon and call the police – if you want to – their face will have serious frostbite, plus you can beat them with the empty container. I wouldn’t recommend trying it with a dry chemical extinguisher. the important thing is a surprise scenario is to see everything as a weapon until you can get to your gun. milk jugs, tv remotes, chairs, even pillows if they distract the guy or guys kicking in your door are all good – heck shove a broomstick into their throat…just slow them down to allow you to get to your gun.

    • RJH April 27, 2015, 8:07 am

      Martianone, I fervently hope there aren’t many who read over your advice and act on it. The specific scenario is some sort of home invasion. In those cases, with someone crashing in through your window or door, you’d best believe the right plan is to make sure that they are out of the fight, period. Imagine your regret when the criminal discovers he can fight past your fire extinguisher. You want to place your life and your family’s life on something with the brand name of Kidde or would you rather be standing behind something that is called Colt or Smith and Wesson?
      My personal self defense choice is a revolver in .357, a seven shot Taurus. You can find these readily for about $450 or so. I’ll take my two foot wide flash and BOOM over your white fog any day.

    • Retrocon April 27, 2015, 9:08 am

      Oops. That intruder is likely to be armed.

      As such, never take a fire extinguisher to a gun fight. (Unless thats all you have, in which case, hide)

      Never aim or act to “wound.” Act to stop the assailant as quickly as possible, aim center mass, never use less force than you have available to you at the time in a life threatening situation. Or, you will die.

    • Big Brother April 27, 2015, 11:09 am

      Fire ext is legal to carry in all 50 states ! Where cs -cn & pepper is not ! Jails are full of people thanking they were right !
      It cost when you shoot someone ! Jails are full of big bad know it all’s !

      • TPSnodgrass April 27, 2015, 12:12 pm

        Actually, “jails are full of big bad know-it-alls!” is a false statement. There are no firm statistics, research on the number of “know-it-alls” in the sense and syntax you used in your post. If you have them, please post that research, it would be interesting to see how that alleged empirical data was acquired and from where you pulled it from.
        While a less-than-lethal approach of a fire extinguisher is a good thing, in non-life-threatening scenarios, all of the “home invasions” or burglaries in progress, robberies in progress I ever responded to, did not allow the victims the time, nor the ability to use less than lethal force against their armed predators making violent entry into thier residence, hotel rooms, apartments, etc.
        Making broad based assumptions about things without proper research appears to be standard operating procedure for today’s alleged “journalists”, but as private citizens we can and must do far better.
        If one wants to choose less-than-lethal avenues first, that IS A PERSONAL CHOICE, and never should be a standardized protocol. No “home invasion” a term coined by the mass media anyway, is ever a standard event. Each suspect/s, and location present entirely different quantifiable situations that one cannot merely wave their hands or a magic wand and say, “this IS what you should use.” While you may to choose to react or respond differently, it is entirely YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHOICE and should never be an “edict” to anyone.
        In my multi-decade former career with a very large agency on the West Coast, I saw many hundreds of “suspect there now” calls, in all cases, every suspect was armed with a firearm-at least. The residents/victims that chose to use less-than-lethal response were all to a person either murdered outright, died later from their grievous wounds after being beaten, raped sodomized, etc. Those who were armed were able to immediately repel the attacker/s. That was merely my professional/personal experience that was and still is quantifiable. It is also by no means THE only way to respond to violent predatory attacks.
        However, in real life, you will not(in my professional experience) have the time nor the luxury to “choose” your response to a violent predatory attack upon your person while in your vehicle or your residence. You will have to go with what is on your person or immediately at hand. Again, each of us has to work out our OWN salvation.
        And again, the jails and prisons are NOT “full of know-it-alls” who disagree with your less-than-lethal response options, that is a false statement and unsubstantiated at the very least.

        • Bob April 27, 2015, 2:32 pm

          Have a cut down 12 ga with bird shot no large caliber hand gun as I don’t intend to kill my neighbor by accident as the bullet exits the criminal and continues through his house. No aiming needed and with 6 in the pipe and one in the chamber I can bring the whole house down.

          • Damon April 27, 2015, 5:15 pm

            When I was single, the Remington 870 lived next to my headboard. Now, with 3 and 5 year old daughters in bedrooms either side of the hallway, a Taurus Judge lives in a biometric MagSafe mounted in the top drawer of the nightstand. I had never even considered a less lethal alternative, because if someone comes into my home without my permission, they’re a threat to my children, and I want them dead, dead, DEAD. Fire extinguisher, my ass.

      • wvardaman April 27, 2015, 6:36 pm

        A fire ext. is grate to have in your hone for fiting a fire you will be dead in a home invasion
        get a pmr 30 go to the range every month get profisent with it
        it is profishentsey is more inportante than the size of the gun
        and a can of hornet spray is nice for backup

  • Kurt April 27, 2015, 5:28 am

    I own a SCCY 9mm. Small, light weight, and purchased for $260. Completely made in FL and a transferable Lifetime warranty on everything. About 250 rounds through it so after break in, it has worked flawlessly!

  • Steve Gallagher April 27, 2015, 4:43 am

    Any gun is better than no gun I wouldn\’t recommend the rim fire pmr. You can build an ar for 500-600. You can buy a yugo ak for 500. But the best choice for hd is about what your good with. I would choose a glock pistol any glock pistol with hollows If i had to pick a handgun. But my wife is better and more comfortable with a long gun. In my opinion if I was in my house and needed to defend myself the long gun is my go to. Remember a pistol is just a backup and last ditch resort to get back to your long gun. Why fight fair with criminals they\’re not going too.

    • Dan Martin April 27, 2015, 5:58 am

      A good compromise between a long gun and a hand gun is the Kel-tek ksg-12. It is a bullpup design (26″long), pump action, 12guage. It holds 15 rounds of 2 3/4″ shells in 2 tubes so you can load slugs in one and shot in the other. You can equip a vertical front grip with flashlight and laser and any type top sights you like. they are a bit more expensive,around $900, but well worth the extra expense for their compactness and versatility.

      • bigbrother April 27, 2015, 11:02 am

        Aquila mini’s buckshot & slugs 12 on one side 12 on the other PLUS 1 in the pipe !
        2 twelve shot side saddles + laser and reinforced front fold down handle
        YOUTUBE vidios

  • Steve Gallagher April 27, 2015, 4:42 am

    Any gun is better than no gun I wouldn’t recommend the rim fire pmr. You can build an ar for 500-600. You can buy a yugo ak for 500. But the best choice for hd is about what your good with. I would choose a glock pistol any glock pistol with hollows If i had to pick a handgun. But my wife is better and more comfortable with a long gun. In my opinion if I was in my house and needed to defend myself the long gun is my go to. Remember a pistol is just a backup and last ditch resort to get back to your long gun. Why fight fair with criminals they’re not going too.

  • Naturalist April 27, 2015, 4:42 am

    If Dirty Harry had used a .41Magnum which was designed as a police caliber and has been said to be ballistic superior to the .44 Magnum, the .41 Magnum would have outsold the .44 Magnum. At the time of the movie, the .44 Magnum was the most powerful mass produced handgun in the World. Unfortunately someone at the time was producing a single action revolver that fired a cartridge that was more powerful than the .44 magnum, thus making Dirty Harry,s statement false.
    Unfortunately the .41 magnum seems to be the forgotten caliber.

  • Steve Gallagher April 27, 2015, 4:40 am

    Any gun is better than no gun I wouldn’t recommend the rim fire pmr. You can build an ar for 500-600. You can buy a yugo ak for 500. But the best choice for hd is about what your good with. I would choose a glock pistol any glock pistol with hollows. But my wife is better more comfortable with a long gun. In my opinion if I was in my house and needed to defend myself the long gun is my go to. Remember a pistol is just a backup and last ditch resort to get back to your long gun. Why fight fair with criminals they’re not going too.

  • Gary Zager April 27, 2015, 4:26 am

    For home defense I prefer a 12 gauge pump. Simple, reliable, and fairly inexpensive. Strong knock-down power but won’t go through 3 walls and hit your neighbor. In the dead of night, amped up on fear who is going to be a dead-on shot. With a 12 gauge, .00 buck you can take out the hallway in 10 feet. A Mossberg 500 can be found just about anywhere for about $350.

    • Marlinlever April 27, 2015, 6:46 am

      If you shoot number eight birdshot it won’t go three walls. But ALL defensive ammo, buckshot or slug, will most definitely go through three gypsum board walls and keep going and going. And I dare you to pattern your 12 ga. at 10 feet, with any load, except a spreader load perhaps, but even then your pattern is most likely less than five inches with any choke.

    • Mike K April 27, 2015, 8:32 am

      Excellent point! Agreed on by a 20+ year police firearms instructor. Do you really think the average guy, in the middle of the night, intruder present, adrenaline pumping, is going to be accurate with a handgun? Remember, the purpose of a handgun is to get you to your long gun safely.

    • jrkmt1 April 27, 2015, 1:27 pm

      It would be so nice if people would quit applying mythical properties to shotguns. You can miss just as easily with one of those as one can with a rifle or handgun. I’ve seen it happen all too often at the range or in the field. Like a rifle or handgun, when using a shotgun you have to AIM!
      Contrary to popular misconception it takes more training and practice to be effective with a shotgun than it does for a rifle or handgun, especially in a home or personal defense situation.

    • Mikelasnicov April 27, 2015, 2:25 pm

      “Strong knock-down power but won’t go through 3 walls and hit your neighbor. ”
      “With a 12 gauge, .00 buck ”
      That is incorrect. Someone actually made three walls with drywall on both sides of each and shot them with 12 gauge, .00 buck. It went through all three of them intact. He tested multiple rounds from long guns and pistols. There were certain .223 rounds from an AR15 that did not go through all three walls and others that did. .45 ACP also went through all three walls.

  • den April 27, 2015, 4:18 am

    Great article! Yea, maybe ol’ Harry Callinhan carried a model 29 Smith .44 mag, but you did a nice job on this article. Posted velocities and foot pounds of energy vary so much no one can hit it right on the head. Keep up the good work, it is nice to hear about the less expensive handguns for a change. Cheers!
    regards,
    den

  • Lying Bastard April 27, 2015, 4:09 am

    For and article on budget home defense guns, I note the lack of mention of the Hi Point and SCCY pistols. Any reason?

    And, on the 5.7x28mm round, what can it do the old 7.62x25mm round can’t besides costing more?

  • roger remund April 27, 2015, 4:00 am

    personally i would stay away from taurus. for small budget a used glock in 9mm, 40sw or 45 acp, gen 3 or gen 2 if you dont need an rail for a light or laser on the gun. especially the g22 cal 40sw can be found cheap online. benefits are best quality, free check and upgrade at the glock factory, plenty of spare mags, parts, holsters, easy to use and they will still shoot as taurus is long gone.

    second choice would be the walther ppx, who is priced at 275. or the s&w sigma, sample sw9ve, drawback are there its out of production and there are no 30rnd mags.

    most important is that you have a gun. better two. the glock give additional benefits of combination of same ammo and mags in a couple sizes of firearms, say a g26 subcompact for ccw and a g17 for home defense.

    • James April 27, 2015, 7:57 am

      I’m with you, GLOCK all the way! My wife after she shot my GLOCK is dumping her SCCY(3 weeks out for repairs)and buying a GLOCK. She is now a GLOCK Girl!

      • Jep April 27, 2015, 11:13 am

        Another this gun is in for repairs so it is no good comment…. While no doubt true, these statements always irk me. I have a Glock 27 that has been in for repairs three times in 6 years, I also have a SCCY Gen 2 that is rapidly closing in on 1000 trouble free rounds… The Glock is at half of that, if even that many. I also own a Gen 1 SCCY that was sent in for free upgrade, the list of parts they replaced stunned me, (Basically making it a Gen 2+) and this was after 11 months of heavy use. When I read the replacement list I was beginning to cringe, thinking this is more than they mentioned on the phone and waiting to read what I owed. Free, (actually N/C – no charge). So while my Glock has been in for repair several times, and the SCCYs both have been excellent, I’d not knock the Glock. This world absolutely has room for many great guns, and while brand loyalty is also great, (especially for the Gun Companies!!) you, and others, are missing the point of this article if all you have to say is “Glock all the way”…

        • Alan May 1, 2015, 7:36 pm

          YAYY! Spot on. Look, the Glock is a good gun, but it AIN’T the end all be all by ANY stretch.
          Glock fanatics are just that (look up the definition of fanatic, if you’re not catching my drift), and often WAY overstate the gun’s efficiency and reliability.
          It’s NO better nor worse than many others, and I own 3. And it’s NOT my preferred piece. But then, I’ve owned Glock’s from the beginning, and know their early flaws and problems.

    • Trapper John April 27, 2015, 8:39 am

      My everyday carry is a Taurus PT145. Sometimes I carry a Taurus PT709. My wife carries a PT709. These are excellent weapons. I have not had trouble with any of them. They function well and do the job.

  • bill price April 27, 2015, 3:36 am

    dirty harry with a .357?

    col. john cooper?

    slow down. check your work.

    otherwise, good stuff. thanks

    bp

    • Mike Keim April 27, 2015, 5:00 pm

      Jeff Cooper’s full name was John Dean Cooper. Jeff was a nickname.

  • M. S. April 27, 2015, 2:57 am

    The 5.7 comes with standard 20 round mags, not 30. I wish it did though.

  • TJ McNamara April 25, 2015, 11:48 pm

    Great Article. Sending it to a bunch of budget minded folks.

  • Bob Boyce April 25, 2015, 11:29 am

    Dirty Harry did NOT carry a .357 Magnum. It was a .44 Magnum; a round I think should have been included in the article.

    • RJS April 26, 2015, 1:14 pm

      Not only is the author wrong here, but all sorts of other places. A 230 grain .45 bullet moving at 830fps making 500ft/lbs. of energy? Really? Closer to 350ft/lbs. Typical 115 grain 9mm ammo moving at 1,300 fps? Out of what? A rifle?

      • CaptnBob April 27, 2015, 10:34 am

        Either way, I utilize both 44 and 45….. and @ 10yds (about max range for home defence) the 44mag with a Sierra 240jhp makes +/- 1005ft/lbs and make a nasty mess, where as the 45acp 230jhp may only make +/- 365ft/lbs, it also leaves a virtually irreparable wound chanel. JMO and personal preference. Yours may vary.

      • DevilDog April 27, 2015, 11:02 am

        I think the author had the 9mm confused with the .38 Super. It will fire a 115 gr. round at approx. 1300 FPS. Good catch RJS.

      • D.S. Standard May 9, 2015, 10:27 pm

        I will go back and recheck my data again, identify sources, and make corrections as required.
        Thanks for catching any potentially incorrect facts.
        I do appreciate it, as I do not claim perfection.

        In any case, the primary point of the piece is that common caliber(9mm, .38spl, .40S&W and.45ACP), large bore” handguns from established, name brand, companies and firing name brand factory ammo, can play a role in home defense, and people can find them at GunsAmerica.com. I hope you never need them; but that you have them, and use them with expertise if the day chooses you.

    • DAVE April 27, 2015, 5:45 am

      I’m 99% sure Dirty Harry DID carry the 357 Mag in his 1st Harry Role; The 44 came later.

      • Bob April 27, 2015, 6:51 am

        Dirty Harry, 1971. Harry Callahan: Uh uh. I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow you head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

        • Jeff April 27, 2015, 8:43 am

          This is why handguns must be idiot proofed

          • Ignacio April 27, 2015, 10:58 am

            Hi, there was one Dirty Harry that did feature a .357, but it was the bad guy that had it, a rising star in the PD that did really dirty things (the guy was in a motorcycle) I am almost sure the actor was one of Starsky and Hutch (the blond one).

      • AJMBLAZER April 27, 2015, 6:55 am

        No. It was 44 Magnum from the get-go.

      • Andrew April 27, 2015, 7:38 am

        Harry Callihan states that he carries a .44 magnum. Due to the scarcity of the S&W model 29 during filming, Eastwood actually carried a model 27 in .357 for part of the first movie. It’s the same frame, and one cannot tell the difference when it is holstered.

        • Craig April 27, 2015, 4:23 pm

          I understand the actual gun used in filming was the Smith .45 revolver because it looked practically identical to the .44 yet was able to shoot .45 blanks, available in large quantities due to the proliferation of western TV shows at that time.

          • T.weeks April 28, 2015, 7:40 pm

            The main difference was the model 25-5 .45 Colt had a six inch barrel while the model 29 had a 6 1/2 inch barrel, also the hole was slightly bigger when pointed at the screen. The only .357 Harry shot was David Soul’s Colt Python so he could recover the bullet to compare ballistics. Rogue cop not rouge.

      • donald comfort April 27, 2015, 10:44 am

        I think that one % got you. The 357 was ifarther in the series, where the guy from Starksy and Hutch played a rouge cop along with several others. They were using Colt Pythons

    • joe April 27, 2015, 6:39 am

      if you listen ,in one of his movies he tells some rookies that he shoots a 44 special load out of his 44 magnum to have more control and better for the next shot

    • JRD April 27, 2015, 7:08 am

      Also the 45LC!

    • Jerry April 27, 2015, 7:22 am

      Personally, I believe the best home defense firearm is the reliable Remington 870 12 ga. loaded with # 4 shot. Wont go thru walls, and in a room,one shot will more then suffice. OK, one in the chest cavity, one in the head, just for good measures

    • Mike K April 27, 2015, 8:27 am

      Dirty Harry ALWAYS carried a Smith & Wesson model 29, .44 magnum revolver. HOWEVER, for home defense use, unless you live a few hundred yards away from your nearest neighbor, a .44 magnum is going to leave your premises and penetrate a few more homes and possibly people, before it comes to a stop. That’s one of the good attributes of a .45 ACP. It usually stops within the assailant, particularly if a good hollow point bullet is used, thereby no longer endangering others as well as imparting its full energy in the bad guy. The author gets an F!

  • DRAINO April 25, 2015, 7:24 am

    Good article! Great use of humor! Look forward to more articles. No disagreements so far. Just good info for people to make their own choices. But may I humbly recommend moving out of such a gun-hostile state….? I know there may be worse, but there is definitely better! I get the whole family-is here thing….but if your family can’t defend themselves due to local regulations…?…that’s a safety factor in my book. But, we do live in a free country….so far. Keep the articles coming.

    • warren April 27, 2015, 8:05 am

      Gotta dissagree with ta brother.

      A free country we are not.

      • dann bunn April 28, 2015, 9:14 pm

        have to agree, Our country has put itself in a most dispicable position. I say our country as we elected these idiots, and now we complain. The man told us he was going to fuck up this country, and he has now done it!
        We ask for it.

      • Alan May 1, 2015, 10:36 am

        I hear and read this comment a lot, and yet, MORE States than ever have concealed carry.
        In addition, MOVING from one State to another is the individual’s decision, not the Govt.
        Concealed carry of firearms, and movement without ‘papers’ or permission.
        So, this comment is NOT all that applicable as claimed.

      • romney dickinson May 11, 2015, 1:59 pm

        Warren is right. And this idea we are free is one of the top 3 reasons why we won’t be getting any freer. When people think we are free they need to change that kind of dangerous thinking and set about living, life, freedom, children, grandchildren. This kind of thinking will assure we all will continue loosing to our many enemies inside and outside America. So, for your own sake take action and DO SOMETHING. DIE, BUT DIE FREE.

    • petru sova April 27, 2015, 9:36 am

      Your living under an illusion. Did you know that in many East Block countries like Bulgaria you are free to own modern newly made full auto weapons while in the U.S. the newly manufactured full auto weapons were banned decades ago. Now who is more free?

      • BobSmith April 27, 2015, 2:11 pm

        That’s the consolation prize they get for having to die of dysentery at age 40.

      • Dave Givens April 27, 2015, 3:50 pm

        LEARN TO SHOOT! Full auto is a neat way for soldiers to waste ammunition. I defy you to hit a man-sized silhouette on full automatic twice at 200 meters with any weapon (with the possible exception of a .50 machinegun) from any position. If you can’t hit him with the first shot, you can’t hit him.

        • Robert April 28, 2015, 12:50 pm

          I have all the calibers mentioned and all can be used for different purposes. For personal close up defense I like the .38 or .40. Although the .38 is a revolver I once heard it said that “beware of a man who only has 6 bullets. He probably knows how to place them.” And that is the secret for any weapon. How to place the bullets. In private security armed guard training, and military gate guard duty, I was taught the 2 in center mass one in the head method but that was within 3 yards of me. Further back you can be more selective. Always hit center mass chest not gut. Gut shot people can still kill you. So can someone with a knife 20 feet away if they get momentum forward movement. I hope this helps.

          • Allen Benge April 28, 2015, 10:53 pm

            I notice tht the .40 S&W was conspicuous by it’s Absence from this list. If the thrust of the article is inexpensive defense guns, you cannot do much better than the Hi-Point line, They not only make a handgun in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, they also make a great carbine in the same calibers. A big point for me is that the magazines will interchange, within the caliber, between handgun and carbine. They perform well, going bang every time you presas the go button. Add to that the lifetime warranty, and you have a winner.

    • J. Dexter Smith April 27, 2015, 10:46 am

      Might I give some advise to us older folks. As we age and get awakened in the early morning by an house alarm or the noise of breaking glass or the bang of a door being kicked in…it simply takes us unaware and our reflexes have also slowed. I kind of like the advise on the use of the .357 Mag. as per its stopping power; but that’s about it. Older folks should use a single action revolver without safety features. Something real simple like pulling hammer all the way back then pulling the trigger without fumbling around with trying to find a safety as every model of a pistol has the safety located in a different location except for an old time single action. Might I encourage this weapon be kept nearest the bed as it takes us longer to get up and get to a weapon. However, might I encourage that older folks keep two other weapons near their bed: a double barreled .20 gauge shotgun, sawed off to the legal limit of 18.5 inches from the end of the chamber loaded with #3 buckshot and a sharp knife with at least a 4 inch blade. Most safeties on double’s are located in the same locale, on top, before the breach. The simpler the better. We don’t need AK’s or AR’s, we don’t need Intra-tech or other high capacity firearms with 30 and 50 round magazines. We do need a squeeze light mounted on the shotgun of sufficient lumens to light up the room and potentially blind the culprit. Just K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, silly)…old time western style single six pistol of sufficient caliber for stoppage and if enough time is allowed a .20 gauge double with #3 buck, and in case of a last resort a sharp 4 inch blade. That’s it, sleep tight.

      • Yitzhak April 27, 2015, 12:03 pm

        I agree with you man. I don’t have the shot gun yet, but I do have a Ruger SP101, .357 on the night stand right next to the bed. I chose the revolver for that very reason. It only has 5 shots, but I don’t have to do anything but aim and pull the trigger. I have a 9 mm Model 213 in the lower drawer of the same night stand just in case. And an M1 Carbine in the linen closer right outside the bedroom door. 30 round magazine .30 caliber. I live alone with my cat, so there is no one else that would bother the weapons. You have to make it simple when you get past 65
        . 😉

      • David I Nelson April 27, 2015, 12:27 pm

        Dexter, I like the way you think: K.I.S.S.
        No matter what you plan on using, practice, practice, practice. If live-fire scenarios are not an option, practice dry-firing. Safely stow live ammo elsewhere. Lay down with the lights on and step through what you plan to do. Next try it with the lights off. Do a few reps. Next set an alarm for 30-45 seconds and drill. Muscle memory comes from proper training. We revert to what we train!!!

      • Mike Johnson April 27, 2015, 12:41 pm

        I’ll second (or THIRD all of that (except I always use 00 buck). I keep a .357 Blackhawk and a Kabar by my bed, a sp101 in .357 in my ‘Sunday go to meeting’ truck and a Roxio (yeah, i know) .38 DA in my feed truck. I’ll work on bringing a shotgun in. 🙂

      • jrkmt1 April 27, 2015, 3:33 pm

        Mr. Smith, It doesn’t matter what your age is, your home being broken into is going to take you by surprise (unless you live in a high crime area and break-ins are common). If you’re asleep when it occurs, then almost everyone’s reaction time is slowed.
        For the greatest majority of people, a single action revolver is a poor choice as a personal or home defense firearm. It is slow to bring into action, many people aren’t going to remember to cock the hammer first, and if for some reason you need more than the six shots in the cylinder it is extremely slow to reload. A better choice is a double action revolver. You can pull back the hammer for a better aimed shot if you wish, or you can simply pull the trigger. Reloading, if necessary, is much quicker. Open the cylinder, drop all the empty casings at once, and use a speedloader or Bianchi speed strip to aid in reloading.
        Double barrel shotguns are all well and good, but only have two rounds at your disposal. Pump action shotguns in 20 gauge and .410 are readily available, relatively affordable, come with five round tube magazines and a factory 18.5″ barrel, no cutting required. If one chooses a double barreled shotgun, the “coach” models come with factory equipped 20″ barrels. A number 4 game load is just as effective as a number 3 buck in a home defense situation, possibly more as it contains a greater number of shot pellets.
        A lot of people who keep a handgun for self and/or home defense have only the one. It doesn’t matter if it is a semiautomatic or a revolver the owner will usually practice with it to become comfortable with its operation so they don’t have to think about how it functions should an emergency arise.
        As to caliber it all depends on what the person can safely and accurately handle, especially under stress. It doesn’t matter if one is a senior in decent health, a younger person with a physical disability of some sort, or someone of small stature, not everyone can comfortably handle or accurately shoot a .45 or even a .357. For these persons there are the .38 Spl, 9mm, .380 (of sufficient frame size to help reduce recoil, not the tiny mouse guns), or .32 (ACP or S&W Long). My mother at age 60, due to very poor health and lack of strength, couldn’t handle anything greater than .22LR or .25 ACP (she chose the .22 because she preferred revolvers).
        What it all boils down to is to practice as much as possible with your preferred firearm and above all, try to remain as calm as possible and not panic in an emergency situation.

      • Mak April 27, 2015, 10:20 pm

        Toss the double barrel. Give that to John Kerry for deer hunting. At least use a pump. Your KISS principle applies here. If you’re saying you need 2 firearms and a knife, the transition between different firearms and a small object like a knife is time consuming and requires fine motor skills involving small muscle groups in an adrenaline dumping situation. Also, stopping power in a handgun is a myth. We watch videos of a coward shoot a small frame female store clerk with a 357. She stood there after the shot. I didn’t know she was hit until the red stain darkened her white shirt in the back. She wasn’t launched through the air. A 9mm’s energy is like dropping a 10# weight 3/4″. A 45 Auto is a 10# weight from 1.1″. Unless you find a handgun that shoots around 2,200 fps, your suspect or attacker you have shot is bleeding out. The exception is a central nervous system hit. A rifle: Kills totally different. Thats why a compact AR disables its target much faster through destroying tissue with huge wound channels and shock from turning organs to gel. Having weapons staged around the house? Fine. Several in the bedroom you have to transition to when one, or two fail? I say get a little more capacity, and stick to putting rounds on your target as opposed to transferring weapons once, or twice. The best thing is to get a controllable weapon of velocity that disables immediately through shock, and avoid knife fights in the dark, admittedly at an elderly age when you might be fighting some meth head willing to kill for his next high. Sure, have a knife. But bring a gun to the fight first and foremost.

      • mac10 April 27, 2015, 11:34 pm

        I would recommend anyone no matter what age to be proficient with any weapon they choose to use. If you are not proficient with a firearm through practice, I doubt very seriously you are going to do well with a blade unless you practice proficiency with it also. I would hate to see some old fool get his blade stuck up his but because he doesn’t know how to use it. I would encourage everyone to practice with whatever they may use for self or home defense. Just a thought.

      • jim ramsey April 29, 2015, 4:58 pm

        I will stay with my 12 ga. 00, Mossburg 500 cruser.

    • E_man April 27, 2015, 10:59 am

      Other firearms to consider for cheap self-protection, home defense, etc.: CZ-52, with the badass 7.62×25 Tokarev round; ammo ain’t as cheap as it was a while ago, but still not bad if you’re willing to take chances with the Bulgarian boomers. And what about the CZ-83, a very nice, solid, reliable carry gun in 9×18 Mak?

      • Cap. Ril April 27, 2016, 8:55 pm

        Being a new shooter with an embarrassingly low budget,a friend l o send me a high-point c9. I was able to fire a few other handguns in 9mm, some quite pricey and more aesthetically pleasing. The c9 was what I could afford and it works quite well.3 misdeeds in 600 rounds so far,2 within the first 100 rounds. It’s
        More accurate than I am a and can use it as a carry.

    • Dean April 27, 2015, 11:14 am

      Dirty Harry ( Clint Eastwood) had a S&W Model 29 44 Mag. not a 357 magnum. Clarity

      • Gregg April 27, 2015, 11:57 am

        Check your facts yes it suppose to be a 44 mag but they couldn’t get one for the shooting of the movie so it was a 357 look a like

        • celtsrevenge April 27, 2015, 4:36 pm

          Actually, I believe they used an S&W 41 mag as the look alike. The .44 mag was not available to them for shooting the picture.

        • Doug April 27, 2015, 5:06 pm

          Actually they used S&W model 57 revolvers chambered in .41 magnum to shoot the early scenes before S&W was able to get them Model 29 in .44 mag. The .357 Model 27 N Frame has a much smaller outside diameter barrel, but the 57 and 29 have identical outside barrel diameters.

        • Chris Baker April 28, 2015, 10:29 am

          Regardless of what firearm they used on the movie set, for purposes of the story it was a 44 mag. His speech to the crooks said it was a 44 mag and that’s what counts for the movie’s purpose. Just as there was an actor playing a part there was a gun playing a part.

      • paul April 27, 2015, 12:02 pm

        You are absolutely right and I was going to add this clarity as well…author is off on other areas as well…since when does a 9mm have twice the energy of a .38 spl…I find no worth in arbitrary comments and discount his recommendations in entirety.

        • mike ehrig April 29, 2015, 7:14 pm

          9mm and 357 mag are a very close match….roughly same size bullet, same common weight, and approximately the same velocity. so, the 9mm is a lot stronger than the .38 and about the same as a .357 mag. i was orginally told that the police were allowed to switch to 9mm because they general public didnt like the idea of them carrying a magnum revolver. dont know if thats true or not.

      • Craig Ramsey April 27, 2015, 1:28 pm

        Yup. I quit reading right after he said that.

      • Russ April 27, 2015, 1:41 pm

        Dean!
        Now you do know Hollywood is full of shit, right?
        Ballistics don’t lie.
        Many think bigger is better, but stop a second and realize;
        1. The 357 is smaller and you can carry and hold more of them.
        2. Because they’re smaller, most firearms using them have a higher capacity.
        3 .Consequently they weigh less, and the firearm frame is usually smaller, weighing less as well.
        4. Less recoil from a 357
        5. current costs of 44 mag ammo = .50 per rd, and 357 mag is .33 per rd.
        Now watch how 357 is superior in FPS to 44
        357 mag [buffalo bore]—> https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9ZJSGJqsVFg —->1724 FPS
        44 mag [spear]—————>https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VXhCHhFFIFc —>1317 FPS
        357 mag [spear]————-> https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1ZevVEZRo0k—->1421 FPS
        Don’t feel bad Dean, lots of people make that mistake, including myself when I started shooting.
        Now go out and get yourself a Glock (31,32 or 33) a Ruger GP 100, and a Henry Big boy lever action, and your all set.

        PS I still like 44 mag for the big bang.
        It’s fun and ass kicking, but not for all purposes, necessarily better.

        • Mikelasnicov April 27, 2015, 4:30 pm

          You make good and valid arguments for choosing .357 Mag over .44 Mag but you are also implying something that is completely wrong. “Now watch how 357 is superior in FPS to 44”. First you show a .357 in a Buffalo Bore, which is specifically known for being way hotter than normal. Plus you compare a 125 grn in .357 to a 240 grn .44 Mag and say look how much faster .357 is. Look at the velocity of .44 Mag in a regular Remington 180 grain, and that’s still way heavier than your 125 grain .357. Muzzle Velocity .44 Mag 180 gn: 1610 fps Muzzle Energy: 1036 ft. lbs. I notice you make no mention that the .357 Mag is almost half the energy of the .44 Mag. I just compared Underwood, which is some really hot ammo in both calibers. The available velocity’s from both rounds are similar. But the bullet weights are quite a bit different and therefor the kinetic energy is quite a bit different. .357 Magnum has its advantages over the .44 Magnum, like less recoil. Ballistic superiority is not one of them.

          Go ahead and make the argument that .357 is better because it costs less and recoils less, but please don’t try and claim that it outperforms or even performs as well as the .44 Magnum because it doesn’t. If you were only going to get one shot off on a charging grizzly, which one would you trust most to stop him?

          • Russ April 27, 2015, 8:34 pm

            Hi Mikelasnicov,
            Ya I realize what your saying, and for sure the 44 is more powerful, and I really like to shoot it. Fun!
            I guess my main point was to get people to know, a good .357 mag can do the job for roughly half the price and size.
            I really wanted them to see the cavity damage.
            That huge shocked mush meat area could stop man or bear.
            I’m not saying it’s better, because all ammo has a purpose.
            I’m just saying .357 mag is superior in FPS, and .44 mag is not always better than it when it comes to purpose.
            Consequently many could get the job done, cheaper, lighter, more manageable and hold a higher cap.

            To defend against A CHARGING GRIZZLY!
            Besides the stench of fecal matter, I would have a can of bear spray going off in my weak hand, and readying my strong hand with 15 rounds of 10 mm. or .357 mag coming out of my Glock.

          • Dennis April 28, 2015, 11:58 am

            I just cringe with all the talk about “energy” and no one even gives a thought to the momentum of the mass. In the equation for kinetic energy, the velocity is given twice the importance of the mass. Talk to a physicist or mechanical engineer about terminal performance and kinetic energy versus momentum. There is lots to think about, and very little to argue about. The contributor that said central nervous system shot is the best sure bet is spot on. All else is dependent on a list of factors and conditions. Research FBI data on the subject of stopping power. No need to argue.

        • Chris Baker April 28, 2015, 10:40 am

          A more valid comparison of .357 vs .429 (44 mag) would be the 125 gr jhp vs the 180 gr jhp. I loaded up some of the latter to try in my Redhawk, 7 1/2″ barrel and middle of the powder range 30 grains of W296, with a federal magnum large pistol primer and clocked them at 1750 fps 10′ out. This test was done at the Point Mugu Gun range in the mid 1980’s. To be honest though, it is truly unpleasant to shoot this round. At least it is for me, I’m pretty much a wimp though. On the other hand I can’t imagine needing anything close to that to stop a burglar. If I need to I plan to double tap any burglars, heart and forehead, with my gp100 in .357. Funny thing about that. 38 special is actually .357 and 9mm is a whole .002 smaller at .355. Not much difference and any impact difference depends almost purely on how fast the bullet hits.

        • Andrew N April 28, 2015, 6:20 pm

          Nice cherry picking Russ! How about a few other loads from Ballistics101.com?
          The MAX .357 load from Buffalo Bore gives a 125 grain bullet moving at 1700 fps for a muzzle energy ( The important part ) of 802 ft lbs. Now for the real truth:
          The standard 240 grain load from Cor-Bon moves out at 1475 fps for a muzzle energy of 1214 ft lbs.
          The +P+ 340 grain load moves at 1478 fps with a 1644 muzzle energy. OUCH!
          Garrett Cartridges loads a 330 grain HP XTP at 1400 fps for a muzzle energy of 1435 for a non + round.
          Add this to the larger frontal area of the .44 and it makes a much bigger hole than a .357. The main problem with using the .44 magnum for home defense is over penetration, endangering the neighbors AND their dog. They say “Speed Kills” but give me a big metplat as I want to stomp them as well as kill them. And, if I ever had to face a bear, there is no contest. .44 Magnum or bigger, please.

      • James Leffmann April 27, 2015, 11:39 pm

        Indeed. I read through the comments to see if someone else caught it. A glaring error: “Several other sizes of projectiles for the .38spl were fielded by military and law enforcement over the decades of use culminating in the development of the .357 Magnum made famous by the fictional Harry Callahan(AKA Dirty Harry).”

      • Andrew N. April 27, 2015, 11:41 pm

        Good catch. Also, Harry only shot .44 Special loads instead of full power Magnum loads.

        • T. Weeks April 28, 2015, 7:30 pm

          No, Dirty Harry said he shot .44 Specials he when he was shooting the Hogan’s Alley in ‘Magnum Force’.

    • Jim April 27, 2015, 11:52 am

      Back to the article it almost seamed like a Taurus commercial. I have 2 hand guns a 45 cal. highpoint (under $200) some call it a tank YEA I LOVE MY TANK! It shoots straight 35yards full mag 6″s.its a bit big for ccw so I bought a SCCY 9mm ($225) it shoots straight at 25yards. Both guns have a LIFETIME WARRANTY the SCCY warranty covers everything in the box 2x magazines. These guns don’t get the recognition they deserve, KEY WORDS AFFORDABLE, DEPENDABLE!

      • mesaman April 27, 2015, 1:47 pm

        Glad to read a comment on the Hi-Point weapons. I have six; 2 .380s (one in each vehicle I drive, an early model .45 and the later one with the clip button release and laser sight, and two 9mms. Total investment? the price of a used Dan Wesson .45. The .380s I refer to an expendables, the .45s are heavy and easy to hold on target; great shooters, the 9mms I haven’t shot them, NIB.

      • Russ April 27, 2015, 2:06 pm

        Jim, your “Tank” is a greatly valued house gun, but shhhhhhhhhhh! on the SCCY
        Everything about the SCCY CPX-2 is too dam good, if people find out, it may drive the price up.

    • Roger Lanse April 27, 2015, 11:56 am

      Glad to see you included the .22 Magnum in your list. I carry, all the time, a Taurus Model 941 Ultralite 8-shot revolver in .22 Magnum caliber. Ballistics are equal to or better than the .380 ACP and I don’t even know I have it on.

    • Chris April 27, 2015, 12:07 pm

      This is not a great article, its a mess. From the shocking amount of basic fact and math errors to the laughable recommendations from Mozambique’ing to a liat of affordable guns including a five-seven or governor.

      This article (which is obviously authorless) is an embarrassment that should never have been posted.

      • Larry M April 27, 2015, 12:54 pm

        I agree with you 100%. Whoever wrote this knows VERY little about guns.

      • Steve May 5, 2015, 2:27 pm

        What a hack. This is truly a cring worthy article. Inaccuracies abound. The judge, shot one – bride shot didn’t go through the damp two layers of cardboard. FBI protocols, no 410 round met it. The only good defense round is the .45 colt rounds which are better fired from a dedicated .45 colt revolver. 410 slug is 97 grains verses 225+ aye for the colt round. Various multi round 410 shells may make a lot of holes but at what price – lower velocity, reduced mass (versus colt round), violent spread due to rifling and overly large pistol with a short barrel.

        I’m all about own what you like, and if you like it great but to call it a good self defense gun choice only proves the inadaquacy of the writer.

    • Charles April 27, 2015, 4:17 pm

      I hate to bust your bubble, but Dirty Harry made the 44 mag famous, not the 357.

    • Dave Givens April 27, 2015, 6:11 pm

      Several years ago I bought my wife a Serbu Super Shorty that she calls “a cute little shotgun.” Those who enjoyed “Burn Notice,” will remember it as the 14 inch long overall shotgun that Fiona was partial to. At over $800 it’s not cheap and A.T.F. considers it “any other weapon” so it is a pain in the whatsus to buy but I think it is worth the expense.

      My wife’s side of the bed is farthest from the door. She keeps her land line and cell phones and a very bright spot light, with a stand, on the dresser on the her side of the bed.

      Here are my instructions to my wife, applicable to any shotgun: There is a round in the chamber. The safety is off! If someone ever breaks onto the house, get behind the bed and put the shotgun on the bed. Turn the spot light on and point it at the door. Shoot anyone who comes through that door. Dial 911 on both phones and set them on your night table. You are calling 911 to get a recording of the entire incident. Don’t worry, they will call the sheriff.

      Wait for a few seconds for the 911 operator to pick up and yell loudly and clearly, “I am in here and I am armed! If you come in I will kill you!”

      Then chamber a round. The round in the chamber will fly out. Don’t worry about it you have four more. The sound of a round being jacked into a shotgun is very distinctive and scary. Only someone who is crazy or on drugs will enter the room. If he does, shoot him in the face. Your bird shot will take his head off but it will not penetrate a bullet-proof vest which he may be wearing.

      If you think it is a false alarm or you think he is gone, DO NOT try to clear the house yourself. That is the job of the deputies!

      If someone says he is a deputy don’t believe him. Make him show both hands and toss his credentials on the bed. Don’t believe the uniform or the badge — anyone can buy both. Then read the information on the credentials to the 911 operator to ensure that they are real. If they are, follow the deputy’s instructions exactly.

      The only thing that is worse than shooting someone, is needing to shoot someone and not having a loaded gun and a plan to do it with.

    • Joe April 27, 2015, 9:45 pm

      Enjoyed this informative article, and particularly like your newsletters and the focus on good information.

      Nevertheless, I might wonder about a couple of points made in the article. I always thought Dirty Harry used a .44 magnum, and you did not consider this caliber. Too unwieldy? Definitely has stopping power. Having said that, I would go with the .357 unless I was trying to stop a Mack truck with a pistol.
      Second, while the Beretta 92 has been around a long while, 30 years, would not the Colt Model 1911 have the record for longest service as a military sidearm, having been used from 1917 to 1985? Or am I missing something?

    • dann bunn April 28, 2015, 9:17 pm

      Does anyone have some recommendation on shotguns?

      • Joe McHugh May 1, 2015, 10:09 pm

        Dann Bunn, check out the Mossberg Model 590A1 12 ga. pump shotgun. The softer kicking 20 ga. is deadly enough if recoil is a problem. It’s the only slide action shotgun that could pass the U.S. Army’s endurance tests. I selected the 20-inch barrel vs. the 18-inch barrel because the longer length allows you to load 8 shells in the magazine and one in the chamber. Mossberg shotgun slides operate slick as butter after a small amount of practice at a gun range.

        Some fault the aluminum receiver of the Mossberg compared to the steel receiver of the Remington Model 870. Not a factor because the bolt barrel lockup is all steel construction. I suggest that you use single 0 buckshot or smaller sized shot to avoid penetration of your house walls that would endanger your neighbors. All shot shell charges stay fairly compact in the short range distances in a home. That’s why shot shells are just as destructive to bad guys in your home as solid slugs would be. Oh yeah, you still have to aim a shotgun because the shot pattern is so compact at short ranges. Make sure that the Mossberg shotgun includes the “Ghost Ring” open sights, they are very good for close targeting.

        Remember that center of mass targeting is best unless the bad guy keeps moving toward you because he is wearing a protective vest. In that case aim for that thing above the shoulder area.

    • D.S. Standard May 9, 2015, 10:18 pm

      Thanks. NH has pretty good laws. We live in a Shall Issue State and we are working on trying to coerce the Governor to sign a Constitutional Carry bill. Still we have problems with schools, stadium and federal buildings, although the State House is OK..

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