Handgun virgin seeks advice & recommendations

MtnElk

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I know there has been a bunch of handgun threads, but I wanted to dive into a few different aspects and spin offs. Let me first start by saying I am already planning on doing the following:

1. Taking a conceal carry class to learn about my locals laws, rights, etc.
2. I will be trying out the different suggested calibers and corresponding brands at the range before making a purchase
3. I never in my life thought I would own a handgun, so bear with me.
4. I definitely never thought my wife would want one in the house... so this is all quite a surprise ha

So here's the scoop: we moved to a wicked awesome place further up into the mountains. We have neighbors, but it's quite quiet up here at night, dark AF and there is a ton of wildlife (including bears and mountain lions; so far seen quite a few bears). I sometimes travel for work and am gone for 3-7 days at a time. We have a young daughter. Since we moved up here and had a bear encounter on the first night, and have heard more bears outside at night, my wife has become a little concerned about home protection beyond someone trying to break in. Like walking the dog, when I am out of town, etc. She originally requested I bring my shotgun to the bedroom and stash it in the closet. Done. But upon trying to teach her how to load it, etc - it became obvious that a gun that size might actually cause her more harm than good. So we had a talk last night and the queen of not wanting any handguns in the house said it probably makes more sense for us to have one and that I should start doing some research. She'd prefer the shotgun get locked up and I had a handgun that was as secure as possible & hidden out of reach from the little one.

So here are my questions:

1. What caliber do you recommend we get, when the conditions are: suitable for use on a bear or human, and that my wife can operate in a pinch (aka, no hand cannons) and isn't experiencing an ammo shortage
2. In that caliber, what brand(s) / model(s) do you recommend?
3. Besides conceal carry class, testing at range and studying up on local laws, what am I missing?
4. What is the absolute best handgun case for securing a gun with a small child in the house? Anyone have a biometric based model?

Been around guns my whole life, but handguns are a whole new world to me - appreciate any and all help I can get
 
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rwc101

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I bought the GunVault SV500 SpeedVault for my BIL and sister when they had a kid.
 

mtmuley

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It would be very difficult for your wife to become proficient with a handgun without hours behind it. A home defense 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buck is what my wife has. She also has a 4 inch Colt .357, but anybody that enter our home is toast by shotgun. mtmuley
 

MtnElk

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It would be very difficult for your wife to become proficient with a handgun without hours behind it. A home defense 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buck is what my wife has. She also has a 4 inch Colt .357, but anybody that enter our home is toast by shotgun. mtmuley
I'm completely in agreement with you and I keep trying to tell her a shotgun is way easier to operate... but she's convinced it's too big. And I also agree with you that if we go the handgun route, SHE needs to be shooting it too
 

mtmuley

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I'm completely in agreement with you and I keep trying to tell her a shotgun is way easier to operate... but she's convinced it's too big. And I also agree with you that if we go the handgun route, SHE needs to be shooting it too
Some of the specified home defense shotguns are fairly compact. mtmuley
 

220yotekiller

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l prefer revolvers for new handgun shooters, if it were us in our position, l would get a 4 inch barreled 357 magnum, it will be loud but the recoil isn't bad, plus you can shoot 38 special or 38 special plus p loads. if you have to buy a semi auto then get a glock in 40 smith and wesson, they are simple and reliable. shotguns are great, l bought my wife an over under 20 gauge, she loves it.
 

marksjeep

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If you go handgun, consider a full size for her. Less recoil, larger grip, much easier to control and shoot. Just not easy to conceal. Who cares about concealing if you just want it for the property. I've used a gunvault under the bed for 15 years without issue to keep handguns secure from kids.
 

VikingsGuy

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A youth compact 20 ga with 00 or 04 buckshot is a much better choice than a handgun for the person / situation you describe. A reluctant shooter is unlikely to be effective with a .357/10mm/44mag. (Frankly, even with a decently stout 9mm/45ACP/40SW.). Shotguns are easier to point, easier to hit something, and way easier to handle the recoil.
 

elkduds

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Find a range that will let your wife try some self defense shotguns and handguns. If she has no shooting experience she will get some. She will also recognize it is easier to be accurate w a shotty than any handgun. Like several other things, talking about shooting is no substitute for doing it.





I like double action revolvers for learning. However, many women cannot pull a DA revolver trigger accurately, some not at all.

+1 to all the comments about getting her shooting, arming her while she is motivated. Safety, comfort and competence will keep her interested and build her confidence in shooting.
 

MtnElk

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Can't wait to show her this thread... so that I can show I was right that shotgun is better (a rare win ha) and get a handgun for myself! But now I need to figure out what to get for myself
 

VikingsGuy

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But now I need to figure out what to get for myself

Get yourself a 10mm semi auto Sig Sauer. Lots of punch with amazingly light recoil. More rounds than a revolver. Super high fit and finish. DA/SA. Since I got mine, my .357 revolver hasn’t left the safe.
 

turbobrick

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In what way does she think the shotgun is too big? Just its physical size, or does she perceive it to be too much because its a large cartridge? In a high stress situation, a shoulder fired weapon is always going to be superior for anyone with less training. A 18" shotgun in any gauge will be way better than any handgun caliber I'd be wanting to shoot at a bear. If she insists, a fullsize 9mm that fits her hand would be my choice. The changeable grips on the Gen 4 and 5 Glock and S&W M&Ps are great to get them to fit. Regardless of what you choose, I'd also add a weapon mounted light.
 

oldbutnotdead

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I have been looking at these for a single gun safe. If you look you can see they have many safes you can get even for long guns with quick access so maybe get one of those and put it in the closet.


As for which gun....that is a harder question. If you can go where they rents guns and shoot as many as you can. We have a place here where you can rent tons of them for like 10 bucks each plus ammo, hopefully you have some place like that.
 

Hunting Wife

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It sounds like she is somewhat inexperienced, in which case she will likely find a full sized semi auto handgun unwieldy to handle as well, at least anything that would be worth a damn for bears.

I would seriously consider a smaller shotgun for your stated objective, and bear spray for walks. If she must have a handgun, go with a revolver. And make sure she spends enough time at the range to become proficient with whatever you go with, or this is all kind of pointless.

Good luck!
 

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