There was some discussion in 'comments' on this post the other day about the efficacy of different types of weapons for personal defense. Here's my 2¢.
Too much firearm is worse than too little. A .22 Magnum in the right hands is deadlier than a .454 Casull in the wrong ones and a hell of a lot less dangerous to the surrounding countryside. If the noise or blast or recoil of a weapon scares you and makes you flinch or blink, buck in anticipation of the recoil (low and to the left), or jerk the trigger (high and to the right), the weapon is not right for you and is useless to you. You will likely miss the target and it may kill you.
You don't need something that will stop a charging rhino after going through two or three engine blocks to stop a burglar or other miscreant. You need something that is comfortable for you to hold and something you can practice with without discomfort. You also need training, lots of practice, and the mental fortitude to overcome a normally laudable reluctance to kill another human being. All the training and accuracy developed by shooting at paper targets goes for naught if you can't bring yourself to shoot the sonofabitch that's trying to hurt you. It's something to think about. The term 'deadly serious' is exactly what I'm talking about.
Keep in mind that we're not talking about pin-point accuracy over long distances here. For info on that, see your Marine recruiter. We're talking about stopping somebody 5-10 feet away from you from getting up close and personal enough to hurt you. 'Up close and personal' is where you have to stop him.
Q: Is a TV set or stereo worth a man's life?
A: That's a question the person must answer for himself before he breaks into my house. I have no idea what his intentions are, and will shoot first and ask questions later.
Light weight and concealability are important if you're going to carry it around, legally of course. Nothing freaks people out in the supermarket checkout line like a visible handgun, and since everybody has a cell phone these days you are liable to get to watch your groceries roll down the parking lot and get tenderized by passing traffic while you are prone and spread-eagled with a cop kneeling on your back while he checks on your carry permit.
On the flip side, if you know someone is going to try to hurt you, screw the permit. Emergency knows no law. You will at least be alive to answer the illegal carry charge.
Generally speaking, my favorites for carry are the .38 Special, which comes in many varieties and sizes and ammunition is available everywhere, and, a little more esoteric, the .32 H&R Magnum. Small in size and weight, and a little rocket ship of a round. Loud, too!
That said, my absolute personal favorite handgun caliber is the .44 Special such as the short barrelled Charter Arms Bulldog for concealed carry. Relatively low velocity, but a punch like a Louisville Slugger.
I had a Ruger Blackhawk in .44 Magnum once. It was fun to shoot .44 Specials out of, but I sold it after the first time I fired a cylinder-ful of.44 Magnum rounds. Ear-splittingly loud and it tore the web of my hand to shreds. If I ever need that much firepower, I'll call an air strike!
I haven't said anything about semi-automatic or autoloader pistols because, though I'm familiar with them, I think they're too complicated and I don't really like them. They most definitely have their place, military and law enforcement, but for casual use, I'm just an ol' fart wheelgun man. If I can't protect me and mine with 5 or 6 rounds, I probably couldn't with 9 or 14 either. Just a personal preference. If I had any interest in goin' looking for gun trouble, which I don't, I'd carry the biggest gun that held the most bullets. Shit, I'd carry three of 'em!
Which brings me to the title of this post. Let's have some fun!
The late Bill Jordan, old-time U.S. Border Patrolman, innovative pistolero, and author of No Second Place Winner about gunfighting, which I've read several times, when asked what was his favorite weapon in a shootout, answered that if he had ever known ahead of time that he was going to be in one, it would be a 12 gauge shotgun! I'm down wid dat!
On the theory that wretched excess is barely enough (thanks to Mario Batali), enjoy this video. Disclaimer: I hate Blackwater, but they do know weapons.