I walked into a gun shop....

My wife and I went to a gun shop looking for a firearm for home protection. Would like a gun that would be effective at short range as we have neighbors 100’ away. Ideally, we would place the gun in a drawer and never need to use it. The clerk suggested the S&W M&P380 Shield EZ. He did state that we would need to practice.

After some research, I think the M&P 9mm with a built-in laser may be a better choice and may reduce the amount of practice required to become proficient. What do you think about these choices? Of course, finding ammo right now is an issue.


A laser sight probably won’t help much. The thing about a handgun isn’t knowing where to aim or how to aim, it’s being able to hold your aim on target while shooting. This sounds easy and for some people it is easier. Don’t get me wrong though knowing how to aim is part of it. The amount of practice to get good with a handgun isn’t measured in the hundreds of rounds shot at the range it’s more like tens of thousands.


I don’t want to discourage you. I just don’t think a handgun is right for you.


For purely home defense an AR or AK or even levergun, imo.

For Home defense and for outside of home defense a 9mm or larger handgun,imo.

For shtf…start with a handgun,imo


I practice lots of dry-fire with a SIRT laser pistol. I also got a Mantis X10 which records how steady I hold it and traces where my muzzle points as I pull the trigger. I use these every day, and I keep them in my home office. If you can’t spend $350 pandemic price on 500 rounds for practice, at least get some dry-fire in.

And if you can get ammo, it’s best to spread out your practice, about 50-100 rounds per session is my sweet spot. Then you can reflect on recoil, your grip, where your shots hit, your sight picture, etc. in between. And do lots of dry-fire.


@MusashiAharon is right about the dry fire. I didn’t go that route. I was able to do all my practice live fire. Once that got boring i started to compete. That pushes your movement from position to position and target transitions skill up.


I agree dryfire is important, snap caps are worth mentioning too


I suggest you take a basic firearms class before you buy any firearm, most classes have different firearms that you can use and then you can make an informed decision as to what firearm is best for your needs.


If you get out to the range, at least once try sprinkling a few snap caps among your live rounds. That does wonders to cure flinching.


I use them at home, always have. I chamber check everytime I grab a pistol though , even in the Gun store.


As much as people bash the NRA on their spotty political advocacy, their training courses are excellent. I took NRA Basic Pistol early on, no gun required. We got to shoot mostly 22lr, but the instructor also let us shoot his other guns for .380 special, .357 magnum, 9mm, 10mm, .45 auto, and .44 magnum. I highly recommend them and their certified instructors.


You’ve got a lot of advice here to sift through

mine is skip the lazer, they’re gimmicky IMO and as a new shooter watching that dot move will diminish your confidence, which is counter productive

Yes ammo supply is something to consider, if you can’t buy 9mm ammo then don’t buy a 9mm firearm

For self defense any gun is better than no gun, but not if you don’t have ammo

please keep us in the loop on your decisions :+1:


My daughter has an M&P shield and likes it . I have also shot it and I really like it also. If you have a local range it is in their interest to sell you practice ammo. Just hold back 20 rounds or so each time until you can get some actual self defense ammo. Something is better than nothing in this case. To be honest if you have one and don’t like it you can still get the shotgun and use that until you get to practice with the pistol.


Thanks all for the information, comments, recommendations, and link. NRA training is available in my area and I plan on taking a course or two.

How frequently do semi-automatic pistols “jam”? How frequently do you encounter a “dud” round? Are there any deferences in reliability between pistol, rifle, or shotgun rounds? Is there any ammo manufacturers to avoid?


Skip the lazer would be my advice too. for a home defense gun a shorter barreled shotgun is hard to beat for a new shooter. semi automatics are very reliable and seldom jam. There are several factors that make guns jam. a factory semi auto handgun will be reliable. only problem is you likely won’t find ammo for it. you can find shotguns shells.

My advice is buy a gun you can find plenty of ammo and enjoy shooting it. a 9mm is not that one. you might get lucky and find some. but if you’re just wanting a gun now for protection in the home, get a scattergun and you can buy a handgun or any other when this scare goes away. it will someday, may take a lot of bloodshed but it will pass.


NO one mentioned a shotgun for HD?

Mom (age 76) keeps her 50 year old .38 in her night stand (with the last box of talons(?) in my area circa 91ish-christmas gift.lol), a .20ga behind the door and her .45/410 circuit judge loaded with slugs on the wall.

BTW I and my wife love our Ruger LC9. In fact, the wife stole it from me after hew .32 tomcat slide “bit her” once.


I did.


I definitely recommend taking a safety course before buying anything. After the class, I would suggest visiting a range that offers rental guns. This will give you an opportunity to try different firearms before buying.