Thoughts on house guns
The house gun is merely the gun you keep accessible at your home in case something goes bump in the night. I think there are generally three schools of thought on the house gun: handgun, carbine and shotgun.
My personal preference is for a handgun because it’s much easier to navigate narrow hallways with a smaller weapon. And since the likelihood is almost infinitely greater that the thug going bump in the night is of the tennis-shoed variety and not the jackbooted kind, stopping power is more important than penetration. Additionally, over-penetration can be bad in terms of accidentally shooting through your walls and into an occupied bedroom or, even, your neighbor’s house. My house guns are a Sigarms P229 in 9mm and a Glock 30 in 45ACP.
I suppose a short barreled rifle would function adequately as well but there is a danger of over-penetration of the walls (though 40 grain 5.56 Nato has been shown to penetrate less than a 40S&W). But a cop (and probably a jury) is likely to be more sympathetic to someone shooting an intruder with a handgun than with their ninjaed out, uber-tactical, M4 style AR-15. While an appropriate carbine may work well, I still prefer the handgun for these reasons. A carbine in a handgun caliber may work very well also.
Some folks swear by the shotgun for a house gun for a variety of good reasons. However, when I look at it, those reasons aren’t enough to sway me. One of the reasons they propose is that, awakened at 2:30 in the morning, you’re likely not going to be at your best in terms of aiming a weapon. Hence, the spray pattern of the shotgun is quite forgiving in terms of hitting something. Yes, it probably is. However, said pattern may not be forgiving to passers-by and other non-hostile targets, like furniture and pets. Also, one of the things people who favor shotguns say is that the distinctive kachink sound made when pumping the gun is intimidating and will scare people off as part of the Holy Shit! factor. My thoughts on this are that, simply, I will not warn invaders to my home. If you’re in my home uninvited rummaging through my belongings, I will lawfully assume that you mean me and my loved ones harm. You will be considered a hostile target. The only warning you will receive will be the 230 grain, jacketed hollow point piercing your flesh.
An important factor for a house gun is a light. There are a variety of flashlight mounts for shotguns, rifles and pistols. I prefer the handgun because you don’t really need a mount if you use the Rogers/SureFire technique. I’d recommend a Surefire flashlight (a Nitrolon can be had for about $30) because a blind goblin is better than a sighted one. I would even consider a laser sight on your house gun merely for the rapid target acquisition capability and the Holy Shit! factor.
Update: Sure it may violate the don’t use uber-tactical gizmos rule but I’m thinking a sound suppressor would be ideal on a house gun. After all, firing a weapon without hearing protection (particularly in close quarters) can cause temporary loss of hearing function and impact communication with your family. Conversely, the loud bang may scare off other varmints, assuming there is more than one going bump in the night.
Update 2: Bear in mind also that the gun you use in a self defense situation will likely be confiscated by the police as evidence. The gun’s return may take a while or may not even happen given police red tape. So, don’t use Dick Cheney’s $13,000 shotgun and have a second house gun.