I wrote a veritable treatise on this topic not long ago, but I can't find it now, but, even though almost everyone has his own favorite firearm for
home defense, I would suggest that you could not possibly go wrong with this choice.
These are also good quality choices for, if money is an issue:
Smith & Wesson
I recommend a medium-frame stainless-steel revolver in .357 because the .357 is such an effective round, revolvers chambered for .357 can fire .38Sp,
and even 9mm rounds (with moon clips), and revolvers, especially in stainless steel, are easy to maintain, except for all those chambers you have to
clean when you're finished shooting.
I think a 4" barrel is best for home defense, but shorter or longer is okay, depending on preference. The double-action trigger pull can be
problematic for those with weak hands, but practice and exercise can overcome that and a single-action pull is an option if time permits.
Small frames are okay for small hands and if discrete carry is a concern, but we're talking home defense. You usually lose one chamber with
Pistols (auto loaders) are not usually a good choice for those who are not interested in high maintenance and sometimes finicky firearms.
Rules of thumb:
Rugers are solid, rugged, and reliable-virtually indestructible. I own Ruger pistols and rifles. I don't own a revolver, but used to fire an SP-101
.357 on occasion and maintained it for a friend.
Smith and Wessons are known for their high quality and light, crisp triggers. Cops used to love these and they have a status symbol value. Auto
loaders rule the roost with cops today.
Taurus and Rossi are South American sister companies and offer reliable firearms at competitive prices. These are favorites among security guards. I
have owned both and can recommend them.
EAA is a well-respected European purveyor of pistols and rifles. The Windicator is made in Germany and somewhat less well known. Get some first-hand
information before you buy, as this one is less often mentioned in magazine reviews and I have never owned or fired one. The price is very tempting
and I have no reason to doubt their reliability. Ruggedness might be an issue, if you plan to shoot a lot.
[edit on 2006/3/7 by GradyPhilpott]