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dimitrig

Considering M4 for home defense

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Posted (edited)

Hi all!

I want to preface this by saying I have never owned a gun before. I did some plinking with a .22 when I was a kid but I don't have any real gun experience and I am, quite frankly, uncomfortable around guns.

However, recently there have been some incidents with people breaking into cars and trespassing on my rural property. I have a burglar alarm and while that scares them off (if they set it or a car alarm off) they eventually return. They are probably meth-heads just looking for a quick score, but it frightens my wife and even some of the neighbors - many of which are single women - are also scared. Some of them are armed themselves, but when talking to them there is this sort of assumption that I, being fairly large and scary-looking guy, will help protect them if the rubber meets the road. I want to be able to help defend my community. 

I don't think I'd feel comfortable with a pistol, because of the amount of practice involved to become a good shot so I am considering a shotgun. I want one with a decent magazine size and without a super large kick so that my petite wife can use it, too, in a pinch. I think my wife won't be able to use a pump action gun even though she has practiced with one and likes the idea. She is about 5'2" 110 lbs and I just don't think such a gun is for her. Price is no object (well, under $10K let's say). That led me to the M4. 

Obviously we would need to practice a lot with whichever gun we choose but here are the considerations for me:

1. Reliability

2. Recoil

3. Stopping power

I like that the Benelli takes 6 rounds, has less recoil than some, and has a lot of stopping power. I also feel like, unlike a pistol, I could get by practicing with it on the order of 6 times per year for my needs. I don't want to go to the range every weekend. 

Does anyone here have any advice? I was looking at the Mossberg, but it seems too hit-or-miss. The idea here is that if one of these crackheads ends up inside my house either my wife or I can put an end to it. I am willing to put time into training but I am not going to go to the range every week. I don't intend to use the gun for anything else.

Thanks for your advice!

 

 

Edited by dimitrig

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As a certified firearms instructor, I would preface saying that the best firearm you have is the one you’ll actually carry. The shotgun in the house will do little good standing in the driveway. Every time I have needed a firearm, I have never had the luxury of 30 seconds to go retrieve one. 
 

I would recommend seeking profession training to ingrain the firearm rules. I’d recommend both you and your wife attend one since knowing your legal rights is as important as picking a gun. I’d do this before spending a bunch of money. 

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Check your local community for firearms courses of instruction on "home defense". Many shooting ranges/academies/centers  provide classes covering protecting your family and  home. Your spouse can attend to learn, as well. 

Most "Home Defense" courses of instruction will cover firearm types, techniques and tactics, as well as, safe room setup, surveillance, and the most important item being maintaining Situational Awareness. 

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I agree with StrangerDanger.

I would recommend either a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun due to its lower price and simplicity in comparison to the Benelli M4. While you're at it, also buy a carry pistol. The combined price of the pistol and the shotgun will still have you lower overall price of a Benelli M4.

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I will agree that training is very important. Both you and your wife should pursue that. The M4 is an excellent choice for a home defense shotgun. It's probably a better choice than a pump because of inexperienced people short stroking the pump action and not feeding the next round in a rush. A semi auto would be more reliable when shooting quickly.

As Stranger and Nails have said.  Consider a handgun as well. The M4 is only good if you have it with you which is not very likely all the time as you move around your property.  A handgun is easier to be carried always. There are many small 9mm semi autos to choose from. Spend time at a range where they also sell and you can try different models with your wife. Select what feels right and seems intuitive to shoot. I would suggest looking at the Sig P365 MS (manual safety) which is small and easy to carry around,. Another good choice is the Glock 19, though it's larger. It just depends on what you like and what she likes.

Regardless of what you decide, training and understanding Situational Awareness (like Don said) is very important. You do not want a weapon to become a liability instead of an asset. 

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Everyone will offer recommendations for pistols, but the only way to truly see what works for you is to go and rent them. What works for you might not work for her and vise versa. 
 

Unless your wife is ‘strong on plow,’ it may be too heavy and have too much recoil for her to manage. The M4 has a complicated loading system that is difficult to use under stress. It requires a lot of fine motor skills. 

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Posted (edited)

Practice practice practice. Join GSSF, IDPA, USPSA, etc. and go shoot under stress. I love taking classes in any discipline but there is nothing like competitive induced stress. We can't replicate an actual life or death scenario but we can put you under a clock, in the dark, in a real life scenario in competition that is as good as you can get. I have taken many friends who are avid shooters (I call them tin can shooters) to a low light IDPA match and they left the stage shaking. Some chose to really learn the handgun and use it. Others decided to change their nightstand gun to a shotgun instead. Both require training and practice but the handgun is worthless as a HD weapon if you cant hit with it or use it in low light. 

Edited by Sigfla
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I don't consider myself qualified to recommend a particular weapon to anyone for self defense but, I will mention one thing though. Not implying anything here, but trespassing, or theft, or breaking into cars are not grounds for shooting a person, EVER.

I only mention it because it seems from your post that those are the things that have got you thinking about purchasing a weapon.

StrangerDanger's posts in this thread is the best advice.

 

 

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There is a lot of extremely good comments and advice here, IMO.

Deciding to arm yourself at home or concealed carry away from home is really a lifestyle change.  That can sound overwhelming but it shouldn't deter you from taking the first step on the journey.  Other than parroting what others have already said, my best advice is for you and your wife to do it together if you can; this should be easier because it will be new to the both of you and you won't have the typical scenario of the know-it-all husband telling the little wifey what she needs and how to do it.

Do some research on gun shops and training in your local area and talk to people and co-workers.  One word of caution though, don't buy a gun because someone told you it is what you or your wife needs.  Rent guns at a local range and get training on how to use them.  There are many examples of people thinking that a particular weapon is right for them only to try a few others that they like better because of fit, weight, caliber, recoil, operating system, etc.

I am a member of US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA).  They provide insurance for their members that are involved in a self defense shooting but they also have a great magazine and training to help you on this journey.  I would definitely heed what Evolution said regarding what is a justified shoot.  USCCA discusses this aspect of self-defense often.

Obviously you've done a bit of research already as you know the M4 and are on this site.  Nine .32 caliber pellets hitting a target at 1200+ feet per second is very lethal and the reason my M4 sits behind my bedroom door loaded with buck.  But, I also have pistols stashed around the house and garage and another on my hip.  Not to insult you here, but it is a common misperception that a shotgun doesn't need to be aimed and can be used effectively when shot form the hip.  A shotgun is NOT a street sweeper unless your watching a movie with Doc Holiday in it.  It HAS TO BE AIMED like any other long gun as the pattern of pellets will not spread like the movies would lead you to believe.  00 buckshot will pattern around the size of a baseball at 30' and roughly 12" at 75'.  These numbers can and will vary but not enough to argue about when considering the topic.  Do a little You-Tube/Googling on shotgun patterns to get a better feel for it.

As it sounds like budget is not a huge obstacle for you, you might consider his and her weapons whether they be shotguns, handguns or a combination of both.

As a matter of reference, I don't consider myself anything of an expert on guns.  I'm not a big burly and bearded guy with punisher tattoos on my arms and I don't do sweaty black and white photo shoots for Guns & Ammo magazine.  I'm just a firearms enthusiast and a student of self defense.

I hope you and your wife start the journey and really enjoy the ride -- it can be very fun and addicting!

 

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Many fantastic comments in this thread. I would encourage you to do your research, try out a few different firearms, and figure out the one that works best for you. AR15s, pistols, and shotguns can all be effective HD tools depending on the user. 

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1 hour ago, DFWSFO said:

Many fantastic comments in this thread. I would encourage you to do your research, try out a few different firearms, and figure out the one that works best for you. AR15s, pistols, and shotguns can all be effective HD tools depending on the user. 

YUP -- What he said!!  Just don't get discouraged!

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, NineInchNails said:

 

I would recommend either a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun due to its lower price and simplicity in comparison to the Benelli M4.

ALL Mossberg pump shotguns have a fatal flaw which can be addressed, but if not addressed it can and will result in a jammed shotgun action. That fatal flaw is that if it gets dropped, even from a relatively low height, it's very likely that the elevator will become dislodged from one or both holes where it rests in the receiver. I have a Mossy Shockwave. I've only dropped it intentionally from a height of ~12-14 inches onto a piece of carpet three times and two of the three times I dropped it resulted in the elevator popping out of position. I managed to get the elevator to pop back into place with a tool and a little impact with a fixed object, however if this happens to a Mossy pump you own do NOT attempt to rack the action or it WILL jam the action  (whether loaded or unloaded) and you will need to have a gunsmith straighten it out (unless you're a gunsmith competent on a Mossy). If you rack the action in the field with the displaced elevator, i.e. away from the workbench and your tools, you're screwed. (I have a Rock Island pump and it has the exact same problem which I haven't yet corrected.) I took my Shockwave to a gunsmith and he permanently rectified the problem. FWIW, my gunsmith didn't believe at first until I pointed out utube videos exposing the fatal flaw. He contacted Mossberg and inquired about the problem, and get this, they told him they were unaware of any problem with dropping one of their pump shotguns from a relatively low height. Of course they are. lol

ETA: Of course the very best pump shotgun options for home defense are the Benelli Nova and Super Nova.

Edited by Sukhoi_fan

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I am new to shot guns and recently bought a Supernova but not the tactical version. I now have a shorter barrel for it. I was all hot last week to get an M4 as a dedicated HD gun. I went into my local store and asked if they could get me one. They said i would be better off with the Berreta 1301  Tactical which they had in stock. He told me that M4's can have trouble cycling on lower energy rounds. I have a thread here asking about that. I didn't get a lot of answers. Due to the current "run on guns" most tactical version guns are out of stock. You just can't get them. M4's are especially hard to get. So now I have this decent Super Nova and I have taken up trap shooting. When I get home, I put on the 18.5 inch barrel and I have a decent HD gun. I added a mag extender and can mount a flashlight/laser. I am now looking at a second gun which will be a higher end sporting gun. You can do a lot more shooting at clays for a lot less money than you can at "tactical" targets with personal defense rounds. keeps you in the game.

 

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19 hours ago, Sukhoi_fan said:

ALL Mossberg pump shotguns have a fatal flaw which can be addressed, but if not addressed it can and will result in a jammed shotgun action.

I don't recall ever hearing about that before. I own a Remington 870 so I suppose I shouldn't have to be concerned. I'll remember that though if I or anyone I know ever gets a Mossberg. Thanks for the info!

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I have owned a Remington 870 for nearly 20 years, never had it fail me and only about 5 years ago bought a Benelli M4. I LOVE my M4, but I already knew my Remington inside out as though it was a limb of my own. I kinda just look at the M4 as though it is an extravagance. So for new gun owners, I can't help but recommend they get a pump action, a carry pistol and then build or buy an AR-15 as soon as possible.

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On 5/12/2020 at 1:59 PM, Evolution said:

I don't consider myself qualified to recommend a particular weapon to anyone for self defense but, I will mention one thing though. Not implying anything here, but trespassing, or theft, or breaking into cars are not grounds for shooting a person, EVER.

I only mention it because it seems from your post that those are the things that have got you thinking about purchasing a weapon.

StrangerDanger's posts in this thread is the best advice.

 

 

Unless you live in Texas.

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3 hours ago, Retired said:

Unless you live in Texas.

Yes, I read something about that but even so, do not other conditions have to be present with the above crimes to use deadly force?

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In Texas one can use deadly force on someone at night if one "reasonably believes" the varmint is making off with one's property*. In Texas one can use deadly force against an arsonist day or night.

*Several years ago a repo guy in Houston was repossessing someone's pickup truck which the 'owner' was in the arrears on the note in the wee hours of the morning. The 'owner' (no one really owns any automobile via the CERTIFICATE OF TITLE scheme, the state actually owns the automobile) stepped out his front door with a 30-30 and took a shot at the wrecker driver fatally wounding him. The wrecker driver was found in his wrecker in a ditch a mile or so from where he picked up the truck in loan default. A Harris County Grand Jury no billed him. I know of another case in Austin many years ago where some varmint was stealing the stereo out of someone's Jeep parked in his carport in the wee hours of the morning. The owner was awakened by noises in his carport, stepped out the door to see someone fleeing up the driveway (the driveway to the house in question sloped up to the street in this neighborhood) and shot the varmint in the back with a shotgun killing the varmint. Again, a Travis County Grand Jury no billed the shooter.

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1 hour ago, Sukhoi_fan said:

In Texas one can use deadly force on someone at night if one "reasonably believes" the varmint is making off with one's property*. In Texas one can use deadly force against an arsonist day or night.

*Several years ago a repo guy in Houston was repossessing someone's pickup truck which the 'owner' was in the arrears on the note in the wee hours of the morning. The 'owner' (no one really owns any automobile via the CERTIFICATE OF TITLE scheme, the state actually owns the automobile) stepped out his front door with a 30-30 and took a shot at the wrecker driver fatally wounding him. The wrecker driver was found in his wrecker in a ditch a mile or so from where he picked up the truck in loan default. A Harris County Grand Jury no billed him. I know of another case in Austin many years ago where some varmint was stealing the stereo out of someone's Jeep parked in his carport in the wee hours of the morning. The owner was awakened by noises in his carport, stepped out the door to see someone fleeing up the driveway (the driveway to the house in question sloped up to the street in this neighborhood) and shot the varmint in the back with a shotgun killing the varmint. Again, a Travis County Grand Jury no billed the shooter.

True, but you are still liable to civil litigation for depriving "little angle Johnnie" of his way of making a living.

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I’d be hard pressed to shoot a fleeing felon due to my allergy to murky litigation. 
 

Arsonists have an open season, no bag limit policy. Aggravated felonies like that meet all the criteria for defending yourself or a third party from serious bodily injury or death. 
 

If I were stuck in a situation where looting was prevalent, I’d remain indoors and use the entry point as a funnel. Looters become attackers threatening great bodily injury or death as soon as they enter a domicile. Don’t exit the structure to confront. Anyone inside catches a round. 
 

The problem with the Benelli is capacity. If you ever fire on someone, it’ll seem it it takes forever for them to hit the floor. Motion of body moving forward and so on. You’ll perceive them as a threat still and likely send a few more rounds their way to make sure the threat is neutralized. If you’ve hunted, you’ve likely experienced this effect. It’s rare for a round to be so effective that they just drop. Even when they do hit the floor, they usually do the Curly shuffle. This movement on the floor will make them still seem like a threat. Are they out for the count or are they scrambling for their own gun to return fire? In less than ideal lighting, you won’t know for sure. Fire three rounds and you’re half way empty more or less. Reloading a shotgun is a fine motor skill that deteriorates quickly under duress. This assumes you have shells on hand to reload from while you’re in your jammies. Chances are you won’t be kitted out with armor and a chest rig. You’ll be lucky to have shoes on and your dick not hanging out. For this reason, I lean more towards using a short barreled AR15. It has better capacity and faster reloading capabilities. At my house I have extra mags stashed in various spots thru the house in case I need to fall back or need to engage from different vectors. They might not always come thru the front door concept. Self defense loads can be had that minimize over penetration. 
 

The absolute most important thing is if you’ve defended yourself or a third party, STFU when the police arrive. The police will try to get you to make statements right then and there. The police themselves have 72 hours after a shooting to make a statement thru their lawyer and union reps. Limit your details the the very basics, you were attacked by X and that you were in fear for your life. Tell them you are too shaken to say anything and that you want your legal counsel. They will threaten to take you to jail. Let them. They will try the buddy routine or the jerk cop to try to get you to make statements that paint you in to a legal corner. You want your statement and admission of events to be crafted by your lawyer. If they interrogate you, the only thing you should be saying over and over is, “I want my lawyer.” No if’s and’s or but’s; “I’m not making a statement without legal counsel.”

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48 minutes ago, StrangerDanger said:

The absolute most important thing is if you’ve defended yourself or a third party, STFU when the police arrive. The police will try to get you to make statements right then and there. The police themselves have 72 hours after a shooting to make a statement thru their lawyer and union reps. Limit your details the the very basics, you were attacked by X and that you were in fear for your life. Tell them you are too shaken to say anything and that you want your legal counsel. They will threaten to take you to jail. Let them. They will try the buddy routine or the jerk cop to try to get you to make statements that paint you in to a legal corner. You want your statement and admission of events to be crafted by your lawyer. If they interrogate you, the only thing you should be saying over and over is, “I want my lawyer.” No if’s and’s or but’s; “I’m not making a statement without legal counsel.”

Excellent point!

If the attacker is running away... leaving, it would be considered that the threat is no longer (I have no legal background)? You are not in fear for your life? Like Stranger, I don't want to get involved in the murky litigation.

When I lived in Houston TX, my neighbor was a Harris County Sheriff and he always told me that if I ever shot an attacker at home to be sure to drag him inside before calling the police. He was serious and I'm not so sure it's a good idea. 

For home defense my primary is a handgun with a light and extra mags. Both a shotgun and rifle are available as backup. In practicing clearing my house a handgun makes maneuverability so much easier.

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Don’t attempt to move the body. It isn’t necessary. You don’t need to be inside to have justification for the use of deadly force. If you pen your statement with your lawyer, they will help you write it in such a way that it will be air tight. Preferably to the point that a grand jury will decline to even try the case. 
 

You start tampering with scene evidence, and you’ll make your situation a lot worse. Chances are there will be physical evidence present that indicate where the shooting took place. People will leak a little when hit and dribble on the ground. Casings will give them an idea of where you were when you fired. Close range distances may be identified by muzzle burn marks and the pattern of escaping debris from the barrel. The way droplets of blood land will indicate a lot of things such as the direction the person was moving when they fell. Touching the body will transfer blood and fibers on to your clothing which will have to be explained. You fire a bunch of rounds and all your neighbors will likely be looking out the window. Which neighbors of yours have cameras that might be watching the area. You start doing the scene from The New Guy dragging his bully to the middle of class so everyone can see him kick his ass, and you’re potentially opening a big fan of worms for yourself. 

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Posted (edited)

The sbr's are maneuverable but if you uncork one of those without ear pro indoors.....goodbye hearing.  Heck even 16" easily permanent hearing damage.  It's hard to find the balance between the perfect tool and retaining your hearing in this type of situation.  Of, course it's better than becoming a victim.

 

 

 

Edited by Milspec

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