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I'm not a pro at this by any means, so take my two cents with a grain of salt. If you're thinking shotgun vs. pistol, it partly depends on the structure of your house - if you have long hallways with big rooms a shotgun will be a little better to clear things out, whereas if there are lots of short hallways with tight corners, this can be problematic for a bigger gun, as it's harder to maneuver a long barreled weapon around corners, and could allow an intruder to hide around the corner and just grab the gun barrel as it turns the corner and take it from you. Pistols would be better in such a situation. But, it is SO HARD to hit a quickly moving target with a handgun, especially one with a big recoil, whereas it's easier to hit mobile things with a shotgun as the longer barrel helps with aiming and of course has the spread pattern.
I personally keep a 22 handgun for home defense - I don't necessarily want to kill someone just cause they broke in my house as they might only be some dumb drunk kid (but then I'm single, and don't have a wife and kids to worry about, that could of course change things), however I'm pretty good with that gun, and as it has low recoil, I can confidently put 10 shots in a torso-sized area in under two seconds, so if I want to bring the heat, it can be there. Also, it's important to actually be good with whatever weapon you choose, which of course means practice, and 22 ammo is pretty much the only ammo out there now that is still relatively dirt cheap. It's about 6 cents a shot, whereas any center fire handgun ammo or shotgun ammo will be pushing a quarter a shot. That will break your bank more than the actual gun will.
One other thing, and I told this to my mother when she got a gun for home protection - I made sure she understood that even though she has a gun, that if she thinks someone is in her house, DON'T GO LOOKING FOR A FIGHT. Just lock yourself in the room, call the cops, and keep the gun pointed at the door in case the intruder comes in. It may not be as heroic, but it's better to just give up on a couple of TVs and jewelry rather than going out there into a potential gun fight.
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