It's been said that a 12ga. shotgun is the ideal home defense weapon. I have several problems with this assertion, which I'd like to present along with what I would argue is a superior alternative. I'd like to disclaim this thread to WMD existentialists - you need not apply - if your argument boils down to "use whatever feels right!" then really this kind of debate isn't your territory. If, on the other hand, you do think there are right and wrong answers out there... please feel free to weigh in. The most fundamental problem with shotguns is that in every respect, they require two hands to operate properly. While it's possible to shoot, Terminator-style, with one hand and maybe even hit something across a room, it's not wise, not safe, and of course every other action you take with your shotgun will require two hands. Two-handed weapons are problematic for a couple of reasons. First, it's a vulnerability if you wind up having to fight hand-to-hand for your weapon. Because the shotgun is an unalterable two, three, maybe four feet long (depending on the configuration and perhaps legal status of your piece), it presents a highly leverageable object which is easily grabbed, easily twisted, easily ripped, and easily taken cleanly out of your hands. This is problematic proportional to your training, your physical size, and the training, size, and level of intoxication of your attacker. Of course having your lifeline ripped from your hands is about as ugly a scenario as one can imagine. Another problem presented by the two-handed nature of a shotgun is the fact that any flashlight you may employ necessarily winds up mounted squarely in front of you. Studies have shown that typically, people who feel the need to shoot at an aggressor (or in this case a defender) tend to shoot at the lightest-colored target. It's for this reason that you may observe state-of-the-art police departments insisting that officers wear dark-colored undershirts, rather than the popular white - it was demonstrated that criminals who had a bright white target at the top of center mass to shoot at actually hit officers with greater success. This problem is highly exacerbated when the alternatives are a dark house and a bright flashlight. You may nearly blind your attacker, you may completely catch him off guard. But if he's armed, he will be lobbing bullets directly at the light source. With a shotgun, that light source is going to be squarely in front of your chest. At this point, I'd like to present as an alternative the pistol, operated strong-hand, paired with a simple tactical flashlight, operated support-hand and generally held away from the body. Consider the advantages given only what's been presented thus far. From a hand-to-hand standpoint, a pistol is far easier to defend. It can be used with one hand in extremely close quarters, even as the other hand struggles to keep an attacker at arm's length. It's incredibly easy to be a great shot and just absolutely zipper the shit out of someone if you're able to drop your strong-side foot back, defend high with your support-side arm, and shoot across your gut. A weapon which extends perhaps six or seven inches beyond your fist and which can be lethal independent of one hand or the other is far more challenging than a three-foot metal pipe that must be tethered to both of your hands in order to function, from the perspective of someone who is considering taking you on hand-to-hand for your weapon. Size presents another problem for the shotgun - it is challenging to conceal, which means that it's far more difficult to store in such a way as to be out of the way and out of sight, yet at the same time accessible in an emergency. Most bedstand drawers and headboard shelves are far too small to stash a shotgun. But a pistol can fit just about anyplace. For those with children or a strong desire to be highly secure in their belongings, safes are available in all shapes and sizes - but the quick-open easy-access types that mount to the bed frame are large enough only to store a pistol. In other words, the pistol is easier and safer to store, and easier to make ready if a situation arises, than a shotgun. Just to pile things on a bit, though it's likely the least-persuasive of the arguments presented here, the majority of semi-automatic pistols have far greater the magazine capacity of a shotgun, maybe even three times the capacity. Obviously, this gives the defender more opportunities to defend his home and his family (one round at a time), though naturally a home defense shooting where the defender used more than a dozen rounds would be out of the ordinary even as home defense shootings go. The adage "better to have and not need than to need and not have" comes to mind here. With a pistol and a spare magazine (store it next to your flashlight and you can handle them as one), a home defender may be able to launch thirty or more rounds at an attacker or a gang thereof, in no longer than it has taken you to read this sentence. Compare that to the prospect of having perhaps five or six rounds ready-loaded, and compound the problem by taking into account the time and effort it takes to manually load a shotgun, one round at a time, to capacity. I don't really see how a shotgun could be considered even comparable to a pistol. A shotgun turns a home defender into a low-capacity defenseless (at close range) bullet magnet. Making it available and secure for storage purposes presents a logistical nightmare (unless you're okay with having a shotgun propped up by the bed?) - a pistol can be hidden, tucked, or safed nearly anywhere by your bed, or for that matter in your kitchen, in your vehicle, in your basement or garage, wherever you might feel the need to have a weapon handy. The best arguments made against pistols are resolved by employing ammunition designed not to penetrate, but rather to expand into pieces on contact - ammunition such as frangible (if you're old-fashioned) or more high-tech MagSafe stuff comes to mind here. It's been said that a 12ga. shotgun is the ideal home defense weapon. But considering the above, it seems to me that the shotgun is disadvantaged by the pistol by a wide margin. Please discuss.