“If I knew then what I know now….” Oy vey. I tend to count pennies. For about 3 cartons of cigarettes or 10 cases of beer ($200), you can get the only firearm you’ll ever need (I didn’t say ‘want’ I said need). First off you have to determine caliber. After many stupid purchases I figured out 2 simple things. For a carry / home defense gun you have to consider the ubiquitous term “stopping power”.
There are endless theories on this. About any caliber is adequate when it comes to stopping the usually delicate human body. But one thing is generally agreed upon is that a 9mm with a round like Federal’s HST is quite adequate. As a .22 rimfire would likely do the job, the guy hopped up on drugs or adrenaline would definitely be more likely to be stopped by a 9mm.
The other consideration in self-defense is what caliber would allow you to practice till the cows come home? One that is inexpensive to shoot and doesn’t punish you (felt recoil) for shooting it? The 9mm at $9 a box fills that niche. That puts you at 1,000 rounds for $180. For a lot of shooters, that’s a lifetime supply. Other calibers are easily double or triple that amount.
So once you’ve figured out the caliber, you have to figure out the gun. If you want to spend $800 or $900 dollars you have a lot of great choices. If you want to spend just $200, it narrows rapidly. The gun pictured above is the SCCY CPX-2. 10 + 1 rounds, reliable, small and light weight (15 ounces). It doesn’t get any better than that. Almost as good are the Taurus G2C and the Diamondback. They are a little bigger, a little heavier and have a safety. The SCCY is just pull and squeeze.
There, I just saved you thousands of dollars in dumb choices. For home defense a carbine or shotgun is the best choice. But you can’t carry those. So if you were to have only 1 gun…