I wish I had a nickel for every time a homeowner has asked me for home defense advice. All too often, they have been told to buy a shotgun. A shotgun, all long guns for that matter, is a double-edged sword for home defense. An 18" 870 with 00 buck or slugs is a formidable weapon; however, it can become a pronounced liability. As long as a homeowner can remain stationary within his home (crouched behind his bed with muzzle pointed at point of entry), it'd be hard to beat a properly loaded (no bird shot unless your invader is a bird) and good quality shotgun. It's when a homeowner has to leave his room to assure safety of loved ones will a long gun become a liability. A hiding invader who is half brain-dead will take it from a wandering homeowner. If there are loved ones in a home whose safety must be assured, I'd go with a 1911-A1 and a spare mag. Always keep a hand free to parry an invader. A 1911-A1 can be easily reloaded in total darkness. If possible, never allow an invader get close enough to touch you. That would put you are a severe tactical disadvantage. Walking around a dark home with a lighted flashlight would telegraph a homeowner's position; hence, he'd become an easy target. A wandering homeowner is at a pronounced tactical disadvantage against a stationary and hiding invader. A revolver is marginal for home defense. A .357 Mag is a very bad idea. The muzzle blast is deafening when fired inside of an enclosed room leaving a homeowner disoriented and with ringing in his ears. Those are severe tactical disadvantages. Muzzle flash is blinding, which will demolish night vision, which is always a bad outcome were an invader shooting at a homeowner. Worse, a revolver is next to impossible to reload in darkness. If a homeowner were to drop a speed loader, he'd be deep up a stinky river without a paddle. Turn on a flashlight to search for a speed loader, and a homeowner would make himself an easy target for an invader. If I were going to use a revolver for home defense, it'd be a 4" .38 Special loaded with the FBI load. A double action .44 Special or .45 Colt would be a whole lot better. If you'll recall the one hand free to parry an invader tactic, a .357 Mag and larger caliber handgun will make it difficult to keep its muzzle pointed at an invader. A handgun's recoil must never jerk its muzzle off an imminent threat. My primary home defense is our ferocious dog who's very protective yet loyal and loving family member. He loves to cuddle. He thinks he's one of my kids. He might just be. In reality, his bark would scare away all but the most persistent, but he's a teddy bear who has never harmed anyone. But were I to hear his alarming bark in the dark of night, it'd be all the warning I need to dial 911 leaving the send icon ready to tap. Firing a handgun inside of my home would be a last desperate act with no other option available. One last and crucial point. You're going to need professional help defending your family and yourself from a home invader. Dial 911 immediately were you to suspect invader inside of your home. A dispatcher will keep you on line until her cops arrive. She'll ask you to describe yourself. When cops are on scene, she'll tell you to leave you gun in plain sight and your hands empty and clearly visible. Cops will have no clue of who you are until your ID as homeowner can be verified. Never, ever hold any gun when cops are responding to a serious felony in progress. That's how tragic and horrible accidents occur. If you are an appearing vicious dog in your home, secure him before cops arrive. Tell a dispatcher that you have a dog and won't harm cops. Residential burglaries/home invasions when homeowners and family members are home are committed by extremely dangerous criminals. I personally know of two murders of family members who were home when their homes were targeted for residential burglaries. That's why calling cops for professional help is imperative.