Yesterday, 09:03 PM
I always think part of that is getting something fun. One choice is 45/410. Bond Arms has the two shot deals for about $400. You can go to a skeet range, shoot the 410, and you'll be the envy of everyone. Then you can replace that with 45s and shoot that for awhile. You'd also have the feel of those old timey derringers.
It's only two shots, but it's still better than nothing for defense. Hey, you could put the 410 in one barrel and the 45 in the other barrel. You could shoot your attacker with the 410 in the face, Dick Cheney style. If he doesn't run away, then you can gut him like a fish with some kind of serrated knife. :D
How about a shotgun for your house? You should be able to get something for under $300. I got a 20 gauge so my wife could use it. She is five feet tall and shoots better than me (of course, I stink so that is not hard). The fun thing with a shotgun is you can shoot up watermelons and all the stuff rotting in your refrigerator. I keep it laying around with #3 buckshot. If I remember right, it's about 20 pellets that are 30 caliber size. That would put a good hole in some f*cker coming in your house.
It also sounds like you're looking for simplicity. I have this S&W Airlite. It's a 5 shot revolver. I once weighed it. It's 16 ounces empty and only 20 ounces full. It's so small that I would just drop it in my jeans pocket. It is really, really accurate even though I am horribly inaccurate. It's more than $400, but still a good investment.