If you decide on getting a gun of any sort, please have no doubt in your mind that you will shoot to kill. Killing another human being is a terrible thing even in self-defense and if you are not positive you can do it pick a different way to protect your self. From alarm systems to Pepper or Bear spray. If you pull your gun you have already exhausted every other option. The gun is not to scare someone or wound them it is to make the stop what they are doing in a very permanent way. If you are not willing to do that pick a different option!
If you decide a gun is what you want pick a gun that is easy to use and you feel confident with using. Be excited to train with it and don’t fear it. If gun scares you or hurts you to shoot don’t get it. You need to train with it and feel comfortable with it. Don’t count on adrenaline to overcome your lack of confidence in your weapon.
Know your weapon as well as possible. Clean and know and do a basic dis-assembly on your weapon of choice and know how and why it works. Dry-fire, practice drawing your weapon and doing tactical movements with the weapon unloaded. Always think “shoot and scoot” never stay still if you can avoid it move side to side and keep thinking about the next bit of cover or if you are caught in the open your next move for cover.
I think for a home defense weapon a 12 gauge shot gun is a good start. This is not a spray & pray weapon you must aim it properly because at 20-30 feet buckshot has only spread about 2-3 inches at most and probably less. You can usually buy a good shotgun for $200.00 or less and don’t get the pistol grip and doodads until you have practiced with it a bit. Aftermarket stuff is easy to buy once your are comfortable with the basics. I’d say for a home defense weapon stay with an 18″ barrel length as it a bit easier to use going through doorways. Some shotguns will give you the option of different barrel lengths for defense and hunting/skeet shooting. You can get a nice variety of ammo from light loads of #8 shot up to 00 buckshot or slug ammunition. For practice and self defense as well as hunting.
A pistol/revolver is a great defense weapon but is a very personal choice based on your needs and abilities. Find a good dealer that will help explain your choices and hopefully you have a range nearby where you can rent and try out a few different pistols and see what works for you. You don’t need to buy the cheapest or most expensive weapon at the store.
A rifle will be for long range and hunting so pick one that is suited where you hunt the most. Where I live in the desert shots of 300yards or more are not that unusual, but where I grew up in a pine forest you would be lucky to see 100 yards in and old growth trees. So buy based on the that. If you are thinking of the zombie apocalypse an AR 15 is a fine weapon but it is very expensive and you need to be very proactive keeping it clean and maintaining it. AK-47 type weapons will take more abuse but they are not quite as accurate as the AR-15 for long range shooting. I went with the SKS which is a balance of a very reliable weapon as well as having a .30 caliber bullet which has a little better stopping/penetration power than the .223 cartridge of the AR 15. Don’t discount getting a hunting rifle that is semi-auto and in a more traditional cartridge like .308 or 30-06 or a Mosin-Nagant in Bolt action. These rifles can be a lot cheaper than what are considered “Assault Rifles” or what I like to call evil black guns and were at one time first of line military equipment a few years ago. These Rifles seem to be easier to keep under the radar.
Last but not least is the little .22 LR cartridge if you can pick up a .22 that is similar to your pistol and rifle you can do a lot of shooting on the cheap using the .22 cartridge. You can buy a brick of 500 rounds for around $20.00. Where as that might get you 20-40 rounds of rifle ammo or 50 rounds of pistol ammo. Plus the 22 is a great little hunting round for rabbits or squirrels.
On how much ammo to get most prepping sites seem to agree 1000 rounds is the min. for each weapon to store and as you go out to practice you should rotate your ammo as well as store it properly just like all your preps. You are not going to just go to your local store and buy up ammo if martial law is declared or even in a disaster/emergency. So you need to stock up and don’t listen to all the hype as far as news people claiming some one has an arsenal because they have a few thousand rounds of ammo. If you are practicing you know you can go through a couple hundred rounds on the range in a very short time.