We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Here. The Judge is a handy weapon, but the .410 in it might not kill anybody for keeps.
You do not want the bad guys alive to testify at your trial, because they will lie.
Re gun safes, I just don't want my firearms stolen, but I have no idea what good a home protection firearm is when locked in a gun safe. All across this great land, people keep a loaded shotgun handy and hope they never need it for anything other than a rattlesnake.
Best home protection is a cheap pump action 12 ga. Only a semi-pro or pro could kill an intruder with a handgun in the dark, while feeling freaked-out and confused. A 12 ga might damage your possessions but at close range with the right cartouche (Buckshot) it can definitely mess up a bad guy so he will die in the hallway before the cops arrive.
These are not very Christmassy mental images, are they?
Don't forget to practice periodically. If you're a new shooter, you might check with a local COW instructor. Follow your instincts when choosing an instructor. If you think the prospective instructor is acting like a pompous fool, don't hesitate to find someone else.
From experience, most weapons use will occur closer than 10'. While a shotgun is easy to point, a long gun in confined quarters is quite limiting in fast reaction.
Choose a revolver, no safety to worry about and no jambs to clear. A .38 works fine. You're going deaf with the first shot, severe tunnel vision takes place; this causes you to focus on their weapon. You need to focus on center of mass.
Practice on a combat range.
Boy, I don't know, BD, about the .410 . . . most of the target shells I've used have about a half ounce of lead in them, and at 1,200 fps, that's a lot of force. A typical .45 ACP is about the same weight and exits the barrel at, what, 800 fps? One thought: if you hit your target center-of-mass with the .410, there isn't much chance of a pellet exiting the target, so it [the target] will stop all of that energy. How many pellets will bounce off the target? At that velocity, I doubt very many. BTW, I used to load the Magnum (slightly harder) #9 shot for skeet, and in my Remington 3200 tube set, and my scores improved a bit.
BD ... You're talking about the home defense weapon this arthritic old lady loves ... Taurus, The Judge. Easy to aim, easy to shoot straight, with its two sights lined up, and mine has a 6-1/2" barrel, which makes it easier to aim accurately. It would be difficult to carry, but I'm not going to try to get a carry permit. It's our House Gun. The Sweet Thing can use either .410 shotgun loads or .45 bullets, and can be loaded with both at the same time. We use the shotgun loads, with #2 shot, because the houses are very close together in our subdivision, and I don't want to miss with a 45 bullet which would then go through the wall of the house next door and maybe kill someone there.
With the laws what they are in Texas [a man's home really is his castle here] we don't worry much about legal action against us. Grand juries usually no-bill home owners whose homes have been invaded, if the invader is foolish enough to sue for damages.
So it's more a case of "where do you want your buckshot, buster? In the front or in the back? Your choice."