If you feel the need to pack I agree with the 12 ga shotgun 00buck or slugs. I agree with Brketo and Jeffalaska, if you are using it for self defence you will be shooting at point blank range and you had better stopwhat it is that is coming at you at 40 mph. A 12 ga is a lot of lead and a lot of energy at 10yds.
I am a big fan of handguns an own a bunch from 22s up to a Dan Wesson 44 mag. but unless you shoot all the time handgun controll can be tough and under extream duress I want something I can point and shoot and take a big chunk out of what it is that bad dreams are make of.
Some funny replys esp the one about mace and bells.