What are the stats on home invasions? Not burglaries, or house break ins when no one is at home, I am talking about an intruder brazenly breaking into a house occupied by other than a lone female occupant, such as a family of 2 to 4?
If those odds are realistically high, my thinking is a shot gun would be best. It sprays the shots, so no need to practice. If the odds are very small, I would’nt bother with a gun.
In the case of OP, the situation is a female living alone. That warrants a gun IMO. My thinking is a shot gun blast would stop or scare the intruder faster than a .38.
No offense, but you may want to rethink that. What I have seen from shooting one, and from other info, is that at inside house ranges, the shotgun load might as well be solid.
There is no "spray". Even the old timers that tried to crate that with the Blunderbuss found the shot just plain refused to "spray". Oh well, there are always grenades for those encounters that you do not have time to aim. You still have to aim the damn thing, shotgun or handgun.
A flame thrower now, that is a different animal from my one experience firing one. Just be sure you are on the right side of the damn thing, and God help your house.........But "spray" you do have.