Handguns are the best and only option for concealed carry and personal defense. As for home defense, they would be my LAST option. For example, the average 9mm round is 115gr and has a velocity of 1200fps. That combination of mass and velocity means the bullet is not likely to loose mass or break up on impact inside the home. It's going to penetrate walls and/or ricochet, creating a major hazard to loved ones hiding in closets and behind walls. Also, the NYPD did a study of police involved shootings where they found that only 20% of shots fired resulted in hits on perps. Moreover, if you're shooting a 9mm, .380 or even a 45, there's a good chance you will need more than one bullet to incapacitate an invader. Since we have a 10 round limit on mags in NY and there's a good chance that your friendly neighborhood home invader has a buddy with him. I don't like those numbers.
A shotgun is a superior choice in this circumstances; however, the BS from the liberals out there suggesting you just point the gun in the general direction and pull the trigger and the bad guy is hit--well, it's just no true. Even if you're going to use number 8 birdshot for home defense, assuming you're invader is 15 from you (a likely home defense distance), you're only going to get a 2-3 inch spread from the shot. It will be a horrendous hit if you connect with your target, but there's a good chance you (or your wife or loved ones) may not hit the target. Most people have something like a maverick 88, mossberg 500 or remington 870--usually in 12 gauge. Even with birdshot, the recoil and muzzle rise makes it a pretty unwieldy weapon to use in hands that don't have tons of practice. There's also a good chance that you or a loved one will short stroke the gun and reloading a shotgun under pressure is not easy!! If you're going with a shotgun, a compact 20 gauge with a 18" barrel is the way to go.
Personally, I prefer a rifle--preferably an AR. It's easy to handle. You'll have HD rifle equipped with a light. You have 10 rounds still-like the handgun--but your chances of hitting what you're shooting at is much higher and the chance of incapacitating your invader with one shot is higher. The biggest advantage in my opinion though is (contrary to popular believe) reduced risk of over penetration--particular with hollow point, soft tip or varmint rounds. You're shooting a 55gr (or less) bullet at 3,000fps. You're going to devastate your perp, but the rounds are going to break up and fragment quickly after making contact with solid objects. Sure, it will penetrate sheetrock (even a couple of rooms), but it looses energy fast after making contact, tumbles and breaks up--loosing mass in the process. I don't think it's a substantially greater risk than overpenetration with birdshot.
Anyway, that's my two cents!