If you're truly concerned get a pump shotgun. They are the safest and surest weapons to use in close confrontations. You won't miss when your life is on the line and you're scared shitless (everyone is in those cases) You can load the first with salt or small birdshot and the rest with buckshot. That will give you a chance to scare them away and protect yourself if really needed. Take a gun safety course first. As you said if you don't know what you're doing you'll shot your eye out. Practice! Shooting skeet or clay pigeons is fun.