Minimalist cleaning kit to me is a boresnake, CLP, and old shirts/rags.
Buy targets at the range (indoor) and use their clips.
Spare mag not needed but good to have.
New gun should come with a cable lock (or a gun type person probably has a dozen new in bags sitting around), that is safe storage for kids, minimalist probably can’t afford actual secure storage so would go with concealment plus the cable lock for when it’s left at home.
I’d really just focus on ammo to use for all of the other steps that are more valuable than the hardware
I understand that ranges may have their own rules and customs with which I’m unfamiliar.
I prefer masking tape to staples, but maybe there’s a reason I shouldn’t.
I would just shoot at 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of paper. When that gets too easy, a Chinet plate or bowl with @Mike164’s Sharpie to make a smaller aiming point. When that’s easy, mark around a soup can.
I think that a loaded handgun needs to be kept ready in a holster — even if never out of the home, even if never worn — the trigger needs to remain covered until needed. Even on a shelf, in a drawer, or in a safe. There should always be a readily available way to lock an out-of-service firearm, but a locked gun is not available for home defense.
I would put a practice-only magazine high on the list, if a meaningful amount of practice will be undertaken.
I would add a Holster, Mag Holster and a Good Belt - Unless they buy a Springfield XD series they will still need a belt… Do not know how large a home, are they on some acreage, do they have a large home and will they be carrying all the time. Doesn’t need to be expensive.
I took the OP to be inquiring about the context of a new shooter — someone with either limited financial means or a tentative commitment to becoming the next high-speed home defender. Either to provide suggestions or gifts for someone who may have a willingness to train and looks to acquire competence with a single new tool.
Like “what is the least amount of hardware that makes owning a pistol better than not owning a pistol?”
I think @John292’s initial list is a good one — improved by making shorter or offering specifics, not by making it longer unless something critical is missing to make a handgun safe and effective. Fixed-blade knives and membership card for the MMA dojo can wait for a while, maybe?
Is there something special about XD that it alone among handguns does not require a belt? Seems like a belt in any event would only be needed if the gun will be carried around hanging from a belt — common and useful but hardly essential for the most spare home defense.
Actually should have said with the xd series you still will need a good belt. Apologies for the sloppy post. IMHO you are right that basics include the gun and a cleaning kit. However from a recent first time shooter I know from work he has found for home defense having the firearm on him during waking hours is important, I agree. Does a Holster need to be a $250 Galco Miami Classic? No. But pocket carry or tucked into your wasteband isn’t exactly the best or safest either. As for minimalist what caliber and what brand of gun could be examined too… .22LR or 500 S&W xframe? How much ammo should one keep on hand, full chambers or magazine or 50, 100 or 5000 rounds? Should one have spare parts or springs on hand? Minimalist is a subjective term. As for the initial post I think that is what I would consider the bare minimum, aside from a stapler and targets. For another $10 an Uncle Mikes in the pants holster is a great start, considering a box of 9mm, .38,.40 or .45 is two to three times the cost.
Since some amount of training/practice is clearly anticipated by the setup (can I borrow a stapler?), it’s hard to imagine accomplishing very effective familiarization without wanting to burn at least a couple hundred rounds of training ammo and at least a mag of defense ammo.
But “keep on hand”? Minimum would be a fully loaded gun. Better is at least a refill to a box in reserve — but groceries, rent, or medicine should take priority.
In this thought experiment, I assume that some particularized threat exposure or financial flexibility puts acquiring a defensive pistol high on the list. If it’s just generalized FB-anxiety about state of the world, I would say make sure the things which will occur are taken care of — before the things which may occur.