Home Carry—carrying a gun at home—is patently ridiculous. Make that dangerous. When you Home Carry you carry a gun at home. At home! A gun! A gun that fires bullets! That could hurt someone! A gun could hurt someone! Sure the risk may be small that your home carry gun would shoot you or your loved ones. But it could happen. You could drop it. Someone could take it from you and use it against you. What about suicide? A kid could take your gun from your holster and BAM! shoot themselves. Or they could fool around with it and shoot a friend or a sibling or your spouse or you or everyone! That’s right, everyone could be killed in a murder suicide. Clearly, Home Carry’s just not worth it. But try telling that to a gun rights advocate. You need more rhetorical firepower. So here are three good reasons not to home carry . . .

1. It’s paranoid

We’ve run the numbers before, so I’ll summarize the concept: the chances of a home invasion at your place are lower than the odds of Miranda Kerr sidling up to you at a baccarat table in Monte Carlo and asking you to join her (full stop) for a quiet drink on the Prince Abdulaziz megayacht.

That’s “you” as in white middle to upper class man/woman living in a nice neighborhood where illegal drugs and those who purvey them are not welcome. You who doesn’t own anything particularly expensive (jewelry, firearms collection, etc.) and, if you do, no one knows about it (including the people who sold it to you). You who doesn’t carry cash, ever.

You who doesn’t have any business enemies. Whose teenage daughter doesn’t have one of those psycho stalker “boyfriends” lingering in the shadows. You who’ve never had carnal relations outside your marriage with a potential bunny boiler. You who doesn’t interact with odd people on the internet.

You, sir, need a gun a firearm on your hip in your home like a gangsta needs a raison d’etre.

Sure, random home invasions do occur. You might as well plan for a meteor strike. As I said at the beginning, Home Carry is dangerous. If a break-in does go down chez vous, you can console yourself that with the fact that it could have been FAR worse. You could have had a firearms accident, suicide or spree killing in the house and then a home invasion.

2. There Are Safer Ways to Protect Yourself

While Home Carry is a joke, there’s no reason not to have a handgun in the house—in a safe. That way it’s safe. No snatch and laugh tomfoolery, no chance of a negligent discharge as you slide your heater in an out of your holster. And once it’s in the safe and locked up tight, you can get it if you really want. And you [will] succeed at last because A) you’ll have lots of time to react and/or B) you’re fast and clever.

From the moment you’re aware that there’s a threat in the house to the moment you have your home defense firearm in hand will be what, ten seconds? Twenty? Thirty? That’s plenty of time to wake up, get to the safe, remember the combo/fit a key, extract the weapon, reorient yourself and get on with the business of self-defense.

That’s provided we’re talking about a BITN (Bump in the Night) scenario. While there’s no hard data on the subject, we know that many home attacks happen during the day. That’s where the speed thing comes in. You will have to win a footrace to your gun, avoiding any close contact with the perp or perps. How hard can that be?

If, however, the attack comes straight through the front door (trick or treat for UNICEF!), you’re going to have to fast and clever. Clever enough to do something to slow the perp or perps down enough so you can win that all-important footrace to your gun, open the safe and extract the weapon. You could throw something. Or tell the perp to wait while you go and get your money.

Don’t worry, you’ll think of something. I mean, it’s definitely not going to happen. But if it does, you don’t need a gun on your hip to deal. You may want one, but you don’t need one. Not really.

3. You Look Like A Wacko and Might Act Like One Too

Who the hell carries a gun around the house? Gun rights extremists. Paranoid fantasists. Gun rights extremist paranoid fantasists. Open Home Carry makes you look like a nut job to non-gun folk. It sets a bad example for the children, who become “normalized” to defensive firearms—to the point where they might see a bad guy with a gun and not turn into a mass of quivering passivity.

Of course, you could carry concealed around the house (even though quick access is critical to armed self-defense and it’s not a bad thing for the handyman community to know you’re packing). Slip a Smith & Wesson Airlight snubbie in your pants and your secret . . . would still get out. Former friends will snigger about the weirdo gun guy who tools-up 24-7. Soccer Moms will shun you.

And then there’s the problem of emotional escalation. If you’re packing heat while having a domestic tiff, it could lead to ballistic threats and then to a tragic crime scene. Who amongst us has the psychological strength to draw an inviolable line between a rip-snorting argument and murder most foul? Given the odds that a home invasion will ever occur, why take the chance?

And there you have it: three reason not to Home Carry. Now please excuse me, I’ve got to answer Miranda’s email.

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75 Responses to Three Reasons Not to Home Carry

  1. I’ll agree with the post and will add 1 thought. New holster. When a new holster is added, it is a good idea to spend time with it to see how it fits, shifts, rubs etc. That being said, it could be done with an unloaded gun as well. The weight won’t be quite the same, but it will let you know weather or not it is a comfortable fit.

    • I disagree with the whole article. All you need for home carry is a 380 pocket pistol in a pocket holster. It’s concealed, light weight, and safe since the trigger is guarded in a holster. You keep a round in the chamber or not; that’s personal preference. Regardless, not home carrying puts you at a disadvantage especially if your gun is stored far from you.

    • Yeah that seems to have gone over some of the commenters’ heads.

      Oh a sarcasm meter? Thats real useful!! – comic book guy

  2. Until a couple of weeks ago I would have given you a thumbs up on this (Yes, I know it’s all tongue-in-cheek) but then we had a string (10) of prime time home invasions in my nice low crime upper middle class Northern Virginia neighborhood. I figure I can generate about 10 seconds of reaction time which is not enough time to get my gun, load up and get into a good tactical position. I have now joined the ranks of the true gun nut and home carry. When seconds count, create more seconds. Home carry buys a lot of seconds.

    • Jeff Cooper:

      “In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept.

      In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.

      In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode.

      In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant.”

      You have to decide where you are, not everyone should be in Red all the time.

      • Is it paranoid or even unreasonable to spend most of your time in yellow?Everyone jokes that getting out of bed in the morning is dangerous but it really is.If everyone could pick the time and place they would have to go red then those times and places would be avoided.

      • It should take about 10 seconds to go from white to red — dogs go nuts, storm door glass breaks, door 1 is kicked in, door 2 gets kicked in. In those ten seconds I have racked the slide and am ready to meet the threat head on. Give me 20 seconds and my wife has called 9-11 and is coming down the stares with her M-9. With any luck we will catch the guy in crossfire. Call for clean up on aisle 9.

        • What about during the day? What if someone innocuous knocks on the door, then steams in? What if you’re not there and it’s just your wife?

        • What if it’s your wife who wants to kill you? Spousal murder happens. Are you prepared?

        • in 10 seconds a normal person can cover almost 20 feet and slice you to pieces with a knife.Someone high on meth maybe a little faster.Your wife may have 911 dailed in that time but there is absolutely no way she will have talked to anyone to tell what your problem is.

        • Be a neat trick to get through three doors or a six foot gate and two doors in 10 seconds. You are invited to come over at two in the morning and give it a shot. The dogs will light off before you even get a good running start.

          By the way a good dog is a lot better alarm system than your ADT stuff. They are active sensors who will detect before the bad guy gets his foot in the air to kick down the first door.

        • Nothing changes the mind of a criminal like the sound of a pump-action shotgun being racked… well… except for shooting him/her. Then you change their mind into paste.

  3. Been giving this some thought what with Halloween coming up and all. Not sure of the legality of the whole thing (it should be legal, since I’m in my own home, right?) or whether it’s prudent to hand out candy to kids with a heater attached to my hip. Mostly, I probably wouldn’t do it because a) I don’t want to advertise any weapons on the premises (some of these trick-or-treaters seem old enough to be voting), b) the whole neighbor thing and all, and c) I have an aversion to being on the news… On the other hand, I guess I could dress as a cowboy and hand out candy – no one would know the gun was real…

    When I was living in Fl, a few teens came around very late (with lame last-minute sheet-over-the-head ghost “costumes”) and in between saying “trick or treat” were straining there necks to see what goods/stereo equipment were in my abode and whether a future visit might be in order. I had none, fortunately…

    • The answer is obvious, isn’t it? You dress up like a cowboy and your gun is then part of the costume. It would work with a DA revolver although an SA revolver would be more “period correct.”

      If your home gun is a semi auto, put on a set of BDUs and camo-paint your face while your home carry gun rides in a low-rise holster on your hip.

      Hey, it’s a costume! The kiddies (and their parents) don’t need to know whether that’s a prop gun or a real gun, right?

  4. ok so i agree that anything can be taken to far. but this argument that because it is statistically small chance of being a victim of a home invasion that you should not carry a fire arm on you strikes me as the same argument that the gun control crowd makes about conceal carry in public places.

    I personally feel that its not hard to make an inviolable line about when to make threats about using force cause its really simple, you never threaten some one else life and should only ever be drawing a gun in self defense.

    please remember not everyone lives in a large or medium size home, my 900 foot condo is by all means small and wining the foot race to my gun safe is not my only problem you still have to grab the gun load and present yourself which gives more than enough time for the bad guy to catch up before im ready.

    lastly i have got to say that you shouldn’t carry just for the hell of it but you shouldn’t not carry just for the hell of it either. the decision to carry in your house should be based on the facts on the ground in your neighborhood not the fears in your head.

    • I’m sure if you ask all the people who have had a home invasions or encounters, I’m sure they would all say that they were expecting it and just waiting for it to happen. I’m sure they feel lucky that their chances were so narrow.

      If you are basing your carry habits on what you think the risk is at the time, you are going to be very surprised when/if it does happen.

      • I didn’t expound on what i meant but i guess i will now. If you live in a gated community with good security your risk level is different than say me who lives in a condo complex next to a major highway that only has some old security cameras. the risk to one group of people is clearly higher than the other. and no you cant know when something bad is going to happen but if you feel secure in your gated community with good security then you may not feel the need to be armed at home.

  5. I find myself in the Home Carry camp by default. My Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe is such a PITA to put on that once I put it on to run errands or w/e else, I just leave it on until I retire for the evening. lol

    • @Derek

      The holster I use isn’t hard to put on, or take off, but I basically do the same; home carry by default.

      It wasn’t till we had a couple of drugged up individuals running around our neighborhood (one through my back yard at night) that I started to take it a bit more seriously.

  6. I wear a gun whenever I’m wearing pants. Paranoid? Why should I be paranoid? I have a gun – we may be aware (now), but not paranoid. Wife carries, too, since we actually have been on the wrong side of bad things.

  7. I home carry *much* more than I do anywhere else. That’s partly because I risk my job if I carry at work, but mainly because when I’m out and about, I don’t usually have my family with me. I’m still pretty young, and I have a black belt, so I figure if I get into trouble when I’m not carrying, a round house kick to the head will be all I need.

    …not really. The thing I figure all those plyometrics and leaping about the dojo has taught me is not the crane technique, but the (run like a) bunny technique. That may change, of course, when I get to be an OFWG– in about six months, if I don’t hit a treadmill soon.

    For obvious reasons, when I’m at home and/or with my family, the bunny technique is not such a good idea… so I home carry.

  8. Kudos to you, Robert. I actually made it halfway through the article before I realized what tomfoolery you were pulling off. Not sure if that’s a tribute to your writing style or my complete lack of internet sarcasm awareness.

  9. @Derek
    To be fair, though, it’s not like he was a commando. He was more like a very, very awesome trapmaster.Of course that makes me wonder why he hadn’t rigged up some sort of remote-controlled floor trap or turret or something…

  10. Mine isn’t far away, but it’s not strapped to my hip for quick draw. Unless you are sitting at the curb I think you have more time to react and make a decision than 10 seconds.

  11. You left out the key part which is keep your bullets buried in the backyard. Just remember that to make sure you can locate the bullets put up a sign with a downward pointing arrow saying bullets. The downward arrow is the key as in the heat of the moment you might get confused & think you put the bullets in the treehouse. God knows how many people have died in vain climbing a tree only to find no ammo.

  12. Dear TTAG:

    I used to home carry. Now I just wear the costume and makeup of Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s “It” and nobody bothers me. The Crips got scared and moved out of my neighborhood, local traffic is down by 87%, most of the neighborhood stores have been shuttered and I’m not expecting any trick-or-treaters this year.

    Do you think I’ve gone too far?

    Thank you in advance for you advice.

  13. Or you could live in a fortress. Hire private security guards and have trained dogs around the house 24/7 to attack intruders. I don’t care if you home carry but don’t assume people who don’t home carry haven’t evaluated a cost benefit situation either. There is always something you can do that makes you more prepared for a random situation but there is always a trade off. You don’t conceal carry 3 guns in case the first two fail to fire do you? Why not? how about four? Five? There is always a chance that something will go wrong and having an extra hidden gun will reduce that chance every time. But you’re still limiting yourself at a certain level. It’s every persons decision to figure out what that level is so don’t be an Ass and assume you’re the only correct person.

  14. There is a doctor in CT who learned a very tragic lesson because he thought BAD THINGS only happen to other people. To those readers who live under a rock, this man lost his wife and two daughters to monsters who took advantage of his inability to defend himself or his family. A lesson in life’s reality learned way way too late. TEA

    • Thats a really sad story from Cheschire, CT. The youngest daughter was raped and all three women were covered in gasoline and burned alive. The father is lucky to be alive but frankly I dont know if lucky (after that loss) is really apropriate.

      The movie “Law Abiding Citizen” has a simmilar plot and is certainly one of thoes anti-hero movies. Fortunatley in the “Cheschire Home Invasion” (as it is known) both suspects were sentenced to death. I have lost track of the case since then but highly doubt anyone in the bleeding heart state of Connecticut will be executed for a long time.

  15. I have been a “lurker” on this site for some time and am still trying to figure out whether some of the authors like to write articles like this to mock certain segments of gun owners just to get their own personal jollies out of reading the comments afterwards.

    Articles like this will get a rise out of both the hardcore anti-gunner and some gun rights supporters. The hardcore anti-gunner will read this and say, “see, I am not the only one that thinks people that carry guns all the time are wrong” while some gun rights supporters will say, “how dare he say I cannot not carry at home.” But, with careful reading, this article says neither.

    The actual truth about carrying at home is as diverse and varied as the readership here. Each person must evaluate their whole situation, everything from where they live, where they work, whether they have kids, what they have done in their past, etc. etc. and make a determination about what level of threat they are up against.

    The average person will probably determine that they are not at much risk. But, as a general rule, people do not start thinking about risk until something happens to them or someone they know or something happens in “their” neighborhood.

    Even though the average person should not be at risk, home invasion style robberies do happen and they happen to average people that are not dope dealers or filthy rich or differ from any other average people.

    I was a Boy Scout and the principles I learned taught me to “Be Prepared.”

    I tend to keep a blanket and a couple of MRE’s in my vehicle, in case I get stranded. Paranoid? A guy I worked with thought so, until he got stuck on the WV Turnpike for 20 plus hours when there were multiple wrecks due to ice that left many stuck with no help. While he did not freeze or starve to death, he would have loved to have had clean water and a MRE to snack on.

    In my house, there are guns. They are secured yet easily reachable. Yes, that is possible with Simplex Locks. If I answer the door, my pistol is concealed on me.

    The bottom line is this, I would rather be prepared for even a rare situation where I will need a gun in my home than to not be and have to bury a loved one.

  16. Since I carry concealed I put on a gun as part of getting dressed. It doesn’t make sense to take it off when home then put it on as I leave and take it off again as many times as I leave or return. Since it is concealed I don’t “look like a wacko.”

  17. The only reason I can think of for not carrying at home is that you can’t afford to put a gun within reach in every room. I wish I could afford to have one in every room, but the most I can afford is one in each of the rooms where I spend most of my time. Since I have been the victim of a break-in (fortunately a gun was within reach), I take this matter seriously.

  18. Because the accidental homicide rate from people who carry firearms on their person outside of the home are so freakin’ high. Please. If you can’t carry it safely in your home, you shouldn’t be carrying it outside. Train, train, train.

  19. Satirical to be sure, but you bounced around too much. It was hard to follow the humor.

    Josh is correct, as are most of the posters, It doesn’t matter if you are at home or outdoors, if you can safely carry in one you can in the other, just be aware of your environment, as always. People tend to be more relaxed at home, so you should be more conscious of your carry at home, at least until you get used to it. Personally, I like having it immediately accessible at home, not necessarily on my hip.

    Funny post.

  20. If you think about it..you are less safe in your home. When you go out carrying concealed you have the means of defense. When you come home and lock up your gun you are defenseless.

    The worst thing I can imagine is someone making a forced entry into your home. That person is up to bad stuff and will not be dissuaded.

  21. It’s interesting that he uses the argument that a low chance of a gun accident is still a chance and you would hate yourself if anything happened to your family as a reason to lock your gun up instead of carrying it at home, but then he turns right around and says the chance of a home invasion low so you won’t need your gun. You can pick whichever side you want in this argument. The chance is really low that someone will invade your home, but there’s still a chance. Wouldn’t you feel horrible knowing that you had the means to protect your family in that rare occasion, but you were unable to respond because your gun was locked up?

    He uses the argument that you should be able to reason with your attacker long enough to get your gun, but you’re already dealing with an unreasonable person if they have invaded your home. If I home carry, my gun is in my control because I’m “clever” enough to know how to keep it out of the hands of my two year old even when it’s not in a safe. If someone invades my home, they are not in my control until they have two well-placed shots to the chest. Even then they might need another one between the eyes.

    I prefer to be in control of the environment in my home, and I am much better at controlling inanimate objects than some crazy person that just broke into my house even without any idea of what jewelry or gun collection I might have.

  22. After reading this article I sit here at my computer in my home office with a S&W .357 on my hip and a Mossy .410 pistol grip shotgun hanging from the shelf above me. Clearly something must be very wrong with me…

    Awhile back I decided I owned too many guns – I had filled up my gun case in the living room and a wall rack in my bedroom and had also run out of places around the house to hide all the other guns. So I sold half of them – mostly the large caliber stuff like 12 gauge shotguns which had the potential to be neighbor killers and ear drum breakers if I ever discharged one in self defense here in my urban home. Now I have less guns and my collection seems more manageable and less stressful – but I don’t love it any less.

    I live alone and work at home on a computer all day and it is boring to say the very least and I rarely leave home. I really don’t worry about home invasions at all as I don’t believe I could get that lucky, but carrying a gun around seems to make my days a little more interesting and it certainly harms no one as I understand gun safety very well. Sometimes I carry concealed, sometimes open carry but it doesn’t matter which I do since my yard is completely private as well as my home. Sometimes when I feel like taking a break from the computer I’ll grab a shotgun or rifle and patrol my yard since no one can see me anyway. I’ve been living this way for many years, too many to count.

    Is something wrong with me? Maybe, but I endanger no one and break no laws so I would have to say how I spend my days on my own property is absolutely no one’s business but my own. Remember, I could be doing worse – instead of being a gun-toting, law-abiding, work-at-home, recluse and paying taxes, I could be an unemployed drug addict collecting Social Security Disability and invade YOUR home to finance a drug habit – which would you rather have me be?

  23. It seems to me like this article is really trying to convince you to Home Carry. I’m more convinced now that i should than before i read this article.

  24. LOL! LOL! LOL! On the floor, can’t stop LOL! This is the most ignorant nonsencical thing I have ever read! This guy is a VERY funny writer, he CAN’T be serious! Great writing, great satire on the Brady Campaign!

  25. I always have my Sig P229 loaded with one in the chamber. My XDM is also loaded in the same manner. Both are .40 S&W loaded with Hornady Zombie ammo (you never know). If things get a little harrier the AR-15 has the bolt locked open with a 20 round magazine in it. I sleep well at night…

  26. Where can I find your sources for “the chances of a home invasion at your place are lower than the odds of…” ?
    Thanks.

  27. This article is probably the most “emotion-riddled” article I’ve ever read. Full of paranoias, fantasies and “wild” half-baked assertions that carry little or no reality at all. Now, let me correct this flotsome with some “reality” based facts.
    A) “Home Carrying is Patently ridiculous.” In actuality, Home Carrying is not so ridiculous. Any legal gun owner is not so blatantly clumsy/unsafe as this person claims. A legal gun owner trained in the safe use/handling of a firearm knows how to both use and store a firearm. Where it concerns kids, legal gun owners are smart enough to teach their kids about guns and gun safety. The happenstance of crime may be a very small one, but for the trained gun owner, being prepared to counter a crime is KEY.
    B) It is Paranoid. In actuality, it’s called “prepared.” It is the lax gun owner who one day will fall victim to crime. The chances of a home invasion are not as small as some people claim and our homes aren’t the safe havens they once used to be. Anyone with years of experience knows this. And what if its a mother home alone, it is even more important for her to be armed to protect her children. And these days, it’s criminals who look for kids that are left unattended in the front yard who fall victim to criminal lures and kidnappings. But, with an armed adult standing there watching their kids, kidnappings are far less likely to happen when there is a trained gun in the area.
    C) You look like a wacko and might act like one too. What a LIBERAL response of fear. Only to a person who is a complete fearful recluse and xenophobe would this be true. You call us extremists, you call us fascists, there is nothing of the sort. Protecting oneself and their family is not an extremist or fascist act, unless you ask Obama. Friends and family members are not so likely to shun one who takes their safety seriously, especially if they might share the same views. The thing about gun owners is that anyone who carries a firearm has to keep their emotions in check at all times. Emotionally unstable people should not even have a firearm in their home let alone carry one at ANY time. That is just a disaster waiting to happen.

  28. Nothing is safer than an automatic pistol on your hip with a double action trigger. Even a young kid cannot fire it by accident.

  29. This is literally the dumbest article I have ever read. It is clearly written by someone that has absolutely no clue about how a gun works or gun safety. Using this same ridiculous reasoning no one should ever have kitchen knives in their kitchens either because you could accidentally stab yourself or a loved one would you like to accidentally stab your grandma??? or someone could take your knife and bam stab you or slit their wrist then you have a murder suicide with your own steak knives. Robert you are a clueless and sad excuse for a American.

    • To the person who wrote this article, I sure hope you don’t become a victim of that small percentage of an home invasion because you won’t like the outcome of how that will turn out to be for you. Even knowing that with the slightest chance of it not happen or could happen to me I rather be prepare to be able to defend myself and family. I myself home carry due to the fact that I know I’m always prepared if some danger should arise. I’m a single mother with a 10yr old and my son know that my guns are not toys and are off limits to him. I educate my son on the dangers of guns if not handle properly.

      I always keep my gun on me in a secure holster that won’t allow anyone to pull the gun out of the holster unless the release button is push which is on the inner side which make it hard for someone to just reach over to press it without me noticing. So that theory of a kid pulling your gun from your holster is understated because if you properly secure your gun with the right holster then that won’t happen. Also if you know anything about guns which clearly you don’t! With today modern firearms they come equipped with safety feature that don’t allow a gun to go off if accidentally dropped.

      I hear and see too many stories about people getting attack at their home and I’m sure those people just like you thought that the possibly of it happening to them is low. Most of the home invasion are not random I’m sure that whoever decided to rob have been planning it and know your everyday routine. So with that said if I home and I went to the garage to get something and an intruder decided to kick in my door I can quickly defend myself since I have my gun on me. Now let’s say the same scenario happens but I don’t have my gun on me but I have it lock up in my safe or hidden away somewhere in the house. Now how am I suppose to get to it if the intruder is standing there in my way in front of me.

      Sure having a gun lock up in a safe is the ideal way but sometimes when things happen so quickly which it will are you able to react fast enough to get to your gun safe or place where you have hidden it.

      So as the saying go….”better to have it and not need, than to need and not have”

  30. Sorry home carry in a white middle class neighborhood and better is paranoid behavior. There a better chance of a home fire and I don’t carry a fire extinguisher around the house.

  31. Oh,Mr. Home Invader,would you allow me the time to open my safe, so I can protect myself from your threats? Anyone see the tv slow ” Forensic Crimes”? …….the episode where grandpa home owner lost a foot race to the bedroom dresser drawer to the 26year old invader….then, lost his gun,..and then lost his wife and his life as well. …..it opened my eyes.,for sure…..Paranoid? How about Semper Paratus! or Be Prepared? White, middle class,gated communities ( you mean where wealthy people live?$$) are safer?….no need to home carry. I don’t think so!

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