Every now and then TTAG commentators reveal that they keep multiple guns stashed in multiple places around the house. Nope. Not a good idea. While I don’t support any gun laws (except those relating to their criminal use), there’s a reason why some legislatures mandate that gun owners must keep their weapon under their direct control at all times, or locked-up. It’s the right thing to do. On at least three levels . . .

1. A hidden gun is a gun waiting to be discovered. The more guns you secret around your crib, the greater the likelihood of uninvited search and seizure. Kids, visiting kids, grandkids, the cleaner, a burglar, a friend staying over for the night—anyone who enters your abode could tool-up with [one of] your guns. No matter how good you are at the ballistic Easter egg thing, hiding guns is a tragedy waiting to happen.

2. Foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but consistent storage isn’t. If  you store a number of guns in a number of different places, you’ll need a number of highly-honed retrieval skills to bring them to bear on Mr. Bad Guy. An under-the-cushion extraction isn’t the same as a behind-the-books draw. The last thing you need in a life-threatening emergency is a motor skills test.

If your gun is on your hip and you’ve practiced your draw, you should be able to deploy it quickly, efficiently (i.e. not shooting yourself) and effectively in a wide variety of situations within your digs. If the firearm’s in a safe, you should also know how to extract it in a timely, safe and, uh, effective manner. For quick access at night, I recommend an INPRINT safe or a small, pressure-pad GunVault. Even if you leave it open at night.

Shotgun under the bed? I don’t think so. Just try to reaching through a warren of dust bunnies to get ahold of that bad boy during an adrenal dump. There are plenty of quick access shotgun locked storage systems on the market, like the V-Line Quick Access Keyless Shotgun Safe. Use one. If you don’t, if you keep your handgun or shotgun readily accessible at night, remember that it’s readily accessible to other folks as well . . .

3. Accidents happen. Sterile (i.e. clutter-free) storage equals safer storage. “A 5-year-old girl was injured early Saturday morning when a gun hidden between mattresses in a Marquette Park neighborhood home discharged as she was jumping on the bed,” chicagotribune.com reports. “The girl was in a home in the 6400 block of South Artesian Avenue when she jumped on a bed about 12:20 a.m. . . . The gun, hidden between mattresses, discharged and a bullet hit the girl.”

She’s OK, but who needs that kind of tsuris? Either keep your gun on your hip (yes in the house too) or in a locked safe. That is all.

43 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Keep Your Gun Safe

  1. While I lock up many of my firearms, I do not keep some of them secured. They are hidden for fast access and unlikely to be found unless you knew where to feel. I don’t have kids and all members of my household know how to safely handle them.

  2. I’m one of those guys that has loaded (but not chambered) guns all over the house. I live in a pretty big, three story house, and I don’t think I could necessarily retrive my primary home defense weapon in teh event of a home invasion. And I refuse to home carry, as that just sems like a PITA. I don’t have kids, grandkids, etc., so I feel I have a lot more leeway to leave loaded guns scattered in hidden locations. Obviously, on the rare occasions that children will be in the house, I take measures to make sure the kids can’t get to the guns.

  3. I did a quick google on ‘3G imprint’ and couldn’t find anything (except this page). I haven’t been a fan of the GunVaults – Rob could you point me in the right direction to check out the imprint one? Thanks!

  4. Even though I don’t do this, I disagree with this post. You may not be able to quickly access your firearm if you have them all secured in one room. What if you’re in a different room during a home invasion? What if you’re cut off from that room? Furthermore, what if you’re cut off from an escape exit too?

    I agree with Joe Grime when he says that home carry sounds like a PITA. I don’t want to have to wear a gun on my belt all day and night. Nor do I want to wear clothes all day long that accommodate a belt.

    If I were going to do this and I had kids in the house I’d have multiple little hidden safes, probably like the Gun Vault ones for pistols, stashed in places I only knew the locations to.

  5. I am not so certain that a classic gunsafe is the best way either.

    A heavy metal safe with an intimidating looking lock might look secure,until Joe Scumbag breaks in and wheels it and the entire gun collection within out to a waiting truck. By the time the owner gets home the safe is in the bottom of the river with the guns inside long since distributed to the criminal underworld.

    The smaller cases like the one depicted in the photo aren’t any better. They’ll stop curious kids to an extent-how many of us during our formative years knew our parents’ combinations?-but a theif won’t think anything of cutting or breaking whatever that box is attached to and making off with it. We think a heavy cable wrapped around a heavy piece of furniture is secure because its our stuff, and we wouldn’t break the furniture to steal something. Crooks don’t care and don’t need to worry about cleanup after the heist.

    The only partially certain way to prevent gun theft is to bolt the safe into the building’s structure, and that isn’t an option for people who live in apartments and other people’s homes. My solution to this problem-not a perfect one by any stretch, but its what I d0- is to store the weapons disassembled with the parts distributed in different places. I lock up the lower receivers at home and when leaving the home I take the slides & barrels of my pistols with me in the car. Should I be burglarized the crooks won’t get much for their trouble except incriminating serial numbered paperweights.

  6. I agree with the article – You’ve touched upon some very important points, we as gun owners need to be be extra careful in our gun handling methods.

  7. Very good article Robert. I am looking at the smaller V-Line safes. Any opinions.

    I still remember finding a loaded revolver under my parent’s mattress at age 10-12ish during the California “Nightstalker” frenzy. I knew not to mess with it, but kids will fine them.

  8. OT sorta:

    On my walk home this morning, I passed by a house that had a camper-trailer on one side and a beautiful sport fishing boat on the other side.The owner obviously likes to own nice toys. There was a warning sign in the window: ‘Nothing I have is worth your life’ with the image of a handgun in the background. A) Does that warning scare off potential burglars, B) Does it advertise too much and encourage burglars who want a gun to steal too, C) A & B?

    • No, Aharon I would say it does not. If anything it is a statement of bravado and stupidity.

      “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”
      -Gandalf The Grey

      When has Gandalf ever been wrong?

    • It’s within anyone’s right to brag about their hobbies, but is it the smartest thing in the world to advertise to the world? I would say it may scare off certain burglars, but at the same time; other burglars may just wait until you are clearly not around to yank the door open.

  9. Re: Gun Vault…. Deviant Ollam (yes, that’s his name,) defeats the tubular Gun Vault lock in seconds here. (Start at 9:39):

    NSFW due to language.

    (To be fair, he didn’t think it was terrible compared to some of the others, just that the tubular lock was the weak link on it.)

  10. I have multiple gun safes in different areas of the house which makes accessing a gun from any room really easy. You should have one or two main safes and multiple wall safes so that you can grab a loaded gun whenever you need one. I know most people don’t want a safe in every room, but you never know what room you’ll be stuck in if the SHTF so it’s best to have instant access at all times.

  11. I keep a Mossberg 590 in my guest bedroom, muzzle down, loaded magazine tube and side saddle, cruiser safe.

    I keep one of my ARs muzzle down, mag loaded, condition three, behind my bathroom door in my master bedroom.

    I keep a handgun within reach at all times: Usually in my carry holster, that I don’t take off until I go to bed.

    The idea is, if I’m confronted with a problem I cant fix with my handgun, I can move towards the guest bedroom, retrieve the mossy, and use that, and if that still doesn’t work, I can make my way to the master bedroom and my last line of defense. And if I cant stop them coming up the 10 yard hallway with my AR, i’m pretty much screwed, anyway.

    I don’t have kids. I don’t allow my nehibors onto my property. And I’m fine with any of my friends grabbing any of my guns to tool up. I don’t allow people into my home that I would not trust with a loaded gun. Thats why they’re my friends. They know where they are, too, in case of an emergency.

    Everything else stays in my gunsafe that is more or less theft proof. Unless they brought a plasma torch or a shaped charge, I seriously doubt they’re gona get into my gun safe. And they sure as heck aernt taking it with them. It took four friends and two dollys to get into the house, and its bolted down, too.

    If it can be done safely, I think its a good idea to have more than one firearm quickly and readily accessible.

    Two is one, one is none.

  12. JOE MATAFOME’s idea of multiple small safes is both sound and practical. I used to do the same when I lived in large quarters. Sure, I home carry, but I find it a bit inconvenient and not a little uncomfortable to sleep carry. And shower carry is proving to be a real stumper.

    Even though I live alone (except for my cats), I still keep my guns secured. MA law requires me to do so, and I don’t break the law even when nobody’s looking.

  13. Robert, the only difference between you and the gun grabbers is that you want everyone to do what you say with their guns, not what the gun grabbers say to do with guns.

    People have been stashing guns in their homes for a lot longer than you’ve been writing. Accidents happen to those that are stupid, but not all of us are stupid. I don’t like the implication that we are.

    • 1) Are you stupid if someone is ransacking your home and they find a ‘hidden’ gun? Yes.

      2)Are you stupid if that same gun is used in a crime and you are hauled down for questioning? Yes.

      3)Are you stupid if the second question happens but you made an effort to keep those guns safe? No.

      The sweeping statement was a great laugh too. Thanks for that.

  14. I realistically can only slow down real crooks and deter kids and the curious. I keep some of my guns locked up in a locked gun cabinet with a heavy cable and locks and i am looking to upgrade that situation. I do have a small hidden pistol safe, but the crooks could just carry the thing out. I do have the 870 in a secret hideaway place. It always borders between having the gun secured and hidden, versus ready to go at short notice. Good luck.

    • Some good practices, Tom. We can only make the effort to secure them as best we can. It is those that think they do not have to make any effort that annoy the shit out of me when they are crying about not knowing how this happened on the 5 oclock news.

  15. I was a small child and my Great Uncle kept his gun loaded right by his favorite chair and I was told as a kid not to mess with it or else! I suppose that is one way to deal with small children and guns.

    • Only if your kid listened, Tom. Me as a kid would have told your Great Uncle to go F himself and waited until he dozed off.

      • Telling Great Uncle to F off would be a bad idea. He was rather large and stout. Great Uncle was a very nice guy and very smart. I could shoot some of his guns under his supervision. I actually liked Great Uncle and did respect him.

        • I get what you are saying but my mother and father didn’t exactly raise me to know respect. I had to learn that myself the hard way. I didn’t care how big or angry you would get. I am just saying there are kids out there that don’t listen no matter how loud you yell or try to scare them.

          I did grow up (my Grandfather straightened me out with hard work) but some kids are not good listeners.

  16. Home carry is a minor PITA, but not really much more so than carrying outside–it’s just different annoyances. My next purchase is an in-wall safe for the bedroom shotgun and my pistol (when I’m sleeping), and a Remora holster which I hope will make ultra-casual/slobwear carry feasible. We have been going the “hidden-obscurely-and-up-high” route, but that’s just not feasible now that the kids are moving and exploring on their own. My 4-year-old is clever enough to figure out a way to reach my previous overnight storage location; I don’t want to find out the hard way that he’s clever enough to lock and load, too.

    As with anything else, you need to do a risk assessment: What are the potential risks? How likely are they? How damaging would they be? I don’t think it LIKELY that my kids would get hold of one of my weapons, but I don’t dare take that chance. If you never let people who can’t be trusted with your weapons into your house, your risk assessment will probably be quite different.

    • Is there any reason to let people who cant be trusted come into your house in the first place?

      Which is more important, being able to defend yourself, or being a good host? Not that the two are mutually exclusive, by any means.

      Its an interesting article, but at the same time, all though I trust the TTAG writers and staff, I don’t like to be told whats good for me, especially when I know different.

      However, I must agree, if you have chidren that are not old enough to understand and be responsible with firearms (And that age differs. I shot frequentley at the age of 8.), firearms do in fact need to be secrured.

      On a long enough time line, your kids will eventually figure out your hiding places, and they will figure out how to mess about with your firearms. Manual safety? Mag disconnect? Doesn’t matter. It just makes it more like a puzzle for most kids.

      And forget the nonsense about a kid not being able to chamber a round. When I was 8, I chambered a round into my dads .45 1911 against a 25 pound recoil spring. Sure, I had to brace the rear sight against a sturdy table and put all my body weight into it, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      But I would say exactally the opposite: If you don’t have kids, you SHOULD have a firearm in every room in the house.

      • I DO have a firearm in every room of the house… ON ME. 🙂 Easy-peasy. No hiding places to remember. Drawing and firing is the exact same set of motions every time… when it’s on me. Kids or no kids… it’s the same… for me. YMMV.

      • “Dr.”Dave, nobody at TTAG would tell you what to do. RF made some points about home safety and gun security because TTAG needs every one of its readers alive and well, not shot with their own gun or burying a child or in jail. TTAG doesn’t give orders, it gives advice. No ne will think less of you if you choose your own path.

        • I think “Dr.”Dave was referring mainly to the first paragraph where it seems Mr. Farago is supporting legislation that DOES tell us what to do. I know, he says “I don’t support any gun laws” but follows up by saying that requiring us to lock up our guns (or have them on us) is the right thing to do.

        • No sir. I am against all guns laws save the ones related to unlawful use of a firearm. And probably some of them too.

  17. I agree with the article. I would NOT feel comfortable stashing guns around the house in “hidden” places. I do have kids, but even if I didn’t… It just doesn’t make sense to me. A few things come to mind…

    – Inadvertent discovery by unauthorized persons.
    – Me forgetting where they all are (could keep a written record, I suppose).
    – If something happens to me, will my wife or other person know where they all are? And, then will they be found by unauthorized persons in my absence?

    I do carry while at home, and it’s not a PITA at all. I switch gears from carrying my G27 IWB (Crossbreed Supertuck) to the same G27 in a Remora, usually in my front pocket. That’s where it is as I’m typing right now, lounging comfortably on the sofa.

    Other guns are in a primary safe (bolted to concrete floor and too heavy to carry anyway) and an older push-pad Gunvault that is bolted to the concrete floor with hurricane shutter anchors. It ain’t going nowhere.

  18. I dont think theft has been brought up enough, either. Keeping your guns locked up can not only prevent a tragedy, but could also prevent your place getting broken into.

    It may or may not be wise to leave a gun-vault on a desk in plain view of an exterior window. It might be more subtle than leaving a gun there, but not by much.

    You’re nuts if you thing burglars don’t know what a gun-vault is and how to pry them open with a heavy duty screw driver or chisel and a mallet.

  19. Hey Robert,

    I realize that I’m about a year overdue on replying to this article, but I am an AK resident (fem) and I just purchased my first home protection weapon – a Smith & Wesson M&P .40. I have two kids – one baby and a 6 year old, and my apartment is in a neighborhood that… well… let’s just say there’s a reason I bought it.

    What I’m struggling with is the kids vs. accessibility in an emergency factor. My son is SUPER into everything army/gun related and I am not entirely sure about hiding it vs. telling him about it and educating the hell out of him re: gun safety. He can be pretty mischievous and I’m not sure he’ll respect the DON’T EVER TOUCH THIS rule. But I digress.

    I have heard from a couple law-enforcement buddies of mine that a good way to go is a clock safe; it looks unassuming, can be placed high-up out of children’s reach, and is easily accessible in the event of a home invasion. The way my apt is laid out the biggest thing I worry about is I have dual entry points to the outside, on different levels of the house. This bothers me. I feel the best place for my gun is in my bedroom; so a clock safe would fit in well. However, I haven’t found one that offers a combination of any sort – i.e. turning the hands to a certain time to release the lock. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Nicole

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