By Joseph Nizzari
In my 18-plus years of teaching firearms professionally, I have encountered contrasting perceptions regarding various methods of carry. These modes include inside or outside the waistband, appendix carry, small of the back, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, condition three, etc. And, as always, I have addressed those different modes of carry with my students employing both my professional and personal opinions. It’s been proven that an individual must first select a mode of carry that gives fast, consistent, and deliberate access to the defensive firearm from the same location every time it needs to be deployed whether or not that mode of carry provides total comfort . . .
In the words of the venerable Clint Smith: “Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable; it’s supposed to be comforting. The gun that’s with you is better than the one that’s home in the safe.”
With all of that in mind, a question that keeps coming up is where to keep a defensive handgun while in the secure confines of one’s home. When I ask my students and friends where they keep their EDC handgun when they’re at home I get all kinds of replies. These include, but aren’t limited to: on top of the refrigerator, on the counter, next to the bed, in a dresser drawer, locked in the safe, between the cushions of the couch, in the car in the garage or outside in the driveway, etc. (I always shake my head at the last one). And finally, occasionally, I also get the correct answer…on me!
It is my solid belief that a handgun should be on one’s person from the moment they rise until the moment until they lay their head down and enter dreamland. And when I mention that home carry also includes taking a gun in the shower I often get looked at like I have horns, a pitchfork, a tail, and I smell like sulfur. But more on that a little later.
One never knows what type of break-in will occur or where the point of entry will be. For example, if your handgun is in a nightstand drawer and you’re downstairs at your computer station and there is unauthorized access by an intruder(s) in a different part of the house, you won’t have instant access to that firearm. And you won’t have enough time to go get it. If you do make an attempt to get to your gun and you have to go through an armed intruder, you now have a possible hostage situation (or worse). Another issue is that if an intruder is not armed and finds your handgun (or any unsecured gun for that matter) you will be at the same disadvantage and you will most likely find yourself at the business end of your own weapon.
I’ve heard reasons against home carry that are all over the board. Let’s address some of them:
1. I wear shorts around the house, where am I supposed to put it? (and this often comes from those that wear shorts outside the home).
My view: Carrying in shorts is no different than carrying in trousers.
2. I don’t like to feel like I’m being overly paranoid.
My view: Preparedness is not to be confused with paranoia. Paranoia is based on fear; preparedness is based on avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes.
3. I live in a gated community and we have a roving security guard.
My view: There are well documented cases of home invasions that have occurred in gated, guarded communities. Remember that gated communities don’t keep thieves out. If they want to get in, they will get in.
4. I have a large, barking dog.
My view: Although a dog is a good first line of defense, never depend on one as an early warning system. Dogs have been known to let intruders in with open paws. They have also been poisoned or shot prior to entry. It does happen.
5. I have children and I’m worried about the gun coming out when I roll around on the floor when I play with them.
My view: If you lose your gun while playing with your children, imagine what will happen if you go hands-on with an attacker. I would review my holster choices in this case.
6. I don’t want to make my guests nervous when they visit my home.
My view: Everyone who comes to my home is of a like mind and most likely carrying themselves. Therefore, it’s not an issue for me personally. On the other hand, if you are worried about panicking your guests, carry concealed and you won’t have to mention it to anyone.
7. Bring my gun into the shower? You’re friggin’ crazy?
My view: Aside from sleeping, showering is the most vulnerable time for home dwellers. When you’re in the shower the sound of the water will drown out almost any noise (including your barking dog). Your eyesight will not be the same as it normally is and your time in the rain locker can be timed by a surreptitious home invader.
It’s no secret that rapists have been known to stalk their female targets by observing the light in the window of their bathrooms at night. Rapists will note the length of time and how long the water stays running, giving them a perfect opportunity to enter the dwelling and lie in wait for the unsuspecting woman to exit the bathroom. Like rapists, burglars have also caught on to this technique, too. Bringing your gun into the shower isn’t crazy by any means. It just makes sense.
8. My spouse/significant other won’t let me.
My view: I’m not always sure how to address this one, as there are several underlying personal issues at play here. I will suggest to those who need ‘permission’ to carry a firearm at home to review home invasion stories and videos from around the country with their doubting parnters. Perhaps that will sway them to be more comfortable with home carry and get used to it as a way of life rather than some sort of paranoid voodoo. If there’s absolutely nothing you can do to persuade your significant other to accept the practice, you might consider pulling the ejection handle.
9. I have loaded guns in every room in my house, therefore, I don’t need the hassle of carrying one on me.
My view: That may work well for those who haven’t experienced a break in, but for me, I feel that having loaded guns placed all over my house increases my chances of arming (or further arming) an attacker. Imagine a burglar coming in armed with a .25 Auto (or unarmed for that matter) and then confronting you with that loaded 870 or AR you keep next to your bed. And what if you come home while an intruder is already in your house and surprises you with one of your own guns? All I can say is, if you choose to store firearms this way, you definitely need to have a handgun on your person while you are at home.
In conclusion, you need to do what you’re comfortable with.. Personally, I always have a handgun on me with a spare magazine, a rear-activated light, and a folding knife.
Call me crazy, but as a wise man once said,
“Lord, make my hand fast and accurate.
Let my aim be true and my hand faster
than those who would seek to destroy me.
Grant me victory over my foes and those who wish to do harm to me and mine.
Let not my last thought be ‘If I only had my gun.'”
And Lord, if today is truly the day you call me home
Let me die in a pile of empty brass.”
(Yes, even in the shower!)
Joseph Nizzari is Director of Training Operations for Line of Fire LLC in Las Vegas