That’s just silly. The idea that you can gain emergency access to a handgun in a finger safe, load it quickly and effectively then bring it to bear on the bad guy(s) during a home invasion is as good an example of dangerous optimism as I can imagine without going full Wallenda. Sure, you could do it. And yes, if you’re going to do it, you should practice doing it. But not at the range; use your home environment (with an empty, safety-checked firearm). But c’mon, let’s get real . . .

If you’re storing your home defense handgun in a safe at night, the last thing you want to do is fumble about with loading the damn thing. Or undoing a trigger lock. Or anything involving fine motor skills. We’re talking life-or-death manual manipulation during a full adrenalin dump, where fingers turn to flippers. You can find the full details on efficient SHTF gun retrieval at aintgonnahappen.com.

In fact, do you even want to be messing with a gun safe?

SHOCK! HORROR! Keeping a loaded gun by your bed! Think of the children! Which is about the only reason I can think of for using a bedside safe – other than a tumultuous marriage and/or Massachusetts’ safe storage laws. If your children are post-toddler, it’s best to put your faith in education (e.g., teaching the four safety rules and firearms familiarization) rather than depending on the impregnability of a gun safe. Especially if the sprogs are teens; the clever little you-know-whats.

The trick with that instant access bedside gun strategy: put the [loaded] gun into a proper gun safe in the morning. Never leave your handgun accessible and unattended. Better yet, put it on your hip. And keep it there until you go to bed that night. Because when you need a handgun in your home you don’t need it a safe. You need it in your hand. If you have your gat on your person in a dangerous situation arises, it will appear in your hand as if by magic. If not, well, remember those dreams about running through peanut butter? Like that.

You may need a two handgun home defense strategy. A small gun for home carry; something like a Ruger LCP or Smith & Wesson Shield that slips into a pocket (inside a simple holster). A gun that lets you dress down even as you tool-up. And a larger handgun for nighttime defense; something like a SIG SAUER P226 or GLOCK 19 with night sights and a large capacity magazine. Unless you don’t mind schlepping a larger gun all day long. Then two is one.

Bottom line: gun safes are only safe when you don’t want someone to gain access to your gun(s). And sometimes not even then. [See: clever teen routine above.] But gun safes can be extremely dangerous if that someone trying to gain access is you, in a hurry. As Dirty Harry dictated, a man’s got to know his limitations. And plan accordingly.

58 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Home Carry, People…Home Carry

  1. What could possibly go wrong? All that needless activity when you’re half asleep and under stress just to appease people who think they know best is an invitation for disaster.

  2. Robert, seems to me, once upon a time, YOU put forth the suggestion, to keep you personal defense networking tool in a secure (locked) box/location. Of course that is BEFORE you lived in the GREAT State of Texas……well that and i AM old, so i may be remembering that incorrectly……glad some reality has started to shine on you…YES, i agree home carry is best…keep up the good work & enjoy SHOT

  3. Keep your loaded handgun on your hip while at home. When you go to bed, store your loaded handgun on a shelf near the ceiling which is well beyond the reach of young children. It is still available for immediate access to you and, at the same time, inaccessible to small children while you sleep.

    • Okay creep. Why are you inside my house watching what I do with my EWC (everywhere carry)? Just kidding.
      But I also let my children handle unloaded fire arms. Under my supervision of course. It has really reduced their curiosity. Having them shoot them also has reduced their curiosity. I believe that is the best approach to teaching kids on how to be safe with firearms. Removing them and hiding them does as much good as sticking your head in the sand and hoping the lion cannot see your large feathery body standing still. It’s a recipe for disaster.

      • Your absolutely right about letting children handle unloaded firearms. It no longer becomes the forbidden fruit. If they know they can have it (with supervision of course) then they don’t have as much of curiosity about it later. Plus I’d like to ask a question. How does everyone feel with the new rise (old idea) in concealment furniture?

  4. HA I watched this exact video yesterday and had the exact thoughts as the comments above. Its one of those truly optimistic scenarios when you have that much time to prepare, but I am a big fan of coming up with drills you can still do in an indoor box range limited to your single shooting lane

    BTW, you must have some very large pockets if your shield fits in them.

  5. Six seconds to go from threat detected to the first shot. If the intruder was as close as that target, the intruder would have a new handgun to sell on the black market.

  6. I reckon there would be different conditions depending on whether one has kids in the home. However, at bedtime, one can place a loaded firearm in a “nightstand” and lock it up or carry it the next day. Make it routine. I personally have a grown son and no little critters in the house anymore, so it’s always either on me, or next to me.
    Taking that long, in the dark, half asleep, takes more training and a yapping dog or alarm system to compensate for time spent.

    • I’ve NEVER locked my gun up – around the babies, then toddlers, then young ones. Education, and familiarizing your kids with what your guns goes a long long way. I used to leave my (unloaded-and checked 5x to be sure) gun out in the open on the stairs and would watch the kids look at it and never touch it. I think it was all the training I gave them. The only time I don’t leave it out is when we have company – it’s on my hip then. Otherwise, in a holster on the nightstand next to me when I’m in REM.

  7. My G21 (I have big hands) stays in a holster on my hip with 2 exceptions: In the shower, or in bed. And then it’s kept within arms reach.

    I don’t have children (at least that I know of) and my 3 dogs and 3 cats have not yet shown they have the ability to discharge a firearm. Yet.

      • I have it on good authority (my own cats) that they do not like gunshots. It hurts their ears. Dogs don’t mind gunshots if you train them young.

    • No kids here either. I may catch flack for this, but I have a shotgun and pistol, both have manual safeties. I keep the firearms loaded with safety on. Little paws of cats, and big paws of dog can fire a pistol or long gun. Pistol stays with me or on bedside table. Shotgun leaning on chair close by. “Accidents” are set up, they just don’t happen. Fortunately, my animals show no interest in firearms either. I just don’t want to help a good animal go bad.

  8. My biggest problem if I detected a home invasion in progress would be to decide which of the locked-n-loaded guns next to my bed to select – the Mossy 12g, the XD Tactical, or the AR-15. Probably the Mossy, since it has a bayonet attached…

    • There are very few things that say “Get the fvck out of my house” as well as a fusillade of buckshot. Given time, I’ll grab my Mossberg 930 with 7+1 and extra rounds on the stock.

      Since I have a toddler I sometimes need to store my gun in a safe. If someone is in my room, there’s no way I’ll have time to open my safe. Plan B is a knife, Plan C is hand to hand.

      Having an 80 pound and 50 pound dog also helps. The Weimaraner doesn’t take kindly to intruders. Unless maybe they have bacon.

      • hi accur81 and defens. from everything i’ve read, the shot pattern for a shotgun inside the home is about 3in, out to beyond 20ft. makes a shotgun a rifle inside (granted, a rifle with a really big bullet). shotguns are beyond really loud indoors, which may cause a very inconvenient hearing loss at the moment of stress (as in unable to hear multiple threats, or family member calling ‘safe’ or calling for help.

        just a thought.

        rwoao

        • If one is prepared with a pistol, rifle or shot gun near ones bed, you might as well have a pair of electronic ear protection handy as well.

          Good E-Pro gives increased audio levels, directional locating of sounds and protection against hearing loss if you discharge a weapon inside ones house.

  9. I have kids and the prospect of leaving a loaded, charged gun out and accessible is not one I consider. My older boy is trained on the Glock, but my younger one still gets up and visits me after nightmares. The same somnolent fog you cite as a reason for having your gun out could start a chain of disaster when it’s a frightened kid who dreams of robbers and vampires. I find a bedside safe with a combo lock turned one click is a fine compromise. And yes, I home carry.

  10. A good front line defense starts with locking doors when you are home. Most people leave the doors and windows unlocked while at home.
    Proper lighting with motion activation helps as well as alerts inside the house. Someone drives up or enters the back yard and the equivalent of a doorbell should ring.
    Dog lovers can deploy K-9/ even a small dog can sense strangers and make a racket. The bigger ones eat the intruders.
    If all this fails you at least won’t be caught by surprise. But they might.

    • This. One needs layers of defense. As to dogs, they can be invaluable. I have a Great Pyrenees & Blue Heeler outside with the livestock, and a little Yorkie inside. The Yorkie will yap his fool head off at any unexpected sound – the Pyr will appear out of nowhere and is quite intimidating to strangers. I keep a LCP in my pocket, but I believe I’d have ample time to reach a long gun with the dogs buying me time.

      • +1 on the Yorkie. Mine barks at any strange sound also. I call her “ten pounds of death”. She would die protecting us. My p07 is on my side all but sleepy time. Tactical shotgun is hidden in bedroom always ready. 44 spec. Revolver hidden by front door for the wife. I never answer the front door. I always go out back and come around to the front. We don’t have visitors unless we know they are coming. Any knock and we go into protection mode. Stay safe..

  11. Might even just go old school. Since it might take a few kicks to get the door open, I’ve got a Zulu spear as wall art.

    Or there is always the shottie in the closet, or the G20 on the book shelf, or the .375 wall art…
    Decisions, decisions.

  12. BY my estimation he got shot four times by four different ppl only firing a single round each, before he ever returned fire.

    Unless the law requires it locked up, home carry, bedside carry, car carry. And then stash that shotty or ar in a defensible position that you retreat to.

  13. I ALWAYS have a loaded firearm on me or within a few steps [Yes I shower!…..on Saturday night! LOL!]

    Working on the car or truck. Raking leaves. Climbing into the attic. You name it…I have a loaded gun on my person.

    No excuse!

  14. No kids no wife no distractions, only time Im unarmed is in the shower.
    Gun is cocked n locked 12 inches from me at night when sleeping on the bed next to me. 2 queen sized beds and covered with a pillow. 2nd pillow has a 45 in it. So 2 guns within reach, 3rd a 22 in the sofa bolster. Ruger PC40 behind the door with 2, 20 round mags.
    Now would a gun hanging in a holster in the shower be too much?? Am I prepared or just paranoid????

  15. San Francisco and the 9th Circus Court of Appeals disagree. SF passed an ordinance providing that unless a firearm is in your immediate possession, it must be unloaded and secured by a trigger lock or a safe. The 9th concluded that this was allowed under Heller–because it takes only a few seconds to arm oneself, the ordinance did not excessively burden the 2A. A petition for wit of certiorari is pending.
    The law is phrased such that “in your immediate possession” means on your person, not next to you if outside a safe. Which means that you have to holster up when you are sleeping, or have a side safe. And it does not matter if you live with anyone else, or have children or not.

    • San Francisco also prohibits the possession of safety bullets for self defense (or anything else), instead preferring over-penetration with ball target ammo. This is probably intended to reduce the severity of on-the-job injury workman’s compensation claims, for the professionals on the receiving end of that defensive fire.

    • Mark N.

      The San Francisco law is no problem at all. Keep a handgun safe next to your bed and keep the handgun in the safe. If you ever need to use your handgun to defend yourself from home invaders, exercise your right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Unless you say something, the police have no way of knowing if you opened your safe and loaded your handgun before or after the home invaders announced their presence.

    • Since the large majority of Frisco residents voted for the dweebs who passed this law, I lack sympathy for their problems defending themselves. For the non-Democrats (there are a few) left in Frisco, have an open, unlocked gun box next to your bed/chair/wherever and just keep the gun anywhere you want. When you have finished shooting the intruder, be sure to mention that it took you “only a few seconds” to access the gun.

      And for those residents of the city who are offended by my use of “Frisco”: Too bad. Frisco – Frisco – Frisco – Frisco – Frisco – Frisco – Frisco – Frisco …. man, that’s fun for anyone who lived in the rural part of the PRCa and had to listen to the pretentious whining of the residents of Frisco – “That’s SAN FRANcisco!!!”

  16. Amateur hour at the indoor gun range… If I cant get him to wait for me to go thru all that shit just to shoot him, I’ll distract him by making him a sandwich and leaving the remote control in a very handy place.

  17. MA is another state that requires a gun be unloaded and locked up when not on your person. They also require that the ammo be locked in a different vault as well. Also not conditional on children being in the home.
    In NC, the law simply requires the owner to keep there guns from being accessed by minors or other unauthorized people.
    For me that means that if my family comes to visit with their small children, I need to lock things up in a room with a key lock. Doesn’t have to be a gun safe. So an outdoor entry lockset on the master bedroom works fine. Guns don’t have to kept unloaded.
    As I sit here watching football, my FNS9 is loaded, chambered, and on my side table 🙂

  18. Umm… yeah… First, that wasn’t a quick-access safe in the video. It looked like the standard case that guns come in when you buy them. He just flipped the two latches to open it.

    Secondly… the whole idea of a “quick-access” safe is that the gun inside is LOADED… READY to go. I can’t imagine any rationale for keeping the gun in a safe while UNloaded.

    I have more than one gun… one for carry… another for home defense. The HD gun is a full size model in a larger caliber and with a larger capacity. The HD piece resides in a quick access safe. It is loaded and chambered. DUH! My EDC is on me while I’m awake. It seems rather simple and practical to me.

  19. No kids. Three double action revolvers (no fumbling w/safeties) scattered around the house. Pump shotgun w/#4 buck & 00 buck handy in closet.

  20. With the recent unrest with a certain segment of our domestic population and the ever-expanding violence being doled out by certain religious extremists, now is the time to review your self defense strategies. I have made sure “I don’t leave the house without it.” And inside the house, I keep my four handguns in strategic locations,(1) one by the kitchen door, (2) one by the front door, (3) one by my bed, and (4) one in my den, where I spend most of my time. I live by myself, so I have no one else around that could be harmed by mishandling firearms. I have two outdoor Labs, that bark at anything unusual outside, day or night and an indoor Pug that has keen hearing and alerts me when the Labs are barking. I live on a large lot, all chained-link fenced in, that is roughly 220′ by 750′.
    The happenings of the last few months has led me to make changes to my security. I was beginning to get pretty lax about not carrying every time I would leave the house and I had my other handguns packed away in one place where they were not readily accessible. Times change, so did I.

  21. After returning from my government-paid vacation to exotic South East Asia, it took me a while to get to sleep at night unless I had that comforting lump under the pillow that was my “Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1”. I would have no problem keeping my current version of this great pistol in the same spot. Some lumps are not uncomfortable.

  22. Impractical and unrealistic. Yeah, I could video myself gaining entry into an interior electronically locked closet, inserting a magazine into….whatever weapon and do it semi-efficiently, post the best take on Youtube and make it look plausible.

    The actuality of it, it ain’t going down that way. It’s unrealistic and impractical The fact is, I do home carry and if it isn’t stuffed in my pants, it’s laying right next to me. It’s fully loaded and it’s a Sig, so there’s no external safeties to screw with. The closet does contain a fully loaded AK 47 variant.

    However, I don’t have little ones crawling around. With children in the house, you have to take whatever measures to insure their safety. If someone feels they are in a higher risk category, perhaps better high security doors, lighting and cameras and other counter measures may be an effective deterrent and barrier where instant access to a weapon isn’t critical.

  23. using a ‘finger safe’ seems to be related to either buttons (and a sequence you can remember under duress), or fingerprint recognition (battery failure?). the latter is very problematic for people around 60 and up. fingerprints begin to ‘disappear’ or at least become less defined. government agencies are having problems with fingerprint access to sensitive areas when seniors are involved: capturing the fingerprint is difficult; having readers accurately de-code the prints at access points is not assured.

    rwoao

  24. A S&W Shield fits in any of my quite ordinary pants or jacket pockets, with or w/o holster. The snubby .357 in an OWB holster, either or both carried during all waking hours or within arm’s reach, loaded. In or out of the house, regardless. Larger ordnance when outta the house. Remington 870 with basic mods for standard and preferable home defense.

    The dude in the video woulda been riddled like a Swiss cheese if the perp was in his face like that with weapon drawn, of course. So kinda unrealistic. Ordinary scenarios would be daylight home invasion, doors and/or windows busted open suddenly and perp/s coming at ya; if it’s that big of a surprise and no dogs barking and you not paying much attention while the Patriots cheerleaders are jumping around, then ya better get the handgun working real fast. Or dead of night when you’re out cold, with or without company in yer bed and with or without children down the hall. Takes me a couple of seconds to wake up for a commotion and if I think it’s hostile I can be ready with stuff pretty fast and our bedroom is upstairs, so presumably the bad guys are not rappelling down from a chopper or coming up a ladder and through our windows but busting in downstairs. That should give us time to break out shotguns, etc.

    Our kids are grown and gone so an invading perp has to get through locked doors and ground-floor windows, past a barking mutt, while waking up the whole neighborhood and setting their dogs to barking, too, not to mention the motion-detector floods outside the house. By the time they hit the stairs they will be facing loads of Number Four and other assorted calibers. I don’t envy them here. (behind the ordnance are a nervous wife and a pissed-off ex-grunt, ex-cop with all kinds of weapons and tactics training).

  25. For a lot of people with kids having guns in the home without all the layers of extra security like safes and such is a non-starter. Plus you get all the safety nuts who don’t have any common sense to go with it who will flip out if you don’t tow the line on the gun safe talk. I think most people without very young kids who are gun people probably DO have things as ready to go as you say, but publicly most are still going to squawk about everything being locked up separately and super safe for fear some leftie will get all in a lather and start passing more laws.

    Really, though, I think this is a TERRIBLE time for people to have kids. I’m sorry, I just can’t imagine why anyone would voluntarily bring a child into the world after 9/11 and the banking crisis in 2008. With terrorism becoming a bigger and bigger threat, I just can’t fathom the level of stupid optimism to think any kids you bring here will somehow be protected and shielded from all this. This is becoming a world for fighters, not children.

    • That’s pretty silly. The world is no more or less chaotic and shitty than it was when you were born, or your parents or grandparents were born (and so on, and so on, as far back as you care to speculate). We’re just hyper-aware of every little awful thing that happens, thanks to cable news and the internet. My paternal grandparents raised six children through the Great Depression and the most destructive war in history, and those kids came out just fine. And I’ll tell you, Grandma wasn’t “optimistic”, stupidly or otherwise…

      People have been doing horrible things to each other for as long as there have been people, and will continue to do so until the last two people left alive murder each other.

      I don’t have any kids myself, nor do I wish to. But not because I’m scared they might someday have that one-in-a-million encounter with a terrorist or criminal, though – I just can’t stand the little buggers. Ten minutes around children is about my limit.

  26. I have a few layers,
    Steel door frames, deadbolts on every door with exterior access, motion lights, ADT signs I bought online, and a deadbolt on my bedroom door.
    In the bedroom I have my pembroke welsh corgi, who loudly barks at anything out of the ordinary. I keep my work glock 22 on top of the quick access safe, with my glock 17 inside it for the wife. Under the bed I keep an 870 with 00 buck and a Ruger SR-556.
    My dept has a take home car program so a marked 2010 Dodge Charger sits in my driveway, which I imagine would help to deter the average burglar, though I am considering keeping it in the garage so it is not obvious when I am at work or not. Any thoughts?

    • I would probably not have your car outside. Part of security is people not knowing. With your car gone, people know where you are. With your car inside, people are less likely to know your hours and that in itself is a layer of security.
      I too have 1500 watts of automatic lights in the front, cars in the garage, dogs and a HD color security camera with sound. What I found out, purely be accident, the camera and monitor, which is in my bedroom, have the correct perspective. The dogs look at as if it’s a window and watch the monitor for noise and movement.
      I have a female Staffie that just hangs out in the room and watches the camera and alerts me to anything at all. Naturally she has taught all the other dogs.
      All four watch it, but the one is like a sketch dog and just loves hanging in there watching the monitor. I would think that any dog would do that as long and camera and monitor have the correct perspective. Once they figure it out, it’s a heck of an asset.

  27. An old guy at the range told me once, about the Gunvault handsafe.

    Cool old man: “Why would you ever keep your gun in a safe?”
    Me: “Because I am playing it safe.”
    Cool old man: “That’s not playing it safe, that’s playing it DEAD.”

    I keep my firearm on me now at home.

  28. Watching the video what I saw and heard (in my mind’s-eye) was three flashes and three shots fired from the “target” about one-half second after the guy started fumbling with the box, followed by him crumpling to the floor. His scenario may be workable if you do not have eyes on an armed intruder and about 10 seconds before either has eyes on the other, otherwise it is not a viable strategy IMO unless conditions, as described above, facilitate it.

    Interesting that he did not “time” his response and report it in the video. I make it about 6 seconds from stepping to the box to shots fired by watching the video over. That makes it about 3.5 seconds too risky (allowing 2.5 seconds for the armed perpetrator to conclude he’s going for a gun and shoot his first shot).

  29. I have hand safes one on my side one on my wife’s side. We keep our weapons secure because our daughter sometimes has her friends over after school before we get home. The first thing we do when we get ready for bed is open them and leave them open until we wake up and leave the house. Very easy access.

  30. why would your gun be unloaded in a safe? The whole premise is dumb. If you keep a loaded gun in a safe and have one in every room, you should be able to get it out easily and not have to load it. It’s in a safe, why would it be unloaded? This is just a dumb article.

  31. If you’re sleeping, use a steel box with a push-button lock. If you don’t have time for that, you don’t have time to awaken and you’re lost anyway. If you think you may need it at a moment’s notice when you’re awake, then wear it — even if it’s just a pocket gun.

  32. This is stupidity in spades!

    It took this guy, who is fully awake and NOT laying in bed 6 seconds before he gets off the first shot; add 3-4 more seconds that and you have a plan for failure.

    If your home and are worried then keep the gun loaded and readily available – that way you shave off vital seconds that could save your life.

    I think PDN screwed the pooch on this one.

  33. I have 3 kids 18,15, and 8. Never once have I worried about leaving a 12 guage behind the door, a rifle behind the bathroom door, a pistol on the kitchen counter, or the pistol on my nightstand. My kids have been taught right from wrong and a real firearm from an airsoft gun. My 18 year old has been shootinng since he was 5, my 15 year old shot a gun for her first time ever well besides an airsoft gun, and my 8 year old has never shot a firearm other than an airsoft pistol. I introduce them to the firearms and let them hold them, dry fire and say how neat it is to be holding them…. And then after that the excitement is done. Before my kids bring home new friends I let the parents know what I have unlocked in my home and discuss with everyone the dos and donts….
    It all comes down to 1 thing… EDUCATE

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