By Donald Frame
RF got my attention regarding the merits of home carry, so I decided to give it a go. I’ve been at it about a month, carrying more than 90% of the time at home. Here are the results so far: carrying at home is not as much of a pain as I had anticipated. Most of my carrying has been with largish pistols in various forms of pocket carry, and it’s not too bad. I’m not worried about printing around the house, so that’s one less concern. I haven’t found a great way to carry in comfortable pre-bedtime wear yet though. And I have no idea how to carry when I am a swimsuit. Maybe I need a P226 Navy Seal version with the waterproof small parts. Then I could lie on the bottom of the pool, securely anchored by the weight of the gun. But overall, home carry isn’t all that much trouble . . .
And enough things have happened around here to emphasize the wisdom of arming up. We’ve had two sort of half-hearted home invasions in my little neighborhood, and not long ago I decided a HVAC guy coming into the neighborhood was suspicious. I decided to follow and photograph. I can’t tell you why this particular guy raised my Spidey senses rather than any of the other legion of workman that lurk at the gate, waiting for someone like me to let them in. But follow I did.
That really pissed this one off though. He came to my passenger window and offered to kick my ass for me, and was generally not friendly. It was bad enough that I was starting to wonder if I would need to shoot the gun that was already in my hand. I drove away and called the number on the van from the safety of my garage, wanting to speak to his employer, but I got the same guy. He offered to kick my ass some more. My inner young man though about inviting him over for a contest, but my inner old man decided that was probably unwise.
Research after the fact turned out no evidence of a HVAC license I could track to the name on the vehicle. No one in the neighborhood had called for service. I was able to track down a criminal record with picture of my guy attached that showed felony convictions for simple assault and sexual assault on a child. On balance, I think he might have been up to no good. I still don’t know what made me follow this guy. I related all this to the police, who dutifully wrote it all down.
The big takeaway from home carry so far: carrying around the house has made me realize how vulnerable I am at any given moment. I’m not 22 any more, strong and mighty from summers in the oil field. I’m about 60 and a little gimpy. We live on an acre with a guest house. It’s easy to end up far from convenient firepower. All those guns in the safe only help me if I’m close to the safe. With the safe unlocked. With a suitable gun out of its storage baggie. And fully loaded. So if you want to be prepared to repel boarders, carrying is the only practical alternative.
To wit: last week, I had a guy show up to cut our yard. He had the wrong yard, but I didn’t realize it. What I knew is that my wife came into my office and let me know there were two dudes in the driveway. Every ER doctor knows that nearly all the mayhem in the world is committed by “two dudes,” and now they were in my driveway.
So I went out into the driveway and visited with dude #1. Between his fractured English and my sickly Spanish, he explained himself and went on his way. I think he really was there by mistake, but who knows? It was better to be there with pistol on body than not.
That led to the second realization: walking out the door to convene with dude #1 made me think. The pistol you carry doesn’t mean you’re safe. If there is a fight, a gun doesn’t mean you’re going to win it. It doesn’t mean that even if you win, you will not suffer greatly as a result. There are no guarantees in this thing.
A normal distance to talk with strangers is just a few feet away. If your stranger turns into your opponent, and he’s good enough to do it without the customary bowing-up grace period of fair warning, you’ve got a real problem on your hands. You might have a real problem even if he does bow up and even if you do immediately get with the program. Guns are great, but they aren’t immunity from danger.
Home carry is working out well so far, though I’m sure there is more to learn. One lesson so far is that the main point of your handgun is having it handy. If it isn’t handy, it isn’t useful. The second lesson is that a continuous level of alertness is required to achieve optimum safety, which is not “safe” in the absolute sense. There is no absolute in this. This is why they say “be careful out there.”