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As discussed in a previous article, carrying a gun outside the home is a bit of a PITA. Unless you use the right carry system, it can be physically uncomfortable. Either way, you have to ID and avoid gun-free zones and disarm accordingly. You run the risk of someone glimpsing your gun and “outing” you to friends, family, co-workers, strangers or police. Get over yourself girlfriend! The more law-abiding Americans who carry a gun, the safer they are, the safer we are, and the safer our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. To overcome this reluctance, remember a simple adage: everyday carry starts at home. Here’s why you should carry at home . . .

1. Home is where your family is

According to Smith & Wesson, 60 percent of consumers purchase firearms for “Personal Safety/Protection.” I reckon that stat’s a bit misleading. The vast majority of Americans buy guns out of concern for their family and loved ones. They want a firearm to protect their family from harm, either directly (stopping the threat) or indirectly (helping the gun owner remaining alive to take care of their family’s physical, emotional, spiritual and financial well-being).

Assuming that family safety is Job One, the all-important question becomes how, when and where might a life-threatening attack occur? The obvious answer: no . There is no way of knowing. The uncomfortable truth: family members and loved ones could be outside your care when an attack occurs. They could be with friends, at school, shopping, eating at a restaurant, driving – anywhere. Put that to one side. Where’s the most likely place for a violent attack to occur when you’re with your family?

Again, who knows? You can’t know if, when, where or how s will get real. The easiest way to cover the spread (as it were): carry a gun whenever you’re with your loved ones. At the mall, soccer games, grocery shopping, wherever and whenever you gather. But especially at home – if only for one simple reason. You spend more time with your family at home than you do in any other physical location. So if it’s going to happen someplace where y’all are, the odds are it’ll be at home.

At the same time, home is where your stuff is. Criminals have a real taste for stuff – especially stuff that can be turned into cash. TV’s, cars, jewelry, prescription drugs, artwork, guns – your home is a supermarket for sinister slime balls. It’s also important to note that rapists, stalkers, psycho exes, disgruntled employees and other dangerous enemies know where to find you and your loved ones: at home. This particular danger highlights the need for home carry, rather than just keeping a gun in a safe at home. Remember . . .

2. Things happen fast

Most people who buy a gun for home protection fixate on the bump-in-the-night (BITN) scenario. They imagine themselves awakened at night by a burglar shattering glass or tripping over Fido. Should the gun owner suffer a nighttime home invasion, they believe that they’ll have time – not much but some – to retrieve a gun from a safe, under the bed (a ridiculous place to store a shotgun but thousands do) or nearby night table.

In this they’re not wrong (especially if they have an alarm system). But there’s no guaranteeing a home invasion will occur at night. Professional burglars often strike during the day, ringing the doorbell to make sure residents aren’t at home. So what’s the problem? “Often” does not mean “always.” Most bad guys are not “professional.” They’re vicious bastards who use the same formula we recommend for armed self-defense: speed, surprise and violence of action. They may knock, wait for you to answer the door and suddenly attack or they might just break down your door and attack, period.

If and when bad guys invade your home, they’re not going to give you or your family a heads-up or wait for you to retrieve your firearm. Once it’s started, the attack’s going to happen very quickly and it won’t be pretty. You and/or your loved ones will either be suffering injuries or facing the threat of violence, likely involving a gun, blunt instrument or edged weapon. Chances are your legs will be stuck in proverbial peanut butter and your brain fogged by denial and indecision.

Unless you have your gun on your person, you’ll be playing from deep inside your own end zone. You are not going to win a foot race to your home defense gun. Stashing firearms around the house Conan-style is unsafe and uncertain; you may not even be in your house when an attack occurs. If and when you need your gun, you’re going to need it RIGHT NOW. As in on your hip or in your pocket. There is no substitute.

This goes double for countering rapists, stalkers, psycho exes, disgruntled employees and other dangerous enemies. Not only do they use speed, surprise and violence of action, they plan their attack. They don’t care that the alarm is going off or that the police are coming. They want to do what they want to do and they don’t need much time to do it. Even worse, it’s personal. They will come at you with everything they’ve got, all at once. Unless you react instantly and authoritatively, you will be overwhelmed. And not in a good way.

A long gun ain’t it

Gun gurus like to say that a handgun is for fighting your way to a long gun. Copy that. A handgun – any handgun – is a pretty lousy threat-stopper. Long guns provide significantly more “stopping power” than a handgun. Shotguns, in particular, can be devastatingly effective. Hence the reason so many Americans keep a shotgun for home defense. Yes, but– you shouldn’t skip the first step. Carry a handgun to fight your way to your long gun.

Unless you sling a long gun on your person around the house (even more uncomfortable and inconvenient than it sounds) or leave a few long guns leaning against walls or in closets (not the most secure way to store a firearm), and maybe even if you do [see: below], when the s hits the f you want a handgun on your person. Sure, there are plenty of inspiring examples of home owners retrieving their long gun and repelling home invaders. But the smart money is on gun owners who mount a rapid, handgun-based defense.

A long gun has other disadvantages. For one thing, a long gun requires two hands. During a home defense you want a free hand to call the police, push or pull people to safety, turn on lights, open doors, grab a flashlight, fend off blows, strike your assailant, etc. For another, long guns are long. Training helps, but it’s not easy to negotiate tight spaces or go ’round corners with a long gun barrel proceeding you. And bad guys can grab a long gun’s barrel (corkscrewing your firearm and/or shooting them off is an effective but unreliable response).

A long gun is ideal for protecting a defensive position while waiting for the cops to arrive. That’s an excellent plan for gun owners who have time to respond to a home invasion: gather friendlies, grab a long gun, don ear protection (ideally), call the cops and wait. But there’s a high likelihood you won’t have time. You’ll need to stop or at least delay the threat immediately. You need an immediate remedy. Even if it’s a small pocket pistol, a home carried handgun is the answer to the question “what do I do now”?

People let their hair down and relax at home. And why not? It’s supposed to be a sanctuary. It is a sanctuary. Protect it and those who shelter within it. Home carry people. Home carry.

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  1. First thing beginner should do is go get a REAL gunbelt unlike guy in photo. Also how about dual clip holster.

    • Not particularly situationally-sensitive guidance.

      One important distinction is the sex of the carrier and the types of cloths the carrier wares. I’m a guy and I like carrying a pocket-pistol in my pocket. This allows me the advantage of carrying in the same place both inside and outside my home. Consistency!

      A woman’s life is not nearly so simple. She wears a variety of cloths and one carry solution won’t likely fit all. So, she probably has to figure out a small sub-set of solutions that fits most of her needs.

      I will grant you that a good duty-type holster is probably the best tactical solution for all occasions; and particularly so for women (excluding the PC consideration.) Regardless of clothing, a woman COULD carry and reach her gun in such a holster. Now, reintroduce the PC issue. It’s hard to imagine a women in evening ware OCing in a duty type of holster. Not going to happen in my lifetime.

      Ultimately, nothing stands in the way of a person (man or woman) OCing in a duty holster inside the home. No PC issue. Tactically optimal. Safe from children. For a stay-at-home mom who might spend 12+ hours inside the home (or in her own yard) probably a really good option.

      For the woman, if she can choose just one or two additional carry options that fit her clothing outside the home; that may be the best she can do.

  2. Unfortunately, the NRA magazine always has a collection of true self-defense stories that often say something to the effect of, “She was able to retreat to her bedroom to retrieve a gun,” or “He returned with a 38-caliber handgun and fired at the attacker.” Many people have come to believe that they own a gun and will be safe because of it. It is no matter to them that their revolver is in the dial-lock safe and they can’t quite remember where they put the WalMart bag with that box of ammo.

    • NRA magazines have true stories from local press, criticizing the content is rather unfair. It was also their magazine which brought to my attention the guy who was assaulted by an armed man while he was mowing his lawn, providing his assailant with his final surprise. I mean, home carry is one thing, but lawn mower carry? That one helped move me toward 100% carry, WGAS where?

  3. 642, right front pocket, all day every day, unless something with more capacity is on my hip like my S&W 457 or CZ75 PCR. I promote home carry among all I know. However, I can’t carry at work. 🙁

    • Same for me except my 642 (or occasionally P3AT) is in my front left pocket. I am also unable to carry at work, but carry for self defense at all other times. Occasionally I’ll step up to a double stack 9mm IWB, but usually it is just the pocket gun. A pocket gun on my body at all times is better than a duty type gun there half the time. Light little guns like the 642 and P3AT can even be pocket carried lounging around in pajamas. While sleeping, or in the shower, the pocket gun is always within arms reach. That said, if I ever need to use the pocket gun, I’ll wish I had my Glock 19, AK, or 12 guage instead.

  4. My wife said get a gun. I was like. Naahh. We got little ones. So she bought me one for our anniversary.

    She then said, what good is it sitting in the closet. If someone comes in right now and you don’t have it. So I started home carrying

    She then said, what if something happens while we are out. She bought me a CCW course and now I carry EVERYWHERE. Where I cannot carry i do not go. And they do not get my money.

    • You need 20 more kids, dude! That bride needs to be mass produced. And armed, it’s time to buy HER a gun!

      • You are right! Her good “gun genes” need to be passed on and expanded in the next generation.

      • she has her own Sig. I bought it for her a few years back for Valentines Day. And then we went shooting. It’s become a V-Day tradition now.

    • Dude, your old lady bougjt you a gun and covered your ccw….?

      While my wife understands, and supports- she doesn’t participate.

      Your wifey is a keeper …………

      • In the interest of transparency. my Wife is a stay at home so I technically paid for everything. Except the gun. She sold her wedding ring to surprise me. But she also wanted a new ring which I had to pay for.

        • Haha! She sold the ring and you had to get a new one! 🙂 That’s too funny. She sounds like a great wife though!

  5. This guns for beginners series is pretty helpful. I have been sharing them with a few friends that are just getting started with guns and carrying.

    I have found it pretty easy to drop my edc G26 in my sweatpants pocket pretty easily with no hassle. The holster is very slim and feels almost like just a gun in a pocket

    • I’d go so far as to suggest they put a separate tab for this series on the title bar (where it says “Home About Us…” etc.).

  6. Yep. If you’re attacked outside the house, there might be strangers that could be calling 911 while you’re dealing with the immediate threat.

    If you’re alone and attacked inside, and the bad guy is between you and your defensive weapon, there is no one to hear you scream.

    • Sorry but in our current society the “could be” is just that a could, because their phone would be too occupied with the video camra function as your getting rapped, mugged or murdered.

  7. I carry while awake and have both a pistol AND shotgun in my bedroom. The best rig I could come up with that covers most situations is a crossbreed mini-tuck and a ruger LCP. Use the J clips and the rig disappears. If this is impractical I use a NAA mini-mag in a pocket holster. Like many comments, I don’t go to GFZs and if I must don’t ask don’t tell works.

  8. I like this article and this series. We live in a nice neighborhood, but so what? It isn’t NORAD. Anyone can drive in or walk in, and it’s impossible to vouch for a hundred other families and their guests. I even walk-to-the-mailbox carry.

    That said, these home carry suggestions are all downstream activities, proactive as they may be. Yes, anything can happen, any time, anywhere; an observation I utter at least a couple of times per week, typically in response to an “I can’t believe that happened *there*!” type story. Nevertheless, you have to look first to your risk factors and mitigate them, before deciding upon countermeasures to them.

    For example, where an offender/murder victim relationship is identified, the majority are friend, family member, lover, acquaintance, etc., not strangers. This is especially true for female victims. So look closely at whom you bring into your life and who’s already there. The killer could live down the hall or sleep in your bed.

    A major factor for burglaries is the existence of teenagers living in your home or in the neighborhood. Watch who your kids hang out with and be cautious of who lives near you. Try not to flaunt expensive items.

    And now the biggie: your lifestyle! If you’re living the gangsta life, or even just inhabit its perimeter, such as with your recreational “weekends only” drug use, then you’re at greater risk of property and/or violent crime victimization.

    Home carrying is great and you should, but first things first is reducing your risk up front.

  9. this is one of those things that very few of us do but we all definitely should. after working all day, its hard to make myself put on a pair of shorts/pants that will accommodate a holster properly. i guess alot of us, or maybe just me, have the mindset that the gun/holster is part of my going out attire/routine. but then again i have done the “from entry to weapon and back” test and since my house is small its less that 10 secs. 10 secs is a long time in a fire fight but ya know. i guess these are the things we do to talk our self out of things we KNOW we need to do.

  10. I don’t like wearing pants at home (usually elastic waist sweat-shorts, oh yeah. But they barely hold themselves up, let alone a loaded gun) so I need to figure out something better than just carrying it.

  11. I can’t carry at work either but every morning when I put on my pants, I find an IWB tuckable holster w/ a PT111 G2 attached to it. I have a gun faery it seems.

    • 2AMexican: By the remotest of possibilities, do you know anything about how to get a SEDENA permit to carry?

  12. I do keep my loaded pistol near to me while I am home any time of day. I agree, intruders could get inside anytime and I know several cases when it hapen during day time.

  13. You yanks are crazy! Its a paradox to think that more guns will reduce gun crime. Its a sad state of affairs if you need to carry a gun all the time. But hay, if you want to kill each other, more power to you. We once had a politician that stood up to the gun lobby and created a buyback scheme that reduced our gun related crime substantially. Maybe you guys need to look further afield for political inspiration, as from what I have observed, your politions are too worried about lobby groups and the money they provide.

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