By Donald Frame
TTAG 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 and 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, I’ve found that home carry really isn’t all that much trouble.
More importantly, 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 who was coming into the neighborhood was suspicious. I can’t tell you why this particular guy raised my Spidey senses as opposed to any of the other legion of workmen who lurk at the gate, waiting for someone like me to let them in, but I decided to follow and keep an eye on him.
That really pissed him 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 glad I was armed. 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 once again. 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 painted on the vehicle. No one in the neighborhood had called for service. I was able to track down a criminal record with a picture of my guy attached that showed felony convictions for simple assault and sexual assault on a child.
On balance, I think he was probably up to no good. I still don’t know what made me follow that guy in particular. I related all this to the police, who dutifully wrote it all down.
The big takeaway from my home carry experience 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 fields. I’m about 60 and a little gimpy.
We live on an acre with a guest house and it’s easy to end up far from convenient firepower. All those guns in the safe only help me if I’m, well, close to the safe. With the safe unlocked. With a suitable gun out of its storage sleeve. And fully loaded. So if you want to be prepared to repel boarders, home carrying is really the only practical alternative.
To wit: last week, I had a guy show up to cut the grass in our yard. He had the wrong yard, but I didn’t realize it. All I knew is that my wife came into my office and let me know there were two dudes out there. Every ER doctor knows that nearly all the mayhem in the world is committed by “two dudes,” and now they were in my driveway.
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 it really was a genuine case of the wrong address, but who knows? It was better to be there with a pistol at hand than not.
That led to a 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 things go sideways, a gun doesn’t mean you’re going to prevail. It doesn’t mean that even if you win, you will not suffer greatly as a result. There are simply no guarantees in this thing.
A normal distance to talk with strangers is just a few feet away. If your stranger suddenly 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 much more to learn. One lesson so far is that the main point of your handgun is having it handy. If it isn’t right there, 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 are no absolutes in this. This is why they say, “be careful out there.” And why I’m glad I now carry at home.