night stand gun
(Dan Z. for TTAG)
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night stand gun
The best nightstand gun is a full-size semi-auto or revolver (Beretta APX and Peltor Tactical 500 headphones, Dan Z. for TTAG)

A “nightstand gun” — the handgun you keep by the bedside for quick access in a bump-in-the-night-scenario — is a niche firearm. While your nightstand gun can be your everyday concealed carry gun as well, it’s best to have something specifically suited to the task (finances allowing). Here are three criteria which should guide your selection.

1. A full-size semi-automatic handgun or revolver

There’s one main reason not to carry a full-size handgun: it’s big. As you don’t have to carry your nightstand gun — again, depending on your financial situation — why not have a full-size pistol by your bed?

Given the dangers of over-penetration (i.e. stray rounds) at home, maximum accuracy is a must. Full-size handguns enable the best possible grip — one of the keys to shooting accuracy. Full-size semi-auto pistols also stow plenty of ammo. While you probably won’t need all of those rounds in a home defense scenario, no one ever ended a gunfight wishing they had less ammo on board.

That raises the thorny question of whether a five, six or seven-shot revolver makes for a suitable choice for that one gun you’ll count on in an emergency.

The overarching concept: have a nightstand gun you can shoot well. Instinctively, even. If that’s a full-size revolver, then good. Just don’t get to thinking you’re going to reload your wheel gun in the dark, under stress, while moving, even if you happen to have a speed loader handy. A man’s got to know his handgun’s limitations.

Your choice of the best nightstand gun will be up to you. While I carry a 1911, I prefer a striker-fired handgun without an external safety for home defense. If ever there’s a time when I’m likely to forget to switch off a safety, the middle of the night under stress is it.

XS Big Dot night sights
Courtesy XS Sights

2. Night sights

Night sights on a bedside gun are a tremendous aid in low or no-light conditions. That’s why your nightstand gun should have them.

A lot of gun owners eschew night sights in favor of a weapon-mounted light. I get it. A WML illuminates the dark while keeping a hand free for opening doors, dialing 911, guiding loved ones and turning on lights. Equally, WMF adherents reckon that their knowledge of their house — in the dark — gives them a strategic advantage.

Clearing a dark house is a technique best left to operators. There are too many ways a solo house clearance can go wrong, especially if there are multiple home invaders. Which is why those operators work in teams.

Turning on your lights in a bump-in-the-night self-defense scenario eliminates the stress and danger of clearing a darkened house. While lights-on signals the bad guy/guys that you’re awake and alert to their presence (and maybe even your location), the info may cause them to retreat, especially if you shout out that you’re armed and the police are on their way.

Will most home invaders retreat when the lights go on and they know they’ve been detected? Who knows? But some will. Remember: a lawful defensive gun use involves an awful lot of paperwork, expense and potential psychological trauma.

Also, unless you’re going to leave the WML switched on — which clearly identifies your exact position — manipulating your light under stress will be difficult. Training in WML room clearing techniques may ameliorate some of these unavoidable challenges. Or it may not.

As for using a handheld flashlight for bump-in-the-night work, again, it’s best to have a spare hand for ancillary tasks.

pistol suppressor silencer
A pistol with a suppressor probably won’t fit in a quick access safe you can keep within arms reach. (Suppressed GLOCK pistol, Jeremy S. for TTAG)

3. Suppressor or active headphones

Guns are REALLY loud. Fire a gun in your house and you will lose at least some hearing, probably permanently. I value my hearing to the point where I’m not willing to sacrifice it if I don’t have to. And I don’t have to.

As you may know, suppressors aren’t necessarily “hearing safe.” But they will reduce your gun’s sonic signature to safer levels. Not only will a suppressor protect most of your precious hearing long-term, they allow you to use your sense of hearing during a gunfight.

Yes, the bad guy may shoot a [very loud] gun. Hopefully, that noise won’t be right by your ears. And if he does, your hearing probably won’t be your biggest concern. Equally hopefully, you’ll be able to shoot the armed bad guy(s) before he or she has a chance to fire. Assuming they’re armed with a gun.

Keeping a pair of active noise cancellation headphones within easy access is a far cheaper and more effective alternative. Not only do they eliminate gunfire entirely, they can amplify your own hearing. You’ll be able to more easily identify the threat’s location.

Of course, you have to keep them next to your gun and remember to put them on. Will you do so under stress? If you don’t like the idea of wearing ear pro when the S hits the F, or worry that you might forget, a suppressor is the better choice.

night stand gun safe
A mechanical or biometric quick access nightstand gun safe (one that will fit in a nightstand drawer) will keep your loaded gun secure from children. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

Oh, and one more thing . . .

A small pistol safe by your bed. If you have children in the house, especially ones who are too young to adhere to the Four Rules of Gun Safety, a handgun safe is a must.

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  1. That’s why I don’t really do the night sights thing: why would I have expensive night sights that allow me to shoot someone I can’t identify? I have a son and even if I didn’t, I’m not pulling the trigger unless I can ID the person. Unless they jump on top of me, at which point, fuck sights.

  2. This painfully obvious article reads just like Harold at Ammoland. You must… you should… of course some may argue…

    Give me a break.

    • Was just talking with one of my LEO friends yesterday, and this very topic came up (what do you carry on duty, what do you carry EDC, what do you have for your nightstand, etc.). He mentioned the same thing I’ve heard others say from time to time…when under stress in an actual firefight, your body adjusts to protect itself, and often minimizes the effects of short-term gunfire. He himself forgot to properly adjust his ear protection before serving a drug warrant, and when he had to discharge his weapon while indoors (only a couple of rounds) to stop a charging pit bull (why is it drug dealers always have pit bulls?), no noticed no effect on his hearing.

      Now, that’s only a couple of muzzle reports from a handgun, and not continuous fire from a MBR, but I think many of us (such as myself) will have a handgun by the nightstand. Those of you who choose an AR or shottie may have different results, lol.

      Mounted weapon light? Check
      Extended mag for plenty of ammo without the need for a second mag? Check
      Electronic ear muffs? Would be nice, but I doubt I’d have the time in an emergency to “gear up” like I do at the range…

      • You are friends with the thugs, who would harm you for exercising your rights. Please never leave California as your cop buddies are who We Americans have the right to use deadly force upon, if they tried to enforce unconstiional laws on us.
        You are the kind of appeaser, who deserves boiling tar and feathers to be used upon.

        • Hey penny,

          There are good cops, and there are “bad” ones. I choose to associate with good, conservative, God-fearing LEOs who side with full constitutional carry by everyone, and detest Sacramento for running our state into the ground. These are my very good friends.

          Likewise, there are good TTAG commenters, and “bad” ones. You are a man-child who barfs out opinions about people you don’t even know. Well done, man-child.

          Your name is appropriate. The oft-used phrase “that’s my two cents’ worth” applies to most people, but since your name (penny) is only half of that, it means you’re a half-wit.

  3. Wow! Was this published early instead of on April 1st? If you can’t find a safety on your pistol, how can you find and properly don your hearing protection? Suppressors greatly increase the chance of a FTE or FTF, and are large and unwieldy for most people. Night sights instead of a weapon mounted light—when you can’t see the target, what are you going to point those glowing sights at? What is the failure rate for pistol safes, how often do they not open when needed? I don’t blame you for not putting your name on this…you do know that lives are at stake here, right? Right?

    • I agree Lew with you.

      Gun Week News once ran a story on how a Cop shot his own son who had come home early from college because he could not see who he was shooting at when using night sights.

      Also using a flashlight mounted on a pistol is pure stupidity as the bad guy will be shooting back at the light. Better to hold the light away from your body.

      • .?????????????????? what have you done with Vlad!

        your post made sense and did not include a 10 page crazed rant on commie ideals?

        the REAL Vlad must be dead!

        Guys we have lost our forum idiot!

      • The son came home from college early because he could not see who he was shooting at when using night sights?

      • Let me guess, hold the light away from your body, in an “FBI technique”? You’re right, best to only use one hand on the pistol, you’ll be better off with your hits. Considering it’s probably 0200, you’re half asleep, and your heart rate is now at 200 and you’ve got tunnel vision.

        You know how to not get shot? Use cover and concealment properly. Judging by your retard post, I’m sure you’re a tactical operator badass. Maybe, just maybe, learn how to use a light in a low light environment properly too.

        You’ve obviously never used a light in a training situation, or god forbid, an actual one. Please, stop spreading internet bullshit, you’ll inevitably get someone killed with your stupidity.

      • Or you can turn the light on when you need it, and keep both hands on your weapon for better control, rather than playing jedi with your flashlight 2ft away from your body while trying to stay on target with your gun.

    • “Suppressors greatly increase the chance of a FTE or FTF, and are large and unwieldy for most people.”


    • After you’ve been here for a while, Lew, you’ll learn that it’s not an encouraging sign when Vlad agrees with you.

    • I shot an AR10 (.308) rifle from a bedroom window once, nothing to it. Of course I lost most of my hearing in the grunts, so the blast wasn’t that bad. What was left of the window screen didn’t agree.

      Not sure what the neighbors were thinking, probably scared the piss out of them.

  4. Good advice! Especially regarding hearing protection. I need to do better in that regard.

    Regarding my bedside gun, I have two:

    A Glock 43, which is also my primary EDC, and which I can shoot well. It has night sights, also. It will be my first grab upon an alert.

    I also keep a Ruger LCP 2 by the bed. That is my pajama gun. When insomnia strikes, and I get up to walk around, the Ruger with pocket holster goes into my cargo pocket (I wear scrubs as pajamas).

    No kiddies in the house, so the guns are in an open drawer on the nightstand.

    As for lights, if I hear something, every light in that area of the house goes on. I know it makes me visible, also, but I want to clearly see my target if I have to shoot. I live in a city with neighbors homes as close as 60 ft. away. Missing my target is not an option.

    • I’m not so sure about hearing protection.

      I mean, I know it’s a good thing…it’s just that I can see so many ways things could go sideways if I’m trying to use it in the middle of the night while I’m groggy *and* experiencing an adrenaline dump.

      At the range, I’ve seen too many otherwise intelligent people try to adjust their ear pro with the same hand that’s holding a loaded gun. Usually they’re noobs, but sometimes not — and *all* of them technically knew the four rules. It’s just the normal kind of temporary cognitive overload that happens when trying to juggle several immediate issues at once.

      That’s why I’m reluctant to even consider hearing protection for a nightstand gun. A negligent discharge while trying to get everything in place during the first confused seconds seems far too likely for my comfort.

      • First of all, practice, practice, practice, no matter what you use!

        Yes, putting on electronic hearing protection is NOT the first thing you would actually do. It is something that you would do if you think you have time, like you hear a bump in the night but your alarm isn’t going off. You do have an alarm, right?

        When putting on electronic hearing protection, put it on tight, switch it on and set it to max. For me, that takes a few seconds. Then take the gun. You can hear MORE with electronic hearing protection.

        Caution: When waking up, do NOT immediately grab your gun. Assess the situation first!

  5. I’m grabbing my AR unless it’s an extremely quick home invasion. WML,red dot & 3X magnifier all set. Round chambered on “safe”. Handgun(s)s are loaded and chambered with safety “on”. I train to flick it off. I have a hand-held light but I’m exploring a WML. I have noise cancelling headphones but need to upgrade. Looking at Walker Razor superslim. Throwing on headphones is a NOT the 1st thing I’ll do. Making sure wife(and sons) are ok IS. Nothing locked up. GTG…my neighborhood is rapidly deteriorating. Woe to those who get through my door…

    • FWW,

      Do you keep your AR by the bed?

      Just wondering. I had considered keeping my Remington 870 by the bed, but was out- voted by my wife. 😉

      • My neighborhood is currently safe, should it become less so I’ll have to choose between the suppressed .300 SBR and the Mossberg with an empty chamber followed by #4. Problem with the SBR is that cops would snag it and I’d never get it back, the Mossy I could replace tomorrow. Still, I guess I’d go with the SBR, since I don’t really plan on needing to use it, or I would move!

        • Need to upgrade options but also have the #4 buck for ground floor and 45-70 for the upstairs (hoping the downward angle of the stairs will minimize neighbor involvement).

        • Billy Bob- A Citizen doesn’t need to carry cheap weapons out of fear that the government will take them. A Citizen buys precision weaponry for if the government tries to take them. A .50 cal rifle would be the key to any lock up facility. If the state tries to harm a Citizen over a spilled thug, then those state agents are legal to have the 2nd Amendment invoked on them from a distance.

      • Behind the bedroom door. My wife of 30 years is totally on board. If she is alone she has a loaded gun with her. And she’ll use it if need be! Oh and to stupid comments about a 3x magnifier shit happens outside too(like on Halloween night!). And to those ignorant folks this magnifier can be flipped out of the way in an instant…duh.

        • Depending on neighborhood (or utter lack thereof on flat ground) distance can be a factor and seeing what is there without having to walk over there is not a bad thing. Not a factor in my area but 2 miles in most directions and houses can get pretty far from the main road let alone other houses.

      • You would be surprised how many people keep an AR by their bed. Pistol is on body or on my desk, AR is by my bed.

        • AR next to my bed, 9 mm M&P Shield in my night stand, wife has a 380 auto pistol in her night stand. My only problem is I sleep through everything…Thunderstorms, kids going to bathroom, my GSD patrolling the house during the night…

  6. No light on that nightstand?

    There’s a 6P LED at all times on my nightstand…

    • Geoff,

      Good point. I have two flashlights on the nightstand, but, in all likelihood I be hitting the toggle switches on the walls if I sense trouble.

      • Likewise, and I have switches which turn on lights in every room. But I would likely carry a flash anyway, turned up to 1100 lumens, I don’t think anyone could aim a gun at that light, it is blinding at 300 lumens. You can’t look at it while standing in full sunlight. It has a strobe setting but I doubt I could get it running in a crisis.

      • LifeSavor,

        Me too. I have hand-held in case I need to simply use a light to investigate a non-emergency, as well as a mounted light on my gun. The mount is set at 400 lumens so I can properly illuminate what’s in front of my indoors but not blind myself in the process.

        Remember, everyone…aggressive D.A.s just love to nitpick and get convictions wherever they can, even against you if possible. I know…I’ve dealt with D.A.s twice, and they were both horrible people. Any D.A. worth his/her salt will ask if you were able to effectively deal with the threat from your point of view. Could you see properly (did you blind yourself with a super high lumens setting)? Were you under the influence (did you have some beers that evening before going to bed, or are you on medications? And so forth.

  7. Does anyone make a set of noise cancelling headphones that have a movement sensor turn on/activate feature?

        • How eloquent!

          If it takes about 5 seconds to put them on, then it takes about 1 out of those 5 seconds to switch them on and put them on maximum amplification. If you have time to put your range headset on, you have time to switch it on!

          You can buy a high-quality electronic hearing protection head set without motion activation or search for a unicorn to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

    • Castle doctrine or not I’m sure there is more than one ambitious prosecutor out there willing to say, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury even though we have Castle Doctrine and the defendant has a legal right to defend (pronoun of choice)-self, but the defendant found more than enough time to put on and turn on the hearing protection. In this same amount of time any reasonable person would have been able retreat to safety and avoided shooting the upstanding citizen who only entered the home seeking to attain more equal socioeconomic standing. And do not forget that the pause to put on hearing protection makes this a premeditated offense.”

      • One has nothing to do with the other! In duty to retreat states, there is a duty to retreat no matter if you wear hearing protection or not. In castle doctrine states, there is not. If there is any issue with an aggressive prosecutor going after you in a castle doctrine state for wearing hearing protection, then you have a shitty lawyer or no lawyer at all! Plan ahead! What’s next, getting prosecuted for being able to put your pants on in a home invasion?

        • You can have the best lawyer(s) [emphasis on the “s”] money can buy but it is unlikely they will be able to prohibit the prosecutors from raising such an argument at trial much less during closing arguments. Ask any lawyer with self defense trial experience. Especially in Blue or Purple states like Florida. And in these states Castle Doctrine is misrepresented by the press and misinterpreted by the people likely to end up sitting on your jury. Your appeals court will likely rule against you as well, “the Court did not err as self defense instructions were provided to the jury. “

          • You clearly have never talked to a lawyer. I have mine on speed dial and he says you are full of it. Your argument does not make any legal sense!

            A court room works on how the law is written and not how the press or politicians see it. By your argument, any preparation would count as premeditation, like putting on glasses or pants, taking the gun out of a quick access gun safe, or grabbing a flashlight. It completely ignores the legal parameters of self defense. Even if wearing hearing protection is raised in a trial (just like using JHP rounds was raised in the Zimmerman trial), there will be expert testimony by law enforcement officers stating that this is exactly what they do. That’s what a good lawyer buys you!!!

            By the way, you are talking about a trial here. You need to get charged to be tried. The charging document needs to include the crime and the evidence. If you are getting charged in the first place, that is already a problem, because there needs to be evidence of a crime. It also means that your legal costs just jumped from a few thousands to at least several tens of thousands. If the only evidence is that you did wear hearing protection, the judge will throw the case out immediately due to lack of evidence of a crime.

        • Charlie is correct, and Hannibal’s full of it.

          You cannot retreat any further than your own bedroom. If the intruder enters your bedroom in the middle of the night, any reasonable person would expect the threat of imminent harm. If you’re out patrolling your property, this might be a conversation. But if you’re within your own home, you’re already in the place of “full retreat”.

      • 1000% correct. Prosecutor will have a field day with the “defensive” shooter that had both the time and presence of mind to competently Use hearing protection. Good luck with that.

        • I guess we need to make sure that we don’t get dressed or wear glasses either in a home defense scenario. It could be considered premeditation. Is getting your family to a safe room also now considered premeditation? How about calling 911? LOL

        • Good luck getting on your noise cancelling headphones, and better luck explaining it to the police and then possibly the prosecution. Some states this might work, and that’s a big might, and in other states this is terrible advice.

        • TonyL, it takes a few seconds to get them on. If I don’t have those few seconds, I have bigger problems (because someone kicked in my door or a window and the 130dB alarm went off). Also, several officers from my PD have electronic hearing protection next to their bed themselves! How do I know? We were in the same training class, the instructor recommended it and we discussed it. Next, you will tell me that it is a bad advice to put on body armor. LOL.

          I took a hiatus from commenting on TTAG, because often the discussions here are by people with zero experience and knowledge, similar to typical discussions at the gun shop counter. You guys certainly don’t disappoint in that respect!

        • Charlie, newsflash, police using them is one thing, the public using them another thing altogether. Please tell me you are not this stupid. If you are even telling the truth.

        • Maybe in your mind Haz. In the real world I hope people are not foolish enough to take some of the advice they read in this forum.

        • TonyL, I have trained by and with current and former police officers. If I ever get charged and tried in court in a defensive shooting, they will be expert witnesses on my side.

          You are clearly completely uninformed about the legal aspects of self defense using lethal force. Massad Ayoob himself has electronic hearing protection at his bedside:

        • @Charlie- You are correct on this, I stand corrected. Thanks for motivating me to research it, which I should have done before posting my opinion on it. Actually glad you are correct also.

    • “Does anyone make a set of noise cancelling headphones that have a movement sensor turn on/activate feature?”

      Those do exist, but I cannot tell you which ones. Usually flexing the headband when putting them on turns them on…

  8. Since I live alone, no need for a gun safe for my nightstand weapon, which is my daily carry. It has night sights on it and also beside me is a Surefire flashlight. Also sleeping near me or in some cases on me are four dogs and they can hear a mouse fart which provides me a HUGE tactical advantage in having advance warning of any danger when I’m sound asleep and even when I’m not. When the enemy loses the element of surprise, they have lost the battle.

  9. Okay, my nightstand gun is a Glock 22 with Hinie straight eight night sights and a Streamlight rail light. And a Surfire handheld. Deployed them a couple of times. Used the Surefire to check John and Katherine’s bedroom. Then dopped it. Didn’t want to muzzle my children. Anyway full size pistols, night sights, weapons mounted lights and held hand lights. No thanks to the muffs. Too much time to put on. Besides, I’ve shot inside before. Your ears only ring for a little while.

    • Gadsden Flag,

      Besides, I’ve shot inside before. Your ears only ring for a little while.

      (yelling) WHAT?!?!? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

      Just kidding.

      Active/electronic ear protection provides a significant two-fold advantage IF you have time to put them on:
      (1) You will be able to hear what your attackers are doing before AND AFTER you shoot. (And they probably won’t be able to hear each other or what you are doing after you shoot.)
      (2) You will be able to hear commands from police once they show up.

      The advantage of number (2) is extremely important: failing to hear and obey police commands of police responding to a “home-invasion and shots fired” scenario could easily result in your untimely and unnecessary demise.

      Of course fooling around with hearing protection for 30 seconds could also cause your untimely and unnecessary demise. As you I and both hinted: only attempt to put on active/electronic hearing protection if time allows.

      • Uncommon, I was the police. You can hear verbal commands after gunshots on either side of the muzzle. Just listen. To think you go deaf after a gunshot inside, especially a pistol shot, is just plain stupid.

        • No, you don’t go deaf, but you do lose hearing permanently. Hearing loss is cumulative. You never “regrow” lost hearing. Ever. Protect it as best you can. Anyone who is routinely shooting without hearing protection is an idiot.

        • Boogaloo. I know that. I’ve been a firearms instructor since around 1989. Shooting since around 1965. A round or two without hearing protection doesn’t really hurt anything. Probably did more damage when I saw Led Zepplin in concert. Or any other number of bands like Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mack, Blue Oyster Cult, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson…. Need I go on?

        • The permanent hearing damage and tinnitus I have from one shot from a 45 indoors disagrees with you.

        • Gadsden Flag, do you have a degree as an otolaryngologist or as an audiologist? If not you should probably refrain from giving anyone advice on what will or will not damage your hearing as it is different for every individual. My hearing is already compromised and I can’t afford to make it worse. My pistol and electronic muffs lay side by side on the night stand. By the way tinnitus sucks.

        • @Boogaloo,

          Re-read what you just wrote. You (correctly) stated that hearing loss is cumulative and often permanent, and that routine exposure to gunfire without protection will be harmful. But we’re not talking about that…we’re talking about a defensive situation in which perhaps two rounds might be fired.

          Don’t know how you can conflate the two and then call everyone else morons.

        • “A round or two does not hurt anything”

          Yes they do.

          Stop writing stupid things. Your NRA credential does not impress me.

        • Booger,

          I’m not part of the NRA, so big fail on your part for making assumptions.

          If you take off your “stupid” glasses, you won’t see only “stupid” comments here. Firing a round at the range, and firing a round under extreme duress and focus in an emergency, are not the same at all.

        • Any discharge of a firearm without ear pro will cause permanent hearing loss. Plus, active hearing protection helps you hear better. Well eoth putting it on.

        • Again, you’re taking good advice and truths related to one (common) thing, and trying to apply them to another (very rare) thing. You’re chasing your own tail.

        • Hey “Haz” … no, I’m correcting factual errors being asserted by the “firearms instructor” claiming one or two rounds aren’t going to hurt anything. Yes, they will destroy hearing, each time. If you do not have time to grab active hearing protection, fine, worth the risk, I agree, but trying to say stupid things to defend not using ear pro is … just stupid.

        • Booger,

          Scroll way up to the top of this entire comment section to see my first one. Then, after reading all my other ones along the way down, tell me (1) where I ever claimed to be a firearms instructor and (2) where I ever said hearing loss is not important, or that a couple of rounds will not do it.

          What I very clearly said is that sometimes a person’s body will go into a hyper-focused mode in an emergency, whereupon many people have reported that a couple of muzzle reports have not affected them the way they normally would.

        • I Haz a Question,

          Boogaloo was responding to Gadsden Flag’s comment that Gadsden Flag was/is a firearms instructor and Gadsden Flag’s comment that one or two shots inside will not significantly impact your hearing.

        • Gadsden Flag,

          I am not claiming one shot from a typical handgun inside your home will make you temporarily deaf.

          What I am claiming is that several shots from a typical handgun in your home — or possibly even just one shot from a rifle or shotgun inside your home — will cause nearly total temporary hearing loss and quite possibly significant permanent hearing loss.

          I do NOT want significant — or worse near total — temporary hearing loss when defending myself as that puts me at a significant tactical disadvantage. While I could still probably hear commands from police that were standing right next to me, I doubt that I would hear anything from police who were yelling commands from outside my home — or possibly even inside my home if they were on a different floor or on the same floor and behind a closed door. And if I am not able to hear police commands, that could result in my shocked/surprised response when I suddenly see them which could trigger (no pun intended) them to shoot me. No thank you.

          I base my comments on hearing loss on personal experience as well as other people’s experience. One time I was deer hunting up in a tree facing a clearing. I took just two shots in quick succession out of a .357 Magnum revolver with four-inch barrel and stout loads and I was significantly hearing impaired for several hours. And I was wearing two thick winter hats over my ears which definitely reduced the sound level. If I had shot in a hallway or bedroom, my temporary hearing loss would have been much greater. And if I ended up having to shoot four times in a hallway or bedroom, I honestly wonder if I would have been almost totally deaf temporarily. And my experience seems to mirror other people’s experience. Plus, my experience was just a Magnum revolver facing a clearing without anything to reflect sound back to me. For obvious reasons, multiple shots from a shotgun or AR-15 rifle inside a hallway would be significantly louder and therefore cause even greater temporary hearing loss.

          Thus, if I can spare an extra six seconds to turn on active/electronic hearing protection and put it on my head, I am going to do it every time.

        • neiowa,

          I think your suggestion is outstanding. I am going to think about that at length. For what it is worth, I already have an exceedingly simple and exceedingly robust idea to implement that function. I want to “sleep on it” and make my implementation is truly the right way to do this.

          For what are hopefully obvious reasons, I am not going to disclose my implementation idea on this open forum.

          If you would like to stay in the loop, I can provide my personal e-mail address to you. Let me know one way or the other.

    • If your ears are ringing you’ve done permanent damage. It’s that simple. The only question is how bad it is.

      OTOH, if you did have to fire then the alternative to ringing ears was probably many fold worse than a bit of hearing loss or tinnitus.

      If you have time to put on earpro, which you may or may not, you should put it on. If it’s sitting next to your gun the opportunity is there should the situation arise and you’ve got the time to put it on. If you don’t have time then just leave it there.

      Personally I prefer a suppressor but that comes with the issue of eyepro because suppressed pistols will throw significant crap back in your face sometimes.

    • My two dogs passed this year. My new dog Moe Walker, or Ranger Moe, is a a failure as a watch dog. He barely moves if anybody other than me comes in.

        • Dogs that will take on a bear will be more than adequate to take on a human — or a large protection dog.

          Coonhounds may act like goofballs but when things get serious they are ferocious.

          “It’s not the dog in the fight. It’s the fight in the dogl”

  10. Since my everyday carry gun is a full-size semi-auto pistol with 15-round magazine (Smith and Wesson M&P 40), it doubles as my “bump-in-the-night” gun. And it turns out to be just about perfect for the bump-in-the-night role since it has no external manual safety to forget about operating in an emergency situation.

    The beauty of that arrangement:
    (1) My everyday carry and bump-in-the-night handgun is a full-size semi-auto handgun with 15-round magazine and no external manual safety.
    (2) I don’t have to train on two different platforms for every day carry and bump-in-the-night.

    Now, if there is a definite “crash in the middle of the night” (indicating near 100% probability of a home-invasion), then I am going straight for the 20-gauge shotgun in my bedroom.

    I do keep active/electronic hearing protectors in my bedroom along with a flashlight.

    I do not need tritium night sights to put accurate rounds on target at the possible engagement distances in my home: I doubt I would ever be shooting more than about 20 feet. And within 20 feet, I don’t use sights on my handgun — I just do instinctive point-shooting with astounding accuracy.

      • Boogaloo,

        Yes, I am serious about that. I created my own “shoot, don’t-shoot” course with both “friendly” and “bad guy” life-size human analog targets. Several times I engaged the course with targets about 25 feet away (on average) while moving-and-shooting (and using instinctive “point-shooting”), and my worst hit rate on “bad guy” targets was 14 out of 16 shots fired and no serious wounds on “friendlies”.

        With respect to any bad actors who invade my home with violent intentions, the oft-repeated statement of the 1980s television actor Mr. T fits nicely, “I pity the fool!”

      • Boogaloo,

        Oh, you might find this amusing. Someone recently invited me to shoot at a charity event at a gun range. One of the stations had five circular steel targets, 6-inch diameter, spaced about 2 feet apart and 21 feet away. The objective was to shoot all five targets as fast as possible — and you were only allowed to load six cartridges in your handgun. (That means you could only have one miss or else you would run out of ammunition before hitting all the targets.)

        I have never shot at any sort of target arrangement like that before. And I brought a full-size 9mm semi-auto handgun that I have never shot before. Nevertheless, I shot all five targets in 6 seconds which was the fastest time in my group.

        Translated to the real world, if five human attackers were lined up shoulder-to-shoulder 21 feet away in front of me, I would have put head shots on all of them in six seconds.

        The scary part: one or two people who practice a lot at that particular station shot all five targets in something like two seconds!

        By the way I honestly don’t know how I did it. I just point and shoot with minimal (if any) attention to the sights. I guess I just know where my handgun is pointed without using the sights. It is probably like hitting a baseball with a bat. You don’t slowly track the ball with your eyes all the way to the bat. You see the ball coming and you just swing. And quite often, you hit the ball.

    • Uncommon, instinctive? The birds fly south because of instinct. Salmon swim up rivers because of instinct. Humans haven’t been shooting handguns long enough for it to be instinct. It’s a learned behavior and a diminishing skill. Practice often.

      • Gadsden Flag,

        When I say, “instinctive point-shooting”, I am referring to the fact that I just point my handgun at my target and shoot without any noticeable effort to visualize the sights nor line them up with the target at close ranges. This enables me to draw and shoot really fast — and continue shooting really fast.

        Everyone can “instinctive point-shoot” accurately at a close target. The only question is at what range a target is no longer “close” and the shooter can no longer reliably put accurate shots on target. For some people, that might be five feet. For others, that might be 15 feet. For me, it seems to be out to at least 30 feet.

        By the way the context of accuracy in point-shooting is what I call “combat accuracy”. That simply means being able to hit a human torso — anywhere in the torso. If I needed to put a shot into a 3-inch circle at 30 feet, I would need to slow down significantly and carefully aim with the sights. Typically that level of accuracy is not necessary in a street mugging or home invasion. Thus the term “combat accuracy”.

        • Uncommon, my reference was to “instinctive” shooting. There isn’t any such thing. There is point shooting. It’s a learned thing. Nothing instinctive about it. And unless it’s contact distance it’s mostly bullshit. Look at your front sight.

      • We have been holding tools in our hands ever since we had hands, and a pistol is a tool that is specifically made to be held in the hand, so pointing one at a target definitely qualifies as instinctive.

        The real difference is in how good you are at it; some are obviously much better than others.

      • Actually birds fly south or north, east or west because of food supply and nesting habitat.

        • @strych9,

          I chuckled out loud at that. You, sir, earned my thumbs-up for the day.

          Hey Possum, I had to chase off one of your friends last night. Stupid raccoon was in my yard tearing up my lawn grass, and I chased it off. Next time I’ll have my .22 at the ready, so tell your friends to stay away if they want to keep breathing the nighttime air.

        • “Possums fly in whatever direction my catapult or trebuchet is pointed.”

          I haven’t had a laugh that good in a *long* time… 😉

  11. ‘That raises the thorny question of whether a five, six or seven-shot revolver makes for a suitable choice for that one gun you’ll count on in an emergency.’

    Who says you have to keep just one gun in your bedroom?

    • Every Western shows them carrying two revolvers and Calvary issued three wheel guns (so I learned on Forgotten Weapons). Those 15-21 rounds, are in the same range as any standard full sized (and even my micro compact) semiautomatic pistol capacity.

      • Of course the cowboys in most of the westerns benefited from the rare, Hollywood exclusive 16 chamber SAA revolver.

        The cavalry also carried sabres.

        • Governor,

          The cavalry also carried sabres.

          The beauty of a sabre is that you never run out of “ammunition”.

          And even if your sabre’s blade becomes dull, it still makes one heck of a bludgeon.

  12. My bedside firearm progression (or, how I continue to increase my collection!):

    1992: Convinced wife that we NEEDED a pistol for quick access and ease of maneuvering in the home. Got “permission” to acquire my Beretta 92.

    2010: Learned that a shotgun for HD is 100x’s moar better than a measly ol’ pistol. Convinced the wife and bought a Mossberg 930 that ran beautifully… until I started modding it.

    2016: Found out that a shotgun is overrated and overpowered for HD. What’s better? Why that sweet Ruger AR on sale for just under $500. More firepower and less recoil? Yes, please! Convinced the wife that “we” couldn’t afford NOT to buy it.

    2019: Told the wife that all previous HD purchases were the folly of a naive fool and that, as a mature and discerning middle-aged gentleman, my meticulous and logic based research has led me to hypothesize that, at this time, “our” best option is an AR type 9mm. Of course, this came with the caveat that the research is ongoing, but that right now I NEEDed an Extar EP9…

    2020+: TBD

    • Send TTAG a review of the Extar. Please.

      I’m interested in getting one as a fun/truck gun over a Sub 2000.

      Everything I have seen has been posititive.

      • Hmmm. Will definitely consider doing so… after I finish up my seemingly never-ending motorcycle valve adjustment. Parts all over my garage for the last 3 weeks and the further I get, the more parts I need to order…

    • I think the pistol is best. You can keep it tight to your body, low profile, and its usable by anyone in the family. Glock 19, pick it up and pull the trigger, it just works and there is no learning curve to it.

  13. Grip is one of the *keys* to accuracy? Nope. The key to accuracy is accurate sight picture and good trigger press. You can hold a handgun upside down and shoot it accurately as long as you have a good trigger press and sight picture.

    Reason to use full size handgun? Maximum ammo capacity. Period.

    Earphones? Seriously? No, it’s hear protection or “ear pro” for short and yes if you can, using active hearing protection is fantastic.

    Weapon mounted lights? People use them like flashlights, and sometimes you have to, but you can keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction and light up a room simply from the spill in your typical room sized situation. “Light down, eyes up” so you don’t blind yourself, as can easily happen with the high lumen lights typical. When the time to shoot comes, then light up and on, not until.

    Cell phone/phone: Have it handy or on your person so you can call 911 ASAP. Best course of action if you think there is an intruder it is best to have a prearranged safe place for the family to go, barricade yourself in the room, call 911 and wait for the cavalry to arrive, if you have to shoot, place yourself in a place where the moment the bad guys clear the door frame, you have him.

  14. My “nightstand gun” is 12 gauge pump in cruiser ready condition loaded with 00 buck, and a .38 Spl revolver, and a tactical tomahawk that even scares the cr@p out of me.

    I’m a light sleeper, but I’d like a couple of mini-Claymores for just in case.

    • Plus if you keep it cruiser ready you have to rack a round into the chamber and everyone knows that simply the sound of that happening will scare bad guys away. 🙂

    • Ralph
      I can still remember how to make field expedient claymores but you would need about 150 to 200 feet of lounge room.

      Have you considered some old fashioned animal traps instead? Much quieter except for intruders screaming.

    • Naw, I keep it simple. I’m sure the sight of me running out of my bedroom half naked, screaming and swinging a sharp broadsword over my head might deter a few. For the rest, whatever was taken out of the safe that night (don’t play favorites). Unless I’m in a really frisky mood and come out naked and screaming with a Soviet SKS and bayonet extended. That sight would even scare me.

      • “It was the damned thing Tom, not only did he get two bad guys but he shot every mirror in the house too!”

      • ” Unless I’m in a really frisky mood and come out naked and screaming with a Soviet SKS and bayonet extended.”

        The SKS is for the teenage kids, and the Mosin is for dad… 🙂

  15. Must-haves for a nightstand gun?

    1. A nightstand,
    2. A gun, and
    3. Bullets. Preferably properly loaded into the gun

    Everything else in the article is an option, albeit I do agree with them.

  16. For the knowledgeable commenters; after one shot, are your eyes able to see night sights? It seems clear that night sights are a big advantage up to at least the first shot. I am able see night sights after turning a flashlight on/off.

  17. Why would you want a pistol instead of a long gun with a red dot and a mounted light? When it comes to accuracy, three points of contact beats the snot out of pistol accuracy all day long. A pistol’s main purpose is so you can fight your way back your rifle. Your bed in your own home ought to be a place you don’t have to fight back to.

    • I think you have been reading too many fairy tales on the Internet. A pistol is an excellent weapon in the confined spaces of a typical residential house, loaded with JHP and you have much less chance of over penetration as well. Unless you are routinely participating in HVT missions with the SEALs, you are fooling yourself if you think a rifle is going to be that much of an advantage. Plus, you increase the risk of blowing holes not through your own hours but your neighbor’s house.

      • I’ve seen numerous tests of drywall penetration. All of them penetrate a lot. Yes, ALL of them. Ironically.223 penetrates slightly less than 9mm (maybe 1 layer less) because it destabilizes easily.

        You should try measuring how far in front of you the end of your pistol muzzle is at full extension. Then do the same with a standard 16” rifle. You will be surprised.

        I believe guys I know have used both kinds of firearms within a building when it really mattered over some random commenter on the internet.

        • The real issue is being able to handle the weapon in a confined space. You just can’t do that with a full sized carbine in all cases. It’s very dependent on your specific location but many houses have places where one would be required by the building to transition to a handgun in order to properly move through an area.

          Narrow hallways or certain doorway designs, especially in older houses, give a huge advantage to a pistol or a subgun sized weapon because they basically can’t be dealt with by a carbine sized long gun.

        • ARs are great for HD as long as you have the room to maneuver as strych9 said. I have a very open floor plan, so it’s great for me. #4 buckshot also works well and doesn’t over penetrate.

        • A short(ish) rifle, like an AR, is an excellent home defense weapon but one big advantage to a pistol is the ability to fire accurately one handed. Also, a pistol can be fired from extremely close range (ie close grappling distance) where a rifle requires a certain amount of distance to get the muzzle on target.
          In a home invasion there’s no guarantee that you’ll be the one who gets the jump on the badguy or that he’s not gonna charge you. A reasonably fit intruder can close the distance of an average room in no time at all!

    • My AK is too long to move…effectively…between my doorways. My Glock 19 is my home defense weapon.

    • Hi point 9mm carbine with wml. Because the wife hates to practice and that carbine is the best way to get accuracy and follow-up controllability. Plus, it’s relatively cheap so if the cops have to keep it after a DGU, I won’t feel so bad about it.
      We used to have an M1 carbine with soft points ( because the wife liked the lack of recoil) but because it was an original Inland, I decided to retire it. Also didn’t like the idea that the cops might hang on to it for too long in case of a DGU.

  18. I love the argument that pistol mounted lights for HD create.

    “You should put a WML on your AR because you gotta be able to see”

    *crowd nods in agreement*

    “You should put a WML on your pistol so it’s all in a handy package and you gotta be able to see”

    *ThE bAd guYz wiLl sHoOtz dA liGhtz!*

    Ugh. *facepalm*

  19. I have a Ruger LCR 38+P with a laser max. It is loud because of the 2 inch barrel, but IDK. It is sighted for 30 feet, which is more than enough for my house. The ammo is Federal 129 gr Hydra Shok and the flashlight is a small Bushnell LED. The intruder will get a warning with the laser pointed at them and that is all.

    • You are aware, because of dust suspended in the air of every home, that lasers work both ways?

      I’d rather not advertise to the bad guy exactly where the gun is…

      • Why are you turning the laser on when you’re not on or close to on target in the first place? This is the same question with a light.

        There are known best-practices for these things, running around with them just “on” isn’t one of them unless you’re running IR and NODs. The on/off switch is there for a reason.

  20. I don’t sleep, I take breaks. I have a pretty long driveway, and a good rifle with a good scope. Folks know anyone who walks one step pass the gate is in my scope. I am ready, 24/7.

  21. If I must grab the gun and shoot in a SD/HD situation, screw my hears, last of my concern. No time for the hearing protection b.s, and I don’t care for suppressors either.

  22. I’ve been attacked while sleeping. The fellow had his hands around my throat choking away. I acquired the .44 SBH with a 10 inch barrel from the headboard, tried to put the barrel under his chin and pull the trigger, no luck with that, so I whacked him upside the head with the barrel, stunned him enough to get out from underneath the covers. We went hand to hand for a bit and thank goodness I didn’t have to shoot. I’ve got a 1911 up there now, and a knife.

  23. When my home is invaded, it is a few times a month, I pop smoke, grab my AR with IR, throw on my NODs, and get down to business. I generally empty a mag into the bad guy, then knife him, just to be sure. Sure, it’s messy, but I have plastic sheeting everywhere to make clean up easy.

  24. WHOA!!! Where tf do all of you with multiple firearms next to your bed? Some of ya sound like you even have one in bed with you! How much crime is going on in your neighborhood? Y’all are scary! WAYYY more scary than any criminal that I have ever encountered. As a former youth authority outreach counsellor I have had the opportunity to speak with many. How many of you are involved with your community? And you still feel a need to be so heavily armed? Most areas of the U.S. have crime rates that are declining(check the actual statistics with your local law enforcement, not online blogs or t.v. news).
    Seriously though, reading these comments is scary and weird. I’m wondering what the driver(s) is/are for all of this preparation to shoot someone that will probably (hopefully) never happen.

  25. Don’t forget to keep the batteries fresh in those headphones.

    And where’s “flashlight” on the list?

    I’m definitely not a tacticool operator carrying a flashlight on a daily basis (other than my phone, which puts out 60 lumens) because I’m not planning to bust open doors and clear houses in my day to day business.

    But a flashlight in the middle of the night, particularly if you’ve got power loss, is helpful to know what you’re pointing your gun at.

  26. Any firearm is better than wishing and hoping that nothing happens. Same reason I have a fire extinguisher, because you never know when bad things are going to happen. It’s about being a responsible citizen.
    A home defense weapon should be a gun you practice and are proficient with. A nightstand handgun is a good start, I also have a compact youth Remington pump 870 20 gauge In the far corner of the bedroom. This is a short easy handling shotgun. Any intruder at 0200 hours will be quite aware of the international auditory signature of a pump shotgun being racked. This sound in a universal exit instruction. My nightstand gun is a P7M8, even if a intruder should get ahold of it, most will not know how to operate the safety giving my time to get to the P7M10 on the other side of the bed before making a lunge for the 870. The 870 is in my last retreat position.

    • This has to be one of the weirdest flex’s I have ever seen. Dump the shotgun wracking for home defense plan and buy an AR with a light and red dot and set yourself up 100 X better to defend yourself.

  27. @Wally1:
    Ok, before my rant, love the P7M8. Carried one for over 20 years. Love that gun. There is a lot of junk info people still believe about this pistol even now, such as your assertion. I am not picking on you, so take the following rant with a grain of salt.

    The P7M8 has no safety. It has a grip activated cocking mechanism. You CAN’T fail to figure it out. There is nothing to figure out. P7M8 was designed to be a LE pistol with safe carry, simple function and rapid deployment in mind.

    All you do is pick the pistol up and hold it like any other gun. HK did that on purpose. They designed a pistol that was completely inert until it was accessed, at which point it was ready to go. Unlike many modern striker fired pistols who use a trigger safety (or whatever it is called), it is impossible for something to depress the trigger and have an ND without the squeeze mechanism engaged as well.

    Especially in this day and age, where so many pistols are made to shoot simply by picking them up and pulling the trigger (Glock, and everyone else make them), can anyone really buy into the ‘pick up and not figure it out’ BS?

  28. Let’s see here …
    Talks about carrying a 1911 but has a striker gun because he is worried about “finding the safety”

    Advocates night sights but downplayed (almost decried) the use of a WML

    Talks about getting training that may or may not work in helping you learn to use the light

    Says to buy a suppressor but doesn’t buy one and instead uses basic electronic ear pro

    Fuddtastic article, and what I am growing to expect from ttag in general.

  29. My nightstand gun is a Judge Revolver. Load with 000 buckshot. I will check the electronic ear pro idea.

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