A handgun is for fighting your way to your long gun. Nowhere is this more true than at home, at night, with kids. In that horrifying situation, you want to call the cavalry, put the good guys behind you, grab your long gun, assume a defensive position and wait. A bedside handgun is an excellent tool to help make that happen. You can use your free hand to dial 911, grab the kids, open doors, turn on lights, etc. until you can get to your long gun. So where is it? Where is your shotgun or rifle? A lot of people . . .
keep their long gun in a remote location. They put all their faith in their self-defense handgun and store their self-defense rifle or shotgun in a safe in their basement, garage or some other place that would require them to cross into dangerous territory during a home invasion to secure their long gun. That’s hardly ideal. You want that gun but you don’t want to lose sight of your family. Nor do you want to “fight” your way to your long gun. You want it before the fight.
Some people go the other way. They forgo handguns entirely and keep a long gun by their bed. It’s usually either outside of a gun safe (e.g. under the bed) or propped-up in a nearby closet. Best case: they store the shotgun or rifle in a nearby gun safe. Great but, again, a handgun is a gun owner’s best first choice for home defense. So even if a long is nearby and properly secured, you want a handgun, too.
So . . .
Let’s say you grab your handgun, dial 911 and gather the good guys. Then what? Then you have to go back to your shotgun/rifle. Ideally, you take the brood with you, to have them behind you should push come to ballistic shove. Good luck shepherding sleep and/freaked out kids back to your long gun-enabled defensive position in the middle of the night. That plan adds extra time you may not have and strategic complexity you don’t need.
The key question here: where is your “safe room” (i.e. the room where you’re going to assume a defensive position with your long gun)? Wouldn’t it be best for the safe room to be in or near one of the kids’ room? That way you’re looking at a one-way trip. And if the safe room is near the kids, shouldn’t your long gun be there, not in your room?
It should. That room should have a gun safe with your home defense long gun. And maybe that safe should also contain some water, food, a spare telephone, spare ammo, flashlight and ear protection.
Of course, a home defense plan should be tailored to your home’s layout and your family’s age and skill level. For example, one adult might go to the kids, get them all into one room, secure a handgun (that’s stored in a safe there), put the kids behind a bed and assume a defensive position – while another adult goes straight for the long gun and “covers” the stairs/hallway.
My main point: think about where you store your guns as part of your overall home defense plan. Otherwise you’re asking for trouble at a time when you’re going to have all you need. And then some.