A few months ago, I mentioned that I carry in my home just like I carry outside of my home. Yes, I have a quick-access gun safe and I use it at night to store my CCW gun, but day in, day out, I keep my carry gun on me except when I’m wrestling with my sons or some other activity.
Why? Because it’s faster to engage a threat with a gun on my hip or in my pocket is faster than any off-body storage method, that’s why.
I’m not a big fan of leaving loaded guns lying around the house because it’s kinda like leaving the bleach jug in the refrigerator next to the milk jug: Something bad is going to happen, it’s not a question of IF, it’s only a question of WHEN.
So we decided to test things to find out if a gun safe safe is a better alternative to leaving your gun in a nightstand drawer, and the results really surprised us.
A few notes about this test:
- Jaci and Robert are almost identically-skilled as shooters
- They used guns they were familiar with
- Robert was not familiar with how to use that gun safe because we wanted to simulate the stress of figuring out how to open it correctly under stress
- The shots were so close together, the shot timer app on my phone couldn’t tell them apart.
I have two wonderful sons. They’re the reason why I own guns. I know that there won’t be a cop around when I need one, because crooks are really, really good at finding opportunities to attack people when there’s not cops around.
That’s why they’re called “crooks” and not “convicted, locked-up criminals”.
One of my priorities is making sure my kids know that guns are dangerous things and should not be played with. Before I bought my first gun for home defense, I bought and installed a quick-access safe to store it in, and I also ordered the free Eddie The Eagle DVD from the NRA.
Why that DVD? Because it’s excellent, and the NRA is the world’s largest firearms training organization, that’s why. If you have kids, you need to have them watch it, because it works.
How do I know that?
A few months ago, we were cleaning out the trunk of my car, and my sons found a few loose shotgun shells rattling around the trunk. My youngest son immediately stopped what he was doing and asked me what I wanted them to do. He knew to “STOP! – Don’t Touch – Leave the Area- Tell an Adult.” when he saw that ammo because they learned it from the NRA’s DVD.
So you’ve gone out and purchased a gun for home self-defense.
Fantastic. Understanding that you’ll be your own first responder and doing something to protect yourself is the most adult decision you’ll make in your life.
Having a gun in your home is great first step, but a gun isn’t a magical self-defense charm. Owning a gun doesn’t protect you: Owning a gun, knowing how to use it and having it available for use if, God forbid, you need to use it protects you and your loved once. If you keep your gun unloaded and in the box it came in, it’s going to be hard to get out and load if it’s needed. This is why quick-access gun safes have become a popular way to keep a gun safe in the home, and it’s something I use myself in my home to keep my self-defense firearm accessible and secure.
There’s a bunch of people who don’t like this option, though, because they worry about how long it’ll take to access their gun in a safe if they need it, and prefer to keep the gun loaded in a nearby dresser or nightstand drawer. I can understand it, but such concerns leave out an important fact: Things get moved around inside your drawer.
It’s 3:30 in the morning. You’ve heard a noise downstairs. You’re afraid. You want your gun. It’s in your nightstand drawer.
Compare this to a quick-access safe. The gun and only the gun is in it and I know the gun will be there when I need it. No searching, no fumbling around and hoping I don’t grab the trigger by accident, just beepbeepbeepbeep and I’ve got my gun ready to go.
That’s just one of the reasons why I prefer keeping my gun in a quick-access safe rather than an unlocked drawer. These are two more reasons why I use a safe: My sons. They’re great kids and they’ve been through the Eddie The Eagle gun safety program, I know they know how to be safe around guns because I’ve trained them and watched them do it for myself.
However, the consequences of them forgetting to leave a gun alone just once are just too great for me to not lock up my guns. Yes, I trust my sons. Yes, I know they know how to stay safe around guns. No, I am not relying 100% on those two facts: I keep my guns in a locked container because I know where they are and I know they are safe, and I recommend a quick access safe to everyone who has a gun and has kids or is concerned about the safety of their guns in their home.
If you’re one of the thousands and thousands of people who’ve purchased a gun in the last few years and don’t know what to do next, you’re not alone. There are many, many people out there who’ve made the most adult decision they can make in their lives and have chosen to purchase a firearm and become their own first responder.
But owning a gun isn’t enough, because guns aren’t a talisman of self-protection with magical powers of protection. Guns are only as effective as the person behind the trigger. Think about it this way; who would you rather have on your side in a gunfight , Woody Allen with a .44 Magnum, or Chuck Norris all by himself?
I rest my case.
Now that you’ve realized that having a gun your unloaded under your bed isn’t going to keep you safe, what should you do? What should you have in your home besides your gun? Is owning a gun and keeping it unloaded under your bed enough? In a word, no.
My first recommendation is to get some training so you can shorten your learning curve by benefiting from someone’s else’s wisdom.
Secondly, practice, because you’re not going to rise to the occasion if you have to defend your life, you’re going to fall to your lowest level of competence.
Thirdly, I recommend trying out some form of firearms competition, be it a simple weekday steel match or International Defensive Pistol or United States Practical Shooting match. Competition is going to give you stress levels that won’t see anywhere else, and it’s the best test you’ll have to see what you can do with your gun under stressful conditions.
Next week, we’ll talk about ideas about what to have in your home to help keep you safe besides your gun.