How do you safely stage a gun for immediate access when needed?
If you’re like a lot of us, you probably keep a home defense firearm near your bed, just in case that bump in the night turns out to be a real threat. You likely keep it handy, where you can reach it quickly and easily. But how close should it be to you? And what else should you consider when staging a home defense gun?
The big dilemma is convenience vs. safety. For the sake of simplicity, we’re just talking about handguns in this article. Yes, shotguns and rifles can make excellent home defense weapons, but that is for another time.
However you choose to stage your gun, remember that most likely you will need to get to it in seconds, so it should be nearby and at the ready at a moment’s notice. Gunfights are over and done very quickly. You probably won’t have time to grope around and find your gun, load it, rack the action, find the bad guy, and prepare for the fight. The intruder is probably already inside your home and bent on doing you and your loved ones harm. You’re reacting to the fight that has come to you. Stage your gun the best way for your situation.
One issue when choosing a way to equip your home for self-defense is how many people are at home with you. If you live by yourself, It’s simple. You can stage the gun pretty much anywhere and any way you want since you’re the only one who will likely need or be able to access it. The world is your oyster.
But what if, like so many of us, you have a family, especially one with small children? What do you do when there are other people to consider? This takes a bit more planning because you have to find the balance between quick accessibility and safety. Obviously, you don’t want the kids to have unmonitored access to loaded firearms.
When it comes to bedside storage, there are basically two options: in a locked safe or out in the open. When I say, “out in the open,” I don’t necessarily mean lying on the nightstand but at least somewhere accessible without going through a lock to get to it. An unlocked drawer would be considered out in the open.
If you choose the safer storage in a safe, be sure to choose one that you can access quickly. Several companies such as Liberty and others make single-gun, quick-access safes that stow conveniently either right under the bed or near it and can open instantly with either a 4-digit combo or biometric fingerprint access. If you’re concerned about the battery on a safe like this running dry at the worst time possible, don’t worry; these safes usually offer an audible beep to warn you when the battery is getting low. In-safe storage is preferable if you have small children or other people in the home who need to be kept away from your loaded gun.
However, if you live by yourself or with trustworthy others, staging a gun for even quicker access can be another good option. One hardware option for this is the Bedside Backup, a solid Kydex holster that attaches to a loop-lined board wedged between your mattress and box spring.
What about a gun you stage outside the bedroom? Sometimes folks stage guns throughout the house, hidden in drawers, under tables, even inside specially made secret compartments such as inside paintings and cleverly disguised bookshelves. This is certainly one option. But is it the best option? To stage a handgun outside of your bedroom, follow the same precautions. Do you live alone or with others who can be trusted with a loaded gun? Or do your firearms need to be staged in a locked container?
One option for house-wide hidden staging is specialty furniture and artwork that look like normal home accessories but hold a secret compartment designed to store a gun and accessories at the ready. Often they are accessed via an RFID card or chip that you keep with you or hide somewhere nearby.
I’ve always been a big fan of on-body carry even at home. What if the door bursts open and you’re not standing or sitting right by one of the staged guns? What if the bad guy is now between you and your secret stash? With on-body carry, the gun is always at the ready, with you all the time. Fighting off the intruder is no longer a two-step process: go get the gun and then face the threat. It’s handy, the same way as if you’re out in public and something goes down.
Finally, although it would be great to not have to worry about certain states and cities adding restrictions to our gun rights, if you live in one of those more restrictive areas, you need to know your local laws. Some states or cities might not let you stage a loaded gun outside of a safe. Others have very strict rules about overall gun storage that could affect your ability to keep a gun at the ready. Check to be sure what is allowed where you live.
David Workman is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. As an NRA-certified instructor, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as possible. “Real-life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
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