How to Properly Store a Gun for Home Defense
One subject that often gets overlooked in the discussion of home defense is the issue of storage. When thinking about home defense, the majority of focus is on which weapons and ammo to buy and what our strategy is if someone were to attack. But how exactly should you store your home defense gun? It isn't the same as storing the guns you only use at the range; this is a gun you plan to use to defend yourself should the need arise. Read on for tips on how to safely store your home defense gun in a place that is secure, but accessible when you need it.
Seemingly Common-Sense Storage Suggestions That Aren't Actually Great Ideas
Inevitably, some people will suggest that you keep your home defense weapon on you or with you at all times. For most people, this simple isn't possible, let alone practical.
Also, that argument is usually predicated on your home defense gun being a handgun, but what if it's a shotgun? Are you supposed to just lug a shotgun around with you everywhere? Even if this were somehow manageable, at some point you have to go to bed. You're eventually confronted with the issue of what to do with the gun when you sleep.
Here, too, some might suggest what they consider a common-sense solution. There are those who would suggest that you keep your gun on the nightstand. Or, if it's a shotgun, keep it propped up beside the bed.
While this may work in some cases, these solutions aren’t advisable for a few reasons. First, if you have young children (or even pets) in the house, it's probably not a good idea to leave loaded guns laying around while you sleep. Second, depending on what your state and local laws are, it might actually be illegal if you have children to leave your gun unattended.
Having a gun on the nightstand could be a problem for a host of other reasons. If the phone rings and you're half asleep fumbling for it, you could grab the gun and pull the trigger while you're groping around. Similarly, you could also knock the gun off the nightstand, inadvertently damaging it or causing an accidental discharge if it's not a drop safe gun.
This is even more true with shotguns. Even if it's propped up beside the bed, you could easily knock it over. There are many shotguns that aren't drop safe.
Lastly, and this is admittedly unlikely but a potential problem nonetheless: What if you don't wake up when someone enters your home? On the off chance that they didn't wake you coming in, you don't want to leave a gun out for them.
3 Better Options for Storing a Home Defense Gun
1. Storing in a Safe
Since leaving a loaded gun laying around is a bad option, the most obvious choice for many people is to store the gun in a safe. However, if you're using the gun for home defense, you need a different type of safe than one you would use for long-term storage.
You can find many types of safes designed specifically for defense guns. They allow you to keep your gun under or near your bed safely. You can find safes that have finger sensors, electronic codes, or even key locks. All of these can offer quick access to the firearm. Some of them are even designed with a quick open in mind and have features to assist you in that regard.
One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to a safe, though, is where to keep it. Remember that if a need for the firearm arises, it's likely to be sudden and not guaranteed to happen when you sleep. Consider the possibility that your bedroom may not be the ideal storage location.
If your house has multiple levels, you might want to consider having a safe on each level. If your bedroom is on the top floor and you're doing laundry in the basement, fell asleep on the couch, or are in the bathroom, your gun could be too far away when you require it.
There's nothing wrong with storing the safe in the bedroom, but be aware of what locations you may routinely be in that are farthest away from it. Develop the quickest routes to get back to the bedroom and the gun. We're trying to keep the gun and you both safe here, not have the gun secure and you in danger. That defeats the point.
You might also consider locating your gun safe in a central place that's easily reached from anywhere in the house. Or, perhaps make a plan with your family that you all try to get to one location within the house if there's any trouble and locate the safe there.
2. Storing the Gun Out of Sight
Another option that works for some gun owners is storing the weapon in the open, but out of sight. There are numerous options for this, and some of them are extremely clever.
There are an increasing number of companies designing items specifically for storing a gun in a hidden, but easily accessible place. For example, there are shelves designed to hold guns and extra magazines hidden inside them. You can place them anywhere you would want a shelf and get the added benefit of extra storage space for everyday items.
There are false walls for similar purposes and even bed headboards designed to conceal a firearm accessible by a trapdoor. These items and others are becoming increasingly popular methods for safely and securely storing firearms for home defense.
The same rules apply with these as they do with safes. Whether you mount a hidden holster or buy dedicated concealment furniture, ensure you have a plan for getting to them if things go sour.
3. Storing the Gun Out of Reach
For some people, the option exists to simply place the home defense weapon somewhere that's in the open, but unseen, like a high cupboard or closet shelf. This method is obviously less secure than the previous two options (and is not advised if you have children or ever have them in your home), but may be a consideration depending on your situation.
If you don't want to deal with having to open a safe or don't want to purchase one (or can't afford one), this could be a potential compromise. It allows for the firearm to be "hidden" but accessible. Just be sure the laws of your area allow for this.
The biggest things to keep in mind when storing a home defense weapon are your lifestyle and situation. Whatever method you choose needs to help you better defend yourself while keeping your firearm secure and your entire family safe.