Keeping Home Defense Guns Accessible
Article first appeared at Shooting Illustrated.
Many people who don’t have small children in the home have gotten into the practice of keeping a defensive firearm in a readily accessible gun safe somewhere in the house, immediately available in case of a home invasion or other violent crime. The key, of course, is to find a place to put the gun so that it is readily available, yet secured and out of sight to unauthorized people. However, what is often overlooked is the need for defensive firearms to be compatible with every member of the family who is authorized to use them.
While we do what we can to familiarize our family members with firearms, some are just not very interested in guns and have no desire to learn how all of the various kind operate and function. It is critical that defensive guns be of a kind that every authorized family member understands and feels comfortable in operating. Over the years, I have run across several families that have found ways to solve this problem.
Charlie (we’ll call him that because that is not his name) lives with his wife and teenage daughter. They have discussed personal defense and have worked to develop their own personal defense plan. However, the wife and daughter are just not interested in spending the time to learn to handle a handgun effectively. Charlie’s solution was to buy a couple of Mossberg youth-model pump shotguns, in 20 gauge. The guns fit the wife and daughter perfectly, they shoot them well, and can handle them safely. On the other hand, the shotgun stocks are a bit short for Charlie, however he is also very comfortable with the Mossbergs and can safely use them in defensive situations. In this case, all three family members have access to guns that they understand and can operate effectively.
George (another assumed name) is a retired police officer who trained with revolvers back in the days before his department transitioned to autos. He is comfortable with both, though he prefers an auto for personal defense. His wife, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with autos although she shoots a double-action revolver very well. George went to some gun shows and found a number of Smith & Wesson K-frame revolvers, all chambering the .38 Special cartridge. They now have a DA revolver for self-defensive uses, along with speedloaders paired to the revolver. While George still prefers his autos, they both now have quick access to a defense gun that they both can handle effectively.
We can’t expect every family member to be as involved in guns and shooting as we might be. But this only means that we identify which type of gun and model everyone understands how to use safely in order for their comfort level to be as high as possible. And we may have to compromise just a bit to get this accomplished. That’s just fine because you can still carry your favorite defense gun on your hip; just make sure that there are defensive firearms available to the authorized members of your family that they understand and can shoot well.