By: Trevor Thrasher, Curriculum Manager & Senior Instructor
Safe Firearm Storage in the Home
Having the right attitude, plan, training, and tools is important for any self-defense situation. When it comes to having the right tools, it isn’t simply a matter of having them, it’s your ability to have them at the ready when you need them that’s important. This can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Your concerns must balance security with keeping the firearm reachable at moment’s notice.
Safe Storage Rule
At 88 Tactical, our fifth rule of firearms safety is the “safe storage” rule. We choose to prioritize it as a fifth rule because as concerned, responsible gun owners, we must strive to keep our guns out of the hands of irresponsible people. Each time an irresponsible person uses a gun in a high-profile crime, there are calls for more gun laws. If you want to do your part to help avoid more gun laws, store your guns responsibly.
Locally in the Von Maur shooting at Westroads Mall, eight people were killed because an irresponsible person easily obtained a semi-automatic rifle that was negligently stored in a closet. In our concealed handgun class, we tell students that obtaining their concealed carry permit (or in many cases simply owning a gun) typically requires them to have three forms of storage.
Three Safe Firearm Storage Forms
- High-quality holster specifically designed for you handgun that conceals the gun, keeps your gun in the holster, and keeps your holster on your body during vigorous activity.
- Quick-access lock box that, when reached, can be opened and allow access to the gun within five seconds of reaching it.
- Car lock box with a cable attachment to reduce the chance of theft and also allow you to temporarily store you gun in your car when visiting locations that do not allow firearms.
If you have multiple guns that you do not use for immediate protection, they should be stored in a larger more secure safe firearm storage. If you have a long gun for home defense, quick access lock boxes can become a bit more expensive and tricky.
When it comes to immediate access, few people are willing to keep their gun on them in the home, and with a properly secured home with hardened exterior doors, there may be little reason to do so. Keep in mind, the typical door targeted by burglars and home invaders is either voluntarily opened or kicked in with one or two kicks. Therefore, the gun must be within quick reach. Depending on your home design and lifestyle, you may consider having two quick access locations in your house. You should be able to get to either location within a few seconds, the gun must be ready or near ready, and the exact location of storage should be hidden from casual view. If there is a stranger at the door or some other situation requiring elevated readiness, get your gun out and have it on your person.
TYPES OF LOCK BOXES
Quick-access gun lock boxes come in a variety of designs with a variety of locking mechanisms and vary widely in price range.
Although having a finger print reader is not a bad idea, make sure it is backed up by a simple, easy-to-use key pad function.
Steer away from dial locks, and key required methods of entry if you want reliable access under some level of stress.
Several boxes even have Bluetooth enabled functions and remotes, but keep in mind that using those methods on the run is going to take more time than simply running with full focus to the gun.
Car lock boxes
Car lock boxes with a cable can be as inexpensive as $20-30 with a dial or key lock (do not consider these immediate use), or can cost up to $100 or more if you want more security and quicker access with touch pads or finger print readers.
88 Tactical Safes and Lock Boxes
88 Tactical carries different types of Vaultek brand lock boxes. They are highly secure, reasonably priced, and come with a variety of functions. I especially like the feature that lights up the key pad with a hand wave and the light that comes on when the lid opens. It’s a good idea to have a holster, spare magazine, a flashlight, and an old charged cell phone in the same location.
HANDGUN & HOME DEFENSE TRAINING
Now you have the right attitude, plan, and tools, let us cover training for a moment. You must practice:
- Recognizing danger
- Alerting those in the home
- Getting to your firearm and getting it ready
- Dealing with the threat and with police
Practice some of these scenarios with your family about every 3 months at a minimum. Make it fun and involve everyone, assigning them a task and back up task. 88 Tactical teaches a variety of handgun and home defense courses – we’ll even come do the training in your home.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVE
The last concern is what to do “when the smoke settles” to avoid any misidentification issues with the police. The chances of a law-abiding home owner being mistakenly shot by police or a law-abiding homeowner mistakenly shooting a police officer can be high in home invasion situations. To avoid these incidents, you should let 911 know you are armed.
As a default, but not the only option, work your way back to a secure safe room to await the police. Get the gun in a protected position as soon as possible. You do not want to be seen by the police with a gun in your hand in a ready posture.
My general advice is to keep the gun on you, concealed from view with at least on hand up, until you are positive the scene is secure and the police have arrived. Depending on the situation, you may want to put the gun completely away. Your hands should be up, open, and empty when making first contact, and only leave a secure location after you are certain the situation is calm and you have de-conflicted your actions with the arriving officers. We cover a lot of this in many of our handgun classes. It is a deep subject often ignored by range-based instructors.
Having a gun without a storage plan is setting yourself up for failure. Set yourself up to prevail in an encounter with the right equipment and training from the very start.