0293 – Home Self-Defense Handgun Storage Condition: A consideration of consistency and efficiency

In five years, I predict that one of the biggest arguments that my critics will level against me is that I am wishy washy.  I also predict that on the surface the uninitiated have good reason to believe that criticism.  The critics will be wrong and the uninitiated will be uninitiated and I will have grown tremendously.  I hope that you join me on that journey of growth.  All that you have to do is have an open mind with a solid understanding of your context,  an eye for evidence and logic and a thick skin.

In the past few months I have been struggling with an important issue, the storage of defensive handguns in the home.  Today we will talk about some important logical points about the storage of defensive handguns in the home.


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Primary Storage Considerations

Although I want to focus on the condition that we store our defensive handguns for self-defense in the home there are some general considerations that are important to discuss.


Whenever we consider any protocol related to our defense, we must first carefully consider out context.  Context is the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event or situation.  Today’s podcast cannot and is not intended to tell you how you should store your self-defense guns.  The reason I can’t provide a blanket answer is because I do not know the circumstances that may affect the validity of a storage method or condition for you.  It is your responsibility to evaluate all the factors that surround you and your context and then chose a strategy that is consistent.  What may work for a woman living alone in a rural setting may not work for a family of 4 in an urban apartment setting.  In addition to our personal context we must also take into account factors that are placed upon us by local, state and federal laws.  It is your responsibility to make sure that the decisions you make are consistent with your context and that you are prepared to deal with the consequences of your decisions.  Carefully consider your context when ever you are making decisions related to your storage of firearms for self-defense or any other defensive situation.

Unauthorized Users

As a lawful owner of  firearms for self-defense we must remember that their are responsibilities that accompany our right to bear arms.  One of the most important aspects of our context that must be considered is the likelihood of unauthorized users gaining access to our firearms.

Unauthorized users include:

  • Children
  • Household members who are untrained
  • Visitors to the home
  • Those that unlawfully enter the home

Balancing Secure Storage with Accessibility

Safe and accessible defensive firearm storage is a balance.  We must store self-defense handguns in a manner where they are securely stored when not needed yeat readily accessible when the gun must be deployed for self defense.

The balance lies somewhere between a fully loaded handgun left on the coffee table and an unloaded gun locked in the basement and ammunition locked in the bedroom.  A loaded gun in the open and accessible to all is just as likely to be liability as it is to be a benefit.  Even the best self-defense handgun is useless unless it is loaded and in hand when it needs to be used.  It is your context that will help you determine the appropriate balance of security and accessibility.

Storage Strategies

Hidden Defensive Guns

  • Think about searching for Christmas presents when you were a kid.
  • Guns are no different
  • May help with those who don’t belong in your home
  • Not going to work to keep guns away from you kids

Safes/Lock Boxes

  • Many types and styles
  • Simple to complex
  • Increase the level of security
  • In some cases decrease the level of accessibility

Handgun Condition: Consistency vs Efficiency

We began our podcast today talking about context and I think it is important to examine the likely context of some self defense situations so that we are able to make educated decisions on how to prepare ourselves and our firearms for self defense.

Daily Carry

  • Ambush
  • Close range
  • High speed
  • Low light
For these reasons I feel that there is a proper manner in which to carry a self-defense handgun:
  • Concealed
  • Full magazine
  • Round in the chamber

Home Storage

Has a different context which I would like to define specifically now.

  • Home is secured
  • Firearm is not secured on the person

Because of the above differences in context we can expect that:

  • we will have some warning that an attack with a lethal threat is imminent
  • when we need to deploy an handgun it will not be deployed from a holster

Logical body of evidence provided by 911 calls to show that this is a common scenario most recently Sarah McKinley was in the news after defending herself, her son and her home on New Year’s eve.

Time is a common factor in these home self-defense situations.  911 callers have the time to:

  • Evade
  • Arm

  • Barricade
  • Contact: Authorities if possible and Bad guys if appropriate
  • Counter

Applying Daily Carry Context to Home Self-Defense

This is what I have done for years.  I currently store my home defense handgun in an electronic safe that is concealed at my bedside.  When I go to sleep I open the door of the gun locker providing me quick access to a loaded handgun.

  • The fully loaded handgun is consistent with daily carry
  • The open safe ensures that physiological reactions will not complicate me arming myself
  • The open safe and loaded gun allow access to unauthorized users should they find the gun with out awakening me
  • Because I will not be drawing from a holster my presentation is inconsistent from daily carry to home self-defense which could result in an inefficient result

I don’t think that I have been making a mistake but at the same time, I’m not certain that I have been doing it right either.

Applying Home Self-Defense Context to the Situation

I am currently considering altering the way that I store my home defense handguns.  The primary condition I am considering moving to is fully loaded inserted magazine with the action closed on an empty chamber.

  • We may have time
  • If we don’t have time we do not want a loaded firearm introduced into the situation
  • We will not be presenting from the holster charging of the gun forces the gun to come to the High Compressed Ready Position which forces consistency into our self-defense situations
  • A gun with an inserted fully loaded magazine action closed on an empty chamber provides an additional layer of safety against unauthorized users

Questions for you:

  • How do you store you handguns for home defense?
  • What about your context has lead you to that decision?
  • Are there other contextual factors that you need to take into account to further define your personal self-defense plan while using a handgun for home defense.



2 replies
  1. Ron
    Ron says:


    I’ve two children ages six and four and I’m also very sound sleeper so the idea of having a unsecured pistol is very frightening. Both the dedicated home defense pistol and my everyday carry Glock 19’s are stored in a Fort Knox pistol safe in the master closet. I like this arrangement because it allows me a few steps to gather my senses if I’m startled awake.

    Additionally since my wife is not into firearms training and I want to make it as simple as possible for her to operate which ever weapon she picks up in an emergency, both pistols are charged and chambered.

    This might not be the perfect solution for you but it works for us and I believe it is a good compromise between restricted access and easy availability.

    It also limits the number of unnecessary administrative manipulations.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      It sounds to me like you have a good system that works for you and your family Ron. I think this is one of those issues that every individual needs to take some time to sort out for themselves. There are so many variables that need to be taken into account that any blanket recomendation would border on reckless for many folks!


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