When trouble comes, it does not send you an engraved invitation. Indeed, being prepared for the unexpected is what drives a huge number of Americans to carry concealed and get trained. Of course it is impossible to be on alert 24/7, and it is normal to let our guard down when in familiar places. Restaurants, parks and shopping centers are designed to put us in a relaxed state of mind.

And no place is more familiar or comfortable to us than our homes: it is our fortress from the outside and the one place where our guard is down the most. You should be able to relax in your own home, but that doesn’t mean you should not be prepared for trouble when it comes knocking. Fortunately most criminals fear being shot by homeowners more than they fear being shot by the police—they act accordingly and avoid occupied dwellings. But the few miscreants who will attack you in your home also happen to be the most violent and disturbed. For maximum home preparedness keep your self-defense gun on your person whenever possible. The first thing I do when I get dressed in the morning is put on my concealed-carry gun; the last thing I do before bed is put it away.

The more you get used to having your carry gun on you, the more comfortable it becomes and the less likely you are to leave it at home when you go out.

Bedtime Defense

Still, there are times and situations when you want a gun close by but not on your person. For example, at night, despite what movies and television portray, it is not advisable to sleep with a loaded gun under your pillow. If you don’t have little ones at home and want fast access to a loaded gun while you sleep, there are many inexpensive bedside holsters that will keep your gun angled upward and easily within reach. These simple bedside holsters will also fit many couches. If you do have small children at home or simply prefer to securely store your loaded firearm, there are many quick-access safes than can be had for little more than the cost of a couple of boxes of ammunition. These range from simple key or combination-lock mech- anical safes for one gun to more expensive electronic or biometric safes.

I prefer using a quick-access safe close to my bed. Many models easily fit in a drawer and feature spring-assisted top-opening doors, while others, including long gun cases, will fit under the bed. These larger safes allow you to maintain a shotgun at the ready for home defense, which many prefer for its efficacy and lower chance of over-penetration (when using the right load). The quick-access safe I like best is from GunVault and has a simple electronic keypad combination that is super fast and easy to use, even in the dark. Just place the four fingers of your hand on top of the safe and key in the sequence you have programmed. The spring-loaded door pops open and gives me immediate access to my pistol with a rail-attached tactical light.

I keep my GunVault safe in my bedroom closet, and closets are an excellent location for larger safes too. Many of the safes can be bolted from the inside to a wall stud or shelf for added security and to prevent theft. The safe can also be hidden behind clothing in the closet. If I only had one gun and one safe, I would keep it in the bedroom, out of sight and in a nightstand drawer or in a closet on a high shelf.

There may be times when trouble arrives and your gun is too far away. So if you have more than one safe and multiple guns, consider keeping them in different locations throughout your home. Think about where you spend the most time: it could be on another floor of your home, in the living room, kitchen, basement or in the garage. Look for places to store a safe near these alternative locations—again, closets or drawers are very convenient. One place I keep a small safe is bolted to the wall inside the coat closet. It remains hidden behind various jackets and reminds me to take my carry gun when I leave the house and to replace it when I return. It is also very conveniently located near my front door for fast access.

Having firearms stored in multiple locations also comes in handy when you have family members that don’t (or won’t) carry firearms: their ability to access said guns when you’re not home can make all the difference in a confrontation. Make sure you share your gun-storage information with your family members and that they are trained and qualified in shooting your firearms.

Hiding In Plain Sight

In addition to pistol and long gun safes — there are other options that both hide a gun in plain sight and offer light- ning fast access. Manufacturers offer gun hides disguised as books, picture frames (large enough for one pistol or several long guns), mantlepiece clocks and tabletop globes. However, caution should be ex- ercised with gun hides: they do not lock or secure a firearm in any way; they only hide them. If unauthorized persons found your secret stash, nothing would prevent them from gaining access and possibly causing harm to themselves or others.

For the ultimate in secure storage you can get a massive fireproof safe that will accommodate dozens of long guns and handguns as well as important documents, jewelry and electronics while maintaining humidity. In securing and storing firearms it is best to think in terms of layers. I keep most of my own collection inside a small walk-in closet that has a reinforced door and a deadbolt. Inside the closet I keep several smaller long gun safes locked and bolted to the wall studs. The security here involves having the guns stored away from where any visitor or guest is likely to wander and the furthest point away from my front door. The firearms are stored out of sight, behind a nondescript door to a small closet.

With the large number of avail- able options, there is little excuse for being unprepared. No matter your budget, there is a gun storage solu- tion for you.

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