Have a flashlight next to it (or on it) for identifying what you’re about to point (or pointing) a gun at.
Be secured from access by a non-authorized person. For the sake of this article, that person is YOU until you wake up fully.
That second point is not often considered. The bump in the night is far more likely to be a person you know than a crew of home invaders. I think the best way to prevent a groggy tragedy is to force yourself to complete several fine motor movements and/or take several steps prior to having a loaded gun in your hand. You need time to shake the cobwebs out of your head and assess what’s actually happening.
In a drawer or closet which requires several steps to reach
Same as above but with cylinder open
Cylinder empty and speed loader next to pistol
Magazine removed and kept lashed to the hand guard or stored nearby
In a closet or corner several steps away
Magazine tube empty
“Cruiser ready” (empty chamber, action closed)
You don’t need to do every item to have success with this idea. Pick two or three that make sense for you and give it a try. I’m looking to buy about 30 seconds to fully awaken.
But it will slow down my room clearin’!
If you have less than 5 seconds to get a gun into action from a dead sleep, you screwed up a long time ago. Go read my article about layered home defense to get your house or apartment right. If you can’t get a magazine into your pistol and rack the slide, you’re not awake enough to be moving in your house with a gun.You need to protect you from yourself first.
Lets remember the firearms requirement hierarchy:
Don’t Shoot Ourselves
Don’t Shoot What We Don’t Want To Shoot
Shoot What We Want To Shoot
And for goodness sake, start verbalizing ASAP so you don’t show the muzzle to the wrong person. “Who’s there!? I am armed!” or whatever.
The opportunity for a negative outcome is greatly increased if you are startled from a dead sleep and start making life and death decisions before you fully wake up. Give yourself some time.
One of my great fears is that one of my firearms will get stolen and subsequently used in a crime. I would feel terrible if I found out that a rifle or pistol that I failed to secure from unauthorized access was used to kill an innocent person. As a result, I take every precaution to keep my guns locked and secured.
In general, I lock all of my guns away in a safe when not being carried. The large home safe is great for the non-essential guns that I don’t intend to access quickly. I also like to have more readily accessible guns in more convenient areas of my home besides the one I carry as my underwear gun. The best and most affordable option is the GunVault NanoVault. I own several of these. I use one in my house to lock up my larger carry gun when I get home. I use one to secure my pistol and other valuables in my vehicle when I am forced to go into a truly non-permissive environment like a courthouse. Hell, I even used one when I was in India to secure my spare cash when we had to leave our bags in a sketchy hotel in Gurgaon.
I recently realized they ALSO can be used to secure long guns. I have been shooting a rifle competition at a local gun range. The timing of which requires me to leave the rifle in my car at work and go straight to the range after work. A few times I rolled the dice and hoped that concealing the rifle in the cargo hold of my vehicle would prevent a theft. I wasn’t satisfied with this so I worked a solution. I secured the wire loop to a structural point of the car, passed the wire through the mag-well of my AR, and attached the NanoVault. They would have to pass the safe through the magwell, which probably wouldn’t work too well. This requires me to break the AR down, which technically only secures the lower receiver. My hope is that it buys enough time and is frustrating enough to keep a scumbag from walking away with my long gun. It also works well on shotguns. I haven’t tried it with an AK, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The only limitation is the diameter of the wire crimp on the cable being able to pass through the action.
Is it super fast to get the lock off and get the rifle into play? No, but that’s not the point. I have no delusions of shutting down an active shooter with my rifle. Gunfights are “come as you are” events. This setup just gives me peace of mind while I’m workin’ for the man.
Any other ideas for securing long guns in vehicles? I’d love to hear them.
Protect the Brood,
PS. I hope everyone is having a restful holiday and enjoying the time with your families. Talk to you after the New Year!
Reciting the four universal firearms safety rules should be part of your subconscious routine every time you see or handle a gun. No exceptions. I personally like to throw in two extra rules when I’m teaching people.
Let’s concentrate on the last rule there. Who are we trying to prevent from accessing our guns and how do we prevent unauthorized people from accessing them? Obviously, we want to keep criminals away from our guns. But there are a few other groups of people that we want to deny access to guns that you should consider. How about our children, nosy neighbors, or our nosy neighbors’ children?
The easiest and most robust solution there is getting a large gun safe and anchoring it into the cement in the basement. This works wonderfully for storing guns for which you have no immediate need (i.e. not our go-to home defense weapons). But how do we keep home defense guns quickly accessible to us and not to them? I’ll list several options, some better and some way worse than others.
Elevated position. This is the worst of the bunch, by a long shot. If children are your only concern, it’s still the worst. The problem is that, yeah, they might not be able to climb up there and reach your gun yet, but when they can, it could be too late. Don’t do it once the kid can walk. I had a scary three seconds about ten months ago when my little guy was pulling himself up to standing that made me realize that if he can see the gun, he’ll find a way to try to touch it. Never again. Here’s some footage to demonstrate the point (thanks Chuck H. of the Topeka Police for posting this)
Stack-On PS-520 Super-Sized Personal Safe with Electronic Lock
This has been a very workable option for me for the last 2 years. I have an easy to remember code (different from the PINs that my son might watch us type at the grocery store) and I currently store this safe near the bed. I have also stored it in the coat closet near the entry of our previous home. I don’t have this lagged down, as I’m not as concerned with a thief breaking in and running away with this safe. It only contains my home defense setup (upcoming post on this). I can quickly roll out of bed and get my gear and enact my home defense plans. I preventatively change the batteries once a year and remind myself with a google calendar reminder.
Gunvault SpeedVault SV500 gun safe
(key code version). This is my next purchase. I’d like to secure it on the first floor in a place that myself or my wife can access as we answer the door. I don’t own this yet, but I’ve been told that you can easily defeat the biometric version with some simple tools, so avoid that one.
GunVault NV300 NanoVault with Combination Lock
This is the best $30 you can spend. You can use this as a travel safe when you visit hotels, in your car, or even in a drawer if you only need to secure a pistol. I programmed a palindromic number (same forward as backwards) so that under stress I could open the safe regardless of orientation. It has been a great all around value.
On your person!!! This is what I do until I go to sleep at night. My ‘house gun’ is a Ruger LCP with a crimson trace laser, clip-draw , and a Hogue Handall. I don’t like the idea of having to request that a home invader standby while I open my safe, so I just carry a gun at home. Makes sense to me. If you read lots of defensive gun use stories online, you’ll see many examples of when a man has to engage a home invader empty handed and his wife runs to get the gun and has to make a near contact shot on the bad guy. There’s lots of considerations in this scenario that we can talk about soon.
That’s it for now. If you have any suggestions on securing long guns from kids, and keeping them quick to access, please let me know. I’ve been toying with some design ideas that I am considering building since no good solution seems to exist.
Edit To Add: Found this on Amazon. ShotLock Shotgun Solo-Vault This looks like it might be the ticket for a quick access shotgun if that’s the direction you want to go.