The Importance Of Retaining Control Of Your Firearm

It should go without saying that retaining control of your firearm during an actual fight is important. That is not what this is about (even though our lead picture is probably misleading). Instead, this is about the rest of your life.

If you didn't know, retaining control of your firearm during all parts of the day and all aspects of life is actually pretty important. The reasons why are hopefully obvious, but in case they're not, one of them is because we want to prevent someone else from getting our guns who may use them against us on purpose, or on accident (like we'll see in the real-life incident below, that inspired this article).

And just so we're all on the same page when I say “control” I mean in the holster on your body or similar. I don't mean on the floor of the bathroom while you're taking a crap at the gas station or anywhere else.

My days usually consist of the following: Wake up, get cleaned up, put on clothes, put on gun, conduct regular work and life, change at end of day, put gun back in bedside quick access safe, go to bed.

Obviously there's more to it than that, but I'm trying to prove a point. What's the point?

At all times during the day and night I retained control of the firearm. I never took it off and generally don't leave it anywhere for someone else to get to.

Either it was on my person inside my waistband or it was in my safe. There was never a point where I took it off in the car, or placed it on the window sill or toilet dispenser while dropping a deuce, or anything else. At all times I retain control of my firearm.

And yes, putting it in the safe is retaining control because I'm the only one with the code to open it, unless there is a determined thief who can somehow get it out of my house without me knowing.

Most gun carriers do the same or similar to what I described above. But there are some folks who don't — like a story I just read where a 4 year old shot his grandmother in the stomach after finding a revolver in their RV.

Those people in that RV were traveling back home to Virginia from a vacation. At about 12:00 pm last Sunday the family stopped at the Carlie C's IGA in Erwin, NC.

The four year old reportedly stayed in the RV with his grandmother as the rest of the family went inside the store.

The kid found the revolver, and the grandmother attempted to take it away from him/her. But when she attempted to disarm the child the gun “went off” striking the elderly female in the stomach area.

She was taken to the hospital, treated, and is thankfully expected to be okay. The thing about this that pisses me off has nothing to do with the kid. That child will only know so much as his parents and grandparents teach.

But even if you're teaching your kids about guns, and I hope you are, at four years old some kids have a hard time distinguishing from what is acceptable or not.

Because of this, the gun should have been in someone's control. And by “someone” I mean other than the 4 year old kid. Ideally, when I say “control,” I mean that the revolver was on someone's body or in a safe or lock box to keep the gun out of the kid's hands.

A portable safe, like one of the smaller ones on this page, is totally fine and sufficient to keep even the most curious of little hands from touching something that they can't yet fully understand.

Just lock the thing up. Or wear it. Whatever. It really isn't that hard of a concept to grasp.

A child of any age should not have access to a parent's gun until that kid has been trained properly. We recommend the following articles talking about children and guns:

Teach your kids about guns.

When to talk to kids about guns.

Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. JIM H on September 16, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    you are right the fault is all on the owner not the child. I hope every one will be ok

  2. Sandi Salvo on September 16, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    When I read articles about criminals getting their weapons through theft, I have to wonder where they stole them from. I can only think of a home burglary or a car. Why are these firearms not locked up when not being physically carried?? Can we participate in addressing the problem of criminals getting their hands on firearms by making them unavailable to them??

  3. Christy on September 16, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    I work at our local courthouse where concealed weapons are not permitted. I end up not carrying at all most weekdays because I don’t want to leave my pistol in the car, even in a portable gun safe because I’m afraid if someone broke into the car (yes I always keep it locked) they would just steal the gun, safe and all. Any suggestions for keeping the gun in my control in this scenario?

    • Joshua Gillem on September 17, 2020 at 6:52 am

      Is there any way you could get one of those safes that are permanently attached to the inside of your car? Those are a lot harder to pull out than your average safe is. I’m drawing a blank on the name of the company who makes safes specific to certain cars, but I know they’re out there. Might be pretty expensive, though. Does your courthouse not have lock boxes? I remember having to go to court once in my old state and was able to “check” my firearm in to a lock box with a Sheriff’s deputy as guard.

    • K on September 17, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      See if someone makes a “console” safe for your Model of car. I have one in my Toyota truck and there’s NO WAY anyone’s getting in that thing…. at least without a torch or a lot of beating on it with a sledge hammer and pry bar. It would still take a long time, so unless they steal your car and have time to work on it, nobody’s getting what’s inside. It’s also NOT SEARCHABLE without a search warrant…it’s like your trunk , even though it’s in the main cabin of the car. Best part is you can’t even tell it’s there. Just a small rotary combo dial shows.

    • Rick Bashaw on September 21, 2020 at 10:24 am

      Hi Christy, I have a portable safe by STACK-ON. It comes with a coated stranded metal cable that I have wrapped around the dashboard framework. The other end of the cable is hooked into the locked safe. The only way someone can even take the safe if they break into the car is to have a tool to cut the cable. Most spur-of-the-moment amateur thieves don’t carry a tool to do this. If I need to leave my PPS M2 in the car, I feel secure in locking it in this safe.

  4. Jon from Texas on September 16, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Another best practice for guns around kids is to keep them unloaded if they’re gonna be out. And if there’s a safety you can leave that on even if it’s unloaded. I have guns all over my house that are unloaded and I keep the mags loaded and separate. I only keep loaded firearms like the article says, either on me in a holster, or in one of my safe’s. And another good practice is to leave the firearm with one in the chamber in the safe and in a holster. That way you can grab it as quickly as you can open the safe and you’re ready to go in an emergency, and you don’t have to think about how you pick it up out of the safe since it’s secured by the holster.

  5. Scott Nelson on September 16, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Joshua, good artical on retaining control of your wepon. Also wanted to say Semper Fi from a former FMF Corpsman Viet Nam 3/7 & 1st tanks Bn. keep up the good work.

  6. William Burkett on September 17, 2020 at 10:21 am

    I have my guns on me 12-14 hours of the day, and while I am asleep the are in the holsters under my pillow. All other firearms are in the safe. I do not agree with the “hiding guns in every room of the house” tactic. Kids can find anything, we always found the Christmas presents every year, so yes they can find your “hidden” guns. So can a criminal, and then you get shot and killed with your own weapon.
    A gun is only useful to you if you can access it in an emergency/panic situation, such as having an intruder in your home intending on doing you harm. If you are sitting on the john and are suddenly faced with an armed attacker, what are you going to do if your weapon is downstairs under your sofa pillow? A few years ago our neighbor was killed by some armed intruders, they broke in through a 1st floor window and he was shot as he was trying to run to the bedroom to retrieve his 12-gauge pump. His pistol was upstairs in another room.
    I have run through every kind of scenario I could think of when training for a possible armed response. If someone were to kick my bedroom door in at 3am, would I have time to unlock my safe and withdraw my firearm, in the dark, still groggy and disoriented from being woken up in the middle of the night, and stop an attacker before he could put some rounds into me and my wife? I may not even have enough time to pull it from the holster under my pillow! We have a security system that we rely on to alert us of any potential intruders, but we all know those can be defeated. What if you came home, shed your work clothes and your firearms, went to the bathroom to turn on the hot water for a shower, and there is an intruder ALREADY inside your home and suddenly you are facing an attacker without your defense weapon? Yes the likelihood of that happening is slim, but not unheard of–and I don’t ever want to be in that slim percentage statistic. When I come home, I shed my clothes, put on a belly band and put my pistols into that. I ramin armed anywhere I go in the house or yard, and my family does too. Paranoid? No, we am prepared, this is a crazy world we live in and has only gotten crazier in 2020. To me it is a habit just like putting on your seatbelt, locking your doors, putting on your shoes etc..I don’t really even have to think about it anymore, after 35 years of carrying a gun for self-protection and that of my family.. I have a couple of friends who only carry their guns when going to a perceived “unsafe” neighborhood. I remind them to watch the news every night, you see bad things happening in the “good” neighborhoods. The response is always the same, “this is a quiet place, we never thought something like that would happen here”..
    Here in Ohio, a few nights ago an 11 year old kid shot a 6 year old kid with a gun they found in the house. This is absolutely the fault of the gun owners in that house, and we need to stop passing that off as an “accident”.

  7. Michael - Asheville on September 21, 2020 at 9:45 am

    This is a breakdown in our legal system. Gun owners who don’t maintain control of their gun and allow access by a minor, should be charged as that is a crime in most states. Parents think their children, even teens, would not do something so stupid as play with a real gun. But, they are wrong. Hard lessons are learned. Better safe than sorry.

  8. Garvin Durrant on October 8, 2020 at 9:08 am

    When I was a kid Dad’s pistols were in his dresser drawer and the long guns were under the stairs in the fruit room. There were no locks but us kids were taught not to touch guns unless dad was there. you knew there would be hell to pay. And that pretty much went for all things that were dad’s, tools, guns. If it wasn’t your’s, you didn’t mess with it.

Leave a Comment