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Keeping A Gun On The Nightstand

If you have been in the industry for awhile you may have been subjected to the debate surrounding “keeping the firearm on the nightstand” for quick access in a middle of the night home invasion or other related threat. There are gun owners that are on both sides of this debate and I thought it was time we take a scientific and thorough approach at answering the question.

Here is a comment from John B on a recent article on our website:

What good does a Personal Defense Weapon (gun) do you locked up in a safe? If you are realistic in your evaluation of the likelihood of a home invasion you should have the weapon to hand at all times.

And here is another example of a comment from PJ with the opposite perspective:

Consider this, what good will a gun be if a criminal manages to get to it first..? You may end up being shot with the very same firearm that is supposed to give you a sense of safety.

As an instructor I've spent the last decade telling students to lock up the gun at all times unless it is on your person. I've never seen any real credence to the idea of keeping the gun on the nightstand (outside of a safe) and so I've decided to embark on some discovery.

What is the Common Practice?

I started my inquiry by polling our audience. We asked the hundred thousand plus people on our email newsletter to answer a few questions. We published the full results here (Nightstand Survey Results) but I was surprised both by the high percentage of gun owners (including parents with kids in the home) who report they do not keep the gun in a safe at night.

So it led me to wonder why so many gun owners choose NOT to keep their gun in a gun safe. There are 2 obvious potential reasons.

  1. First, you may not own a gun safe (solve that problem here)
  2. Second, you may feel that tactically, the time necessary to retrieve the gun from the safe negatively outweighs the potential benefits that come from having the gun in a locked safe

So I decided to put that to the test…

The Issue Of Speed and Time

 

As you can see from the video and the below chart, different types of safes make a significant difference. Slowing down the response time by 1.51 seconds is not very significant while slowing down the response time by 3.23 seconds is more than double the concern.

How Big of A Deal is Safety?

Thinking first of children…

Our survey data did show that gun owners with younger children are more likely to keep a gun in the safe but in those situations it is still the majority of the survey respondents who choose to NOT lock up the gun. There are a lot of variables that get weighed into the decision including:

  1. Level of training of the children. My own children get a lot of training and education… but just how deeply can I trust that?
  2. What are the odds of having children in my home on occasion that are not my own whom I did not train/educate?
  3. If I only keep the gun there during the night; what are the odds that one day I may also leave it there uncontrolled during the day?
  4. What physical security related things have I done to lessen the odds of a home invasion or to maximize my potential response time opportunity? IE, loud dog, reinforced/locked doors, good lighting, etc.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) the number of children fatalities related to firearms is down over the last decade but it was still 600 deaths in the last reported year. They credit this to the Project Child Safe efforts which involve the securing of firearms in the home. Anecdotally I can also tell you that having read all 292 news stories from this Negligent Discharge Study, I have a strong sense for the potential loss and risk that can come quickly when children access an unauthorized firearm.

Each parent or grandparent has to make their own decisions but I suspect that for most of us the odds of the firearm being accessed by an authorized child are higher than the odds of experiencing a home invasion in which 1.51 to 3.23 seconds will make all the difference.

What About The Bad Guy/Gal Accessing the Gun?

The other most common argument made in favor of locking the guns in the safe is the harsh reality that criminals may access that firearm. Certainly this is more likely if the firearm is left unattended than during the middle of the night when you are laying asleep right next to the gun but both scenarios are conceivable. If in fact, you believe that 1.51 to 3.23 seconds will make all the difference then you must also believe that the intruder is able to breach the home and move around freely before your response begins. If you believe that might you also believe that the intruder might get so far as your bedroom where your gun is sitting next to your bed on the nightstand?

The more realistic and practical point might be in relation to the odds of you leaving the gun uncontrolled during the day. One of my students explained to me that at night before he goes to bed he removes his firearm from his holster and places it on his nightstand. In the morning when he wakes up he puts the firearm back in his holster and on his body. Thus the firearm is only ever “uncontrolled” when it sits right next to him during the night. That sounds like a fairly sensible approach but when I asked him has there ever been a day… ever… when he woke up in the morning and his routine was thrown off… and he didn't immediately strap on the gun? Perhaps on a weekend or holiday? How likely is it that the gun may continue to sit on that nightstand uncontrolled or monitored? If that idea concerns you… you might want a safe.

My Personal Conclusion?

I have young children in my home. I will continue to place my guns in a safe when they are not on my body. I am willing to slow my response time by about 2 seconds in order to have that greater sense of security and peace of mind. Having heard from you in the survey and having run the tests on my own, I still feel that MOST gun owners would probably do well to utilize a bedside safe but hopefully this data has given you additional information to be able to make a more informed decision.

What did I miss? What did I fail to consider? Let me know in the comments below.

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92 Responses to Keeping A Gun On The Nightstand

  1. Glenn Szostak June 11, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    It would be nice if you did this at night when these safes are actually intended to be used. In the dark it would be much slower and more dangerous (risk of grabbing your gun by the trigger) when grabbing the gun laying on the night stand. Also, in the dark it would be very hard to use a key lock efficiently and would be very slow and inconsistent, I would think. I understand that for the video you did this with light, but that really negates the results in my opinion.

    Why didn’t you use a mechanical push-button locking safe in your tests? They are designed to be operated in the dark by feel only and have a proven track record of reliability and durability.

    The other thing that you can do with this type of lock is pre-punch all or part of the combination when going to sleep so that you only have to punch one or two buttons or even just turn the knob if all are pre-punched (no kids). Just turn the knob to reset when you wake up.

    My safe presents a holstered weapon in the exact same place and orientation every time with no chance of grabbing the gun’s trigger in a panic in the dark. I have been told by many customers that they find it quicker than when they had their gun just laying in the their night stand drawer shifting around or getting covered up by other stuff.

    Thanks for the video and the information provided. It was very well done.

    • Eric Ward June 13, 2017 at 8:38 am #

      ^THIS

    • Bill June 13, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      What safe do you bave?

      • Glenn June 16, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

        FAS1 Safe

    • Mike June 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      At some point we have to get past the hysteria surrounding the gun industry and reject the anti-gun propaganda. Will there be accidents with guns (better known as negligent discharges)? Yes just like we have with bleach, cars, chop sticks, etc. I saw a guy nearly killed by a quarter. We don’t have calls to ban those or have them locked up at night. For CENTURIES, there were loaded guns leaning against the door frames of many US homes with NO negligent discharges (and babies were crawling around on the 20X20ft room floors all day). The problem isn’t the gun or where it’s stored. The problem is the trigger jerker.

      Gun fights last 3 seconds, on average. We did training where we had skilled shooters place their guns on the nightstand in the config they usually do it. Every one of them unloaded the gun first (these were SWAT officers, IDPA hot shots, etc.). They laid down on a cot, closed their eyes to simulate sleep and we secretly put an IPSC target in the room as we left. Threat! Threat! Threat! was given and EVERY ONE OF THEM grabbed their gun, pointed in and CLICK! Then tap, rack, bang after that. They weren’t actually asleep but they (like anyone else) flipped into instinct when the threat showed up: you expect the gun to be loaded. If it’s taking longer than 3 seconds to get the gun and send rounds downrange then you will likely begin the gun fight with 2-5 holes in you. Not optimal.

      The key is: teach your kids and any kids that show up in your house what guns do and what they’re for. If their parents don’t like it, then I don’t like their kids in my house. Period. It’s not the gun; it’s the people that are the problem. Never use equipment to solve a training issue.

      Lock the guns up unless on your person but have the LOADED gun in a location that is easy to get to at night. If they’re coming into your house, they don’t need your gun; they got one. Don’t worry about them stealing yours. You need to be able to get to it as rapidly as possible.

      Put a high sound volume warning at every entry point to your home so you have early warning.

      • Hugh June 13, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

        Excellent, excellent comment, especially dealing with the reality of TIME! But, what about keeping a loaded, chambered, safety ON, gun under the pillow . . . after one goes to bed. Of course that eliminates the stupid, dangerous, NO SAFETY, Glock. And, NO . . . in my opinion, it’s NOT a safety if you can pull the trigger ANYTIME just by putting a little 1½ inch finger on it!

        • Warren June 14, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

          I think a person would be an idiot to put a gun under their pillow, safety or no safety.

          • SSG_Rick February 1, 2018 at 3:17 pm #

            I think anybody STUPID enough to put a loaded gun, safety on, under the pillow on their bed just may as well put the same loaded gun to their head and pull the trigger.

    • Hugh June 13, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

      Grabbing MY gun by the trigger would have NO negative consequences because it is NOT a stupid Glock!

    • Chris June 14, 2017 at 6:54 am #

      I agree you have to be careful with children in the house. However, should you hear your door or window crash open you do not wake up instantly aware enough IMO to play with a safe. An alarm system that goes off will give you some warning but I would still rather just be able to grab a familiar gun on my nigh table than fool with a safe of any kind. The same goes for all the comments about leaving the chamber empty. Unless you are in the 2% who carry this way and practice racking the slide every time you draw the gun under duress you will forget to rack the slide and lose precious seconds. I want every advantage possible.

    • Adam June 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

      Respectfully to all opinions, for me, the risk to my child or another is too great to leave it unattended. Before kids, I felt differently. My solution is restricted access to living quarters. When it’s bed time, the only access to bedrooms is through a solid door, or windows three floors up. Alarm will alert me and provide ample time to access my safe where a superior home defense weapon awaits. Intruder better bring a door breach and some flash bangs, though even then, good luck. I don’t trust myself to NEVER leave weapon unattended. Anyone who thinks teaching kids etc. is enough doesn’t fully grasp the difference between mistake proofing and mistake mitigation. Steal the stuff downstairs, I have insurance.

      • Matt June 16, 2017 at 5:55 am #

        This right here!! A weapons owner should not be relying on their weapon alone. A weapon is last resort in every situation. Technology has come far enough to the point that we have the nice things called alarms, and even if you don’t want to use one of them, there is another, less sophisticated alarm called the dog. The last thing that should be on our mind is ending a life. I’d rather give the moron who broke into my house ample opportunity to rethink his poorly made decision to break in my house before I have to dispatch him. With the alarm and the dog in place, I should have enough time to retrieve my weapon, lock and load, and fire if the perp is making continuously bad decisions.

    • marc nichols June 17, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

      No children in our home, ever. Most weapons are in the safe but those intended to defend at night are in reach…my wife in her nightstand and mine the same. The untested and significant issue here is how one reacts from a deep sleep. Everything takes longer and any complication will exponentially increase the likelihood of a failure to perform satisfactorily. I worry not that we would be so slow that a perp would do harm to us with our weapons. Simply impossible here.

      If there were children in our hope, I may consider a suitable gun safe, but knowing it would put me behind the calculus. When a perp arrives at night, they are awake while we may not be. Decisions have been pre-,made and if armed, weapons are on hand or at ready. We are well behind the curve!

    • Joe December 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

      Glen, are you a manufacturer or dealer of the safe you referenced in your comment? If so, I think your comment may be a little biased.

      • Dal January 31, 2018 at 8:36 am #

        just thinking the same thing, don’t believe a safe would only cost you 1-2 seconds and that still could be the difference it makes.

    • Jim January 31, 2018 at 8:23 am #

      I am now 68yrs old and have carried a firearm everyday for every day since I was 18 when I joined the military so for 50yrs. Yes i place it on the nightstand every night and it is loaded an ready to go, just flip off the safety. I am a very light sleeper so the chance of anyone entering my bedroom is slim to none, especially since we have dogs. My two boys were taught from a very early age that firearms were exceptionally dangerous and they would NOT touch them, period. Whenever the grandkids come over they door to the bedroom is locked or the firearm is on my person. Safety is paramount but it does no good to have the firearm unloaded and have to find the parts to charge it and make ready to fire when you need it NOW.

    • Mike Whaley January 31, 2018 at 11:34 am #

      I am 70. Have been a police officer. There are no children in our home. We have no grandchildren or associates with small children. We do have a dog and ADT. And I do keep a loaded gun, a .357 magnum revolver, on the table next to the bed. Lord help you if you enter my home without my permission. I WILL cause your death.
      And I carry a gun if I am outside my home. My wife also. Be aware of your surroundings.

    • Harry R January 31, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

      Don’t know what world you live in but, in my instance, being 70, getting out of bed, going to another room to access the safe, working the dial, pulling up on the delocking lever amidst a clanking sound, reaching in and getting your firearm out, hopefully having one fully charged and ready for use and then prepare to defend yourself, your property ???? A few seconds difference from having one right next to you on your nightstand, ready to go?? Get your timepiece checked- it’s WAY off !! Not only a LOT longer, but now exposing yourself to danger even more, besides leaving your partner in bed(assuming two) unprotected. I like my way better- pistol with night sights right next to me.

    • Aaron February 3, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

      My wife and I were not blessed with kids, so that’s not a problem from my perspective because there are none in the house, ever. I don’t actually keep my pistol on my nightstand. I have a black cloth I lay on the floor (at arm’s length), to lay my black {holstered} pistol on top of that (black on black in a dark room), then place a pillow over that.

      If someone can get into my house, then bedroom without my waking up (bloody unlikely), they won’t find any pistol on, nor in my nightstand. As well, who would think of looking under an innocuous pillow on the floor next to the bed?!? Best of all, my prone body position allows me to simply drop my arm over the bed to reach the pistol at exact arms length, or even just roll off the bed (which is on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BEDROOM DOOR), and use the bed concealment to hide most all of my body, then open fire from a lowered position on the floor and do it ASAP.

      I’ve talked to my wife about the possibility and said she must also roll off the bed on her side into the corner cover of the heavy dresser. That is, until she’s more proficient in shooting, which I’m agonizingly, slowly, carefully trying to teach her correctly in how to use a firearm, then use it to possibly save life and limb. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone by shooting them, and neither do I, but… [It would help to have a withering crossfire centered on the criminal.] I hope to God it never comes down to it.

      It’s ALWAYS a dicey, difficult situation to be in if you are forced to engage in a gun battle coming out of a sleeping state. There is no easy answer, other than to say 1st secure your outer perimeter well to make it difficult AND NOISY to get in house in the first place. Got dog?

      • Wayne February 8, 2018 at 10:31 pm #

        Aaron you make a good point. A dog(s) is always a good home protection method. Many thieves will bypass a house with a dog to go to one without. No one is coming in my home without my knowing it. I have five rescue dogs who live inside and none are large class. That little bit of early warning from them gives me a chance to be ready to get out there to protect my family and not have the danger come to me. As the weapon isn’t a semi, clambering a round is no concern. My .357 revolver is within arms reach and not locked up, yet not out in the open. When I’m up it’s on my belt or locked in the safe.

  2. Michael F Fanelli June 12, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    I couldn’t leave a gun in the open. I have dreams where I move in my sleep. The access has to be something that requires conscious effort. I use a push button safe which I have had for 20 years. If I were to get something other than that, I would consider one of the many covert options which you did not mention: Hollow book, Covert Furniture, Gun Bed or something similar. I don’t think anything is faster than the gun bed headboard-even vs on the night stand.

    • Hugh June 13, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

      I think most, o r at least some, people do; but if your gun had a manual, easily removed with just a flick of your thumb, like my Bersa does, that would NOT be a problem.

  3. John June 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    My weapon stays on the night stand every night in exactly the same position which negates the chance of getting the trigger in the dark. My .45 has been with me so long that I know the feel and placement in the dark. It is always in the same position every night.

  4. John June 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    My weapon stays on the night stand every night in exactly the same position which negates the chance of getting the trigger in the dark. My .45 has been with me so long that I know the feel and placement in the dark. It is always in the same position every night.

    • Matt June 13, 2017 at 9:18 am #

      Getting the trigger shouldn’t be your first concern. The article points out the safety aspect of locking up vs not locking up. Not trigger control.
      As mentioned, at the end of the day, which is more likely? An unauthorized person accessing your fire arm, or a home invasion?
      If you think you are going to wake up in time to confront an invader with bullets before he has covered the distance from your doorway to bed, from a dead sleep, you’re dreaming!
      More likely a scenario is a crash in the night wakes you up and you calmly and controlled unlock a bed side safe and confront the intruder.
      No unauthorized gun access and you won’t find yourself in court having to answer why the neighbor kid is laying dead in your bed room.

      • Hugh June 13, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

        If, and I say “IF” your neighbor’s kid is lying dead in your bedroom, it’s because your neighbor was too Arrogant & Lazy to take the time to ‘Beat’, if necessary, the proper attitude into his kid. Way too many parents are too concerned with being their kid’s “Best Friend” (I see it in almost EVERY article about where a child came to harm) than actually being a “PARENT” and raising their child to be a “Productive & Responsible Human Being”!

    • Hugh June 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      Sorry, John . . . it most definitely does NOT “Negate” an unconscious trigger pull, just reduces the possibility. If your gun had a manual safety, THAT would eliminate the possibility.

    • John D. January 31, 2018 at 8:01 am #

      I agree. I keep everything I own locked up in gun safes, except that trusty 1911. Mine has night sights, and I have it positioned the same way every night. Cocked, locked, and those 3 little eyes staring at me. Pick it up, knock off the safety, and battle ready in a second or less.

      And yes, a home invasion is a battle.

  5. Frank Labriola June 13, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    I haven’t any children in the home so I keep my weapon holstered and in the nightstand next to me. Response time is quick plus I can’t accidently grab the trigger. I’m satisfied.

  6. Dwight June 13, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    My 45 is always under my pillow!!!!!!!!!!,love it,

  7. Frank June 13, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    Was that your child sleepwalking that you just shot in the dark?

  8. Alli June 13, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    I agree with Glenn. While demonstrating the “speed” of a safe vs nightstand option (no one apparently sleeps with one under their pillow or under a pillow on their bed). It needs to be demonstrated in a realistic manner, at night being suddenly awaken, disoriented to a degree, etc.
    That’s the only way your going to truly going to have an accurate test of whether or not safe’s are better or the night stand wins out.
    As stated by others, they’ve owned a firearm for years, they have muscle memory well trained…WHICH does make a huge difference in your response time.
    I have predators (coyotes) that I have to deal with as the intruders, waking up with a start & trying to find a key let alone shove it into a hole to open up one of our gun safe’s is a pain, not to mention if you drop it. Response time is shot. So, I can only imagine what it’d be like if it was a home intruder. I don’t keep my side arm in a safe, but at times I don’t keep it on the night stand either. But I am an early riser so if its on my night stand, then when I get up and after I get dressed, then I put it in its location. When Its on my night stand after dealing with the livestock intruders, any bullets in the chamber are already removed before I walk back into the house.
    And yes……I have kids. They’ve been educated & trained by their grandfather (Veteran), by their dad (Veteran) & by me. They know its not a toy, they’ve been taught since they could crawl not to mess with guns as was I. Visitors to our house (young or not) do not know that we have firearms, they’re not left unattended to go snooping around either.

  9. Alan Marble June 13, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    Try to visualize how long the investigation and trial will be if you make a mistake and pull the trigger in 3.2 seconds…
    on the wrong person…. because you were still in a dream state of sleep.

  10. Royce See June 13, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    Along the same lines as you just discussed; What good`s an empty gun, it`ll get you killed quicker! On the other hand (and this is where America`s all out of wack), a weapon`s a utilitarian tool. Just like a shovel,axe, or broom.Some where along the way people lost the grasp on that part of every day life.There again they don`t teach anything about life in our schools / including tools.You have to be “ one “ with what ever you`re using. It should be second nature. John above, has it right: know the feel and placement. I`ve carried knives and guns most of the time. At 74 yrs. now i consider that. But really summing this up, i`d say it falls on the schooling system/ or lack of. Ha i think all the guys that commented before me brought up many fine points. What ever`s good for you, and me, i like the bed side board holster for my 45 and my Bowie. Thanks for listening , Royce See

  11. John D June 13, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    I keep my 1911 in a bed holster and not on the nightstand. It is positioned so my hand falls on the grip when I reach down for it.

    • Ron F June 14, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

      I use the same set up John D

    • bill June 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

      ME TOO

  12. Eddie June 13, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    We have no kids. When the grandkids spend the night, my pistol goes on a shelf in my closet the children can not access, takes me about 8 seconds to get to it. But since 99% of the time it is my wife and myself, I keep two pistols on the nightstand not holstered, and a 12 gauge behind my headboard within reach. I am perfectly comfortable with my pistols and know how to pick one up without engaging the trigger in the dark (but there is ambient light in the bedroom so it is not pitch black, I can see the pistols when I look at the nightstand). I also have an alarm system that includes motion detectors that would alert us if someone was moving towards our bedroom. A safe might be a good idea for when the grandchildren are at the house.

  13. Fred June 13, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    With NO CHILDREN ever in the house, I feel safe to leave it on the stand.

  14. Cactus31 June 13, 2017 at 9:37 am #

    I reluctantly completed the survey – not because it was a pain, or because I found it silly, but because it simply didn’t provide a way for me to accurately answer.

    I carry 24/7. Even at home, even at night. When I get ready for bed, or get dressed down, I use a Smart Carry holster. It’s soft enough to sleep comfortably w/, yet, the trigger simply cannot be pulled accidentally.

    I have small kids. Smart, curious kids, just like many of us do – I’m not willing to have an accident, and I’m not willing to compromise my family’s safety, either.

    I keep my carry weapon in me at ALL times, and any other weapons locked safely away.

  15. ollenb June 13, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    Your math in the 3 digit Sports Afield safe is wrong – the difference in 4.02 seconds and 2.51 seconds is 1.11 seconds, not 1.51 seconds.

    Other than that, this is an interesting study, which gives some useful information. At my house, the dogs will give me time to react (has been demonstrated several times, when folks just come in the drive).

    • Doug June 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

      Ollenb, check your math. It’s 1.51.

    • Ron June 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

      Look again. They were using 100’s not 60 seconds.

  16. Bill June 13, 2017 at 9:57 am #

    My weapon is on the nightstand beside my bed every night. Either my 9 mm. On my 380. On my 19 1145.whichever I feel like using that night. My home was broken into a few years ago when I was not at home. All of my weapons were stolen. I now have them in the safe. But I carry 24 seven .

  17. Steve June 13, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    I have a RFID safe by my bed. It has a bracelet that you can wear at night to open it with. I would be curious to know how that would compare to these others. Or possibly a biometric safe.

  18. Paul Noble June 13, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    I feel the point of this post is to get people to buy your gun safe. Period

    • Joshua June 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Paul, I could see how you’d think that. Please remember that, first and foremost, everyone who works for Concealed Carry Inc. is into guns and self-defense before we are into selling gun safes. We all have a permit/license to carry a concealed gun and many of us are certified firearms instructors. In other words, we are gun guys.

      This study was meant to showcase different options of how people store their firearms at night, mainly because it keeps coming up in the comments section of some of our other articles as a hot, debatable topic. We also thought this study would be a good idea because nobody else, to our knowledge, has ever done anything like this before.

      I can’t speak for the entire company for obvious reasons, but I personally didn’t get into this business (as the managing editor of this website) to get rich selling gun safes. I got into this to share my knowledge as a Marine and to help folks who are looking to start shooting guns and carry a self-defense weapon.

      While the main goal is to undoubtedly help folks out, we won’t be able to keep the lights on and conducting studies like this if we go bankrupt, so it makes sense for us to link up to products we sell to help us pay our people to keep bringing you the content we know people are dying to see.

      So no, the point was not to get people to buy our gun safe. The point was to teach people something, and we hope we were able to help do that. We appreciate each one of our readers and take feedback like this to heart. Thank you for your comment.

  19. CaptJoe June 13, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    Here is the trick. Save yourself a 21 year prison sentence taking care of yard apes and just not have the devils. No safe required.

  20. Marty June 13, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    When I was a firearms instructor many decades ago, I taught to keep the chamber of a large frame automatic empty when there were small children in the home. A small child simply does not have the strength, dexterity or knowledge to chamber a round and have a functioning weapon. If you need the weapon, it can be chambered immediately. However, properly educating a child is still very important. Like most folks, I started my daughter out with her very own BB gun at about 5. Safety was pounded into her head and the BB gun stayed in the vault when not in use. She got her own Cricket .22 when I felt she was ready for it, and now at 16, her favorite is my Sig 220. Her early firearms education kept her from being curious about weapons and to my knowledge, she never touched a gun when I was not present.

  21. Leonce LaRouche June 13, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    My Wife and I are in our middle to later sixties, my 9 mm pistol is in a drawer next to my bed, fully loaded and chambered. I can’t have it on my bed side table as I have a C-Pap machine setting there also plus a lamp. If some one was to enter my house it would take me longer to get the face mask off than get my gun out of a safe, I also have a very bright 2000 Lumen flashlight beside my C-Pap to shine in the eyes of an intruder! Being older, with heart problems, and not able to move as quickly as you do being a lot younger, I need all the advantages I can muster. I really feel these gun safes are a good idea, for people with children at the house everyday, but for us we don’t feel adding anything else to make me slower than I already am! We have taught our Grand children to stay out of or bedroom,Period! I also feel this was an advertisement to sell your gun safes!

  22. Bill Johnson June 13, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    I keep my .45 in a holster that is attached to the side of my mattress even when my kids were little they were taught not to touch my guns unless I was w/ them @ the range.

  23. Doug June 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    Jacob, Excellent study and I know it was hard to accomplish and repetitive but the results are something we can actually use, so thank you. I would have liked to see a biometric safe in operation vs the other methods. My take away is that a spring loaded door would be necessary if I purchase one. I don’t have kids or visitors so I installed a gun magnet down on the side of the nightstand so the gun sits muzzle down ready to grab but not immediately visible to an intruder coming into the bedroom and I wear the gun throughout the day, morning to bed. It works for my situation but I really appreciate knowing the information you provided.

  24. Doug June 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    I have to caution the people who think that instructing children not to touch a gun is sufficient. It is not and I for one wouldn’t want to bet the life of a child relative on finding out. Just watch some YouTube videos of children at playgrounds walking off with strangers, teenagers giving their address out on the internet and tests with children and guns and you would never trust their safety to strong instruction alone. Besides the danger of other kids or family members being in your home while your gun is accessible. It’s stupid not to control access to your firearm at all times, like playing russian roulette. The simple answer is just don’t do it, but like the children being told not to touch daddy’s gun, some of you will fail to heed that warning.

  25. Rob June 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

    What kind of holster (?) were you wearing?

    • Jacob Paulsen June 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

      Rob, good eyes. That is The Brave Response Holster.

  26. Robert June 13, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    I think a lot of comments directed at children being present are off the mark about what the question was. How many of you have children come into the room after you go to bed? All of my hand guns (except my EDC which I wear 24/7) and an AR15 are locked up at almost all times. The hand guns are in a small safe and it is in the same closet the AR is in, which is locked, except when I want to go in there. I am 77 years old and NO children ever visit my wife and I. I keep my EDC on the night stand in its’ holster, always in the exact same spot. Works for me. Do whatever works for you.

  27. Jim June 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    I have 2 terriers that sleep with me. If a mouse farts i know about it. My 1911 is in my night stand. If that mouse is gigantic he’s in trouble. Heaven help a stanger if they are in my house at night. We have no kids. To worry about. The safe idea is great if you have children but to me,at 62, it’s still to slow. The problem is that home invaders need to be elimnated then and there or they will be someone elses problem in the future.

  28. Steve N June 13, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    For the person concerned that they will one day forget to lock the firearm in a safe and leave it unattended – consider putting your car keys in the safe when you take the firearm out at night to put it on the night stand. If you forget, you won’t leave the house.

  29. Rich June 13, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    I have an in wall push button safe, that with consistent repeated practice I can access in total darkness by feel within 5 seconds (it is about 5 steps away from the bed).

    As with anything security related, you need to practice “defense in depth”. If your answer to home defense is to simply have a gun on your nightstand, you likely have some gaps in your defense planning. I have hardened my doors/windows (including the door from our basement to the living levels), have a home alarm (that is ALWAYS armed before we go to bed), so there is NO way an intruder could get into our home undetected and to our bedroom in under 5 seconds. IF an intruder were to get past those first two layers of defense, we would get our son, retreat to our bedroom, harden the door, press the alarm panic button that calls law enforcement, and then shelter in place (with our defense weapons at the ready).

    I’m not going to try and get into a “religious” war with anyone, you have to do what is best for you, your loved ones, and your personal property. But again, my point being, practice defense in depth. Most of us are not in law enforcement and shouldn’t pretend to be.

    All the best..

  30. Scotty Gunn June 13, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    Gun magnet behind the nightstand. Fast and no one knows where it is. (until now). The night sights glow so while laying in bed I can zero in on it, but it is in a natural reach spot and lots of practice has created the muscle memory thing. Once a week, I wipe it off, to shake off dust bunnies,etc.
    No kids ever in the home, so not a big issue there. I would never do this with kids. They seem to find stuff fast that they shouldn’t.

  31. Lou June 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

    Good job, gives us all a lot to think about.
    I think the answers are getting more warning time. Driveway alarms, door alarms / chimes, motion sensor, motion sensor lights, a dog ETC. Ask yourself, a friend, a police officer how would they break into my house . Slow the bad guy down, give yourself more time.
    I heard of a person who put flood lights in facing the bedroom door and a light switch at the bed.
    I have no kids in the house but if I did I might think about locking the bedroom door if that was practical.

  32. David Rollins June 14, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

    I have a pistol safe bolted to my nightstand. At night I just leave open the drop down holder and my 92FS is readily accessible.

  33. PETE OSTERGARD June 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    I don’t have any children in the house but I do have a couple of Scottie dogs that alert me to the slightest sound. I keep my 9mm on the night stand, locked and loaded. Anybody wandering into my house will not wander back out. Fumbling around in the dark with a safe or lock box can and quite surely will get you very dead.

  34. Ben Bucceri June 15, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

    A lot depends on your individualized situation. In my case I keep the gun on the nightstand, not in the nightstand drawer.I am single and there are no children living in my house (I put the gun in the safe when the grand kids come over). The reason I keep it on the nightstand is that my bedroom is in the back of the house and faces the backyard. Over my back fence there’s a “greenbelt” that a bad guy could use to climb my back fence and do me ill very quickly. So I need the gun in quick reach. If they come in through the front door or a front or side window, I’ve got some additional time to get ready. The type of gun also should factor in, so I my case I use a snubby DA .38 revolver.

  35. Michael June 15, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

    When my son was small even though he knew how to shoot, the gun was on the nightstand at night and regardless of what was going on, Christmas, weekend, whatever, the very first thing I did come morning was lock my gun up in the safe. Why? My son always had friends over and even if THEY knew how to shoot, a gun laying out is too tempting to be played with. Especially with boys. As for Glocks being stupid, that’s true, but I’ve never seen any smart guns yet either. Maybe they exist and I’m not aware of it. The truth is, there’s no perfect answers to this simply because every home situation is different. Obviously if there’s small kids around, firearms need to be secured in whatever form is necessary. Children can be hurt or killed just by stuff under the sink in the bathroom or kitchen. Nothing is ever said about things like that, it’s only firearms. It’s as if firearms just go off on their own so we better lock them up like we do a criminal. Please understand, however you do things in your home is the way it should be. Each of us has to decide what’s best for protecting our home and family, whether it’s a bad guy or a loaded firearm. How I do and did things may not work for someone else and that’s fine, I did what worked for me. The truth is, bad things can happen that doesn’t have anything to do with a gun. Kids fall, they choke on things, drink things they shouldn’t, on and on. We’d all like to have a totally safe home, but life says otherwise sometimes.
    Best wishes to everyone and stay safe,
    Michael Truhett
    U.S.C.G. Veteran
    Semper Paratus 🇺🇸

  36. Jess June 28, 2017 at 6:47 am #

    The presence of children in the home is the highest weighted element here. NO amount of training is going to change the fact that a child is still a child. They will always act like a child, have curiosity, want to impress others, etc. And they have friends. Which, as far as gun training, is a complete unknown. So if children are in the home, keep the gun locked up or on you.

  37. Russ B July 23, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    Very interesting tests and conclusions, but I find it hard to believe that we’re talking 1-4 seconds difference but for the sake of respect I will except your numbers.
    I will make one comment; in your test with the firearm on the nightstand or in the drawer I personally would not get out of bed putting my back to the danger? I would simply reach aim shoot

    I don’t have children and if I did I still would choose drawer or mattress holster

  38. John December 28, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    One thing not considered is have the gun hidden, yet readily available; such as between the mattresses, under a pillow, etc. 2 biggest things discussed were bad guys getting your gun, or kids. Bad guys aren’t gonna get your gun if they don’t know it’s there. Putting multiple guns throughout the house. My CCW instructor pointed out the importance of this! You never know what part of the house you’ll be in if a bad guy enters. Having a number of guns spread out and well hidden is a huge tactical advantage over a bad guy.

  39. David January 4, 2018 at 3:05 pm #

    Let’s address the shotgun in the corner over beyond the nightstand ready to rock. Handguns are for the yard.

  40. George Fiore January 4, 2018 at 8:23 pm #

    Keep it where you’re comfortable. For myself and my wife? On the nightstand.
    The ones we aren’t carrying are in the safe. No little ingrates running around unattended in this house. Ever. The dog would give me plenty of advance notice but I use plenty of responsible gun owner sense and my situation requires no need for my weapon to be locked up when sleeping.
    End of story.

  41. Victor January 31, 2018 at 8:27 am #

    I’m 68 years old, handicapped and my wife is 70. Neither of us have any children. I u gun in the bedside holster that hangs behind my night stand out of sight. EVERY morning it goes in a hip holster at 3 o’clock.

  42. Sean Willson January 31, 2018 at 8:37 am #

    As I have no children living with me and no reasonable expectation of having children in my home I keep weapons stashed in various locations in my home. I do have pets, both cats and a dog, who roam the house at night. This is an issue that was not brought up. A cat can quite easily knock a loaded gun to the floor which can cause an unintended discharge. That is why my guns don’t sit out on a table of any sort.

    I would like to see you run this scenario with a biometric safe. I would be very interested in the results. My hypothesis is that the times would not be much different than the Sports Afield with three digit combo.

  43. Barry Thomas January 31, 2018 at 10:15 am #

    Bought a biometric safe,thought it was a good idea. Well it would not work EVERY TIME! I reset the print several (8-10) using different fingers and it would not work EVERY TIME. Built myself a nice nightstand with the drawer in the bottom section. 2 1/2 inch skirt around top with a magnet to hold my 9 MM in position. I also have several hide out guns in my house.

  44. Harold January 31, 2018 at 10:16 am #

    A short barreled shotgun does not fit under my pillow.

  45. David A. January 31, 2018 at 10:25 am #

    Since getting my permit, I carry, all of the time. All of my other weapons are locked up at all times. The piece on me may not be the ideal response to all situations, but it is far better than none and ,yes as a gun owner I feel responsible that all my weapons can never get into the wrong hands. Kids are curious and no matter how well you think you have hidden weapons, it’s just not good enough. I was hospitalized and it was a comfort knowing that my weapons were safely locked up.

  46. David A. January 31, 2018 at 10:33 am #

    I completed a lethal weapons training course and know my legal responsibility when it comes to my weapons. There 2 things about kids that make this so important to me. #1 they are curious and smarter that you think. #2 Their brains have not developed to fully understand the repercussions of their actions, playing with a real gun to them may seem a lot like the violent video games they play. Better safe, than sorry.

  47. James Friedman January 31, 2018 at 10:48 am #

    I’m a senior citizen, Retired US Navy & Retired Law Enforcement. I live alone and mine is in the drawer of my bedside table. During the day it resides on my hip.

  48. Big Sarge January 31, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    I have a mossberg shockwave (14 in. Barrel) with an over the shoulder sling adjusted to hip level. It has a green laser, and a bright flashlight (can strobe also) mounted on it. I load it and my attached sidesaddle with double aught buckshot. It is in a safe when I’m not at home and easily accessible when I am. I have an alarm system and a 160lb Cane Corso Dog to warn me of intruders. I believe I’m well armed.

  49. Ron Bunge January 31, 2018 at 12:31 pm #

    Mine is on my nightstand and my two dogs will alert me to any break in

  50. Martin January 31, 2018 at 12:37 pm #

    I have a simular situation. I am a 79 year old single 6 year Marine Veteran. I am also a commisioned security officer and lic to carry. If I had children or my grandchildren were viditing, all weapons will be LOCKED UP. Otherwise with my roommate being 100lbs of hair and teeth GSD by my side nightly I get instant warnings of all strangers approching my condo. I prefer to keep my 357 revolver under my pillow on the other side of the bed, ready to go. I also have 12 gage coach gun at the side of my head board.
    PITTY THE FOOL !!!

  51. Normand Doyon January 31, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

    The one thing no one mentioned is the fact that at night you are in your PJ and usually under covers and not laying on top of a bed fully dress. Getting out from under the covers take a few seconds. I keep my weapon on my night stand fully loaded and a round chambered and safety on. I am a retired Navy Vietnam Veteran 100% disabled and hard of hearing so I depend on my wife to wake me up if we have a break in. we have a signal she gives me so I know we have a break-in. When I wake up I am fully awake and aware of my surrounding.
    I have always kept my weapons in the house fully loaded and one round chambered.
    I watched the video but like most of the above comments agree not realistic.

  52. Strobe January 31, 2018 at 2:03 pm #

    I simply cannot believe that some people are making the argument “you might be too sleepy to open a safe, so grab a loaded weapon”.

    If you don’t think you will wake up with a clear enough head to push 3 buttons and flip a switch, please refrain from gunfights.

    Also, let me take the “what if’s” out of this argument. I have been woken from a deep sleep with the need to pull my firearm. It was in a bedside safe, 1911 with the safety on. I had no problem popping the safe in the dark, drawing the weapon and clearing the threat (the “intruder” turned out to be a raccoon. He was let off with a warning).

    Put your gun in a safe if it’s unattended. If you are unconscious, it’s unattended.

  53. Mikial January 31, 2018 at 4:39 pm #

    We have no children, we sleep in a room with a locked and barred door, and we keep our guns loaded and on the nightstand when we go to bed. When we are awake, our guns are within inches of our fingertips, both when we’re inside the house and when we’re out. When I’m not home my wife takes her Beretta 92 into whatever room she is in. I carry at work going to the store, when I watch TV, BBQ or mow the lawn. I understand the whole secure the guns issue, and when we’re not at home any gun we’re not carrying is secured. But the whole idea of having your home defense weapon locked in a safe at night is just plain stupid.

    • keith neville January 31, 2018 at 6:46 pm #

      i agree with mikial our bedroom door is not locked we do have dogs , our safe is in the basement alot of good they’ll do me there at night ours are on the night stand the rest of the time its on my side i carry 24/7 only time i dont is at work im not permitted there

  54. WRXish January 31, 2018 at 8:59 pm #

    Everyone will of course make their own choice about this, and thanks for posting your approach and your reasoning for doing so. I have no kids at home and fairly large house. I keep most of the guns locked up in a safe but I carry one on me when I am dressed to go out, and keep one on my desk and one on my bedside table at all times. Basically they are there because they are at opposite ends of the house. If I am surprised by an intrusion before I am dressed and carrying my primary weapon, I have one close by I can put my hands on. They all stay loaded at all times. Anyone who comes in my home knows the score and they behave accordingly. Small children are not invited. If by some remote chance they were actually find their way into my home its easy enough to pick up the guns and lock em up.

  55. Ronzola February 1, 2018 at 12:05 am #

    I have a bookcase head board and no kids. I have a gun magnet on the top of the bottom shelf. It can’t be seen while standing up, yet falls right to hand when I reach for it, whether I’m standing by, or laying in bed. It’s my carry gun so it is never left unattended.

  56. 3030win February 1, 2018 at 1:31 am #

    I keep two on my nightstand. The Judge is loaded with two 000Buck and three ARX.The PT709 is loaded with 9mm ARX +Ps.
    My daughter lives here but she’s 37 years old and has her own .380.
    I’m unlikely to be surprised by a burglar since my three mid-sized dogs (all rescues and pretty territorial) would be raising so much Hell they would wake the dead.
    Oh, my wife has two on her night stand. One Ruger LCP .380 that she also carries, and a Rossi .38 both loaded with ARX.
    Don’t intend for a burglar to get another chance at “plying his trade”.

  57. Mike February 1, 2018 at 8:47 am #

    Educate and train the kids, then have them keep a weapon on their nightstands as well.

  58. SSG_Rick February 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm #

    This choice, as with ALL choices gun related, are a personal one. No two people are going to approach this the exact same way. As for me, my pistol is on my belt holstered during ALL my waking hours everyday PERIOD. It’s like my plastic I never leave home without it! As for night time hours the weapon is on a stand directly next to my bed either cocked and locked or round chambered hammer down on ALL my double actions. All of my pistols will fire as soon as I pick them up and squeeze the trigger or flip the safety catch. I’ve been carrying (in one way or another) since I entered the Army in 1972 & have extensive training with every weapon currently in use by me.

  59. Linn Deuell February 1, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

    I have a holster that hangs over the edge of the box spring, between the bed & night stand out of sight. It has a thing that goes between the mattress & box spring for support.

  60. Tony February 3, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

    One thing I haven’t seen in any of the comments is, how quickly do you think someone who had broken into your house will get to you? Assuming you hear the initial entry, do you really think someone will head straight to your bedroom in a dead run? Probably not, unless they’ve been there before and know you keep a firearm at the ready. I just ran(pun intended) a couple of tests. For me to get from my front door to my bedroom and open the sliding door, it took about 6 seconds. During the day. In a house I’ve lived in for 16+ years(so I know the layout). And I have a fairly small house. From the back door it would take longer simply because there’s more stuff in the way. I’d like to think I’d have a bit more time dealing with someone breaking in to an unfamiliar place in the dark. But I’m curious to hear others’ thoughts on the matter.

  61. KeepEmSafe February 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm #

    I compromise between locked in safe and loaded with safety off. I sleep with my handgun under my pillow and no round in the chamber. Leaving a firearm in the open on the nightstand gives an intruder the advantage because they can physically see it if they manage to get to the bedroom without me hearing them, plus safety concerns already mentioned. I have a bright tac light installed on the tac rail as another safety feature to blind and confirm my potential target. I have targeted my kids on a couple occasions with the tac light when they are sleepwalking or getting a drink of water in the middle of the night. No round goes into chamber until I have a confirmed target. I have practiced the round cycle to the point chambering is under a second. This works for me. To each his own.

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