What should you do with your gun at night while you sleep? There are several different thoughts and ideas about this and what is considered to be safe in terms of firearms storage. We take a very direct stance on this that says it's generally not a good idea to keep any firearms unlocked or out in the open while you're sleeping.
The main reason why, is because we want to keep our guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, whether children or criminals.
We tend to catch some heat for our stance on this, but please hear me out.
In a recent class a student told me,
“My father taught me that when there is an intruder in the home seconds count and you won't have time to get to the gun safe. You should sleep with the gun on your night stand for quick and easy access.”
While I agree that time is important and not really on your side when you need to protect life, striking a balance is key especially if you have young children at home.
Your firearm storage plans in your home should revolve around gun safes. That is plural because it's a good idea to have a main safe for the rest of your guns, and a quick access safe for your nightstand gun.
When a firearm is properly stored in a gun safe it is secure against various dangers including burglars and little children. Quality gun safes have the added benefit of also protecting the contents from flood and fire.
Many of them can be opened quickly and stored in places where one would feel they need emergency access to the firearm.
The key is to properly balance availability and safety. A small gun safe mounted to your nightstand or in the drawer of your night stand makes that firearm nearly as available as the gun sitting atop the nightstand but it also adds a significant layer of safety while reducing liability and risk.
Here is a short graphic on a test I did, showing the time difference between using different types of safes, the drawer of the nightstand, and nothing at all which was the control:
As you can see keeping the gun in a safe is a little slower, but only about 1.5 seconds for the quickest type of safe. With practice, you can get faster.
I talk a lot more about this in the following video, as well as show these tests as I ran them:
Of course, as pointed out in the video, things would play out very differently in the middle of the night if you're attacked. You have to deal with grogginess and motor function issues, but as with all things, you should practice these things.
You should know what it is like to get to your gun quickly so you can defend yourself appropriately.
And of course, we go into a lot of detail on home defense in our Complete Home Defense course, found by clicking on that link.
How do you balance availability and safety? Let us know in the comments below.
This is an update to an article originally published on 12/5/15.