One of the biggest accessories in firearms is one of the most important, although sometimes most overlooked. How to store your firearm when not in use…and while in use. It’s the battle of safely storing your firearms while still keeping them readily available in case of emergency. The State of Michigan requires that gun owners prevent “unauthorized people to have access” to your guns. This can lead to some big questions for some people and the worst thing you can do is ignore them. Let’s get the first rule of storing a gun: a locked gun is a useless gun. I will break down how to store guns in two ways. The first way is the way to store your guns when they are not in use. The second way is to store guns that are in use.
Before that, lets talk about why there are two groups. We have to store guns and store them securely. But locked up guns are useless in an emergency. Seconds count. Therefore, I have one firearm ready at all times. Out in the country, predators are not just the human kind. I have to protect my chickens, cats, dog, kids from natural predators. I do this by keeping my EDC with me, or my larger Glock 17 home defense gun, at all times. Then, when I go to sleep, I have a bedside safe with a biometric lock that I keep my home defense gun in while my EDC goes into the gunvault. Thats where I keep the rest of my guns.
But I have more strategies than just that. Some people like to have a home defense gun that is a carbine or a shotgun, which are great ideas. But they don’t fit into a normal bedside safe. Some people store their home defense gun, pistol or whatever, elsewhere during the day. Another small gun vault is a good idea. Other ideas are a “tactical trap” that looks like a coffee table, a hanging picture, or a shelf that has a hidden compartment that stores a gun of various sizes. You can get one that is a Bluetooth Tower speaker, it looks pretty cool and can stand out on it’s own without looking out of place. You can even knock a hole in your wall, trim it out and put a bracket up that will hold your firearm and then cover it up with a painting. That is a great, low cost, high labor idea.
I eventually will get one of those to keep the home defense gun when I get the money. I haven’t decided which one, either. But, one thing is for sure, the home defense pistol is going to be reinforced with either a shotgun or a carbine of some sort. Why? Because my wife and children are quite capable of defending the house, but not nearly as good a shot with a pistol as I am. Besides, I would prefer to take out a raccoon with an AR-15 because sometimes I can’t close the distance fast enough to engage with a pistol.
Before I go any further, I will say that I do trap for raccoons, possums, and other predators. Currently, I have raccoons and a fox that are nearby and I have chickens and rabbits that need protection. We also had a rabbit get killed in a cage from a weasel a few months ago. Firearms are only one tool that I use to protect my homestead. Don’t ever allow a firearm to be your only protection, either. Defense-in-depth is the strongest defense!
For the bigger gun vault that is for storage, I have one serious bit of advice. That is, allow for expansion. If you buy a gunvault on sale that fits just the guns you have….well…you just went back to square one with your next gun purchase: no storage. You need expansion. But you don’t need a super Fatboy Fire Supreme 6000 with LED lights, either. A simple sheet metal locker can often do the job well enough. I say don’t go cheap, but don’t break the bank, either. Don’t let the price of the locker/vault dip too much into your ammo fund…that ammo is training and training is most important.
Also consider where you live. Getting a 64 gun vault with a ceiling fan installed isn’t a good idea if you live in a one bedroom apartment on the 4th floor with no elevator. You also don’t want the location of the gunvault to be visible at all. Seriously. All the advertisements for Liberty Safes seem to have them looking pretty in the living room or den. There is no one in the world that needs to see that you have a gunvault except you…and maybe the cops if you get into a legal problem. Having a gunvault visible does invite trouble. If its only visible to family and close friends, guess what? That is the crowd that has the majority of thievery. Not kidding. No one needs to see your gun vault.
Please do yourself a favor. Have the wife use the gunvault, too. My wife hates it, but I make her do it. Otherwise, she won’t remember the combination and I’ll get a call when I’m at Annual Training with the National Guard asking what the combination is yet again because she saw a raccoon.
A third thing you might want to consider is work your “safe room” and your “intruder plan” into your storage strategies. Your safe room should have a first aid kit, cell phone, a spare magazine for the home defense gun, and a card that states what to say to the 911 operator. But where your gun is kept has to be a part of that strategy. Why do I say that? Well, it’s storage against unauthorized access. What if your safe room is your young sons bedroom. Maybe a spare magazine lying around isn’t the best option. You may want to store it somehow that is easy to access. That’s just something to think about.
I will say this: safely storing your firearm is very important. It’s almost as important as how you carry it, but neither of those are as important as how you train with it. Train yourself to access the firearm from where it’s kept. Trust me on that. I have a biometric gunvault because it’s easier than a combo to remember. However, you still have to swipe your finger at a certain angle and a certain speed. It takes practice, DO NOT buy into the ease that the manufacturer tells you it is to open it. Train on opening it. Because when the time comes that you have an intruder, it might be when you are wakened from sleep and surging on adrenaline. How you open the vault will change from the normal way. Practice, practice, practice. I can never stress that enough.
All this gun vault talk has me thinking of an idea for the next blog: Defense-in-depth: Effective home defense plans! Stay tuned!