Questions for those with handguns in the nightstand

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  • U235

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    Jun 23, 2008
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    As of late, I've been having an internal debate as to what to do with my loaded firearms that reside in the nightstand. Originally we bought handguns for a couple reasons, mainly that I travel a lot and want my girlfriend to have something besides our 30LB dog to protect her. Also, I didn't like the feeling of being defenseless in our own home. I think this is a very standard rationale for the home defense model.

    However, recently I've been concerned about them being there., and not for any standard reasons; we don't have kids, nor do we ver have kids in the house. The concern stems from the thought of a traditional burglar hitting your house during the day while we're out. Perhaps it's the high school kids trying to score an Xbox or maybe just someone looking for stuff to pawn for their drug fix. Regardless, while they're looting your place they come across two loaded firearms. Chances are they'll take them and you'll come home to your valuables and firearms gone, but in the rare event that you come home while they're still in your house, have you just invited your own firearms to used against you?

    Maybe I'm more sensitive to the matter because as a child, my mom and I came home to our house and surprised some burglars. Fortunately, they got scared and all we heard was a window break in the back of the house. Apparently, they heard us open the garage and enter the house, threw a chair through the master bedroom window and fled. However, if they found loaded firearms in the house, their fight or flight impulse my be altered some degree, especially if they're in an area of the house that doesn't have an exit without confrontation.

    If a burglar already has a firearm prior to entering your house, they've gone in with the mindset of having a firearm and there's not much you can do in that situation. Having additional guns in the house isn't going to change the probability of them using the guns against you. This argument isn't really for the already armed burglar. For the burglars who don't have one and are presented one in the course of looting your place, there are many unknowns.

    I've thought about locking the guns and/or keeping the ammo separate from the guns, but I struggle to find something that doesn't create a huge time constraint of unlocking and finding the pieces. I won't be able to just grab them and be ready to go.

    I'm sure I'm over thinking this, but the thought of my own firearms being used against me in a surprise attack when I come home is really bothering me. What do you guys think?
     

    bonehead1185

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    I understand what you are saying about the fear of it because I have actually thought the same thing. What I did is I have a small lockbox that my gun stays in when I can't carry it otherwise it stays in the drawer in my nightstand. Before I had my CHL it stayed in the lockbox all day but now it comes out when I get home from school and stays on me or within reach at all times. The lockbox I have is one that can be mounted to a secure object so there is no worry of someone taking off with it easily and the door is resessed into it so it would be very hard to pry the door open. Its not the biggest thing in the world but it holds a box of ammo, the gun, and a spare mag with no problem. Plus its pretty fast access. Thats my situation, hope it will help you.
     

    U235

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    Yeah I'm not particularly worried about a gunsafe itself walking off with a burglar so long as it doesn't get opened at my house and used against us.

    I guess I need to look at what my lockbox options are. Biometric would be a pretty decent idea.
     

    bonehead1185

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    Biometric would be nice. I wish I could afford one! But since my funds were limited I bought the one I have at same time I got my gun. I can't find it on Academy's website but that is where I got it. It was not the cheapest but it was cheaper than some. Its just a 5 digit code and the door pops open on the front. Its about the size of a shoebox maybe a little bigger. I like it because it has a backup battery system if the batteries inside fail. All it takes is a 9 volt touching the pegs on the outside. Not sure if this helps but if you don't have a fortune to spend like me then this could be an option.
     

    Madhouse

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    Here's my siuation: There's only a handgun in my nightstand while I'm sleeping, because it's my carry gun. Carry it all day, put it in the nightstand at bedtime and put it back on in the morning. I can't carry all the time (my office), so I take it from the nightstand to the safe then. Don't leave a gun in the sightstand if you're not within reach of it.

    Just my $0.02
     

    SIG_Fiend

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    Yeah I'm not particularly worried about a gunsafe itself walking off with a burglar so long as it doesn't get opened at my house and used against us.

    I guess I need to look at what my lockbox options are. Biometric would be a pretty decent idea.

    Brian, judging what I've heard from several knowledgeable people, those biometric safes (the relatively small ones) are something to be avoided. Apparently they aren't very good quality, aren't very reliable, and are easily broken into if someone really wants to, and apparently without much effort (IE - a crowbar lol). Apparently they are more intended to provide some sort of added safety against children's idle hands getting a hold of them.

    Personally, I've come to the conclusion myself that having a handgun, at home for self defense, there is no acceptable place except next to the bed and within arms reach as well as NO trigger lock or other miniscule device to have to mess with in an urgent situation. Time and time again it has been proven that under extreme stress, your fine motor skills will decrease substantially and even operating what many think is a simple object (trigger lock) could turn in to almost an insurmountable task with some people. I've moved mine to various places around my bedroom trying to determine what's "safe", but still readily accessible in a pinch. The best option I can think of is to keep the gun near you while you're both there, and if both of you are gone to put it up in the safe if you have one or at least hide it somewhere in a closet or something with a good quality (steel) trigger lock on it. This of course would change a bit if there were kids present in the house or if you had kids, as they always seem to be able to find what's "hidden" somehow. ;)
     

    RKirby

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    As of late, I've been having an internal debate as to what to do with my loaded firearms that reside in the nightstand...................
    I'm sure I'm over thinking this, but the thought of my own firearms being used against me in a surprise attack when I come home is really bothering me. What do you guys think?

    The best solution, in my opinion, is to get your Concealed Handgun License and carry your gun everywhere the law allows. The safest place for your handgun is in a holster on your hip.

    Crime happens everywhere, not just in your home.
     

    Shorts

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    We always kept a gun in each nightstand. A great mod I saw done in another forum was to add a locking mechanism to the drawers.

    At night, take out the gun and leave it on top for easy access. In the morning, put it away before you head to work, or take it for carry.

    If you have to leave it at home, lock it up.
     

    U235

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    Brian, judging what I've heard from several knowledgeable people, those biometric safes (the relatively small ones) are something to be avoided. Apparently they aren't very good quality, aren't very reliable, and are easily broken into if someone really wants to, and apparently without much effort (IE - a crowbar lol). Apparently they are more intended to provide some sort of added safety against children's idle hands getting a hold of them.

    Personally, I've come to the conclusion myself that having a handgun, at home for self defense, there is no acceptable place except next to the bed and within arms reach as well as NO trigger lock or other miniscule device to have to mess with in an urgent situation. Time and time again it has been proven that under extreme stress, your fine motor skills will decrease substantially and even operating what many think is a simple object (trigger lock) could turn in to almost an insurmountable task with some people. I've moved mine to various places around my bedroom trying to determine what's "safe", but still readily accessible in a pinch. The best option I can think of is to keep the gun near you while you're both there, and if both of you are gone to put it up in the safe if you have one or at least hide it somewhere in a closet or something with a good quality (steel) trigger lock on it. This of course would change a bit if there were kids present in the house or if you had kids, as they always seem to be able to find what's "hidden" somehow. ;)

    This was my original rationale. I want access to the firearm in 2 seconds and it needs to be ready to fire for a home invasion; both of our firearms are safety off, DA. Initially, I didn't even think about the firearms being used against me, but now I see my firearm being used against me as a higher probability than me using against someone in a night home invasion (a rarer event I think).

    Unfortunately, neither of us are concealed and our jobs don't permit us carrying into the office. Even if we were concealed, it's unlikely we'd carry on a daily basis. My girlfriend's brother is CHL and he doesn't. I can barely remember to brush my teeth on my way out in the morning let alone equip.

    Additionally, there's no way my girlfriend or myself would be diligent enough to lock them during the day, unlock them at night.

    HK_Fiend, to your earlier comment on biometric boxes. The likelihood of a burglar breaking open the safe at your property must be low, right? Like I said, if the firearms are stolen with the entire safe, that's fine. It's the running into a burglar in our house and he has access to the firearms in the master bedroom. Our master bedroom and in fact the nightstand that they're in is the furthest from the entry point of the house.

    I've contemplating the under the matress scenario but I'm not sure that would prevent the my initial concern.

    I read on THR that people recommend combo locks where you have the first three dials pre-dialed on a daily basis so you only need to dial the fourth dial (or pick any of the four dials). When you leave for long period of times you can set it to 0-0-0-0. With training/muscle memory one should be able to click it however many times and get it opened in no time.

    However, I'm days away from purchasing a 12ga Benelli Supernova for ultimate home defense and my dilemma with this firearm can't be solved by a nightstand safe. My original idea was to hand it off the back of our bed sleigh, but it'd still be pretty obvious to any burglar.

    Thanks to everyone for the great advice. Let's continue the discussion.
     

    lonewolf23c

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    You could always modify the night stand to have a secret compartment which could include installing a concealable holster in the space above the top drawer under the top. Most burglars most likely would never think to feel around the underside of the top of a night stand or dresser for anything. They just normally look in the drawers themselves.

    Just my 2 cents.

    I have thought of that issue myself. And if I think of it myself its probably because it can and does happen.
     

    navyguy

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    I keep my G19 under the night stand, on the floor. I can get to it just as easy, if not easier then if it were in the drawer, and it's not likley a crash and run burgler would look under there. Maybe, but not likley. When the grand kids come over, it goes in the safe.
     

    Texas Patriot

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    I keep a pistol in the night stand drawer, but I also have another pistol on me at all times since I have a CHL. Also, I have an alarm system at my house that is on when nobody is home and when we are in bed for the night. I also have a nice 12 ga shotgun with light under the bed too.

    Years ago, many burglars were just that, burglars only. Just wanting some stuff to get some $$. Now many of these guys are hardened criminals, with many of them involved in drugs. Lots of them are high when they break in to a house. They don't care if they shoot you or not any more. Since the violence level of the criminal has escalated over the years, I feel that I must be prepared for that and be able to respond adequately in order to save the lives of me and my family.

    This is the reason for the heavy armament near my bed.
     

    JAFO

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    I think you'd be able to train yourself to locking them up and getting them out each day if you choose to. That's how I do it. I keep my gun and a mag in the safe, take them out each night along with a nylon holster I use to carry it around the house with. When I go to bed, the gun and mag go in a drawer while the holster stays on the nightstand to remind me to put the gun away in the morning. It took a while to train myself to get it out every night, but I only forgot to put it away once.

    As a side question, I've read that it's a good practice to have at least one step between you and accessing your gun in the middle of the night. Whether it's opening a drawer, moving a newspaper/magazine, etc. I don't mean fine motor motions like removing a trigger lock or working the combo on a lockbox, just an extra gross physical motion before you can lay your hands on the gun. Theoretically, that extra step helps you wake up a bit and before you grab a gun and aim at the nearest dark object. As a side benfit, should anyone actually be able to enter your home without waking you up, they wouldn't see your gun on the nightstand. I'd be interested in reading people's thoughts on this.
     

    TJ Willy

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    Lots of good input here.

    I have a 12 month old so I am in the same night stand delimma. Currently, I keep my glock 22 and my carry PT140 or SA1911 micro or Taurus 85CH depending on what I carry that day. So usually two guns in night stand.

    I work on a military base (contractor) so I can't carry all day meaning often TWO guns are left in the Night stand.

    So I am going to put a Vaultsafe or similar in the top drawer - i prefer no batteries. (enough kids toys all over the place that take batteries - haha) and just keep the others locked up in the safe.

    I like have the 22 right there... so that will probably stay. The rest I will have to just unlock and lock up as needed.
     

    jimmy-buffett

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    I think of the concept "nightstand gun" as more of a concept than something to be taken literally. Point being, it doesn't have to be in the nightstand, you can put it somewhere within 5 feet that isn't the most apparent place for somebody to look, but that is still easy for you to access if you need to.
     

    SIG_Fiend

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    All that I do is have the gun with a loaded mag in it but no round in the chamber. A quick rack of the slide is all that's necessary and it's good to go. That's simple enough, takes a conscious decision to do (I'd be wide awake by that time), and there is no possibility of accidentally tripping the trigger and firing the gun if I get startled and reach for the gun in just the wrong manner. Personally, it works for me and I really like the idea of it for my case. There was one time where I used this method due to my idiot cat playing around at the front door in the middle of the night and knocking something over. The thing I liked is as soon as I awoke, I reached for my Sig, forcefully racked the slide, and just the procedure of doing that alone caused me to go from awake but sort of disoriented, to fully awake (especially from hearing the metal ca-chink sound of the slide actuating) and very alert. Man my cat is such a dork sometimes. ;)
     

    bikerbill

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    One of the best questions I've seen on any gun forum ... it really made me think ... we don't have kids and I'm retired, so I'm around the house most of the time ... I don't carry my nightstand gun; it's a 1911 and a bit too heavy for summer carry in Texas. I do usually bring it with me into the living room if I'm home, just in case those burglars are too stupid to realize somebody is inside ... But now I'm going to have to think about stashing it somewhere if I go out ... I'll probably start locking it in a case and slipping it on top of the bathroom cabinet during the day (you have to stand on the toilet to reach the top) and bring it out at night ...
     

    TAZ

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    There are some pretty affordable alternatives out there. I have a couple of safes stashed around the house in addition to my "real" safe. Stack-On makes a pretty cheap drawer safe that is relatively hard to open. No thick seams or hinges visible so someone rummaging through the house will have to remove it before they can get into it. The smaller safes are meant more to keep my 3yo from getting his hands on a gun that is not being worn and to make then inaccessible to theifs. The safes can be removed from the house pretty easily (clip a cable, tear out a lag bolt...), but it they will make it difficult to use the gun one me should I surprise a burglar. Guess they can be used as impact weapons though. My gun gets carried around the house and then goes in safe overnight or if I am going anywhere I cant carry. The wifes gun is always in a safe sicne she doesnt have a CHL.
     

    Thumper_6119

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    Wife and I both keep firearms ON the nightstand at night. In the morning, they are on the person. (Nothing left unsecure. Everything in the safe). We have 1 schnauzer in the house, and 3 outside. These are one of the best intrusion detection systems in the world. They will bark if a mouse farts 2 houses down. If someone so much as rattled a window or bumped an exterior door, they go off. So I'm not worried about someone getting to my gun in the middle of the night. But when we leave the house, the nightstand guns are on us.
     

    ETH77

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    Guns in/on the nightstand

    I too am one who has a loaded non-chambered weapon. My reason is the same as stated above.

    My wife's firearm is locked and loaded. Should she need to support me she's ready.
     
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