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If you keep a firearm for home defense, this raises a question — how do you keep it accessible? What are the key access points to your home, and where can you get to a gun in a hurry? You should consider this carefully when preparing yourself and your residence for home defense.
What is Staging?
No one can predict when they will need a firearm for self-defense. That’s one luxury a criminal has — he chooses when to strike. All you can do is to reduce your chances of being taken by surprise and prepare accordingly. If a man forces his way into your home, what are weak points?
Staging refers to where you place or store your firearms so that they’re available when you need them.
Staging a Gun
There are a wide variety of options for staging or otherwise maintaining access to firearms for home defense. You can’t predict when you’ll need it or how much time you’ll have to grab it.
The simplest and most secure method of retaining access to a firearm is to wear it. This is common advice regarding concealed or open carry outside the home, but many homeowners choose to wear their weapons at all times in their residence.
Carrying your firearm at home enables you to draw and deploy it immediately should the need arise. If a home invader smashes a window or breaks open your front door, you’ll have your weapon within reach at a moment’s notice.
It’s also arguably one of the safest places to keep a firearm, especially if you have young children. If you’re wearing sweatpants or shorts during the summer, you can still comfortably carry a weapon in a belly band or other non-waistband holster.
Some gun owners object to having to carry their firearm at home during their leisure hours. After all, your home is where you’re supposed to decompress. This is where it may be more useful to stage your guns instead.
To stage a gun means to place or store it so you can easily retrieve it if your home is burgled or broken into.
Make a mental floor plan of your home. Where are the likeliest entry points for a home invader? Once you determine this, find out where you spend the most time in your home and prepare accordingly.
You should note: If someone breaks into your home through one of the entry points you’ve established, will that person be able to block you from either escaping or accessing your staged gun? If the answer is yes, you need to re-evaluate your weapon’s position.
Consider staging a gun in the location that you spend the most time. One way to stage a gun is to buy a quick-access gun safe.
These are available in various configurations and locking systems—some open with an RFID bracelet or with an electronic keypad. When the safe opens, it allows you to grab it as you normally would or acquire a full firing grip on your pistol and draw it.
This method of staging ensures that the pistol remains secure against unauthorized access or theft. However, remember that if a gun safe is not bolted to the floor, a wall, or another fixture, it can be stolen.
If your gun safe isn’t bolted, explore alternative methods of protecting it against theft. These can include everything from hiding/camouflaging it, gluing it, or adding weight and bulk to render it impossible to maneuver or fit through your door.
End tables, coffee tables, desks, and bookcases offer staging opportunities for firearms containers and other special-purpose gun safes. You can purchase furniture items with these gun safes integrated into them, so they blend in with the room. Alternately, you can attach a gun safe behind or below these items for excellent concealment.
If you spend any amount of time in your kitchen, it’s worth having access to a weapon there. This can take the form of a quick-access gun safe located under the counter or inside a cupboard or cabinet.
You may decide, as many gun owners do, to set a gun aside on your nightstand or in a drawer. This maintains access and, if you hear a loud noise in the middle of the night, your weapon is close at hand. However, this is also an insecure option, which increases the risk of theft when you leave your home unoccupied. Alternatively, many gun owners who have young children worry that firearms left unattended pose a hazard.
The solution to the safety concern that doesn’t compromise accessibility is a dedicated gun safe designed for the bedroom. This is a flat quick-access container you can slide under the bed frame, allowing you to open it and remove your weapon in a matter of seconds.
A Note about Vehicles
You’ve probably had to lock your gun in the trunk of your car because you faced a “No Guns Allowed” sign at a restaurant or other business. Maybe you’ve had to transport firearms across state lines. Regardless, if you spend any length of time in a vehicle, keeping a gun in your car or truck can make sense.
However, your vehicle is not a substitute for a dedicated gun safe. Doors that lock are good, but if your car is broken into or stolen, you don’t want to supply a criminal with a firearm inadvertently.
A quick-access gun safe and some ingenuity can help you prepare yourself and your home against violent attack. When someone breaks into your home, time is of the essence. If you don’t carry a handgun on your person, having one within reach can seriously improve your odds of protecting yourself and your family from criminal aggression.
Be strategic in where you place the gun safe. It shouldn’t be immediately apparent what it is, especially if it’s not directly bolted to a surface. You may consider hiding or camouflaging it. If it is out in the open, the safe should rely on weight or an awkward design to deter theft.
Consider placement carefully. Can you reach the safe and retrieve your firearm quickly? What if an intruder enters from this window or that door? Does your plan still apply? Would an intruder block your access? Evaluate your home’s layout and plan accordingly.
Staging is all about strategic placement to ensure that you’re able to reach your home-defense weapon quickly in the event of a burglary or home invasion. One or two well-placed gun safes can do the trick, allowing you to protect yourself when seconds count.