Home-Carry Handgun

It’s the logical counter
to the increasing possibility of home invasion.
And it doesn’t have to be your primary carry gun.

A pocket holster in your lounging sweatpants ensures you’re going
to take it with you when you move around the house.

These days, burglars seem to be less concerned about breaking into an occupied dwelling than they did in the past. Doesn’t sound very smart, does it? With the rise of the new “gun culture,” things are changing. Whereas people used to buy a gun, fire a few rounds, clean it and throw it in the sock drawer — there to remain until the estate is inventoried 30 years later — people now buy guns, carry them and shoot them too!

The old saw burglars are “as scared of you as you are of them” is no longer operative. Whatever the reason, we’re seeing more about home invasions and this leads us to some critical issues pertaining to how to prepare for defense in such situations. A friend of mine prefers “buckshot or carbine.” This is based on a case from a few years back when a home defender ran out of ammo in his handgun when facing multiple home invaders and was killed.

Tiger McKee pointed out in a feature for Tactical Wire (www.thetacticalwire.com) that he knows many people who carry concealed in public. When they return home, they consider it a “safe environment.” So the first thing they do is disarm themselves — removing their pistol as they “mentally unplug.”

The “ready” gun. Stashing it under a couch blanket or pillow is OK, provided you’re sitting there with it.

Access vs. Liability

Tiger’s feature was titled “Home Carry” and it’s appropriate. The problem with not wearing a gun at home is one of access — your access to the gun as well as that of people who should not have it.

This brings up the “Rule 5” issue for preventing access. Rule 5 is a concept first given wide exposure by Stephen Wenger’s Defensive Use of Firearms (www.spw-duf.info). It originated with Arizona attorneys Michael Anthony and Robert Brown. Anthony was on the “CCW Committee” for Arizona’s DPS and was assisted by Robert Brown.

Brown did a study of lawsuits against gun owners and was surprised to learn most gun owners — and most of the successful lawsuits against gun owners — did not involve wrongful shootings. They involved unauthorized access through improper storage, resulting in misuse of the firearm by someone other than the owner. The lawsuit angle is only one problem, the chance for criminal prosecution a different side to the same coin.

The real concern is the potential for tragic injuries and loss of life, often victimizing children — this is the critical reason for adherence to Rule 5, which is — “Maintain control of your defensive gear.”

This is more of a problem when the gun is a rifle or shotgun. They’re large, unwieldy and can’t be carried on your person all the time like a handgun. I agree with being able to respond, even if there are multiple offenders, but these affairs aren’t usually static, standing-on-the-range events. If you’re at the 7-yard line and your ammo is on the bench back at the 25-yard line, you have a problem. But fights tend to be fluid and you don’t have to stand fast.

When stoked with high-performance ammo like Buffalo Bore’s +P offerings,
the handy little Ruger LCP380 (left) may try to squirm out of your hand.
The larger and heftier LC380 (right) might be a better choice in terms of controllability and comfort.

Stash Or Pack?

You might think the solution is to store handguns around your residence. Again, this is not a good idea. There’s an internet video of a toddler scaling the side of a refrigerator to get at something his parents didn’t want him to have — and that’s only a toddler.

You can do what you want, but I’m uncomfortable with the “stash ’em around” concept. Again, Rule 5 intrudes. Will you remember where every single gun is and have them all gathered up and secured before strangers or family with children show up?

If you want to carry a pistol to the living room when you sit to watch television, what do you do with it when you get up to refill your iced tea? Carry it with you? Will you remember to carry it back?

What if you need to use both hands to do something? Wouldn’t it be easier just to wear the gun? Yes, I know. Your 15-shot 9mm tugs at your PJ’s or there’s no pocket on your sweatpants. And forget it totally with the BVD’s!

Still, Tiger McKee concluded:

“Attacks in the home are increasing in number. I’m hearing more and more about bad guys coming into the house whether anyone is home or not. The only way to be truly prepared is to have the pistol on you.”

Staging guns around the house isn’t the answer — for reasons of access and potential tragedy. Slinging a carbine or fowling piece and wearing it around the house may lead to your significant other seeking an involuntary commitment for you, as well as one of those snazzy cross-armed sports coats they have at The Home.

So what’s left? What do you end up with? Well, carrying a gun.

No matter your caliber, stay with modern high-performance defensive loads
like the Speer Gold Dot HP’s at right. Those old target wadcutters at
left could do in a pinch, but why not go with something a bit more potent?

For home carry, old-school can still be cool. This alloy Colt Agent .38 snubbie —
featuring the original factory hammer shroud — has some miles on it,
but it’s still serviceable enough to allow you to escape to where you have heavier artillery hidden.

An Obvious Solution

If you only have access to one firearm and you’re wearing it, it needs to be of sufficient power (service pistol/revolver cartridge) and capacity (enough ammo to finish the job you start. Don’t forget the example of the home defender running dry!).

In my situation I simply wear street clothes at home all the time once dressed until bedtime. For me, this allows for a service pistol in compact format (e.g., GLOCK 19, Lightweight Commander-class auto), plus a small backup gun (S&W J-Frame, Ruger LCR, small auto).

For those times I’m in lounging attire, a pocket holster with a small 7-shot auto has to do. Not nearly enough, right?

Again, in my situation, it works. Mine is a ranch-style residence. At one end is the “last resort,” the room where I sleep. The daily “roll-out” service pistol is in there. The access doors are centered on the structure, front and back. At the other end I have access to a secure storage container with a quick access arrangement when I’m on the premises. Inside there’s considerable response equipment.

If I’m caught in the middle, I can open the ball with seven rounds of .380 ACP. Like the proverbial busload of politicians on the bottom of a lake, it’s a “good start.”

This proposed solution — a small gun — has been much discussed around Gun Culture circles. One correspondent referred to a very small gun with one of the frame-mounted clips to go over a waistband. He uses this or the DeSantis Clip Grip #T07 on an S&W J-Frame revolver for his “all-the-time” gun at home. It’s something I’d like to try some time.

Even very small .380’s such as the Ruger LCP can deliver impressive results at 7 yards.
And in low-light conditions indoors at night, the integral Crimson Trace LaserGuard will pay off.

Bianchi’s Model 4501 Pocket Change holster is obviously designed to be stuck in a pocket (left).
Discreet yet accessible, this DeSantis IWB rig would be an ideal choice for home carry.

The Size To Power Ratio

I’ve been packing the Ruger LCP380 with the Crimson Trace Laserguard for those “around the house” duties. With six rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber — and packing it in the Elite Survival 1-L pocket holster or the Galco Stow-N-Go Clip-On IWB rig — it’s just a little bit of gun but enough to start the fight. With it, I don’t have to stay in one place and plant my feet. I can work to the secure area for the “ready guns” or to the shop for the bigger artillery.

Having taken this LCP380 to the range recently — you do shoot your defensive arms, don’t you? — I was surprised by the bark and squirm of the little cannon. So out came the GLOCK 42 .380 with the its Crimson Trace Laserguard. Still having the 6+1 capacity, it’s easier by far to connect with quickly. Still, either will work. If you have considerable issues with arthritis or other medical problems that keep you away from a compact 9mm or .38 revolver, the Ruger LC380 is an outstanding choice. It’s easily charged from a loaded magazine and is very easy to handle. And it recoils less than the smaller LCP380.

What fits for you? Examine your physical layout, including security, the nature of your location and proxemics — distance to points-of-entry from your likely location within the house. Don’t just accept my plan or the long gun plan — and especially not the “hide guns around the house” plan — without thinking it through.

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