Learn the best way to store your firearms and ammo so your weapons are always ready
This article was sponsored by STNGR*
Be Prepared, the Gunowner’s Mantra
You got the gun. You’ve taken the safety courses. Now what? …
Is it legal to carry a loaded firearm on your person at home? Is it legal to leave a loaded firearm in easy access? Are there children about? What about anyone else who shouldn’t find your firearm? Is there a point to even have a firearm if it must be kept useless in the moment you might need it?
Evidently, you’ve answered that last one as yes: it is better to have it and not need it than the reverse. Besides, the chances of quick draw scenarios in your home are less likely than having a few moments to get ready.
That said, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood, gun control means being in control of any gun around: if you are trained and it is legal, always keeping the gun on your person makes sense. This isn’t practical for everyone due to legal, social, familial, etc reasons. This also suggests you have a handgun, but it is more likely you have a long gun. Always walking around with a scattergun can be tedious if not downright unsettling.
So, what do you do to be as prepared as possible where you cannot “be heeled”. Hidey spots (sock drawers, hidden cubbies etc.) sound convenient (and cheap) but may run afoul of laws (see below). If you have kids, you want a safe. Where to put it?
The first place is in the house where you spend 1/3 of your life (ideally): the bedroom. Your significant other is likely there also around most of the same time. The bedroom provides cover, and if there is an in-suite bathroom, that is where the family can shelter while you remain ready.
Know your laws. Does your state have a “castle law” where you can defend your property? Does it have a so-called obligation to retreat law, meaning you cannot investigate or challenge the intruders? The latter means you can only use force if they come after you and you have nowhere else to go.
Second place to keep a firearm would be a home office or workshop. Again, it is where you spend most of the time, so access will be easier. This gives you an advantage to arm up, gather the family where you can shelter in place, or keep their position known while you investigate, depending on laws (see above).
Third would be a central access space: a hall closet or safe on the way to gathering family into the safe space, the point being to save a few extra seconds in preparation time.
What is the best way to keep the gun ready?
Many places make it illegal to keep a loaded firearm where a minor can get to it. Many of those places refer to a loaded magazine SEPARATE from the firearm as a “loaded firearm”. Sadly, laws doesn’t need to make sense to be laws – but you need to know them if a judge gets involved after the fact.
Further, you don’t want your firearm accessed by an intruder. A safe (obvious or hidden) solves this issue. One that employs a biometric lock, or fingerpads used in a sequence, or anything other than having to turn dials or find keys (likely in the dark) in a crisis.
Ammunition and firearms kept separately – refer to local laws AND discuss with your significant other: weigh the pros and cons of loading in crisis or keeping the gun ready.
A stored weapon should NOT have a round in the chamber.
Magazine fed firearms are easy to go from unloaded to loaded and ready with a minimum set of rehearsed moves. Pump action shotguns (with the action lock engaged or not), though technically “loaded” can get from unchambered to chambered quickly with a sound that lets everyone know what you have (and lets the baddies know where you are, so be ready).
Finally, don’t forget about your firearm. Check in on it. Make sure it’s how you left it. You should train with it, ideally monthly: gun handling is a perishable skill, don’t get complacent.
Because there are many options, what is ideal for your specific circumstances may have to be worked on, but while figuring it out consider
location – where you spend the most time;
security – how to keep others from getting it;
action – train before; shelter or investigate during.
Investigate? That should not be chosen lightly – if legal. Even trained professionals are wary of going off to look for trouble. It’s ok to decide it’s just better to be ready should trouble insist on finding you.
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* DISCLAIMER: Survival Dispatch has no formal relationship with STNGR and does not receive any form of compensation from them.