So you bought a gun to protect your family. Now what?
We would do just about anything to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
The statistics are daunting, in 7% of all household burglaries, a household member experienced some form of violent victimization. This translates to about 266,560 violent victimizations during household burglaries, out of about 3.7 million home invasions taking place each year on average.
As trusting as we may be, we can't help but think that there may be someone out there that may want to harm us. We have to do everything we can to be ready to protect ourselves and our loved ones at all times.
Some people may install high-tech security systems – cameras, detectors, locks, and more, while others may learn self-defense. Another practical option, that helps us feel be secure, is owning a weapon at home.
A gun is a very powerful tool but can be disastrous if not kept safe and taken care of. A gun is not only a self-defense tool, but it can also be used for hunting, target shooting and to train others in the skills and responsibility of handgun ownership.
Owning a weapon entails huge responsibility. Instead of protecting ourselves and our families, it could be the cause of accidents that can prove harmful if not fatal.
Being a responsible gun owner can’t be emphasized enough. You need to take all necessary precautions to keeping the weapon away from children, and ensuring they can’t get ahold of it.
Proper handling, especially with people around, should be taken with utmost care and precaution. It should never be cleaned, assembled, disassembled, aimed and fired in the presence of children. Accidents do happen and the last thing you want is some family tragedy due to a firearm accident.
Owning a gun has almost become a necessity in this days and age of lawlessness, violence, and crime. We only desire to protect ourselves and our families from intruders that threaten our safety, security, and peace of mind.
Although we dread the day when such an unfortunate event could ever happen, we absolutely have to prepare for such an eventuality.
It is important that you know how to safely keep a firearm it in your home.
Here are the 5 things you need to know in order to safely own a gun at home:
1) Understand the firearm safety rules:
There are some standard safety rules that you have to be aware of and understand when owning a firearm.
It is best to know these rules before purchasing your own firearm. Here are the 4 rules of basic gun safety:
1) Treat all guns as if they are loaded
Treat every gun, whether you are the one holding it, or it is pointed at you, as if it's loaded. Even if you personally unload a gun, treat it “as if” it were loaded. Developing bad habits with a weapon you know to be unloaded, like pointing it at yourself and others, can easily be repeated with a loaded gun.
This kind of mentality will help you prevent unwanted accidents. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry.
2) Never point the gun at anything you're not willing to destroy
When you are not ready to shoot yet, make sure that the gun is pointed in a safe direction (holstered or up.) Do not point at anything directly if you have no intention of destroying it.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you're actually shooting the gun
Hollywood is great at portraying action heros running around with their finger on their gun triggers. This is stupid and irresponsible, and should never be done in real life.
If you're ever startled or frightened, and your finger is on the trigger, your natural reflex action will be to pull the trigger. Don't be like dumb Hollywood, keep your finger pointed forward, but off the trigger. It only takes a nano-second to move your finger back onto the trigger and fire when necessary.
4) Be sure of your target and what is behind it
Bullets travel and the last thing you want to do is accidentally injure someone because you didn't realize they were behind something you were shooting at. That includes behind walls. Make sure you know what is down range.
Also, always remove the magazine and empty the chamber when working on your firearm.
It's always advisable to remove the magazine and empty any round in the chamber of your firearm whenever you do work with your gun like cleaning it or changing a light. This is also etiquette when handing a gun to someone else – remove the magazine and empty the chamber.
2) Use a gun safe
As much as we hate to admit it, the risk of our firearms reaching the hands of unauthorized people is always present.
Keeping your gun secure does not mean you have to keep it in an ultra-secured hiding place that requires multiple passwords and keys.
In fact, you need to ensure that your firearm is easily accessible to you, yet not accessible to children and others who could do harm to you or themselves. The best place to keep your firearms is in a gun safe. The gun should be ready to fire – loaded and cocked, but locked in a safe accessible to you but not others.
A gun safe is a storage that safely and securely stores your firearms and ammunition. Two great examples of a home gun safe are the SentrySafe Pistol Safe and V-Line Top Draw Security Case.
To know more about these products, below is a brief review of each.
SentrySafe is a company that has been around for decades and they aim to help protect and organize just about anything.
The SentrySafe Biometric Quick Access Pistol Safe allows you to unlock it with the touch of your finger. You simply have to program a fingerprint and come up with reliable combinations and entries. It also allows you to set a combination, even use a key as a backup.
I have been loath to trust in Biometrics since some of the initial models were anything but reliable, but the SentrySafe is superb. Think about it, by simply keying in your's and your spouse's fingerprints, you now have a safe that's specific to the both of you and unavailable to anyone else. You can always not program the 4 position combination and for that matter, lock the key in the safe. I'm not necessarily recommending this but just trying to illustrate the reliability of only one or two people possibly opening this safe. Additionally, the construction of the safe is super secure and the metal is 12 gauge steel. I would not want to try to open it with a pry bay (and I have opened others which I won't recommend but are still listed on the California DOJ listing (well, what would they know.)) I'm not saying this would be impossible but the thickness is probably more robust than your sit on mower. It's super strong. Finally, there's even an option to secure the safe to the floor, so you can be sure someone is not going to walk off with it. All around, this safe is a tremendous value and highly recommended.
This gun safe is as high-tech as it gets and still reliable. Here are a few more of its features that will surely make you consider purchasing one:
- Single-handed access to your firearm
- Fingerprint scanner
- Pry-resistant door
- This biometric gun safe is certified to California DOJ requirements
- Can keep one firearm
- Includes an override key and a programmable digital keypad for back up access
- It has a quick and quiet entry
- The compression gas strut opens and holds the lid in an open position for easy access to your firearm
- Can program and detect up to 2 fingerprints
This is a high-quality handgun safe that easy to program, secure and that I use personally and rely upon. It is highly recommended after trying a number of other less reliable and safe gun safes. Again, the Sentry Safe Pistol Safe is really dependable, and I would recommend without reservations.
V-Line is a company that has been around for more than 20 years and has been selling high-quality safes and storage cabinets. They offer a wide variety of products of different styles and sizes at an affordable price.
Here's an image of the V-Line in the passenger back seat of my auto. You'll notice the master lock which is tethered to a cable and attached to the under part of the seat. I love this safe and I never worry about running out of battery power. With this arrangement, I have no problem allowing a valet to park the car. First of all, it's somewhat concealed under the seat, as discussed above, locked with a steel cable and master lock. This is an ideal arrangement – again, easily accessible to you and not accessible to anyone else.
The top completely covers the bottom of the safe, and although not as thick as the Sentry, the construction is such that it would take some considerable efforts to break this safe open. Again, it's as reliable as they come and just totally convenient.
Aside from being a high-quality gun safe and their high-quality, the V-Line Top Draw Security Case still includes a lot of features:
- Keyless lock
- No need for batteries
- California DOJ approved gun safe
- Its dimensions are 12″x9″x2 1/2″ and weigh 10 pounds
- Pry-resistant door
- It is five push button mechanical lock that is easily programmable
- Can accommodate up to 2 pistols depending on their sizes
- Can be placed in your vehicle, home, or office
- Has a Cortec VpCI- 133 foam square insert for extra protection
When you have a gun safe, you may be wondering where the best place to keep it is. Should it be at home or in your vehicle?
Naturally, it can be secured in either place. It would have to depend on whether you stay at home a lot more or you travel quite frequently.
To make it even better, have one gun each for your car and home to ensure safety since it would be quite troublesome to bring it around and transfer it from one place to another.
Benefits of biometric and manual gun safe
There are different types of gun safe mainly biometric and manual. Both of these are great options and they have their own strengths and weaknesses.
A biometric gun safe uses a technology where you can unlock it with just the use of your fingerprint. What makes this a great choice is that you no longer need to remember a code or you won’t need to bother keeping a key.
It makes it really safe for your treasured firearm because it will be virtually impossible for thieves to steal it. In case of a home invasion, you will be able to get your firearm fast since you won’t need to input a code or a key anymore.
Out of all other types of locks, the biometric gun safe is the most secure one you can get. As for a manual gun safe, it usually comes in the form of a combination lock system or a key lock system.
What makes this old-school type of locking system is that it does not require electricity. You won’t have to worry if its batteries are still good or not.
Both safes work really well and are completely dependable – if you purchase the right safe as discussed here.
3) Use a gun mounted light
Home invasions typically happen in the nighttime. You have to be prepared to protect yourself even when it is dark. A great way to go about this is to have a source of light ready.
I'm sure you've heard of stories where a homeowner ends up shooting a relative they believe are intruders. Why? Two reasons. This usually happens in the dark when the homeowner doesn't have a light on their firearm.
Don't make the same mistake. Remember the 4th firearm safety rule “be sure of your target.” You can't be sure in the night without a light. Get a light for all your firearms.
It would be much better if the light is attached directly to your handgun. There are quite a few great tactical lights in the market. A great example is the Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight.
I simply can't say enough about the Streamlight TLR-1 – it's simply a phenomenal lighting system for gun mounting a light to your sidearm. You can read more about this tactical light here.
This tactical flashlight is made specifically for guns. They are the best partner any gun can have when it is nightfall. Here is a list of features this Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount Tactical Flashlight has:
- 800 lumens
- Can fit different weapons
- Its dimensions are 3.39-inch length; 1.47-inch width; 1.44-inch height and weighs 4.18-ounces with batteries
- A LED light that can run for 1.75 hours straight
- Includes 2 3V CR123A lithium batteries
- Shock-proof and impact resistant
- It has a latch mechanism and tethered battery door that prevents battery door loss and enables easy battery replacement
- Includes keys for MIL-STD-1913 or Picatinny, Glock-style or standard, Beretta 90two, and Smith & Wesson 99/TSW
4) Use night sights
Again, most home defense situations occur in the dark. In order to protect yourself and your family, you will need to have a vision of the perpetrator even in the dark. Having a light can be the first instinct one would have, however, there will be situations where you would not want to get the attention of an intruder or criminal.
In other words, you've identified your target as someone who is trying to cause harm but for logical reasons, you don't want to continuously keep the light on your handgun. You don't want to make yourself a lighted target.
A great solution is to use a night sight. Night sights are commonly used by the military and police, but they can also be used for personal protection at home.
As discussed below, you're probably not going to be in a situation where you take all the time in the world to aim your firearm by looking down the sights. Night sights, however, will get you, even subliminally, pointed in the right direction.
Here are 2 great night sights that are available on the market:
Meprolight is one of the leading International Electro-Optics company that develops and manufactures products for law enforcement agencies, armed forces, and civilian markets. The company has been around for almost 3 decades.
This night vision device can be a great way for you to get that extra protection when it is dark. Here are a few more features the Meprolight Tru-Dot Sight has:
- Orange rear and green front that is visible when it is dim or dark
- Standard white on well-lit areas
- Has tritium
- Can fit Fits Glk17, 19, 22, and 23
- Solid steel construction
- No batteries needed
- Used by the army and the police
Made by a company that provides light aiming systems and known for their state-of-the-art applications of tritium and advanced fiber-optics.
Trijicon offers a lifetime warranty to all of their customers to earn their trust and they are currently catering United States Government, United States Army, United States Special Operations Forces, state and local Law Enforcement, and many more.
This night sight set from Trijicon is definitely of high quality. They are designed especially for Glock pistols. Here is a list of the Trijicon Night Sight Sets features:
- Can fit Glock models 17, 17L, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, and 39
- Tritium-filled glass
- Has an HD orange front outline
- It has a glow-in-the-dark photoluminescent paint
- A subdued rear sight to reduce glareBlack painted rings on the rear to emphasize the focus on the front
5) Practice and understand that there are different types of ammo
Choosing the right ammo can be confusing to new gun owners.
To start off, there are two general types of ammo. One is the defensive ammo and the other is target rounds. Each of these ammo has their own unique purpose and can be used in different settings.
Just as the name implies, this ammo is used for defensive purposes. There are a lot of different types and brands of defensive ammo.
According to the blog site Shooting The Bull, there are a few guidelines that you may want to follow when choosing a defensive ammo. This won't sound good, but defensive ammo has been developed for a very special reason – to as effectively as possible “stop the threat.”
The most critical requirement is that you need to choose defensive ammo that can penetrate without over penetrating. Why? You simply don't want anyone or anything to be unintendedly damaged or injured.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a defensive ammo, then the next step would be is to search for different types of ammo.
Like what is previously mentioned, there are different types of ammo. Some of these include expanding ammo, rounded ammo, sharp ammo, and much more.
To find an extensive guide to different types and brands of defensive ammo for a .380 caliber, check out this article.
Target practice rounds
Target practice rounds are just as it sounds. They are used for practicing on targets. Whether you shoot casually for fun or a pro who wishes to train on the range for a long time to improve your aim, you will need to have the right ammo to practice with.
Target practice ammo should have the following characteristics: incredibly cheap and has a low recoil. One of the most common ammo for target practice is the full metal jacket or FMJ.
A full metal jacket is an ammo that has a lead core and covered with a jacket of harder metal like copper. They are frequently used because of its affordable price and its power to penetrate targets well.
Why practice with both defensive ammo and target practice rounds?
Practicing with just one type of ammo is not advisable. Each of them has their own requirements and uses. Defensive ammo is of greater quality, lower recoil, and tends to be more expensive, while target practice rounds are cheaper and easily available to purchase whether online or in gun shops.
Practicing with both type of ammo can help broaden your knowledge with different types of bullets. You will be able to differentiate each bullet and adjust to it if necessary. It is also wise to ensure that your firearm works well with both types of ammunition.
How to practice to defend against a home invasion
If you've ever gone to a range, what you'll notice are shooters aiming at targets 50 feet away, and taking time with each shot in an attempt to hit the bull's eye. This might be fun, but it is not sufficient to practice for a home invasion.
Understand, most attacks are within close quarters – let's say 10 feet or so, and will require you to shoot without really taking aim. Remember also, it's dark, you've just woken up, you don't have ear or eye protection, and your adrenaline is racing through your body.
Your objective is to identify and stop any threat. You also need to know that many home invasions are not single intruders but many times two or more perps.
If you've ever seen a new cast of police shooting a criminal, you'll notice that they shoot multiple times. Why is this?
There are a number of reasons. First of all, even trained, your body's fight or flight mechanism and adrenaline rush will shut down your small motor skills and only allow a directional point and shoot sequence. Second, it often takes multiple hits to stop a threat. Again, your objective is not to wound someone, or shot the gun out of their hand – you won't have the ability to purposely do this – your goal is to stop the threat – which is typically them moving towards you with an intent to cause you or your family harm. It is also a well know fact that even trained police officers miss 3 out of 4 times with targets as close as 5 – 10 feet away. Do you think you will do better?
Practice by placing a target 10 feet away, and without looking down the sights, point your gun towards the target and shoot multiple rounds – 3, 4, 5 etc. Your goal is to shoot accurately without looking at your sights and in as short a time period as possible.
Second, practice in your home with an unloaded gun. What vantage points do you have to detect an intruder while providing protection for yourself? Which directions can you fire your handgun with the least amount of potential collateral damage to your family and neighbors? Also, make sure you practice in the evening with your gun mounted light. One thing you need to be aware of is that you only want to use the momentary light switch to identify your target. You do not want to prance around your home with your light turned permanently on, lest you become the target.
Finally, include your family in any practice session. Ensure they know what are their assigned safe spaces, and that while you are accessing the intruder, and trying to stop the threat, they should be quietly calling 911 for backup.
Nothing is more important than the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. No matter how we try to do our best in this world, there are still a few bad apples that we might want to protect ourselves from.
A great way for us to be prepared for such instances is to have a weapon for self-defense like a gun. A gun is a very powerful weapon that requires a lot of responsibility from its owner.
It can be very dangerous when someone else especially a child gets a hold of a gun. A gun is not only a great self-defense weapon but it can also be used for hunting and recreational purposes. When owning a gun, there are certain things you would need to know so you can safely keep it at home.
First, understand the safety rules of a firearm such us keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, treat all guns as if they are loaded, empty or remove the magazine before cleaning your gun, and point it in a safe direction.
Third use a gun mounted light. By using a light, you will be able to get a clear vision of your surroundings especially when it is dim or dark. I highly recommend the Surefire TLR-1. There are other tactical flashlights and here's a post that discusses which light to get for specific purposes, bottom line, however, for home defensive use with a handgun, I strongly encourage a gun mounted light.
Fourth use night sights. Night sights can help you see clearly even if it is pitch black. Unfortunately, most of the time, sad event, and attacks happen during the night so it is best that you are equipped with a tool that can help you see clearly when it is dark. Two great options are the Meprolight and the Trijicon.
Fifth, practice. Don't let the first time you fire your firearms be the time of a crisis. Make sure you understand that there are two types of ammo and have defensive rounds already set up for an emergency.
Remember, owning a gun comes with great responsibility. When you keep these 5 things in mind, you will not only be able to protect your family at home, you will be able to reduce the possibility of accidents from happening as well.
Always be prepared. Be well.
Hopefully, you'll never have to use your handgun for self-defense. At least you'll be prepared and you'll understand what you need to do to ensure that any handgun is easily accessible to you but safe for your family.