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Keeping Home Defense Guns Accessible

Many people who don't have small children in the home have gotten into the practice of keeping a defensive firearm in a readily accessible gun safe somewhere in the house, immediately available in case of a home invasion or other violent crime. The key, of course, is to find a place to put the gun so that it is readily available, yet secured and out of sight to unauthorized people. However, what is often overlooked is the need for defensive firearms to be compatible with every member of the family who is authorized to use them.

While we do what we can to familiarize our family members with firearms, some are just not very interested in guns and have no desire to learn how all of the various kind operate and function. It is critical that defensive guns be of a kind that every authorized family member understands and feels comfortable in operating. Over the years, I have run across several families that have found ways to solve this problem.

Charlie (we'll call him that because that is not his name) lives with his wife and teenage daughter. They have discussed personal defense and have worked to develop their own personal defense plan. However, the wife and daughter are just not interested in spending the time to learn to handle a handgun safely and effectively. Charlie's solution was to buy a couple of Mossberg youth-model pump shotguns, in 20 gauge loaded with number three, or four buckshot. The guns fit the wife and daughter perfectly, they shoot them well, and can handle them safely. On the other hand, the shotgun stocks are a bit short for Charlie, however he is also very comfortable with the guns and can safely use them in defensive situations, since everyone can manage a stock that is too short for them, but no one can do so with a stock that is too long for them. In this case, all three family members have access to guns that they understand and can operate safely and effectively.
Charlie could just as easily have chosen a Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic compact Light Rifle which is even easier to handle (ZERO recoil, lighter weight, and low noise signature) and is equally effective with good high velocity, Eley primed rounds (CCI Velocitors, or Aguila Interceptors) loaded into a Ruger 25 round BX25 magazine. A formidable little rifle, indeed.

George (another assumed name) is a retired police officer who trained with revolvers back in the days before his department transitioned to autos. He is comfortable with both, though he prefers an auto for personal defense. His wife, on the other hand, doesn't want anything to do with autos although she shoots a double-action revolver very well. George went to some gun shows and found a number of Smith & Wesson K-frame revolvers, all chambering the .38 Special cartridge. They now have a DA revolver for self-defensive uses, along with speedloaders paired to the revolver. While George still prefers his autos, they both now have quick access to a defense gun that they both can handle effectively.

We can't expect every family member to be as involved in guns and shooting as we might be. But this only means that we identify which type of gun and model everyone understands how to use safely in order for their comfort level to be as high as possible. And we may have to compromise just a bit to get this accomplished, but we absolutely must also get them professional training on the platform you’ve chosen. That's just fine because you can still carry your favorite defensive gun on your hip, just make sure that there are defensive firearms available to the authorized members of your family that they understand, have been trained with, and can shoot well.