Have you ever wondered if you should buy a gun for home protection? You might think that this would be the simple answer to security worries, but there are many safety precautions that you need to put in place before heading to your local gun shop! Weapons safety is paramount and needs to be taught to everyone in the household prior to purchasing. If you have children, it’s important to put considerable safety precautions in place and understand that kids are curious by nature – if you hide it, they will find it. For children, it’s important to remove the mystery of guns through education, while emphasizing the danger of handling them.
Are you on the fence about buying a gun?
Should you have guns in the home? Why do you feel that you need one? Are you concerned about burglars? Kidnappers? Post-apocalyptic looters? Understanding your threat will help you to decide not only the type of gun that suits you best, but also the amount of training needed to become proficient.
What type of gun are you planning on buying? Would you be willing to train regularly in order to maintain proficiency? Do you feel that you’d be able to shoot an intruder if you or your family’s life was in danger? Do you understand the laws in your state governing gun ownership and the use of deadly weapons against intruders?
Storage of Guns in the Home
How you store your gun is another hot topic with home-owners. Gun safety courses teach you the four basic safety rules for proper handling and, in some states, must provide you with a trigger or cable lock before leaving the store. They recommend storing weapons in a quality gun safe to increase safety, but don’t offer much more in home advice. Although gun safes are an effective method of storage, some home-owners have questioned their ability to rapidly open the safe, remove the cable lock, load the weapon and then identify a shoot or no shoot situation before it’s too late. While these are valid concerns, it’s up to you to discuss both the safety and security sides of the argument, evaluating your situation before deciding what’s right for you!
The next question to ask is, “Which caliber weapon should I buy?” Many people have made the mistake of buying the largest caliber handgun available, returning home with popular 50 caliber or 357 Magnum hand cannons. What they soon realize is that a sore hand and atrocious target are the only things that they remember about their first gun purchase. They either forgo the necessary training or sell the weapon to the next unsuspecting home-owner… Either way it’s a waste of money that doesn’t provide you any safety or piece of mind.
If handguns are your weapons of choice, we recommend sticking with the common calibers like 9mm, 40, and 45. These calibers are easy to shoot and have extensive research documenting their effectiveness on soft tissue (aka bad guys). While at the gun store, it’s important to test fire different makes and models, to make sure that you’re buying the right gun for your body type and size. Regardless of caliber, we’d insist on purchasing a quality weapon-mounted flash-light, so that you can easily identify family members during low light emergencies.
One of the most commonly overlooked weapons for home defense is the 12-gauge shotgun. Although low on ammo capacity, they pack a very effective punch. Handguns require a high level of training to be accurate in stressful situations due to their size and sight radius. One of the most common mistakes made when shooting handguns is something called mashing (pressing hard on the trigger forcing the barrel downward) causing your bullet to strike the ground rather than your target. Although this can be prevented, it requires many hours of repetitive training under high levels of stress and is still a problem for some of the most experienced shooters.
With a shotgun, the longer sight radius and hand placement reduce the effects of mashing and because of the spread of the buckshot ammunition, are rarely off target when used at close range. More importantly, the universally known sound a shotgun makes when racking the slide can potentially be an effective deterrent for most intruders. There are critics that disagree with that theory, but research shows that the majority of home intruders are looking for quick sale items to fund drug habits and are not looking to get into a gunfight.
Now that you’ve selected your weapon, how will you train in order to use it properly? Training should be ongoing and the knowledge received should be shared among family members to be truly effective. There are many courses available, some are better than others. We recommend that you research each company thoroughly in order to get the right training for your situation.
When searching for programs, it’s important to be realistic and not expect to shoot like they do in the movies. Understand that you may experience short-term limitations when exposed to stressful situations, from tunnel vision to partial memory loss when trying to remember details of a simulated engagement. Experts agree that most people operate at only 30% of their mental abilities during high stress situations and have difficulty with simple tasks, like dialing 911. Even elite units like Police SWAT teams and Military Special Forces, who spend hundreds of hours a year honing their weapons handling and decision making skills, still fall victim to mistakes when under stress.
Hopefully we’ve given you a few things to think about when making such a difficult decision! We can’t emphasize enough the importance of firearms safety. After years of operating in the tactical world, one fact stands out more than anything else – physical training is useless without a well-trained mind.
Seek knowledge, stay safe and always be prepared!