Responsible everyday carry means carrying all day, every day. Too many concealed carriers relegate their carry to those times when they’re leaving the house for some extended period of time. Such a failure of logic and responsibility declares that there are some times when it’s okay to be defenseless; when it would be okay for an armed assailant to take one’s life.
A failure to carry while at home equates to the same declaration. I’ll argue that at-home carry is at least as important as away-from-home carry and is likely more important. Your home is your castle. For many of us, our home is where our family is and where our family most needs protection.
Many responsibly armed citizens have the useful habit of staging firearms in their homes; either for immediate access in a hidden location or in, say, a bedside handgun safe for relatively quick access. While this practice is often wise and can be useful in certain situations, it doesn’t serve you well…
- when you run out to check the mail
- when you pop over to a neighbor’s home for a quick visit
- when you take the trash out to the curb
- when you go out to tend the flower bed
- when you play with your dog in the backyard
…or for any of the myriad things you do around the house that take you outside for just a moment.
Staged firearms don’t help most particularly when you answer a knock at your door.
Home-invasion robberies and assaults happen every day. Most begin so quickly and violently that victims do not have any opportunity to go and get a staged firearm for defense. Only one who is already responsibly armed has a chance to thwart a violent invasion of their home as it begins. That pistol under the coffee table or in the closet is unlikely to help you a bit when your door is kicked in by three armed thugs who swarm into your home and beat you senseless, or worse.
Carrying At Home
Carry at home just like carry anywhere else involves, at minimum, a handgun and a tourniquet. Just as you don’t want to get caught needing a gun and not having one, you do not want to get caught needing a tourniquet and not having one. Either can save your life or the life of someone you love when seconds count.
I have staged firearms in my home. They’re for specific scenarios that are beyond the scope of this article, but even so I carry every waking moment when I’m in my home. Unless I’m in bed or in the shower, I have my pistol with me at all times. It’s therefore with me when I check the mail, when I take the garbage to the curb, and when I do all the other things that are part of being at home during the day or evening.
However, when I’m at home I want to be comfortable; more comfortable than when I’m out and about away from home during the day. If you’re like me, home time is when you throw off the discomfort and encumbrance of the day, to relax…or do housework, but in greater comfort. For responsible defensive carry, this might mean a different carry method or perhaps even a different gun for home carry than you use for away-from-home carry.
Compromises and Tips
If you carry a full-size or compact pistol in appendix or at 4 o’clock position away from home, you might change to a subcompact pistol and/or pocket carry at home. I can say from experience that carrying a subcompact, single-stack pistol at home makes for a very nice change from the mid-sized double-stack pistol I carry away from home. It’s far less encumbering and allows for far greater comfort.
I hated to give up wearing comfy sweatpants around the house when I started with defensive carry. I could still do it and carry a subcompact pistol with pocket carry at home, but I prefer to carry at home with the same method I carry away from home (appendix position); all the better for a panicked response. So I changed to wearing shorts at home. The compromise is that I have to wear a belt. It’s not my ideal for lounging around the house, but I’m prepared to make that small compromise. Since I’m not wearing a magazine pouch and phone on my belt at home, I can wear it a bit more loosely, allowing the slim, single-stack Glock 43 have little impact on comfort.
Part of what helps carrying a holstered pistol inside my waistband is the practice of wearing an undershirt. I never wore undershirts before I started carrying concealed. But I find that this small compromise makes for far greater comfort, even on hot days here in Texas when two layers might seem to be too much (it’s not).
If you prefer comfy sweatpants or shorts and no belt at home, you might consider pocket carry at home. Remember, you still need a good pocket holster. So long as your gym shorts or sweatpants have a waistband tie string, something like a Ruger LCP in your pocket will ride just fine and encumber you very little. As for tourniquets, a RATS or CAT tourniquet fits easily in a pocket with little to no encumbrance or discomfort.
You are no less vulnerable to assault, robbery, or ambush at home then elsewhere. What’s more, you likely have more to defend in and around your home than you do anywhere else. Responsibility requires that you be armed on your person and not simply have defensive arms or tourniquets “where you can get at them.” Save for a few rare anecdotes, such ideas are fantasy.
Find what works for you. Decide what small compromise of comfort you can best make, but don’t make the irresponsible mistake of failing to be armed at home. Concealed carry is not merely an occasional choice, it is a lifestyle; a responsible lifestyle.