Choosing a Nightstand Gun

posted on September 9, 2017

There’s nothing more disconcerting than waking up to conflict from a deep slumber. Most people have experienced this to some degree, whether it’s just a bump in the night or actually an intruder prowling around the house. Either way, there’s nothing like the peace of mind knowing that a firearm is immediately handy. Protection of life and property can’t be efficiently accomplished with a baseball bat.

We know that even those who seem to be highly apathetic to firearms in general often don’t have an aversion to having a gun in the bedroom for self-defense or defense of loved ones, and rightly so. Gun-packing liberals know that, oftentimes, a firearm is their only way out. Clearly, this isn’t always the case with these types, but I sure know a few. 

Having a reliable firearm immediately accessible to your sleeping area makes good sense. This is true whether it’s your bed at home, a hotel room or out in the wilderness. Regardless of your sleeping conditions, choosing the proper firearm is imperative. In this case, just any gun may not be practical.

Face it, many gun owners have only one firearm available to them. Even for those one-gun households, much thought should be given to the right firearm for personal protection while in slumber. For gun owners with multiple firearm choices, picking the right gun for the bedside table is imperative.

It can be difficult to make ready with a firearm in a bad situation under good circumstances. If you’re in deep sleep and suddenly awaken to a problem, confusion is likely to be the first thing experienced. Acquisition of a firearm might not be the first thing considered – it might take a bit to awaken enough to figure out there might be a problem requiring the use of a gun. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any practical way to train for this particular scenario.

I’ve kept a handgun by my bedside table for as long as I can remember. During my law-enforcement career, it was generally my duty sidearm. I carried this gun every day and knew it better than the back of my hand. I was entirely familiar with it. I could pick it up in the dark and have it at ready in a second without fumbling around. It always went automatically into the right spot in my hand for a proper grip. This type of familiarization is what I recommend for anyone’s nightstand gun.

If one wakes up from a deep sleep to find an intruder, the last thing they want is to go for a gun they’re not familiar with. A semi-automatic pistol with a safety might not be a good idea. Unless the person is an expert with the 1911, that model might not be the ideal choice to have bedside. This is one of the reasons I lean toward the revolver for this purpose. Concerning less-experienced shooters, a revolver such as the Smith & Wesson J Frame 642 would be an ideal choice. Nothing to worry about but pulling the double-action trigger. Also, the double-action only trigger-pull is weighty enough to avoid accidental discharge while half asleep. The 642 is chambered for the .38 Spl. +P, and many shooters are concerned that the .38, even +P, might not be enough gun, in which case the Model 640 in .357 Mag. might be a more suitable choice.

The Ruger LCR hammerless revolver chambered in .357 Mag. is also a fine choice for personal defense, and would fit perfectly as a nightstand firearm. The LCR is very lightweight, which is potentially a double-edged sword. Practicing with this great little revolver with full-house magnum ammo can be a painful experience for novices.

Taurus and Charter Arms also offer hammerless revolvers that are well worth looking into. My promotion of the hammerless revolver as a nightstand gun is based on one premise – simplicity.     

For those who aren’t revolver fans, there are any number of excellent semi-automatic pistols which will fill the bill perfectly as a bedside companion. Again, in my opinion the key here is ease of use in a potentially confusing situation. 

The striker-fired auto pistol took the handgun market by storm some years ago, and continues to be one the best selling pistol configurations. Pistols such as Glock, Springfield Armory, CZ USA, S&W and Ruger, among others all should be considered excellent choices for personal defense, including as a nighttime protection tool. Once more, the potential to handle the firearm without too many mechanical complications is of extreme importance. 

The striker-fired pistol such as the Glock are famous for their almost effortless operation. Once the pistol is in battery, it’s ready to go. No switches or levers other than the slide stop. Just pull the trigger. As far as the application as a bedside gun, needless to say -almost perfect. The toughest decision with one of the guns is choosing a caliber. 

There are other considerations when it comes to nighttime-protection pistols. One of them is sight configuration. Night sights on your bedside gun would certainly be a good idea. In my estimation, the ideal setup would be simply one tritium insert in the front sight. This way the shooter won’t be confused by three dots that are identical. In a bad situation in darkness, believe it or not, this can be a problem. With just the front sight illuminated, there’s no doubt whatsoever what you’re looking at.

For an experienced handgun shooter, his or her nighttime protection gun boils down to personal preference and what they are comfortable with. For the less experienced, the less complicated the tool the better.

The most important aspect of the equation is that the firearm is available and ready to go.


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