As 'gun people', we often like arguing about a plethora of aspects in our culture. Handgun people in particular have a knack for finding something to have a heartfelt, sometimes maniacal opinion on. This point of view propagates a new found purpose in their life to proselytize any nonbelievers they might find wandering the vast deserts of ’inexperienced’ gun owner ignorance. Desolate places of which they (of course) have avoided in their own well-reasoned and rational world. Gun brands, action types, calibers, finishes, carry methods...”it is what drives us, what defines us” to quote Agent Smith of the Matrix movie fame. One such topic that I've seen appear on a regular basis on these forums, is the idea of 'home carry'. That is, the regular carry of a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) on ones person while we are safely ensconced in our domicile of choice. Our own personal castle and sheathed but at the ready sword...so to say.
My particular journey has taken many turns and many years to arrive at where I stand today. As I repose now, in my house, writing these words, a Kahr CM9 comfortably sits in my right jeans pocket while a spare magazine and folding knife resides in my left pocket. This is the case today, tomorrow and every day to follow that I can foresee. I can hear the calls of paranoia, crazy person already starting. I shall explain.
Let's take a brief look at my particular journey. Growing up on a farm, i was allowed to keep my hunting rifle and ammunition in my bedroom from the age of about 12. At that young age, I was driving heavy equipment that could effortlessly, through negligence, kill myself or anyone else around me in an instant so a firearm was seen as no more or no less a danger. Times do change. Being far out in the country, I still remember one day coming to the conclusion that it would probably be a good idea to keep at least one of my two magazines for my .243 loaded "just in case" it was quickly needed. There started my slippery slope to always being prepared at home.
Fast forward to my twenties. Having bought a Glock 17 during the first year they were available in the USA, I also obtained my initial CCW permit. The G17 was followed by the G19 when that became available. Carrying a pistol for self-defense slowly increased in frequency until it was more like putting my seatbelt on in the car when preparing to drive down the road. At that time however, we had an incident at our house that made me consider ratcheting up our home security to a new level. My young wife was in the kitchen of our rented farmhouse that was surrounded by fields and woods. A very quiet place when darkness fell as it had on that day. She heard a sound at the back door like a heavy coat brushing against the siding as though someone was leaning in close to the house to scan the entire room. A loud knock immediately followed. To her credit and my eternal relief, she immediately dropped what she was doing and retreated upstairs to retrieved her Lady Smith .38 Special. There she waited at the ready for five minutes until I got home from work. Once there, I grabbed my 12 gauge shotgun and immediately went to work attempting to locate the person or their tracks. A few expended rounds of birdshot were also used to get the point across that the intruder should never return. Lights and alarms were added as well as additionally keeping my Ruger MK II ,22 at a hidden location in the living room in the event we needed a firearm and could not get upstairs.
That’s the way it stayed for quite a few years. Many guns rotated in and out of my preferred CCW slot. Eventually, even better options for concealed carry came along in the Kahr PM/CM9 and the Ruger LCP. These two pistols made pocket carry a very viable option with a cartridge that was more effective than the old tiny pistol chamberings of .22 RF, .25ACP and .32 ACP.
Anyone who watches the news has seen the proliferation of home invasions. If you are like I was, it raises a point of concern, but what are the chances it will happen to you or your family? Remote at best…certainly.
I live outside a quiet little town in Lancaster County PA. A number of years ago, a mother, father and son were brutally stabbed to death in their house. A college age daughter ran from the house and survived. The manhunt went on for many months without resolution. When the teenage perpetrator was finally caught, he revealed that he had driven the area looking at other houses to attack. Houses in my neighborhood! As a result I’ve decided to be constantly armed. Not fretting every instant of my existence but just having my CCW on me just the same as putting on my shoes if I’m going out in the yard so I don’t step on something sharp with my bare feet.
My current selection of loaded firearm either kept in rapid access safes or on my person in my home.
So what options do we have for CCW ‘in-house’? Available pistols are often categorized in ‘full-sized’, ‘compact’, ‘sub-compact’ and ‘mini’. Full-sized includes such stalwarts as the Glock 17, Beretta 92 and Browning Hi-Power. These typically hold 15 to 17 rounds in their magazines. As such, they would be the most effective in a protracted gun fight since they are easier to shoot and have a higher capacity on board without reloading. Unfortunately they are also comparatively big and heavy. In most cases, they require open carry or covering garments. Not the most ideal if you are trying to maintain a low profile in your neighborhood. Compacts like the Glock 19 are smaller but still require most of the same considerations as the full-sized. The bulge under your untucked tee-shirt is just a smaller bulge under your untucked tee-shirt. Remember, I did use the Glock 19 as my primary CCW for a few years. Sub-compacts like the Glock 26/27 offer a big improvement in concealability while maintaining a reasonable magazine capacity. Not only do they conceal even more readily under garments but they also open up the possibility of an ankle rig or even pocket carry. Many think that pocket carry is out of the question for the Glock 26/27 but with the right pants/shorts with a substantial pock, it is possible and even easy to do. The last category is the ‘mini’. This group has exploded in size in the last decade. Kel-Tec PF-9, Kahr PM/CM9 and PM/CM40, Beretta Nano, Kimber Solo and Glock 43 to name some of the more popular. An even smaller sub group of the mini’s are the ever increasing field of .380 pistols. Glock 42, Beretta Pico, Kahr PM380 and Ruger LCP/LCP II. These pistols can also be carried similarly to their larger brethren in various types of belt holsters but they really shine in the ‘inside the pocket’ holster.
'One' of this selection is always (where legal) on my person. Including Home CCW. Clothing selection for the current weather conditions dictates which one.
For house carry I’ve settled on the Kahr CM9. It is light enough to not be obtrusive but is chambered in 9mm which is more than adequate for defensive purposes. I do also use the Ruger LCP, especially if my back is bothering me as it is lighter yet and I still consider it effective when loaded with Federal HSTs. I’ve considered open carry with one of my Glocks but I want to be able to walk out into my yard or answer the front door without the neighbors seeing that I’m armed. A few of them have been references for me on my CCW permit applications so they do know that I carry but I’d rather avoid offending or alarming someone who does not share my personal beliefs on self-defense. I do keep my Glock 41 and Glock 27 loaded and in rapid access safes for the occasion when something goes bump in the night. A couple of good dogs who are trustworthy around children but are appropriately protective round out our home’s active self defense.
Kahr CM9. My most often used Home CCW.
Link to my CM9 review:
Kahr CM9. My most often used Home CCW.
Link to my CM9 review:
Ruger LCP. My 'fall back' Home CCW when even the CM9 is too big.
Link to my LCP review:
So am I paranoid for carrying in the house? I don’t think so. I work in the OR of a local Level 1 Trauma Center Hospital. I get to see the results of violent crimes, negligence and being at the wrong place at the wrong time on a daily basis. Often, when we are called to the Trauma Bay to assess whether the OR’s services will be emergently needed, the injuries are from a MVA (motor vehicle accident). During the EMT’s report they will say if the person had been wearing their seatbelt or not. When the report states ‘unrestrained’ there is an almost sub-audible sigh from the room. If only they had taken the basic precaution of putting their seatbelt on, their condition would most likely not be as bad as they now present. If only the homeowner had a firearm at hand when the perpetrators kicked down their front door while they sat in the living room watching television. If only…. They might still be with us today.
That is my rational. Calm, reasoned, safe, comfortable concealed carry of an effective firearm while inside of my house to protect my family and myself if the need ever arises. I hope it never happens just as I hope to never be in a serious car accident. Tomorrow as today, I will put on my seatbelt in my car and will carry my CCW everywhere I can, including my house.
By Gary Wohlforth