I know some of you will think I am being paranoid, and that there is no way that it could possibly happen to you. But honestly that way of thinking, although it may make you feel better, is wrong, and honestly dangerous.
Here are some statistics from the FBI
Home Invasion Facts:
1) According to a United States Department of Justice report: 38% of assaults & 60% of rapes occur during home invasions.
2) 1 of every 5 homes will experience a break-in or home invasion. That's over 2,000,000 homes!
3) There has been an average of 289,200 home invasions annually over the last 5 years.
4) Statistically, there are over 8,000 home invasions per day in North America
And don't think this only happens in bigger cities. I had my home broken into in Hubbardston. And I guarantee you if you called and asked your local police department how many break-ins they have every year you would be shocked.
So now that we have established that these things do happen and that you should be prepared. How do you prepare for this?
For those of us smart enough to be responsibly armed, we have a major advantage, but you still need to be able to gain access to the firearm quickly when you need it, and you need to imagine yourself being startled awake by the sound of someone breaking into your home in the middle of the night. How long would it take you to get your gun? Does it have a gun lock on it? Do you know where the key is? Where is the ammunition? By the time you get all that worked out and you are ready to go it may be to late.
So what should you do?
First decide which firearm is going to be the one you use for home defense. Whether this is a shotgun, or your every day carry pistol. For me, if it is something I hear inside my home I am grabbing my pistol, if it is something I hear outside my home, I am grabbing my Pistol and my AR with my light on it.
Once you have decided which gun you will be using for Home Defense, you then need to make that firearm ready and easily accessible without allowing unauthorized access. For me, I keep my pistol in a button combination pistol safe, they also sell finger print firearm safes. Both of these would be great options. You want something that you can access in the dark, without a key, and when you are half asleep. Then you want to practice opening this safe hundreds of times, in all conditions, including in the pitch dark. It may be extreme, but I would also suggest trying it one night by setting an alarm for yourself in the middle of the night so that you are startled awake and see how long it takes you to get the firearm ready to go.
Now, if this is you EDC (Every Day Carry) Pistol, then you can simply take it off at the end of the day before you go to bed and place it still loaded into the safe. If this is not your EDC, then you should load the firearm before you go to sleep and place it in the safe. You can then unload it again in the morning when you put your EDC pistol back on.
Now what if the home invasion happens while you are still awake and you are not by your firearm safe?
This is exactly the reason why I carry even while I am in my home. You never know when something will happen, and I don't want to be scrambling to get my firearm when something does happen. I have a responsibility to defend my family, and I want the ability to do so immediately.
Now if you don't want to carry in your home, and you decide to lock up your firearm while you are in your home, then I would suggest having a second firearm safe to store your firearm in that is more easily and quickly accessible to where you spend most of your time in the evening. So if you are in your family room watching TV, and someone tries to break in your front door you don't have to run all the way upstairs to get your firearm.
Now again if you decide you don't want to do this either, then I suggest you talk about this with your family and have a plan of what to do if something does happen. Whether that is to have everyone run to your bedroom with you, or for them to run to a closer room that can be locked and call 911 while you go for your firearm. Only you will be able to decide what works best for your home and family, but you should have plan and practice it the same as you would a fire drill.
So to sum that all up. They best way to be prepared for a situation like this is to make sure you have a plan for many different contingencies all based around your situation and home, and to make sure you have quick and easy access to your firearm while still maintaining control of who has access to the that firearm.