Last week I posted an article entitled The “Run-to-the-Store Gun”, lightly criticizing those who pocket a small pistol for quick trips to the local Stop-N-Rob. In just over one week, this has become the most shared article in the history of our blog. The response has been, from what I have seen, probably about 90% favorable. The 10% who disagreed either did not read the article, did not understand the article, or, in just a few cases, were subject matter experts who had issues with certain aspects of my somewhat broad generalizations. Those who took the time to read the article should understand that I am in no way against “pocket guns”. I just feel that their ideal role is not being thrown into the pocket as the sole pistol when going to one of the places a person is most likely going to need to defend himself.
One of the roles where I favor the pocket gun is as my “Lounge-Around-The-House Gun” (would an acronym like the “LATH Gun” work???? Did I just invent something here???). As outlined in my Home Defense article, I am a big fan of being armed while at home. I find it, to a certain degree, disingenuous for people to say they use an AR-15 or shotgun as their home defense firearm when that firearm might be in a second-floor bedroom closet. If your front door gets kicked in while you are doing the dishes on the main floor, your “home defense gun” might as well be on the moon.
Along those same lines, with small children of my own in my house—and others often visiting—I am not a fan of storing firearms all over my house, be it in quick access safes, hollowed out books, the third shelf of the refrigerator, etc. For me (and, keep in mind, ALL of this is about ME), having a pistol on me allows the fastest possible access in times of need as well as complete control over whose hands touch it.
If I was out and about, shopping or whatever, and had my Glock 19 or 26 on me, then it will probably stay on me once I return home. However, there are plenty days when I know I will not be leaving the house. I might be home sick, I might have the day off with plans to paint a room or clean the garage, I might be home with a sick child, the weekend weather might be miserable, etc. On such days, I am likely to just throw on a pair of sweats or shorts and not want to be bothered with a belt, holster, etc. Accordingly, on such days I tend to just throw a Crimson Trace equipped Ruger LCP into my pocket (in a pocket holster) and call it good.
Someone who read my “Run-to-the-Store Gun” article shared to another site posed a fair question, which I will paraphrase for our readers: if a gun like the LCP is deemed (by me) subpar for a trip to the Stop-N-Rob, why is it deemed acceptable as a LATH Gun? After all, at the Stop-N-Rob I might be alone, whereas at home my whole family might be present? Are the stakes not higher at home?
In my own personal situation, I regard the LCP as fine for the LATH Gun concept. Why? In no particular order:
- It allows me to comfortably carry a gun at home in virtually any attire. “Comfort”, in this case, takes on several forms. I can paint a room, put together annoying IKEA furniture, or do any number of other tasks around the house without a holstered pistol banging into everything around me or restricting my flexibility. It also means that my kids, running up to me for a hug at crotch level, won’t knock their teeth out on my appendix-carried Glock!
- I carry it with 6+1, with a spare 7-round extended magazine in another pocket. Someone breaking in would then have to wade through 14 rounds fired at them.
- Related to #2, I have secured other weapons in my bedroom and in another location. Those 14 rounds can help me get to the “better” weapons and deploy them from there.
- I know all the distances in my house, and I feel decent using the LCP at such limited distances (I do not live in an open-floorplan mansion). These smaller guns are what I would regard as experts’ guns, and as I do not consider myself an expert, I would hesitate to use them at greater distances. At the Stop-N-Rob, I cannot be sure the distances at which my fight might take place.
- At home, though in Condition White of Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes of Awareness, I should have ample warning of a break-in. Hardened doors/frames/locks/hinge pins on the big doors, glass that would have to break, an alarm system, etc. Short of a group of ninjas making a dynamic entry with flash-bangs or a ram-equipped M113, I should be aware of attempts to gain access to my home. The LATH Gun becomes stop-gap while I access something else, move my children to a safer location, etc.
- At the Stop-N-Rob, there is at least a decent chance of needing a gun (even in “good neighborhoods”, such locations seem to attract all manner of cretins). At MY house in MY neighborhood, the chances of me needing a gun while out for a walk/run, setting out the trash cans, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or answering the doorbell are virtually nil.
- Anyone breaking into my home is presumably doing so anticipating no resistance. Just as the advocates for the pocket gun at the Stop-N-Rob will say that “most times the bad guys run when you draw a gun”, I can only assume–fairly, I think—that anyone breaking into my home is anticipating an easy time of it . Accordingly, any bullets heading in their direction are likely to have them reconsidering their life choices.
Based on all of these reasons (and a few more subtle ones), I regard pocket guns as useful in the “Lounge-Around-the-House” role. In this role, they are but one part of a layered approach to defense, which should include hardened entry points, an alarm system, perhaps a dog, and “better” firearms that can be quickly accessed if needed. Out and about outside my home (such as at the Stop-N-Rob), those layers do not exist, and any fight will have to be won with what I have on me.
Again, and I cannot stress this enough, all of the above applies to me. I recognize, for example, the fact that someone who lives in a place where an attack by a large, wild animal is a realistic possibility while doing yard work or putting out the trash cans may want to select differently. Having said that, I consider myself an average guy in a mostly average neighborhood and, accordingly, feel like a pocket gun is a decent tool for a Lounge-Around-the-House Gun.
As always, we welcome discourse. John and I have a fair amount of knowledge and try to make sensible decisions about gear and such, but are far from immune from making subpar choices. Feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page. And again, please follow us on Facebook. All of our articles posted here on the blog are cross-posted there, but we sometimes post random photos or musings on our Facebook page that do not warrant a full post here on the blog. And if you value what we are doing here, please share this or other articles to spread the word! Thanks for reading.