Whether you call it a “nightstand gun” or a “bedside gun,” the concept is the same: a firearm you keep near your bed in the event that you need to defend yourself (and your family) from a threat that emerges while you’re asleep.

You hear people use the terminology a lot, but rarely do you hear anyone go into detail beyond the make and model. Where, exactly, do you keep it? Literally on your nightstand, stashed under the bed, perhaps in your sock drawer, or one of those biometric safes that you have within easy reach?

We’re going to look at these storage locations and some products related to them and evaluate the pros and cons of each. We’ll also cover some ways to best prepare should you need to get to your gun in the dark, with the adrenaline rushing but perhaps still a bit groggy from a deep sleep.

(Note: for the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus solely on handguns. That’s not to say that using a rifle or shotgun might be the better option for you, your situation, and your home - it’s just not the focus of this piece.)

In a Bedside Holster

Blackhawk Bedside
The BLACKHAWK! bedside holster fits between the mattress and the box spring or frame and keeps a handgun secure and at the ready. • MSRP: $22.88BLACKHAWK!

Pros:

  • Easy access: attached right to the side of your bed.

  • Gun is secured in a holster, preventing negligent trigger contact.

Cons:

  • Usually utilize hook-and-loop fasteners, which can be knocked loose.

  • Requires an additional equipment purchase.

Literally on the Nightstand

Nightstand Gun
A gun that's actually on the nightstand is very much at the ready, but not very secure.Logan Metesh

Pros:

  • It doesn't get any simpler than this.

  • The gun is right next to your bed, within arm's reach.

  • No extra equipment/holsters are necessary.

Cons:

  • Immediately visible to anyone in the room.

  • Highest potential for access by an unauthorized user.

In the Sock Drawer

Nighstand Gun
A lot of people still keep a nighttime defensive gun in their sock drawer.Logan Metesh

Pros:

  • Out of sight of unauthorized users.

  • Readily accessible if you know the location.

  • No extra equipment/holsters are necessary.

Cons:

  • Not immediately accessible.

  • Have to find it among the socks.

Under the Bed

bedside guns
Keeping your gun under the bed can expose it to a lot more dust and dirt than if it were kept in a holster or quick access safe.thisoldhouse.com

Pros:

  • Out of sight of unauthorized users.

  • Easy access: roll off the bed and grab the gun.

  • No extra equipment/holsters are necessary.

Cons:

  • Dust bunnies reproduce like, well, bunnies under the bed.

  • More care, cleaning, and maintenance if not in some kind of case.

  • Have to be mindful of anything else stored under the bed.

In a Quick Access Safe

GOJOOASIS Gun Safe
The GOJOOASIS Gun Safe cane be mounted in unconventional places and make a firearm ready, quickly.GOJOOASIS

Pros:

  • Out of sight of unauthorized users.

  • Provides secure access to multiple users, if desired.

Cons:

  • Must be able to execute entry method effectively under stress. (Finger patterns, thumb print placement, etc).

  • It's mechanical and, while unlikely, failure to work is not out of the question.

  • Requires an additional equipment purchase.

Be Prepared: Training & Equipment

Like any aspect of safe firearms handling, the best way to get good at it is to train with it and get to know how it works so that you can perform the actions flawlessly and relatively mindlessly.

The same goes for these storage options. If you’re not confident that you can get to your gun, wherever you’ve chosen to store it, then you’ve defeated the purpose of storing it there in the first place.

You need to run the “bump-in-the-night” scenario ahead of time, in a controlled environment, with a gun that you know is unloaded. Better yet, run it with a “blue gun” if you have access to one.

Figure out how to get out of bed and gain access to your gun in the safest and timeliest manner possible. Uncover your potential hiccups: where are my glasses, don’t trip over the blanket chest, etc.

Drill, Drill, Drill

Of course, you can only be so prepared for a real-life scenario if you’re running these drills fully aware of what’s going on. If you have an understanding spouse/partner, have them set an obnoxious alarm on your phone and an unknown-to-you time in the middle of the night. If you live alone, ask a coworker to set it for you. Then, when the alarm goes off, spring into action.

If you can pull it off perfectly, then you’re good to go. Run a refresher a handful of times a year. If you’ve got some issues to iron out, then run it until you don’t.

One final note on training and equipment: if your nightstand gun doesn’t have a light on it, or if your version of a nightstand gun requires you to move through your room to get to it, then you need a flashlight on your nightstand. Use that light to get to your gun and get to the lightswitch. Don’t fight in the dark unless you absolutely, positively have no other choice.

Now that we’ve gone over the storage methods, let’s take a look at some of the actual products you can use to create a viable nightstand gun solution for you.

Quick-Access Safes

GunVault MicroVault Biometric
GunVault MicroVault Biometric pistol safe • $169.99GunVault

The MicroVault Biometric pistol safe from GunVault provides secure storage with quick access to an authorized user. The safe can store up to 20 unique fingerprints, making it ideal for any number of people in your home who you decide should have access to the safe. The pistol safe is battery powered, but has a mechanical key override if necessary. MSRP: of $169.99

Magnets

GO-Magnets
If you have a metal bed frame or headboard, GO-Magnets could be a great choice for keeping your nighttime defensive firearm wherever it is most convenient, though this position may not be the best idea. • MSRP: $39.47GO-Magnets

GO-Magnets are a good option if you want to simply stick your gun to something magnetic near your bed. It could be your bed frame, the headboard, a floor lamp post, etc. The magnets are super strong and covered in a non-marring material to protect your gun and the host object. GO-Magnets have an MSRP of $39.47 for a three-pack.

Bedside Holsters

Crossbreed Bedside Backup
Bedside holsters like the Crossbreed Bedside Backup keep a firearm secure and at the ready. • MSRP: $62.95Crossbreed Holsters

CrossBreed Holsters Bedside Backup uses a T-shaped kydex platform covered in hook-and-loop fasteners. With the T-shape on it's side, you stick the post in between your mattress and box spring to hold it in place. Then, attach a holster with a hook-and-loop backing to the face of the plate. Now your gun is safely stored in a holster right on the side of your bed. MSRP: of $62.95

(Stay tuned for a full review of this holster soon!)

Hidden Furniture

Liberty Home Concealment
Concealment furniture has taken off lately. While options like this end table from Liberty Home Concealment are a bit expensive, they can be ideal for some. • MSRP: $289.99Liberty Home Concealment

Liberty Home Concealment offers a storage option that is multifunction. Their Concealment End Table can be used as your actual nightstand and as your quick access storage location with their drop-down, slide-out compartment.

The foam insert can be custom-fit for your gun, a spare magazine, a flashlight, or whatever else you might need. The Concealment End Table has an MSRP of $289.99.

Combo: Biometric Bedside

ArmsReach
The ArmsReach Defender combines the readiness of a bedside holster with the security of a vault. • MSRP: $199.99ArmsReach

The ArmsReach Defender combines bedside reach with biometric access. Essentially, it takes a biometric pistol safe and attaches it to the T-shaped platform used by CrossBreed.

It can store multiple users’ fingerprints and runs on an A/C plug with a battery backup in case the power goes out. The ArmsReach Defender has an MSRP of $199.99.