View Full Version : Gun on Mantle - Good Idea?

July 16, 2008, 07:59 AM
I was talking with a neighbor the other day and he told me about an intermittent string of home break-ins in our area. Apparently some punks up the road simply walk up to the front door, kick it in, and start grabbing things. In at least one case, a lady was still home and called the cops before he could get in. The punk ran off when he realized someone was in the house.

Of course I told this to my wife and her first comment is 'We have to move'. Classic, I know. But realistically that is not possible right now. It is not bad enough that I consider that a real option. But nevertheless she is very scared of being at home with the two kiddies and a guy kicking in the front door.

She is not a gun person and is not trained (I keep trying to get her to the range). However I was thinking of putting my unloaded 1911 on the mantle (possibly in a box) so that she could quickly have a deterrent if necessary? These break ins have not been violent and have generally been on an empty house.

Good idea having an empty gun available to an untrained person?



I would not want to keep an unsecured loaded gun in the den with my kids around (right now it is loaded in my gunvault).

July 16, 2008, 08:03 AM
and start grabbing things

like a box on the mantle.

July 16, 2008, 08:06 AM
my unloaded 1911


If you need a gun you need ammunition too. Granted most SD shootings involve no shots fired, but I wouldn't gamble the lives of my wife and kids on "most".

Teach her to shoot, get a big dog, get an alarm, or move.......

July 16, 2008, 09:36 AM
What would she do? Throw it at them,

if she remembered it was there! If she cannot train, or know how to load it, she would be in more danger with it there than with a good alarm, strong door, and a phone to call 911.

July 16, 2008, 09:48 AM
She is not a gun person and is not trained (I keep trying to get her to the range). However I was thinking of putting my unloaded 1911 on the mantle Definite NO!.....just something else the the thief to grab. And if he finds the ammo, the situations gets MUCH worse.

He has now been provided with a gun and ammo....your family's ability to survive the invasion is far less.

July 16, 2008, 11:20 AM
Good idea having an empty gun available to an untrained person

Doesn't even make a good club. Using an unloaded gun for home/PD defense is NOT a good idea. The first thing the perp will do is assume the gun IS loaded. If he's armed, he might very well fire his own weapon. Now your defenseless wife has an empty weapon in her hand and is being shot at.

The ONLY reason to have a gun within reach is if it's loaded and you're fully prepared to use it.

July 16, 2008, 11:24 AM
(right now it is loaded in my gunvault).

Are the kids old enough to know the gun is a "no-no"? If not, you have a tough decision. The loaded gun in a locked gun vault is about as useful as the empty gun on the mantle. Can you put it where the kids can't get to it. Yea, I know, kids can get to just about anything.

I'll also suggest a monitored alarm and/or big, loud dog. Have the alarm company put several "panic buttons" around the house.

July 16, 2008, 01:00 PM
i was going to suggest a home alarm system if the gun thing isn't going to work out...how old are the kids?

July 16, 2008, 01:04 PM
I would say two things...

One, give her at least some basic training.

Two, put the gun in something that requires a little knowledge to access. Like a finger safe.

Like the one I have in my powder room. I can get in it as quick as I could get into a regular box but anyone else cannot open it without a code or remove it from it's location since it is secured down. :)


July 16, 2008, 01:55 PM
Had a friend in a similar predicament... he solved it in much the same manner I would; since she's not experienced with guns, get her a .38 or .357 DA revolver (get one with the lightest DA pull possible, most women have less hand strength than men... if the gunstore has a woman working there, have her help pick it out), stuff it with real ammo (an unloaded gun is worthless), and depending on how old / big the kids are, either put it up out of their reach (on top of cabinets, etc.), or get a "quick-safe", one that you can unlock with a 2 or 3 finger hand salute. Get her to shoot it at least once at a range so she's familiar with it.

My mother was not a gun person (and still doesn't shoot much, though she works at a very large sporting good and arms distributor near here, one of the biggest on the East Coast, in fact) when I was a kid (well, toddler, really, as I don't remember this happening), but she told me the story of when someone came to the front door one day when my Dad was at work, and he kept beating on the door, carrying on (and this was a nice neighborhood back then)... she retrieved the .38 my Dad had placed on top of the dresser, and aimed it at the door, and told the guy to go away, or the next thing he heard would be a bullet coming through the door (don't mess with a mother and her cubs)... he wisely departed.

As to my friend's problem; they had some "youths" attempt a couple of times to burglarize the place when they weren't home; fortunately, their eagle-eye neighbor spotted 'em acting suspicious, and they took off both times... I helped my buddy put in some cameras outside (he gets home very late at night, he's a trucker) so his wife could see what was going on... and lo and behold, they tried again one night when my buddy was home... well, his wife woke him up, handed him the revolver, and he went out there, yelled at 'em to stop.. they didn't, he fired at them (it was pitch black dark)... by all accounts, we think he missed 'em, no blood trail. He called the County out... no one EVER showed up... I think they got the message, though... no further attempts to burgle that house have occurred.

Oh, and as far as the alarm system idea goes.. well, fine, but that's not going to stop an experienced miscreant; they'll know about how long they have before the law gets there... and your wife would be defenseless in the meantime... screw that... the alarm's only function in my house, when I'm home, is to let me know the perimeter is breached... ADT's job will be to send out the meatwagon.

David Armstrong
July 16, 2008, 01:58 PM
She's not a gun person, don't use a gun. A nice big aerosol can of oven cleaner has sent more than one BG packing.

July 16, 2008, 02:22 PM
Well I posted this thinking it was not a great idea but the subtle feedback I am getting here is that it is a BAD idea.... :)

I think one thing I will seriously do is install another (non externally keyed) deadbolt near the top of the door. It would be very hard to kick a door open with two deadbolts and a regular lock.

I do have a small, but really loud, dog which I believe is a decent deterrent. I have an alarm system but I agree with another poster that the response time is long compared to any personal danger a person may be in.

I think the best thing to do would be to train her. Keep the guns in the gunvault (one of those quick key types) because the kiddies are still a little two young for firearms training. Somebody kicks the front door:
1) Grab kids run to bedroom and lock door.
2) Get gun from safe by bed.
3) Call 911.
4) Yell I've got a gun repeatedly??

July 16, 2008, 02:25 PM
I agree, an unloaded gun is a bad idea on all fronts. Get her a taser/pepper spray, or train her to use the real thing. And get some alarm company stickers and put them up around the house. Can't hurt and they're cheap.

July 16, 2008, 02:25 PM
A nice big aerosol can of oven cleaner has sent more than one BG packing.Not a bad idea, but they need to come with a stream nozzle, not a spray nozzle. I don't think they're that good in the range department as is.

chris in va
July 16, 2008, 02:34 PM
Good idea having an empty gun available to an untrained person?

Sorry, but I'm surprised this is even being fielded.

Short answer, bad idea.

Yell I've got a gun repeatedly??

Again, no. That just gives away both her position and her means of defense.

And skip the 1911 thing. She needs a revolver.

July 16, 2008, 02:50 PM
Get a Bouvier des Flanders dog. They are big but nice, and they have the absolutely lowest-pitch, loud and frightening bark that anyone has ever heard. It sounds like the Hound of the Baskervilles. Seriously. NO ONE in their right mind will ever go near your backyard if that dog is seen and heard. If it's inside and just heard, a fast u-turn near the door is a 99%-er.

A lady I know well carefully checked out guard dogs and this breed was mentioned as best and best with families. My friend had Good-Reason for a careful search, as for a long while she was possible target for a murder by a certain group and under protection of US Marshal Service (which is even better than a guard dog) The Marshals eventually left. The dog didn't.

July 16, 2008, 03:10 PM
I would never let anyone have one of my unloaded guns for "personal defense" or whatever. Like what was said above, all bad guy is gonna do is assume that the gun is loaded and take action accordingly, good or bad..

July 16, 2008, 09:32 PM
How about CS foam or a super-soaker filled with habanero juice? Sounds silly but did you ever get any of that on your face or in your eye?:eek:

July 16, 2008, 10:40 PM
place it where you know it is. Adjust for children or if of sufficient age teach them how to handle and use.

If you have one a .38Spl revolver loaded with target loads is the best way to teach the wife.

July 17, 2008, 01:11 AM
<i>"get a big dog"</i>

My shooting buddy has a 95lb. Doberman-Pinscer, and that the best burgler-alarm/deterrent I can think of. The dog likes me, but lord help anyone who breaks in there. That is one big dog.

July 18, 2008, 09:14 AM

The main part of what you said that stood out was "she doesn’t have training..."

If she doesn’t know how to use it, it'll be dangerous to her as well as others around her. Pretending the kids are not involved in this portion and your wife is the only person in the house, I can see this being a problem for several reasons...

1. If she doesn’t know how to use it (Load, reload, aim, shoot, handle, if she's scared of it, etc...) she may hurt her self or others nearby
2. She may feel empowered and challenge the perp rather than flee for safety. This would clearly put her life in danger...
3. She most likely would not be ready to deal with the consequences if she actually took someone’s life. If you build yourself up to know that protecting your life as well as your loved ones life, you’ll normally come out of any defense situation with a clear conscious. If she’s not ready for that or she's not trained to deal with that, having a gun available for her should be your last resort…

July 18, 2008, 09:48 AM
I agree with the others, a 1911 is not a good idea for someone that doesn't train at all... a revolver is the original "point n' click" interface...

Uncle Ben
July 18, 2008, 10:16 AM
I don't like the idea. The REAL purpose of a gun (at least for me) is to have actual protection, not perceived. If my wife picks up a gun, I want it to be loaded. Locked in a digital keypad safe is my preference, so it can be in-hand quickly without a key, and kept loaded.

Rifleman 173
July 18, 2008, 10:43 AM
Look, the best gun is the one you have ON YOU when trouble strikes. Since she is not big into guns, you have to lure her into them. Start her off with a .22 LR revolver for plinking and, if possible, find a woman who shoots to help train your wife. The NRA might be able to guide you to a woman who is one of their certified NRA firearms instructors. After she's mastered the .22 LR move her up into soft loaded .38 special target loads fired out of a .357 magnum revolver. You also want to stay away from snub nosed revolvers and use a revolver with either a 4 or 6 inch barrel to help reduce recoil. Everything that you do to enhance her knowledge in shooting is a good thing which could save her life or yours. So a decent revolver, with at least a 4 inch barrel, is better than having her try to control the recoil of a snub nosed revolver. This is why, because of recoil associated shooting problems, so many police departments used to mandate 4 inch revolvers for the rookie officers. So if you start her firearms education off as fun and easy to do with the .22 LR, add some encouragement then suggest some formal training and you should end up with a new shooter in the family. You want to work things to the point that your wife will actually have a gun on her person, even if it is a .22 LR revolver, to help protect herself. If she learns to shoot the .22 LR effectively then it will improve her chances of survival and her factor of comfort around and using firearms.

July 18, 2008, 05:08 PM
Got to a humaine society and get a dog, mid or large sized. My pit - pointer is always at the front window. She is a -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- car however no one knows. They give you lots of love back too...

IMHO a shotgun is the best home defense weapon. I have a single shot gun under my bed.


Deaf Smith
July 18, 2008, 07:28 PM

How about puting a gun IN the Mantle?

Lots of fireplace mantle's slip off their studs. Hollow out a place in it for a loaded 1911!

Or just cut a square piece out of the mantle top, deep enough for your 1911, and then put an edge (or shoulder) on the rim of the square you cut out. Make a like piece of wood to fit over (a top, or lid) and rest on that edge you made. Gun is inside. A vase, with a cloth underneith, is over the 1911s resting place!

What you don't want is a box ON the mantle. That's so obvious any two bit thief will look inside in search of valuables.

July 23, 2008, 12:35 PM
Leaving your weapons in plain site in your home will help Joe Crackhead steal your prized pistols rifles and shotguns. A nice gun collection in a gun cabinet is an open invitation to be stolen. Don't blame the crooks when your robbed you could have protected your firearms better.

July 23, 2008, 12:40 PM
Don't blame the crooks when your robbed you could have protected your firearms better.
Ummm...I am sorry. I still blame the crooks. A person should be able to leave their belongs out in their own home.

July 23, 2008, 01:25 PM
We should also be able to walk in a public place at night if we wish without fear of being attacked. However most who can CCW do when in this position. Protection is protection.

July 23, 2008, 01:47 PM
We should also be able to walk in a public place at night if we wish without fear of being attacked. However most who can CCW do when in this position. Protection is protection.
And if a person is attacked do we not blame the attacker?

July 23, 2008, 04:21 PM
If you can't get your wife to the range and get her some training, get an alarm and a dog. A large dog.

Playboypenguin, you might be the first person I have ever met that has books stored under his sink! I thought I was a book worm but that really takes the cake! Of course, I'm single, with two bathrooms and plenty of books and magazines on the floor of my "reading room". ;)