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Old July 8, 2021, 10:36 PM   #1
Sriracha
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Camping/sleeping while armed

Hi all,
What are your thoughts on methods for sleeping while armed?
I go hiking and camping and suspect it's probably statistically safer in the woods than even the suburbs where I live. It's Georgia, so no grizzlies, wolves, or large kitties. Nonetheless, there's a mild feeling of vulnerability when sleeping outside, so it's comforting to have a sidearm.

I don't sleep-walk or move around unusually while sleeping but am still wary of unintentional motions. For ordinary carry, I have a Sig P238 in my pocket holster in condition 1; cocked/locked. But when camping and sleeping outside, I prefer a J-frame revolver with the next chamber empty and enclosed in a nearby closed fanny pack-type holster for peace of mind.

The only other method so far that I feel comfortable with is an autoloader in condition 3--no round in chamber. There are obvious disadvantages for self-defense, but the principle is to require my mind to be alert enough to perform deliberate motions to ready the gun. Any other ideas or advice?

Thanks,
- Sriracha
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Old July 9, 2021, 12:18 AM   #2
jmstr
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You have to do what is right for you- not me. My approach is not a model, but my approach.

I am in areas of black bears, mt lions, coyotes, and 2-legged [email protected]@hats.

When I am camping, I prefer a firearm in my tent.

Where I am camping determines what gun: 9mm, .45acp or .357mag.

Whatever gun I have, my rule is that it is in a holster and within reach, but is under a shirt of something, so that anyone 'glancing in' doesn't see anything threatening.

I don't keep an empty chamber in the revolver. I'd rather have all 6 rounds and not need them.

I don't sleep with my hand on the pistol, and i don't move a lot in my sleep.

If it is a semi-auto, my 'camping' holster is a cheap one that has a thumb break retention strap. I use this as my 'alertness' test.
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Old July 9, 2021, 04:55 AM   #3
JJ45
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When fishing, hunting, hiking or camping where there might be "off road" activity and unnatural movement like slipping off of a rock , etc. I carry in a full flap holster.

The military surplus ones with the post fastener, not a snap...snaps can come un-snapped. The old Bianchi practical holster for the Ruger single actions is a good one too as it has the turning fastener and not a snap

The 1895 Nagant surplus holsters are cheap and sturdy with an integral pouch for extra rounds and loops for a cleaning rod....they house a 4 inch stainless 357 Ruger Security Six or similar... I also have surplus Makarov rigs that are similar and even a surplus W German P-38 full flap that is a perfect fit for 4.75" Ruger 22/45....these holsters have an integral pouch that hold an extra magazine.

The full flap rig is obviously slower to engage but I like the extra security when in the boonies... but like jmstr said, it's what's right for you.
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Old July 9, 2021, 07:48 AM   #4
NoSecondBest
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Jmstr covered it pretty well. Just about exactly what I do.
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Old July 9, 2021, 01:56 PM   #5
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I have a single action revolver, 6 rounds loaded, holstered, with a thumb break strap. It is beside my head. Within easy reach, with a T-shirt covering.
Under the edge of sleeping bag is an 870, loaded with 9 rounds of buckshot.
A 20#, furry, alarm clock, at my side. He will quietly warn me of anyone within 50 yards. At 10 yards, not so quietly warn them.

The majority of my tent camping is on the beach, very secluded and the only threat is from 2-legged miscreants.
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Old July 9, 2021, 04:37 PM   #6
shafter
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If I'm woken up in my sleep needing a gun I want it fully loaded and ready to go. I simply strip the holster off my belt and sleep with the holstered pistol somewhere within easy reach.

If you have a good holster it will cover the trigger and have good retention. Nothing more is needed.
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Old July 9, 2021, 06:15 PM   #7
ChasHam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sriracha View Post
But when camping and sleeping outside, I prefer a J-frame revolver with the next chamber empty
Why would you do that…leaving you with only four rounds— and a double-double action to the first boom?
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Old July 9, 2021, 07:00 PM   #8
dgludwig
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Quote:
I prefer a J-frame revolver with the next chamber empty
Why? Now, as ChasHam said, you have a four shot revolver. Every J-frame Smith that I've ever pulled the trigger on had an especially heavy da trigger pull; way too heavy for my wife to shoot. I guess on the newer models you could use the key and lock the gun to be super safe.
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Old July 9, 2021, 07:30 PM   #9
shurshot
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Fully loaded under my pillow, whether at home or at camp, in a tent, etc. Same spot for years.
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Old July 9, 2021, 08:23 PM   #10
Sriracha
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Quote:
Why? Now, as ChasHam said, you have a four shot revolver.
Thanks for the comments, everyone. Yeah, I do understand your point about giving up a round and having to "double-click" on an already heavy trigger.

There's some small chance that I'll do something creatively stupid during my sleep to snag the trigger and pull it. And of course the point of redundant measures is that there's an extremely low chance that I'll unintentionally pull the trigger twice. In the tradeoff between two hazards (unintended trigger pull vs. disadvantages in defense), I guess I'm currently putting a lot more emphasis on the first hazard.

Nonetheless, it's valuable to hear you folks' experience to reassess my own practices. Seems that most here have just learned to become comfortable with a holstered gun with no particular extra measures. I do like the idea of a flap holster or a thumb break -- minimal delay with a bit of extra safety.

- Sriracha
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Old July 9, 2021, 08:32 PM   #11
TunnelRat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sriracha
There's some small chance that I'll do something creatively stupid during my sleep to snag the trigger and pull it.
Id suggest leaving the revolver in a holster while you sleep.
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Old July 10, 2021, 09:56 AM   #12
JustJake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sriracha
There's some small chance that I'll do something creatively stupid during my sleep to snag the trigger and pull it.
Quote:
I'd suggest leaving the revolver in a holster while you sleep.
Yep, keep that roscoe holstered.

You never know when a bear might sneak its paw inside your tent trying to steal some food and accidentally catch a claw inside the trigger guard.

Then, KABOOM! ... and you wake up screaming from a round that just splattered bloody nads all over your sleepin' roll!
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Old July 10, 2021, 10:39 AM   #13
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MANY years ago when I lived in Houston, my wife and I would go to Galveston and camp on the beach (legal back then, not sure about now). Always had my Ithaca pump and my 357 inside the tent as there were usually a group of hard core bikers raising hell somewhere on the beach most of the night. The shotgun was "cruiser ready" and the S&W had all cylinders ready to go.
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Old July 10, 2021, 12:38 PM   #14
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I camp in a hammock. It has a small side pocket that I keep my holstered firearm in. It is within easy reach, but hidden from view. It is a DA only auto with a round in the chamber.
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Old July 10, 2021, 03:44 PM   #15
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I'd probably attach a full-sized .45 or 10mm to my wrist, with a lanyard.
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Old July 10, 2021, 06:07 PM   #16
blackhawk45
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I've been sleeping for better than forty years with a revolver under my pillow, and a twelve guage that's within easy reach, loaded with seven rounds of 00 buck.
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Old July 10, 2021, 06:18 PM   #17
geologist
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The old prospectors and geologists I worked for used to keep their handguns on a white towel or sheet of paper by their bunk to make it easier to find in the dark. Some would tie a white piece of cloth to the end of their rifle or shotgun barrel to make it easier to see in low light.

I usually ran a lanyard to my revolver and early days taped a flashlight to my rifle and later had weapon mounted lights as they simplify night moves.........
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Old July 10, 2021, 08:03 PM   #18
Crankylove
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Revolver with a full cylinder, or auto loader in condition 1, in a holster under my pillow.
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Old July 10, 2021, 09:22 PM   #19
HiBC
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I've never met you.
I would hope you believe you know yourself better than I do.

Maybe you are a sleepwalker. I don't know.

I could tell you how I sleep every night,but really,that is no ones business and you are not me.

Assess yourself. Have confidence in your decisions.

Don't worry about internet approval.

If you do screw up,own it. "The internet told me I was doing it right" does not hold water.

When you go armed,you are alone in your responsibiities.
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Old July 11, 2021, 08:45 PM   #20
JustJake
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Quote:
Maybe you are a sleepwalker.
That could be worse.

Think: armed, somnolent, ... and ambulatory.
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Old July 12, 2021, 08:26 AM   #21
Moonglum
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Maybe I was in the Army too long but I don't camp alone and not every one is ever asleep at the same time.

My handgun or rifle (as the case may be) is next to my bag.
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Old July 12, 2021, 02:12 PM   #22
jrsgunbooks
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I camp with a fully loaded pistol, safety on usually a double stack 9mm or a 1911 in a fully enclosed snap holster inside my sleeping bag.
This protects the gun and me from fumbling round looking for it in a tent.

I've only pulled it out one time. I was camping in the mountains of New Mexico in a remote area off of a dirt road. About 2:30am I was awakened by an approaching vehicle. It sounded like a truck, I grabbed and un-holstered my pistol and held it at the ready.

The bright lights of the truck illuminated the inside of my closed tent and I'm sure they saw my outline and the Beretta 92 through the thin fabric.

I was getting ready for whatever was going to happen but it seems the occupants of the truck decided to move along down the road.
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Old July 12, 2021, 03:16 PM   #23
TailGator
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A holster solves most such problems. I can't remember ever waking to find my handgun out of its holster while camping. At different times it has been revolvers and pistols, but a well-fitted holster is a pretty reliable safety device.
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Old July 12, 2021, 08:19 PM   #24
44 AMP
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The "pillow sword" is an ancient practice, but there's always a trade off between instant operability and safety. The unsheathed small sword under your pillow is instantly ready when you grab it. BUT, that also means there's a foot or so of sharpened blade within inches of your throat while you sleep.....

The way I've always looked at it is that any of the common reasonable practices will do fine. Including empty chamber, or in a holster etc. Simply put, you need to be awake enough to know what you need to shoot at, (if you do need to shoot) and that should also mean you're past the point of groggy blind reaction.

If you're the kind of person who actually might grab a gun and pull the trigger before you know what you're doing, then I think the answer is not a holster or an empty chamber or a safety in the "on" position, I think the proper thing is for you to let someone else take care of gun handling and defense.

But that's just my opintion, and worth what you paid for it. IF you don't have that option, then you might consider a DA revolver and leave the cylinder open, or an SA with the loading gate open. In both cases, it can be shut as you pick up the gun, and open, prevents the gun from firing. For Semiauto, mag loaded chamber empty. If you're awake and alert the gun can be ready in an instant and if you're not awake and alert you aren't going to accidently shoot anyone...

Do what you think is right and the best for you. I'll pitch my tent on the other side of the hill from yours, (just in case) thank you!
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Old July 13, 2021, 09:53 PM   #25
Drm50
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Either cocked and locked on my person if I think there is a credible threat or it’s not a big consideration. I don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over that type stuff. I’ve been where you had to carry a gun in your sleep.
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