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Mike Larsen: Home Defense Lessons from a Navy Vet & Police Officer

Mike Larsen: Home Defense Lessons from a Navy Vet & Police Officer
October 8, 2020

Home defense and gun storage safety have become even more important now than they ever were before. Guns can be a great asset or a great liability, it all depends on the precautions you take. Mike Larsen, brings 26 years of gun safety and effectiveness training to this discussion. He has served in the United States Navy and is currently a Police officer. In this episode Mike highlights the need to prepare yourself without going overkill, he explains the importance of handling recoil, weight, as well as easy & safe retrieval. He covers his go to home defense firearm and home defense ammunition. He shares how to store guns that are for home defense and how to store guns that are for other purposes. Mike explains why his go to home defense firearm is a handgun and not a shotgun as well as the necessity to add a flashlight to your home defense setup. Lastly he gives his opinion on a fairly divided debate: Should you keep a round in the chamber?

Gear Mentioned:



Glock G22 40 Caliber

GunVault Minivault Biometric Biometric Pistol Safe

Lockdown Safe & Security Keyed Trigger Lock

Sig Sauer Frangible 9mm Luger Ammo

Team Never Quit - Frangible HP Ammo 40 S&W 125GR HP


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Brad: Mike Larsen is back after that last show I had a few folks actually complain they said it was too short and I agree Mike is one of the most knowledgeable firearms experts I know this dude spent six years in the navy doing special weapons training and has been in law enforcement for 26 years and over the last two decades he's been a firearms instructor in this episode Mike and I are chatting about the gear you need to defend your home and Mike has some advice that I guarantee some of you have not heard before we're going to talk about best weapons round of choice and how to properly store your weapon at home if you still have questions at the end of the show drop those in the comments or tag me when you post this on gowild i'll have Mike back on or i'll get someone else to talk about home defense or conceal carry you know we're gonna continue to do these shows so if you drop your questions in i'll ask that on the next round make sure you subscribe to gearbox talk too we're talking fishing hunting shooting survival camping and more and if you know someone that could use this show's advice text it to them all right let's talk home defense this is gearbox talk with Mike Larsen

Mike Larsen i'm glad to bring in 26 years of law enforcement experience and you've got 20 years of firearms instruction we're gonna be talking about home defense today but first man how you doing

Mike: Doing well Brad good to see you man 

Brad: Good to see you man thanks for putting in a little time after a long work day at the office here and sharing a lot of that knowledge with us all right man let's dive right in as we do on gearbox talk we're gonna talk about home defense so you're really like with someone that's new to this there's a lot of people this year that are really thinking of their safety and what they need in home defense what kind of gear do you recommend for someone to consider in home defense and you're a philosophical guy so i'm sure there's gonna be an approach here that we'll talk through too but but what's that first step towards home defense man

Mike: Well the first step is to make sure that that you're not overkill with with your gear make sure that that you can handle whatever weapon and what I mean by that is the weight of it the recoil the storage of it the the retrieval of it in a safe manner make sure that you understand  that guns destroy things  and and that if this is going to be in your house for home defense you have to consider the layout of your home you know where are other loved ones situated versus an approach of an intruder you know which door is going to be the most likely place for the for them to come in how am I going to store that within my room so that if we're walking up to a loud crash in the middle of the night where am I going to get that from so I always say go with stop at that line when it becomes too big too cumbersome and too much firepower

Brad: That's great advice man is there specifically you know you talked about like  too much firepower there's a lot of options like some people prefer shotgun for home defense but I i believe I believe you have a little bit of a different approach can you talk about the specific weapon that you like for your home defense

Mike: Yeah yeah I mean the the problem with the shotgun is is people think it's point and shoot they don't understand that form matters you still have to you have to hold it correctly you have to align the sights properly there's a lot of things that that most people mistake as being easier with a shotgun I think a lot of that's because they're intimidated by handguns because they don't have a lot of experience with them if they grew up rabbit hunting but never went to the range and shot a handgun it becomes the go-to smaller framed people the recoil on that first shot wielding that weapon and having proper form are going to be difficult so i'm personally a big fan of semi-automatic handguns I think as long as you get one that fits your hand  that allows you to to store it somewhere very safely obviously whether you have kids in the house or not you know there's a story of a lady that kept her inhaler under the pillow and forgot one day and replaced it with her pistol and it didn't go well for cause she grabbed the wrong one so always always keep those very very secure shotguns are going to end up sitting in the corner of a closet it's going to be dark when it happens you're gonna have a hard time finding them handguns are gonna be much much quicker to retrieve  out of a safe I recommend something that's fingerprint operated so that you're not fbling with a dial or trying to push buttons but it does have to have some level of security but the other thing about handguns is that as you're moving through your house trying to find the threat  first thing you should do is call 9-1-1 and if you have family members make sure they're safe and there's no there's no reason to go to the threat at that point as long as you feel everybody's safe but if you have a kid in a bedroom down the way that you need to go check on you're going to be moving through hallways you're going to be moving  through kids toys in the hallway on the floor you're going to be doing a lot of things that you want to be able to have it at the tucked ready and and be able to fight something off as it comes around the corner you want to be able to also operate a flashlight which is very important in home defense a lot of people don't keep a flashlight near their handgun  but i'm a big proponent of handgun  and then beyond that for the ammunition i'm a huge fan of frangible rounds

Brad: Let's talk about the rounds in a second what what handgun do you prefer and and what what are you comfortable with you've shot a lot of different guns over the years and you train a lot of people on different guns what's your preference and again you know Mike and I have another episode that you can find on edc carry where we talk specifically  about various handguns if you're interested but Mike recap again like what your handgun is and what you prefer

Mike: I'm a glock fan  you know the thing I like about them everybody talks about the fact that they don't have a safety well they have multiple safeties the first one's your brain second one is your finger the third one is you know inside the trigger it you're not gonna accidentally snag it but you're not messing with a decocker you're not messing with safeties you're not messing with anything it's establish that proper grip right out of the gate  keep the muzzle in a safe direction and then it's literally point and shoot just like a good camera once you've identified the threat of course but i'm a big fan of glocks my home defense the one that I keep closest to me is different than the one that I carry most of the time for concealed because i'm not worried about size at home as far as when the handgun comes into play so I like a good false I have probably slightly above I wear extra large gloves hands so it's easier for me I like the weight and the balance of a full-size glock I like 40 caliber I have nothing against nine millimeters but I just i'm old i'm 52 years old i've been shooting them for 30 something years and I like it I think it is up to the individual to define what works for them but that's what works for me

Brad: Okay and and then you you wanted to talk about the round  that that we skipped over a second ago talk through a little bit about that and I believe you have something you wanted to show too yeah high tech here I printed this off so basically if you if you don't know what a frangible round is a frangible round is one that is not lead you know it's a composite material that when it hits something when it impacts all that energy will cause that to turn the round into this powder so think about yourself in your house  there's probably not anybody that's gonna watch this that has a hallway long enough for that bullet to spend its energy and end up just rolling on the floor you're gonna hit drywall you're gonna hit door frames  you're gonna hit appliances  and unfortunately when you go to a lead jacketed bullet those fragment so what you get out of those is all of these pieces that then rip through everything beyond  the intended threat  or the intended target which would be that threat these framerable rounds literally  when you have a 2x4 wall and you have drywall on both sides with insulation in between it's not going to penetrate that second layer of drywall  so there's there's a safety aspect for your family members in that as well

Brad: Yeah kind of I mean similar to shotgun right it's going to it's going to spread and slow faster if you kind of in some theory it's similar to that

Mike: Sure no absolutely and it's important to note here that frangible rounds are available for shotguns and rifles as well  so if somebody does prefer to to utilize a shotgun and they want to use buckshot they can they can buy that  it's considerably more expensive obviously but you're not going to do a lot of target shooting or practicing with those rounds those are going to be your self-defense rounds

Brad: Mike I want to talk about something that's really important to me and and I  I i think too often when I hear of oh so-and-so had an accident at home and you know a lot of times the the the gun is the fault but people don't understand like that gun was never stored properly it was accessible to kids or  thieves or it was stolen from someone's home and then misused all too often people aren't storing firearms properly man and you mentioned a little bit a second ago  biometric safe but I want to talk through what what methods you recommend for home storage of your self-defense weapon because this is so important this is more important than anything to me whether or not you have kids I think people asse sometimes that I i you know I grew up in  in southeast kentucky guns were everywhere leaning in corners and in nightstands and everything it's a different culture but most most people no one should live like that i'll say that  and and most people kind of can get too comfortable if they think they don't have kids  and you know all of a sudden your niece or nephew comes over and they find it and you normally didn't have kids in the house but now you do and you have a very dangerous situation so can you talk through some of the approach to safety that maybe a new gun owner or even a current gun owner should consider for keeping that firearm safe

Mike: Sure i'll break that into two categories and be quick about it so the first category for me are the firearms that don't need to be easily accessed so all of my rifles all of my shotguns  a lot of my wheel guns revolvers  that are for sport  those are gonna be locked up  in a full-size liberty gun safe they're not gonna be loaded they're gonna have trigger locks in them  and they're only gonna be removed and rendered  operable when i'm going to use them out in the field if it's for home protection home self-defense you obviously don't want to have to go to a large safe and turn the knob and dial and then get the key out and take the trigger lock off so those are very important  this can be controversial not in a in a bad way or a political way but there's two schools of thought for a lot of people  on do you keep a round in the chamber so in addition to a biometric safe or a wall safe or a locked drawer in a dresser or on a closet shelf  the the big thing you got to understand with those is you you want to access them quickly so don't have  anything anywhere that you wouldn't want found by a child or anyone that you love i'm sure I strayed there because I just had something else go off in my ear here but

Brad: You mentioned the biometric safes i'm curious if you you use the liberty say for your your gun I wish I could remember the brand I use mine's not as nice as the liberty safes but it's effective right like it can be bolted to the ground  but it it's not my dad has two liberty safes and they're amazing I i you know I stand by the quality of those products  I have a simple safe that I picked up for 50 bucks in a garage sale it's got you know I don't know it's probably 15 firearms in there but same same approach you have like I don't need those guns those are my shotguns my rifles  some pistols I don't don't need for home defense is more of a target gun I put all that in there the same way but like for do you have a preferred biometric safe that you like to have that's a quick access

Mike: I can't give you a brand name because mine was supplied by the department  one of the things that we do is is  obviously take responsibility for department-owned firearms that end up in over 100 guys houses  so there are several brands out there I wish I could give you one

Brad: I'll throw out mine I i've used mine for I guess i've had it for five years now I bought it when my  my son was born or a little bit after and  it's very reliable it's a fingerprint but it's a gun vault  the gun vault's the brand it's a gun vault biometric pistol safe and it's got the it does have the fingerprint recognition it the fingerprint recognition is accurate 99% of the time every now and then I get a false which makes me always makes me a little nervous i'm like in the time I need it quickly is it going to not be there but it's it's indefinitely like there's no doubt it's better than like you said fiddling around trying to figure out if your hand's in the right place and then even with those you have to remember a code they're just challenging there's a lot to go on there and you don't want to be relying on a key either to try to fble that in the dark the biometric safe is the one that made the most sense for me and my family too and  you were kind of alluding to it a second ago I keep my my pistol laying there chambered knowing that if I ever open that I need it now so I it's not a situation like my other safe and I keep it free of clutter free of debris and it's ready to roll and it's a little like I approach that safe with a different mindset than I do my other safe which is completely safe it's ready you know ready to you can pull guns out but nothing's loaded like that

Mike: Sure but yeah you just you reminded me what  what escaped me there when I got distracted it's controversial not in a bad way but I don't have a problem with not having one in the chamber so one of the things that people talk about well I like a shotgun because of the sound effects somebody hears a shotgun rack that's going to go well if i've got to that I wasn't going to do that this time if i've got to go retrieve  a handgun and there's not one in the chamber it how long did that take right not long at all it's loud it's a report but the other thing is for some reason somehow somebody else were to access that gun and they were a kid I would hope and pray that  they wouldn't just point and pull the trigger and i'd hoped that I would educate them enough to do that but in that one in a million chance that that did happen that hammer's not going to drop on a live round I appendix carry so I don't even carry one in the chamber because the last thing I want to do and i've never had one knock on wood hopefully never do an accidental discharge but I i've just become comfortable where I know there's not one in the chamber when I draw i've already established my grip overhand lock and load if you're nervous and you're sweating there's a lot of things during firearms training that you you know you don't want to do the old this way where people grab it you always want to come over the top and then rake it but if you keep one in the chamber or not the bottom line is safety so if you're going to have it in there make sure that whatever safe you're using or whatever your storage is for easy retrieval takes that into consideration

Brad: Yep I don't carry one with in the chamber either for the same reasons you said and my biggest fear is that I would forget I had it it's in a pants pocket or something and like you said a kid finds it and then you know it's an added layer of safety that it's not chambered and you should always treat it like it is i'm just saying for the same reasons you just laid out I don't I don't carry and you know wes robinson came on and he has a very different approach to his carry and this is personal choice wes is always chambered you know  and and he has good reasons for that and that's what he's comfortable with and he has a very good process that he does to keep that safety I think absolutely you kicked off  we've done two of these now so I can't remember if there's this one or the other one but you kicked it off saying that the the really comfort being comfortable is the most important thing and wes said this too the most important way to stay safe is having the gun so being comfortable with your gun whether it's in everyday carry or your home defense that's the most important thing is having a gun that you're comfortable with and you're going to have around if it's not around because you weren't comfortable with it then then it's no good so this is a great discussion  we got to get there's a whole host of things that Mike will be coming back on gearbox talk to talk about but this is a fantastic conversation I think it's a really important conversation this year because there's so many people who are buying guns that are new I mean this is the biggest surge of firearms owners maybe we've ever seen in 2020 so I appreciate you coming in to help them really learn about how to keep themself and their family safe

Mike: Absolutely it was great being here Brad nice seeing you yeah

Brad: Mike real quick where can people connect with you if they want to  ask you more questions you're awesome about answering questions how can people get in touch I know you're on gowild then that's where you're really active but but how can people ask questions

Mike: That's about it

Brad: He's like don't find me anywhere else

Mike: yeah I have an instagram profile that I open up about once every 60 days to see what my kids are doing and then i'll follow some charter fisher place down florida a couple see how the fish are biting but yeah i'm on gowild Mike Larsen l-a-r-s-e-n I think there's another guy from new york

Brad: That's what I say you're the michigan Mike Larsen on GoWild so if anybody wants to find you all right man well this was awesome I really appreciate you coming on and sharing some knowledge dude

Mike: All right thanks again Brad all right

Brad: Thank you again to Mike Larsen thank you Mike for your service to this fine country and as a police officer to your community remember all gear mentioned on gearbox talk is linked to in the show description or the show notes that's on youtube and on the podcast if you happen to buy any of this gear gowild is going to donate a portion of our proceeds to an outdoor nonprofit called raise em outdoors raising them outdoors teaches kids to safely learn to shoot and hunt so you're contributing back into something that you love as well for the next generation if you really enjoyed this show check out my edc show with Mike Larsen and I have a really great edc show with wes robinson as well check out those i'll have a link to those in the show notes remember Mike and wes are both on go wild and we have hundreds of thousands of members people are talking about these subjects all the time and you can join gowild and be able to participate in those conversations hit download gowild.com to join if you really like this show subscribe you're going to want to hear this upcoming survival shows that I have I have more hunting and firearms content we're doing fishing content all of that's coming but you're going to miss it if you don't subscribe so hit the bell or subscribe on the podcast that you're listening to right now again if you have questions drop those in the comments or tag me when you log this on GoWild and i'll address those questions in future shows that's it for me today though i'm out.


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