The Tactical Nightstand


Most bad guys that want your stuff arrive during the day when you’re probably at work. Bad guys that come at night don’t want things; they want people. You better be ready.

Let’s make a tactical nightstand. Four categories come to mind.

  • Protection- Got weapons? 
  • Illumination- Light up the night to gain information and positive identification of possible targets.
  • Signaling/Diversion- Your car’s key fob is a great option that you likely already own.
  • Communication- Cell phone to call 911 or access security cameras and smart devices.

The nightstand is your best location for these items since everything is within reach. When you just wake up from something going bump in the night, you’re not going to be fully alert and efficient. Set yourself up for success by having everything you need right there, ready to go. Gun out of the safe, one in the chamber and ready to rock.

Let’s break down the four categories.


I use a pistol as my primary night gun as it’s the one I carry during the day and it’s effortless to set it down at the ready for nighttime. Also, a pistol is very handy for close quarters, and with my field of fire to the front door, there is no concern about stray rounds hitting friendlies inside the house or neighbors across the street (we live in the country). There is a lot of information out there on caliber choice for shooting inside residential structures with friendlies throughout, so do your own research there. I say, this is America so why not have several guns by the bed ready to deal with variables? A pistol with hollow points, a shotgun with birdshot, and an AR-15 to dominate the situation if things escalate to ridiculous levels.

A quick side note on safes- if you have young kids, you may want a small speed safe to keep your pistol in and that may limit the three gun option described above.

If you’re in an area where guns are not available to you: bear spray, knives, batons or baseball bats may be your best option.


Get yourself a good quality flashlight or one that mounts to your weapon. Don’t skimp on this one either. Look for one that has at least 600 lumens (1000 is even better). Here’s a good one.

A super bright light can temporarily blind/disorient an intruder, which gives you the tactical advantage. Also, if you need to illuminate something outside, a good torch will light it up like a stadium.


The key fob from your car offers you a few options. You can hit the panic button to alert neighbors that you’re under duress or even just to create a diversion to let the bad guys know that they’ve got trouble. This alone could cause them to flee. Otherwise, the commotion from the horn can cover any noise you might make as you move to get set for the ambush. Alternatively, your keys are ready to go if you need to get to the vehicle and escape.

Another good thing about keeping your keys on the nightstand is they’re not by the door and are less susceptible to a key fob relay attack. Bad guys are getting more high tech and it’s becoming a real problem. Read more about it here.


The cell phone has obvious benefits like calling 911, but if you’re smart you’ll have a Ring camera or other security cameras. These can be accessed through an app with your phone and allow you to gain some intel on what’s going on outside or even in other parts of the house. Smart devices and all the connected plugs, lights, locks, and speakers that are available these days can really give a defender a huge tactical advantage. Imagine this scenario- you wake up to a notification from your Ring app saying there is motion at your back door. You check the video and see two guys forcing their way in the door. You set off the remote siren, but they advance inside the home anyway. You grab your key fob and hit the panic button and your car in the driveway is now alerting the neighbors in case they didn’t hear the Ring camera’s siren. The bad guys decide to keep advancing so while you grab your weapons, you say, “Alexa, lock the downstairs doors, turn on the kitchen lights and play ‘Seek and Destroy’ by Metallica”. I think Kevin McCallister would be proud. You have home-field advantage, the neighbors are calling 911, intruders are now distracted and well lit, and you’re set for the ambush. Short of calling in an airstrike, this is as good as it gets. 

Thoughts on mobility

The great thing about the tactical nightstand idea is its versatility. These four items are a portable solution that you can easily employ when traveling. Without the home-field advantage, you need a common setup that you’ve developed muscle-memory on at home.

I use this system when we stay with family, are on the road in hotels, and even when camping. I go to sleep knowing I’ve “prepped the battlespace” in my favor, so even if the attack comes at night, I’ve got a setup that I can rely on to tip the odds in my favor.

Build your tactical nightstand kit tonight and sleep well! That’s being hard to kill!