Safety and Training

What’s In Your “Crash Box”?

Picture shows the inside of a safe with a pistol, flashlight and ammo in it.

I just finished reading an article about a Mexican hitman who claims to have killed over 30 people. In the article, he talked about kidnapping people, torturing, and eventually killing them—usually with a gun. While there’s no saying if this interview was legit, this quote did jump out at me:Each kidnapping starts with locating the target. The best place is at a home, early in the morning—when everyone is asleep.” By Jason Hanson

Biometric safes offer easy access, but prevent children from getting to your handgun.
Biometric safes offer easy access, but prevent children from getting to your handgun.

It’s well known in the security world that most kidnappings take place in the morning within three miles of someone’s home. The reason for this is because most people leave their homes at the same time every morning to get to work at the same time each day.

It occurs within three miles because people usually take the same route each morning and they have to take the same turns to get out of their neighborhood each day.

However, as noted by the alleged hitman, he prefers to break into a home in the morning when everyone is asleep and won’t likely see the kidnapping coming. Obviously, this is where an alarm system comes in handy, and why I recommend everyone have one to help thwart a home invasion.

But if the blaring sound of your alarm doesn’t deter the criminal, and you’re trying to gather your family members in a bedroom to keep them safe, you need to ensure that whatever room you end up in has the proper supplies to protect you until the police arrive… And that’s where the Crash Box comes in.

Partially opened wood door to a closet.
A large, centrally located closet makes for a good safe room.

A Crash Box is simply a fancy name for a safe that is in the bedroom (or in every bedroom) that has the necessary supplies to fend off an intruder. It’s a medium sized safe such as the Sentry Safe model SFW123DSB or the First Alert model 2096DF. It is not a gigantic gun safe that is going to take you forever to open.

Once you have your Crash Box (safe), it’s time to fill it with the items you need. These include a handgun and ammunition, extra loaded magazines, a spare cell phone, a flashlight, medical items such as QuikClot and a CAT tourniquet, a fixed blade knife, and whatever other items you choose to put in it.

If you ever do find yourself having to hunker down until police arrive, you need to be prepared to fend off multiple attackers for a good amount of time.

After all, unless you’re a politician or celebrity who is more likely to face a coordinated attack, most likely any home invasion will involve some local thugs who were looking to get drug money for their next fix. And once they see you’re well-armed and prepared to stop them, they’ll probably flee your house and go looking for an easier victim.

So, being that it’s still not that far into the New Year, now is the time to get and prepare your Crash Box if you don’t already have something similar. While none of us wishes to ever experience a home invasion, the people whom I know who have gone through it were grateful they were prepared, and especially grateful they had a gun to defend themselves.

While I always have a gun in a safe on my nightstand, the beauty of the Crash Box is that it contains another gun, which can be used by a family member or can be used by you if your “nightstand” gun suddenly suffered a catastrophic failure.

What’s in your Crash Box? Share your answer in the comment section.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free credit card knife from Jason, visit

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Comments (10)

  1. A Remington 1100 with 8 round tube loaded buck, slug, buck, slug… Hi viz sight and forend mounted surefire is my first grab while my wife grabs her Sig 9 and the dogs are going crazy. Anyone stupid enough to come down the hall will be making a big mistake.

  2. Leaving an unsecured, loaded firearm in the home with children is a recipe for a tragedy. If you think that educating children about gun safety and “never touching Dad’s gun” is enough, you are just wrong. Children are curious and will think that they know better than the adult who warned them to not touch the gun. Plus there is the issue of OTHER children visiting the home who may have had no training regarding firearms. Hiding a gun where the children cannot find it is also a falacy that can have fatal consequences. A simple handgun safe hardly reduces access time and yet protects against curious children or casual thieves for that matter. I use several GunVault safes, all physically secured to a sturdy shelf or inside a piece of furniture and I never have to worry for a moment when my grandchildren are staying in my home. I also know that I have ready access to a loaded gun if ever needed.

    1. @ David Howard,

      Even though your comment is 100% correct, I was initially confused because the article wasn’t really about children and gun safety. As I made my way through other comments I began to better understand your comment was in response to a couple of other posts by commenters who clearly showed how utterly clueless they are when it comes to raising children.

      One commenter even admits he has no children but then presumes he is somehow qualified to tell those of us that do have children – how it should be done. Another stated their son NEVER touched their gun, when really he should have stated he – “never caught him in the act of touching the gun”. He will never really know for sure because he didn’t see it.

      As much as we train, educate, and want to trust our children, I don’t know a single family later in life that doesn’t have holidays and reunions filled with adult children trading stories about what they got away with as children and how their parents never found out. We all know the fun in such stories stems from adult siblings tattling on one another now that they are grown and can no longer be reprimanded.

      It would be extremely rare to find any adult that doesn’t have at least one childhood memory of defying a parent’s rules at some point in their childhood. Likewise it would be hard to find a parent that could honestly say they’ve never been shocked or disappointed at least once after discovering their perfect little angel defied some strict rule that was taboo beyond any other.

      And as you mentioned, even if someone thinks their children are perfect, they still don’t have the control over other visiting children like they think you do. Whether it be a sleepover, visiting relatives, or the neighborhood teens hanging out during summer break as the parents work, there are still far too many unknown variables where children are involved. Therefore the only absolute certain mitigation is to secure your weapons in some type of gun safe.

      As for those that say a locked up gun is useless, – no one would argue that it does in-fact diminish access time. But making a blanket statement that it renders the gun “useless” is simply not true. My wife and I practice and have access times down to as short a 1.5 – 2 seconds. Knowing this, we have taken additional precautions to offset that 2 second delay by installing additional security barriers and early warning alarms to compensate and alert us to impending invaders.

      So yes, there is a minor trade-off, but it is the price we are willing to pay to be realistically responsible parents and keep our children alive. Anyone that thinks they were successful doing otherwise was really just very lucky.

  3. The house has an alarm system, on every door and window, a glass break alarm by the kitchen sliding door, and night lock door stops to prevent entry through the front doors. All door hinges have 3 in screws. And there is a dog who barks well and loud. The bedroom door has a door bar and is locked from the inside. There are no children in the house. I carry a loaded 9mm compact on my hip in and out of the house. When I sleep, there are three loaded .45 acp caliber guns within reach, along with flashlights.
    I rely on my dog and the technology alarm system to give me warning of an intrusion. The alarm system has a blaring device inside and outside the house. My wife has her own carry pistol, and we practice periodically to maintain proficiency. Our mindset is such that an intruder is there to do us harm, and we will defend ourselves with lethal force.
    It is not paranoia or fear. We prefer to say it is preparation for an eventuality we wish would never happen. We sleep well.

  4. I’m a single guy with no kids. I have a loaded gun in every room in my house plus one in my console in my couch. A locked up gun is useless. If you’re worried about your kids and loaded weapons then teach them how and why to respect them. Same thing with carrying a weapon concealed that isn’t chambered. Both are useless.

    1. Hey I understand what your saying got to think of this post as they are talking to the general public with absolutely no training.In my world I was a only son and my father was a Vietnam Vet I was told showed trained etc. by him what to do what not to do with his firearms that where everywhere every room had one or two or more hell there was a shot gun in the dining room leaning up against a wall with the shells not a foot away as long as I can remember well I am 36 now he passed away I moved took it with me and still to this day never shot that particular gun. Just to let the general public know Train your children when and if there is any weapon in the house that is gun safety at its best. Let your kids shot it with you so they know what it does and it’s not a curiosity for them to find out on their own!

  5. First let me address the locking up of any weapons. I was a single father and, possibly, my son was more intelligent then the kids of today, but I doubt that. My S & W model 19 had five 180 gr truncated cone hollow points in it and was kept beneath my pillow. My son who lived with me from the age of nine to thirteen had his toy six-guns. Most important was he was trained to leave my sixgun strictly alone, period! The front and back doors of the house had the type of deadbolt that requires a key to unlock the inside as well as the outside of the door so if Mr. Assassin came knocking, i’d have plenty of warning even if I was sleeping soundly. which was not likely because I am a light sleeper. I’m also not a follower and was trained to LEAD so i did the same with my son.

    I cannot understand why anyone would hide in a closet and HOPE that the police would arrive “in time”! Police response times range from 5 to 20 minutes depending on where one lives so one that relies on such is just kidding themselves.

    1. I agree with you. I always have one of my 9mm pistols close by. When sleeping it’s within arms length. My 2nd one is in another room id 17 rounds doesn’t get the job done. I also have a military M-1 Carbine with a 30 round magazine in it & one in the chamber. I’m a very light sleeper & always hear any unusual sounds which instantly wake me. Less than 10 seconds will put my firearm in my hand & ready to go.

    2. Even when armed it’s safer to take cover in a defensible position in the home than to actively hunt for an intruder, especially if you’re alone or the only one adequately trained in the use of a firearm.

      Consider this – when the police do eventually show up and check for an intruder in your home they’ll likely be working in pairs. There’s a very good reason for that.

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