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Preparing For Home Defense

You should do more than just buy a gun for home defense.


The saying goes like this: A man’s home is his castle. If you're a regular reader of firearm publications, then you already know there's no shortage of information available regarding firearms for home protection. And while we have plenty of good reasons to carefully select and regularly practice with reliable defensive firearms, they represent only a portion of what should be a better-rounded and more inclusive home-preparedness plan.

It's important to remember that guns don't make us "safe." They represent a last line of protection when all other home-based defenses and deterrents have failed, or have been bypassed by individuals with intent on doing harm. The purpose of this discussion is not to underplay the importance of defensive firearms, but to point out a few precautions and tools available to increase home security.

Getting Home
It was shortly after Hurricane Katrina that I found myself in a lunch group made up of co-workers discussing emergency preparedness. One subject that came up was transportation. How exactly would folks get home from the work site if there was a natural disaster, terrorist attack or some other needful reason to get home quickly? A member of the group said he planned to run for it, literally.

He had taken up the hobby of participating in local triathlons and kept his running shoes and clothing in the trunk of his car. He went on to explain that in a situation where traffic routes to his home were blocked, or the traffic jammed, he had mapped out a couple of foot routes that would allow him to run to his house in about 20 minutes. The group politely chuckled at this idea, since we knew he was in shape to do it but we were not. But we had to agree that his plan was far better than the one most of us had, which was no plan at all. It was a strong reminder that no amount of home preparation will be sufficient if we're not there to use it.

Consider filling up a vehicle’s fuel tank when it’s half-way empty instead of nearing completely dry. Keep vehicles in good repair with season-appropriate tires mounted. Map out and test alternate routes to your home. Work with your family to organize an emergency contact plan to get in touch with each of them if there is a need to get home, or to let you know if they are going to need help getting there. Take a look and see if an alternative transportation strategy (subway, by foot, bicycle) could be used if driving home is not a practical option.

"Hardening" A Home
The term "target hardening" is used by military and security professionals to describe the process in which a building is enhanced or altered to make it a less desirable, and a more difficult, object of attack. This does not mean converting a structure into an impenetrable bunker per se, but increasing the level of security to the highest level a building can reasonably support. Hardening a home has two important benefits. First, it makes the home less appealing to thieves and burglars who are looking for easy marks to exploit. Second, added security measures provide a home owner with the single most precious commodity in a self-defense situation—time. The more time it takes a crook to break through the external defenses, the more time the home defender has to access internal defenses and to alert the authorities to the situation.

Hardening a home consists of installing a variety of affordable and common-sense options that most home owners can easily implement. Look into installing a security alarm system, if you don't already have one in place. If you are not in the habit of using it, then get it programmed properly and keep it activated. If an integrated security system isn’t an option, then take a look at attaching noise emitters to windows and doors. Take the time to get to know your neighbors and keep an eye on each other’s properties when out of town. One of the best alert systems has been protecting people for thousands of years, and enjoys going for walks and catching frisbees. If you like dogs, then consider adding a four-legged family member. 

Install strong doors and door locks. Upgrade the window locks, plant thorny bushes under windows and remove objects that could potentially be used as impromptu step stools for easier access.  Don’t forget to upgrade second or third story access points as well. Plenty of criminals are willing to do some climbing to get what they want. Walk around the perimeter of the house and identify problem areas, such as easy points of access or spots that are concealed from view of other houses or the street. Consider changing the landscaping or the fence line to solve these issues.

Possibly the best, and most affordable, exterior home security option is motion-activated lighting. Place lights with sensors in strategic locations to activate when anyone approaches the doors or driveway. A sudden flood of startling illumination will not only work to frighten criminals who want to sneak around, but it will also allow the occupants to clearly see if any threats are lurking about as they exit or enter the home at night.

Defending the Doors
A disturbing trend in modern crime is what has become commonly known as a home invasion. This style of attack can be carried off by one person, but the criminals usually team up for the event. They knock politely, sometimes using a vulnerable looking or disguised decoy, present a reason for the person inside the home to open the door, and then rush the occupant to force entry into the house or apartment.

While the idea of being assaulted at your own front door is frightening, there are strategies for mitigating this kind of danger. Look through a peep hole or a window before opening a door to verify who is knocking. If anything about the situation looks strange or feels weird, communicate through the door instead of opening it. This is especially true late at night. It may not seem very charitable to shout through a closed door at 3 a.m. that there’s a gas station two blocks away to a stranger who says his or her car broke down. But then again, it may be the safest option in that situation.

There are times when we must the open door to deal with people. Consider installing a steel security door, many of which look like fancy screen doors, that can remain locked when the front door is open. Even if all you have is a light screen door, keeping it locked may provide the moments needed to shut and lock the main door. If your living accommodations won't allow for a security door, then install an interior security chain. Having some sort of device in place to slow an uninvited guest is better than nothing at all.

One simple security practice is to tell friends and family that if they need to come to your home at night to call ahead and let you know they are on the way. The least expensive security system around the doorway is situational awareness. Some folks turn on the danger radar when they arrive at other locations, like shopping areas or their work place parking lots. Situational awareness should be up and running before leaving the house and fully active while approaching and entering the home.

Plan, Organize, and Practice
During a recent conversation with a defensive shooting instructor, he shared the story of a student who had a close call with a burglar. This person had a relatively advanced level of defensive training and knew how to use the guns, lights and other gear he had lined up for a home-defense situation. One night he and his wife heard that dreaded bump in the night. 

This is when, according to the student, he began to make important mistakes. In the panic induced by the fear of being attacked, he found himself scrambling to gather items that were spread out around the house. He forgot strategies and training points as he struggled to communicate with his spouse and respond to the situation. Luckily, when it became clear that someone was home and paying attention, the burglar stopped trying to gain entry and ran away. This was a best-case scenario and a wake-up call rolled into one. No one in his family was hurt, which is always the best outcome we can hope for. But in spite of this student’s gun training, he and his family had not actually developed and practiced a defensive plan.

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61 Responses to Preparing For Home Defense

Survival Prepper Joe wrote:
April 08, 2014

This is a fantastic article! As you've written, in a home invasion every second counts! Your steps are a very useful guide to get the most out of our preparations, covering every base. The story about the well trained man scrambling to gather things scattered around the house, adrenaline pumping, can happen to anyone. I'd like to suggest that, in addition to preparing the house, those concerned with home defense look into an intruder defense bag, or home defense bag. In a nutshell, this bag (vest, belt, etc) carries the most essential items needed for home security, including a few items easily overlooked. But it's the small things sometimes help or hurt the most. The bag acts as a force multiplier by making you exponentially better prepared than the invader, helping to tip the scales in your favor. Here’s a TIP for the cellphone (charged, ready) in your bag: Get the emergency number for your local police department (the direct dial number) and program that into your bag phone. Make it a favorite, or assign some quick one-touch way to dial it. Practice using it until it’s automatic. This is much better than dialing 9-1-1. When you call 911 you have to explain yourself twice – first to the state police, wait to be connected to local police, then re-explain it to them. Dialing directly saves you these 10+ seconds, which could mean the difference between an intruder stopped in the hall vs inside your bedroom. I’ve put together some more useful tips, along with two videos, at: http://survivalprepper-joe.com/intruder-defense-bag-home-defense-tool-kit/ Come by, leave a comment, and say hello! :) Would love to say howdy! Best, Joe

John wrote:
January 10, 2014

I took the veep's advice and got a shotgun. But as the saying goes 'Due to the ammo shortage...'. Then there's your local ordinances.

Michael Martin wrote:
July 27, 2013

There is all this talk about having a gun for protection. But, no mention of the question: Can you actually hit the target? I served 10 years with the Marine Corps, three in Viet Nam as a special ops sniper, but have not fired a gun more than a dozen times in the past 40 years. I solved this problem by adding a laser sight to my handgun. Now I just can put the red dot on the target and Squeeze the trigger. My bullet is going to hit within 1/8' of that red dot.

Bob Damon wrote:
July 13, 2013

I have read a lot of comments about how people will seek and destroy an intruder. Unless you live in an area where Police response will likely e slow, your plan should be to only venture forth to verify, call 911, and stay safely away from the intruder and the responding police. To the guy that has his wife letting In the dog, then running next door, you did say the neighborhood was bad, you need to rethink that plan. Despite the bravado, shooting someone is the last thing you want to do, and will change your life forever. I can also tell from the way some people talk, especially the shot gunners, that you don't practice shooting much, and have not planned for multiple intruders.

Popawdon wrote:
December 20, 2012

Preparation of the home is first. Understanding by the occupants of emergency procedures is second. Familiarity of the weapon is third. Understanding the need for deadly force is fourth. Procedure is fifth. All are of almost equal importance but we read every month or so about a kid who has grabbed Dad's gun and defended his home and siblings. With or without training other than firearms familiarity. The willingness to defend oneself is the key. A couple points I would comment about... Once an intruder is identified as either attempting entry or having entered, my wife knows where to be and what to do if she ever hears "I have a gun, I am trained to use it. Identify yourself! I've called the police and they are on their way. Identify yourself!" I don't want to shoot a family visitor or drunken neighbor. My wife, if in my area of protection will be talking loudly to 911, making sure that she does not give away my position as I move through my home. I have mirrors placed wherever I encounter blind spots and know which walls I can shoot through. Motion sensing lights will tell me which rooms the perp has occupied and I will clear them by the plan. My wife tries to hide from me when we drill and I've always seen her first. I do not using hearing protection. I want to be able to hear anything out of the ordinary. My route secures the areas behind me. If I identify an intruder, I will, without challenge, hold my position until the police arrive. I will stay between them and my family, but I will not shoot unless necessary. Body fluids are very messy and I don't like the smell of spilled blood and the body contents that result from all the sphincters turning loose. As a Vet, I know that hair raising feeling that I get before things start happening. I fight it by remembering the steps: observe, assess, adapt, close and engage. Remembering those simple words, the process of making myself remember them, calms me so that I can function. I was always scared.

Nick wrote:
December 19, 2012

Having just had my steel door with a deadbolt broken in two weeks ago, I can shed some light for you. Muffs that amplify sound are worthless because you would have no idea if an intruder had fired unless you were standing there. Also, all of the "big-talkers" who say that they would shoot immediately have no idea what they are talking about. I was able to catch the intruder and hold him at gun point until the police came. If he had not followed my commands it may have ended differently but common sense prevails. Recommendations: reinforce your strike plate with angle iron, buy an adjustable bar that Masterlock makes to wedge under your door handle, have a flashlight on your firearm, and make sure your dogs are well-fed! My dogs are what first alerted me before the guy broke my steel door with a deadbolt in!

DaleC wrote:
December 19, 2012

Suppressors also protect your assailants hearing and orientation. That isn't a good thing. It hides your report and flash, which IS a good thing. Hearing protection, especially an active muff, seems imminently logical to me. If you have time to grab your firearm, you have time to grab your muffs, cuffs and lights. If you don't have time, leave them there, but HAVE them there. Comments criticizing the "operational awareness" of those who say which gun, round, technique etc they would use are spot on. When faced with a bad guy, the adrenalin kicks in. You don't "rise to the occasion", but, rather, you sink to your most ingrained level of training. Unless you are HIGHLY trained (i.e. SWAT or military SF), that is a pretty low level of operation. Don't fool yourself. Unless you are a highly trained operator with extensive combat experience (aka Afghanistan/Iraq vet or SpecOp or SWAT who has shot multiple HUMANS), assume you will devolve into a blubbering idiot and plan from there. You will be safer that way.

dman wrote:
December 18, 2012

I find digging a moat around my house and filling it with crude oil acts a great deterrent.

Kelly wrote:
December 11, 2012

Just about all of the comments are good thinking I suppose, but what it comes down to is time. If you are inside, then delay is the key to being able to respond properly, And YES, Practice! IF you have a family, practice and drill WITH them. So many people are paranoid about firearms and kids. Shoot with your kids, Teach your kids! Practice a word so that all knows what to do, just like a fire drill! A locked screen door helps delay, as does a proper dead bolt in the door for they type of door! Yes, consider aluminum strips in your door jambs.Or steel which ever!Harden the bedrooms with drop bars across the door in a couple of places,include the fire extinguishers, teach your family how to use them. And if they are breaking in, Rack that pump ! Announce loudly I have a gun! if they still come through, they are intending to hurt you! If you can dial 911 then stay on the line announce that you have a gun and will use deadly force! this allows the warning to be recorded, and there by (Hopefully ) relieving you of any guilt of setting someone up to shoot them, as any smart criminal ( is that an oxymoron?) will be on their way after hearing the threat, and anyone coming through the door is intent to hurt! That is my opinion on this. Track lights pointed toward the assailant with a remote switch in the hall by your bedroom would help too! At thirteen, I thwarted a home invasion by someone I did not want in the house. He was much bigger, and Older. A 22 worked that day. I am glad that he was smart and backed off!

Tom wrote:
December 11, 2012

ANY "custom" hand-loaded rounds will get you in trouble quick... Just wait for the DA or when his relatives sue in civil court. They will prove without a doubt that you meant to cause more harm. Especially now that you have posted it on the Internet, it will live forever... With that being said, my shotgun at home is loaded with 3 rounds of rubber 00 buckshot first. If that doesn't stop them, I have 6 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense waiting in the side saddle on the gun... And the comments about ear protection is right, you won't remember the shots when it comes down to it, let alone remember hearing them... If you are more worried about your hearing at that point, you have bigger issues... Plus are you going to ask for a "time out" so you can put your ear muffs on? The few seconds to place them on your head, may be the last few seconds you have to live.... The best advice anyone can give is to practice practice practice. What IF someone breaks in? What IF it happens when you are not home? What IF they are waiting on you to get home? Bad people do bad things to good people, you should be ready to deal with it when the time comes...

catman wrote:
December 10, 2012

Last resort ...if someone breaks into my house they are dead meat on the floor...and with no regrets. Imo the biggest problem with America these days has become our gutless lack of our ability to live with ourselves after taking responsibility for our actions. Im sorry if you dont agree but anyone who breaks into my home forfeits the right to any mercy whatsoever...it was THERE CHOICE TO BECOME A CRIMINAL...they have to be willing suffer the conciquinces

Dr.Logical wrote:
December 10, 2012

For those who continue to talk about using ear protection, have you ever fired a gun indoors when your adrenaline is really pumping... you will remember the shot but you will not have ringing or pain. And to top it off when your worried about defending yourself or family/ home ear plugs are the last thing on your mind or want due to keeping your senses unhindered. And many of you talk big about how you would immediately shoot your intruder and which loads you would use first and chase your intruder... I seriously doubt you have ever been in a situation where you have had to draw or use your weapon... When your in the heat of the moment and your adrenaline is pumping things change fast. While your primary objective is to protect yourself, if you can Deescalate the situation without shooting you will. I speak from experience when responding to this thread as I have been in situations where I have needed to use force to protect myself.

NRA Member wrote:
December 10, 2012

This article really should have mentioned the NRA's Personal Protection in the Home Course. Taking this course (or one like it) should be one of the steps that a person must do if they are going to defend their home. This is an absolute must; and vastly better than research on the internet. Your course should include classes from local law enforcement on local laws. (Apparently there are places where the local laws make it safer to be shot in your own home than to use lethal force on an intruder. Sad but true, and likely to become truer as time goes on.) Also, this article omits the "Safe Room" concept; this is another critical error. (The Safe Room is where you and your family retreat to and defend while help arrives. It holds your firearm, telephone, flashlights, and planned courses of action and fields of fire.) This concept solves or addresses many of the problems identified here; it is simple, easy to plan and practice, and most likely to have the desired outcome. But again, the very first thing that you should do is go to NRA website, find a course near you, and sign up for Personal Protection in the Home: http://www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx (Or find some other quality training. There may be other courses out there, but NRA is hard to beat.)

kenettebouchard@gmail.com wrote:
December 10, 2012

Storm door's are always a good idea / with a dead bolt lock---- never unlock it or open it unless you know the person! Have a phone in your hand also / my Golden likes to stand in between myself & the door--she posture's!!! Also, I read get a can of wasp spray & keep it next to your bed-- it's in a black can & shoot's up to 20 feet then kick them when they're down HARD & get to a neighbor's!!!!

Nadolskimj wrote:
December 10, 2012

Milkman, you're retired at the moment so maybe this is after your time, but right now, there are earmuffs that amplify sound but turn high frequency sounds like gunshots into soft pops, so you can still tell what direction fire is coming from. This is an absolutely absurd advantage and there is no reason why someone should knowingly be going into a situation where gunfire is probable without them. They're called Pro Ears, I got a set which hangs from the muzzle of my shotgun, which is arm's length away from my head when I sleep. Takes 2 seconds to add them to the equation in a dead-of-night situation. Jimmy, anything you intend on using with your weapon should be with your weapon or on your person at all times. I know practically everybody out there slips up with this once in a while but it's really not that difficult; it's just a little vigilance and training.

Me wrote:
December 10, 2012

1. How about training your family to place a holstered gun on person before considering answering the door to unknown guests. Teach them how to use it and remember action is faster than reaction. So draw first at sign of threat and if they arent running at that point, consider the next action. 2. Very good advice here about unknown persons at door wanting to talk about stuff... doing what I do, I have seen that. Elder persons should be aware of the ones selling things. Don't open door to tell them to go away. And... it never hurts to call the local cops to check out a suspicious visitor. I suggest, "please leave, I am calling the police" in a loud voice through a locked door. Especially for elder persons. 3. I also want to add that maybe the most important thing I read in this article is notifying family alternate lines of communication and places to meet. 4. Teach your kids the layout of the city streets, it will keep them from getting lost in bad places and will help them find routes when situations are dire. Okay, thats my bit and I'm done now.

In Florida wrote:
December 09, 2012

This is only partially relevant, but I found it amusing and you may find it interesting. Years ago, living in Los Angeles, a friend moved to town who could only afford to live in a high crime neighborhood. He decided (right or wrong) that his best defense would be a good offense, which consisted of convincing the local criminals that he was crazy enough to kill them. He rigged a shotgun in his garage to fire if the door was forced open. He loaded it with a blank shell. A couple of weeks later, in the middle of the night, he was wakened by the sound of his shotgun. He grabbed his other (loaded) gun and went to the garage where he found a guy lying on the floor, apparently passed out from shock. This was not exactly what he expected but he improvised. He ran to the bathroom, got a glass of water, threw it on this guy, and chased him a short way down the street, firing a couple of shots along the way (being careful not to actually hit him). In the following years, until I left, he was not bothered again. As for the home defense question, I agree with most of the things mentioned below. However, one issue is not addressed. You should have a location with a bullet-resistant barrier behind which you can position yourself in a defensive way. For me it is a bar (nicely fitting in with the decor of the house) built with glass construction blocks. They may not stop everything but I believe they are particularly good against hollow-point pistol ammunition.

red neck wrote:
December 09, 2012

I use a 12 gauge shotgun for my home defense weapon of last resort. I custom loaded 3 in magnums with a blend of busted up tempered glass and rock salt. The projectiles are less likely to go through drywall and harm family members and pipes or wiring. I have only the first 2 shells available in my weapon of this potent less than lethal blend with the rest being standard 00 buckshot.

dbnodurf wrote:
December 09, 2012

I think we need more info on that angle iron idea...

dbnodurf wrote:
December 09, 2012

the thing about discharging inside your house is not only your hearing, but your wife's and the dog's. folks don't say much about a dog's hearing, but it is way more sensitive than ours, and way more damaged. Most "good" hunting dogs are relatively "deaf" dogs. Suppressors protect EVERYONE'S hearing, including the dog's.

Merlin wrote:
December 09, 2012

Seems it is reasonable to have a home protection firearm with a suppressor? I've seen more pop up at shows. What's the legality? Can't imagine being scared finding my gun, but get killed searching for my wife's and my earplugs

wisdom ace wrote:
December 09, 2012

Get an NRA home safety course handbook and read it and practice with your firearm and do dry run drills monthly to stay ready. purchase the most expensive xenon bulb flashlight from NRA or Gunstore. Gun of choice? 12 guage shotgun. It don't have to be registered and you cannot be accused of deadly force or premeditation by using a powerful handgun. anything above a 38 caliber is considered lethal force. You will be taken to jail in handcuffs if you use a firearm to defend yourself or your home. when the police arrive on the scene of a 911 call involving guns, they come with pistols drawn and release the K-9 first--it comes in and whomever has a gun in hand is going to be bitten between the legs. If you shoot someone jump to the right or left so they cannot rush you head on. They cannot turn right or left after being shot. All this is in the NRA home safety course handbook. and more lots lots more. Nobody has covered the information found here on this forum like what you will learn in that NRA home safety course. It's a must have.

Mike Procter wrote:
December 09, 2012

I have the best burglar alarm ever. I have a min-pin and a boxer. When the doorbell rings, it sounds like the dog pound here. the pin barks and yelps, and the boxer sounds like a mad dog! On top of that, I have a doggie door so they can come and go in and out at their leisure. One look at these two dogs is all it takes for anyone to find another house to rob.

Frank M wrote:
December 09, 2012

I have two things to mention. First, to the author; you missed an excellent chance to plug the NRA's Personal Protection Inside the Home class. Secondly, ear muffs only protect the hearing of those wearing them. If you have other family members in the house, your muffs aren't going to help them when you pull the trigger. But, a suppressor, aka a silencer, will, as it lessens the sound of the shot, itself. Coupled with subsonic ammo, such as a 9mm shooting 147gr bullets or pretty much any. 45, a suppressor can be a good accessory to a home defense firearm.

In Wisconsin wrote:
December 07, 2012

For Wiseman: Explain how adding angle iron to the jamb helps to reinforce a door that opens "IN". We you suggesting maybe a short piece that extends 12 inches above and 12 inches below the striker area? Many thanks.

In Texas wrote:
December 06, 2012

A fenced in house with a couple large yard dogs is a great deterrent as well as an alarm. Low light survellance cameras are a plus. Sometimes things happen fast and I wouldn't lose my concentration to put on ear protection. If you had to shoot you probably wouldn't even notice the sound, where ever you were.

OldPoop wrote:
December 06, 2012

Sound suppressor, no ear damage, no temporary blindness from flash, less recoil, less chance of giving yourself away if more than one bad guy is in different areas inside and outside of home.

Milkman wrote:
December 06, 2012

Ear protection- really? As a former USMarine and retired Federal Agent who was on literally 100's of close quarters raids, let me say, you need all of your senses unhindered. Eyes-have a small hi-powered light (strobe is best) with or next to your gun. Keep it off until you hear your target then assault their senses ASAP -noise (loud, direct commands, Light in the eyes,) and let aderniali

jimmyjet wrote:
December 05, 2012

When seconds count, it only takes a minute or two to find those ear portectors you stashed away in your shooting bag.

TCE wrote:
December 05, 2012

In order to eliminate the stranger standing 2 feet away when we politely answered the door we installed a charming white 10 ft. wrought iron gate across our entry with a matching white door bell switch revealed only to friends and neighbors. IF anyone knocks on our front door, there is DEFINITELY something wrong! IF you need to errect a 40 foot gate, ISN'T IT WORTH IT?

NC Ken wrote:
December 05, 2012

The red 'panic button' on your car key fob is a ready means for sounding the alarm. Keep it on your bed stand. If you believe you are being broken into or an invasion has taken place, hit that emergency button on the fob. It may just deter the intruders, and may well alert your neighbors (with whom you have already coordinated, and who will also alert police. Same key fob alarm potential applies to perceived threats at gas stations or in parking lots. Make a habit of consciously taking the key fob out of your purse or pocket when ever you leave, or return to enter your home, ready to activate it.

Dave wrote:
December 05, 2012

If the front door entry has a vestibule, place a reinforcement between the door and a reinforcing wall. It can readily be removed to allow exit through the door.

John wrote:
December 05, 2012

Comments...No one has mentioned retreat. Sometimes, the best defence is to retreat. Our plan if my wife is alone is to...1. Turn on as many light as possible as quickly as possible. 2. Let the dog inside. 3. Grab the cordless phone, and 4. Dial 911 as your quickly go out the back door and to a neighbors house to wait for the cops! Our area has drug problem. A likely intruder will NOT be exercising good jusdgement and may not be deterred by dogs, lights, or threat of firearms. I'd want my wife to run and stay safe rather than try and defend the house. The house can be repaired or replaced. My wife can't be replaced. Just my 2 cents.

Mike wrote:
December 05, 2012

I was a SWAT Team officer for 10 years and have been involved in several instances where shots were fired within a house. While I agree hearing protectors are a good idea alot of the blast from a shot is absorbed by household furnishings like furniture, carpet and drapes. It is surprising how little it affects you under stressful siutuations. I dont't recall any of my guys complaining of ringing ears after handgun fire.

noodles wrote:
December 05, 2012

There’s an intruder in my home, I grab my pump-action 12 gauge, Empty chamber, two cartridges in the tube mag, as per local laws. Next, I drape a bando over my head, filled with 12 gauge carterages of various loads and strength. I top off the magazine by adding two 3” slug shells. Now, I listen and keep quiet. If I hear a strange person, I ask them to identify themselves, if I receive a negative, or no response, I cycle a cartridge in my pump gun. Then I listen again for a response. You must make sure no little ones or friendlies are roaming about. Now, it’s come down to fight or flight, if I hear the intruder(s) retreating and exiting my home, that would be ideal. Otherwise they get two, one ounce deer slugs to the chest, followed by a barrage 00 buck shot until the event concludes.

Lu wrote:
December 05, 2012

I have been bombarded at my front door before. It was still day light and myself and 3 of my friends were headed out to eat when we opened the door to leave the intruders rushed us back inside. They duct taped us up and robbed us. One with a shotgun, one with a handgun and one with a bat. This is one of many reasons why I became interested in fire arms & self defense. I hated the fact that they were armed and I was not. In that situation I still don't know the best way to handle it. We ended up just doing as they said so they would just leave with out harming anyone. Being as prepared as possible and always practicing is my advice as well. Along with motion lights I recommend having a security camera system as well. That way if anything were to happen at least you would have a visual of who intruded and what exactly happened.

Jc wrote:
December 05, 2012

Lock your house door inside the garage.

Harry Moore wrote:
December 05, 2012

If you have an unfinished basement, to make it harder for someone to cut into your home's basement garage doors with a chainsaw (during days when you are not home), attach fencing wire to the inside, where the saws blade will catch on it.

Dale wrote:
December 05, 2012

As for ear protection: have you ever fired a shot indoors? Ringing in the ears is minor, compared to a broken ear drum. The best protection would be the type of protection that allows the human voice but, protects against the loud damaging sounds such as gunfire. If you have to fire a weapon, you want to be able to hear and understand the police when they arrive.

rabbitdave wrote:
December 05, 2012

@noodles Electric ear muffs allow you to amplify sound and protect you hearing. Good all around.

December 05, 2012


flyrod wrote:
December 05, 2012

Yes; very wise to have ear protection. Many models actually give you AMPLIFIED hearing --even suitable for hunting-- in addition to protecting your ears from the serious overpressure you'll encounter shooting inside a bedroom...

Dave wrote:
December 05, 2012

Yes, it's a great idea to wear hearing protection inside your home. If you're forced to discharge your firearm in that enclosed space, you risk serious hearing damage. Of course, the key thing to to wear ELECTRONIC hearing protection, so you can hear well what's going on, in addition to being protected.

david wrote:
December 05, 2012

I have electronic earmuffs which has an adjustable audio circuit. You can hear and protect your ears too. Worth every penny !

John wrote:
December 04, 2012

Speaking of hearing, I installed an intercom at the front door. the door stays locked while we talk. I can cock an 870 by the mike and it is amplified out there. You can also "listen" to the front yard if you want to. I own an alarm company, so the house is well wired... the German Shepard handles the rest.

Cliff wrote:
December 04, 2012

get a pair of electronic earmuffs, they would actually magnify quiet sounds and save your ears if it's necessary to shoot. This was discussed at our class at Front Sight and I now keep a set in the bedroom.

Pappymatt wrote:
December 04, 2012

noodles - those are electronic muffs. They cut off the noise, but enhance the little sounds. Recommended.

JP wrote:
December 04, 2012

@ Noodles - You can wear hearing protection AND still hear what is going on / maintain situational awareness if you use electronic hearing protectors, such as those made by Peltor and other manufacturers.

Ancient Chjief wrote:
December 04, 2012

You would be surprised at how well one can hear while wearing ear plugs. Besides, a shooter would temporarily lose his/her hearing after discharging just one round in a confined space. So you would be "deaf" anyway. Wearing hearing protection is smart (if you have the time).

Mike wrote:
December 04, 2012

@noodles Agree with the choice of a shotgun for HD. It's something most people are familiar with, and carry enough punch (with the right ammo) to deal with most critters... As far as the hearing protection, they look like the electronic type, that let you hear ambient noise... until the shot is fired.

Rickster H wrote:
December 04, 2012

Perhaps those hearing protectors are dual purpose...electronic amplification and high DB shutoff. I won't namebrand them, but they're tactical, 7 times around.

jeff wrote:
December 04, 2012

I keep a .44 mag beside my bed and a 12 GA very close. I also agree ear protection is a horrible idea in the case of a home invasion. I have a lot of training with an ar15 in close quarters but I debate which is better the 12 GA or my ar15.

Nighthawk wrote:
December 04, 2012

It is clear that the ear protection is electronic. I use Howard Leight hearing protectors and they actually make me hear better. Then if you shoot they dampen the sound. I would make sure you don't get the kinds with a little red light that shows they're working. Those would be a beacon to the bad guys. Just my 2 cents. Stay safe. Nuff said, Hawk

WSA wrote:
December 04, 2012

Wearing electronic hearing protection is the way to go as when turned up you have better than normal hearing yet are protected

geniedoc wrote:
December 04, 2012

It would be wise to have a pair of electronic earmuffs positioned near your firearm. If you have a chance to put them on, they cam actually enhance your hearing.

Busted drums wrote:
December 04, 2012

Kudos to you noodles for keeping old faithful at hand, but I worry that the first time you pull the trigger, your hearing will be shot immediately. If you are an avid gunner, maybe invest in electronic muffs which will help provide you the best chance at hearing before and after the report. Otherwise, some moderately damping earplugs to allow for some hearing may do just as well to protect your ability to hear after the shot.

Jerry wrote:
December 04, 2012

As much as we like to talk about using deadly force against someone trying to break into our house, as the article says, it should be the method of last resort. Good training with the spouse is advised in this respect. There are many provisions to take before you reach that "last resort". If each is taken, chances are you will never have to use deadly force and spend the rest of your life thinking of alternative actions you could have taken.

The Wiseman wrote:
December 04, 2012

Ordinary glass windows are your greatest vulnerability - a minute with a hammer and our burglar is inside. I changed my windows all around the ground floor - even the small windows in the garage - with "burglar resistant" glass. Have the installer reinforce the window frames so as to withstand a battering. Have your door jams reinforced with angle-iron, with careful attention around the locks. A deadbolt lock on every outside door. Hide that rope that hangs down from your garage door opener - the burglar can simply break a window in the garage door, reach in and pull that rope so as to disconnect the garage door opener, and then pull up the door. Now he's inside! Buy the absolute best locks on the market - Medico locks. The have little ball bearings at the bottom of the bolts to prevent the burglar from "reverse spinning" them with an electric drill. Outside security lights won't work in a storm. Buy two or three of those "million watt" hand-held spotlights and keep them fully charged. Fire extinguisher in EVERY room including the bathrooms. Keep the garage door, the shed door, the cellar door LOCKED AT ALL TIMES! Keep all ladders inside! Lock the bathroom window and the bedroom window! Hire a good carpenter and ask him how he would get inside. Once inside, the burglar will head for the burglar alarm cabinet. Hide it in a locked closet. Ditto your Video recorder, if you have outside cameras. He will follow the cables. Make it difficult for him! Lock up all your guns when you go out - keep one under the bed and one in a closet for immediate use. Flashlights in every room. When you shoot inside at night, remember (1.) the flash will blind you temporarily - pick your target carefully; (2.) the sound will deafen you; (3.) You will be astounded (if using a shotgun) at the damage done to your walls, pipes, appliances, the car in the garage at the other end of the house, etc. Perhaps you can scare him into leaving by simply "racking" the action a coupla times...

Gray2Hairs wrote:
December 04, 2012

I keep Walker's Game Ears with me just as I do my defensive firearms. The Game Ears go in at the first sign of trouble and that allow me to hear much better than normal and still protect my ears.

ringo wrote:
December 04, 2012

Hey Noodles, electronic muffs with digital microphones are ideal for home defense since not only can you hear just fine with them turned on, but you can turn them up to hear even better. Caldwell Shooting Supplies and Peltor make good affordable models. They should be part of every home defense kit.

noodles wrote:
December 03, 2012

As per the above photo, I include a shotgun as one of the firearms I maintain for home protection. I've had the same 12 guage next to my bed for 20+ years and I've never needed it, and I hope I never will. However, back to the photo. Is it wise to wear ear protection while defending your home? I would want to hear every sound.