Warning: This article in no way is meant to serve as legal advice. Check with all local laws and ordinances regarding gun ownership, home defense, and self defense.
Knock, knock. It sounds like a joke but it’s not. Many home invasions actually start with a knock on the door. What do you do to avoid someone barging into your home? What do you do if you hear that proverbial bump in the night? There are numerous tactics you can employ left of bang, meaning there are a lot of things you can do to defend yourself before a confrontation escalates into a gun fight.
Let’s face it we are all dedicated to training, practicing grip, stance, sight picture, and trigger control, and all of that is important because if it does come down to a shootout between you and someone wanting to do you harm, you have that training edge. Avoidance, however, is always the preferred tactic.
I’d prefer not to discharge my firearm, but if I am up against the wall, I won’t think twice. I’m willing to protect myself and family, but if I can stop or prevent a situation from happening, then I absolutely will.
If you think I’m being paranoid let me share some U.S. Department of Justice and FBI statistics. According to the Department of Justice 3.7 millions homes are burglarized every year. About 1 million of them are robberies.
A burglary becomes a robbery when the homeowner is present. Some 26 percent of robberies become violent crimes which means 266,560 violent crimes a year begin as home burglaries. Some 58 percent of home invasions use some type of forced entry.
The odds of becoming a victim of a home burglary is 1 in 34 and roughly 1 violent crime from a burglary happens every 2 minutes. Do I have your attention now? The data is not stark. I say be prepared.
Three Must-Do Home Prep Tactics
1. Light ‘Em Up
Make sure you have adequate lighting in and around your home and keep lights on at night or install motion activated lights on the exterior of your home.
I have motion activated flood lights installed at the corners of my home that come when someone is trying to creep up to the house. The local deer trigger these lights, but they have figured it out and stay away.
Bad actors like the darkness, take that advantage away from them. Automatic timers for inside lights are also a great idea, especially when you aren’t home.
2. Buzz Cut
Landscaping like large hedges around your home can be used for concealment by shady types. Shrubs and bushes around the outside of your home should be trimmed and kept small enough so that a person can’t use them to hide.
You don’t want a bad actor hiding behind your arborvitaes and grab you as you enter or exist your home. If you park your car in the driveway, make sure you have a clear path to the front door.
3. Say Cheese
Video technology these days is relatively inexpensive. We have Nest cameras set up in our home that automatically turn on the moment we leave the premises.
Doorbell video cameras are especially useful. They can record images of people messing around the entrance to your home and you can also use the video camera to verify someone at the front door and speak directly to them using your phone, even if you aren’t home.
Outside cameras, like outside lighting, can provide you with helpful intel if you find yourself in a defensive situation. They can tell you how many people are outside, where they are, and how and where they are attempting to gain entry to the home. Modern security cameras are small and can be synched up to your smart phone via an app so you can get prepared.
Many are even wireless and only need your home WiFi and batteries to work—these are extra easy to set up. If you already have a security system, check with your service provider, as they may offer packages that include home cameras that can be linked right to your existing system.
More Home Defense Guidance
Part of my research into preventing a home invasion brought me across the Complete Home Defense Tactics For Defending Your Castle from ConcealedCarry.com. This is a three DVD set that simply and effectively break down the steps to avert a home invasion and how to stop one. ConcealedCarry.com’s approach is not just about choosing the right gun to defend your home, but the tactics you can use to prevent a home invasion or what to do during in the event of a home invasion.
Part of the course is titled “Door Ambush.” How may times do we hear a knock on the door and we answer it without knowing who is on the other side? It seems like a no brainer, but we can get lazy and lax in our everyday routine and answer the door when we hear the words, “Pizza delivery!” from someone outside. You open the door and before you can say pepperoni, a bad guy is in your space.
These types of home invasions are not far fetched. In fact, ConcealedCarry.com uses actual scenarios taken from news outlets. They aren’t making up stuff, but providing counter tactics to real tactics used by felons.
Remember, always verify who is at the door before you open it. Look through the old-school peephole, use your aforementioned doorbell camera if you have one, use a side window to peer out without being noticed—whatever method you have available.
Also, never allow your small child to answer the door. Ever.
Three Must-Have Nighttime Tools
There are three must-have items I keep by my bedside every night: my cell phone, a high-lumen compact flashlight, and a pistol.
Why the phone? I can use it to call 9-1-1 or have my spouse dial 9-1-1 as we go to our safe positions and prepare for a confrontation.
Additionally, make sure your cell phone is charged or plugged in at night. A dead phone will do you no good. If your house still has a landline, make sure there’s a phone hooked up to it where you sleep as a backup.
The second most important item is a flashlight. Bad things will most likely happen at night and a high lumen flashlight penetrates the darkness. I also can use the compact flashlight as a weapon if I am grabbed.
You might say, “I already have a high lumen flashlight installed on my firearm.” That’s great, but you don’t necessarily want to point a loaded gun everywhere you may have to point a flashlight. Having both is better.
The Surefire Fury-DFT makes a great standalone flashlight and has a scalloped edge on the bezel end that’s used to break glass or skulls. It is also made of aluminum and takes commonly found batteries and is easy to turn on and off. I also have a Streamlight Poly Tact X hand held. This one is polymer so it is lighter and the battery can be recharged. I use these lights literally every night.
Both lights stick out both sides of my fist so I can use them to hit and jab and are easily operated with one hand. The third item is a handgun outfitted with a Crimson Trace CMR-205 Rail Master, which has both a light and red laser.
Firearm with Gun Light/Laser
I have the Crimson Trace set in beam-and-laser mode so a touch of the button and they both come on. Touch the button again and they go off. Another light I like is the Viridian X5L green laser and tactical light.
The light throws 178 lumens in continuous mode and 224 lumen in strobe. A nice set up for home defense. The X5L has a total of six modes: constant laser, constant laser/constant light, constant laser/strobe light, pulse laser, pulse laser/constant light, and constant light.
Operation of the unit is ambidextrous; press either the right or left side button to turn on or off or change the unit mode. Battery life is six hours in constant mode, 10 hours in pulsing mode, and it automatically shuts down when not in use. A staged firearm, hidden from sight, is equipped with the Viridian.
Your choice of home defense firearm is personal. I like a handgun for ease of maneuverability and fast access. That’s not to say an AR15 or shotgun is not appropriate. I use what I am comfortable with and I have more firearms staged should I need them.
Mounting a Defensive Pistol
ConcealedCarry.com suggests you stage firearms in your home and there are many manufacturers offering selves and furniture that looks like shelves and furniture but hold a firearm. The Glock Store Under Desk Concealment Plate system uses an aluminum plate that holds a Blackhawk Serpa Holster.
The holster attaches to the plate using the same screws that come with the holster. The plate has four mounting holes drilled into the four corners that allow you to mount the plate and holster under your desk, counter, table, wherever you need access to a handgun quickly.
Crossbreed Holsters has a modular system called the Bedside Backup, which allows you to mount a holster right to a panel on the side of your bed. Additional Velcro panels are available in their Last Ditch line that allow you to affix their holsters to pretty much any surface for a bevy of mounting options.
The LedgeLocker looks like an ordinary shelf blending into the room’s decor but hidden inside is a storage space for a handgun, extra magazines and valuables. The LedgeLocker opens silently and without disturbing the items on the shelf. The storage space is lockable with a secret key.
So what do you do when you hear that bump in the night? Here’s a basic plan that you can use to create your own home defense plan tailored to your house and the people in it.
• Immediately go into safe room mode. The DVD series does a great job of breaking down the different scenarios and how to prepare. You need to have a plan and make sure all family members know what the plan is. As the DVDs stress it is important to secure your family and place them in a room they can defend with a smart phone, flashlight and firearm.
• Announce yourself to the intruder, not like you are at a church social but like your are a drill sergeant and you are talking to a new recruit. Tell they to get out and you are armed and you will kill them.
• Use your flashlight to scan the area but don’t leave the light on since this gives away your location. Don’t use the light on your gun since you may accidentally shoot someone. That bump in the night might have been a family member getting a midnight snack. Deploy the gun light when you have the thug identified.
• Your options maybe to wait it out in your safe room with your family, the bad guys might flee once they know the homeowner are home, or you may need to fight. Encounters like these are fluid and you can’t prepare for every thing, but you need to have a plan.
Train For Home Defense Situations With Your Home Defense Firearm
This may seem obvious, but you should actually perform the actions you would perform while securing your home with the gun you plan to use for home defense and be proficient with it. For instance, if you use a rifle or shotgun for home defense, how should you carry the long arm? Should you point it muzzle up or muzzle down? The answer is muzzle down. With a muzzle up carry portion a bad actor can easy grab your rifle and have the leverage to control the direction of the muzzle.
With a muzzle down carry you can more easily control the gun in a struggle and you have the option of dropping the floor which causes the muzzle to pivot up toward the perp’s abdomen and clear shot that will help subdue them. These are things you need to know if you choose a long gun for home defense.
If you prepare for a home invasion you will be more likely to survive a home invasion. Make planning for a home invasion as routine as testing your smoke alarms. You never know what or who will come knocking at your door.