I’d like to talk about personal responsibility.
Anytime you hear the phrase “someone ought to…” perhaps that someone should be you. Home-defense always itself at the center of gun-related issues because even the most adamant anti-gun activists would have a difficult time telling us not to protect ourselves, family, and guests under our roofs.
According to FBI statistics a burglary occurs 4 times every minute in the USA. Out of these, 97% of invasions happen when no one is home. Burglaries overall are dropping. That’s a good thing. Overall, even with active shooters and terrorists, the United States is one the the safest countries to live in. We are not the paranoid, alarmist, praying-to-a-vengeful-god for an apocalypse to rain-down Mad Max-style shit on our block-types. So this isn’t an excuse to play Rambo.
What about the chance violence finds you? 3% of the time when someone breaks into your home you ARE there. The issue arises when there’s no one around to do anything except yourself; whether or not you have the answers to the question “What are you going to do?”.
Any man worth his salt not only wants to protect his home, but thinks he has the ability protect his home. The truth is you have an OBLIGATION to protect your home. I can’t imagine a more basic caveman-instinct than turning in a combination of Brock Lesnar and Charles Bronson to show someone they came to the wrong house.
The two most important questions you can ask yourself are:
1. Do you have a plan?
2. Is your plan worth a damn?
Recently, I’ve been thinking about my plan and how little I know about the best tactics to defend my home in case angry Bernie supporters want to “redistribute” my TV at 4 in the morning. I decided to ask a friend of mine who knew a little more about tactics and defense than myself. Michael Scott is a senior enlisted active-duty member of the US Military. He has 20 years of law enforcement and military special operations experience, tactical firearms training, and force-protection experience. In other words: He isn’t taking shit. He sure-as-hell knows how to protect himself and others in an emergency situation.
I took some time to have him go over some points on defense if the worst should happen…
As a tactical expert, what mistakes would you think people without training would make in home defense?
One of the things that I believe that someone who is not trained in any type of tactics might overlook in home-defense is having a plan. Thinking about all of the possible scenarios that could happen and having some sort of idea of what they would do. Another is not making their firearm accessible. Having it in a safe with a cable run through the barrel and locked and the ammo unloaded from the magazine is not ideal for defense because of how long it will take you to get that firearm operational. There is a balance between accessibility and safety. Another might be not having a light source with their weapon. Even if you do not have a weapon you should have some type of high output flashlight. Shining a flashlight in the eyes of a would be assailant has been shown to diffuse situations. Some lights have strobe effects that can disorient attackers.
If you believe someone has broken into your house what’s the first thing you should do?
If someone breaks into your house the first thing you should do is alert law enforcement. No matter how much training or experience you think you have.
Are bats or knives a good home-defense weapon?
Bats and knives. I will put it simply; have you ever been trained to fight with a bat or a knife? Introducing a knife to a situation which requires close-quarters fighting, where you could be potentially become overpowered and have your knife used against you, is not a good idea. As a last resort I suppose it is better than nothing. However, don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
What is the best choice of Firearm for home-defense?
One thing that we can all agree on is that you should have some type of firearm. Let’s face it; firearms have become the swords of the modern era. A man cannot defend his castle with a shovel. Everyone has their preference and “experts” will tell you what you should get or what is better. I am going to give you some food-for-thought. Because not every shooter is the same and not every home is the same layout, you should get a firearm that works for you and that you can safely and effectively employ. Whatever decision you make, it should be an informed decision.
Should you purchase a rifle, shotgun or handgun? When it doubt choose all three! However, since price is usually a factor, you must consider the following: The rifle of choice for home defense is typically the AR-15, which shoots a .223 round. This round is a high-velocity round and depending on the type of ammo you use, shooting through your target is a very real problem. You should assess the threat angles in your house so that if someone is standing in your doorway and a round potentially goes through them you know what is on the other side. Could be your neighbors, your child’s room, or a pet?
Which firearm would you recommend for someone unfamiliar with guns?
Shotguns are great close range weapons and offer a greater forgiveness as far as accuracy goes. The racking of a round is an audible warning to any would-be intruder, given you are alerted they are in the house, potentially scaring them away. Over-penetration is also not as probable given the proper choice of load.
How do you feel about using a handgun?
Handguns have pros and cons depending on whether you choose a revolver or a semi-automatic handgun. Handguns require a greater degree of accuracy than a shoulder fired weapon, but can be better in close-quarters or small dwellings.
Revolvers are less likely to malfunction, but are slower to reload and limited in ammo capacity. Semi-Autos typically have a light attachment point whereas revolvers do not.
Where is the best place to be in a home invasion scenario?
This cannot be simply answered because every house is different. What you should do is figure out the safest place in YOUR home. You should have more than one entry and exit from that room so you cannot become trapped. You should have some form of communication with the outside world from that space. If you are in your “safe room” and someone is taking your TV downstairs it is best to wait and defend that space until law enforcement arrives. Most people do not have the training to clear their house. Do you want to shoot a potentially unarmed intruder over a TV? No matter what happens, if you discharge your firearm in self-defense, you are going to be defending those actions in court. So you must be wise in your decisions. Whatever room you choose, make sure you are aware of threat angles.
If you have other people in the house (guests, children, roommates, etc.) where should they be and what do they do?
If you have other people in your house you should revert back to your plan. Do your children have a planned hiding spot? Only you should know where that is. It might be best to have everyone gather in your “safe room”. This will all depend on the size of your dwelling and the intentions and movements of the attacker. Any plan is better than no plan at all. I have a friend whose children have a designated hiding spot and will only emerge if given a pass code from the mother or father. The important thing is that, if you have an intruder, you do not want guests wandering around the house trying to see what is going on. This will force you to have to distinguish, potentially in the dark, a guest from an attacker.
How do you know when to pull the trigger?
This is difficult to answer and is not so black and white. You must know the laws for the state in which you live. Many laws protect you as the homeowner if you act in self defense. I always revert to my training in regards to use of force. If a person intends me harm, has a weapon or the opportunity to deliver that harm, and shows any actions declaring so, I will defend myself.
Under what circumstance would you advise submission to the invaders?
Never. It is your home and your family, and it is your duty to protect them. There is no way to know if the person invading your home is a desperate thief just trying to get a few things to pawn, or a psychopathic killer intending on hurting your family. Notify law enforcement and defend yourself and your family. Material possessions can be replaced, but your life can not.
What is the best single piece of advice you can give to the average person who wants to protect their home?
The important things to remember are to have a plan. Practice retrieving your firearm from where you store and lock it (check your state and local laws). Spend time getting that firearm into condition 0 (ready to fire) and ensuring you are comfortable with the manipulation of that weapon. Know that most home invasions occur at night, so you should have a light source on or near your weapon. You should also practice clearing malfunctions with your weapons because when it goes “click” at 3am and you are half-asleep in your underwear, you’ll need to know what to do. Practicing on a range is fine but it is optimal conditions. Shooting under stress in low light with no hearing or eye protection on (unless you sleep with ear muffs on) is a whole different story.
Before doing anything make sure you or someone close alerts Law Enforcement as it is better to have backup. You have the home field advantage and should use that to your advantage by being prepared!
The good news is the overwhelming majority of us will never be in a deadly scenario. Being victimized, in your home in particular, is extremely rare and unusual. An active shooter in public or a terrorist attack is more likely, but also rare. Something inside of us, something primal, wants to know how to defend the nest. Prepare yourself, research and familiarize yourself with your weapons and surroundings, and work out a plan with people in the house. Check with your local law enforcement about your local laws concerning firearms and self defense. Many states have strict and unreasonable self defense laws; if you live in one of these places contact your representation at HOUSE.GOV and ask “Why?”. A man’s home is his castle, and you have an obligation it keep it safe.