Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When something goes bump in the Night!

I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and have begun implementing a few of your suggestions. Even with the little I have done so far, an incident last night showed me just how valuable a little bit of preparedness is.
At 4AM my wife shakes me awake and whispers, "I think someone may be in our house." I jumped out of bed, fumbled around a bit for my 9mm Glock, then though, "Oh crap I need a flashlight!" Obviously what I needed was a tactical flashlight, but those were in another room. However, what I did have was a keychain LED I started carrying after reading your blog. Not much, but at least I could see. I then proceeded to check the house. Thankfully it turned out to just be our cat making some noise.
Even though it was a false alarm, I was glad I knew the basics of how to handle it. Also, I knew that if it came to a fight, I at least had some knowledge of how those go down. Nowhere near as good as actual training, but better than nothing.
Here are my lessons learned:
ALWAYS keep a tactical flashlight with my gun
Install a light where I keep the gun that comes on automatically when I open its container so I'm not fumbling around with a loaded gun. I'm thinking one of these magnetic switches wired to a AA battery and a red LED.
Buy some JHP ammo. I did not enjoy having to worry about overpenetration from my FMJ rounds.
Sleep in something I can clip a knife and a reload mag to.
Secure my doors and windows better. It was hard to feel like I had fully proven that there was no intruder when there are so many EASY ways in.
Make sure my wife knows that if she thinks there is a problem, wake me immediately. I later found out she had been awake for 10 minutes worried that someone had broken in but thinking it was probably the cat and therefore did not want to wake me up. I told her what I read on your blog, that she has to wake me any time she thinks something is wrong because even though 99% of the time it will be nothing, that 1% could be life or death. I will gladly trade a little lost sleep for the safety of my family.
Also, before I read your blog I had kept my gun with the magazine removed. Now I keep it with the magazine in but no round chambered. This is because my wife is absolutely not ok with having a round chambered before we go through Front Sight. However, I was quite thankful last night that I at least had the mag in because finding both the mag and the gun in the dark and getting the mag in correctly would have taken a LONG time.
Of course, most of these are things you have said over and over. They made sense when I read them, but now I am quite motivated to actually do them. Even the few changes I have made over the past few weeks in both preparedness and mindset helped tremendously. If this had happened a month ago, I would have been fumbling around with a magazine in the dark, blundering about the house with no light, and still convinced that a round or two of FMJ 9mm will put down an intruder no problem.
So in sum, thanks for writing this blog! My family is and will be safer because of it.

Hi John, I’m glad to see that my blog helped some!
The type of mental conditioning you want to achieve may take some time. Eventually you jump off the bed before even registering consciously what happened. Something just triggered in your brain on an unconscious level and you are out of your bed and with a gun in your hand before you consciously register it! Its only then that you think “that sounded like the boiler/a kid falling from bed/ the dog/ whatever”.
It does sound paranoid but indeed, 99% of the time its nothing, and that 1% is what makes all the difference in the world. If you didn’t react accordingly for the other 99, you cant expect to do so for the one time that it counts.
You have to be fast in reacting. I’ve known of cases where you have a minute or two before they break in, I’ve known of cases where all you hear is one loud sound, the one kick needed to bust your front door open and they are already in!
Get a good tactical flashlight, Surefire makes a nice powerful one, the Surefire E2D well built with a serious strike bezel.

SureFire E2D LED Defender Dual-Output LED (200 Lumens)

A way of seeing my gun in the dark that has worked well for me is installing tritium night sights. I can see the tritium sights clearly on the shelf inside the dresser if the door is opened. Night sights also improve enormously your ability to shoot in low light conditions so its important to have them.

Meprolight Glock Tru-Dot Night Sight for 9mm, .357 Sig, .45 S and W . 45 GAP - Fixed Set

Don’t count on FMJ. 9mm FMJ goes through people just punching holes like you wouldn’t believe. Do yourself and your family a favor and get good JHP ammo, Cor Bon or Gold Dot.
Join the forum discussion on this post!


Anonymous said...

You stated that you leave your gun openly on a shelf within reach. I've read Massad Ayoob and some others recommend covering your gun with a magazine, or something, within reach of the bed, so an intruder who doesn't wake you won't get to it first. Any thoughts on that advice?

FerFAL said...

Yes, I've read that too. On a shelf inside a closet would be out of sight but still easy to find due to the tritium dots for the person that knows where to look. I have kids so leaving it on the floor or night table covered with a magazine would be prettyt dangeorus. On the shelf its out of reach from todlers. (still not secured, so only do that when you are home!)

hsu said...

The best solution when you have kids is to get an electronic safe. There are several models that can be opened quickly, just by feel. Screw it into your nightstand or next to your side of the bed.

Anonymous said...

For $15., I have one of these at the foot of the stairs, on the first floor of my house, to alert me if someone is stepping foot on the steps up to our room. It is set to chime 4 times on the receiver upstairs next to my bed. Or, you could set it only to flash a light. Forget the negative comments on Amazon;you're not going to soak it or want a 400 foot range unless you live in the Playboy Mansion. It's never given a false alarm. The only drawback is that you don't want cats or kids wandering in front of it at night.


David said...

To the OP, good idea going to Front Sight. I have been to a few courses there, starting with the 4 Day Defensive Handgun class a couple years ago. I'd barely fired a handgun before attending and by the end of the 4 days I was amazed at how quickly I could sight in and deliver a round (or 2) where I wanted to, and how automatic all my good habits had become. This is key because if I ever had to use my gun, I want to be focused only on who I might need shoot, and whether or not to actually shoot. There's not going to be mental bandwidth to think about the mechanics of manipulating the weapon.

The quality of their classes seems to be degrading over time so the sooner you attend the better. For instance, when I took the class there was a night shoot (with flashlight, using Harry's flashlight technique). I don't think they do that anymore.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, their marketing is over the top ridiculous. Happily, once you are there, the marketing does not pollute the quality of the classes.

A few months ago a guy in a nearby town shot and killed some people at his workplace, then was on the loose and last sighted in my neighborhood. Swarms of cops were unable to locate him by the end of the day, so my neighbors and I went to bed not knowing if he might break into a house that night. It was nice to know that in the unlikely event the psycho attacked me and my family, I had the tools and training to stop him.