Sunday, October 2, 2011

What to do in case of a home invasion?

With home invasions becoming more common in spite of the record decrease in crime across USA, there are a few things people should keep in mind.
Defending yourself against criminals without weapons is like trying to make a cake without eggs or flour. If you follow any of the advise in this blog one of the things you probably have is a gun, hopefully its not too big to maneuver inside close quarters. If you don’t have a gun, a large pointy chef knife will have to do. Get one of these if you cant legally own guns in your current location. Besides the gun (or knife) there are certain items that are very desirable to have at hand. A tactical flashlight, hopefully something powerful like the previously reviewed MTE lights that have 1000 lumens and a cell phone in the bedroom. You may want to add body armor to that list. Yes, its expensive but then again a) Its probably worth around half of the gun in your hand b) It increases your survival rate to 80% (give or take) when facing attackers armed with handguns.
Home invasions and attacks to your household can vary significantly. The following list is an estimation for most typical incidents. Adjusting and adapting as needed is important but this will give you a general guideline to think of.

1)React. If  something woke you up at night, if something got your attention, react to it. 99% of the time its nothing, just another house noise, the cat, the wind, etc, but you have to act on all of them because its that 1% that you react for. It gets to a point where you jump out of bed/your seat immediately. One thing that must be avoided at all costs is freezing, the inaction, staying still after hearing a sound to see if you hear it again. You must react, not wait.

2)Go for the gun and flashlight. Grab your weapon and light (don’t turn it on) immediately. Sometimes you have a few more seconds, sometimes you don’t. React as you would in a worst case scenario. If the gun is in a safe near the bed, remember to open it before going to bed. The firearm should be ready for use, within immediate reach but still out of the reach of children. Children should be trained not to touch your firearms but don’t ever count on that alone.

3) Regroup the family. This will depend on how many family members there is, their age and the house floor plan. The objective here is to get the family together in a defendable position, usually this would be the master bedroom. If you can clearly hear intruders breaking in then wake the wife and have her go get the kids while you stand protecting the corridor where the attackers are coming from. Once you have all the family members accounted for in a room, only then can you consider the potential intruders. This seems obvious but is very important. Too often people confuse their own family members with intrudes with disastrous consequences.

4)Once you have everyone in your room, if you feel you have a couple more seconds you can put on your body armor vest. If you still hear noises, now is when the wife or yourself should be calling the police.

5)Here is where people will have different opinions and the possible correct actions are as many as individual scenarios. When everyone is accounted for and the police has been called you can either hold your position in the room or go check out the noise. The textbook says don’t go clearing a house on your own. Solo house clearing is suicide if you go by the manual, but then do you want to wait until your attackers completely break in and risk a gunfight in your bedroom with your wife and kids? In some cases, say you hear attackers kicking the door down, making yourself noticed and warning them that you are armed may send them away as I explained in an incident that occurred to my dentist. In that case, that was enough. What if its not? Then you have the legal and moral ground to defend your life and your family. In other cases where someone sneaked in you might want to surprise the home invader using your flashlight, this will also work towards positive identification. Even with all family members accounted for staying in a room until told its safe to come out, you simply never shoot before identifying. It might be a drunk buddy, stoned neighbor, friend of your kid’s friend that crashed in the family room couch, NEVER shoot before identifying. Check for weapons as well. A gun or knife means you shoot, you don’t risk it.  At indoor ranges your life is clearly at risk and you’ll be lucky to survive if he attacks with either one, a knife being just as dangerous or more so than a gun at such distances.
The situations will all be different, in some you’ll want to move stealthily, in others made yourself noticed, in some stay put with your family and in others take the fight elsewhere if it comes to that. This is just a bare bone guideline. Be armed, have the minimum tools, account for all family members and don’t ever shoot without identifying first.
As America keeps getting safer according to statistics, violent robberies and home invasions where they didn’t occur before are becoming more and more common. Such a strange occurrence, still it’s better to be ready for it.
Take care,

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none said...

"NEVER shoot before identifying"

And what about RETURNING fire without identyfying oponent(s), eg. through closed door or a drywall (for detering effect)?

Anonymous said...

Good article, Ferfal. You've got me thinking about a few changes in my strategy if this happens to me.

Penny Pincher said...

Obviously if they're already shooting you then who it is is academic. Just defend yourself.

Double Tapper said...

For US home invasions:

Thing happen fast. So fast you will wonder what the f..k happened. Regardless, your plan has to compartmentalize what will happen.

You have to identify your target. Period. The risk of shooting an innocent is just too great. You can't just start banging away.

If you can, have everyone retreat to a back bedroom, make sure everyone is accounted for.

Have your weapon at the ready, pointed at a closed and locked door. Have at least a 9 mm with a large magazine. More is better.

While all this is going on, call the cops.

Remain holed up in your refuge. Should someone start shooting or try to come through the door, act decisively. Otherwise, wait until the cops get there. Let them clear the house. House clearing is very dangerous.

Only come out of your refuge once the cops have positively identified themselves.

In my city, once you call in a home invasion, cops will likely be there within 2-5 minutes. If a shootout occurs, it will be over within seconds. Chances are you won't even see the front sight or the barrel, you will point and shoot at the door or perp. When I mean seconds, it may be over with less than a second to two seconds. Five seconds will seem like an eternity.

Caveat, I have not personally been in a gun fight, though I have had weapons pointed at me. I personally know several people who have been in civilian gun fights.

With the proper equipment, training and mindset you SHOULD prevail. Since your family is at stake, you MUST prevail.

Joseph said...

None-same difference. If you shoot THROUGH something, you cannot see your target and that may likely lead to jail time. "There is a lawyer attached to every bullet you shoot".

House clearing when the cops are enroute is dangerous...they are just gonna see someone who has a gun and are likely to shoot first.

Anonymous said...

I have a digital recorder and I carry my small digital camera on my belt. Turn on a recorder (video or sound) and record the events. Yes I know if it all happens in two seconds you can't do this but then you couldn't do any of the other things suggested. The point is with a recording you may well save yourself jail time if you have to use a gun. Make sure you give warning, be careful what you say while recording and maybe the seriousness of the situation will be captured sufficiently to sway a jury to your side.