I’m researching “How to Defend Your Home with a Shotgun.” One of the issues that gives me pause: what, if anything, do you say to the perp when you know your home has been invaded? On one hand, calling out a warning is a pretty dumb thing to do—revealing your location and (perhaps) your state of readiness to someone who’s a deadly threat to you and/or your family. (Whether or not you should rack a pump shotgun as an auditory deterrent poses the same sort of conundrum.) On the other hand, a jury might like to hear that you warned an invader before shooting him or her. There are two variations here. In the first, the invader is not within range. In other words, you can them a chance to escape. In the second, they’re right on top of you, when you can least afford any sort of tactical delay. In that case, you could issue a warning and fire more or less simultaneously. You know, in theory. One shotgun guru suggests calling out “Police stop!”—and later claim you said “Please stop!” At the same time, what are you going to do if the invader DOES stop? For a frightened homeowner, a standoff is a tactical nightmare. But not for the invader. Your thoughts?

10 Responses to Question of the Day: How Do You Say Hello to a Home Invader?

  1. I'm sure various legal authorities would have divergent opinions from those in law enforcement on this issue. I'm also pretty sure that many "home defense experts" would would have a different opinion still. I'm certainly no expert, but I have blended (subconsciously, as if by osmosis) what I've read and been told, along with my own common sense, to arrive at the following protocol which I pray is effective and won't get me killed. This is just my procedure, and I wouldn't recommend anyone adopt it – like I said, it's just what I do.

    There have probably been 4-5 times in my adult life that a "bump in the night" has been startling/out-of-place-sounding enough to cause me to reach for my pistol/flashlight/cell phone and go investigate the source of the noise. In each case, I made sure to keep the lights out and myself hidden, at which time I then issued a loud, authoritative, verbal warning which included the fact that I was armed and ready to fire on anyone that posed a threat. I then demanded a response. Hearing none, I illuminated my flashlight and cautiously preceded from room to room, turning it off whenever I traversed open areas between rooms.

    Had someone been in my home during one of these instances, I expect that they would have either fled (which, all things considered, wouldn't be that bad), responded to my verbal inquiry (or my spotting them) and acquiesced (at which time I would have demanded that they lie face down on the floor spread eagle until the police arrived), or they would have physically attacked me, either with a weapon or with their bare hands (at which point I would have defended myself with my pistol to the maximum extent I was able).

    I pray to God that nothing like that ever happens to me; however, regardless of the tactical mistakes my process may include, I firmly believe that it is better than being unarmed and on hold with 911, hoping against hope that my bedroom door doesn't suddenly fly open.

  2. I'm no expert on this either, but my order of operations is:

    1 – grab the nearest weapon, usually a Mag Light or small handgun depending on where I am in the house.

    2 – get to the long gun and secure the family (get them all in the same place)

    3 – call 911 and put it on speaker phone, it never hurts to have a record of what's happening in case deadly force comes into play

    4 – announce that I'm armed and prepared to fight and that 911 has been called, hopefully this causes them to leave

    5 – tell dispatch that i'm armed and what i'm wearing so that the cops don't shoot me

    6 – secure my location, i.e., don't go looking for trouble. if something moves, shoot it, but hopefully I can just wait for the cops to arrive.

    I would never go try to clear my house. I work out with a large portion of my city's SWAT team, and since I'm friendly with them I've been invited to help them with training (I get to be a bad guy and they hunt me down). Even trained professionals have a very hard time safely clearing a building. In every scenario I've run in training, I've always shot one officer before they got me. If they can't do it, I surely can't do it. Even though Colorado has VERY friendly self defense laws, my main goal is to stay alive and if that means fleeing my house I will. I'm not out to be a vigilante and try to get the bad guy, I'm out to save my own (and family's) ass.

  3. In Florida homeowners have shot teen agers in halloween costumes and gotten away with it, because they tell the cops they "felt threatened". So here's what comes to mind in terms of home invaders, here in Florida or not.

    1. They're going to move fast and they're going to hurt you and whoever else is inside your home at the time (your wife and kids) for sure. That's how they work. They break through the door and try to dominate and subdue a family (through violence). Whoever is in that home is at mortal risk, and they dominate it in order to be able to rack up more felonies against their victims "safely". NO telling where that will go, but your life and the lives of your loved ones are definitely at risk from home invaders, and that's a fact.

    2. If you defend yourself at the door you'll need a quick and powerful weapon that you could hide high up and close to your front door. You'd have to use splatter round as your first shot, a round that would make as large a pattern as close to you as you can. So I'd cut my 12ga down to the shortest legal length possible, and use 00 buck as my first round. Then the second and third rounds should probably be deer slug, in case the one or more home invaders are still coming at you. When they stop threatening, then you stop shooting.

    3. Then make sure your family is safely away from the scene.

    4. Then call 911.

    5. Then call your lawyer.

  4. A man I knew who lived on a ranch in the hill country outside of San Antonio many years ago who always kept his and hers shotguns at hand because they were far enough from town and the county sheriffs that home defense was entirely up to them. His strategy was to remove the shot from the first round in his shotgun and repack it with rock salt (only the first round in each gun — the rest were real). That way he could let his shotgun do the talking when he greeted a trespasser with a [relatively] non-lethal warning shot that sounded and felt like the real thing.

    He figured that that first shot would be the great divider. Most burglars/trespassers would cut and run like skittish white tail deer or completely give up and submit. If not — if the perp continued to come at him or his wife — then they were assured that the home invader was out of his mind on something and they had the remaining buckshot rounds in the guns to put down the threat.

  5. DEAR MR. INTRUDER:
    LET’S NOT FORGET YOUR IN MY HOME, WHERE I LIVE WITH MY FAMILY!!! IN MY HOME, RACKING MY SHOTGUN IS LIKE SAYING “HELLO” AND YOU FORCING ME TO PULL THE TRIGGER IS YOUR “GOODBYE”!!! CASE CLOSED!!! Once the police arrive, do yourself a favor and SHUT UP!!! SAY NOTHING POLITELY, BUT SAY NOTHING AT ALL!!! What sounds reasonable to one person, may not seem reasonable to another. Call an attorney and let him do the talking… That’s usually all their good for… REMEMBER YOU DON’T HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYBODY BECAUSE MR. INTRUDER IS IN YOUR HOME, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME!!! THEY HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING ELSE, NOT YOU!!!
    AS FOR THE FIREARM OF CHOICE:
    I’m retired LE and I’ve had numerous handguns over the past 30 years… Presently, I carry a 45ACP Glock Model 30SF loaded with Federal Classic 158gr. JHP… I don’t care what a handgun cost or what it looks like. If it goes bang and it’s fairly accurate, it will do the job just fine… However, most legal handgun owners are rarely trained or routinely practice with their firearms… If you own a handgun, KNOW IT, USE IT, CLEAN IT AND ABOVE ALL, SECURE IT!!! Most handguns used in crimes are stolen from STUPID people (some with badges) who probably shouldn’t own one in the first place… By the way, if you want a handgun for home protection and your not willing or able to get the proper training, FORGET IT!!! When your hands start shaking and you crapping your pants (adrenaline shock), your not going to make the shot!!! Do yourself a favor and get a 12 gauge 18.5″ pump action shotgun and load it up with HIGH QUALITY / FRANGIBLE / LOW RECOIL / 00 BUCKSHOT… Point and shoot is usually all you’ll need to do to stop or eliminate any “problem” at most home defense distances… Furthermore, if you do a “REAL LOUD RACKING” of your shotgun just prior to confrontation, you’ll probably never need to fire a round… EVERYONE KNOWS TO RESPECT THAT SOUND OR IT MAY BE THE LAST SOUND THEY HEAR!!! Whatever firearm you choose, GET TRAINING!!!
    NEVER FORGET 9-11 and keep an eye on the enemy within!!!

  6. Hey NYPDBuddy, the liar police just called, they want to talk to you.

    158gr 45 ACP huh? So , 45 auto rounds that weigh less than most .40 S&W huh? Googling cant seem to find those..

    And did you say to load the home defense shotgun with, “Frangible buckshot?” >.. Could you go ahead and run that one by use again? That would be great. kthxbai.

    • I was able to find plenty of info on frangible buckshot an those .45 185 gr loads are listed on the Federal Premium website. Stop being a D Bag!

    • I was able to find plenty of info on frangible buckshot an those .45 185 gr loads are listed on the Federal Premium website. Douche…

  7. I was able to find plenty of info on frangible buckshot an those .45 185 gr loads are listed on the Federal Premium website

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