Self-Defense Tip: Two Ways to Enter a Room

Gun gurus call doorways the “funnel of death.” The bad guy knows you’re coming and you’re perfectly framed in the doorway. To quote the old Rowan & Martin sign-off, say goodnight Dick. The best way to avoid that fate: avoid doorways. For example, if you’re in your house and you hear a crash bang noise downstairs (i.e. through several doorways), don’t go downstairs. Use the doorway thing to your advantage. Position yourself on the other side of a doorway, aim your weapon (low ready’s good) and wait. Of course, life’s never quite that neat. You may have to go through a doorway to gather friendlies, get to a weapon or escape a BG. So, there are two very different approaches for going through doors . . .

1. Pie the room

Approach a door from the side. Move sideways. Bit by bit, “slice the pie.” (Each new angle is a considered a slice of pie.) This technique minimizes your time exposed to danger. If you catch a glimpse of a Bad Guy, you can dart back behind concealment, silently move across the portal or quickly find a more strategic location from which to mount a defence.

That’s assuming the perp doesn’t see you. Worst case scenario: you catch a glimpse of the Bad Guy with his gun pointed at you. Oops!

At that point, instinct will probably kick in. You’ll dart backwards, using the doorway for concealment. Concealment. Not cover. If the BG’s watched the Dirty Harry movie where Inspector Callahan shoots a hijacker through a flimsy screen, he’ll cap yo’ ass straight through the wall. And if he doesn’t, then what? Ballistic peek-a-boo?

Bottom line: there’s a reason smart cops never clear a house on their own. Avoid moving through doorways during a self-defense situation unless there is no alternative. If you pie a room, have a fallback plan. Or two.

2. Enter with extreme prejudice

Combat vet Adam Deciccio recommends the official Army technique for entering a hostile environment through a portal: speed, surprise and violence of action. If you HAVE to go in a room, crouch low, walk heel-toe and GO IN THE ROOM. Weapon at the ready, finger off the trigger. Dominate the space. Get ‘er done. If it’s clear, keep moving.

This technique affords very little time to make a shoot/don’t shoot decision. If you know that a bad guy’s in the room, that’s one thing. If you don’t, things could get real messy real quick. What if it’s a teenage daughter’s previously unidentified boyfriend sneaking in for a 3am rendezvous? Uh-oh.

Even if the perp’s wearing horizontal stripes and a black mask carrying a big swag bag, you’ve got a legal problem. Castle doctrine or not; you’re only fully clear to shoot another human being if they’re in the act of threatening your life or limb. You’re not even supposed to rough them up (i.e. knock them to the ground).

You have to wait until he gets a weapon ready? What is this, Hollywood? Besides, you’re got enough adrenalin in your system to power Milwaukee for a fortnight. No matter how you slice it (or, in this case, not), entering a room at full speed is not an ideal situation.

Let’s say you get the jump on the BG and decide not to shoot him. Huzzah! You win! Now what? FREEZE! GET ON THE GROUND! PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD! Do you really think you have the authority and skill to keep a dangerous criminal at bay? And while you’re doing all that, what about BG number two? Or three?

Bottom line: there’s a reason smart cops never clear a house on their own. Avoid moving through doorways during a self-defense situation unless there is no alternative. If you decide to Deciccio a room, look at the perp’s hands, then his chest and make your choice. If you make the right choice, there will be plenty of time to second guess yourself later. If not, not.