The average gun owner’s worst nightmare: a random home invasion by armed, determined, possibly psychotic strangers. While it does happen, invasions are hardly ever random. Or entirely unpredictable. In this case, as ydr.com reports, “Over the years, [Douglas E. Downs] has been robbed and his home burglarized, with items taken on numerous occasions. ‘I just got tired of being robbed,’ he said. ‘I just thought, ‘I’m not taking it anymore.'” Well good for him. And the harrowing account above—including his justified suspicion that one of the bad guys was wearing a bullet resistant vest—shows what can be done by a determined defender. But—

According to a photo caption in a later report, the .32 caliber firearm Down used to defeat a crew of four robbers was “one of about a dozen kept in their home.” It seems pretty clear Down didn’t have any of his guns on him. In his own words, when his dog Peaches distracted an attacker, “that’s when I grabbed my pistol where I had it at.”

I suspect that Down, like many gun owners, kept a number of firearms spread throughout his house in hidden locations. In this case, he lucked out. There was a firearm within arm’s reach when he needed it. Or not. Down tooled-up pretty late in the game. In fact, it’s a miracle the Keystone stater lived long enough to counter-attack.

We can analyze the wisdom of drawing on a drawn gun, or giving an attacker a chance to retreat (instead of launching a counter-strike without warning), but there’s a more important point: Down needed his gun from the git-go. He should have had it on him. He should have been home carrying.

I don’t know how many stories like this it will take to convince reticent readers that home carry is the single most important self-defense strategy they need to embrace to defend their crib and the innocent lives within it. It’s more important than caliber or even training.

If something bad goes down in your home, you do NOT want to have to win a footrace to a gun. Or wait for your dog to distract a potential murderer. You want to have your firearm right there, on your person, ready to rock and roll. You want to go all in as early as possible, and a gun is the best tool for the job.

Now is the time to home carry, not after a criminal assault. That said, I wonder if Down has changed his strategy. He should, considering what happened to the man he shot . . .

On Sunday evening, Herlth was discharged from York Hospital. He was immediately arrested by troopers and taken to the county’s central booking unit, where he was arraigned on charges of robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property, possessing instruments of crime, making terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Herlth was taken to York County Prison but was released the next morning after posting his $50,000 bail, a prison official said.

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44 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Home Carry

  1. I always carry IWB at home w/ a few other firearms strategically placed.
    My wife also carries her firearm on her person as well.

  2. Until a series of hot burglaries in my neighborhood 18 months ago I used the same gun on every floor strategy. After the break-ins my wife wanted us to home carry. We have been doing it ever since. II’s also safer. Firearms should either be locked up or under your direct control.

  3. We’ve had a series of unsolved home invasions with one woman being shot. I started carrying on me at that time and have continued. An airweight 442 smith is not a difficult gun to carry and it may buy me time to reach my shotgun.

    I also have pepper spray at the front and back doors. Hopefully I’ll never have to use any of it. But we’ve also had a number of loose pitbulls so better safe than sorry.

    • This is a good point for people to remember. Occasionally your handgun isn’t enough to stop a home invader and you will need a shotgun or rifle. Keeping one handy is extra insurance.

      • Add to that a good dog with proper attack traits… mine leaps when he is about to strike… he is just five months old and not even near to half grown and he can jump five feet straight up. I practice with him outside to ensure that is what he does when the time comes, if it comes. Handgun, shotgun or rifle and a dog that goes for the throat is a formula for success or at least more chance of it.

        • As a former dog trainer, I can tell you that a dog who goes for the throat is likely to be a dead dog. The dog should go for the offending limb — the one that’s controlling the gun, club or knife. Otherwise the dog is likely to be gutshot or disembowled.

  4. I have one pistol, tried and true. Got the bright idea to move it around in the house, keep it handy. Well, that did not work out so well, I do not have a CCWL, but, I carry it in the car when I leave the house. I always went to my accustomed location first to get it, then remember I left it on the TV stand, or coffee table, or where ever I was last. Duh? I have a very good knife in my pocket at all times, but it don’t shoot well.

  5. I’m trying to get into the habit of home carrying, but with multiple school-age kids I’m frequently in and out of the house on taxi duty even on week nights. It would be easier if I could arm up after I get home and stay armed until bedtime.

    Or even better, get a CHL so I can go armed all the time.. heh. Maybe that will be an option for Alameda County residents by 2020.

    Seems to me that home carry with family around would be 1000x easier if you could also carry concealed outside the home.

    • I have your same problem, Try a small gun vault in you garage or in a cabinet in the kitchen ( i have also seen a wall safe in the coat closet for the same purpose). When you get home pull out the gun and put in the keys and or wallet and when you leave switch it back…..that way you have to remember to go to the safe and drop off your heater in order to get your keys.

      • Good suggestion. I’ll have to give that a try.

        My cover story for OC in the house is that I need to build comfort & familiarity with my carry rigs in preparation for IDPA/IPSC competition. Seems to be working so far. 😉

      • I have a great job in the high-tech center of the universe, a beautiful house in a lovely neighborhood with good schools, and the weather is excellent. Sometimes other factors outweigh “2A-friendly” making relocation unlikely, so I am supporting change from within.

        If CalGuns needs a test case for CHL in Alameda Co one of these days, they will have me ready to step up.

  6. “he was arraigned on charges of robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property, possessing instruments of crime, making terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

    Herlth was taken to York County Prison but was released the next morning after posting his $50,000 bail.”

    All of those charges and the dude was released on bail the next morning? WTF?!?

    • ” “he was arraigned on charges of robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property, possessing instruments of crime, making TERRORISTIC THREATS, unlawful restraint, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

      Herlth was taken to York County Prison but was released the next morning after posting his $50,000 bail.”

      All of those charges and the dude was released on bail the next morning? WTF?!?”

      THIS IS INDEED THE DECISIVE QUESTION….
      Others are sent to Guantanamo for minor suspicious facts.

      • Ah, but this guy is not suspected of supporting the Constitution,or being anti-abortion or pro-States Rights or a veteran, or any of the myriad of other things that mark you as a suspected terrorist to the Feds. He’s just your ordinary run-of-the-mill bad guy.

    • I was thinking the same thing… a criminal who has demonstrated he is a danger to the community gets out on bail???

    • “Most BG’s [bad guys] do not wear level 3 vests.”

      Will generic .223 55 grain full metal jacket rounds penetrate level 1 and 2 ballistic vests? How about military grade 5.56mm MK318 62 grain ammo?

      • “Will generic .223 55 grain full metal jacket rounds penetrate level 1 and 2 ballistic vests? How about military grade 5.56mm MK318 62 grain ammo?”

        Soft concealable body armor of any level is NOT rated to stop center-fire rifle rounds. Only hard body armor is rated to do so.

    • I own a rifle but I don’t know if it’s Tactical or not, how can I tell? If it’s not Tactical, is it any good? Should I go to the Tactical rifle store and get a new one? Thank you for your help.

      • Barstow Cowboy,

        I assume you are serious in your question and not being sarcastic to rib JSIII. I don’t know if there is a formal or semi-formal definition of a tactical rifle.

        Most rifles are for hunting. Typical hunting rifles are bolt or pump action, hold just a few rounds, take a long time to reload, have very long barrels, and often have scopes. That is great for hunting game at long distances outdoors and awful for self defense in your home.

        Thus a tactical rifle is optimized for self defense in tight spaces like the hallways of your home. A good tactical rifle is semi-automatic, holds anywhere from 10 to 30 rounds of ammunition in magazines that you can quickly change, has a relatively short barrel (16 inches), and allows almost instantaneous sighting (either iron sights or red dot type wide field non-magnifying optics).

        The benefits are fairly obvious once you think about it. The shorter overall length makes it easier to maneuver in the hallways of your home. You don’t have to try to find a target at close range through a scope. The semi-automatic action makes follow-up shots faster. And the additional ammunition capacity is critical if a gang of people breaks into your home.

        If you are serious about upgrading your defensive capabilities in your home, you will have to research the topic. There are pros and cons to any strategy. Many people have good arguments for using a handgun for home defense, others have good arguments for pump-action or semi-automatic shotguns for home defense, and others have good arguments for rifles for home defense.

      • Well I had not read Barstow Cowboy’s other replies. It looks like he was not being sarcastic so much as trying to insult people. My apologies for feeding trolls.

  7. Compact 1911 on my hip, 2 spare 10 rd mags in my pocket and a plan to get to my 12 gauge as quick as possible.
    My pistol stays on me all the time, if someone kicks in the door the girls head for the bedroom and our 11 other firearms while I hopefully stop the threat before they have to even worry about anything other than hiding.

  8. I have poisonous attack snakes in my house. They are a great deterrent. I prefer spitting cobras. Granted, not as effective as a shotgun, rifle or handgun but then I don’t live in Beirut like I guess some of you do.

    Really if it came to me feeling I had to wear a gun walking around my own house I would move.

      • Well crocodiles would not live through the winter here but my snakes do well indoors and as a side benefit I have no rodent problems whatsoever. I got the idea from my time in South Africa where poisonous snakes are used widely to deter criminal trespass. I will confess that I have an aversion to crocodiles after spending some time in the Zambezi river delta in Mozambique. But then I am not as brave as most of you guys nor have I done all the adventurous things you guys have done. I live a pretty boring life. I am never shot at while in the US, I mean never. OK, once a gun pointed at me when I come to think about it but that was a long time ago and nothing really. You guys go through real hell I can tell. Really even in west Africa on the Nigerian/Cameroon border I didn’t feel it was dangerous enough to wear my gun around the house so you must really live in hell holes. I feel sorry for you. Why don’t you leave? I mean I had to be in those places, it wasn’t choice. When the time cam I left. Despite all I will bet the bugs were bigger in west Africa though! Damn beetles were so big that I thought I needed a .458 to put them down. There were damn big bugs in southern and east Africa too but the west took the cake.

        I have never been in a firefight in the US but I can tell you people have been in many since you are such experts on the subject. Me? Well I just get by. Even though I have been in war zones in some of the poorest countries in the world I don’t have near the experience as you people. I guess I am just lucky but then I don’t live in the dangerous cities you do. Actually I try to keep my life as safe as possible and don’t take unnecessary chances. I guess I am just a wuss.

        • Yeah, it’s pretty bad here. I live in Gilbert, AZ. A few years ago we were voted the 14th safest city in the U.S., but then last year all hell broke loose around here and we fell to 19th or something terrible like that, so I knew I had to tool up or get out. Most nights my family and I pull 50% security (half the family awake on guard, half resting), and since my son just turned 3 and 1/2 he’s now old enough to go out in the yard and man the listening post. The clackers on the claymores are a little big for his hands, so I had to modify them, but he’s ready.

    • jim H,

      Horrific home invasions have happened in every type of neighborhood in every state in the U.S. Some people like to be prepared for such an event however unlikely it might be. That is the beauty of liberty: people can choose whatever strategy they like.

      Keep this in mind. The main reason that YOU don’t have to worry very much about a violent home invasion is because so many other people have firearms in their homes and are prepared to use them to defend themselves. Criminals know this fact and that is why most criminals go out of their way to break into unoccupied homes. So when you cuddle up to your attack snakes in bed tonight, sleep well knowing that armed home owners are the reason that someone will probably not break-in to your home.

      Oh, and please do a favor for your armed neighbors: put up a nice sign in your front yard which tells everyone your neighborhood is safe and there are no guns in your home.

    • Do you lock your doors? Have a fire extinguisher? House alarm?

      “If I felt like I had to wear a seat belt driving around my own town, I wouldn’t drive… or move.”

      I don’t see wearing a gun as any different than wearing pants. It’s just part of my daily outfit. 100% of home invasions happen at home. 🙂

    • I did move, once it became apparrent that home carry had become
      not just a good idea, but a survival trait.

      I’m not a rich man, however. It took my family over a year to garner the cash
      to secure another home, not to mention pay for the actual move.

      Some can’t do that. Some people, due to their economic situation,
      or other factors, cannot move. They are stuck wherever they are.

      How nice of you to make light of that.

      • We moved to a better area too… unfortunatetly to the only place in this country where I had to fight a man out of my home and pull a gun on him.

        We moved back and nothing has happened since. My point is that you can say it is dangerous, you should get out – but it is a stupid, uneducated thing to say. It is dangerous everywhere… many have simply erected an illusion against the fear of home invasion.

  9. Hymmmn, “Now”, living in a “Trailer”, in the Florida “Keys:”; due to a “Divorce”, [Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!… lol]; Pretty tight Quarters, [like living on my boat!… not much Room!]. However, as i open my slider on my front room, immediately to my left, is a cupboard, above my T.V., [holding my “Springfield XD, .45 caliber,13 shot, 1 in the “Throat” ready! . Chambering, “Premium” brand .45 caliber, 230 grain, “Hollow Points”! Wedged, between, the arm rest, and the cushions, on my couch, in front of the T.V., is my “Katana”, [ which is the smaller, of the 2, Swords, a “Samari Warrior” carries!]. By my bedside, an [arms reach away], sits my “Glock 19”, 9mm, chambering 147 grain, “Black Talons”, Hollow Points! 17 shots, another, in the “Throat”, with a “Crimson Trace”, laser! Thinking, about Where, in my Bathroom, could i put, one of my other .45’s?…. [Springfield XDm, Taurus, Millenium, PT-145, or, My “Judge”] LOL!… While usually keeping, my “Bond Arms”, “Snake-Slayer IV”, Derringer, [Chambering , 2, .410, OOO Buck shot-gun shells]; on my Driving holster, that sits on my belt, in front, over my zipper! “Thinking”!… I “Might”, continue, to live “Recklessly”, and Forego, the “Extra Gun”, in the “Head”?… lol living by an old saying: “It’s Better, to have a Gun, and “Not” use it!…. Than, to “Need” a Gun, and “Not”, have One!…. Stay Safe, My Friends!…

  10. Typing, before my morning Coffee!… [Not, fully Awake], can causes, “Typing Errors”!… lol!
    The Correct Saying is: “It’s Better, to Have a “Gun”, and Not Need It; Than to Need a Gun, and “Not”, have It!….

    • I have guns but I would be damned to tell anyone online exactly where I hide them…Capt’n I hope no one knows you that reads these posts. Stay thirsty my friends.

      • You’re assuming that someone could decrypt that comment into some useful form of communication. I’m not sure that’s likely..,

  11. You know a site is becoming more popular by the quantity and quality of the trolls that it attracts. Shame that the senseless guy and cowboy don’t deal with crime on a more personal level than just dishing it out anonymously on the net

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