Self-Defense Tip: Get A Fresh Set of Eyes on Your Home Defense Plan

My [old] plan should the alarm go off in the middle of the night: grab my handgun, go to my daughter’s room, grab my daughter, bring her back to my room, put her behind me, call 911, switch to a shotgun, assume a defensive position, wait for the cavalry. To that end, I’ve practiced my weapons handling and marksmanship (including force-on-force training). I’ve thoroughly briefed my daughter and conducted run throughs. Even so, I approached the challenge knowing two things: 1) the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and 2) I don’t know anything about armed self-defense . . .

Well, I know what I know. By the same token, I don’t know what I don’t know. But at least I know that. I know: it’s a bit confusing. If you want a really good self-defense plan it’s best to think about home security in terms of the Firesign Theater: everything you know is wrong.

You just think you’ve got a good plan. To quote Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard Graf von Moltke . . .

The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle.

In other words, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. So even if you have a good plan it still sucks, in ways you’ll never know until you do. By then it may be too late. In fact, there’s only one likely way to find the potentially fatal flaws in your home defense plan: hire someone else do it.

No matter how experienced or smart you are—and we don’t call you our Armed Intelligentsia for nothing (although we did for the first two-and-a-half years of operation)—you’re too close to the problem to see it clearly. A fresh set of eyes can pick apart your home defense plan, so you can reformulate it “properly.”

For example, to get to my daughter’s room I have to pass by a staircase with more angles than an LA grifter. Gun guru Christian Pullano suggested that my daughter should either lock herself in her room or head for an alternate location on her own. If she wasn’t in lockdown I’d join her there and that would be our safe room.

To make that happen I needed to reposition ye olde Benelli M2 and buy some door locks. Better yet, I bought an M4 and tactical gun safe so I could have a Plan B should my daughter revert to the old Plan A (which is now Plan B).

So, for a reasonable fee, Christian tore my Bump In The Night home defense plan to shreds, helped me rebuild it, discussed daylight robbery scenarios and offered simple suggestions that could make all the difference (e.g., park my car facing out of the driveway).

Maybe you reckon you’ve got it wired; you don’t need to “waste” your money on hiring an independent, trustworthy consultant to reality check out your home defense plan. If so, you’re wrong. If you didn’t know it before, you do now. Don’t you?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

22 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Get A Fresh Set of Eyes on Your Home Defense Plan

  1. avatarjwm says:

    Money better spent than a weekend of questionable tacticool training with the newest x “operator”. I feel that your electronic alarm and your four legged alarms will avert most of your trouble. But having a fresh set of eyes scope out your set up is not a bad move.

  2. avatarThomas Paine says:

    in the age of cell phones, make sure your phone is available to call 911. Don’t leave it charging on the first floor. I still have a land-line and corded phone on the third floor for such emergencies.

    How often can you not find your cell or cordless phone? Or the batteries are dead, you forgot to put it on the charger?

    • avatarPascal says:

      Since about 09, all new cell phones must be able to connect to 911 even without a SIM card. I keep an older cell phone with wrap around earphones near my bed just for 911 calls. I get 10hrs even if I loose power.

  3. avatarWilliam says:

    I have always believed there is a certain degree of danger in OVER-preparation. Was your original plan a bad one? Can you be certain you won’t fall to pieces if one piece of your plan falls by the way, and you have to improvise?

    Just sayin’. People have to improvise and successfully thwart attacks all the time. Just have a plan, not too complicated a one, and keep your wits about you. You’ll probably be fine. There are no guarantees, in case you’re looking for one.

  4. avatarAccur81 says:

    Good ideas. My primary plan is similar to yours, except I have two dogs who sleep on the floor in our master bedroom. The master bedroom is “blocked” off from the rest of the house by a squeaky baby gate. When I woke up at 4 am to answer nature’s call, I also wandered through the house and made a snack. I woke up and startled the Weimaraner, who had a conniption fit before she realized it was just me and nearly destroyed the gate. The dog woke up this Mrs. as well, who was not terribly happy.

    Next time, I’m going to gently wake up the damn dog. There’s no reason to wake up cranky when you sleep 17 hours a day.

    Or were you referring to human eyes?

  5. avatartdiinva says:

    I am getting worn out by gun control so this is a refreshing break from all the sturm und drang we have been going through.

    I figure I have 10 seconds to do something from the time my double redundant four legged alarms sound until I have to be in a full up defensive posture. It sounds like your plan takes to long. You are likely to be caught in a tactically awkward situation with your daughter in an unsecured location. Your plan is too complex. You need to go and secure your daughter’s room and prepare to defend it from outside the room even if that means that you are going to be limited to your Glock for defensive firepower.

  6. avatarstyrgwillidar says:

    Why not use the shotgun from the get-go? Or a .223 carbine? With a sling you can have two hands free (one with a phone, one grabbing/shaking your kid awake) if necessary while still retaining the weapon. You also can have a pretty good mounted light. I can envision many scenarios where you might put down the pistol to do something momentarily.

    Anything that is going to stop the bad guy is going to penetrate walls in your home. The .223 rounds tend to break up hitting something at close range though and will more rapidly lose energy/speed on the other side.

    I disagree with your daughter going someplace else. What if she sleeps through whatever noise attracted your attention? Or you’re moving around at night and knowing she’ll be moving complicates things. You’re jacked up moving around with the pistol and she’s wandering around. Or maybe not, you won’t know. (She may be up anyway for some reason) I like the lockdown idea better with a twist– if she wakes up and realizes something is going down, she gets in her closet. A closet you’ve lined with material and a heavy metal door turning into cover vice concealment (a mini-panic room). If you go to get her, you’ll have a signal of some sort so she knows it’s you.

    • avatarpat says:

      The sling is the thing for ar/ak/shotgun/m1a/long rifle. Usually the handgun is closer to you (like on a nightstand) so you may grab it first, and go over to where the long gun is and put a holster on to have both your handgun at your side while using your slung rifle as primary.

  7. avatarTTACer says:

    It’s the bus you don’t see that hits you. Also, your daughter is in much greater danger from her peers (and their fathers) than Hayes and Komisarjevsky.

  8. avatarJoseph says:

    “Nothing makes a man more aware of his capabilities and of his limitations than those moments when he must push aside all the familiar defenses of ego and vanity, and accept reality by staring, with the fear that is normal to a man in combat, into the face of Death.”

    — Major Robert S. Johnson, USAAF

  9. avatarBill Fiaccone says:

    Remember the KISS System?

  10. avatarJim Barrett says:

    RF, out of curiosity, ballpark price for your security review?

  11. avatarDoug says:

    You don’t have fire drills with your kids at your household? This is the same thing. If the alarm goes off and someone strange is in the house, the family needs to know what to do.

  12. avatarBlake says:

    My wife grabs the phone, I grab the guns, we both hit a corner facing the doorway through which trouble will come, if trouble makes it past the three dogs.

    This home ninja will not be clearing the house, rather, he will wait for the target to find him.

  13. avatarRon says:

    “To make that happen…………………………………..and buy some door locks.”
    When someone ask me what they should do to make their home more secure, I ask “what have you done?” It is very rare that anyone says they have locks on their bedroom doors. If they do it is only the master and that lock is more for privacy.
    This is the advise I give. I try to list the cheapest / easiest items first, while keeping importance in mind.
    1. Have cell phones for every member of the family capable of using one. Have them charging within reach every night.
    2. Put locks on every bedroom door. I recommend double key deadbolt locks ( more about this later) with all locks keyed alike but different from exterior door locks. Have keys color coded ( exterior; red, blue , silver/ interior; orange, green, gold whatever is easy for you to distinguish between).
    3.Install an alarm system or have one installed if you want monitoring.
    4. Get a dog if practical.
    5.Install solid core doors on all bedrooms.
    6.Have an experienced security company install steel door frames on all bedroom and exterior doors. Don’t forget the door that goes to the garage. This is expensive but worth it I believe.

    Back to the double keyed locks. A double keyed lock not only prevents entry to a room it also prevents exit. If someone breaks into your home through a bedroom window they will have access to that bedroom but will be unable to get into any other part of the house without leaving and reentering through another window, only to be trapped again. If they enter the living area, they will not be able to enter any bedroom.
    Ah, but they can take the door off the hinges.
    That can be easily prevented with the use of two (2) nails per door. Simple remove the center screw from all hinges. Replace this screw with a nail hammered into the doorframe side. Leave 1/2″ of the nail sticking out and cut off the head. When the door is closed the expose nail will enter the screw hole on the door side making it impossible to remove the door.
    I also recommend the same door installation on all walk-in closet doors and the master bath door.
    Double security. Especially for children.

    As for the children, Robert’s security expert suggest locking herself in her room. I also like this plan, but how will you know if the child is alright if you don’t check?
    This is the reason to have a cell phone for every member of the family ( of course there are many other reasons as well).
    While mom calls 911 ,dad calls the kids. If all are secure behind their locked doors, no need to retrive them. In fact since you are likely to be the main focus of the intruder(s) they may be safer away from you. If no answere, intruder in the room is a good possibility ( or very sound sleeper, hopefully you will know).
    I also suggest locating the area of each room where the possibilty of being hit by gun fire is the least and instructing the child to go to that spot, taking their cell phone with them. At least one (1) piece of large heavy furniture in every room, positioned strategically is a good idea. Laying on the floor may also be a good suggestion ( maybe not on a second story floor). If this location is a closet have them lock that door if possible. If it is a bathroom have them lock the door and lie in the tub.
    If only one (1) child or all children in the same room, keeping him/her/them on the cell phone is probably a good idea.
    I also mention the use of a land line in the master bedroom. Although the probability of both cell phones not working at the same time is unlikely, if you feel safer with a landline, make sure it is on a seperate line from all others in the house. Yes I know this eliminates the usefullness of an extension, but we all know how easily an extension is defeated.
    I believe that’s about it.
    Of course I always suggest that both spouses ( as well as all others in the home who are capable ) be armed and prepared to take part in their defense.

    To do all that I have suggested is expensive. That is why I try to suggest the easiest / cheapest and most practical first.
    These are suggestions, do what you can.

    I still believe getting your family to safety and avoiding a gunfight is the wisest strategy when possible.
    These suggestions are for when it is not possible / practical to do so and for those who believe in defending the home at all cost.

  14. avatarO.E says:

    I am not a home owner, but I do like the idea of installing CS.gas deploying alarm systems that feature in hallways and high probability entrance points. The contamination will certainly be a problem if occupants are not fully aware of the need to ventilate (as should be the drill anyway when smoke is detected in the home.)

  15. avatarLolinski says:

    I thought it is standard to park car facing out, makes it easier next time you drive.

  16. avatarMOG says:

    The best locks in the world are sort of useless, when the front/back/patio doors are mostly glass.

  17. My daughter, wife, and I sleep at opposite ends of the house and we’ve also got the staircase full of angles in the middle.

  18. avatargerg says:

    have a remote controlled lamp on the other side of the front/back door from your bedroom. turning it on will alert the intruder that you are home, you are awake, and you are aware of their presents. it may confuse and distract them. it will backlight your target nicely.

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