Most people don’t want to think about bad things happening to them. It’s entirely possible that most people can’t think about bad things happening to them; their brains are wired for “Condition White.” The thought of a violent assault freaks them out. Even so, most people will take some steps to secure their home. The question is: how much security is enough and how much is too much? Burglar bars. Fires. Need I say more? What about people who leave multiple guns around the house? Here are three basic layers of home security that could form the basis for any good—but not overly dangerous—self-defense system . . .

1. Buy high security screen windows and doors

Who don’t people lock their doors? Aside from obliviousness, locking-up their house makes them feel like a prisoner in their own home. It triggers an uncomfortable sense of “childhood lost;” back when I was growing up we never locked our doors. And closed doors cut them off from the wonderful smells, sounds and breezes of the outside world.

While high security windows and doors are a good thing, a burglar-resistant screen door is a more important layer of physical defense. (After good lighting, clearing out house-clinging shrubbery, an alarm sign, etc.)

As you’d expect, there are plenty of choices of screen windows and doors with iron inserts. Yes, well, these portals risk blocking fire fighters ingress during an emergency. High security mesh windows and doors provide an unobstructed view and fresh air. More to the point, a fireman with an axe will be able to penetrate the screen. (I checked with the manufacturers.)

If you have burglar-resistant mesh windows and doors you add another layer of protection when you close and lock the windows and doors behind them. I reckon it’s better to spend money on good mesh and a reasonable door and window system than blow all your dosh on really strong windows and doors—that you leave unlocked or open from time to time.

2. Buy a perimeter alarm

Alarm systems can cost a bomb. I don’t see the need to spend big bucks on security systems with eight zones, interior motion sensors, wifi to your iPhone and a direct line to the local SWAT team. But I do see the need, indeed the necessity, of a perimeter alarm—especially for gun owners.

Most burglars will bolt if an alarm sounds. If they don’t, hoo-boy are you in trouble! Lucky for you there’s an alarm going off telling you to get ready (i.e., tooled-up) for trouble, and implement your home invasion plan. Which you do have.

Percentage home security (courtesy crlaurence.com)

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, a perimeter alarm also reduces the chances that you’ll shoot the wrong person. Quote: “It’s OK Dad, it’s just me! I wanted to get a little fresh air!” At 2am. With a new boyfriend hidden from view.

Yes, a dog can be an effective perimeter alarm system. So why not have high security mesh screen doors and windows and good windows and doors and a perimeter alarm system and a dog? See how that works?

3. Home carry

Double Barrel Joe Biden is right about one thing: a long gun is the best firearm for home defense. But the odds of being right next to your safely secured shotgun or rifle at the moment of crisis, or winning a foot race to same, are lower than the chances I’ll forget to put a link to a Swedish model in this post.

So carry on carrying your carry gun at home. Either that or holster a lightweight snub-nosed revolver, perhaps in a pocket holster. They’re comfortable enough for daily wear and could well buy you the time to get to your long gun in an emergency.

You can (and should) add layers to this system, such as locking the door to your bathroom when you shower. (D’oh!) Or putting a Glock next to the shampoo. Just remember that the most important security layers are the ones tripped before you’re in the position where you have to use your gun.

55 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Layer Your Home Defenses

  1. Guy didn’t have enough lead in his water, huh?

    And I may be mistaken, but SWAT teams don’t respond to home invasions, do they?

  2. Those are good tips. If not home “carrying”, I try to make sure I’m within a three second dash of a ready shotgun or pistol, usually pistol.

    • Hidden, I hope?
      It always bothers me when people have their guns in plain view. Not because I’m squeamish or anything (I lol’d at that thought), but I would prefer that an intruder couldn’t just scan the room and figure out why I’m lunging for that flowerpot. Plus, toddlers can’t screw with what they can’t find.

      But I keep mine hidden more for the “gray man” factor. The exterminator and AC guys don’t need to know that I have a gun in every room. Much less why.

      • Yes, hidden. I do have some “display” guns, but they are unloaded. And I never let any workmen / orkin guy, etc see what I’ve got.

  3. There is always a firearm on me or within arms reach when I’m at home. No telling when some goon will come crashing through the door.

  4. you left out security cameras. security camera systems are cheaper than ever, you can easily buy multi camera all in one systems on the internet for less than $1000. and the benefit is huge when you need draw your weapon, you can see them before they see you, before you have to decide whether to shoot them. you can assess whether or not it’s an actual threat or just your teenage niece breaking in to get some sleep away from her parents.

    • $300 dollars for a system and some cheap yard lamps that run on solar do a pretty good job illuminating the night vision camera. If you can afford it put up a fence, nothing tells the bad guy to find a different house better than a fence. Even a small white decrative fence can tell em “move along these are not the droids you are looking for”

  5. I keep my carry in arms reach at all times. My favorite rifle is brought out of the safe whenever I get home from work. Like a lost puppy, my defensive tools follow me everywhere except work. I would love to convince a bunch of overpaid liberal PHDs to remove the gun free zone from my workplace.

  6. Home carry. A j frame airweight in a pocket holster is so easy to carry you forget it’s there after the novelty wears off.

    • Second that. Actually, it’s j-frame in the pocket almost all waking hours for me. I just don’t dump it like the wallet/phone/keys when I get home. Perfect BUG or decent on it’s own if attire won’t let you hide something better.

  7. The elusive and all-important issue of shower carry once again raises its mighty head. Believe me, I’ve tried it all — suction cups, ziplock baggies, rubber enema bags, you name it. Nothing really works.

    I’m going to write a letter to Joe Biden, our favorite gun guru, to see what he suggests. With all the great advice he’s given us lately, I’m positive that he’ll be able to shed some light on the most insoluable problem of our age — shower carry.

    I’ll be certain to post his response.

    • I usually stuff a loofah in the end of my double barrel shotgun before I go in the shower. I’m sure Joe does the same. Helps with those hard to reach places but you definitely need some trigger discipline

    • Glock-on-a-rope. Write it up for Guns-and-Ammo after the 12 month torture test. “America wants to know: After 365 showers will a Glock still go bang?” Deduct the Glock next April.

    • C’mon, Ralph – we know what VP Hairplugs is going to recommend.

      A Parker Grade 3 or higher.

  8. A stainless double barrel and a skylight in your shower to fire those two rounds out of should eliminate all your fears.

  9. Don’t overlook the “early warning system” provided by having a dog in the house. Small yappy dogs may be as annoying as hell at times, but I guarantee no one will come up to my front (or back) door without me knowing it thanks to my Chihuahua, Jack. And once he starts, Maggie the stinky basset chimes in adding a bit of “big dog” basso to the cacophony.

    However, if someone did manage to break in, they would be greeted by two dogs thinking they’ve found a new BFF. But by the time that happened, they’d also find themselves staring down the barrel of a Mossberg 500 or a Glock 17 – or both, if my wife and I are both here.

    • Dogs are the most underestimated security measures. Even if their only threat is to lick someone excessively, they are an excellent early warning device for everything from burglars to earthquakes.
      My house is well guarded on the outside by a hyper-aware border collie and a sleepy old coon dog, and on the inside by an absurdly over-protective Australian Shepard. (And sometimes the collie.)

    • Dogs are great security. Especially if you get the right breed of dog.

      Look into flock guardian dogs. Don’t screw around with yapping purse toys, or dogs bred to bring you sheep or dugs.

      Get a real dog, who has a nose that’s right about the height of a man’s groin when the dog is standing relaxed.

  10. [Quote: “It’s OK Dad, it’s just me! I wanted to get a little fresh air!” At 2am. With a new boyfriend hidden from view.]

    I would never ventilate my daughter ns a self-defense scenario… but depending on where I find the new boyfriend’s hands on my daughter, I might “accidentally” discharge the weapon. In his foot. Or groin. Or face.

    • There’s a great scene in the movie Clueless where Alicia Silverstone’s lawyer dad (played by Dan Hedaya) says to a young man (Paul Rudd) making moves on the daughter:

      “I have a gun and a shovel. No one will miss you.”

  11. There is no such thing as securing a home. For example a criminal with a chain saw can make a “doorway” into many homes in less than 20 seconds. (Bonus: the criminal has a potent weapon upon breaching your home!) Alternatively, a battery powered drill and drill bit will take out a lock in about the same amount of time. Then of course we have the brute force method where criminals simply break down the door or ram a car through the side of a home and get inside within two or three seconds. (Don’t scoff, criminals have actually done this.)

    The main objective in “securing” your home is that you know that someone is coming and that you can be armed and in position before they get in. Since criminals have used cars to ram into buildings, that means home carrying a handgun which you use to literally “fight your way to your rifle”.

  12. After having my previous home burglarized, I put Strike Master Pro II’s on every exterior door ($80/each at Home Depot) to make it a little harder to kick in my doors. I do have an alarm system, but it isn’t going to me much good for an imminent threat other than to let me know it’s time to grab my gun.

  13. Note to self:

    Self – water immerson makes an excellent sound and flash suppressor. If any under-bosses get unruly invite him/them over for a pool party.

      • Both German Shepherds – actually the old East German bloodlines known as DDR. All black and bi-colors are common in Germany, people in the U.S. see an all black German Shepherd and it doesn’t register to them as a German Shepherd. Great dogs, friendly and social but all business when the need arises.

        • Nice. The older blood lines in Germany are supposedly more aggressive when compared to many American breeds. Take the Doberman for example. A nice dog when of the American-ized lineage but not a dog you want for anything but military or police work if from the German bloodline.

  14. Pocket carry (with holster) for revolver. Fixed blade stainless knife in nylon sheath in shower/tub/jacuzzi. it fits nicely in the shower caddy and is always in reach.

  15. If you just want a burglar alarm as a noisemaker, there’s no reason not to buy and install it yourself. A number of websites will sell you the gear, check out http://www.homesecuritystore.com (I have no affiliation with them other than as a customer). They have a pretty good forum too which will help you learn how to wire the thing.

    For a few hours of time, a few hundred bucks (and no monthly fees), and some cleverness, you can get a burglar alarm that calls you or texts/emails you instead of calling an alarm company. And/or makes lots of noise, turns on flood lights, etc etc.

  16. I disagree with the burglar bars comment. Fires are an issue, yes but any sensible home has a fire evac plan. My bars deter anyone from coming in through the areas I have blocked. Both my doors are secure but not burglar-barred. Equating the fear of fire to burglar alarms is much like equating a firearm for home defense to a possible ND waiting to happen. Should we ban B-bars too?

    The point of my bars is to funnel any would be intruder to an area that is suitable for my defense of my home.

    A large dog is the best for intrusion alert in my opinion. It is hard to ignore a dogs bark when in bed. There is something primal about it that wakes you up instantly. My Rhodesian Ridgeback is 90 pounds and he is only nine months young. Rhodesians stop growing at about three years old. He has already exceeded the weight the breeder said he would be when full grown. He still has enormous growth plates in his chest, paws, legs and back that have to stretch. I estimate he will be a big boy at about 115-120 pounds. He is extremely athletic and strong. He has already dislocated my elbow twice while playing tug and that’s with me using both hands and I am not a weak dude and not prone to injury. He just has such power from his neck when he twists and shakes. I can’t imagine the injury he would do to an intruder if he got close.

    In my opinion layering should be done as such in order of what I see as priority:

    Armed homeowners
    Home carry
    Defense plan
    Large non-sissy dog
    Strongpoints
    Chokepoints
    Lighting
    Cameras
    Escape routes

    That’s my two cents.

  17. To be honest, most burglaries happen when no ones home, a common time is 8:30-10:30 AM, but having a gun (locked up when your not home) is better than not having it at all. No home is burglar-proof of course but you can make it difficult. I find this a useful resource for preventing burglaries when not at home. http://nononsenseselfdefense.com/propertycrime.html

    • This isn’t true for all folks. Really it depends on the area. Most burglaries happen in my area at varying times depending on the day of the week with a constant time for Saturday and Sunday (11 am -p.m.) depending on the time of the year. Winter time generally has most of the break ins happen at later times in the day at about an hour or so past what would be posted for summer time.

      Where I live burglars don’t care if you are home or not. Police reports show no reasonable data in my area to support if it matters if you are home or not. The numbers are pretty much straight down the middle of a home invasion with violence (person was home) or a home invasion citing no violence (person was not home). Personally, I have heard from three home owners on my street (lady next door, guy across the street, and a lady two houses down) that have been burglarized when at home. I haven’t heard of any people who had their homes broken into while away (not saying it doesn’t happen) from home. The lady next door has B-bars and that’s where the dude came in through. He simply pushed in her incorrectly installed AC unit and climbed in and started gathering stuff right in front of her. Guy across the way was the same thing. He had a guy climb through his back window (which he admittedly left open) while he was home. Homeowner stood there while the dude told him to shut up and gathered up the homeowner’s laptop and TV remote (?) and left through the side door. Homeowner sniggered at me when I asked why he didn’t own a gun knowing where he lived. Sniggered at me like I was an idiot as if he wasn’t standing outside chain smoking with the shakes because his life had just been threatened and stolen from.

      Great site. Thanks for that.

        • We did actually move. We moved to a ‘better’ state thinking that the stats reflected a nicer life for our family. We spent nine months there and got the hell out because we encountered more lunatics in the nice little good ol boy town than we ever did leaving the city we left.

          We are back and it is much better. The peoples homes who are broken into are generally the liberal types who literally project the vibe of victim (at least from those I know have been broken into).

          Next door down neighbor is an old lady who doesn’t believe in violence. Across the street neighbor is a gay very liberal guy who thinks anyone who owns a gun is a retard. The guy a few houses down turns out is a weed head who had been buying weed on the regular from another guy a few houses down who was recently arrested by the DEA.

          The gun laws are fantastic. We have an extended Castle doctrine and there have been enough cases recently where burglars have been shot dead either attempting to or entering a home. The police won’t even arrest you most likely for defending yourself in your home here nor go beyond asking a few cursory questions to ensure you defended yourself within reason. Like I said, at least from what you see on the local news. That doesn’t give me clearance in my head to be all gung-ho about harming someone but it is nice to know the law is generally on your side here if you are a law abiding citizen.

          I was surprised he didn’t do anything either. If I were that burglar I would have stayed longer or even came back. I mean if you put yourself out there as a victim you generally are going to be victimized, right?

          I open carry when outside my house and around my street. I walk a very large, confident dog who people generally cross the street when they see. Some may view this as advertising that I have a gun to be stolen when I am not at home but so far the vibe from the local ‘untrustworthys’ is that my house is not to be screwed with. It may sound like I am being an arsehole but actually I am a very nice, accepting guy. I just don’t want anyone messing with my family or our lives. I take it very seriously because I think too many people don’t. I have a friend on the same street who is very much my older twin, it would seem, and he has enjoyed a life of 15 years longer than me so far of living the same way on the same street without being ‘inconvenienced’. He is nice to people he meets and will put himself out there to help but he does so showing his demeanor towards not being messed with.

          It isn’t the ideal but so far it seems we have created a bubble where what goes on hasn’t affected us as of yet and if it does we are ready for it when it does come. We hope to live somewhere more ‘farmy’ in the future to raise our kids in a nice, small town but who doesn’t want that, right?

          And yes, it is a fair statement to say it is an easy thing to do regarding crime. This silly, unknowing, ignorant society of sheep has made it so.

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