A member of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia recently recommended a schnauzer for gun guys looking for a home-based early warning system. Roger that. Rosie Von Schnauzer’s bark could wake the dead (which is just as well given Ambien’s efficacy). She barks at any stranger, any time. That said, both of my schnauzers are as stupid as a fence post. Rosie will bark at the same stranger if said house guest goes into another room and returns. Remember Dory in Finding Nemo? Like that. There was the time when I heard a big ass bump at ‘o dark thirty. Neither dog stirred from their slumber. Huh. What does that tell you? Well it tells me . . .

That no plan survives contact with the enemy. For those of you who aren’t big fans of Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (no Ottomans in my house), let me put it this way: shit happens.

An alarm that should have sounded doesn’t. You go to your safe room to call the cops on the spare cell and—little Johnnie’s moved it! A cop who should be there to resolve the situation goes to the wrong address. The mag falls out of your gun and disappears into the darkness. A kid heads for the front door. The wife lasers you with a shotgun, and then argues about it. Stuff like that.

It’s not so much that you need a plan B, C, D, Etc. for armed self-defense. It’s more that you need to be able to think during a high-stress defensive gun use. You need to be able to improvise, adapt and survive.

In that sense, it’s just as important to develop some principles of armed self-defense as well as the skills needed to implement them. For example, improvise, adapt and survive. Keep going! Or my go-to gun gestalt: speed, surprise and violence of action. If you’re facing a deadly threat, find a way, some way to counter-attack, and then do it as quickly and violently as possible. No holds barred.

Alternatively, concurrently and/or in addition, move! A moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one. Moving to cover or concealment creates a world of new possibilities, both ballistically and tactically. Movement also opens up the possibility of further action. As Newton and Pfizer asserted, an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Then again, you might want to hide and then attack. or hide some more. I don’t know. And neither do you. But one thing’s for sure: the more you practice high-stress on-the-go tactical thinking, the better you’ll be at it. Force-on-force training, paintball, laser tag, capture the flag, Chinese checkers, whatever. It’s all good. And if you can take family members with you, so much the better.

Did I forget to mention teamwork? Then here it is: teamwork. You can’t trust anyone to do “what they’re supposed to” in the midst of an adrenalin dump—especially yourself. But you’d be surprised what a coordinated, practiced and focused team of individuals can do to ensure their mutual survival. And yes, that includes the family pets.

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34 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Count on Anything or Anyone

    • Standard Poodle is an awesome guard dog. They are smart, mean as hell and will rip the nose off a German Shepherd if the opportunity presents itself.

  1. Off subject, but if you take Ambien CR, you should drop it like a doobie during a raid.

    Trust me on this, please. Several dead acquaintances and a dead girlfriend don’t lie.

    Get a good security system. That’ll levitate you as needed, and you can respond as its enforcement arm.

  2. When my comment finally makes it out of purgatory, would someone please tell me how in Blazes it offended the Daemons of SPAM?

    • I can’t actually see the blacklist, but based on my experience, it was the Ambien. Apparently there are quite a few drug names on the spam blacklist, presumably to catch the “Get Ambien cheap!”-type spammers.

  3. If all of my bang sticks fail or are unreachable, I have a meter of razor-sharp steel as my final argument. I consider that to be sufficient.

    I really hope I never have to go for the sword, though. There’s going to be blood and screaming, and that’s just the aftermath when my wife sees the carpets…

  4. Cripes, how many times have I said this?

    Get. A. Real. Dog.

    Those aren’t real dogs. They’re noisy dust mops. All you have there is the equivalent of a noisy cat that won’t crap in a litterbox.

    Criteria for membership in the “real dog” club:

    1. Greater than 100 lbs body weight.
    2. Greater than 26″ at the shoulder.
    3. Bred for the job. Look at a flock guarding dog. They’re bred to guard, some have been bred to this job for about 1,000 years or so.

    • I have a 70 lb pitbull. Her name is Alli (short for alligator). She has all the subtlety of a wrecking ball and plays about as hard as one as well.

      Guess what else is true about Alli? She is the biggest scooby doo puss ant of a dog I have ever owned. My 7 pound chihuahua has way more stones than she does.

      An example: My GF came home one day from work while I was still in bed asleep. Instead of her normal ‘Hi honey’ routine, she quietly came in the house (most likely not to wake me) and started making noise downstairs. Hand to God, my killer pitbull wedged her volleyball head sized ass BEHIND ME with her back to the wall and hid in fear. No bark, no growl, not even a whine. The chihuahua? She was all teeth and growls at the foot of the bed, waiting to tear the achilles tendon off the next sumbitch that walked through the door.

    • We have an Anatolian Shepherd named Roxie. Anatolians are flock guardians, and she’s the perfect sentry dog. Great with kids, people, and other pets, but I would not want to be the poor SOB that comes through that door with ill intent. Her bite force is unbelievable. Cow bones are no match.

        • I have a friend that had a hell of time getting homeowners insurance when he moved to FL because he had two German Shepherds. He had to go with state
          insurance as no private company would insure him. Insurance companies WILL
          ask if you have a dog(s) and what breed they are. If you have a large breed guard dog and a biting incident, they’ll drop you like a hot potato and good luck finding another insurer (they’re all in cahoots).

  5. If my alarm fails, the cell phone disappears, the cops screw up, I lose my mag, AND my wife/gf muzzles me, I am simply going to assume I am in some sort of ‘final destination’ sscenario and lie down to wait for the sweet embrace of death.

  6. I have found that Blue Heelers or any kind of cattle dog are the best. Protective, obedient, and will keep a group of kids in a small area during events. Nothing funnier than seeing children herded.

    • I had one of those damn dogs nearly take my hand as a child (well teenager) when I tried to pet him as I walked past him in the back of a pickup truck.

      They certainly work for guard duty, I’ll give them that.

  7. You have the wrong kind of dog. Schnauzers are terriers. The kill rats and other vermin. You want either a working dog or a sporting dog. The latter may eat the intruder but the right kind of sporting breed will certainly scare him away.

    My two coonhounds are like the neighborhood busybodies. If something is going on in the ‘hood then they will let you and everyone else within earshot know about it — let me tell you we have gotten calls. Coonhounds also epitomize teamwork both with other dogs and with people. Being at the top of the canine intelligence pyramid they are very good at figuring things out. When someone comes to the door they are confronted by the Baroness and her retainer. There is nothing like an 80lb Plott Hound bellowing at the top his lungs and showing his bear chomping teeth to chase away a youthful petition barer or someone looking to liberate your goods. Ballisticly speaking a good dog that stands his/her ground takes the shotgun out your hand because you will end up taking out the dog with the bad guy.

  8. I just stared at a Schnauzer’s ass for nearly a minute and a half while he watched the second hand of a clock move around the dial. I ain’t feeling too smart right now either.

  9. Hell my lab shepherd mix still chases me up a tree when i get off work at night he also keeps squirrels groundhogs bunnies and people at bay although i think he maybe racist he goes nuts when a black guy walks drives or rides a bike past the house white guys can get to the trees in our yard before he goes nuclear over it

  10. Robert’s addition to our posting was spot on.
    Some combat tested observations-

    1. No battle plan ever survives first contact.
    2. The shit you need most rely on will break or fail when most needed
    3. No matter how many Steven Segal movies a person has watched the most normal human response to crisis is the sea cucumber- spitting out ones innards in self-defense. The ability to think and process during a crisis will only come through intense and repetitive training.

    Regardless though there is a reason professionals drill repeatedly on replica objectives. Going without a plan creates certain chaos and it is better to have two or three parts of the plan go to hell than have every variable running in complete catastrophic cluster mode.

    • 1. It simply isn’t true that on the modern battlefield with good communications and intelligence all plans fail at first contact. Some do, some don’t.
      2. I have never heard from a trusted colleague or source that a quality well-maintained weapon failed in their self-defense crisis. If you can’t count on a firearm despite testing, inspection, and a daily function check, you shouldn’t carry it. One minute everyone is testifying (and rightly) to the stunning reliability of their (Glock, 870, HK45C, ___), the next they accept that weapons failure is likely? Why? Where do these failure statistic come from? Not from the FBI. If one approaches the expected mean time between parts failures, that’s different, but that should never be the case with a personal SD weapon.
      3. I never saw anyone throw up in RVN during combat. I did see one gunner throw up after we returned to our makeshift airstrip, because he hadn’t shot people before. I never saw anyone throw up in a street confrontation. I did see a guy piss his pants in one, but that’s no big impediment to defense.

      The reason we generally do not train in a military way for defense in a civil setting, is that we are neither allowed to nor required to react in a military way on city or suburban streets. We complain about the “militarization of police” but then we push semi-military defensive training and glorify, in this blog, amusing silly-only explosions and courses of fire which have no use in civil life? Why?

      Asymmetric Solutions’s training center was introduced in this blog about a week ago as if by a random person who just happened to meet the owner/operators while at a gun range, had experienced it, and thought it was great. That was, it turns out, simply a misrepresentation of the chronology. Personnel from this site were already scheduled to attend the AS facility when those sales-pitch scrivenings were posted, and it appears the writer already had a commercial relationship to Asymetrics…which was not revealed in his writing. It really is that simple.

      • For a reader’s ease of checking what was said in the first Paul McCain post, and the timing and experience of writers of this blog at Asymmetric, here are the posts, for quick search:

        Paul McCain, “Not Knowing What You Don’t Know Can Kill You,” September 4, 2013
        Tim McNabb and Dan “Getting our Operator On,” September 13, 2013

      • It seems that our publisher and contributors fail to read their own reports. All the DGU of the day stories point to the bad guys bugging out right after they encounter armed resistance. As I have repeatedly pointed out your typical bad guy doesn’t live by the “no man left behind ethic.” Criminals do not see their intended victims chasing after them so they know that, unlike with the police, retreat is a good option.

        Training for the wrong scenario is just as bad as no training or bad training. While police/paramilitary style training is fun it has very little to offer in terms of making you better at armed self defense in the home. It really isn’t that hard to defend your home. Get a warning system. A smart and alert enough dog plus alarm system should give you enough time to call 9-11 and get to a safe defensive position. Come on guys and gals, it’s your house and unless you live in a 100 room mansion 10 seconds of warning time is enough to get you to where you need to be to defend yourself in your own home. Outside the home you are better off learning how to spot trouble before it spots you. At a minimum it will significantly reduce your chances of a bad encounter and it will buy you time to get ready and maybe call the 9-11 before things really go south on you..

        • Ropingdown and tdiinva. I agree with all you’ve said. The one exception, and it’s not really a disagreement, is about the well maintained weapon. I very recently had a failure in my primary home carry weapon that was ammo related. It rendered the gun unusable and had it happened in a situation I would have been in a bad spot.

          As for peoples reactions to being under fire. I always got the shakes bad AFTER it was over. Lighting smokes was just about impossible for me afterwards. I didn’t have the fine motor skills to operate a zippo. That has been so many years ago now that I haven’t a clue to what my reactions would be now. At least I don’t smoke now.

  11. Forget the dogs, my cat was damn good at detecting things that were amiss and making noise to wake me.

    Not to mention, cats are up most of the night watching out the windows anyway while the snores in the corner.

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