I didn’t want to go into the maze. The last time I’d entered Patriot Protection’s simulated house a simulated homeowner shot me with simulated ammunition that really, really hurt. By that point, I knew the training ground’s layout well enough. I also knew the chances of adding to my collection of painful welts and bloody dings during the room clearance drill was extremely high. The pretend bad guy was an experienced role player, skilled marksman and high-level tactician. He knew what I was likely to do better than I did. Even in the dark. Especially in the dark. Yes, there is that . . .

A middle-of-the-night home invasion is the average gun owner’s nightmare scenario. It shouldn’t be.

A “bump in the night” home invasion is a highly predictable and thus manageable scenario. Your ability to ID suspicious sounds in your sleep, your alarm system and/or the family pet gives you time to prepare your pre-prepared defense. You know where to stand, hide, retreat or attack. You know the location of everyone on the friends and family plan. Your cell phone is at hand. Your weapon is at hand. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. Other than that, not much.

You know what I mean. Shit happens, but if it’s going to happen, it’s best if it happens in familiar territory. Besides, a BITN scenario doesn’t require much in the way of a plan or tactical skills. Gather friendlies whilst holding a handgun, assume a defensive position with a suitable weapon (a 12-gauge ought to do it), call 9-1-1 and wait for the cavalry. The bad guys take what they want and leave, the Boys in Blue arrive or you do something to the perps that requires a morning-after call to SERVPRO.

Alternatively, be vewy vewy quiet. We’re hunting wabbits! Grab your gun, go into your house, clear it room by room, find the bad guy(s), engage them and terminate them with extreme prejudice. Then call SERVPRO. Wait. What? Are you kidding?

Cops clear rooms in teams for a reason: it’s extremely dangerous. There are lots of ways bad guys can ambush the good guys – no matter how much training your local PD bring to the ballistic ballgame. Room/house clearing at night is ten times worse. For cops. For homeowners I’m going with 100. Despite the home field advantage, I reckon a single homeowner with a gun needs to be a brass balls operator operating operationally to git ‘er done in the dark.

Where’s MY flash-bang?

When I put my strategic analysis to Patriot Tactical trainer Robbie Allmon, a man whose diminutive stature belies unfathomable lethality, he was sympathetic. To a point. “If someone’s entering my house, I don’t know what they want to do to me or my family. I’m going to go out and get them as quickly as I can.” Only I don’t think he said “get.” So, speed, surprise and violence of action eh? “What if the cops don’t arrive?” he added. “How long are you going to wait?”

Bottom line: I wasn’t getting out of the nighttime room clearing exercise. This despite the fact that I was tired (not the day’s first adrenalin dump), hungry (don’t these operators ever eat?) and the light was bad (my house isn’t an over-sized dark room). So I entered the maze in my protective gear, a Man-Marker modified GLOCK 19 and enough trepidation to fuel an entire season of Under the Dome. I lay down on the bed and waited for the lights to go out. So to speak.

The “advanced” room clearing technique Allmon taught us worked well enough. I used my flashlight as a kind of strobe, shining it from floor to ceiling in short bursts. Taking snapshots. Moving in the dark. I pied hallways and rooms like a pro. I strobed into rooms with just my hand. Then stuck my head in, flashed the light and moved my noggin out faster than you can say easy head shot. I found the bad guy.

I’m not exactly sure what happened next, exactly. He fired at me – and missed. I fired at him numerous times, hit him in the leg (I later learned) and . . . let’s take time out for a quick revision on strategy. Specifically, mindset.

You know how you sit in classroom before training exercises and listen to the same old self-defense spiel with half-an-ear? Situational awareness, have a plan, get off the X, fight-or-flight response, tunnel vision, yada yada yada. Somewhere in the middle of Rob’s PowerPoint prez he introduced a bit about the difference between survival mindset and combat mindset. When it’s game on, you can’t be thinking survival. You have to be thinking win. Winning means acting, not reacting.

So there I was, outside the door of a room with the bad guy in it, trying to kill me (simulationally speaking). I had the bad guy cornered, maybe wounded, but definitely not dead. I was behind cover. And . . . that’s it. I’d stopped fighting. Rob called the drill. Too soon. Because I wasn’t doing anything. The situation wasn’t resolved. I was in reactive mode. Or, if you prefer, I’d chickened-out. (Hey, the truth hurts.)

Rob showed me what I should have done. Blinded the bastard with my 500 lumens light, run into the room and shot him multiple times. Huh. I’ve recommended that armed self-defenders run-up to the bad guy and shoot him. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me. And I know why. Fighting in the dark is scary shit. Gaining confidence in low-light shooting requires practice, of which I’d done none. Equally, I wasn’t sufficiently motivated.

If the bad guy had been a real bad guy, if my daughter had been in the house, I feel sure I would have entered that room, prepared to do or die. Or do and die. Again, I don’t think it’s a good idea to put oneself in that position, at all, ever. And I know there’s a difference between feeling sure of a course of action and actually executing it. Force-on-force training does nothing if not highlight that discrepancy. And how.

But point taken: if you find yourself in a gunfight – any kind of gunfight – you gotta put your game face on and be pro-active rather than reactive. Rob calls it “getting inside the bad guy’s OODA loop.” In other words, go for the kill. Which isn’t easy at the best of times: in broad daylight with plenty of advance warning. At night, in the dark, you have to reach down inside yourself and find courage you didn’t know you had, to confront that unseen, unseeable fear that lives inside all of us. As always, good luck with that.

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95 Responses to Random Thoughts About Nighttime Home Defense

  1. You, standing outside the room — that’s your brain telling you that you’ve done all you need to do. That was smart. That’s going to keep you alive.

    “Trainers” are trying to change our defender instincts and replace them with attacker instincts. That’s dumb. That’s going to get us killed.

    • I couldn’t agree more. What’s the point of training to clear a room? If you’ve got somebody in a room whose not coming out, leave him there. Position yourself where if he comes out, you can shoot him before he sees you.

      • ^This again. Wasn’t there an article last week that said one of the better ideas for armed teachers in schools is forcing the shooter to come into the room through a door? The kill zone/deadly funnel. I get if your house is set up a certain way then you may have more/less options, but in my house if the bad guy wants to get me and mine, there is only one way to get into the bed room. I’d just as soon stay in place and let them come to me. The cats don’t like anyone but me and my wife, and the dogs are too loving to do any damage.

      • No – not at all. You are in the fatal funnel, your aggressor is not. Once you enter it continue through it – keep what you take. If you take a corner don’t retreat from it and have to take it again, this time without surprise. When you duck back out of the door the wounded assailant can change position – you cannot. You still have to come through the funnel again. Worse, drywall doesn’t stop bullets, ergo you are really not yet in cover.

        If you are in a gun fight – even in your own home – winner goes home, loser dies. Surviving MEANS winning, and winning means stopping the threat (if you don’t like that, don’t get in a gun fight in your house). Unless you live in a fortified bunker how are you going to ensure your assailant tries to come out the door so you can ambush them? When they hear sirens coming don’t you imagine they are going to become even more desperate? Shooting through or kicking through walls suddenly becomes an option for them, it’s not their house. Are you willing to risk their hap hazardous covering fire against you to keep you from coming through the door flying through your home and risking your family? Walls do not stop bullets (in fact, I can’t think of a single thing in my home that does stop bullets except my safe).

        If you are going to engage someone you have to follow through.

      • BITN! leave wife asleep in bed. Leave lights off. Grab rifle. Clear only enough rooms to make it to kids room. (which means I just clear a bathroom) On the way to kids room engage anything taller that my 7 year old. Hopefully noone at this point. Grab kids, move back to master bed room. Wake the wife she grabs the handgun and moves to far corner calls police. I reposition by bedroom door with clear line of sight down hallway. Done. Now even if perps heard us Im already inside his (their) OODA loop and have tactical advantage, because I’m two steps into my OODA already. I can observe the hallway and oriented to the fatal funnel. I have a hasty fighting position and clear line of fire. To engage me the perp must enter hallway, observe me, then react. By then it’s too late for them. As soon as they enter the LOF I empty a mag reload and repostion. Wash rinse and repeat until threat leaves, cops arrive or I myself get hit. If i get hit and they advance they have yet another fatal funnel to enter to get to wife and kids. Incase you are wondering why not wake the wife first. Simple. I don’t want her to engage me on the way back in with the kids. If i engage the perps on the way to getting kids she will wake at the sound of gunfire anyway, and I will stay in kids room. At no point will lights come on in any event. No flashlights to give away our position as I know the layout of my own house.

    • I am not even sure going on the attack (even in your own home) is legal. I think if you corner a bad guy and he stops fighting, the threat has stopped. So if you still shoot him, better STFU when the cops ask you what happened.

      • I think STFU until you talk to your lawyer is always the best policy. I think this is one of the things ACLDN stresses. Part of being prepared for a home invasion is being prepared for the aftermath.

      • Their intent after they break into your house doesn’t carry any weight. They broke in and that in itself is malicious intent. The judge isn’t going to look at you and say, “they broke in and you thought they wanted to take all of your stuff and kill you but they really just wanted a glass of water, you should have let them do whatever they wanted in your home”. Once they’re in you have reason to believe your life is in danger and that is lawful self-defense (in my state, refer to your own state laws). I don’t recall if any or which states require you to flee your home if someone breaks in, although I have a feeling in California you will be prosecuted if you don’t help the crooks load up your stuff into their van.

        • Gun-friendly Virginia requires you to retreat until you can retreat no further. Meaning, GTFO but shoot to kill if you end up cornered in your own home.

        • Depends on the state. Nobody said “flee.” But once they stop attacking or your life is no longer in danger , hope you are not getting caught on tape or you’ll end up like Byron Smith.

        • @ PGT : VA is not duty to retreat. Its “verbal warning”. Announce, then if they don’t turn tail, you’re at your own discretion. No shooting in the back.

    • Also, what if it’s “invaders”, plural? You wound the guy, then run into the room, to finish him, and get shot in the back by his buddy.

      The hole up and defend plan isn’t glamorous, and it’s probably nerve-wracking as all hell, but you’re not doing anyone any good by dying in your living room.

    • I agree.

      We’re homeowners and until and unless we discover the cavalry isn’t coming, a wounded attacker and the good guy (you) behind cover is an ideal position to be in.

      As an instructor for almost two decades, I’d never recommend to my students that they go on the attack in a home invasion, absent some extraordinary exigent circumstances.

      Take the ensconced defender position if the good guys are all in your safe room.

      Don’t play urban warrior soldier. That’s a good way to end up dead.

      John

    • I agree. I think the best thing is to follow our defensive instincts, while still having an attacker mindset and not being afraid to attack when necessary. And I don’t consider house clearing necessary or wise at all unless you’re trying to round up family members to bring them into your safe room.

  2. There are two sides to this argument.

    1. You wounded the intruder and possibly neutralized the threat. Then you retreated to a fallback position and let him come through the “funnel of death” to get at you. While wounded. This is not a bad plan.

    2. You failed to act aggressively enough an press your advantage to resolve the situation. This shifted the tactical initiative to the intruder and could possibly put you at a severe disadvantage if the intruder is sufficiently aggressive.

    Unfortunately, it’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t sort of situation. No matter which way you went, there would have been rooms full of monday morning quarterbacks to second guess the decisions you made.

    • Here is where having carefully confirmed your state’s lethal force elements and court decisions on justifications before and after key events makes you either a righteous shooter, or a defendant in a civil case brought by the burglars in prison’s lawyer.

      Once you shot, and he stopped, I think you might have lost the ability to press the fight, depending on your state and the situation.

      Me, I’d retreat to the tactically defendable spot with cover, and call the cops with the bad guys description and last known location, to update the initial call to dispatch. Tell them where you are holed up, too.

      One thing about having a separate flashlight from the gun is it gives you options. A bright beam like the SureFire Fury or one of the many others out since, will blind the other guy for a couple of seconds, giving you time to back away, move to cover, shoot- whatever.

      Not getting into the flashlight on gun or not argument- you can have both,
      I am just noting that having one in hand gives you lots of options,
      and I would practice routinely using one in non-dominant hand, holding the dog on leash in the other, holding the knife or heavy walking stick, once dog is loose, in strong hand, before going to gun, if you happen to be out walking the dog, for example, or in the house after setting the dog loose. That gives you force levels like the cops, and more tools, and more reason for defense in front of jury for why you had to shoot, when you did.

      I’d also practice one-hand point shooting, as from hip, or at chest, recognizing that you may be in a grapple with the other, blocking a weapon in close, wounded in the other hand, etc. I’m not so worried about hitting something at 25 yards, and getting the gun up in time at 3 yards, if the stats are true about most likely.

      You can also lay the flashllight on the hall floor in high beam to illuminate the hall and blind the bad guy, and signal cops to your location as well.

  3. My plan – notion really, not a fully baked plan – is to defend the upstairs – hit anyone who comes up the staircase – while my wife grabs the kids and pulls them back to our bedroom at the end of the hall. Kids go into the tub in the master bath, I pull back into the master bedroom and take cover behind a small sofa. Wife is second line of defense at the entrance to the master bath. There’s nothing in the house besides my family that is worth fighting for.

    • Sorry Robert but this is more training for Walter Mitty type LEO or SPECOPS wannabes. The best home defense strategy is to barracade yourself and your family in a room, call the cops and wait. If the bad guy wants you bad then give it to him bad when he tries to crash an impregnable position. If he wants to re-enact Pickett’s charge then give him his wish.

      • I agree that the trainer went from defensive tactics to aggressive tactics used by the military but he is training how to to best kill an armed intruder in a specific situation.. The question in a real situation: Is discretion the better part of valor? That’s a question we each answer when the moment arrives. The goal should always be to come out alive.

  4. I don’t live in rural Alaska, so my local PD response time is about 5 minutes, so I’m sticking with my plan of gathering up my family in our safe room, dialing 911, and greeting anyone perp who tries to enter that room with my mossy 500 loaded with 00 Buck. The wife will get the AR, since she weighs about 100lbs and doesn’t like the recoil on a 12 gauge. Going hunting in the dark sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. I’m guess I’m not high speed low drag enough to be an operator.

  5. I agree with Ralph. Plus playing Billy bad Ass the home clearing hero is going to raise suspicion at the DA’s office. I am prepared to fight for my life and my loved ones, but I’ll take the box/spring and mattress concealment combo over pieing a corner anyday.

  6. I’m kind of going off on a tangent here, but I question the use of flashlights (and lasers if your eyes are still good) for home defense. In my home, the darkness is my biggest advantage. I know my home and can get around it well in the dark. There is no place in it that is so dark I could not easily see a person and get night sights on him.

    Second tangent: Bullets zip right through sheetrock (a.38 special hollow point will penetrate four layers of sheetrock and lodge in the fifth). Walls do not provide cover. They provide concealment. If I’m a bad guy, and I see a flashlight through a doorway, I’m dropping a few rounds two feet to the side through the wall.

    • I had a very similar thought about drywall while watching the near seizure inducing video above. One of the downfalls of simunition I suppose…

    • I try to correct myself when necessary on here. I just had a situation that made me rethink some of what I wrote.

      This weekend, I woke up after hearing something, and there were signs that someone could have entered the house already. Previously, I had only anticipated situations where you knew someone was there, not where you weren’t sure about whether they were there at all or where they might be.

      Anyway, I proceeded with house clearing. I learned that I can’t tell if there is someone crouched behind my dining room table or crouched behind the corner of the guest room bed without getting too close or turning on a room light. There is now a light/laser combo mounted to my home defense pistol. I will continue to use darkness as concealment, but I now have the option to turn on a light from distance when necessary.

  7. I had a kid start walking in to my bedroom @ 2am. Between my dog and alarm I was prepared. No shots fired, kid on the ground arrest was made. I found the lack of outside interference made me think much clearer. Plus he was on my terf, I knew the land scape he didn’t. Night time invasions are easier to handle then day time, in my humble opinion that is.

  8. Let’s see what happens in my house…
    1) Large, powerful dogs begin barking like hell. Burglar probably decides there are better targets in the neighborhood

    2) Burglar enters the house, encounters large, powerful dogs and discovers they have strong protective instincts. See above.

    3) Remote controlled lights come on everywhere in the house. If I want to make things extra-freaky they go on and off in disorienting patterns. See above. Police have been called.

    4) Burglar decides he is serious about it and is fighting his way through 150 pounds of dogs. His evening gets worse because my wife and I now have enfilade while he is…distracted.

    • Take this from a former dog trainer — if you are going to rely on your dogs for perimeter defense (as opposed to just being furry burglar alarms), poison-proof your dogs. Otherwise they are easily knocked out or even killed by a bad man with a pound of ground beef.

      • You are a real racist there Ralph. My dogs don’t discriminate against bald people, they’ll accept meat from anyone.

      • I think the point was that the dogs are in the house, not patrolling. A private citizen with patrolling dogs is just asking for problems. With the dogs in the house poisoning shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, if you have truly bonded with your dogs, depending on breed there won’t be much left for the cops to deal with. My dogs are pissed at people even ringing the doorbell, I can’t imagine their reaction to someone trying to bust down a door. Plus they’d have to contend with four of them. In the end its an exercise in not being the path of least resistance.

      • Good tip, Ralph. How do you recommend poison-proofing your dog?

        I’d have three levels of perimeter, and adjust as I saw fit-

        1 – the dog door open to fenced yard. Dogs can go to and from all night to chase possums, racoons and rats out of the back yard, and the occasional too dumb to know better neighbors cat, or the coyote eating the neighbors cat. Dogs known to eat cat poop for entertainment purposes, and dead rats. Bad dog!

        2 – dog door locked, windows closed- dogs are inside, barking at bad guys prowling. Good Dog! Or rip thru screen doors to get the neighbors cat or the rat in back yard. Bad Dog! Dogs known to eat slippers. Bad dog!

        3- dogs sleep in kids bedroom, one each. Dogs known to eat kids halloween candy hidden under the bed, and sleep on the bed. Bad Dog!

        GSD and a Rhoadesian Ridgeback, one each.
        Respectful but distant to humans welcomed to home,
        bark at strangers and knocks at the door.
        Like to hunt and kill coyotes and and mountain lions.
        Hell on the neighbors cat, but hey, its my backyard.

    • Similar to our home defense plan. My 88 year old mother-in-law is downstairs [no jokes please] so if I have enough warning I will take up a defensive position in the living room. If the bad guy is coming through the front door he (they) will be caught in a crossfire with me on the ground floor and my wife at the top of the stairs. If the dogs indicate a back entrance she will come down the stair and provide support.

      • You are a brave and good man tdi.

        I would take up a defensive position from my mother-in-law, from upstairs in the bedroom. Door locked, loud noises from the sleeping area.

        Better, from the den, door locked, game on, volume up. Cigar smoke works too.

  9. Quick question: what is the purpose of the strobe feature on many flashlights/weapon light? It seems that would just make it more difficult for me to see. I’d think a steady beam would be better, no?

    • The strobe makes it difficult for the target to focus with direct light. The flash of the bright light and strobe is disorienting and the combination is what works. On the other end, without the flash, it’s only slightly more difficult to see.

    • A light with sufficient lumens and strobe function literally can stun a person in much the same way a stun grenade overloads the senses.

  10. So, just so I have this straight…if I have my family in my room with me in a defensive position, I should leave said defensive position to confront a bad guy? Hmmm….

  11. I agree with Ralph. No real point in going on offense. If they want to wait for the po-po I’m fine with that. Less mess and clean-up. And, if they are really hiding not moving I think a prosecutor will argue you were not in imminent danger. I think some of this advice is improperly dispensed by (former) LEO where use of force is more broadly authorized, and a union lawyer get get you off for anything.

    The other issue that the midnight bump is (in my house) far more likely to be a teenage refrigerator raid. Seems to me, a few strategically placed night lights are essential

  12. I have trained & trained with firearms, and the most enlightening was Force on Force. An individual would be foolish to attempt room clearing alone. If a threat is contained, keep it contained. Never engage alone unless you have no other option.

    If you have a good defensive position, don’t leave it! Use cover and concealment to your advantage. Unless circumstances beyond your control demand it, maintain a defensive posture & concealment until the Cavalry arrives, you are more likely to live to fight another day… .

    Obviously you can’t control the actions or tactics of the bad guy, but don’t make it easier for them!

  13. Very useful article. I’ll come back for more of these. My formal training so far has been a simple concealed carry class and a first level self-defense course. In that course I learned to practice a lot closer than 21 feet and a few other things I wouldn’t have thought of. I practice fairly often. In this article (particularly the video) I learned I should be doing night training. I’ve not put lights on any of my guns except a shotgun. I always thought an intruder would just shoot at the light. But I can see how strobing the light could be disorienting. I definitely need to expand my training. There’s just too much I haven’t through of.

    • You need to practice at longer range as well as short range. It will make you a better shot and if the tactical situation presents itself it will give you a big advantage if you find yourself in a longer range fight.

  14. You assume the family wakes up w said alarm going off and dog barking .. .

    My view, as shared above, is hold the high ground atop stairs. They can have (and I am sad to type this) the copious amounts of liquor in the wet bar, the substanial cigar collection, and the paractice ammo (alcohol tobacco, firearms) stored in the basement. But if they come the 2nd floor, it is the frickin’ alamo

    • Dirk, concur- that was my plan in our old two story, and makes it easy not to shoot the neighbors kid by mistake, looking to score your seegars and scotch.

      I wonder about how to make a hasty “poor man’s panic room” in the master bedroom closet- I like the tub idea, but its a bit exposed if someone makes it in.

      I wonder what you all think of a couple sheets of heavy metal on walls in a back corner, to give the kids a place to huddle save from straw rounds or ricochets.

      • If you want to talk about hardening positions in an existing structure for defensive purposes lets us talk. If you mean make a hole to hide in until dead, no thanks.

  15. I had a couple good BITNs last night, this a week after I overheard a pair of goons casing the neighborhood. I’m still thinking defensive is the best but placing that order for OC/CS grenades became a priority.

    I’ll shoot em if I have to but I’d rather barricade upstairs and drive them out of the downstairs non-lethally if I can.

  16. I get the idea of meeting aggression with aggression, but it just doesn’t make sense if you’re defending a known position. Plus if you have a wife and kids to consider in the mix. A layered defense letting them come to you while the cavalry is on the way makes more sense to me.

  17. Sorry but all this get inside his ooda loop BS is BS. Someone comes in my house at night I am going to circle the wagons and honker down. This room clearing crap is going to get more folks killed than not. If I have locked down my bedroom than I HAVE THE TACTICAL ADVANTAGE. That is damm near first rule of infantry. Defenders are ahead of the game. As Clint Smith says if the BG crosses the doorway then I light him up. So stay put dammit.

    • But what if they toss in a frag or call in mortar or airstrike support on your defensive position? They might take your moment of weakness and call for support and overwhelm your position. /sarc

      I understand using speed and violence of force can catch a burglar off-guard and give you the advantage, but there are too many unknowns. Only someone with a death wish or balls of steel would rush out to meet an unknown force.

      What I don’t understand is why more burglars don’t wear body armor, but that would be another consideration. What if you have multiple armed intruders wearing level III or IV armor? It’s not all that difficult or expensive to get. Speed and violence of force doesn’t work when you don’t have overwhelming force. That assumption could cost you your life.

    • Had to come back for a follow up. My blood is boiling. This is what is wrong with the gun culture today. There has been a flood of “trainers” into the marketplace. Turns out to be a pretty good living. Get to travel, shoot guns and people pay you. In seeking to differentiate themselves they put all kinds of shit on their shingle. Ninja, SEAL, Inter-galactic warrior of Klingon etc. Some even invent their own certifications !! They push techniques to CIVILIANS that on face value are INSANE. *Flash* NEW AND IMPROVED McDonalds SODA STRAW DEATH TECHNIQUE !!! It is all about marketing. You see it in other blogs (like certain TV guys who can’t stop dreaming up apocalyptic scenarios) and now its bleeding into TTAG.

      The world of guns is NOT all about killing people. It isn’t all about EDC handguns. I’ve got more guns than most and none have been used by me to kill people up close, or at 800 meters. I don’t put on war paint when I clean them. I don’t play the scene from TAXI DRIVER with Robert De Niro talking to himself in the mirror. I also don’t spend my freaking whole day and night planning assaults and defense of my home.

      This is the mindless, childish, stupidity that anti-gunners see and criticize. And you know what? THEY ARE RIGHT !

      @Fred …. The SEALs have a saying about “running to your death”. I think that sums up my thoughts pretty much.

      • I don’t know if that’s the most apt of saying to use, since the SEAL saying “don’t run to your death” means being methodical and smooth in clearing a compound or building. I think “get comfortable being uncomfortable” is more fitting; staying in one place will feel uncomfortable and you might feel like you should be doing something, but staying in a defensible position is best.

      • @Tommy Knocker. I agree with you. This kind of “training” is pretty much just play-acting. I don’t have a problem with it if you call it what it is (a fantasy game) but stop trying to pass it off as something important.

  18. And this is what happens when idiots teach training. If anybody recommends running into a room, you need to just get up and leave. People need to stop believing that just cause somebody has Swat/Police or military training that they know what they are doing. The majority of the military(talking about the combat arms) is horribly trained, and just cause you are SOF doesn’t mean anything either, and SWAT teams have some of the worst habits possible when it comes to room clearing, they are stuck in the 80s and 90s. You had a corner fed room, here is a idea, if for some stupid reason you had to neutralize the threat, which is stupid to be forced to do, clear about 90 percent of the room from outside the doorway and do a quickpeak.

    • Rest assured that the guys at Patriot Protection most definitely did NOT recommend just “running into a room.” (I was there with RF for the class.)

      Their room-clearing drill was pretty much the same as everyone teaches — pie the room slowly and methodically while keeping off the walls. When it comes to clearing the blind spot in the corner, their dynamic entry was slightly different than what I’d been taught before, but it was effective. (I’ll leave it to the pros to debate the relative merits of the various techniques for clearing the corner.)

      Will I be room clearing my own house, especially in a BITN low light situations? Probably not. If anything, doing a bit of room clearing training where someone is shooting back gives you a very good reminder of why some things are better left to the pros. (In the words of the philosopher Eastwood, “man’s gotta know his limitations.”)

      Having said that, did I enjoy the class? Most certainly. It’s a great facility, the staff are uber-safety oriented, and Robbie knows his stuff. There were other FoF scenarios we went through that didn’t involve room clearing (e.g., parking lot altercations / carjackings) that anyone who carries really ought to try. (Add some stress and you’ll see real quick how well your mechanics and techniques work — or don’t.) And the low light room clearing exercise *was* a lot of fun, even if I don’t see myself doing it except as an exercise.

      Regardless of your views of whether teaching basic room clearing to civilians is appropriate or not, I think we can all agree that if you are going to carry, you need to get some training. And once you’ve gotten some good solid training on the basics, FoF is great for seeing for yourself what you’ll do under pressure, and thus what you need to adjust / adapt in your practice.

  19. When I was younger, I played a lot of paintball, not professionally or anything, but very regular sessions against anyone I could find who had equipment. Since then I’ve played a lot of Counter Strike. I’ve found in both types of pseudo force on force that I’m SIGNIFICANTLY worse at reacting effectively to a forward moving opponent than I am at pushing forward and reacting to the information I see, once “combat” has been engaged.

    When I would paintball (the better analog for true force on force) I often would sprint forward to pin opponents under cover and force them to react to my planned and decisive action to press around the cover. Again, this tactic had a MUCH higher success rate for me than a camp/react strat.

    This doesn’t mean I’m going to advance from a known position into an unknown when I’m unaware of the location of a home invader. What it does mean is that my personality and habits I’ve developed would likely cause me to press forward aggressively once contact has been made and both my and my opponent’s locations are known. The movement would give me a much higher level of confidence and comfort than I would have in myself staring at some corner, tunnel visioning, and feeling my brain settle into the “stagnant” and slow reacting state that I’ve experienced before.

    The point is, depending on the situation and the skill set, dynamically bursting upon an uncomfortably entrenched baddie could be the right choice as opposed to becoming the one who is afraid, feeling more and more indecisive, and burning your eyeballs out staring at 1 or 2 entry points without blinking.

    Side note, why do potg never reference paintball? Yeah the guns generally aren’t modelled after your AR-15 and accuracy is crap in comparison to the real deal, but it’s fun and is available to the everyday gun owner where simunitions or whatever are not.

    • Hey Everyday:

      The difference between “playing” paintball and dealing with a home invasion is that gunshot wounds leave a whole lot more than welts. Way to compare apples and oranges, though.

      John

      • That would go for any training though. Seems to me training that begins to approach real life is better than shooting at paper targets or no training at all. I think paint ball (though I have never tried this) might be an effective training tool if the training is managed right.

      • So the only effective force on force training in your eyes would be to get shot with my .45? Ok… Well you go to THAT class first… and come back to me with a review. In the mean time, I’ll do paintball, airsoft, take a force on force simunitions class, or anything else I can afford. Way to compare apples and frag grenades though. Brilliant!

        Justin

    • That depends on your skill sets and preferences too. I’m the opposite way, or rather prefer baiting and ambushing in such “war games” or flanking from a side. I also play some online shooters as well and there’s nothing easier than having someone pass you right by before you take the shot. Nothing beats surprise like that. There’s no action or reaction they can have, it’s over as long as you hit your mark.

      In a home defense scenario that means being perpendicular to the door and quiet. If the burglar doesn’t hear anything they might think they’re all alone and be more likely to pay attention to the furniture and their contents than look for the homeowners, especially if all other rooms are empty. That’s compared to the noise you’d make moving around, lights, and other indicators. Then they can take a defensive position against you and bait you. There have been a few assaults that led to my fake demise in a game because of the side I wasn’t muzzling or multiple opponents. In real life the stakes are too high to play that game. Risk reduction and the least expertise required (less to mess up) is the name of the game for me.

  20. I would be curious as to how many homes are pitch black at night? I imagine that some remote farms might be but every home that I have ever lived in there was always enough ambient light to navigate around and see larger objects, I would sometimes step on a dog toy but never tripped over a table.
    Now, TEOFTAWKI would be a different story.

  21. I don’t live in rural Alaska either, but the police response time for me is 40 minutes minimum. So my first inclination is to bunker down in a defensive posture, but keeping in mind that I’m gonna have a long wait until the police arrives, I may have to deal with “stuff” myself. Not something that I’m looking forward to, because I’m an old, crippled up fat guy. My “operator” days are long behind me.

  22. You don’t “need” to train to clear your house. You “need” to train to the level of skill you are comfortable with. Some of us that are former military may have cleared rooms before and done it to a level of proficiency that it is comfortable to us. We don’t have to force ourselves to attack. But if you have never done that an training class that teaches you to do that might not be the best ROI. It may be better to find a plan you are comfortable with, like grabbing a shotgun and going to an easily defensible position with you in between your loved ones and the most likely point of illegal access and hunkering down. If I clear my house to the limit of my comfort level and skill set and you hunker down in a hallway that serves as a choke point to your comfort level and skill set and we both get the bad guy the outcome is the same and nobody had to go beyond their abilities to do so.

  23. First. Dogs got their a$$es in a tizzy as soon as they come in the house. Little white bitch will be all up in their sh*t, big black/tan one would be working the otherside O the equation.

    Train with what youy carry. In my house I carry several dogs. Boo Yaa.

  24. Sigh, I said it in a response but clearly it needs a little more visibility:

    Everyone assumes here that intruder(s) will act like good house guests, they assume walls stop bullets like in the movies and they assume that an assailant will behave like a trained gun fighter.

    Walls do not stop bullets – nor do fiber glass bathtubs. Unless you have an old tub (ceramic) in your house telling the kids to get in the tub does nothing. Whoever assumed once you ducked out of the doorway you were back in hard cover is likewise wrong – you are not behind anything that stops bullets. That goes for your entire family too – because errant rounds fired by a gang banger are going to travel through rooms behind you, below and above you.

    Home invaders – like any other criminal – will do just about anything they can think of to avoid capture by the authorities. This means they will act in ways that defy good house guest activity – such as going through walls. If you live in a “green” home odds are your studs are placed 24″ on center – can you squeeze through a 2′ space you just kicked out? I can. The rest of us have 16″ OC studs – I can still fit through that. Once the fight has begun your walls mean nothing. Hence:

    When you get sights on your target – end the threat. If you take a doorway you have surprise, ducking behind it takes any advantage you had to get through the fatal funnel. Once you duck back nothing keeps the assailant from moving. Maybe there is more than one – too bad you didn’t reduce that number by one when you had the chance.

    Should you go charging in – no, thats not what I was taught or would teach. However if you were shooting at the target (and hit them in the leg) you should have gone all the way. THAT was the moral of his story.

    Sure, the Police may arrive in 5 minutes – one or two Patrolmen – who are going to set up and wait for SWAT or backup if shots are being fired. 5 Minutes is a hell of a long time for errant rounds to strike your family, for hostages to be taken, for more shooting to take place. If you are going to defend yourself be willing to go 100% or GTFO.

    On that note however is another important issue that came up: the Law. Most states have Castle Laws which allow you the right to use lethal force in your own domain (domain is important because for example in CO that extends to your car on the road) regardless of the intent of the intruder. Technically this may apply to your lawn – but I would advise make sure they come inside the actual house. Some states require retreat however often that has more to do with being on the street (or that pesky yard) – check with your local law enforcement.

    Also – above all – ID your target. The scenario mentioned involved a known attacker with intent to harm. You might want to shoot the kid who came over to play grab ass with your daughter at 3am but that is a bad can of worms.

  25. once the initial contact is made you must follow through and eliminate thatthreat! He is not cornered until he is down in out!the only thing that stands between you and a bullet is 2 pieces of half inch drywall! Sorry but that is a big trip to have someonepossibly arm in my house with my children in nearby rooms.like they say hesitation kills!

  26. I have read through half of the responses and there is an important consideration that I have not seen anyone address, and that is the CONTEXT of the home invasion.

    Let us define a “mundane” context where the homeowners are a “typical” family, life in general is what it is now, the home is not remote, and there are no temporary factors such as a hurricane, blizzard, or riot. If you are the victim of a home invasion in that “mundane” context, I think it is utterly foolish to go and clear your home all by yourself in the dark when you have an excellent defensive position and the home invader/s must come through a fatal funnel to get to your family.

    Now let us consider a “dangerous” context where a member of the home has a dangerous stalker, political enemies, or criminal enemies; or the home is so remote that you cannot expect police to show up; or the sh!t has hit the fan (e.g. societal or governmental collapse or an epic natural disaster). If you are the victim of a home invasion in that “dangerous” context, it may very well be prudent to clear your home in the dark by yourself. Would it still entail a great deal of risk? Absolutely. Would failing to clear your home also entail a great deal of risk? Also true.

    Why is it important to consider clearing your home in a “dangerous scenario”. Because there is a good chance that your home invader/s are there to rape and/or kill you and your family. If that is the case, the last thing you want to do is give them an infinite amount of time to plan and execute their attack — which could involve setting your house on fire to burn you out and kill you as you exit.

    As the saying goes, “the best defense is a good offense”. And that might very well hold true if your home invasion happens in a “dangerous” context.

    • Can you give me one example where a home invader has ever set a house on fire to kill the occupants as they exit? Are we really this far into fantasy land?

      • Home invader…no. Drug dealer gang rivalry, yes. A drug dealer burned down a house by throwing a Molotov cocktail at one of his competitors in Fort Wayne sometime ago.

        • Did he do that so he could shoot the people coming out or did he just burn the house down? Either way, it’s not an example I asked for.

        • Actually, setting a structure on fire and killing people as they escape it is a police tactic. So they can go home at night, ya know.

      • TT,

        In my “mundane” context, no, I don’t see a home invader setting your home on fire so they can kill you as you and your family escape the flames. The home invader wants to get something of value and go.

        In my “dangerous” context, yes, I can absolutely see the home invader/s set your house on fire. So why go in at all … why not just set the home on fire? Because the attackers want big valuable items. If society has collapsed, the attackers want the critical supplies in the home and women for rape or sex slaves. So there is a large incentive to try and get those “assets” without burning the home down. But if it becomes apparent that, say, the father is heavily armed, the attackers face too much risk trying to take everything. So they set the house on fire, pick off the father on his way out, and then carry away the women/girls.

        The same applies to political enemies and criminal enemies. If they are there to execute a specific family member, why not take the women in the process? Thus, if a heavily armed family member in a solid defensive position thwarts their initial assault, just set the home on fire. If everyone stays inside and dies, they have accomplished their objective. If the occupants flee, the attackers can kill the armed defenders and their intended victim and take any remaining women at that point.

        Sadly, almost the same dynamic applies to a stalker. If an armed homeowner initially repels the stalker’s attempt to grab the object of their obsession, the stalker can retreat outside and set the home on fire. Then the stalker can kill the armed occupants and take the object of their obsession away.

        In all of those “dangerous” contexts, it would be preferable to go on offense and take out as many home invaders as possible while they are still inside your home … where you know the surroundings and they do not … and your home is not on fire. While this sort of situation is extremely grim, you have some chance of prevailing. If you wait until they set your house on fire, there is basically no chance of survival.

      • Are you making a joke? We just recently had feds & local cops openly conspire to burn Dorner down in the cabin he had supposedly holed up in. LA riots of 1992 I rode with LAPD and 160th Mechanized out of Burbank for 4 nights watching “hell” let loose. Of course, the “big one” was WACO.

        Back in 65, the 4 blocks from above Olympic, all the way to Wilshire on Alvarado were torched to the ground in one swoop. Recall LAPD burned out SLA. Come on man, burning people out of their homes and businesses is business as usual…what? Are ya new??

  27. A lot of people mistakenly buy night sights and think that’s all they need when it gets dark. At 21 feet, sights don’t really make a difference. I love the high lumen strobing flash lights. They disorient the hell out a bad guy, so much so that they will fall over if they try running at the light. Then again, the internet experts will just tell you that the bad guy will shoot at the light and hit you.

    http://youtu.be/5knwg7m3BtA

    • Just to keep the rampant speculation going, he’ll probably shoot at the light (you) a long time before you actually get it on his eyes because he’ll see you coming if you have it on. If you have the light off and the gun pointed at the invader already, why not just shoot the dude instead of strobing him?

      • I don’t remember saying you walk around with it on or wearing a cow bell. Having done night time force on force, the strobe was the hardest thing to overcome when you’re playing the part of the bad guy. It disorients you to a drunken like state. We started with the instructor just asking us to run at the light and grab it. Even a small movement by the instructor and we over compensated in our movement to where nearly all participants fell over. If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on a strobing light, I’d suggesting looking at a Sipik.

        • Only a true imbecile would run at a strobe in real life. Why was the instructor having you do that? Again, either you have the light on ahead of time in which case you’re a sitting duck or you have the gun pointed at the intruder with the light off in which case you should shoot him instead of turning on a light. There is nothing about a strobe that’s going to prevent anyone from shooting in its direction.

          I get that it’s harder to shoot someone whose flashing a strobe in your face than it is to shoot someone who is not. However, it’s even harder to shoot someone that shot you before he turned his strobe or to shoot someone you didn’t even realize was there in the first place.

          The point is not what’s harder for the bad guy to overcome. The point is what is most likely to keep the homeowner from getting shot in the first place. If I’m walking around my house in the dark looking for somebody, the only thing my finger is going to be manipulating is a trigger. It’s sure as hell not going to be a flashlight. But then I’ve never had force on force night training, so what do I know?

          I just don’t see how turning on a light helps versus just firing the shot.

  28. I’ve thought about tactical lights, but then I figured, you know…I think a battery powered 10 MILLION candle power spotlight makes a better ‘taclight’ for use in my home than anything. At in home ranges, not only are you going to literally blind anyone in the house that is hit with the beam, you’ll be giving them sunburn. You’ll white out their vision possibly better than a frigging flash bang. Even a 1 million candle powered spotlight will blind you for far longer than seconds….you might be kind of able to see in a minute or two.

  29. I think if I was going to clear a room I would want a mini periscope. I thought the little periscopes used in the trenches of WWI were sort of cool. Maybe if the little periscope had a light on it to illuminate the room without exposing yourself to enemy fire, it might be very effective. Actually, a plastic mirror could work out well. I always like the MP44 of WWII that could shoot around corners.

  30. My son’s (2 yo)bed room is right next to the front door and my daughter’s (4 mos) right next to his. Some of us have a forced hand. If I hear someone coming through my front door you can bet your bottom dollar I am moving as fast and steady as I can straight at the door. Violence is neither good nor bad, it is simply a tool used to get a desired outcome. Criminals are violent people expecting victims. If they expected Billy badass who would make their night one to remember they never would have entered. Unfortunately for me, I have to be Tommy Toughnuts to ensure the safety of my children. God bless us all and pray none of us ever have to find out what we’d really do in any of these situations.

  31. What is the purpose of having a gun in the home for self-defense? Is it to protect your family or your stuff? Castle doctrine is set up to protect homeowners protecting themselves and their family. Not property. There are plenty of stories of people carrying guns that confront thieves in their garage, or driveway, they chase them down the street, etc…

    For me my guns are for protecting the people in my home. Nothing in my house (besides those people) is worth someone else’s life. Let me repeat a different way… I own nothing that is worth killing another person over.

    The author describes “winning”. I define winning as spending the rest of my long life with my family. That’s it. If I kill a would-be thief, and I end up in jail over it, that isn’t winning.

    Another thing to think about, that would-be commandos seem to disregard, what is the emotional trauma that results from a dead body in the living room. Sure it was a drug fueled burglar who may have tried to hurt someone if cornered, BUT YOUR FAMILY STILL HAS TO WALK BY THE BODY on their way out of the house after the police arrive. That image will burn a permanent scar in their brains that will need professional counseling to hopefully make better. You will be out of your house while the PD collects evidence, goes through your stuff, then the cleaning crew will try to get the blood stains out of the carpet, etc… If you smoke someone in your home legally, what I described isn’t a possibility, it is a certainty. What part of that would someone consider a win?

    I will only engage the target IF I have to choose between them and me. If my hand if forced, I will show the enemy extreme speed, surprise and violence of action. But, take my stuff. I can replace that. What I can’t do is get a good night’s sleep for the rest of my freaking life without an Ambien after looking at the bullet ridden face of the person I helped kill. No one really wants that.

    Hopefully I will never face the issue. I am prepared for it if I absolutely have too. I carry to protect the lives in my home. My family sleeping soundly with me in the next room is the “win” for me.

  32. We train for what we hope never happens! We train to be the victor of the situation! We train because we have others that are counting on our skills! What if I told you to keep training but to also take better preventive measures? I am an NRA certified instructor, avid shooter and the owner of http://www.patriotcrimedefense.com Our products will keep the intruder (goblin) outside of your home where they belong and away from yourself and loved ones. Shameful plug I know but the truth is very relevant. Confrontation is never the goal, prevention is. I train to win, period….but I would rather never have to find out. So train on with purpose and resolve! If you would like to add a force multiplier to your system set then give me a shout.

  33. First in Alabama a burglar (any one who has entered your dwelling to commit a felony) you have the right to use deadly force up to and including killing him and there is no duty to retreat.

    With that in mind, as a judge and an NRA firearms instructor, what we teach now is to develop a safe room with a solid wooden door or metal door that has at a minimum a dead bolt lock and preferably with a “doricade” or two closed bar holders that span your door which will allow a pipe of 2″ x 4′ put through it. upon a break in you gather up your family immediately. n your safe room, store a firearm and a phone and any med you might need for the 12 hours, Call 911 and point your gun at that door and shoot anyone that tries that tries to come in. I know instructors far better than I who intend to let the SWAT team take care of the criminal unless it is the last resort, Read: NRA’s Guide ti Personal to Personal Protection in the Home fro the NRA store. Home invaders are crazy and you want to avoid them at all cost, Dooricade: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007R6CALC/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=QCRG1DTOSBT3&coliid=I3K8KCE5MV9IJK
    Closed Bar Holder: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BO9NFI/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=QCRG1DTOSBT3&coliid=I3HZUW91MS4A37&psc=1

  34. I have a two story home where there is a kids bedroom at the top of the stairs. The master bedroom is down the hall that is 90 degrees from the landing atop the stairs. So you go up the stairs into that kids bedroom, or turn left and face the master bedroom. Two people are home. One in the master bedroom and one in the kids room.

    I see here there are three options for a bump in the night.

    1) Go downstairs and clear the first floor acting like a warrior instead of a terrified dad

    2) Go to the kids bedroom and take cover along the wall next the the door with a commanding view of the stairs and both landings. Defend upstairs by keeping whichever of the 92A1 or Cx4 that I was of a mind to grab trained on the stairwell while waiting for the police. The reason I said cover by being behind the wall next to the door is because if the bad guys downstairs started firing into the wall I am behind, their angle is so oblique that they would be shooting through multiple studs along the stairway wall, not just drywall.

    3) Either gather the other person from the kids bedroom to barricade into the master bedroom or else barricade into the kids bedroom. Train gun on door and call police.

    Based on the wisdom of the community and the likelihood that I couldn’t do it anyways, #1 is out.

    In many ways I prefer #2 over #3 even though barricading seems to be the most favorably cited. The reason I like #2 is that it gives me what seems to be more control over the situation. There is something about closing the door and being at the whim of the bad guy to act that I am uncomfortable with. I am sitting there waiting for the door to burst open and then have to start firing on that moments notice. I aim for center mass but what if he has body armor? Will I re-aim quick enough to take a head shot before he starts firing back?

    I just feel like I have more of a chance at success firing on a bad guy or guys charging the stairs than letting them mass outside the bedroom door and waiting for their initiative to burst through the closed door.

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