“According to Houston police, the owner of the shop in the 8500 block of Westcott near Camay returned to his shop, which is currently still under construction, around 9:45 p.m. and found a man inside trying to steal some items,” chron.com reports. “The two began scuffling, and the business owner, who was armed, pulled out his firearm and shot the man. The burglar was taken to LBJ Hospital in critical condition, where he died. His identity has not yet been released.” Result! And yet it’s an important cautionary tale, one that reminds me of a force-on-force exercise I designed for Simunitions Training . . .

The scenario (as described to the participant): you’re coming home from work. That’s it. That’s all I told them. The instructions to the bad guy: lay on the floor in the middle of the room. Don’t move or respond in any way. At some point, slowly lift up your gun and shoot the returning homeowner.

To a man, the home owners came into the room and started yelling commands at the moribund invader. All of them drew their gun. Some were alert enough to do so while moving to cover. Some did so with their head on a swivel, looking for other threats. Two home owners managed to shoot the bad guy before getting shot. Three did not. All of them failed.

The gun guru in the video above says the biggest mistake you can make for room clearing is to go in too quickly. Wrong. The biggest mistake you can make is to go in somewhere where you’re going to be shot or killed.

When the home owner(s) entered their house and saw a stranger lying on the floor they should have backed-up, closed the door, moved away from the building and called the police. But even in a simulation, the participants thought of the room as “their” home. They considered it their job to enter the space and clear the house. Imagine how the Houston business owner above felt seeing someone stealing from his business. Hence the confrontation, altercation and termination.

Is anything you own worth your life? Again, the only gunfight you’re guaranteed to win is the one you don’t have. Staying on point, the entrance to a room is a “fatal funnel.” The door frame perfectly frames the person entering, who has nowhere to move laterally. In other words, a doorway creates an easy shot for a bad guy. That’s one of the reasons the police and military perform room-clearing operations in teams, and consider it one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs.

Bottom line: gun or no gun, don’t go where angels fear to tread. If you hear something “unusual” going on downstairs late at night, don’t feel obliged to go room-by-room to “investigate.” And if you do, don’t go any deeper in a room than you have to. That’s critical too. Fatal funnel or no, you can observe a room from a doorway or entrance. The further you get from your point of escape – the way you came in – the harder it is to escape if you need to.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule . . .

I changed the scenario. You’re coming home from work. You hear your daughter screaming in the back bedroom. [NB: none of the five participants in this scenario had run the first exercise; they were all surprised by the “dead” guy in the middle of the room.] Most did the room clearing thing, trying to “slice the pie” as they moved towards the bedroom – even as they tried to keep an eye on the man lying in the middle of the room. Some shouted to their daughter. Some didn’t. Three got shot when the bad guy woke up. One got shot by the bad guy in the back room.

The correct response? Same as before. Close the door and call the cops.

I know that sounds odd but there’s no sense rushing into a deadly situation and getting yourself killed, especially if you haven’t called for backup. That won’t rescue anyone. Get intel. How bad is the screaming? How many bad guys? Where are they? Keep in mind that you know the layout of your house and, perhaps, the number and location of any hostages. The cops don’t. That information is extremely valuable; you don’t want it dying with you.

That said, if you gotta do what an armed defender’s gotta do just don’t over-penetrate the room. Any room. That said, the fifth participant in the screaming daughter scenario ran into his house, shot the guy lying on the floor, twice, ran to the bedroom, threw open the door and shot the second bad guy, taking a hit to the leg. She was safe. You pays your money . . .

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97 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Over-Penetrate a Room

    • This.

      Sometimes solo room entry is a necessity. For me a family member screaming in another room is one of those times.

      Sometimes everything is worth the risk.

      If you aren’t willing to take a bullet for those you love then I am sorry for them…

      • Seriously, this. If you are unwilling to risk yourself for a spouse or children, then you are unsuitable for marriage or parenting. Because the vow to protect the ones you love is implicit in either commitment.

    • Robert, would you really pull out of your house if you heard your daughter screaming and just hope the police get there in time? Somehow I don’t think you would.

  1. In general I think it is wise to vacate your home and call for backup (whether that backup is armed family, friends, neighbors, or police) if you encounter a home invader upon returning home. Just keep in mind that there is risk involved even with vacating because the home invader could have accomplices waiting near the door or just outside the door.

    I do not agree with the advice to vacate and call for backup if I returned home and found a home invader and a family member screaming from a back room. In that scenario I would be compelled to do my best to stop the home invader in front of me and stop the attack on the family member in the back room. It would entail a lot of risk. Sometimes, trouble finds you and your number could be up on any given day. I hope that day never happens. If it does, I’ll do my best to stop violent attackers and save a family member from additional trauma. I might not survive such an attack. My only hope at that point would be to take a few of the violent attackers with me.

  2. “I changed the scenario. You’re coming home from work. You hear your daughter screaming in the back bedroom.”
    “The correct response? Same as before. Close the door and call the cops.”

    What?

    • Yeah, this threw me for a loop. What kind of dirtbag lets things go down this way.

      Some things are worth the risk.

      Speed, surprise and violence of action.

      • Sill, I’m not sure the odds are anywhere near as bad for the homeowner as these scenarios make out.

        The simulated “bad guys” in these simulations are often much better trained than the simulated victims, expect armed resistance, and don’t bother to act out self-preservation, cowardice, incompetence with firearms operation/maintenance, intoxication, surprise etc. These are, however, common conditions in real life.

        I’ll agree that it’s not always worth your time to confront an armed invader lying on the floor, and very not worth your time to enter a standoff, but the win rate for inexperienced armed defenders is pretty dang high in real life, even after they lose almost all their advantages, and go most of the way through losing a fistfight. Cases in point: this Houston shop owner, George Zimmerman, etc. I’d prefer to fight a lot smarter than that, of course, but I’ve never actually fought anything worse than a slightly-busted airplane.

    • This makes perfect sense from the viewpoint of officer safety. But waiting around has not produced good results for victims.
      Also this whole goofy scenario sounds like a scene from Taken. Criminals don’t go around sneaking into homes grabbing your daughter to lie in wait and assassinate you. More realistically as soon as they heard you coming they would run away. If you somehow managed to surprise a sleeping burgler in your living room and gunfire was exchanged chances are his buddy in back room would bolt without even checking on first guy. Heck even if they shot you and you died instantly both crooks would probably run away leaving your daughter unharmed. (I think most fathers would consider this a win.) If the scenario assumes that criminals will resist to the death what is the point of waiting for the police, they will shoot the daughter at the first opportunity. Are the cops responding super ninja cops who will kill both bad guys without being seen?

      • “More realistically as soon as they heard you coming they would run away”
        Do not assume to know the reaction of violent criminal who has deliberately invaded your home. Home invaders plan on armed resistance and are prepared to kill the homeowner for material possessions or just for the pleasure of terror, like the Petit Family, or the folks in D.C.

        A surprised junkie who just found one of your steak knives may have blocked his flight response with that last hit of meth,crack,H, or pcp, which all are cause for a shootable moment, ensuring future peace from the offender.

        • Just asking, what makes you conclude home invaders plan on armed resistance?

        • @another Robert- Burglars are just after your possessions usually, unless they get spooked by the house not being empty, because they try to enter with the least path of resistance.

          A home invader is planning on committing his crime with the intentions of overpowering any innocent person in the house and those people are just collateral damage or the damage planned.

          It is like an attacker going after an open carrier compared to being surprised by a concealed carrier. In one there is a pretty good chance of the attacker to be harmed. Concealed carriers are not the only ones doing threat assessments as part of their situational awareness.

      • Exactly! Newtown is a good example. The first officer to the school at 1:44 minutes from 911 call waited for others which took over 14 minutes.

    • If my kid is screaming from a back room and there is someone I have never seen before laying on the floor in my house I’m going to put a round into them before moving on.

      • I believe the only real value in these scenarios is to make you pause and think about what you MIGHT do in such a situation. As in all things, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

        A very important point to consider, before popping a round into the body lying on the front room floor and moving on, maybe it was your daughter’s boyfriend shot or knocked unconscious trying to protect her? Maybe it was your neighbor coming to see who was in your house when he knew you were not at home?

        The screaming daughter is a definite concern, but randomly shooting bodies you do not know are bad guys does not seem like a good response. I believe I would retreat and call for help, watching the exits as best I could. Better to let the SWAT negotiators talk the guy down than go into the room shooting.

        I am reminded of a scene (can’t find the clip on YouTube) from Kindergarten Cop where Arnie comes back to the motel and hears his partner screaming in the bedroom.

  3. The police get paid to catch the bad guys, which includes clearing rooms. Let your tax payer dollars work for you for once.

    • Really? The cops get paid to fill out the report for the insurance claim. How do I know? I was one. No matter how fast we drove, we never got there before the criminal act was over, not even when it was close by and we ran code 3. Not once, not ever!
      You, and you alone, are responsible for your and your family’s safety and well being. It is not the government’s job. Period! The SCOTUS has made that very clear. That is just another reason we own guns.

    • 20 minutes later, when the cops show up, your kid is dead and the perps have fled through the back yard and out of the neighborhood.

  4. In the case of my daughter screaming from another room the visible bad guy, laying in the floor, gets executed from my vantage point. After that, it gets interesting.

    • My first take as well … But.

      I live in an area with homes fairly close together, and a very high percentage of gun ownership. (But little blood in the streets. Imagine that…) There’s a significantly greater than zero chance that the guy on the floor is one of my neighbors who heard the screaming and came to help.

      Shooting him (again) would definitely be the wrong thing to do if that were the case. And I might not recognize him for any number of reasons.

  5. The problem with most training simulations (at least those taken by us non-operator types) is that we figure we’re there to “do something” – an affliction that doesn’t just affect anti-gunners. It’s a pretty quick assumption to figure that, since we’re at a simulation meant to train us how to use guns, that all solutions must somehow involve some amount of shooting. It’s really difficult to NOT select a solution that doesn’t involve gunplay of some sort. I know I’ve certainly fallen into that trap while training.

    • I believe that applies to the “bad guys” as well. They have no incentive NOT to shoot at you or provoke you into shooting at them, since they know that no one is going to die and they are not going to jail.

      These scenarios may have a valid place in the training system, but they are not and cannot be more than simulations of real world situations. Yes, it hurts when you get hit by a Simunitions round, but even then you go into the situation fully aware that worst case you are not coming out in an actual body bag.

      Here’s an idea – Charge up front for the training. make it clear that the training continues until you are shot and “killed”, even if that’s the first step you take into a training scenario, at which point you are done. Go home. Come back some other time. And we keep your money, all of it.

  6. I’m supposed to walk back out when I hear my daughter screaming in the back room? That’s pretty rugged. I dunno if I could do that, without at least circling around to the appropriate window (if any). As we all know, she could well have died a horrible death by the time the cops get there.

    • Or you could die a horrible death trying to rescue her without backup. And then she dies a horrible death, anyway.

      • Then she’s dead either way. At least I wouldn’t have to live with myself for intentionally “letting” it happen.

        • But I do see your point about rushing in willy-nilly and getting yourself killed right off the bat.

      • Mr. Farago,

        Those are good points as well. I don’t see any good answers in that scenario. Your family member could die either way. I would probably lean toward the advantages of speed, surprise, and violence of action. Make the home invaders react to me rather than the other way around.

        And I would count on another advantage. If the home invader who is terrorizing (or worse) my family member has a handgun, the only way they are going to stop me from liberating my family member is if they put a bullet in my brain or spine. That is a tough shot to make on me if I am moving quickly — e.g. rushing into the room. Even if the attacker puts a bullet through my heart, I have at least 10 seconds (and probably closer to 20 seconds) to return the favor to the attacker before I go lights out. In the confined space of a bedroom or living room, that is ample time to rush the attacker and deliver an incapacitating shot. More importantly, it guarantees that my family member survives without significant additional trauma. (Not only have I stopped the attacker in that room, my family member can now use my handgun to stop additional attackers if there are any.)

        Unless the attacker has a rifle or shotgun — which is exceedingly rare although not unheard of — I have an extremely high probability of securing my family member regardless of what the attacker does. I like those odds much better than waiting between 5 and 35 minutes for police to arrive and allowing the attacker to have free reign over my family member during that time.

      • At least when she is dead after the fuzz gets there and wait for more backup, you won’t have to live life thinking about what a coward you were.

  7. I’d like to know in what scenario you would suggest an armed citizen act violently? I know “fools rush in..etc.”, but only those who dare, win. Sometimes life involves taking calculated risks. Otherwise, why carry a gun at all?

    • It’s not for me to say when or where it’s go time. There are simply too many variables in any given scenario. Nor do I judge those who did what they did to protect innocent life. We can learn from their experience, but we should never presume to know that we could have done anything different.

      My main point: be violent (with or without a gun) when it’s the most effective option. Rushing into a room o’ death is not an effective use of force. But, as the article points out, there are times when you either have no choice or calculate the odds and make that choice.

      Just consider the possibility of NOT acting violently before you do. If you can.

      • @Mr. Farago-“It’s not for me to say when or where it’s go time.”
        Exactly the opposite friend, because the second any innocent person needs, help from men with harmful intent go time has already began, and it is time for overwhelming violence, since you are reacting defensively and transitioning to offensively. Some men fight to cover and some men flight to cover, big difference when the first shots are the most important, since most citizens can’t empty three magazines from behind their cruisers.
        Scenario:
        Home invader has my daughter with a knife to her throat and I have my gun drawn on him. Evil man says drop your gun and I will let her live. What do you Do?

        Coward hopes the police will come while the bad guy grabs your gun that was surrendered, and kills your whole family. Hopefully quickly since you surrendered your chance at that determination of your fates by the time the police arrive, if they were ever alerted.

        Father/Mother–says if you kill her you will be stuck in a room with me until the police arrive for your dead body..The evil man is going to have his way if you surrender your weapon. Shoot invader in T-Zone for flaccid paralysis to prevent harm to daughter, or deliberately place a wounding round after he killed my child, so we could talk about his misunderstood actions, since repeat violent criminals tend to be the victims of our courts.

        • In my example time is off the essence, as I don’t want the invader considering his options, which were none once he threatened those I care for.
          Knife to throat is the best option for the least harm to my daughter.
          Gun to head means I have to aim for a single shot to the engine block, Hence T’zone or the second it opens its mouth to give me a command. The father/mother is the one to be feared in that situation not the invader.
          I would shoot within seconds of seeing the situation at hand, and I know my child could die but I won’t risk my entire family. It was not me that made the choice, granted I would have to deal with that choice more than the dead guy. Dead daughter horrible but at least we are still alive, which is hard but manageable. Dead bad guy I would take my family out to supper.

  8. If you wouldn’t give your life for your family, friends or a stranger then you’re just a coward breathing my air. You only live once. Then the judgement.

    • Then again why give your life away for your loved ones or other innocent life and fail? Surely, you should use the most effective strategy, rather than one based on pure emotion.

      • If you’re daughter is screaming in the back room, I don’t think waiting minutes for the cops to arrive is the most effective strategy. Prepare for the scenario by training, training, training, so that you’re less likely to fail. That, and train your daughter, too.

      • “Then again why give your life away for your loved ones or other innocent life and fail? Surely, you should use the most effective strategy, rather than one based on pure emotion.”

        RF, you ask the tough questions. I like that.
        The best laid plans of mice and men are never guaranteed success. There are too many variables that no drill can cover. What I do know is that some lives are worth protecting even at the expense of my own. This life is temporary and I agree that you don’t want to waste it. But to believe that for all of our training, practicing and planing we can overcome all of the variables one can encounter in a situation is a dream.
        If I man enough to make a family then I should be man enough to defend them come what may. Backup is never an option in the scenario above. Let someone else call the 911 because times a waistin’.

      • Those who dare win? This site posts stories of old, disabled folks on somehow fending off home invaders on a regular basis. I get that there are many stories that go the other way, but this scenario seems a little unrealistic. How about a scenario where the “bad guys” win by escaping the course and/or shooting the good guy. You give the two “bad guys” $1000 dollars if they survive (even if they surrender) and an extra $200 if they escape. A bad guy who gets hit gets nothing. Make the good guy get $1000 bucks if he doesn’t get shot and he gets another $2000 if the daughter is alive at the end of the scenario. The good guy has to enter the house. The bad guys start in the house with the daughter.

      • You are talking to People Of The Gun, Robert. What makes you think that calling the police and letting them handle things is a solution? While they may arrive on time, they very well may not. Hell, they might not even come at all. And, if they do come, who’s to say they’ll do anything besides sit outside and wait? For more backup? Changes in the phases of the moon? For many cops there ain’t no way they’re going in that house nomatter who’s in there. (Think Sandy Hook.) Meanwhile, the crooks 1. ran away (they’ll be back), 2. destroyed your house and stole your property, and 3. harmed or killed your daughter.

        My guess is that the last guy mentioned in the test was a veteran with some practical experience in clearing houses in combat zones.

  9. the fifth participant in the screaming daughter scenario ran into his house, shot the guy lying on the floor, twice, ran to the bedroom, threw open the door and shot the second bad guy, taking a hit to the leg. She was safe.

    This for the win.

    • Only downside is, what if the guy you see laid out in the living room isn’t a bad guy, but another victim of the bad guy in the back room? Someone that bad guy coshed when he rushed in from next door to help the screaming girl?

      • Such are the vagaries of “war.” My ONLY concern is my daughter in the back room. Anyone in my house who isn’t supposed to be there is a “bad guy” and will be dealt with accordingly.

        If I’m going to “play the odds,” the chances of the first guy being a neighbor are MUCH smaller than him being a bad guy who doesn’t belong there (and is a threat). But, it doesn’t really matter. As I said… my ONLY concern is my daughter. I’ll deal with the rest (any fallout) later.

        • Not necessarily disagreeing with you, just saying it isn’t necessarily the easy-right solution.

        • There is nothing “easy” about this scenario. But, I believe that the “fifth” student proved that speed, surprise, and overwhelming force will often win the day.

          When my daughter is screaming (real screaming, not “woo-hooing”) in the back room, and there are strangers in the house, I believe this IS a case of “shoot first, ask questions later.” I just don’t care who the other stranger may or may not be. I can live with whatever comes after that, knowing that I saved my daughter.

  10. Ok the dude in the video needs to be dubbed over with the Steve Irwin’s voice.

    “See that door moving right there. That’s a big threat queue!”

  11. My dogs won’t have just vanished and contrary to popular belief not all dogs will be distracted from intruders with a steak. They also won’t sit by and allow a complete stranger to set up this absurd ambush. They will be dead or the intruder will be dealing with them. It will be quite the tell.

    Any stranger entering my home without a family member present is not greeted warmly to put it mildly. So this choice of immediately closing them in and calling armed strangers that are known for shooting dogs doesn’t sound good for my situation. Certainly not for my dogs. Even if I managed to quickly get them out the front door it would be without leashes and in an extremely amped up state. Still very bad odds for them if I can’t get them secured before police arrive.

    The only other thing I will say to this is I believe there are actually things worse than your own death. One that comes to mind is living the rest of your life (until your eventual death) realizing a loved one died because you shut the door and waited instead of taking the immediate action that would have given them a chance.

  12. The problem with most “force on force” scenarios like this is that they try to keep it legal which really makes them exercises on “shoot, don’t shoot”

    .

  13. Sorry to keep on, but something just occurred to me. Some drunk/mental case/whatever started banging on the door and shouting to be let in at the house across the street from mine, which was occupied by a frail little old lady. I wasn’t there at the time, I got home in time to see one of her sons with her at the door and then, some time after that, the cops arrive. She had called her son I think, who had called the cops and then gone over there himself. Or she had called the cops and then her son. At any rate, her son and the rest of her family were highly disturbed at the amount of time it took for the police to arrive. This isn’t exactly a megalopolis I live in; any traffic stop usually features a couple of extra cop cars whose drivers didn’t have anything else to do. But the would-be intruder, who apparently was pretty persistent, was long gone by the time the son got there, let alone the later-arriving police. Given that experience, I dunno how much time I want to wait for the taxpayer-funded “backup” to arrive if I have a family member screaming for help.

    • I used to work in a building in downtown Fort Worth. The building was 4 blocks from the nearest police station. Our disaster preparedness guy told us the best estimated police response time was 14 minutes. I thought that was a long time because it took about 3 minutes from my office to lobby and the only security was a friendly unarmed guy just inside the glass doors.

  14. I’m not with you on this at all. The initial condition is me entering my own home and discovering an intruder. Then if I understand correctly my daughter is screaming from an adjacent interior location and your answer is to…leave? I am fit for my age but under no illusions that I am anywhere near Army condition and door kicking is a perishable skill. That said, my answer is simple, immediately kill the guy on the floor and I really don’t care who he is at that point, David Letterman, St Ambrose, or the Fuller Brush Man; if he wanted more time unauthorized entry was his last mistake. The gunshot would not doubt alert the other problem(s) so I would attempt to improve my tactical position in terms of where the sounds from my daughter were emanating, ideally to be able to shoot that jerk(s) from behind when he came looking.

    In rural areas law enforcement is often distant and over burdened, and our local sheriff’s department are good guys very nearly to a man. In public venues there are multiple variables that come into play that make defense and especially defense of others and their property problematic at best. But under the circumstances portrayed this is MY home and MY family and the idea that I should hold back because of a potential risk to my life, well, I find completely ridiculous and utterly contrary to any concept of self defense. Let’s face it, if you need to draw your weapon there is, or there legally better be, an immanent threat to your life. Worse yet this is your home and family, the most extreme Malum in Se you’re going to get pre dating Anglo American Law, Roman Law back to the Stone Age. If you won’t aggresively defend your home and innocents, what are you carrying for in the first place?

    • In the made-for-tv-movie version, the bad guy holding the gun on the daughter/wife/partner/innocent citizen persuades you to drop your gun so you can “save” your daughter from being harmed. At this point, you’ve just surrendered your one best hope getting yourself and the other safely out of trouble. In the Clint Eastwood version, however, Dirty Harry lines the bad guy up in his sights and tells him “you really don’t think you’re getting out of here, do ‘ya?”. Once the bad guy realizes that the utility of the hostage is zero, things change rapidly and you become his primary focus. Only the difference is, in Dirty Harry’s case, he’s looking down the barrel of a .44 magnum at someone who’s about to start disassembling him one limb at a time. (OK, I’m taking some literary license here, but you get the point.)

  15. I normally just lurk here, this is only my second comment…but if I hear my daughter screaming I’m going in and clearing that house, to hell with the danger

    Saying you should call for back up when your daughter is being harmed is horse shit.

    • @Josh Drake-“Saying you should call for back up when your daughter is being harmed is horse shit.”
      Eloquently spoken truth. What kind of man would wait for the police in that situation, the liberal gun owner, or a coward. You have a gun in your hand and you choose to wait for the cop on the phone to prevent your daughter from harm. It is illogical. If you want back up that may kill you upon arrival call 911. You Josh, judged on your character, that you expressed are the American Citizen that will call the cops for body disposal, for which I would call you my countrymen.

  16. I don’t get the point of that scenario other than to give a high probablity of losing. Could a badguy do somthing like that to get a drop on you, yes. How likely that you would be facing a bad guy trying that, practically nill. You mine as well have a scenario where the badguy is wearing full combat armor and awaiting in ambush.

    • My thoughts exactly. I’ve read way too many of these self defense “scenarios” that the “bad guy” was doing things that no normal human logic would place.
      So you walk into your home, 3 ninjas speed line in from a helicopter through your roof. Option A. Call the police. Option B. Open fire with your handgun, and finish the fight with your EDC katana. Option C. Deploy your automated anti aircraft system with 30mm gattling guns.

      • If it’s ninjas then obviously the answer would have to be D ake of and nuke them form orbit, It’s the only way to be sure. 😛

    • Nope. But I have been shot at and shot back. And screaming daughter. Not a bad ass. A loving parent and grandparent. Bad ass’s better be smart enough to step aside for that.

    • Not really. Put my daughter in a scenario and you will get to see my mad dog mean side. Things will get Medieval.

  17. That Ruger dude did a great job clearing rooms. I’d rather clear with him than most cops I know.

    If I suspect a threat:

    1. Arm up and flashlight up.
    2. Wake wife
    3. Release dogs
    4. Dogs pretty much clear house
    5. Take out threats as needed
    6. Call police (if necessary)

    I’d rather do that than get room clearing advice from folks who don’t clear rooms.

    • Right from the start, before the Ruger guy even gets through the door, this video shows why a handgun is better suited in some respects for clearing a house than an AR, as debated in the other TTAG article. You could not pull your rifle muzzle that close to your body and prepare to defend yourself with your weak hand with a rifle.

    • But Robert’s point is we (most of us here) don’t have room clearing experience unless, which is sometimes the case, we have recent combat experience doing just that sort of thing. But the problem is being presented to us RIGHT NOW and there’s nobody else around to do anything about it. . .

    • +1 If you can, get a dog, of one of the guardian breeds, from a good breeder.
      Our Dogs sleep in the kids rooms. Rhodie and GSD.

      I feel bad for anyone coming in that the dogs dont know, that has bad intentions, as they have pretty good instincts.

      Everyone IS woken by the ruckus anytime ANYONE other than family comes in the house, unaccompanied,
      And even a proven friend of the family, is suspect until they get in the door and the dogs can sniff to be sure.

      I like it that way. I train the dogs to stand down on command, and I train the kids to ring their new friends in very carefully, to be vetted by the dogs, who do a pretty good job of convincing them they are on The Job.

      if screaming commences, its probably because of all the blood.
      My main job is to get the dogs in their den crates, after, so they dont get shot by the cops.

      • PS: Good video, and thought provoking. I like the tip on the hand in blocking position, and reminder to slice pie.

        If I were coming in cold, hearing screaming, and no dogs barking, then I would call 911 and describe the situation, then enter carefully.

        It might be a horror movie, or something else. You would never believe my tough retired LEO wife could scream so loud about a spider…:) And my daughter is worse.

        Too many variables to say do this the same every way, every time.

  18. Call for backup (police)? Yes. They are needed.

    I hear the daughter or wife screaming? I’m going in, cops be dammed.

    The guy on the floor might be the mistake. Not recognized as an immediate threat, possibly leave him alone (for the moment).

    Whomever causing the ruckus – I would start there.

  19. For the second scenario the following is the correct response by a homeowner…

    Walk up to body laying on floor. Verify is not someone allowed to be in your home. Shoot in head to accelerate their assumption of room temperature. Announce to bad guy in back that he picked the wrong house with second gunshot, just to be sure. Kill second bad guy.

    That is how you do it.

  20. Scenario 1, sure I can understand back away and wait for the police.
    Scenario 2, I don’t give a damn what kind of battle hardened, tactical guru is approached with that situation. They are going to react to a family member, especially thier child screaming. I can understand not running in blindingly, but not going in at all?! Are you mad or just completely emotionless. Sure it sounds great in theory, but in reality it won’t work like that at all.

  21. “You hear your daughter scream from the back.”
    At this point, it’s exactly as Cesar says..
    “The die is cast” and all bets are off.

  22. Well Robert, I usually go along with you on most fronts, but this time is different. First, you poked at my uncle’s B-17—my aunt christened that plane and the nose art read, “Where angels fear to tread”! He made many runs into combat. Got shot ip a bunch, but never, never, backed down from his duty to “over penetrate” the combat zone.
    I too have served, 7 years as a soldier during and after the Vietnam thing and then served 5 years as a police officer. I went in many times. You don’t win by retreating. Mine were not training scenarios—mine were the real deal. As good as I am, there are fellow gun owners who are better than I.
    When 911 occurred, I had just put my wife and two sons on a plane at Boston Logan and sent th back to Dallas. I drove back to Maine to finish a job and then drove home. That day, I was working in a plant when the news came in. I drove back to my shop, loaded up an AR-15 and a .45 and a number of magazines and drove back to work with the attitude that, “terrorism stops right here, right now, or I die trying”. I will always be willing to go into battle to defend that which I love!

  23. I can see how ‘force on force’ training leads to ‘your #1 priority is officer safety, and you’ll get yourself killed if you don’t blast anybody who MIGHT be a threat before they become a threat.

    Just another reason NOT to call the cops to your home if you don’t want to be one of the dead threats.

  24. When you enter your house and hear a female relation screaming, you go in hot and terminate or finish off anyone who isn’t one of yours. The 5th guy in the 2nd scenario got it right.

    • But if your kid had some guy you didn’t know over for some hanky panky and a home invader conked him over the head, it would be a huge mistake to finish off her boy toy before going to rescue her.

    • That’s exactly what it is. Then again, there could be any number of real life scenarios that are the same. I think the situation is pretty unrealistic. What kind of burglar lays down on the floor and tries to shoot someone real sneaky like that? Simple answer, initially retreat, draw a weapon(and or light) then slice what you can. Depending on your home, it may be beneficial to find a window to the room that the screaming is coming from. Glass isn’t bulletproof. You’ll probably get the cops called on you if you have nosy neighbors, but you should already have dialed and told them what’s going on and then hung up. 911 recordings don’t ever help a defensive shooting from what I’ve seen.

    • I think the author has regulated himself to lose from the get go – he has already determined to abandon his family so it is unwinnable in his mind.

      Sad because I will go down swinging for my family – their lives are more precious than mine.

      Just saying.

  25. Robert, you use the phrase “Speed, surprise and violence of action” often. My question is this: Have you ever in your life used it? In sports, defending a sibling, etc.? If a member of my family is in mortal danger I am going in and terminating the threat with extreme prejudice. It is not time to analyze. It’s time for action. The police will know where to come from the noise. The bad guy may have all the advantages but he will not win the fight. And the bad guy’s only chance of surviving will be to capitulate immediately. But I’ll not leave a loved one at the mercy of some savage. I would bust through any door and take any punishment the bad guy could dish out to save my daughter at the cost of my life, if necessary. If you wouldn’t then I feel sorry for you and anyone else who thinks that way. And if that is not how you meant it then I apologize.

  26. So some of you will shoot a guy lying on your floor not knowing he might have been your daughters friend from school or work and got jumped as they interrupted a burglary?

    • +1. Again, this is why I think you have to be very careful to have thought out what you are going to do in a variety of situations, and gamed it, rather than have a one size fits all game plan.

      Remember the dad who went next door to protect his neighbor, and shot his kid dressed in black, who was sneaking in over there? What if its your neighbors teen, blasted drunk passed out, stumbling home to wrong house, from his first kegger…

      I like A81s plan. I personally will be glad to let some scumbag haul the big screen tv away, if I dont have to deal with the paperwork, later. Let the cops handle that. If that scumbag comes in after my wife or kids, then its on, but I will have taken the time to be sure its a bad guy, before shooting.

  27. My idea of calling for backup is to get the dogs. Cops are okay, but they take a long time to get to your abode. I guarantee the bad guys would have their hands full of German Shepherd and Labrador. I do find that some guy laying on the floor while trespassing in your house with a second guy causing your daughter to scream would be rather unusual.

    • +1. For most of us living in quiet safe communities, the likelihood of an armed invader is relatively low. But it all changes in an emergency- power outage, wild-fire closing off a neighborhood, storm or earthquake. Then opportunistic robbers go for the nicer middle class neighborhoods where the good stuff is, easy to grab and go.

      And the cops are gonna be plenty busy, if you can even get 911 on the phone.
      Dogs, people. Big scary dogs.

  28. I can see where Robert is coming from when I was through a MOUT refresher before my last deployment there was this National Guardsman (who is a SWAT officer at the Pentagon civilian side) on my squad who had to interject on what the instructor was teaching us. He mentioned that the only time you need to fully commit to any room where a hostile might be is if friendly personnel aka loved ones, friends,etc if none of the above are in the room where the perp happen to be then there’s no point in committing yourself into said room.

  29. Why go in the house if you can go around it from the outside and shoot the bad guy through the window.

  30. Because your opsec is so tight that you can’t see in through the windows.
    Comment threads like this kind of reveal how many action movies people watch.
    “I’d do this…”, “no, you should do this…”.
    The fact of the matter is; a significant percentage of people would shit their pants and fall apart.
    Here’s a question of the day: What do you do if there is nothing you can do?

  31. Fake scenario’s be damned. Just like opinion polls. If my family is screaming out, I know my house, I’m going in. Maybe not how I’m suppose to go in… by the rules of the scenario, but I’m not waiting outside for the police. I will think of something, someway, but I’m not waiting. God steady my hand and guide my shot cause it’s about to get ugly.

  32. “Greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for a friend” Bible – John 15:13

    So how much more so is he who lays down his life for his family?

    Just saying – I love my family and if I hear a family member screaming, I’m going in to do what I can. Wait times where I live is 15 minutes. THEN when the first officer arrives on the scene he/she assesses the situation and they wait for backup. Some areas wait even longer because they then deploy there SWAT teams – more lost time. So in reality you could be waiting 45+ minutes or longer before they do an emergent entry versus how long does it take to bleed out?

    With that said, IF you can live with yourself knowing you abandoned your family to die — then good for you.

    I can and will not – I will do what I have to do to save my family – not doing anything is like those the cowards that hide when bullets start flying.

    Just saying

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