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[Note: author not shown in picture above.] Before I retired from the Army, I spent 1968-1971 on the ground in sunny Vietnam. While in country, I had an M14a1 ,which I miss dearly, and an early M16. I refused to carry that weapon after the first dance with Charles. I “acquired” an M1 carbine that jammed more the M16. And then I found the “girl of my dreams”: an M3a1 Grease Gun. It never jammed, ate all the dirt, sand, and mud it was fed, wasn’t picky about her make-up. A shower, dip in a rice paddy every now and then, and she was happy. In the same way, establishing a good armed home defense plan isn’t a goal in itself. It’s a process. Finding the right weapon or weapons is only one part of the puzzle. Answer these five questions in the comments section below, and then we’ll move on . . .

1.  Do you have alarm system? An alarm systems should not be relied upon as sole protector of your castle. However, whenever you protect an asset, you need to establish a perimeter. It’s an early warning system that tells you to get your game face on. Unless you’re going to hire armed guards (who come with their own set of problems), an alarm system is key (so to speak). You can install non-police-monitored systems with sirens loud enough to send some third world residents to their bunkers, interior motion sensors, and strobe lights brighter than aircraft landing lights, at less cost than you might believe.

2. Are you ready for violence? If you have to defend your home in your home, it’s going to get rough. Very rough. Probably bloody. And painful. And messy. Will your wife object to massive amounts of blood on her carpet, or brain matter splattered over Grandma’s antique chair? (At the time of death, almost all corpses loose their bowels and bladder with no regard for location.). Yes, you CAN train for combat, through hard physical exercise and some sort of martial art. And quiet contemplation of a simple query: are you ready to kill another person if you have to?

3. Have you mentally prepared for a home invasion? Ready means ready for action, including weapons choice and tactics. We’ll go into this in more detail later, but how about this: have you ever done a self-defense walk through in your house with your unloaded weapon at the ready? If he comes in here, I’ll go there. If one comes in here and one comes in there, I’ll go there and then there. Do you imagine these scenarios at the range? Have you ever done force-on-force training?

4. Are you aware of the “Use of Force Matrix” and its legal ramifications?

5. Have you explored “less than lethal” self-defense options available that may be more appropriate to your needs? I know you’re on a website called The Truth About Guns. But the truth about guns is that they’re not for everyone. [see: question 2] And it’s not all about you. Your spouse can be a key ally in any fight. If he or she isn’t a shooter, why leave them disarmed? RF insists on home carry. You might want to carry a can of pepper spray and keep your gun locked up. Think of it this way: you are the gun.

I am not by any means trying to talk anyone out of armed home defense. But I am trying to talk EVERYONE into THINKING about all aspects and responsibilities that come with armed encounters. Types of lethal and non lethal force (weapons and gadgets) later. In the meantime, My All Your Targets Be Paper!



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  1. Your post was aces-thank you! I rely on the simple dc alarms from Lowes, and a wolf hybrid and a Staffordshire Bull terrier. The hybrid is half St. Bernard, male, the bully is female. They adore my family and each other-incentive to protect. Now, as for the rest of your piece-got it covered. Lock N’ Load!

  2. This is certainly one of the most interesting posts I’ve seen on TTAG(and there have been plenty). I agree that everyone should have some sort of alarm and even video system as part of their home defense. I may think I’m ready for violence, but I won’t truly know until the SHTF. I have chosen a few weapons which are stored in different safes through out the house. I even started to home carry after reading many of RF’s posts on the subject. I haven’t studied the matrix, but I’m printing it out and I will use it because I believe it’s a great idea and tool. As for the less than lethal option, I have pepper spray and stun guns, but if an armed intruder comes at me in my home he’s most likely to get shot(or he might get me).

  3. Dear Munchkin, You’re point number 2 makes you sound like a complete nut. That’s a very subjective assessment, I admit, but let me ask you this. Since your glory days in Nam, how many times have you had to dirty the walls with brain matter, how many bad guys have you had to kill?

    I actually liked some of your other points. Thanks for a great post. I don’t often agree with Joe Matafome on anything, but I do agree that yours was an interesting post.

    Imagine old Joe, who hasn’t had the SHTF yet, but has been sold on the idea of home carry by our blog host, salesman of the year, I call him. How about you? Do you carry at ALL times, Munchkin, even in the home? How about body armor? What’s your feelings about wearing it at all times?

    • You and body armor. I thought we’d already educated you as to the strategic inadvisability of body armor in the home. Is body armor your new “this is how we ID the genuine crazies” talking point?

    • “mikeb302000 says:

      May 7, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      Dear Munchkin, You’re point number 2 makes you sound like a complete nut. ”

      Ever been hunting, Mike? His description doesn’t make him sound like a nut at all. There is a lot of blood when you shoot a deer, and that’s outside on the ground. Believe it or not, it is an issue. How do you live in a house like that ever again? We all hope it doesn’t happen but some of us will be the one it does happen to. Whether or not you agree is irrelevant mostly because I could care less and also because ‘the news’ is one of the most popular things to watch on TV and read on the Internet for a reason.

      In the meantime, Mike. Cancel all your insurance. If nothing has happened to you yet chances are you are good, right?

      Thanks for the post, Munch. I’ve checked pretty much all you have posted. We even have a gun attorney on the books and I have taken to studying the local laws and regs for my carry-all. It sucks in a pair of PJs though. Cotton is too thin. Need CCW PJs. I can’t wait for fall so I can get that Sig Sauer CCW coat.

  4. I agree on the alarm. It’s worth the cost. Many years ago I awoke one night to find an intruder in my bedroom. Fortunately I had a gun handy. He ran, and we both survived. But I decided I’d never again be in a position where someone could sneak up on me. The only weakness of an alarm system is that it dies after a while during an extended power outage. A yappy dog can substitute.

    I don’t “carry” around the house. Over the years I’ve acquired a number of firearms. I’m never out of reach of one at home. Same for my wife (for a variety of reasons she shoots different guns from what I do).

    I’m regularly review my “what if’s.” Even a bad plan, carried out, is better than no plan.

  5. Very good post Munchkin. Despite what Mikey says, I am very glad to see point number 2 included. Most people never even begin to consider the psychological aspects and aftermath of having to use deadly force as it’s not something you can train for. But, it’s definitely something anyone who has a weapon for self defense needs to keep in the back of their mind at all times.

  6. Good advice, although #2 is a bit “rambo” for me. That being said, my wife and I both have level 3 vests next to our respective sides of the bed, there is a shotgun with 9 rounds loaded on safe in a rack next to her side and a glock 22 with 23 rounds under my pillow. We have 3 rottweilers, motion lights and a perimeter fence. We also have 2 alarm systems, 1 monitored. Why, because we were burglarized 3 weeks after we bought the house, while I was cleaning my .45 in the house while they robbed my shop of all my tools, while carrying around my machetes. If I had gone out there while they were cleaning me out they would have made me sushi with those blades. Now, I clear the house when there is a “bump in the night” (good practice) and don’t mow the lawn without a pistol on my hip. Nuts, I am not. Had a guy come at me with a straight razor a few years ago, found burglary tools on the outside of the fence as the rotties were playing with a tennis shoe, met 4 teenagers hiding outside my fence in the bushes with 3 friends and our weapons, and just lased a would be scumbag about 2 months ago who was trying to figure out how to get over my fence. I waited for 7-8 minutes before I got bored because he couldn’t get over the barbed wire. He saw the laser on my pistol go across his eyes and decided to leave. We live in a meth area and I have very nice things. I put up a cedar fence around the house and the curiosity got the better of a few scumbags. The attempts here have gotten far fewer over the years as word gets out, with that attempt 2 months ago being the first in over a year. I’m making lemonade from lemons here because these jerks keep me in condition yellow at a minimum, and I figure it’s good practice for the SHTF when it happens. I won’t move because I like it here, and the jerks would win if I left.

    molon labe!

  7. Thanks for the thought provoking post on home security. I’m slowly working on a complete plan and posts like this help to flesh it out.

  8. Having serve in Nam and retiring in 92, I carry a gun both in the military and as a federal officer retiring in 2006. Having said that how many people actually think of defending their home and families. How would you go about it. What would you do Mike if one of your family member is being abuse. Are you prepared to take another person or persons life. No I don’t think he’s a nut. No I don’t carry a gun at all times, but trust me I’m prepared to take an intruder’s life.


    • Don’t take the disrespectful lean about military service personally or think it is the norm on this site. There are only a few who don’t seem to think risking your skin for a reason is merit worthy. Good post with the brutal truth included. Maybe we should say that they pop open like magical pinatas and candy falls out! Later, rainbows and unicorns magically shoot out of their asses and Mr. Rogers drops by to say it’s all ok.

    • In a loose quotation of Randy Marsh at a peace rally met with veterans: “You f$gs and pu&&ies can bitch and moan all day because the men of this country are keeping it safe. And you men that keep it safe need these f&gs and pu&&sies to keep you from going too far.”

    • Thanks, Munchkin. I didn’t mean to offend. What I really loved was that Legion7 said you were a bit “Rambo” in point number 2 and then went on in a Rambo vein himself.

      He did bring up a pretty good point though. The description of his neighborhood and how often “they” try to break in, makes me think he really needs those precautions. Do the rest of you, though? Most of you are in the meteorite-striking category yet you like to scare each other with justifications for incredibly excessive precautions. This is borne out by the almost total lack of first-hand DGU stories we read. Naturally, you’re not fessing up when you have some guns stolen or when you lend one to brother-in-law and he fucks up with it.

      Guns are doing more harm than good, even among you guys.

      • 1991-3 men tried to pry my door open after midnight. 2005-a group of drug dealers, all related to one another, plotted to kill me and my immediate family in a home invasion. Later, a rifle bullet skipped off my hood as I drove home one morning after work.

        • Just yesterday we had to call the police because there was man in a car in our backyard telling everyone at a church fundraiser that he was going to find and kill everyone on the street. The police came, took some reports from on scene witnesses and the guy got to drive away after they took his plate – just in case, they said. Great work! I don’t need a gun. I can always call the police after he has done some harm! Silly me!

      • You have no hard evidence to back that up. Besides, we have the right to keep and bear arms. If we f up and cause an innocent person harm, we have to pay the price. And that’s exactly how it should be.

    • I’d like to see more posts from Munckin because he’s interesting and makes some excellent points. I’ll even admit that I sometimes agree with Mikeb, and he does shake things up a bit with his posts.

  10. Do you want to? No. Will you? You will if you see what these people do to their victims, before they kill them.

    There is no talking or bargaining or thoughts of “maybe he/they will let me/us go”, only breath control and trigger control and massive aggression on your part or you/yours won’t survive.

  11. As for point 2, my wife’s view point is that the alternative is not worth chancing. All those thing can clean up. She well knows what a bullet can do since she has been hunting with me and has helped me process many animals.

    I taught her to shoot 19 years ago after two attempted breakins at our house while I was gone TDY for the Army. She is a good shot and enjoys going to the range and I have no doubt that she can repel boarders if something happens while I’m away.

    No alarm system yet but we do have two very yard and house protective Scotties. Once we get into our own house it will be hardened and alarms installed.

    There is no less than lethal. A couple of reasons for this, one TX is a castle doctrine state and two is I don’t want it available so someone can second guess my use of deadly force should it become necessary. People like MikeB would be asking why didn’t you just pepper spray the guy that broke into your house while you were home instead of shooting him. All that being said, if I’m awake I’m armed.

    All in all it was a good interesting post from Munchkin.

  12. I am not %100 sure on this but I do believe that the use of force matriz is no longer being used. I am a FDOC employee and if I am not mistaken they quite using this a couple of years ago.

  13. I think this is a great and interesting article. From a very young age my father always told me to remember one thing: Protect yourself and your family first, worry about the law later. You won’t have a chance to defend yourself in a courtroom if you fail to defend yourself when your home is being invaded and your family gets desecrated by lunatics and dope fiends.

    I hope that no one ever tries to break into my home. I am less concerned with my possessions but am dead serious about my family. The part of the article about knowing possible scenarios of how a B&E might go down is definitely something to think about, and I have thought about it and practiced with an unloaded gun many times.

    I know this might sound funny, but in addition to DC alarms as another person posted, I have a 14lb Shih-tzu/Yorkie mix that is the best guard dog I have ever had. She sleeps on the bed with my wife and I and if someone walks across the street when we are in bed she can sense them and will start with a low growl to a full on bark, depending on how close they get to the house. I know she won’t be able to do much to actually protect us but she let’s me know when it’s time to grab the Browning Hi-Power from the nightstand or the Mossberg 500 12-gauge from under the bed.

      • Wow, Fu. Ditto on the family vs possessions. Substitute the Hi-Power for a Springfield and the Mossberg 500 for a 930 and you live in my house… minus the dog and add a nervous to strangers cat. He is my alarm. If he is on the bed, all is well. If he is at the door when we get home, all is well. If he is nowhere to be found then someone has been around. Works great.

        • I would rather have your Springfield. I need to get a .45 for home defense. But I have had the Browning for almost 20 years and love that thing.

  14. good reading i skipped the alarm have 1 pit bull and 1 half pit bull and half German Sheppard and on e 45 auto,ak74 and moss berg 12 that should hold any one from coning in no

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