The Ultimate Guide to Home Defense
The single most concern we hear from our students is the ability to protect and defend their homes. Over the last few years, with the increase in property and violent crime, that concern has reached its peak.
To help people prepare for their homes and themselves, we have decided to put together a comprehensive guide to home defense. This guide will cover: understanding the current state of affairs, hardening the outside and inside of your home, the tools, the tactics, and most importantly, the training. This doctrine comes from the Israeli concept of rings of security.
The first step to home defense is getting intel. Like a soldier going on an operation, you must know what you may be facing and what you will need as a result. Understanding the current crime patterns and statistics in your area will let you know the level of preparation you will need.
- Are home invasions with fake utility workers common?
- Are people breaking in garage doors?
- Are there multiple or single attackers?
- Are the bad guys usually armed?
- What times of the day are the break-ins most likely to happen?
Hardening the outside of your home:
Once you have gathered your intel it is time to get to work on hardening the outside of your home. This includes both technological and physical tools.
Start with the home-defense basics, make sure to have deadbolts, hardened door frames, and even bars on your windows depending on the level of crime in your neighborhood.
Understand what type of fence you have (if you live in a private home) if any and how much it will work in slowing down or stopping someone. In most cases, fences are no more than decorations to mark your property line.
Motion-activated lights as well as alarm-activating motion censors may be a good idea if you don’t have good lighting around your home.
Smart cameras that notify you of movement outside also make a great deterrence. They may also be able to let you see the level of potential threat approaching. Most of these systems can be controlled and monitored directly on your phone.
Doorbell cameras in particular have become extremely useful in deterring crime and catching thieves red-handed. They can be great at identifying a threat as well as making it seem as though someone is home due to their two-way communication capabilities.
Hardening the inside of your home:
Much like the outside your home can be hardened so can the inside. This also includes technological as well as physical tools.
First and foremost a good quality hard-wired alarm system should be the starting point. This will include glass break sensors, motion sensors, as well as other non-crime related capabilities like fire detection. The alarm should be armed “stay” while you are at home and “away” when you leave. These features will usually let you know via the arming panel as well as a dedicated app if there was some type of break-in or movement inside the home. Essentially the first line of defense inside.
Generally we recommend having a few indoor cameras for two main reasons:
- If for whatever reason the outside cameras did not work, the inside cameras will let you know where someone is in your home as well as if they are armed.
- Creates a deterrent for petty theft when you have trades people or cleaning services in your home.
Motion activated lights in key entry ways inside can also be a great tool for identifying potential intruders.
Dogs are amazing, however, some dogs may be completely useless in defending you. Know what your dog is capable of and how he or she will react to an aggressive stranger. Some dogs look mean but will be nice to any human they see. Others may bark like crazy but are too small to do anything. If you got a dog for protective reasons make sure to get your dog trained by professionals!
Home Defense Tools:
Depending on what jurisdiction you live in, you will have very pro-self-defense or very pro-criminal laws. For instance, in most of Europe, you cannot use deadly force if someone breaks in (or own a gun), but in most states in the US, you can. Know the laws and what you can do. Generally, we believe that a gun is the best bet due to its equalizing ability as well as the relative ease of use.
Usually much easier to stash and store (in a stop box for example) securely as well as easier to manoeuvre around. However, handguns are generally harder to shoot and require a lot of practice to become proficient. Additionally, they have lower ammunition carrying capacity, less range (if you live in more rural areas) and less stopping power than a rifle.
Rifles are very easy to shoot, and can have very high ammunition capacity (especially important with multiple attackers), but are hard to store in a secure while being quickly accessible. In most cases, especially with how homes are built in the US, over-penetration can be a very big problem.
Shotguns can be great for putting a massive amount of projectiles in one area at once but also be very problematic if you need to make a pinpoint shot. Generally, they are also somewhat limited in capacity. With at most being able to carry 16 shells like the IWI TS12. It will be extremely important to pattern the shotgun and see what type of spread you will get with different types of ammunition and chokes.
Regardless of what type of ammo you will use, we highly recommend testing it on a mockup of the type of walls you have in your house. This will allow you to see how it performs.
- Does it over-penetrate?
- Does it tumble after two layers of sheetrock?
- Does it ricochet on stone? Etc.
This will also help us establish fields of fire inside and outside our home where we will have a better back stop.
Other home-defense weapons: Knives, machetes, batons, baseball bats
Blades can be great defensive tools with the right training however they require you to be extremely close. This will not be great if the attacker is armed with a firearm.
Blunt-force objects like batons, baseball bats, and ASPS are great at bringing a lot of blunt-force trauma to your opponent. They can also be used as distancing tools to push or shove someone away. Again, if the intruder is armed with a firearm or there are multiple intruders a blunt object will not be great.
Shooting indoors without hearing protection can be a very jarring experience! For that reason we recommend having a suppressor at the very least on your rifle. This will greatly reduce the potential for hearing loss as well as the muzzle flash of your gun.
If you can find effective subsonic ammo, even better.
One thing to keep in mind when shooting indoors, regardless of if you will be suppressed or not, be ready for a lot of smoke to build up. Thus obstructing your vision and causing the smoke alarm to go off.
Most crime happens in the dark.
You must be able to identify your threats. A quality handheld light is extremely important in being able to identify potential threats outside and inside the home without having to point your gun at that threat.
A good light will also help control potential threats by simply blinding them similar to when the police turn on their lights when they pull someone over. For more training on light use visit our low-light courses.
A weapon mounted light can make your life a lot simpler if the gun had already come out. Shooting with a weapon mounted light (WML) is generally much easier than shooting with a handheld light.
If all of layers of security have failed we must understand the tactics that go into defending once’s home. Remember, you are not Rambo so a very cautions approach must be taken.
If you are home alone and you can simply escape out of a window or back door; that will be the safest approach. No item in your home is worth dying for.
If there is no escape, it will be best to take a defensive position that is well concealed from your threat. Preferable from the inside of the room and in the dark. Essentially to ambush your attacker.
Sometimes we won’t have an option but to rapidly clear our home as we may have our children between us and the intruder. This is where good room-clearing techniques will come in handy. To learn more about room-clearing, click here.
If you live with other people whether it be your family or roommates it is important to discuss with them as well as train them on the various aspects mentioned in this article.
Besides that box of bandaids you have in your medical drawer, you should also have a simple bleeding control kit constraining the following:
- At least two quality tourniquets
- Quick clot/ gauze
- Israeli Bandage
- Chest seals
Of course make sure to know how to use each item. For upcoming med courses click here.
The legal and post invasion/attack side:
Once again, it is imperative to know the laws in your area as they pertain to self-defense and home defense. Regardless, after stopping an attack you should perform the following steps.
- Make sure the rest of the home is cleared and secured if possible. (You may just be locked in one room of the house)
- If there was any physical alterations make sure to do a blood sweep and check for potential injuries.
- Call emergency services or ask a family member to do so while you are providing aid.
- Call your attorney and don’t talk to anyone or say anything. (LINK TO TEXAS LAW SHIELD for our discount code)
- Depending on what transpired you and your family may also want to seek out phycological help.
Most of your home defense preparation will be in the preventive realm; hardening outside and inside of your home. The last bit if all else has failed will be to fight!