Let’s talk about personal responsibility. Anytime you hear the phrase “someone ought to . . . ” perhaps that someone should be you. Home defense and self-defense are always at the center of gun-related issues because even the most adamant anti-gun activists would have a difficult time telling us not to protect ourselves, family, and guests under our own roofs.
According to FBI statistics a burglary occurs four times every minute in the U.S. Another fact is, 97% of invasions happen when nobody’s home, and burglaries overall are dropping. That’s a good thing. Overall—even with active shooters and terrorists—the United States remains one the the safest countries to live in. We are not paranoid alarmists praying for a vengeful apocalypse to rain down Mad Max-style shit on our block so we’re justified in going ahead and playing Rambo. But what about the chance that violence finds you? Three percent of the time when someone breaks into your home, you ARE there. The issue is when there’s no one around to do anything but yourself, and whether or not you can confidently answer the self-asked question, “What are you going to do?”
Any man worth his salt not only wants to protect his home, but is also reasonably confident in his ability protect his home. The truth is you have an OBLIGATION to protect your home. I can’t imagine a more guttural caveman instinct than someone coming to do their worst to your family and then wanting to turn in a combination of Brock Lesnar and Charles Bronson to show them they came to the wrong house. There two important questions to ask yourself. First: Do I have a plan? And second: Is my plan worth a damn? It made me think about my plan and how little I knew about the best tactics to defend my home in case any angry Bernie Sanders supporters want to “redistribute” my TV at four in the morning.
So I decided to ask a friend of mine who knows more about tactics and defense than myself. Protecting his anonymity, “Michael Scott” is a senior-enlisted active duty member of the U.S. Military with 20 years of law enforcement and military special operations experience, tactical firearms training, and force protection experience. In other words, this guy ain’t talkin’ shit. And he sure as hell knows how to protect himself and others in an emergency situation. I had him go over some points on defense if the worst should happen . . .
Proud Boy Magazine: As a tactical expert, what mistakes would you think people without training would make in home defense?
Michael Scott: Some of the things I believe someone who is not trained in any type of tactics might overlook in home defense is having a plan. Thinking about all of the possible scenarios that could happen and having some sort of idea of what they would do. Another is not making their firearm accessible. Having it in a safe with a cable run through the barrel and locked and the ammo unloaded from the magazine is not ideal for defense because of how long it will take you to get that firearm operational. There is a balance between accessibility and safety. Another is not having a light source with their weapon. Even if you do not have a weapon you should have some type of high-output flashlight. Shining a flashlight in the eyes of a would-be assailant has been shown to diffuse situations. Some lights have strobe effects that can disorient attackers.
If you believe someone has broken into your house what’s the first thing you should do?
If someone breaks into your house the first thing you should do is alert law enforcement. No matter how much training or experience you think you have.
Are bats or knives a good home defense weapon?
Bats and knives: I will put it simply, have you ever been trained to fight with a bat or a knife? Introducing a knife to a situation which requires close quarters fighting, where you could be potentially become overpowered, and have your knife used against you, is not a good idea. As a last resort I suppose it is better than nothing however don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
What is the best choice of firearm?
One thing that we can all agree on is that you should have some type of firearm, because let’s face it; firearms have become the swords of the modern era. A man cannot defend his castle with a shovel. Everyone has their preference and “experts” will tell you what you should get or what is better. I am going to give you some food for thought because not every shooter is the same and not every home is the same layout. You should get a firearm that works for you and that you can safely and effectively employ. Whatever decision you make, it should be an informed decision.
Should you purchase a rifle, shotgun or handgun? When it doubt, choose all three! However since price is usually a factor, you must consider the following: The rifle of choice for home defense is typically the AR-15, which shoots a .223 round. This round is a high-velocity round and depending on the type of ammo you use, shooting through your target is a very real problem. You should assess the threat angles in your house so that if someone is standing in your doorway and a round potentially goes through them, what is on the other side? It could be your neighbors, your child’s room, a pet.
Which firearm would you recommend for someone unfamiliar with guns?
Shotguns are great close range weapons and offer a greater forgiveness as far as accuracy goes. The racking of a round is an audible warning to any would be intruder given you are alerted they are in the house potentially scaring them away. Over-penetration is also not as probable given the proper choice of load.How do you feel about using a handgun?
Handguns have pros and cons depending on whether you choose a revolver or a semi-automatic handgun. Handguns require a greater degree of accuracy than a shoulder-fired weapon but can be better in close quarters or small dwellings. Revolvers are less likely to malfunction but are slower to reload and limited in ammo capacity. Semi-autos typically have a light attachment point whereas revolvers do not.
Where is the best place to be?
This cannot be simply answered because every house is different. What you should do is figure out the safest place in YOUR home. You should have more than one entry and exit from that room so you cannot become trapped. You should have some form of communication with the outside world from that space. If you are in your “safe room” and someone is taking your TV downstairs it is best to wait and defend that space until law enforcement arrives. Most people do not have the training to clear their house and do you want to shoot a potentially unarmed intruder over a TV? No matter what happens if you discharge your firearm in self-defense you are going to be defending those actions in court so you must be wise in your decisions. Whatever room you choose make sure you are aware of threat angles.
If you have other people in the house (guests, children, roommates, etc.) where should they be and what do they do?
If you have other people in your house you should revert back to your plan. Do your children have a planned hiding spot that only you know where that is? It might be best to have everyone gather in your “safe room.” This will all depend on the size of your dwelling and the intentions and movements of the attacker. A plan is better than no plan at all. I have a friend whose children have a designated hiding spot and will only emerge if given a pass code from the mother or father. The important thing is if you have an intruder you do not want guests wandering around the house trying to see what is going on because than you have to distinguish, potentially in the dark, from a guest or an attacker.
How do you know when to pull the trigger?
This is difficult to answer and is not so black-and-white. You must know the laws for the state in which you live. Many laws protect you as the homeowner if you act in self-defense. I always revert to my training in regards to use of force. If a person intends me harm, has a weapon or the opportunity to deliver that harm, and shows any actions declaring so, I will defend myself.
Under what circumstance would you advise submission to the invaders?
Never. It is your home and your family and your duty to protect them. There is no way to know if the person invading your home is a desperate thief just trying to get a few things to pawn or a psychopathic killer intending on hurting your family. Notify law enforcement and defend yourself and your family. Material possessions can be replaced but your life can not.
What is the best advice you can give to the average person who wants to protect their home?
The important things to remember are to have a plan, practice retrieving your firearm from where you store and lock it (check your state and local laws), getting that firearm into condition 0 (ready to fire), and ensuring you are comfortable with the manipulation of that weapon. Know that most home invasions occur at night so you should have a light source on or near your weapon. You should also practice clearing malfunctions with your weapons because when it goes “click” at 3:00AM and you are half-asleep in your underwear, you need to know what to do. Practicing on a range is fine but it represents optimal conditions. Shooting under stress in low light with no hearing or eye protection on (unless you sleep with ear muffs on) is a whole different story. Before doing anything make sure you or someone alerts law enforcement as it is better to have backup. You have the home field advantage and should use that to your advantage by being prepared!
The good news is the overwhelming majority of us will never be in a deadly scenario. Being victimized in your home, in particular, is extremely rare and unusual. An active shooter in public or a terrorist attack is more likely, but also rare. Something inside of us—something primal—wants to know how to defend the nest. Prepare yourself, research and familiarize yourself with your weapons and surroundings, and work out a plan with people in the house. Check with your local law enforcement about your local laws concerning firearms and self-defense. Many states have strict and unreasonable self defense laws, if you live in one of these places contact your representation at HOUSE.GOV and ask, “Why?” A man’s home is his castle—and you have an obligation it keep it safe.
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