WRITTEN BY CHAD MCBROOM
We all experience the fear of having someone break into our home and steal our personal belongings. It is one of the greatest invasions of privacy one can possibly experience, but a burglary will only leave you angry and frustrated. On the other hand, a break-in that happens when you’re at home could place you and your family in grave danger. Creating a home defense strategy with your family should never be an afterthought. You need a well-thought-out plan of action if you hope to be successful. Here are a few tips to prepare you and your family for such an event.
CHOOSE A HOME DEFENSE WEAPON
When it comes to weapon selection, every gun shop salesman will be happy to give you their opinion on what gun you should buy. Depending on their experience, they may offer sound advice, or they might just provide you with the latest “bubba science.” Every weapon has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to have a clear understanding of your personal and family needs.
Handguns are great. They are compact, easy to stow, and extremely maneuverable; however, a handgun might not be your best choice for a primary home defense weapon. If you plan on making your home defense weapon accessible to your spouse and/or children, then you should consider that a handgun is more difficult to use in the hands of an novice shooter. A shoulder-fired weapon is much more forgiving given its longer platform. Adding a red-dot sight makes a long-arm even more user friendly.
Over-penetration should be a primary concern when talking about shooting inside your home. Drywall makes good concealment but does absolutely nothing to stop a high-velocity projectile. In fact, about the only thing drywall is good for is converting hollow points into ball ammo by filling the expansion cavity of the bullet.
Over the past decade or so, most SWAT teams have begun using 5.56/.223-chambered weapons for building entry and clearing due to the round’s proven effectiveness. The light, fast-moving 5.56/.223 projectile will often fragment when striking a barrier, reducing the risk of over-penetration. Factor in a 30-round magazine capacity and minimal recoil and you have an excellent home defense weapon.
You can’t shoot what you can’t identify, so a weapon-mounted light is also a necessity. Besides being able to navigate in the dark and identify threats, a bright light can temporarily blind your intruder, giving you the upper hand.
STAGE YOUR WEAPON
A home defense weapon does you absolutely no good if it’s locked in a safe downstairs in the garage. It needs to be readily accessible when you hear the ominous sound of glass breaking or the front door being kicked open. Shoving a carbine under the bed in a locked case might keep your kids from getting into it; but accessing it requires time-consuming, fine motor function- if you can even find the keys under stress. A more efficient, hidden-in-plain-sight solution is ideal.
Keep your weapon fully loaded with a couple of spare magazines stowed alongside. These are less for ammo depletion than they are for malfunctions. Murphy’s Law might just cause your magazines to stop feeding properly at the worst possible time. It is important to have a couple on standby in case the one in your gun decides to mess the sheets.
DEVELOP A FAMILY ACTION PLAN
Make sure your family members know what to do when the bad guys come knocking. Establish a rally point where everyone knows to go. If everyone is together in one location, then stray rounds and over-penetration become less of a concern. Ideally, you should have everyone head to the place that offers the most protection in terms of cover, concealment, barriers, and firepower. The master bedroom is a good starting point, since that’s likely where you and/or your spouse will be grabbing your weapon(s).
As long as your family is all together and accounted for, then the ideal thing to do is take up a defensive posture, call 911, and wait. There is no need to go looking for bad guys in your house, unless you have family members that have not been accounted for. If possible, establish an escape route that will let you and your family leave the house without confronting the threat.
Be prepared to render first aid to yourself or an injured family member. Familiarize yourself with basic trauma management techniques like hemorrhage control and treating for shock. Having a couple of tourniquets, pressure dressing, and some occlusive dressings (for chest wounds) on hand will go a long way, but more importantly, make sure everyone knows how to use them.
This is the hardest tip to follow, but it is the one most likely to ensure success. Do an occasional dry run so that everyone knows what to do. It doesn’t need to be a crazy dress rehearsal- just a quick run through to remind everyone what they should do and where they should go if someone tries to break in. Pull out the tourniquets once in a while and have the kids practice putting them on you. You can turn it into a game by timing them to see who can do it the fastest. They’ll have fun doing it and you’ll rest easy knowing you have taught them valuable life-saving skills.
We all hope we never have to face the day when the wolf comes knocking on our door, but hope is not a strategy. We must be prepared to fight the wolf, both physically and mentally. This means preparing ourselves through training, preparing our homes through proper defensive strategy, and preparing our family members through discussion and rehearsal. Remember, when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chad McBroom is a law enforcement officer with over 20 years of service, and more than 18 years as a member of a tactical unit. He has spent over 30 years studying and researching various combative systems. Chad is the owner of Comprehensive Fighting Systems, a company that offers practical training in armed and unarmed combatives. Follow him on Instagram @cfs_combat
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