by Adam Celaya
Even kindergartners are taught what to do in a fire, but as adults how much thought have we given to the possibility of an armed intruder?
of the most frightening things I could ever think about having to do
firing a weapon in the same house where my children were
sleeping. But as
frightening as that possibility is, it is something any
of us could be faced with. Bottom line---to a criminal, breaking into
our homes is just an elaborate shopping spree. Of course, in the dark
itís hard to tell the difference between a killer and a thief. Are they
there for your VCR, or something else?
My wife has been known to roll her eyes when I walk her through emergency defensive plans or explain a change. Of course, if there were a fire in the house, even my five-year-old knows to get out of the house and meet at the mailbox. Our world being what it is, the odds of your being burglarized are actually greater than any threat of fire. Everyone has a smoke alarm in their house, so why shouldnít we also have some type of defensive plan worked out in advance.
The biggest factors to a home defense plan are communication, architecture, access to weapons, and the number of residents living in and around your home or apartment.
Most importantly (and you have all heard
this before from half a dozen gun-writers) you have to have a phone,
preferably a cordless model, in your bedroom. Just as a radio is a
lifeline, so is the phone. Sure, a smart criminal can cut
the lines, but the really smart ones stay away when youíre home.
Optimally, this is where one spouse would man the phone while the other
maintains armed security. I would also provide a second
weapon for your spouse.
I would also provide a second weapon for your spouse.
The layout of your home can be the difference between your being able to stay put in a bedroom or having to expose yourself in order to defend others in neighboring rooms. I recently moved from a home where the bedrooms were clustered at the end of the hall. If I were to take up a position at the bedroom door to determine if I was indeed being burglarized, my avenue of fire would be centered on one of the childrenís rooms. In addition, I would have almost no warning of an approaching burglar. On the other hand, the new house has a linear type hallway with the master bedroom at the far end. From my doorway I would be able to safely cover the entire hallway and monitor traffic around the other doorways. Different floor plans require different planning. One solution to best suit either house design is to position nightlights to cast an intruderís shadow or silhouette them when they enter your defensive corridor.
Without a weapon there is no defense, only easy pickings for whatever predator wandered into your house. However, keeping loaded guns around presents a double-edged sword. Your primary concern here is to make the weapons readily available to you but inaccessible to both children and burglars.
Trigger locking devices, bedside safes, stash compartments and hidden guns are all part of a good defensive plan. Personally my belief is that any modern handgun that is unloaded and put away is just not earning its keep. Of my guns, half are collectable, the others shooters. Most of the latter group are located throughout the house in strategic positions. On high shelves, in the car, on book cases, and even one in our fallback position. I knew one gun collector who had a wall covered with old guns. Smack in the middle of them all was a loaded 1860 Army replica. Like the purloined letter, he concealed a defensive weapon in plain sight..
I realize that this may seem a little paranoid to some, but for me itís somewhat of a family tradition having been raised in a DEA family. As it was, one of my childhood memories was of a family friend from another government agency was kidnapped. When they found him a year later, his remains were so badly damaged that he had to be identified by his teeth and a Skillcraft US Government pen. Another friend of my fatherís that was kidnapped and tortured, Kiki Camarena, received slightly more press. As children we were never taught to treat all guns as if loaded, in our house they WERE loaded. This subtle point has been emphasized by Jeff Cooper for a number of years.
with you makes a lot of difference. In the case of my parents who live by
themselves in an extremely remote area, their emergency plan has no
inclusion for police, neighbors, or children (or witnesses for that
matter). Because of this, they load their bedroom guns with full-house
loads. At the other end of the spectrum, I can count on my kids to wake up
screaming as soon as the first rounds go off Children can be expected to
leave their beds and run crying to Mommy or Daddy. Because of this, I
would be absolutely intent on being as opportunistic as possible in taking
a shot. Allowing an intruder to draw me into a protracted gunfight would
be the last thing I
Everybody seems to have a different opinion on this, but were I to use a shotgun, I would prefer a twelve gauge loaded with number six shot if I lived in the city. Most pros prefer number four, but I have found six to be devastating at ranges under ten yards, and dispersing by fifteen yards. These dimensions best suit most of the houses in which I have lived. Actually, were I to choose an optimum home defense gun I would tend to strongly lean towards a H&K USP45 with tritium sights, a Tac-Light, and loaded with Glaser Blue Tip safety slugs. While it might be slightly bulky, as a house gun it would spend most of its life on a shelf where weight and volume are irrelevant.
Lastly, get a dog. It does not have to be a two hundred pound Rottweiler that resembles your mother-in-law, just something that barks. Having known a few burglars, several have told me that they just move on to the next house once they hear barking. The idea stands to reason once you realize that burglars are people who have no problem with cashing in on things that you spent years to pay for. These are people who want to work one night of the week and party the other six. Most will take the path of least resistance. Anything that makes them go out of their way, dog, obvious alarm system, motion-sensitive lights, will deter the largest percentage of criminals. The mere presence of these factors can be advantageous to you both as a deterrent, and as mitigating circumstances in any civil or criminal proceedings that follow a justified shooting. Your ability to show that despite all of these elements, the intruder continued his criminal course of action, could prove to a grand jury that you went that extra mile to avoid an armed confrontation.