Defending Your Home
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Home invasion is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.When someone breaks into your home the first thing you should do is dial 911 and leave the phone open.

Generally speaking, it is better to fort up and let the bad guys come to you than to go looking for them. This isn't going to be true in all home-defense cases, but it is usually better to assume a defensive position, especially when outnumbered. Fighting from a good defensive position can give you as much as a five-to-one advantage over an attacker—in other words, it could take up to five attackers to succeed against one well-prepared defender. If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to build a fortified home, one thing you can do is build a safe room where you can gather the family, secure yourselves and wait out the attack while communicating your need for help.

What should we be doing if we don't have the ability to construct a fortress and purchase all the necessary security systems, gear and guns? Starting from the outside and working in, we should do the best we can to make it hard for an intruder to gain entry. I once asked a fellow instructor, a SWAT breacher, if there was any way I could keep him from breaking into my home and he replied, "Not a chance." So, unless you want to live in a castle—literally—all you can do is slow down the bad guys and force them to create enough of a ruckus to alert you and give you time to implement your plan.

Use good quality locks, strike plates and hinges, and, by all means, keep the doors locked any time you are at home—especially when sleeping. Having a dog inside the house can be invaluable. It need not be an attack dog, its job is to bark and sound the alarm. Perhaps the sound will scare off the intruders, but at least it will give you the moments you need to come to your senses, realize you have a problem, arm yourself and prepare to defend your family.

Jeff Cooper once wrote, "If your pistol is not within reach as you are reading this, you haven't learned the lessons we teach at Gunsite"—very good advice, indeed. When the door comes crashing in, it is a little late to be looking for your pistol or trying to unlock a gun safe. If you don't want to have a pistol on your person at all times, you should keep one handy as you move about in the home. How you handle this depends a lot on the age, maturity and training of family members. Make them aware, get them trained and then make a reasonable decision on the disposition of your firearms.

Assuming the master bedroom is going to be your safe room, the first thing you want to do for home defense is install a solid door and some good locks and hinges. Most interior doors in the average home are not meant for keeping anyone out; they are designed simply for privacy. Get a solid bedroom door. If you have a hallway leading to your bedroom(s), you might consider the idea of installing a wrought iron security gate in the hallway. The gate can be locked at night and the dog or cat can easily pass through it while intruders are going to be hard-pressed to get to you.

In the bedroom, you are going to want to secure one or more firearms. These can be hidden, in a safe or in plain view—you're going to have to determine how to do this based upon your location, family, lifestyle and perceived threat. Although you are sure to have a telephone extension in the bedroom, this is easily disabled by anyone in another part of the house by simply taking another phone off the hook. For this reason, you want to leave a cell phone in the bedroom, or make sure you take one to bed with you.

Having several powerful flashlights is another good idea for home defense, as well as having weaponlights installed on one or more of your bedroom firearms. Stashing a good set of amplified electronic hearing protection in the bedroom is also a great idea. Wearing them, you can hear bad guys skulking about and if forced to shoot, your ears will thank you. If you have never experienced shooting, say, a .223 Rem. carbine indoors without hearing protection, trust me, you don't want to.