The reality of the world we live in is that you are more likely to attacked in your own home than you are in a public environment. Because of this it is incumbent on the well prepared home owner to have at least a basic plan for home defense.
There are many things a home owner can do to mitigate an invasion before they happen. There are the obvious things such as locks, closed circuit television cameras and access controls systems. Another thing that can be done is to implement Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles. Things like planting of thorny shrubs under windows to discourage intruders or trimming trees to afford betters fields of view from inside the residence. However the context of this article will be some of the basic consideration in using handguns for home defense.
The individual domestic situation in each home and local laws will determine the method of storage for the handgun used for home defense.
Storage options must satisfy these three criteria
- Secure the handgun from unauthorized access
- The handgun must be accessible
- The handgun must be in the proper condition when it is needed.
Your handgun can be stored in several configurations.
- Unsecured- The handgun is stored openly such as on a nightstand or counter
- Hidden and Unsecured- The handgun can be hidden in a drawer, book or some other unlocked but hidden storage area.
- Secured- The handgun is stored in a quick access safe. This method is the most efficient and recommended.
The handgun can be stored in a variety of conditions
- Unloaded- A loaded magazine is available but not inserted into the handgun. This condition is the safest but is the least efficient due to the complex motor skills needed to load the weapon during a home invasion.
- Loaded- A loaded magazine is inserted into the handgun but no round is in the chamber. The negligent discharge risk is lower in this condition but the need to chamber a round will effect efficiency.
- Chambered-A loaded magazine is inserted into the handgun and a round is chambered. This is the most efficient however the risk for a negligent discharge while reaching into the quick access safe is present. This risk can be mitigated by storing the handgun in a holster inside the safe.
Due to the propensity for the grasp reflex to be triggered while under stress and the subsequent possibility of a negligent discharge while reaching for the handgun the recommended condition to store your home defense handgun is in the loaded condition or chambered and holstered in a quick access safe.
When formulating a home defense plan you should apply these Five Fundamental Principles in the context of your individual circumstances.
- Evade or Escape-Individuals should create distance and minimize exposure to the threat. This fundamental includes marshalling family members or moving to rally/barricade points. Empowering family members to evade individually is important.
- Arm- Arm yourself as early as possible. Individuals should have the tools to defend themselves or their family as early as possible if needed.
- Barricade- Your preplanned barricade point should be the safest place possible. Your barricade point should be 90 degrees off any point of entry. You should be greater than two arm’s length from the point of entry in a position that will allow you to shoot from full extension if needed. If it is necessary to move, move with a purpose without exposing your handgun.
- Contact- Call 911. When calling 911 stay on the line. Give your location. Give your location within the structure. Tell what is going on. Tell who is involved. ID yourself and any family members (give a description) and that you are armed. ID the assailant (give a description if possible).
- Counter- Respond a necessary to a lethal threat.
The aftermath of a home invasion will be chaotic. Initially you may be detained or even arrested. It is important that you communicate to investigating officers the evidence of a threat, any evidence of injuries, damage to the home and any prior relationship with the assailant. Be the victim.
Finally practice your plan and make sure all members of the household are fully involved. Recognition is the tool of the expert. You can only recognize something if you have been previously exposed to it. Through frequent and realistic training you can use the power of recognition to respond more efficiently during a home invasion.
Concepts and principles in this article courtesy of I.C.E Training Company, Rob Pincus, and the Defensive Firearms Coaches Course.