Safety and Training

Why You Might Need Multiple Home Defense Plans

Two people with dark ski masks breaking into a home through the sliding glass door.

If you’re like me, on your nightstand you have a gun in a rapid access safe and at least one flashlight next to it. You will also have developed and practiced a home defense plan with your family so that your actions are second nature should you ever have a home invasion. But, for some people, this still may not be enough.

Two people with dark ski masks breaking into a home through the sliding glass door.
How would you respond if more than one person in your home broke into your home?

My family falls into the category of people that need to do more in order to be truly prepared if intruders ever entered our home. This is because my business requires me to travel extensively, which in turn means my wife and three young children are often home alone. In order to be as prepared as possible, my family has to have two home defense plans, not just one.

Our main home defense plan, or Plan 1, applies when both my wife and I are at home. At the sound of breaking glass or the alarm going off, I will jump out of bed, grab my flashlight and gun, and go immediately to the top of our stairs to create a choke point. At the same time my wife will jump out of bed, grab her flashlight, gun, and cell phone, and then proceed to gather our three children into our designated safe room and call 911.

If necessary, I will proceed to clear the house while my wife keeps our children safe in the designated room. Should anyone get past me, she is prepared to defend herself and our children. She and our children won’t leave the room until the police or I tell her it is safe to do so.

Now, because I travel so much, we also have to have a Plan 2. This plan applies when one of us is out of town; so only one of us is home with our children (usually my wife.) Should a home invasion occur at such a time, the plan changes quite drastically for her.

You see, she now has to be choke point, 911 caller, and children gatherer all at the same time. This is complicated further by the fact that our children’s rooms are not all on the same side of the house. From the top of the stairs we have children’s rooms to both the left and right.

So, with these considerations in mind, our Plan 2 looks like this: My wife immediately jumps out of bed, grabs her flashlight, gun and cell phone and then establishes a choke point at the top of the stairs. She will give a voice command to her cell phone to call police and keep the phone on speaker so it can lie next to her feet on the floor, leaving her hands free to hold her gun and flashlight pointed down the stairs.

Two of our children are still in cribs, though on opposite sides of the hall, so they automatically remain in their rooms. Her only break in concentration would come from our oldest coming out of her room during the commotion. My wife would have to firmly warn her to stay in her room until she’s told it’s safe to come out—all while never leaving the choke point as doing so could put one or more children in danger.

Once she determines it’s safe to leave the top of the stairs, she immediately gathers the children into the safe room and waits there with her gun, flashlight and cell phone, until police have arrived and let her know it’s safe to come out.

A dark haired young woman in a black t-shirt shoots a 1911 with a rail light
The 1911 is a great choice for home defense, particularly with a rail light.

As you can see, there are major differences for my wife between the two plans. It takes extra training to be able to call 911 while holding your ground. She also never clears the house herself, no matter how sure she is the intruders have left; instead she leaves that to police.

But, perhaps the biggest difference is her role change in regards to our children. A mother’s instinct is to protect her children and reassure them they are safe and there’s no doubt our children will be crying for her should we ever have a home invasion. She will have to momentarily put aside her intense desires to run to and comfort them while holding her ground at the top of the stairs, otherwise there may not be a mother to comfort or children who need comforting.

Because of these differences my wife does extra training to be sure that she puts the correct plan in motion if the day ever comes that she has to defend our children alone. I urge you to talk with your spouse today and determine whether you need just one plan or two.

If you find that you do need two plans, be sure to prepare both of them with your family now and train for both of them so that no matter who is home at the time, the family will be as prepared as possible and as safe as possible during a home invasion.

How many home defense plans do you have or need? Share your plans or suggestions for modifying the author’s plans in the comment section.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free credit card knife from Jason, visit www.SpyEscape.com

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (19)

  1. Not sure if you read my original comment carefully or not but if you bothered to search for the topic “How many times does law enforcement break into the wrong home” and read even a handful of stories all of which deal with innocent people being killed, injured or having their property damaged or taken and then having to go through hell to get it back if they ever get it back you might understand my comment better. Let me say I am not concerned about either your challenge or the consequences of my acts. We are suppose to be living in a free Country with Constitutional rights to free speech, to bear arms, and to privacy. It is contingent on those who serve us to make absolutely certain that if they are going to infringe on those rights they have all the facts and are in the right place at the right time. So yes I will protect my family and my property with my life if necessary but I will assure you of one thing, I will take one or more of them with me to make a point. Now you may think that is extreme but I am 70 years old and people, even law enforcement, need to understand that there are consequences for their actions as well. Believe me when I tell you there are more people out there with my attitude today than you can imagine and it would pay for anyone who wants to go home to their family alive at night that they get it right if they are going to break into the wrong person’s home. Do some reading first and then challenge all you want. I could care less.

  2. Certainly if you have other folks “IN” the house you do not shoot through a door. However in my case there is only my wife and I and both would be in the bedroom. Anyone else breaching the type of security I have in my home is an intruder and if that door knob turns or that door gets kicked, they get shot. Period

  3. Never shoot through a closed door!!!
    You will be amazed at all the horror stories of people who have done that.
    Just ask Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who is now a convicted murderer. Shot through the bathroom door at an ” intruder” and killed his girlfriend.
    People have shot their own children sneaking in, their girlfriends and wives, even trick or treaters and confused accident victims.
    You are not justified at shooting through a door even inside your house.
    Wait until they open the door before you shoot!

  4. I would recommend you do not scope out house but stay with your wife in bedroom and dial 911 or hit your alarm. There is nothing in the house worth losing your life over and you have the advantage of the door to your bedroom being a choke point. Once that door knob turns or they start to break in, open fire through the door because they are already in the house and that should suffice for self defense

    1. That’s even better advice. Thank you, you are right, there is no reason to kill or be killed over any earthly possessions. I’m going to change my plans to include staying in my safe room and let the police come when alarm sounds, rather than scope out the place.

    2. Glad you found that helpful. Don’t let anyone infringe on your rights no matter who they are.

  5. I am not concerned about anyone thinking I am paranoid. I stated my situation as I see it and that’s the way it is. Period. Don’t have to justify that to anyone.

  6. This sounds like one of the times when a weapon mounted light on the home defense firearm might be appropriate, so your wife isn’t juggling the light, cell phone, and firearm all at the same time.

  7. Likewise, my plan is simple for no children. If I’m home, we both take our guns and flashlights, and she remains in the bedroom (saferoom) and goes into the bedroom bathroom for safety and cover. She dials 911, and I go to scope out house for intruders. We have a key word if all is safe and I need to reenter bedroom. If key word is not spoken she is to fire on anyone who opens the door unidentified. Also, she is to push the panic button on home alarm system on necklace. if not activated already (Simplisafe) which alerts police to come it sounds two ear splitting alarms. That should drive out any intruders.If my wife is alone, she then awaits the police before moving out of safe room.

  8. No kids, so no ‘quick access safe.

    |When we’re both home, I’m always armed with a weapon in my hip. When I’m away on business, my wife is always armed.

    We both have plenty of practice and our plans are fairly simple. There’s nothing in the house worth dying or killing over, so we retreat to a safe haven and anyone who tries to breach it is fair game.

    If we aren’t close enough to our bedroom, which is our safe haven, we have other options for sheltering in place and protecting ourselves. None of our plans involve going and f looking for trouble. All that matters is us. Everything else is just stuff.

  9. We also have 2 well formed plans but in addition, we have a 100 pound puppy that tends to be real foul tempered with folks not invited to our home.

    1. Even if they’re not helpful in a fight, dogs make great early warning systems and their mere presence can often be a deterrent.

  10. What’s up with the photo caption?

    “The 1911 is a great choice for home defense, particularly with a rail light.”

    It’s largely unrelated to the content of the article and comes with no supporting arguments. While a full-size pistol with a rail is a good choice for home defense, a standard 1911 has only a single-stack magazine with limited capacity.

    A full-size polymer-framed pistol would offer greater magazine capacity in the same size package, and is more likely to come with a rail from the factory than a 1911. It will also be lighter, making it easier to hold on target while standing your ground at a choke point in your home for an extended period of time.

  11. Well, I think you should not only be prepared for a home invasion by criminals but by the Government as well. There are over 1000 incidents a year where law enforcement breaks into the wrong home. If they do that in my home someone isn’t going home to their family that night.

    While I won’t reveal the specifics suffice it to say that I have firearms stored in separate areas of my home, have motion detectors and door stop alarms in various areas, master lock security bars on the outside doors, and have natural choke points built in all over the house because of the placement of furniture. The main objective is to buy time since many home intrusions occur at night when people are asleep and an added few seconds allows one to clear their head and get prepared to repel the intruders. I don’t rely solely on handguns because as I said earlier if anyone breaks into my home I need to be prepared to handle most contingencies so my array of self defense weapons include both hollow point and fmj pistol ammo preloaded, shotguns, AK47, AR15 and 9 mm rifles depending on the perceived threat. Armor piercing ammo in the AK’s and AR’s, buckshot in the shotguns, and hollow points and fmj in the 9mm rifles.

    While people may think this is extreme, I do not trust the current Federal Government and believe its policies have encouraged violence in this Country. I live in a state with “Make my Day” laws and since I am not a criminal and there should be no reason for anyone to break into my home, I will treat all such invasions as defense of family and personal property.

    For the record I am strictly a self defense individual, have not had a single incident with a firearm in 40+ years of ownership and am a law abiding American Citizen.

    1. When it comes to protecting your home and family, there’s a long list of things you should be worrying about before you get to “A federal agency kicking in my door by mistake”. Additionally, if you’re already planning for the possibility of a group of armed home invaders then you’ve also effectively prepared as best you can for a SWAT team with the wrong address.

      There’s no need to come out and say you’re ready to shoot federal agents should they invade your home, and all it really does is make you look paranoid.

    2. I am not concerned about anyone thinking I am paranoid. I stated my situation as I see it and that’s the way it is. Period. Don’t have to justify that to anyone.

    3. That’s not the way it is though. You say you’re going to fire on police or federal agents if they have the wrong address. If by some outlandish chance that did happen, and you shot at them, they’re going to kill you first and ask questions about the address later. It doesn’t even make sense. You can’t take on an FBI entry team or a SWAT team. They will kill you.

      Please explain to me how shooting a policeman is the right thing to do because he got the address wrong, and it’s your neighbor that called for help

      If you’re going to post an abnormal opinion online, be prepared for people to challenge you.

  12. Looking at the Picture of the Young Lady with the Pistol. She’s NOT That Tall, Probably around 5-feet. Light Switch next to her hand is approximately 48-inches off the Floor Plan. The Pistol Looks Like a CANNON in her HAND. A “Little” Big for Her, especially Shooting One-Handed. Is a .45ACP Model 1911 an Appropriate Handgun for Her?

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