Safety and Training

Home Defense Equipment: Is Your House Secure?

Keep your doors locked and secured.

I moved recently and though my new place is in a safer neighborhood than my old one, I feel like it is the perfect time to take inventory of my home defense items and take stock of what I am going to need in my new place.

Keep your doors locked and secured.
Keep your doors locked and secured.
According to one statistic, a home break-in occurs every 13 seconds. In 2011, the FBI reports that in 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas—where I live—16,987 burglaries occurred. Most home break-ins occur during the day, when most people are not at home. Criminals choose homes that are easy targets, have easy access in and out, have the best escape route, and have enough places to hide outside. Bad people do not like home security systems, dogs, secured doors and windows, or well-lit areas.

There are a few basic commandments to home defense:

  • Have good, sturdy locks on doors and windows. When you leave your house and when you turn-in for the night, make sure you lock all doors and windows.
  • Have opaque blinds or curtains and keep them closed. Keep electronics, jewelry, and other expensive items out of view from windows and doors.
  • Keep your outside well lit. Install motion detector lights on the front, back, and side of your house.
  • Reach out to your neighbors. Look out for each other and report suspicious activity right away.

When I went to look at the new place, I checked out the three doors leading to the outside. All of them have chain locks. I also asked about the windows. They all have locks and some have even been painted shut. All the windows have blinds, which I always keep closed. There are four outside floodlights, which all work. In fact, the front light is the brightest in the neighborhood! I leave both my front porch and back patio lights on overnight. Burglars do not like to be in the spotlight when they attempt to break into a house.

Further, I keep different lights on inside the house at all times. Overnight it might be a single lamp, the kitchen light, or a light in the bathroom. If I know I will not make it home before dark, I always make sure I leave a completely different light on in the morning than the one I left on overnight. Sometimes I switch on the TV. My goal is never indicating that I have a routine. Therefore, if someone is casing my house, they can never be truly sure if I am home or not.

Burglars do not like to be in the spotlight. Keep your house well lit.
Burglars do not like to be in the spotlight. Keep your house well lit.
Knowing that the structure is secure, I can focus on what I need inside to help keep me safe. Since my new digs are located in a duplex, specific home defense ammunition is important. I like Speer Gold Dot Hollow Points for my .38 Special revolver. Hollow Point bullets have a better tendency to mushroom and then stay in inside the body, so there is less risk of penetrating through walls. Speaking of guns, do you have a sturdy safe in which you keep your guns? Gun safes prevent accidents from happening if you have children in your home, and prevent your guns from being stolen in a home invasion.

I already have a big Maglite®, but it is best to have a backup flashlight, just in case you have an unexpected bulb out or dead batteries. I am partial to Streamlight® and SureFire® lights, because they are super bright and super dependable.

Weapon-mounted lights are also an excellent choice if you have a gun with a rail. My home defense gun does not have a rail, but it does have a built-in laser, so I will just invest in a better hand-held than my Maglite. If your home defense weapon does not have a laser, I highly recommend investing in one. There are plenty of universal lasers that fit rifles and handguns with rails. Crimson Trace® makes a reliable and trustworthy rail-mounted laser that fits rifles and handguns. Insight Technology makes top-quality rifle and handgun rail-mounted light and laser combos at an affordable price.

Your gun collection is worth protecting.
Your gun collection is worth protecting.
My old house has an alarm system in it, but the new one does not. The Sabre Red GateKeeper door simulates a home security system by sounding off a very loud, 120-decibel siren when a door is breeched. Surprisingly, it is not necessarily the high-tech home security system that is a deterrent. A home security sign, and something that makes a very loud sound can do the job, and it is cheaper.

I am pretty sure I am missing something. What is your home defense plan?

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 (8)

  1. Install window breaking alarms I have them on all the windows I think somebody will break into. They are cheap (around $8 for one, they’re called Doberman and you can get them at Home Depot) and they are LOUD (105dB). The battery last for about a year. After I installed them I tested them and I am pleased. They also come with stickers on the back so it will deter most criminals. I also installed additional locks on all my sliding glass windows and door (along with wooden dowels). And last thing, zip tie your garage door emergency release so they are now able to fish it out with a wire hanger!!!

  2. There are many high quality headlamps available that strap on your head, are hands free, cannot be dropped and leave both hands free.

  3. Mike and I agree on lots of things pertaining to home defense, and the one I disagree with could be just a matter of personal preference. He likes a light or laser on the firearm, I don’t. I practice one hand shooting with the other holding the flashlight in various positions.

    To supplement the loop type locks Mike mentioned, another fairly quick easy upgrade is to remove the trim on the door frame and install a steel strap 3/16 inch x 1.5 inch x 24 inch centered on the deadbolt. I have 4 screws both above and below the bolt. The bolt on the deadbolt is extra long and the screws holding the lock plate are 4 inches. Someone will have to work to get through the door.

    1. I agree with you regarding holding the flashlight in you non-shooting hand. The only thing I would add is I was trained to hold the flashlight out to my side at arms length. This way if the intruder has a weapon he will aim at the light, not you.

  4. There are clamp on picatinny rails available for rifles and shotguns now. If you go this route, get the five track set instead of the too-short two track one. A single side will do for adapters such as CAA’s for one inch lights like the Surefire GD LED lights, real good and rugged. Several Sportsmansguide Giude Gear LED weapon lights are good, and Fenix. With LED, the bulb is less likely to blow in temperature and recoil extremes or shifts. Especially for a riot gun, a shorter barrel shotgun, one or two of the simple magazine tube and barrel clamps can hold a light such as the Surefire G2 and G3 lights and similar. I really recommend mounting to one side, and just back a few inches from the muzzle. Your non-shooting hand can access easier, and the sights and the target get illuminated for a shotgun or rifle. Even my Marlin 1895G in .45-70 has this, making it an excellent nighttime gun even for the remote areas, especially, with a Guide Gear 700 Lumen LED light! Think in terms if trying to find that noise on the farm or in the house at night this way-or trying to juggle a light and weapon without a designated weapon or two! In the heat and stress of such a moment, some of my firearms also having lasers really make for an edge for the ”good guys” too!

  5. Good article! With all respect, lose the door chain locks. The loop type locks now common on hotel and motel room doors is the way to go. With a steel core door. You will find them at Lowes. Get a titanium drill bit and longer stainless steel screws to mount them. It takes an incredible amount of force to get past that set up,especially along with deadbolt locks. Get a battery powered driveway alert alarm sensor and receiver, and put it above your front door way outside. If you have a front window that can be seen through from outside, have it closed with blinds except just a foot or so below if you have dogs of significance who can be seen watching a stranger at the door. Have it so that you can see who is at the front door from a side window-not a peephole at the door. Set the driveway alert loud enough to startle the one approaching the door from the sound inside. If you do not have dogs, there are so very many good bulldogs like pits that are put down in shelters every day. I just got a four month old rescue all the way from a rescue group in Ohio-I live in SC. She is learning from my rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These are good dogs, socialized with neighbors and family-they know the scent of bad intent. It is bad owners who make bad dogs. Get an excellent OC (pepper spray) like Cold Steel’s awesome Inferno. I have the large fogger size that will take down a group at my front door. if you see a stranger at the front door-keep in mind that someone may be creeping around the back and side doors. Be frank. I stopped a home invasion late one night just by the sound of my pump shotgun racking a round into the chamber. Three were trying to pry open my front door. They fled immediately. If there is some attempt that they might come through and you are armed, take safe cover and be ready to fire on them IN THE DOORWAY. There are excellent battery powered motion sensor lights for the outside doorway that work if the power is cut or down. Be prepared to have all in the family take cover-and there is a recent trend of taking a neighbor hostage to get you to open the door thinking it is just that, a neighbor. And most of all, if it looks funny, call it as such and call the police and stay secure.

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