Most people believe they are prepared for an illegal entry into their home in the middle of the night (or any time for that matter), but the truth is they are not even close to ready. Typically, most people are motivated by the rise in crime, so they go to the gun shop and buy the newest, plastic Ogre Slayer the salesman recommends for home defense.
They might go to the range once or twice, and of course, they believe they have become Audie Murphy. Hell! Who am I kidding? They don’t even know who Audie Murphy was. They keep the gun in the nightstand on their side of the bed, in a locked box with the ammunition separate, in another locked box in the dresser. If it is magazine fed, the mags are not loaded because they don’t want anyone to be able to get the mags and shoot the gun. The problem is, they can’t shoot the gun either. That’s pretty much the extent of how ‘preparedness’ plays out across America.
Every night, people all over the country set the alarm and hop into bed for a sound uninterrupted night’s sleep. The odds of that being the case are pretty good for most Americans. But what if, just what if they are awakened by the glass breaking downstairs at 2:30 a.m. That’s the 64-thousand-dollar question, isn’t it? Chances are, the man of the house didn’t hear it, but his significant other did. She wakes him in a panicked whisper. Dufus! Dufus! Wake up! I heard something break downstairs and I think someone is in the house.
Dufus, being a good male partner, sits up, rubs the sleep from his eyes, and reaches to open the nightstand drawer. Extracting the 9mm Ogre Slayer, he fumbles with it trying to remember how it works. It’s dark in the room, and he can’t really see what he’s doing, but eventually he remembers how to hold it.
As he starts to move to the bedroom door, he hears more sounds coming from downstairs. It sounds like male voices talking. As he starts to exit the bedroom, he remembers the Ogre Slayer is not loaded, and the ammunition is in the dresser. As Dufus makes his way back to the dresser, Dimbeta is urging him to do something.
Dufus stubs his toe in the excitement and lets out a grunt of pain, dropping the Ogre Slayer on the floor. The intruders below hear the noise and realize the homeowners are home and awake, but they don’t seem to care. They keep breaking things and making noise. In frustration Dufus blurts out, “I have a gun and if you come up here, I will shoot you!” To which the home invaders just laugh. Without me relaying the entire set of circumstances that follow, suffice it to say things don’t turn out well for Dufus and Dimbeta.
Let’s now assume for the moment that they had been much better prepared with their glasses — if they need them to see — a loaded handgun, flashlight, phone, extra reloads as in loaded magazines or speed loaders, knife, an extra set of house and car keys, some medical supplies to attend to wounds, surgical gloves, hand cuffs or zip ties, and perhaps a non-lethal option such as a stun gun or pepper spray. That’s a good start, but did they give any thought as to how to secure and carry everything? Probably not. Whether you sleep in pajamas, your underwear, or in the buff, I don’t think you have enough pockets unless you are a marsupial. The chances of that being the case — outside of a TV commercial — are slim and none. What to do, what to do?
Allow me to make some suggestions based on what I do, and how I teach my home defense class students to prepare for that bump in the night. The solution is actually quite simple. When you hear that bump in the night, the first thing I instruct my students to do is:
- Get out of bed.
- Put on their glasses, especially if they need them to see the front sight.
- And this may come as a surprise, put on a good set of electronic hearing protection, preferably a set with Bluetooth. This bit of advice will prove useful in more than one way.
- It will increase your ability to identify and hear someone sneaking around.
- Most important, if shots are fired it will protect your hearing. Shots fired in a small, enclosed space like a room or hallway will have the disorienting effect of a flash bang grenade, rendering anyone with unprotected hearing momentarily incapacitated at the very least. Additionally, if your headset has Bluetooth, you will be able to monitor the conversation your partner should be having with a police dispatcher.
The next thing to grab is my recommended solution to being able to secure and carry other essential gear.
Secure Your Gear
My recommended device goes by different names, but the item I used is made by Tactical Tailor. In its catalog, the one I use is part of its Hazard series of cases. Other manufacturers call them messenger bags, utility pouches, medical pouches, map cases, etc. Just remember, whichever one you get, ensure it has a shoulder strap.
I like mine because it has a second strap that can be secured around your waist so it’s not flapping around. It is a case that was designed to be slung over your shoulder and depending on whose product you buy, it should have separate compartments to conveniently carry everything you might need. Mine holds a back-up “loaded” handgun in a sewn in holster. When it is a 1911-type, it is cocked and locked.
Additionally, it carries extra magazines — speed loaders if I have a revolver stowed, two flashlights, extra magazines for my long gun, or shotgun shells if I am using a scatter gun. A small medical kit, knife, handcuffs, zip ties, cell phone, 4 surgical gloves, shooting glasses, and a spare set of house and automobile keys. The case I use from the Tactical Tailor is well designed and sturdy. It has a large pocket with a holster-like device that holds a handgun (butt up) with loops to hold your extra magazines.
The pockets have dividers and ties to separate and secure your gear. In my case, my hearing protection is attached to the shoulder strap, so everything rides together. When I pick it up and throw it on, I have everything I need. All that is left for me to do is secure my long gun.
I’m sure that I don’t have to advise you of this, but I will. Don’t attempt to clear your house. Even if you went through some shooting school’s Shoot House. This is for real, with the potential of real bullets coming at you. You are alone without back up and surely you do not want to endanger yourself or your loved ones.
Without teammates, you can’t cover all the possible points where evil may lurk. My advice is to find the most defensible place in your master suite with good cover and concealment and wait for the intruders to come to you. Stay quiet. Don’t issue a challenge or rack the shotgun slide. If you do, you have relinquished your most precious ally, surprise. The bad guys should not know where you are until they see your muzzle flash.
Wait for law enforcement to arrive and let them clear the house. They are trained to do that. Remember to stay in communication with them until you have eyes on each other. Once you do, remember to secure your weapon, show them your hands, be respectful, follow their commands, and be appreciative of their service. As stated this is what I do and how I would act and is what I teach my students to do. I am sure that not everyone will agree, but that is what makes horse races.