Most of us reading this think about being prepared for a home invasion, but we really don’t think it will happen to us. When I was teaching concealed carry classes, I was amazed at how many people from high-end gated communities were taking my class because they or someone close to them had experienced a break-in. More than one was at gunpoint.
Three people live in my house, and all have received formal handgun training. All of us have a license to carry a gun, even though Texas no longer requires such a license. We have no children in our household, but we are still conscious of gun security.
There are loaded handguns in strategic locations near each entrance to the house. We have a dog who serves as an early warning system to alert us when something is up. We hope this dog might also deter a home invasion when we’re away.
When we are out and about, we’re armed, and we stay alert and careful. I highly recommend three very eye-opening courses offered by the NRA:
- Refuse To Be a Victim
- Personal Protection Inside the Home
- Personal Protection Outside the Home
A web search could help you determine who is teaching these classes in your location. There is no substitute for training when preparing for the unexpected.
When it comes to protecting our personal property and lives during a home invasion, most of us would turn to firearms as the primary tool for accomplishing that task. While some small portion of our overall population can depend upon their physical attributes and skills in various martial arts or other hand-to-hand fighting skills, most of us would need to depend upon a firearm as a force equalizer. This brings up the need for firearms, ammunition, safe storage, shooting skills, knowledge of firearms laws, and legal protection in the event you have to use your firearm.
A large part of choosing a firearm for home defense is personal preference. You can do it with a pistol, rifle, or shotgun. Each has its advantages. Each also has its own set of possibilities for things to go wrong. Whichever firearm you choose must be one you are able to operate under stress. That gun must not be so powerful that it over-penetrates, but it must be powerful enough to stop an aggressor.
Shooting through walls when you don’t know who or what may be on the other side of the wall is ill-advised. The firearm you use for personal or home defense must be one that’s legal for you to own. Personally, I’m more comfortable with a pistol, but many feel a shotgun is the ideal home defense weapon, and I wouldn’t argue with them. A rifle, not so much inside because of the over-penetration issue.
I am not an ammo hoarder, and I don’t recommend hoarding ammo. But I do keep at least 500 rounds of ammo on hand for calibers I use frequently. For me, that’s 9mm, .45 ACP, and .30-30. And I’ve somehow accumulated a lot of .22, which is okay by me. I still remember how to make squirrel stew.
For other calibers I shoot, I keep at least 100–200 rounds. If I shoot some ammo, I replace it. You may or may not find the ammo you need in a local gun store. For years I’ve ordered ammo online. Experience has taught me where to find it. During the most recent round of shortages in which people were complaining about not finding 9mm ammo anywhere, FedEx was routinely delivering boxes of 9mm and other calibers of ammo to my door.
Norma, who has been a traditional rifle ammo manufacturer, added handgun ammo to its line in the past couple of years. Pilgrim is a new manufacturer of handgun ammo. Federal has added new product lines. Subscribing to blogs such as this one will help you stay informed about what’s out there and how to find it.
Ammo will last for years if it’s kept in a climate that is warm and dry. Store your ammunition in its original containers and keep calibers and gauges separated. That way, there is no danger of loading the wrong type of ammo in one of your guns.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Ensure you have plenty of gun cleaning supplies on hand, and if there are guns you own but don’t know how to disassemble for cleaning, learn now. There may not be a YouTube when you need it. Also, if you reload or have always wanted to reload, buy primers, powder, and bullets when you can get them.
A basic, single-stage reloading press is not that expensive, but it may not be available if times are hard. Perhaps, that’s something that should be on your list to get now. Reloading is something best learned through working with a mentor. Get a copy of the Lyman Reloading Handbook, so you will have the reloading data you need in hard copy.
The Reloading Handbook is currently in its 51st edition. Older editions will have data for most of the common cartridges. If all you can find is an older edition, don’t fret. The data for common cartridge/projectile/powder combinations is not going to change year-to-year.
Knowing the laws related to gun ownership and gun usage, in the area where you live, is imperative. That’s one of the best reasons for taking the required training for the license, even if you don’t ever apply for the license. Pulling the trigger, or in some instances just pointing a gun at someone, can put you at odds with the legal system.
There are certain conditions that define a self-defense situation. If there is any kind of doubt, you may find yourself being arrested and charged criminally or sued in civil court. That’s why it’s almost a necessity to have a prepaid legal program with a firm that really knows gun laws.
A typical program has attorneys standing by to represent you all the way through trial — in criminal and civil courts — if you find yourself in legal trouble after using your gun.
Lock It Up
We keep guns secured for two major reasons. The first reason is to keep the guns from children or other unauthorized users. The second reason is to keep them from being stolen. It’s not unusual to turn to some type of safe for this purpose.
Whether it is a one or two-gun safe or a safe that holds multiple firearms, it’s going to have a lock. Chances are that the lock will be electrically operated and powered by batteries. In the event of an EMP attack, we may not be able to get to our secured guns. That’s why I keep several guns in locations other than my safe.
Information about dealing with safe locks during or after an EMP event vary. Some say the electronics in most safe locks is simple enough that they may not be affected — although the batteries will surely be zapped. That’s okay, you can replace the batteries with ones you keep in your Faraday cage.
If the lock is zapped, getting your guns out is not going to be a quick and simple process. Some experts recommend buying safes with mechanical locks and replacing the electronic locks on your existing safes with mechanical locks. Consult a safe expert, if that’s something you’re thinking of doing.
My goal in these last two articles has not been to make you an expert. There’s so much to think about and much to do if we want to be truly prepared for anything that might come our way. It behooves us to do what we can. My father lived in southern Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina hit. Just by chance, my middle son’s wife’s grandfather lived in that same area.
As soon as the authorities would let us in, my son and I loaded up a truck full of supplies and headed out from Texas to see what we could do to help those two elderly gentlemen. We didn’t know what to expect because cell phone coverage was down in the area.
We took food, water, gasoline, toilet paper, and other odds and ends we thought might be of help. When we arrived, both men were desperately in need of gasoline for their generators. None of the local stations were able to pump gas because power was unavailable to run the pumps. Both men had generators. However, they didn’t have enough gasoline on hand to keep them going for days.
The food they had was in freezers and refrigerators which they were trying to keep going through the electrical circuits on the generators. We learned a lot from that hurricane. I just hope we don’t have to go through another one like it to open people’s eyes to the need to be prepared for disasters.
Whether it’s a natural disaster, EMP attack, or even a pandemic, being prepared will get you and your family through without fear and stress. Decide what you need to survive for a week, two weeks, or longer. Start preparing now. Even something as simple as a manual can opener (or a P38) could be a life saver.
Home invasion is more common than you might think. Just like you should have a plan for getting out of your house in the event of a fire, you should have a plan for what to do if someone is trying to break into your house. When it’s happening is not the time to come up with a plan.