Slicing the Pie

It is late at night and a noise coming from across the house rouses you from your sleep. Your wife wakes up too and whispers to you that she thinks someone is breaking in. Your heart rate increases dramatically while all the blood from your extremities rushes to your vital organs—triggering your fight or flight response. The adrenaline feels like a drug as your breathing increases and pupils dilate. You quickly regain control of your thoughts and tell your wife to run into the bathroom with the phone and lock the door. You quietly reach into your drawer and grab your .45 caliber handgun and your flashlight—time to go and see what’s what.

For most people, this scenario is one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. Slipping through your home in the middle of the night to confront an unknown threat is not only hazardous it’s potentially deadly. Some would argue that the best thing you can do in this situation is try to escape, or lock yourself away and wait for the police to eventually show up and write a report. While I have nothing but respect for the impossible job the police are burdened with, in most cases, they simply can’t get there fast enough. If you live in a rural area, it may take half an hour for a squad car to arrive in your driveway. It is my opinion that the best course of action is to clear the house yourself, and eliminate the threat. The burglar may only be there for your television, but they are going to have to get through you to take it. In most places in the United States, you have the right to protect your property without having the obligation to attempt to flee.

Unfortunately, the majority of people who buy a gun for home defense take it to the range once, and never really learn how shoot it. An even larger majority never learn how to fight with it. There is a lot more to gunfighting than just hitting a stationary target at 10 yards. When moving around a corner, deploy a basic maneuver call slicing the pie. The concept is simple, and it can save your life. The idea behind slicing the pie is that your target has minimal time to react to your presence before you get a chance to fire your weapon. To traverse a corner, simply do the following:

  • Approach the corner as close to the wall as you can get without rubbing up against the wall and making noise. Giving away your position is the last thing you want in this situation.
  • Put your eye on the corner and remember that the apex of the corner is your pivot point.
  • Take a horizontal step away from the wall. Keep your elbows close to your body and don’t let anything poke around the corner ahead of you.
  • Pause and scan the slice of the pie. Between each step taken, you should scan from the floor at the corner to the ceiling—scanning each slice in a vertical motion.
  • Lean slightly toward the direction you are stepping to allow your head and eyes to be the furthest object, allowing you to see your target before he sees you.
  • Shoot with either hand, if you can, using the hand closest to the direction you are moving.
  • Do not cross your feet, since this is not a very stable stance for shooting. Remember that you may have to fire your weapon at any moment.
  • Always point your firearm where your eyes are looking. This will allow you to react more quickly than if you have your firearm at low ready. Arms extended or high-compressed ready are both good options. With high-compressed ready, make sure that your non-firing hand is behind the plane of the muzzle.

This little maneuver is identical to the way police and military personnel traverse corners in tactical situations. Performing this act alone isn’t always the safest option, but if you have no other choice, you should at least do it correctly. This will increase your probability of survival, making you a more proficient gun owner. Exercising your right to protect your family is not only your right; it is your duty as a responsible citizen.

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 (76)

  1. Hi im from the great white north and if you look at the numbers at least around here crime is almost always about monetary gain thats why among poor populations its almost a sport that being said ninety nine point nine percent of guys will flee if they arouse any attention espeially from the home owner he isnt there to harm your wife or children and hes probably alone they may not admit it but there scared half to death too!!! the point one percent of criminals that keep me awake at night arent going to sneak around in the dark trying to score something they can sell these types will perpetrate a takeover robbery done for cash in and out and by there fourth robbery they have learned to cope with the adrenaline rush these guys are bad news they wont stop until they are stopped and its always a fluke that gives them away like a scheduled police patrol just as there leaving a restaurant they just robbed its always something so obscure it isnt planned for lifes hard lessons i guess average sentence here for armed robbery first offender is 4 years and the average haul about a hundred dollars four years seemed like forever but its exactly what i needed!!! thanks great write up about offensive tactics!!!!

  2. WHAT? WHAT? I read, and then re-read two more times what you were trying to say about you and your brother, but no matter how I tried, either with or without proper puntuation, it doesn’t make any sense. Ask your brother, maybe he can help you re-arrange the words you’ve used, so they make some sense. Do you sell Willys Jeeps?

  3. What?

    Rob has presented a very real scenario here, one that got swept under the rug in the heat of the arguing and opinions. The last couple of posts don’t even make sense. Remember? It’s about clearing and cornering, yet it seems we got a little off topic there. Come on guys.

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  6. ADDENDUM TO MY SUBMISSION (John, #68, August 27, 2012; 4:37 am) : as I gave my opinion quickly and early (!) I failed to include the most important fact supporting my position, although I did mention it at the very end versus at the beginning and end of my comments. My comments were based on the fact THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO REACH AND GET ALL FAMILY MEMBERS TOGETHER & PROTECTED AS DESCRIBED: IF NOT, OBVIOUSLY ONE MUST FIRST DO THIS AND IF THIS IS REQUIRED, QUITE OBVIOUSLY ONE MUST ACT AND CLEAR THOSE AREAS NECESSARY TO REACH CHILDREN. I do believe that if you live in a home with other adults that in the case of intruder(s) entry that this scenario should be carefully discussed ESPECIALLY if there is more than one self defense weapon in the home each under the control of different individuals; IN THIS SCENARIO ONLY ONE FAMILY MEMBER SHOULD BE IN THE POSITION OF ANY ARMED OFFENSIVE APPROACH UNLESS ARMED FAMILY MEMBERS ARE TOGETHER AT WHICH POINT I STILL SUBSCRIBE TO MY ORIGINAL SELF DEFENSE SCENARIO APPROACH.

  7. I do not agree with clearing your home and the mere suggestion of using a flashlight presupposes one is doing it in the dark not only alerting a burglar (or worse) of your presence but creating a target for the intruder or INTRUDERS. You don’t even suggest the possibility of multiple intruders. The best thing to do if you own a handgun (or even rifle) is to arm yourself; if possible (without giving the intruder knowledge of your presence and/or whereabouts) call the police advising your location & that you are armed & take a defensive tactical position and wait. At this point you have the advantage; REMEMBER it is called self-defense not offense. BE IN A POSITION WHERE IF THE INTRUDER(S) BEGIN TO APPROACH YOUR POSITION YOU CAN SAFELY & QUICKLY ADVISE THEM YOU ARE ARMED AND THAT THEY CEASE THEIR APPROACH BEFORE YOU OPEN FIRE; WHAT IF THE INTRUDER IS ONE OF YOUR CHILDREN COMING HOME UNANNOUNCED FROM SCHOOL WITH A FRIEND(S) OR SIMILAR SCENARIO: HOWEVER MAKE SURE YOUR POSITION IS TACTICALLY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE (best place in a locked room BUT NOT BEHIND THE DOOR) so that you can protect yourself and family. Self-defense implies you can take action while TAKING THE OFFENSE MEANS YOU MUST TAKE ACTION. CLEARING YOUR HOME IS AN OFFENSIVE APPROACH WHICH NOT ONLY REQUIRES TRAINING EXPERIENCE BUT FORCES IMMEDIATE ACTION WHICH YOU MAY REGRET THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!

  8. I agree Scott, although it hasn’t happened to us here yet. It must be a rude awakening perpatrated by rude ruthless low-lifes, but still must make you feel sick, and violated. Sounds like it was a calculated response from police. As one officer told me,” when seconds count, police are only minutes away.”

  9. Michigans castle law is pretty much ” lethal force may be used if there is an serious immediate physical threat to you or someone within your dwelling….” you do not have to retreat from your home.. however the law does not give sanction to shooting a intruder who walks into an unlocked domicile in broad daylight and walks off with your tv…. the CTW article as written is informative and does not/ could not cover all situations. I personnally have 2 canines (boxers) and they are indeed a very good early warning system. We have had a nightime forced entry in the past (2 years ago)… with the dogs sounding full alarm the perps still tried to force entry thru our kitchen door with me on the other side… thankfully they changed their minds. Whether it was the dogs or the sobering sound of a defensive handgun ( .45 acp) with tritium sights being chambered I do not know… they did leave…. one found out about a canines sharp teeth before he cleared our back fence. The city Police took 20 mins to arrive….. such prompt courteous service was met with more severe questioning of the homeowner ( as if we had done something wrong) and absoluetly no fingerprinting of follow ups of any kind. To this date no detectives have ever followed up like they said would happen.
    I do not agree with lighting your homes interior… personnaly I feel it gives the perps more options than it does you, who should already know your homes layout. My dogs do not sound alarm if it is my kids or spouse…. so it is a great help to have the identifier on hand. If you can… light the outside to aid the authorities (if they show up in time)…. Securing your family is of utmost importance.. or should be. If you can do so , yes, I believe you should advance to reduce the perps options or abilities to do more damage or gain the upper hand… after all, you do not know why they are there… a common breakin for theft, or a attempt to do great serious harm… otherwise secure your family and alert the authorities…
    again… I feel the brief article was well written, to describe how to advance and clear if nessecary…. every situation is different… your kids may be at the other end of the house…. you gonna hide then?

  10. Combat vet here. All my personal weapons are loaded, with one in the pipe. The wife shoots equal to me and can put a smiley face on a target at 20 yards with a 1911. The entire family knows the weapons are always loaded and don’t fxxx with them. Anyone coming into our home at night without permission will likely be carried out by the coroner. Case closed. From the Republic of Texas.

  11. All I know is, I’m now 59 but when I was 7 I wore a plastic helmet with pistol belt/canteen,and ammo pouch,and carried a tommy gun and an M-14,and ran constant patrols on the two and a half acres I grew up on. Now,living on 5 acres, it seems that I’ve come full circle. The only time I’m not armed nowadays is when I go on patrol on the streets with the local Code Blue citizens on patrol group working the streets as eyes and ears to assist our Police. Yes, that’s the only time I’m not armed…….that’s the law. But, by God I’m thankful for all the self training and manuvers behind the barn,clearing tree houses etc, when I was 7. What a screwed-up world we’re passin’ thru. Y’all be safe,ask a cop what happens once you’ve pulled the trigger,and consider any and all sinarios in complete detail so that if and when you have to fire,you’ll have a clear understanding of procedures. In response to how this thread started,I concur with the original poster. And, that’s my slice of the pie.

  12. Very foolish idea. One person can not safely clear a house. If you are moving you are vulnerable. Just wife and you ? Secure yourselves. Door opens Deadly force is now justified.

    In ct you cannot use deadly force to protect property

  13. My first line of defens
    e is my German Shephard because he knows who should be coming in and who shouldn’t

  14. One thing that I forgot to add to those saying to lock yourself in your room and call 911, not a bad idea but how would you get to your children and other family members to safely secure them behind your door? This is a way to get to isolated personnel in your home and get them to safety. Think about it…

  15. So far, without reading all of the responses to this article, I have read some things that I agree with and some that I strongly disagree with. Preparedness and planning are paramount in any home defense/home invasion situation. Some people say to turn on the lights, this is a bad idea due to the fact that while it may startle off the intruder, it might not. When you turn on a light it ruins your night vision for a period of up to 45 minutes and unless you can turn on every light in your home simultaneously, it will hinder you more than help you. Best option here is invest in enough $3 low light activated night lights and place them through your home so as to provide enough ambient light that you when you wake from sleep can safely navigate your own home and avoid any potential hazards on the floor such as toys and the like. Also, if you plan on owning a firearm for home/self defense, GET FAMILIAR WITH IT!!! Take it to the range once or twice a month at a minimum, dry fire it enough times to have the muscle memory of precisely when the trigger breaks, know where your safety is, know where your magazine or cylinder release is, practice loading, unloading and reloading in the dark (with dummy training ammunition) until it is all muscle memory. The most difficult part of all of this though is your memory. You need to remember which doors in your home you left open or how open they were when you went to bed. This will provide cues as to where your intruder has been and will give you that much more of an advantage over them. Just remember people, there are three types of people in this world, the sheep, the wolves, and the sheep dogs… which are you?

  16. I’m simply amazed at the number’s of snivelers here.

    1) Its MY house, any and I mean ANYONE in it that is not supposed to be there, is an invader. Period.
    2) I choose what I will or will not risk my life for, not you and especially not your false sense of “community”.
    3) More over, I’m quite positive you are not concerned that I risk my life, but that I might (and surely will, if threatened) take the life of some social dreg that’s needing to finance a fix. “I” have no compassion for this trash.
    4) In this age of treachery withing our own government, I’m advising any that don’t have the training, GET IT. Most if not all of the higher end arms stores in your area offer certified courses in home defense, defensive shooting, gun handling and the other skills you need to be assured that YOU will survive while the “bad guy” isn’t around to testify. Pass up that new X-Box or what ever other “keeping up with the Jones” project you had in mind and GET THE TRAINING. You owe it to your family and to your nation.

    For the rest of you, Man up or have it cut off and buy yourself a dress.

  17. I agree to some degree but to take a
    life over a tv or stereo or some
    object I think let them have it. As long as my family is not in the home
    I kool with it but if they are then there will be deadly force other than that let the police handle it.

  18. All Im going to say is this. For those of you who like to hide behind your little lights and lasers remember this…… Lights and lasers dont just work one way. Most of the time youre just throwing away both your money and position. Chances are; espescially in a dark house that he will see you first because of that hunk of junk mounted on the front of your gun. Guess what? He just identified his target before you did, and all your cool looking flashlight or laser did was help him find you. Be a real shooter, invest that money in range fees and learn how to use your weapon instead of slapping an unnecessary accessory on it.


    FOR ME… I will NOT think twice to shoot your ass if you come in my house. Like the saying goes, I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6!

  20. I have had 7 prowlers all in the yard(I have a fully fenced property with a locked fence)that I have ran off since 1994.I didn’t have cameras I would do ramdom patrols at night by going outside.All but one was at night and it was the daytime one i had a gun in my hand because I wasn’t dressed,I had to put on some lightweight shorts since I got a knock on the door from a punk who was “fishing”to see if anyone was home.The other times I was fully dressed(well armed wearing a pistols on a web belt with a long black shirt over it) and combine sitting in a dark spot on the property watching for suspicious people,which I have caught alot of people doing no good.Criminals on average will not just pick a house to break into without caseing it out.If you have the time,instead of watching tv,ect and patrol your property and be aware of the outside you can make your home a hard target and without the drama of dealing with the police and possible arrest of defending yourself with lethal force.Most of the punks would rather run,but never get close because knives can be cheap easy to get rid of and get cut.Stand your ground don’t chase carry less than leathal O/C taser ect to use first.I would never try to detain one for the police they will force you to shoot.Untill the laws are changed for a working man let them go if they wish,If you can afford a good lawyer go ahead and shoot the punk and do the world a favor.I know of a armed security officer who was arrested for manslaughter for shooting a armed man while on duty.He was released later but that shows you you will get arrested most of the time no matter what so make it count decide what will be worth going to prison if needed to defend yourself,your family,property and others.

  21. Ahhhhh Mike ALLL BEATS ARE OFF, if anyone and I do mean anyone kicks in my door, that means your a threat & then once I see your face I’m taking no prisoners put it that way. There’s no mistaking your in the wrong house now, no excuses will be granted you have to go one way or another period. If your big bad bold enough to kick in my door while I’m home your bad enough to take the consequences and there not going to in well for them.

  22. Just a note for everyone. I live in SC and have noticed more incidents of home invasions occurring earlier in the evening. It seems
    they prey on the more vulnerable (remote location;disabled;alarms not likely to be activated etc)by knowing which rooms family members are in and then kick in the door while firing and taking out anyone visible. They’re in and out in minutes…no witnesses.

  23. Ok, after reading a lot of peoples comments of how this is a good article, a bad article, a mixed message article, etc… Everyone is correct..

    Leaving or evacing your home is not always an option and honestly it shouldnt have to be an option, especially if you know the invader is coming before he knows your waiting for him. Lets face it, you could very easily be endangering yourself or family by trying to leave because there is no telling who is waiting in the bushes keeping lookout for the person breaking in.

    Take this article for what its worth, advice on how to handle, target and approach the situation if it ever arrises. Personally I could care less about personal items if someone breaks into my home at night but I guarantee the only thing they are leaving with is two 230 grain rounds, free of charge.

    As for laws, is it ok, is it not ok to protect your property, you be the judge when the situation arrises… But be damned certain if it does come down to it that you as the home owner are the only one giving the responses to the police as to what happened in your home.

    I live in a very rural acreage type area (now, but was raised in the city) and I have dogs, it is unlikely it will happen to me but it does not make me less prepared in the event it should happen. I suggest every home owner have at least 1 dog for if nothing else an early warning detector.

  24. Ok, I love almost everyone’s suggestions, in my opinion I feel that everyone should buy an alarm system no matter if it’s monitored or not, and make sure all windows & doors have sensors on them, & if they break the glass it still goes off. I think that is one of the easiest & most sufficient ways to keep your family safe & not shot the wrong person in my opinion. I feel you should get a dog no matter how big or small the dog is, all dogs will do the same thing if they don’t know you they will start barking repeatedly even before the criminal even touches your door or window, the dog is there like who are you your not suppose to be lurking around alarm goes off in their head bark bark. Another thing if you hear a strange noise in your home & your dog didn’t bark not once, it just might be one of your family members walking around from a late night or just walking downstairs to get something to eat and drops a glass, spoon, or fork, etc, and wakes you up. I say have your gun in a ready position & find a good spot in your home that no one can sneak behind you or on the side of you, get on one knee in a ready shot position, try to have something in front of you like a wall or something just don’t be openly exposed, (most people when they shoot they shoot chest area & head area, so even if you give your position away they should miss you if they start shooting & you have a open spot to shot at them back in the right spot chest or head, because you can see where there at. And yell I have a gun leave my home now, if you don’t hear a response or you don’t hear daddy it’s me & my friends etc etc, it’s a treat & if he doesn’t run, I would stay in that position & call the cops, and wouldn’t move & stand my ground until they got there, now if he’s crazy enough to walk up on you or charge you he is ready to die, if he runs that’s fine you didn’t have to kill him & he probably won’t come back ever. When the cops come make sure you have the gun on the ground with your hands up with all the lights on in your house & outside, and file your report. P.S. If I see him running with my TV I most likely won’t shot him I can always replace my tv, and if he’s running with my tv he’s pretty darn strong because all of my TV’s in my house are all 6oin tvs lol. He would probably drop it if he starts running, so I will have to replace it anyways. No need to kill him, unless he threatens my life or my family’s life including the dogs lol.

  25. As a retired law enforcement officer, I would do this as a matter of muscle memory training and do it without thought however I would have to agree with the comment that says if your family is in the room with you, call 911, secure the door and take a defensive posture announcing that you’ve called 911 and wait for the police

  26. For those saying they would not choose to shoot someone over a TV, I pose the situation that you are protecting your food or water cache. Turning the lights on and waiting for someone may not always be an option. I say nice article on turning a corner. Keep them coming CTD!!!

  27. I like all the comments more than the article…just as with many of these CTD articles, I find the seemingly educated and obviously uneducated comments thought provoking. I recall a girl friend in Dallas who talked a boy at UT into driving her home from school one night so she could get some stuff…they went in the house in the middle of the night and her step dad, 38 in hand, comes to his bedroom door to find a strange man in his entry way…lucky for everyone that he didn’t blast the poor kid. With great power comes great responsibility. So do the homework, get the training, and have a plan. Thanks for the posts.

  28. As a shooter – hunter, competition smallbore rifle, hunting guide, NRA certified instructor Basic Pistol,Advanced Pistol, Personal Protection Inside and Outside the Home, Chief Range safety Officer – with more than fifty years of shooting and gun ownership, I hasten to agree with those who describe the above as bad advice. Protect your life and the lives of your loved ones with your own life when there is no other option.
    I live and teach shooting disciplines in Costa Rica. We have a lot of violent crime. We also have telephones and cops. Both generally work pretty well.

  29. Horrible article. I’ve spent almost 30 years both doing and instructing those military and police personnel and this article about made me shit my pants. I guess free advice really is worth no more than you pay for it.

  30. I am an armed citizen and believe I would use deadly force in self defense, but someone above calls me a “goof” not living on earth for suggesting cameras or dogs, and noting that the intruder may be harmless.
    Over my life, I have had 4 direct experiences with late night break ins. Three were at my home, 2 were my son and friends, one just his friends, all were drunk, none were dangerous. I was armed and frightened and I thank God that I checked to see who I was shooting before I killed anyone.

    The fourth occurred in a neighbors home. My son had a late night party when the rest of the family was away. He and a couple friends broke into a neighbors house and stole some items. They each were drunk and he made full restitution and apologized in person. I thank God that my neighbor did not kill them.

    Before shooting your late night intruder, ask local law enforcement –
    ARE most late night break ins in this area deadly criminals?
    IF I kill someone who was unarmed and harmless, what does the law do to me?
    And finally, ask yourself – AM I a psychopath who can kill and not feel regret?

    Depending on these answers, you may want to see who you are shooting before you kill anyone.

  31. I’m a little dissapointed in many of the responces here! This senario has nothing to do with the stinking TV set. It does however have everything to do with the sanctity of a persons home. When we hear a strange noise day or night my wife and I go into our well rehearsed responce. This responce does not include cowaring, and waiting for police to arrive. We each have our mission, that includes calling 911, but nobody enters my home, or property,uninvited with out a challenge of some degree. This doesn’t mean that we are trying to reenact the “Shoot out at the OK corral”,but deadly force is always an option, We are well prepared, and trained for any threat that may come along, and this is key to protecting the safty and sanctity of our home!

  32. Most break ins occur during the day, so that there is limited risk to the criminal, in that most people are at work, or in the Obama economy, if home, at least awake and moving around. Professional burglars and theives do not come around at night. After dark, those who break into your home are predators (rapists, on some sort of illicit drug like meth, or drunk). They expect people to be home, that is the point, it is part of the thrill. These people are prone to violence. A group of pot heads seldom turn to fighting, but a group of drunks almost requires someone get their posterior kicked. If one of these knuckleheads wanders into your domain at night, your life is in danger. They expect you to be home. They are prepared for confrontation. Don’t take my word for it, ask your friendly, neighborhood policeman, start a neighborhood block watch (often the signs that go up are enough to deter professional, daytime thieves, who will move on to less riskier areas) and be active in it. I’ve seen block watches virtually halt all gang activity in an area, if the neighborhood assertively took control. I’ve seen just the opposite, when those doing the watching were so meek, they ignored crime and criminals, or just didn’t walk the neighborhood in a pair or group. Bottom line, if it is after dark and they enter your home, they expect confrontation. You should too.

  33. I really find it amusing to read comments made by some of the chuckle-heads here. If you’ve never been in a fire-fight, war-zone or domestic, you have no clue what it’s like … definitely not the TV or movie scenario you probably think it is. I still remember my first fire-fight and that was 40 some years ago…in Nam.

    As to the article,

    “You quickly regain control of your thoughts and tell your wife to run into the bathroom with the phone and lock the door.” Plus 1 on that idea. Know where your family is!

    “You quietly reach into your drawer and grab your .45 caliber handgun and your flashlight—time to go and see what’s what.” Major dumb idea…unless you have had rigorous training.

    “The burglar may only be there for your television, but they are going to have to get through you to take it.” So, let him take it. As mentioned before, that’s what homeowners insurance is for. I have life insurance but I’d prefer not to use it because I was protecting my TV.

    My situation is that I live in a townhouse so bedrooms are upstairs. I have an alarm system with strategically placed motion detectors downstairs. Even if the alarm isn’t connected to a monitoring service, it will give me notice of an intrusion and give notice to the intruder that maybe he should leave. I have control next to the bed that allows me to remotely turn all the lights on downstairs.
    Only one way up so while wife is securing the kids, I’m covering the stairs. The rounds in both my 9 mil and AR-15 will go through drywall if need be to put someone down. There are block walls between our units so I’m not too concerned with rounds going into other units. Once the wife and kids are secure, I will join them behind a closed hollow-core door and wait for the police and if someone does decide to punch through the door, I’ll be feeding lead through the door from the other side. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pacifist but prized possessions can be replaced, my family including me can not. An additional thought, we do have an escape plan in case of fire but without knkowing where the intruder is, it would probably be safer to stay upstairs instead of having him wait for us as we try for ground level.

    Some of the things I’ve implemented can by applied to any domain security … just don’t put it off thinking it could never happen to you. A well lit house, a barking dog will also encourage a thief to move on to easier pickings. They’re basically cowards anyway.

    As for Slicing the Pie, not bad advice if that is the ONLY alternative.

    just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions …

  34. I think that one should check the laws in the state that they live in and react accordingly. The state that I live in is a very passive state, and you really have to be on your toes so to speak. The neighboring is a more aggressive state, the laws are different there.

  35. It all depends on your level of training and confidence and weapons. Weapon of choice in the home “12 gauge magnum” always have a backup weapon in case the primary fails. Buckshot will hit them without precision aiming. A shotgun is less likely to go through walls and kill someone else on the other side. There are people out there who have “no respect” for life and will kill at the drop of a hat,do not become their victim, be prepared at all times and know your surroundings. A good dog can hear everything and is an excellent alarm system, this allows you to get armed so that you can defend yourself and family. Stay Safe.

  36. 1) An intruder breaking into a home at night is not looking to make friends. He is looking to take a risk to secure your goods, life, or wife / children for sexual intercourse, or all of the above. You have no way of knowing either. The worst should be taken to account.

    2) You are responsible to your family. Weather it is them breaking into your home to get back in, or a legitimate intruder.

    3) You are responsible if you kill or injure an innocent person in another house because your cannon went through your walls or window into the house next door and killed the baby in the crib. You are responsible to the other innocent people in your house.

    4) Dead men tell no tales. You will also most likely have to explain yourself to a jury anyway. Make sure your story is one that will hold up in court and you did what you HAD to do to protect life. It may be better to take the ride when the cops showe up and keep your mouth shut until you get a lawyer.

    5) Political pressure can have a profound effect in your case defense and outlook. Look at whats happening with the zimmerman case.

  37. Defend your life…do not just call 911…as a Police Dispatcher I had to listen to suspects break in doors while my units were responding…get a gun and defend yourself…you are wasting precious time on the phone with us…and Police Officers, please do you job…don’t waste more time setting up a perimeter while my RP gets beaten or worse…just go in and save life Officers…get in there and get the bad guy!

  38. My opinion is…I’m not sure personally there’s any ‘perfect’ way to handle an intruder who breaks in. I’m sure there are many different scenarios that could play out. I think if your home alone it would be better to stay where you are and take a defensive stance–a major advantage–the bad guy is not expecting to open a door and get a .45 slug in him. If you had kids, I would definitely take an offensive stance against the bad guy. My opinion is not to play macho man–a good way to get into serious trouble fast. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who claims he’s just going to get up and go blow away the bad guy, has never really been in a life-or-death situation too. When you’re scared it’s more difficult to think correctly and to fire a gun. The reality is that you’ll be going into a real live-or-die situation possibly and you have to realize that–the bad guys have guns too. I think one of the best things you can do is go over different scenarios in your mind in case of such an event, and/or practice in real life. This will give a MAJOR advantage over the bad guy who most likely has no plan at all. That way your ready and this is a huge plus in over coming your fears and being successful. Never back the bad guy into a corner or he’s gonna open fire on you for sure. So if the bad guy runs–let him go–good. Also having your pistol in single action is a huge plus when less than a second counts.

  39. Slicing the pie and clearing your own house with an armed intruder inside would be a complete last resort. It would be better to get your family in a safe place and wait in ambush. For all the wanna-be Rambo’s out there, here are a couple of things to think about: Police/Military clear houses in TEAMS not alone. There is a reason for that. Bullets go through walls. If you get in a gunfight inside your house, your bullets and the perp’s bullets are going to be moving through walls and ricocheting off items inside the house putting your loved ones in danger. Lastly, a son or daughter coming home late at night might sound just like an intruder. Yes, you should identify your target before shooting but in a state of just woke up from deep sleep, heart pounding, adrenaline pumping fear/excitement with safety off ready to shoot, there is too much risk of accidentally shooting someone you love. You would never live down seeing your loved one bleeding out on your living room floor because you were foolish. It’s just like anything to do with firearms; safety FIRST!

  40. Do not discount the possibility there may be more than one intruder! If you confront the suspect and are holding him at gunpoint, don’t assume that the threat is over. Always be alert!

  41. I think everyone missed the point completely the article is about a TV or if the wife and kids are in the house. It is about how to slice the pie while turning a corner. Why you are doing it is irrelevant as far as the article is concerned.

  42. Comments- yes, I have a few… First, if the guy is leaving, let him leave. An inmate here is incarcerated because he confronted a burglar, and as he shot at the guy, the burglar had turned to leave through a window or door. Result was the burglar got shot in the back, and a jury put the homeowner away. (That happened BEFORE we switched to a Castle Doctrine.) However, you need to establish your threshold point where you will use deadly force. Is it when the guy grabs your TV, or when he kicks your dog? Do you act when he assaults your wife, or wait until he attacks you? Personally, I haven’t been there, but my threshold is about a half inch inside the door. If he’s not outbound, he’s history.

  43. DO NOT JUST FLIP ON ALL THE LIGHTS IN YOUR HOUSE! This is what your flashlights, lasers, and night sights are for. If you need to ID your target, flash them with your light quickly to do that. Your best chance to minimize the threat to you is that you remain undetected.

  44. In my opinion it is best for the home owner to be the one waiting to acquire a target. Know where the best ambush, cover & concealment spots are in your home. I want to have the element of surprise on my side. Practice different possible scenarios where a burglar may enter your home or apartment. Pick your ammo wisely. I carry +P ammo in 9mm or .45 when outdoors, but my in-home defense round is a simple .38 special hollow point. Motion detectors with alarms are very inexpensive these days ($20). Put one of two of these devices in locations that would likely detect an intruder and awaken you. That doctor in Connecticut, whose wife and two daughters were brutally raped and murdered by home invaders, had put off repairing a broken lock on an outside door to his basement. Without an alarm system it allowed the two killers easy and quiet access to the home. Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

  45. The advice in the above scenario is completely wrong. There is absolutely NO reason for a homeowner to confront a home invader, unless the invader initiates it. First, I would secure all family members in one area. With the family all accounted for, there is less chance of an accidental shooting of a family member. Next, call police and advise them of your location in the home, while remaining on the line with the dispatcher. Advise them you are armed. Remain in that location. Avoid lighting the area you are occupying. Family members should be in a prone position, if room permits. You are not going to be able to clear the house properly and if you’ve ever been in a gun involved situation, you’ll remember your breathing and heartbeat were so loud they could be heard a block away. Remember, his dedication is greater and he has less fear or he would not be there. He is also desperate. Police generally respond to this type of situation quickly and remember they are armed and looking for an adversary…..don’t become their target. If your immediate area and family are confronted, I would use any and all available means to protect them and myself without hesitation. It will happen in a split second. Lastly, if you are able to safely exit the home, do so. Immediately leave the area and it is very import, NOT to show your weapon when approaching a neighbor’ home, or the arriving police. Once clear of your home hide the weapon. Don’t holler at the police that you have a gun. No person can accurately predict how he, or she will react in a certain situation and if possible I would rather not have the opportunity to find out. Tomorrow will be a nicer day if you did not take a life.

  46. Well said

    “It’s called standing up for yourself and what’s yours. It’s how this country came to be and it’s how it should stay. As for the situation, giving away your position could threaten your life as you don’t know if they are armed. also, they could be just about to take your property and run with it when you turn the lights on. You can’t count on the police to retrieve your goods after they are stolen, you are the first line of defense. The burglar decided his life was as cheap as a tv when he broke into your house to steal it. We are just enabling thieves by letting them know that they are safe while they are stealing.”

    Comment by Justin — April 25, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  47. I don’t understand why some of these people are on this site and looking at the article. I’ve had police at my house and they have seen the weapons I have around the house. I’ve told them that if someone breaks into my home they will not walk away whole. All of my home defense weapons have slides on them and that’s the first thing a criminal will hear when I’m awakeAfter that the next thing they will see from me is going to be a red dot on their chest and then feel a hole oin them. The police do a tough job but can’tget there quickly enough to stop crimes. Know the proper way to enter a space and stop the criminals is what people need. I spent 8 years in the military and learned how to enter but being reminded from time to time doesn’t hurt. Yes hitting your target is important to cut down potential damage to the house from the rounds fired.

  48. One thing not directly mentioned but one that I have discussed frequently with other well-prepared associates – Think now before an incident occurs about your potential fields of fire. A .45 or .357 for example could go through many layers of wall board inside the house or maybe exit the house through a wall or window. One would not want to have a projectile inadvertently hit a family member or pet inside or your neighbor’s property outside. A shotgun blast inside the house could make a real mess, too. Of course, stopping the projectile with the perps body would be the best result.

  49. I would also advise strongly that everyone learn to shoot with either hand. I feel much more comfortable rounding a corner with my pistol in my lead hand, and having the confidence that I can hit what I need to with that hand. Same with my shotguns.

    For the goofs who want me to buy cameras, large house dogs, and expect to just find drunk teens having sex on their couch, please look outside and tell me how many suns there are on your planet? Breaking into an occupied dwelling at night was just removed from the list of capital crimes in North Carolina in 1978, but anyone who has enough mental capacity to force entry should be able to understand they could be killed if someone is in that dwelling.

  50. Interesting advice and debate. A lot depends on the specific case.
    How could we be sure that the home invader is not just a scared kid who got drunk, or even a couple of drunk kids having sex in the first place they could get off the street? Or your neighbor’s kid who got lost or drunk or high and is in your house by mistake? Or even our own kid (s) coming home late and unexpected?
    I would want to scout and see who I was shooting before I killed anyone.
    Massad Ayoob notes the terrible guilt that normal (non-psychopathic) people feel at killing someone – try to avoid this.
    And yet – what if you have crazed home invaders there to rape and kill?
    Maybe it would be wise to invest in several TV cameras that, unnoticed, quietly survey your home from the bedroom.
    Maybe large loud housedogs- if they shoot the dogs, you are fighting for your life and anything goes.

  51. Many of you mentioned to hide behind locked bedroom or restroom door!!! Have you check your interior door lately??? Please go to an interior door right now and see if it’s a solid wooden door or are they hollow? Can it withstand a punch? Most of the houses have the interior doors that are for shows and to keep the kids out for better privacy, but it’s not built for protection nor it can be effectively used to block out even a large dog!!

    Go check your interior door now and try to tell me to hide behind it again!

  52. Why do I have an instinct that compels me to end the career of a home invader? A burglar is a murderer. If he needs to kill you or anyone (or everyone) to secure his escape, he will. Turning on the lights so he goes on to another home and family to ply his trade seems like a most inadequate solution. I’d prefer to bring a permanent conclusion to this predator’s business, and send a signal to others tempted to choose this line of work, that the risk/return ratio is higher than even the neanderthal will accept.

  53. You protect yourself and your family with your gun. You protect your TV with insurance. Stay put and defensive unless there are others in another part of the house that need protection. If someone has to take chances, let it be him not you. And check to see if your state has a Castle Doctrine-it makes all the difference. And one other thing to think about if you go on the attack: just as you have him in your sights, you hear a noise behind you…………..

  54. I like the slice the pie tactic. I use it in every video game lol, but seriously… in my thoughts if I ever have an intruder in my home. I thinka good way to handle it.. With my secondary, I never leave one chambered. So my plan is to rack it to get his/ her attention. And loudly mention, I’m armed and on the phone with 911. If you remain in the house i well consider you a lethal threat. then give them 2 minutes to leave. Probably not the perfect solution but I like it.

  55. Something I didn’t see mentioned – but is portrayed by the diagram – is that you DO NOT want to “crowd” the corner. You will see the bad guy sooner – without exposing yourself to him – if you stay a good distance away from the corner itself as you slice the pie.

    As has been said, today’s bad guys are often a sick bunch, possibly also under the influence of drugs. What are you going to do if they decide to set your house on fire while you are quivering in your bedroom? Besides, the next house he hits may be the one where an eighty year old woman is living alone, or holds a young mother with children. Do you really want this creep to go on and harm or kill others?

    Get some training and then be proactive. And remember the rule of two: if there is one guy, assume there are two. If he has one weapon, assume he has two. Be safe, but don’t give up all you’ve worked hard for to a burglar or someone even nastier than that.

  56. Jason Y – It all depends on the state you live in.

    Where I used to live – NY State – if you shoot the bad guy and he dies and you could have escaped then you are going up for Murder. If you are backed up in your bedroom and you shoot the guy coming at you with a knife and he dies you are going up for murder. Things are much more reasonable in Alabama. If you break into my house and I shoot you and you die then that’s the end of it regardless of the weapon you may or may not have had. You had no business in my house.

    The real issue is this article does not address handgun safety or regular practice.

    Most folks buy a handgun, load it and put it in the night stand for “protection”. Well I hate to burst your bubble but if you keep your weapon in the night stand you are far more likely to wake up one night with a bad guy pointing your own weapon at you than being in a situation where you are pointing your weapon at a bad guy. Why? because he’s wide awake when he enters your house and you aren’t. And there is a good chance that unless you have a large dog or entry alarm, he will be in your room before you wake up! I don’t have a large dog but I do have a entry alarm that flashes a bright light in my room, plus my handguns are safely put away – I won’t say where but they are in close proximity & not in the night stand. I want to be wide awake when handling a handgun.

    Practice is just as important. At a minimum you need to put enough rounds through your handguns to understand the trigger pull. The last thing you want to do is pull a handgun out and accidently shoot yourself or a family member. The second to last thing you want to do is accidently shoot an intruder who is fleeing your house.

  57. I am on the fence about this article. With the proper training, mindset, and equipment the safest course of action to a home break in is to clear the house yourself. Military/Law Enforcement personnel drill clearing houses to the point where it becomes second nature and can easily clear an unknown house of hostiles in a matter of seconds. The difference in this scenario is home court advantage. You know your home better than a random burglar, even if that person is someone you know; you still know the terrain better. In your home you have the ability to set the field in your favor: dogs, locks, security systems, well placed lights, firearm caches, where unarmed bystanders (wife/kids) go etc.

    On the other hand this article is aimed at those who go to a range once with their firearm and never learn how to fight with it as the article says. In those kinds of poorly armed and poorly trained situations, the best course of action is to barricade yourself in a room while armed and call the police. Military/Law enforcement can spend months and years perfecting the room clearing technique and “slice of pie” (most just call it squaring a corner) to clear an unknown house/room with various weapons from handguns to long weapons. Like I tell all my students and everyone else “The only thing more dangerous than a trained person with a firearm is an untrained person with a firearm.”

  58. Rather than say specifically what I think you should do, I will say this: be prepared. There is no substitution. When the time for decision has come, the time for preparation is passed. An exercise I found very useful was running through several scenarios with a friend and developing my own plan. Have someone play the role of an intruder. I know the best places to hide in wait to have clear shots where I won’t be seen. I personally place life far above property and I make that the priority of my plan. Develop your own plan. I know my weaknesses and the weaknesses of my environment. I am better prepared every time I practice and plan. Point is, don’t get caught unprepared. Mitigate your risks. Good article to get people thinking.

  59. 1st of all if you’re not trained to be tactical or use common sense, especially in your own home, then don’t get out to see what’s up and get shot inside your own house by being dumb, turning on the lights standing there, walking all loud through the hse while he know you’re coming. I creep around the corners barefooted and engage the noise, making the intruder a prey, which will give me a clear view of what it is, then flip up the lights while still behind a object or one knee on the floor, and give him a chance to stop and call the cops, if he runs, i’ll shoot him. or else he’s gonna be back for vengence.

  60. DON’T DO ANYTHING PEOPLE, you have to let them kill you or hurt you badly, because if you do anything to protect your family or home or from citizens from bad people, YOU’LL gonna get the whole state rain down on you! the BAD guys will have a whole law suit on you!!!!!!!

  61. Not all burglars are going to take property. Some are nuts and go in shoot you rape your spouse and take off. Lets face it people this world is cruel and messed up. No point in surgar coating anything. Fact is be prepared for anything. Rather have it and not need it then dont have and NEED IT

  62. I think some of you guys are missing the point of the article. I think he was just setting the scene for a scenario where someone might be moving through their house with a gun. Honestly, I like to think I would stand up for my property. Just locking the door to your room and hoping he doesn’t come in the bedroom seems silly. There is no way you know that he is just there for the TV. He might just rob you and then go after something far more important.

  63. I agree with Richard and Terry. Saving a TV or stereo is not worth risking your life. If you and wife are alone in house, I would stay locked in bedroom, call 911, (speakerphone is good idea) and shout instructions to intruder. If he fails to follow instructions and comes in to bedroom doorway, you have a good, clear shot.

    BTW, I live in Small-town Texas. I don’t know anyone who is unarmed. There pretty much are no home invasions, here!! (but it’s good to be prepared.)

  64. It’s called standing up for yourself and what’s yours. It’s how this country came to be and it’s how it should stay. As for the situation, giving away your position could threaten your life as you don’t know if they are armed. also, they could be just about to take your property and run with it when you turn the lights on. You can’t count on the police to retrieve your goods after they are stolen, you are the first line of defense. The burglar decided his life was as cheap as a tv when he broke into your house to steal it. We are just enabling thieves by letting them know that they are safe while they are stealing.

  65. The article gives very bad and dangerous advice. In this scenario I assume it is a wife and husband, no kids based on available info. Both of you stay in bedroom and simultaneously arm yourself, lock/block door, keep bedroom lights off, make noise and give verbal commands advising of armed homeowner, get 911 on speakerphone so they can hear the same. You and the situation are now being recorded. Stay defensive only!

  66. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of 2 home invasions. In both cases turning on the light was enough to send the person running. I’m sure that revealing the 45 ACP I had pointing at the crack-head’s also helped.

  67. The CTD blog articles are a weird mix of useful advice, advertisements, and some pretty awful advice. Sadly, I think this falls in the last category– not because the tactical advice isn’t sound, but because of this:
    “It is my opinion that the best course of action is to clear the house yourself, and eliminate the threat. The burglar may only be there for your television, but they are going to have to get through you to take it.”

    This is beyond idiotic. If you think confronting an intruder is what needs to be done to protect yourself and your loved ones– fine. But your TV? Is your life and the lives of others really so cheap? Just keep in mind– if you make someone go through you to get something, no matter how much ‘tactical’ gear and training you have, they just might.

  68. In my experience, with gun in hand, locked and loaded, there’s no reason to try and sneak up on anyone … Again, in my experience, I turned every light on in the house — the roaches flee.


    Don’t run around the house in the dark with a gun and a flashlight. Be sure of your target. Be sure it IS a legitimate target.

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