Home Defense Planning
(Editor's note: we are pleased to include an article written by "Super" Dave Harrington for the Tactical Journal - reprinted with permission. We have known Super Dave since 1980s when we served together in 1/1 SFGA. He is a leading expert in tactical shooting with real world experience all over the world. Superman wears Super Dave Pajamas).
The mere use of the phrase “home defense plan” conjures up the typical thoughts of past and present external security measures such as “no man’s land”;
♦ electric fences
♦ active & passive detection systems
♦ alarm systems
♦ search and/or flood lights
♦ motion detectors
♦ video capture
♦ Lexan (bullet resistant) windows
♦ window locks
♦ solid core doors
♦ dead bolts
♦ miles of barbed wire
♦ razor tape
♦ firing ports
♦ punji stakes
♦ a moat
♦ boiling oil pots (ha, ha) etc.
Physical security measures are simple mechanisms employed to delay immediate access to your home and/or to make your home appear to be a less desirable target. The fact remains, regardless of how elaborate your physical security measures are, understand that they are simply time delay mechanisms that can be readily analyzed and defeated by those properly prepared and willing to do so.
We will begin by placing emphasis on the fact that every decision you make in respect to your home defense plan should include the influence of every possible lighting condition that can occur in and/or around your home during any time of the day or night. The purpose of which is to ensure that you are fully prepared and capable under any circumstance (at any time of the day or night) to physically locate and/or recognize family members as well as you can locate, isolate, and eliminate any number of assailants that are attempting to, or have gained unauthorized access to your home. This includes the evaluation of any light source that can actively (or passively) work to your advantage (or disadvantage). As an example; it’s always best to attack out of the sun (with the light in the eyes of your opponent)! Do not expect to rely on the active lighting within your home, it can be readily disabled. Do not rely on ambient light to make a Fire/No Fire decision. Have a combat light source in your possession regardless of the time of day! You will need it if you don’t have it!
Your home defense plan is exactly that; yours! The “nuts and bolts” of your home defense plan should not be discussed outside of the responsible family members that are of age and possess the maturity to understand the responsibility of guarding their knowledge of the plan. There are many facets to a home defense plan, and this article is not intended to be used as a guide to develop a complete plan, but to expand your awareness in respect to being better prepared to “manage” the firearm(s) you select to use in support of your home defense plan instead of just “having” a firearm in your home or vehicle. There are many other source materials for developing a comprehensive home defense plan, I do encourage you to expand your plan to include the preparation and use of the family vehicles. I encourage you to do your homework and develop a good plan for yourself and/or your family.
Before we focus on “managing” single (or multiple) firearm(s) in support of defending your family and home, lets first look at “security” and “safety” for exactly what they are, or more importantly, what they are not.
Physical safety is a necessity. Physical security is an illusion. If you have reason to employ external physical security measures, consider doing so in layers that mutually support each other and get the maximum delay time for your money. Also, make sure that you can get out when you want to. By dividing and prioritizing the security and safety considerations of your home defense plan into the “external” and “internal” measures, you will be better organized to focus on the critical issues of both, and clearly identify those that must stand alone and/or can mutually support each other and in some cases overlap. The home owner that chooses to be self reliant for the immediate physical security and safety of their family members and their home must consider the legal and practical responsibilities of what type of firearm you need/want:
► Pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle?
► What caliber?
► What type and/or kind of ammunition?
► What knowledge and level of expertise should be acquired and maintained?
► How should the firearm(s) and ammunition be stored?
► Where should the firearm(s) be located for use?
► How should the firearm(s) be securely stored for use?
► How should the firearm(s) be prepared for use?
► Who is authorized to use the firearm(s)?
► What is required to physically access the firearm(s)?
► What are the criteria or “trigger” for the firearm(s) to be used or employed?
► What constitutes “alert criteria”?
► Do you have a single or multi-story home?
► Where is the master bedroom located in respect to the other bedrooms?
► For multi-story homes, where are the bedrooms in respect to the stairwell?
► Do you have an internal communication plan?
► Do you have a “hard room” or “hard point” within your home?
► Do you have an accountability plan for multiple family members?
► Do you have an “out”?
► If you have a home alarm system, do you use/activate it?
► Do you test it periodically to see if it actually functions as designed?
► Does the monitoring service call the house phone, your cell phone, and/or your local law enforcement?
► Do you know the actual response time of your local law enforcement to your specific location upon notification by the monitoring service?
► Do the authorized users of the home defense firearm(s) have the maturity and discipline to train and practice to have the confidence and skill to get the firearm into action safely and efficiently under the duress of a potential hostile situation within your own home regardless of the time of day or night?
► More importantly, are the authorized users of the firearm capable of making the appropriate tactical decisions with limited information?
More on this in part 2.