Tactical Thoughts

One of the most popular questions you see posted on gun forums is some variation of “what do you do when you hear a noise at 1am?”  Invariably, when this is posted, you’ll get a range of internet-commando answers from “grab the 870 and go hunting” to “tactically clear every room, slicing the pie like a machine”.  Maybe one or two people will actually have a plan and have put some thought into the danger and difficultly of clearing a house by yourself in the dark.

In hopes of preventing people from making tactically unsound decisions, here is my well thought out plan for when “things go bump in the night.”  One thing to bear in mind is that I do not have children, so the only people in my house that need protection are my wife and me.

  1. Awakened by noise
  2. Roll over, look at alarm panel.  If alarm is still set and not going off, assume cats are wreaking havoc on my house and go back to sleep.
  3. If alarm is going off, the klaxon on that thing will have already roused me from any slumber, as well as waking any dead people within 2 miles.  Seriously, it’s LOUD.
  4. Shut and lock bedroom door.  Send wife into bathroom with telephone to call 911.
  5. Loudly proclaim to God and any intruders that if they come through that door, I’m going to shoot them.  Hunker down behind concealment at 45 degree angle off the door.
  6. Shoot stuff that isn’t wearing a shiny badge that says “police” if they come through the door.

Seriously folks.  Get an alarm system.  I don’t have it because I believe the TV commercials that it will magically scare off burglars or criminals, I have it because if someone tries to break in to my house at 1am, I’m going to know about it before they get upstairs to try and hurt me.

Secondly, don’t try and clear your house.  If you don’t have kids, hunker down in a room with one point of entry, and be prepared to shoot if someone tries to breach your point of entry.  Stay on the phone with 911 so that you’ll know when the cops are at the door so you don’t shoot or get shot by the cops.  Whatever you do, don’t try and clear your house by yourself.  It’s tactically unsound to abandon an easily defensible position like your bedroom to go searching for an “intruder”, and it’s a pretty awesome way to get yourself killed in the process.


  1. A-freaking-men. Although I do have kids, so if the alarm goes off, it’s grab firearm and flashlight and secure my family.

    And the other big advantage to an alarm system is 24/7 fire protection. Sure, your safe protects your guns, but that’ll be small comfort when everything else you own is cinders and ashes.

  2. I’ve reinforced my master bedroom door frame (longer screws for stronger latch plates and longer scews through kick-proof hinges) and installed a solid core door. I have young kids so I take my handgun to the top of the stairs to prevent access while my wife gathers the younglings and secures them in our room. Once they’re secure, I retreat and bolt the door. Wife gets her handgun and we cover the doorway. We call 911 from within the room using an old cell phone–in case the house lines are cut. I even keep a little food and water in the master closet in case we’re beseiged for a short length of time.

    We’ve only been in the house for three months. The alarm is on my to-do list, right after addressing water quality issues.

  3. My plan is the same as yours.

    When kids hit the scene wife will initiate the call while I arm up and retrieve kids and we all hunker down and wait for the cavalry…or the BGs to get dumb enough to try something stupid.

  4. Can’t recall where I got this tip:
    Front/rear door key(s) on key ring with lightstick. Alert 911 for cops to look for this and location. When police arrive, activate light and toss out window. If heavy snow, attach second lightstick with a length of string, or hang down from window frame.
    If the BG’s came in a window, you would rather not have the cops kick in a door. Plus, it may give the cops a tactical advantage.

  5. The “lightstick with your keys” thing was taught to me as a part of the NRA’s Personal Protection Inside the Home class. Good class, I highly recommend it.

  6. Clearing rooms solo is easy, as long as your supply of grenades holds up.

    Otherwise, not so much.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

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