Home invasion risk mitigation

By now you’ve seen the horrible video of the violent home invasion/assault of a New Jersey woman. After watching that video, there’s a lot of armchair quarterbacking from the internet, along with the usual chest thumping of “try that in my house and he’d need a bodybag” or similar statements. But what’s the truth in that? The real issue is that having a gun doesn’t make you safer – because having a gun is just part of being prepared.


That’s why we’re bringing out the butthurt locker again today, because some people are going to be upset by what I’m saying in this post. But I need to repeat myself, because so many people in our community view a video like the one Tim posted yesterday and think “if only she’d had a gun”. That’s stupid. Having a gun doesn’t make you safe any more than owning a guitar and having VD makes you John Mayer. Just from looking at that home invasion, this woman would have been better off having a reinforced door or a Belgian Mal than she would have been with a gun.

This is not to say that a firearm isn’t an important part of a home defense strategy, but you shouldn’t just go buy a 12 gauge pump, load it up with 00 buck and think “done!” People frequently neglect other important areas of home defense that can be extremely beneficial during a “hot” home invasion. So let’s take a look at those, starting with the most important.

Have a plan
This is honestly more important that “having a gun/dog/alarm system/hardened bunker.” When Scumbag Sumdood kicked in that woman’s front door, her whole world went pear-shaped in a hurry. According to the articles and the interviews, her only goal was to stay between the scumbag and her daughter, and to “not offer any resistance”.

To draw a lesson from my childhood, when I was growing up we would frequently have fire and earthquake drills in the house. Mom and Dad wanted to make sure we had a simple, effective plan to make sure that everyone was safe in the event of an emergency. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – you should have a plan for a hot home invasion as well. Having a well-rehearsed plan puts you ahead of the badguy on the decision curve, because while you may be initially reacting to him, if your plan is good and your execution is solid, your decisions have already been made. That means the badguy is now reacting to your actions, putting him on the defensive. What are the key components of having a plan?

  • Know your home’s layout in the dark.
  • Know where your safe room is.
  • Know where your VIPs (children, family members) are.
  • Have an objective

A good plan has to have an objective. That can be anything from “make sure the children are safe” to “hole up in my safe room until the one-time show up”, or if you’re feeling adventures “hunt the badguy through the dark of my house like Predator.” Your plan will have different objectives depending on your personal situation. I have no children and live with my fiance, so my objective is “secure my fiance, hole up and wait for the cav.”

Know how to accomplish your objective
Having a plan is strategic. Once you have a plan, you need to look at the tactics involved in executing the plan. This is where a lot of gun nuts get bogged down and start thinking about all the places they can hide guns and weapons in their house. Which is fine, but something worth remembering is that simple plans are more likely to be executed successfully. So for example, a simple tactical plan is to have a long gun ready in your safe room, and to carry your CCW gun on you when you’re not in the safe room. If you have a dog, make the dog a part of your plan. If you have a wife who stays at home, make her part of the plan. Don’t just create your plan in a vacuum based on your skill sets and what you think is best, make your adult family members part of the planning process with you.

Be willing to fight
This may seem like an obvious part of the plan, but it’s not. It’s also a topic I’ve discussed before – you must make the decision to fight. Not in the heat of the moment, but in a calm, rational setting. Really sit down and think – what am I willing to do, how far am I will to go to defend my life? What in my house is worth dying or killing over? Make those decisions now, because when the door comes down, you won’t have time. My line is simple – if I’m in my saferoom and my family is safe with me, anyone in my home gets a free pass on anything they want to do outside the safe room. But cross that line and enter the safe room and I’ll use deadly force to protect my family and my own life. If the balloon goes up outside my safe room, then we’re already at the point where I’m willing to use deadly force.

Make those decisions now. Have an objective. Have the skills to accomplish your objective. Don’t get caught up on what gear to get, but rather let your mission drive the gear train. If all someone has is a side by side shotgun and the will and skill to use it, I’d give them a lot better odds than the guy with an AR and no plan. Buying a gun doesn’t make you safe. Having a plan and the skills to execute your plan? Well now, that’s a start.


  1. Secure your fiancee? I would have expected that she could secure herself just fine.

    1. Sure. She’s the primary. She lives, no matter what. I’m just an expendable trigger puller in this situation.

  2. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to be holed up in a safe room. If you have the option to exit the house, that *might* be a good option. It may not be the best option but it is an option you should consider. Some will say “what if there’s multiple bad guys outside”? Well, “what if there’s multiple bad guys inside”? Are you really safer holed up in your “safe room” when lead comes raining in through the door or drywall and you have nowhere to go? Just something to consider. It seems like everyone’s first instinct is to grab a gun when in reality, escaping through an alternate door or window *might* be the safest option. Or it might not…depends on the situation. All options should be considered. Not every option requires a firearm.

  3. This is where I have the most trouble. My process should be “hear the dog barking/growling at someone, grab the gun out of the bedside safe, hide behind the bed while calling 911.”

    But darnit, I just don’t know I could bring myself to let my dog take all the risk of getting shot and beaten while I hide in the dark, especially after she just gave me the warning I needed to do so.

  4. I like how you think Mike. I couldn’t let my pooches take a beaten or killing while I sat by and watched/heard. Ain’t happening.

  5. Hi from the UK,over here the tide is turning,there have been a few cases in recent years where farmers and householders have shot first and asked questions later and been acquitted of any crime.

  6. I agree with Zack ,you need a plan for when you cant get to your gun.
    And it s really amazing how many people have no training, no plan, no thought about what they should do.
    Also, if you frequently drink, you need a plan that covers your potentially impaired state.

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