In a previous article we discussed how to harden your home against a home invasion and how to prepare for a home invasion.
Here, we want to cover the actual methodology of surviving a home invasion, and steps you can take to survive — and win — such a violent encounter. Remember: You do not have to kill or injure an attacker, or win the gunfight, or even round-house kick the bad guy. You just have to survive.
Have Gun, Don’t Have To Travel
The best gun for surviving a home invasion is the one you can reach. The snub-nose J frame you can carry on your hip is better than the AR under the bed if someone is kicking in your door. That being said, the faster you can get to that AR, the better. Home invasions move rapidly and violently, and a good rifle can solve the problem faster and more efficiently than a handgun.
I advise to home carry, especially if you already conceal carry throughout the day. Is there really a reason to disarm when you get home? Personally, I’m too lazy to keep taking the gun on and off as I get home and then run errands again.
Speed, Violence and Surprise
In a violent home invasion, you need to react violently. If your door is being kicked down, someone on the other side has violent intent. Surprise them with violent intent of your own. When the door comes down, there is no time to threaten to call the police, tell them to stop, or to freeze up. If the door comes down, the gun should already be up and you should be ready to react. Any attack runs on momentum, from a home invasion to a military offensive. Momentum is key to succeeding. If an attacker is met at the door by a strong defense, the majority will not continue the attack. The door acts as a funnel.
Not every home invasion will come through the door, though, and of course you could be sleeping when the event starts. Regardless, if it comes to a fight, you need to act with speed, violence and surprise. You cannot be timid; you must strike back as soon as you can.
Survival is still the ultimate goal in a home invasion. If you have the time and ability, you need to get you and your family to a safe place. If someone is trying to come through the door, but hasn’t yet, focus on getting to your family and to your weapon. The same goes if you hear a window break on the other side of your house. Get your family, your gun and your cell phone.
Once you have your family and your firearm, you need to bunker down in one room. Be it your room or your kids, keep the door closed and locked if possible. Position yourselves out of the door’s direct line so that no one can shoot through it at you. Stay low in the room, with a gun trained on the door. At the same time, you need to have an open line with 911. If this means having a spouse, or an older child take the phone so you can focus on guarding the door, so be it. The main focus of an armed adult should be the door. If no one is available to handle the phone, place it on speaker and set it down close to you.
Clearing your home
In a perfect situation you shouldn’t do this. However, not all situations may play out this way. You may be forced to move through your home to secure family members. Imagine going to your childrens’ room to find they got up and went to the kitchen or bathroom at the same time you heard a window break. You now need to move through your home.
In this situation with a firearm, obey the basic rules of firearms safety, with finger off the trigger. Your home now has potential friendlies and enemies in unknown locations, and you do not want to be finger on the trigger and make a tragic mistake. I always advise having a weapon light or flashlight near your home defense firearm. You should use your light only when absolutely necessary, and you should know the house decently in the dark to navigate without it.
A light that’s on all the time alerts potential baddies you are moving through the house, and it makes you a target. Flash the light when you need to see — meaning turn it on and then off as soon as possible. When an individual enters your line of sight, use the light to identify them before you take any other action.
If you encounter an unknown individual, immediately assess their threat level to you. Are they an unarmed teenager making a dumb mistake, or an armed drug addict looking to score? Be prepared to deal with both. Shooting an unarmed assailant may put you in a sticky legal situation, unless that person attacks you. An armed assailant is a threat, but may freeze when they see you. If they attack, of course defend your life as you see fit. If you can, order them to drop their weapon.
Do not become so focused on the assailant that you lose situational awareness. You do not know for sure how many people are in your home. Keep your head on a swivel and do not get drawn in to a single person.
If your attacker turns and flees, do not shoot them, and do not chase them. The only situation where you could even remotely justify shooting someone in the back is if he is attacking a member of your family. Keep your wits about you at all times.
In some rare situations, the option to retreat may be the best option to take. I don’t suggest running away without a weapon in case you are pursued. However, getting away may be the best option. You can’t win every fight, and there is no cowardice in retreating. Nothing you own is worth your life.
Home invasions are tricky situations — rapid and violent. The attacker knows you are home and is okay with hurting you to get what they want. You must be able and be willing to meet violence with violence, and you must act with speed, intensity and surprise.
You can’t win every fight, but you can survive a home invasion.
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