Let’s begin today’s article with a little known factoid. According to an official statistic from the US Department of Justice, 60% of rapes and 38% of assaults occur during or in the aftermath of home invasions. What’s worse, 1 in 5 homes (that’s 20% of US residences) will experience a home invasion or a break in at some point.
If you’re lucky, and your family won’t be home when that happens, you’ll end up with a burglary instead. In the case of a home invasion, if you’re not prepared accordingly, well, re-read my first statistic.
Additionally, between the years of 1994 and 2000, a staggering 3.6 million break-ins occurred What does that mean for you? The lesson that must be absorbed from these little known facts is that tactical home defense is a serious matter to consider, especially if you’re into prepping.
And also remember that these crime statistics are in “peaceful times”, these are the numbers when our society is not in shambles, when there’s police on the streets, when if you dial 911 there’s an operator at the other end of the line, etc.
Just imagine how crime and violence will skyrocket in the aftermath of a SHTF event. Do you think you’re ready for a home invasion? If yes, stop reading the article.
If not, keep on digging, because I’m not only going to give you plenty of ways to defend your home, I’m letting you in on a bulletproof home protection plan that will keep you and your loved one safe.
Table of Contents
Active Home Defense Methods
Now, tactical home defense has various meanings. In terms of emergency preparedness, home defense can be achieved by active measures (guns for self-defense or other lethal and non-lethal means, a specially trained dog, etc.) and/or passive measures (fencing, lights, alarms, specially reinforced doors, and windows, alarms, and safe rooms).
Essentially, active measures have a direct physical effect on the intruder. Passive measures slow them down, prevent entry or help make you a less appealing target in the first place
Let’s begin with active measures, they’re the most fun and, in this writer’s opinion, the most effective when SHTF.
The one surefire way to deal with a lethal threat in your home is by responding with force. And, in the realm of active self-defense measures, guns are my favorite things to do that with.
Guns, lots of guns, big guns! Okay, maybe I’m over-reacting, but while we’re at it (over-reacting, that is), let’s check out some of the best guns for home defense.
When it comes to guns, all born and bred Americans (the ones not brainwashed by the so called liberal “anti-gun” media) instantly display a happy grin on their faces. That’s because the second amendment in the Constitution is very clear about our God-given rights of owning and carrying guns for self-defense, so let’s get to it.
Let me explain you something really quick, guns don’t kill people. Stupid people with guns usually kill people.
The most important element that will determine whether or not you can successfully defend yourself with a gun is training. There is no such thing as born good or talentless. There is trained and untrained.
I cannot emphasize to you strongly enough how important it is to begin weapons training before actually buying a gun for home defense. And naturally, after you get your gun keep training with it on a weekly basis. It’s loads of fun, for starters, and it may save your life someday.
Below is a list of various types of guns that you should consider for home defense and SHTF security. All have their perks and all have their weaknesses. All can do the job if you can. It is up to you to maximize their strengths while shoring up their weaknesses.
A reliable and time-honored weapon for defending home and hearth is the shotgun. Plenty of everyday, normal citizens keep grandpa or dad’s old shotgun set handily around with some shells for big critters, just in case.
Shotguns, as a rule, kick hard but also dole out terrible damage to whoever happens to be on the receiving end at close range. The fact that shotties can use a variety of different shell types, like buckshot for increased damage potential or slugs for more precision and range, makes them a sort of Swiss army knife among other guns.
The fact you can easily use them for hunting all kinds of animals and even launching small flares is just icing on the cake in a survival situation.
Shotguns come in break-action, pump-action and semi-auto varieties. They can all get the job done, but if you have a choice grab a pump or semi. Do take care: pump actions require a fair bit of practice to use effectively compared to semis, but you can get a quality gun for much cheaper going the pump route.
Rifles can shoot accurately over tremendous distances and usually fire deeply penetrating and very powerful rounds. While long bolt-action hunting and target rifles are poor choices for home defense due to their cumbersome nature inside a dwelling, short, handy semi-auto carbines are ideal, as they are light and handy to maneuver and sacrifice nothing in the way of firepower.
Rifles have a huge advantage over shotguns in simplicity and range, as a rifle bullet pretty much does the same thing at 3 yards or 300 yard, no swapping loads required
That being said, many rifles have a well deserved reputation for overpenetrating targets, and this is something to keep in mind if you have family or a survival group with you, or even just nearby neighbors.
The best of the breed for semi-auto carbines is a quality AR-15, full stop.
Handguns are your bread and butter defensive weapons, often carried concealed or on the belts of legions of cops. Handguns are the hardest to shoot well but the easiest to conceal and a gun most folks become comfortable with easily enough.
Handguns suffer mostly from poor performance against bad guys and, again, being very tough to shoot well under stress. Expect to spend a ton of time training if you want to get good with a handgun.
The good news is handguns are plentiful and excellent models are more affordable than ever. A handgun should be the gun you cannot do without, as they are flexible, concealable and easy to carry, unlike rifles and shotguns.
Glocks, Smith and Wesson M&Ps and Beretta 92’s are some guns you should consider, but a full list would be a whole article! There are many great ones these days!
Close Combat Weapons
You can use other potentially lethal means for home defense, like clubs, swords, knives, spears, and so forth. Any sturdy weapon or tool with a piercing, cutting or smashing surface can be used as a weapon!
If you are planning on using a primitive or medieval weapon make sure you get 1.) training, training, training and 2.) a quality, truly battle ready model from a reputable manufacturer of such, not some worthless flea market wall hanger.
But while I always prefer to abide by that old saying, “never take a knife to a gun fight” it pays to know both how to use one and to be aware that knives are overwhelmingly the most common weapon used in crimes.
Knives are easy to hide, silent and don’t malfunction or run out of ammo. Most people that get attacked with a knife don’t even know they are being stabbed until the crimson starts flowing.
You can bet that a home invader/intruder is most probably carrying a knife if not a gun, and not just foul language and smelly feet.
One great weapon that just so happens to be non-lethal is pepper-spray, especially the big riot jugs you see cops pulling out against rabble-rousers.
Pepper spray is extremely effective most of the time, and while it might not truly incapacitate someone it is overwhelmingly effective at degrading their ability to fight back and it will often drain the “fight” right out of someone.
This is not without its drawbacks, as having to decontaminate your home after deploying it will be both painful and messily expensive. Even so, the ability to flood a passage or room with a cloud of spicy gas will do much to soften up or drive out invaders.
Don’t relegate pepper spray to a tool for your elderly mother and scared joggers; it works! Like anything else, get training for it!
Other Active Defenses
Now, let’s talk about another active solution for home-defense: specially trained guard dogs. Even untrained dogs that reliably bark when they sense something near the home are valuable as early warning systems, but it is a proper guard dog that can be worth its weight in gold. They don’t call them fur missiles for nothing!
If you want your home properly defended by some of the most capable breeds for the job, look at:
- Doberman Pinscher
- Belgian Malinois
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- German Shepherd
Don’t make the mistake of thinking an untrained, non-conditioned dog, aka your faithful family pooch, will go hunting just because bad guys break in all sound and fury. There have been too many instances of even big, scary dogs folding like a card table when things get too hairy.
If you are serious about using a guard dog as part of your plan, you’ll have to pay accordingly and through the nose; they are expensive. Also you cannot treat and handle a guard trained dog as you would a pet. They aren’t, and that’s something the whole family has to be on board with.
Passive Home Defense Methods
Fencing and Plants
When it comes to good home defense, we’re talking about a process involving layers of protection, with every layer serving to make your home that much more unappealing to intruders and possibly buy you more time to muster a proper defense.
For instance, while a fence or wall can slow down someone from just walking on to your property, unless it is patrolled and defended it does nothing to keep someone from going over, under or through it.
However, a good fence/wall is able to deter potential intruders and can prevent trespassing to some degree and, properly sited and designed, it does increase your overall security.
In my opinion, in terms of fencing for homestead security, the best fences are those you can see through, for example chain link fencing. The ability to see potential intruders at a distance comes with obvious benefits and it also makes them visible to outsiders/neighbors when they cross it.
Chain link is ugly, though, and if you have an HOA it will probably be a no-go, to say nothing of ticking off your neighbors.
But building a fence around your property doesn’t mean raising a 10 foot high, double row barbed wire-Auschwitz style fence.
Your aim is to create a significant obstacle for a potential home invader, one that will hopefully make noise and raise their profile if they want to cross it, not to build an impenetrable fortification, which if history teaches us anything, does not really exist.
If you own a large property, fencing may be impractical for financial reasons, but you can always fence the area closest to your residence. For the rest of the property you should strive to maintain clear sight lines so you can spot potential threats from a distance, in any direction.
Something that complements fencing but much closer to your home’s perimeter is the planting and cultivating of dense, spiny or thorny plants under each window and near blind spots.
No matter where you live, there will grow some cultivar that, if tended, will eventually produce viciously sharp or hooked barbs or spines more than up to the task of puncturing prowlers. Additionally the more noise they make when interacted with the better.
Compared to fencing, plants are cheap so long as you have time to get them young and nurture them. Don’t discount these time-honored defenses. Everything from roses to acacia and cacti can and have been used to good effect.
Exterior lights that are motion activated ideally, are excellent as early warning systems for home defense. They alert you to possible intruders and have the potential to intimidate villains passing by, taking away their greatest tool: concealment. Just like roaches flee when the fridge light comes on, so too will most criminals.
Any lights you do have installed should be aimed to eliminate potential hiding places created by deep shadows just beyond the spill of light. You can do this by overlapping different lights or keeping the light tight against the exterior of your home.
Leave no where for them to hide!
Professionally installed home alarm systems are an excellent investment for your security and peace of mind, as they may alert the neighbors about a specific threat long before the police arrive on the scene
It would help a lot to talk to your neighbors in advance about this issue, for example to discuss mutual defense/aid in the community and about your/their alarm system.
Your alarm should be primed for instant activation upon any door or window breach, or after two incorrect passcodes are entered. An alarm serves firstly to awaken and alert you that someone is entering the home. Second, they will ideally spook and scare off intruders by notifying them that they no longer have the element of surprise.
Door and Window Defenses
Another method of passive home-defense is to secure/reinforce the doors and windows. Windows and sliding glass-doors can be reinforced using a specially designed bar or brace. You can also install hurricane shutters, which provides an extra layer of security to your residence.
The doors can be secured additionally using door lock reinforcements, like Bar-ricade or by installing specially-designed metal security doors in the first place (these things tend to draw attention though, fair warning).
Another great, ultra-low profile option is an anti-kick device like the Door Devil. These things install easily on nearly any residential door and are undetectable from the outside.
No matter what kind of door and frame you use, you must upgrade the screws holding the hinges and locksets to the door frame. The wussy, 2 inch things they come with are of very low grade and don’t bite deeply enough into the framing members to hold the door closed against even a half-ass kick.
By buying high grade, extra long screws for all mounting points, you’ll greatly increase the chances your door will stand up to a kick or ram.
When everything else fails and you’re confronted with a big, bad, and armed burglar inside your home, you can take refuge in the holiest of holies, the prepper’s best friend against home invaders: the safe room.
A safe room must be able to hold you and your family until the threat ends or the cavalry arrives. The safe room must be located conveniently, so you and your family members can reach it before the burglar.
A safe room must have redundant communication systems and be hardened against loss of power, fire and attempts to smoke or gas you out of it. Stocking it with weapons, lights and medical supplies in case you had to make a fighting retreat is advisable.
I would strongly advise against installing so called booby traps inside of your residence. Booby traps, aside from being completely illegal everywhere, are equal opportunity in their activation, meaning they do not care if they maim or kill an invader or your wife or your child or the dog.
Aside from the crushing guild this would inflict on your soul, that also means you can go to jail for a long time for booby trapping your house, yes indeed.
You’ll be charged with manslaughter and you’ll do hard time. If you think I’m exaggerating, perform an online-search and you’ll find that these things happened more than once, not to mention that getting killed by your own booby trap in your home is a pathetic way to check out, don’t you think?
Traps have utility for catching game in the wilderness, and perhaps as defenses in a true TEOTWAKI or long-term WROL scenario, but they have no place in a home-defense plan.
- Avoid providing a potential burglar tools and weapons which can be used against you, such as ladders, hand tools, power tools and so forth. Keep all such things under lock and key and out of sight.
- Trim back any bushes that can block your view from the window and offer advantageous laying-up points to potential ambushers.
- Do your best to minimize outdoor furniture and heavy decorations that are perfect for hurling through windows and glass doors.
- It should not have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: always, always, always keep your windows and doors locked, even when you are home.
- Instruct your family members, especially your kids, to never open the door to strangers.
- Have self-defense weapons/objects placed strategically inside of your residence if you do not habitually carry one while at home.
- Be prepared physically and mentally for a possible confrontation with a burglar. Get in shape and stay in shape. Combat is mentally and physically exhausting.
- Have different escape routes out of the house if SHTF and prepare with your family for the eventuality of such an event. The main goal is to avoid harm if you can, and escape if you cannot. Don’t try to be brave and risk life and limb to confront the intruders needlessly or to protect belongings. If you can avoid the threat safely, just do it.
- Be aware at all times as to the whereabouts of your guns and other weapons inside the house.
- Last but not least, call 911 as soon as possible if emergency services are still available. Don’t try to be a hero if it’s not absolutely called for. Practicing with a spouse or family member to ensure one member of the household gets on the horn to the cavalry ASAP is good policy. Provide the operator your description and the intruders’ descriptions if possible and the presence of weapons if known. Also inform them of you exact location, especially if calling from a cell phone.
As a final thought, home invasions happen and can happen to anyone. If you’ve already accepted the fact that your house may catch fire at some point and you’ve installed smoke alarms, and have a fire extinguisher, the same theory applies to home invasions.
Your home, homestead, bug-out location, or bug-in location may very well be targeted someday by criminals so you must prepare accordingly in advance for a successful outcome.
I hope the article helped and if you have suggestions or comments, feel free to express yourself in the dedicated section below.