Home Defense during a Crisis


A crisis is stressful and emotions will run high. People after only a few days may become desperate and will convince themselves they and their family are starving and may turn against their friends and neighbors. Others will take advantage of the disaster, and begin looting from victims. Politics also plays a role and people will turn to their government for help and then just as quickly turn against the government, blaming bureaucracy and politicians for the crisis. You may encounter riots and demonstrations and once the demonstrators have had their way with city hall, they may turn their anger toward their fellow citizens.

Antagonists will infiltrate demonstrations and emerge as de facto leaders pushing their own agendas. You as a citizen must consider all this during a crisis. You may be confronted with individuals intent on looting or doing you physical harm. Not only do you need emergency essentials such as food and water you need to consider home defense as well. Looters and other criminal elements will be active almost immediately after disaster strikes.

Getting Started

Some people may believe having a firearm is all they need for home defense. A firearm is only a part of your overall security profile. Firearms in the hands of someone who is trained and confident in their abilities can be a deterrent to further action. Just the fact you have a firearm does not mean you know how and when to use one however. Home defense weapons must be chosen carefully. Keep in mind you will be likely operating in the dark in close quarters. You must know how to load and fire your weapon in the dark. The ammunition you use must be chosen carefully as well. In suburban areas, you have to consider round penetration. Heavy caliber rounds can pass through walls and even individuals and cause death and injury to others.

Consider a 12 Gauge pump action shotgun with an 18.5 to 20-inch barrel. Indiscriminate firing at an intruder can be dangerous to anyone in the area. You must learn target discipline and jacking and firing rounds blindly is dangerous because you can miss the target and give the intruder an opportunity to seize your weapon.

Shotguns with barrels between 18.5 and 20 inches are easier to maneuver in tight spaces. You do not want the barrel catching in doorways or dragging along the walls in narrow hallways.

Get to know your weapon by practicing on an approved firing range. For safety and legal issues, it is not recommended you practice in your backyard. For home defense, you must concentrate on loading and target discipline. You will need to be able to load in the dark by feel only.

Your ammunition is important as well. You do not want to cause injuries to others, so round penetration must be considered. Rifled rounds or “slugs” are not recommended for home defense unless you plan to defend a large area outside of the home. Birdshot such as #4 shot will stop an intruder at close range, but the penetration depth is limited, this does however, reduce the possibility of injuries to others to include your family and neighbors. Expect a range of 20 to 25 feet before the pellets spread and become less effective. You can also consider “00” buckshot or #9 buckshot for greater penetration up to 12 inches in some cases. Close quarter combat does not lend itself to aiming so essentially, you are pointing and shooting.

Handguns should also be considered in addition to a shotgun. Once the disaster strikes it is important, you have your weapons within reach. Carry the handgun with you as you inspect your home outside to let potential intruders know you are armed. Some criminals will use a pretext to talk to you and others during the day. They may pose as insurance adjusters or building contractors. If they see you are armed they may decide not to target you. A weapon is of no use to anyone if it is locked up during a crisis. If you have children in the home, you must always put safety first.

Steps You Can Take

Board up windows to prevent forced intrusions. Anything you can do to slow an intruder down will give you time to escape. However, avoid a bunker or siege mentality where you barricade yourself in your home. You will need an escape exit in the event of a fire or other event requiring a quick exit. Have as much illumination at night as possible to let looters know the home is occupied. Remember that you will not have streetlights or artificial illumination if there is a power outage. Once an intruder sees you are prepared and have taken precautions, they may move on to an easier target. It is important that you do what you can to deter criminals.

You must be pro-active when it comes to home defense. You must have the proper training if you have a firearm. The stopping power is not always the rounds in the weapon but the person with the firearm themselves. A trained and confident homeowner with a weapon in their hands is an intruder’s worst nightmare and the fact you are armed and ready may cause an intruder to exit quickly without you having to use your weapon.