Perimeter Defense: Beyond the Basics

Perimeter Defense Advanced

It is called “all round defense” because a threat can come from any direction. It is important that you know the area around the structure you are defending. Ideally, you have sketched on paper your property’s’ prominent terrain features, features that could offer cover and/or concealment to an opposing force or offer the same to you the defender.

Once down on paper you would then measure the distance from any cover or concealment that the terrain offers back to shooting positions, such as foxholes, spider holes, blinds and from the structure itself. You need to know the range, so firearms can be chosen for specific shooting positions, and then you can zero your firearms to that range.

Once you know how far it is to the big oak tree at the end of the driveway, you would start to note all obvious avenues of approach and the not so obvious ones. If you have a road that is accessible by vehicle up to the structure, for example, then you have to expect an opposing force may try and force their way to the shelter using vehicles. What weaponry or tactics can you employ to stop or to hinder an approach by vehicle?

The objective is to keep people from getting close or inside the structure, so build up with that in mind.

Obvious paths or driveways leading to the structure can work in your favor or work against you, and much depends on the opposing force. A trained force that intends to take your shelter is not going to saunter up the driveway, nor would they drive up unless they had the element of surprise and overwhelming force.

You would have to assume that a trained unit would have conducted surveillance prior to any attack, and would tailor that attack based on what information they had gathered. They would know the number of personnel you have, type of weaponry, and possibly your skill level.

You can of course block the driveways, paths and other avenues that would allow a vehicle through, but at the same time you would be blocking your escape, as well, if it comes to that. Untrained looters and others may very well think they can drive up the road, or even walk up the road, and thus, they are grouped together in an area of your choosing. Pick your battle space when you can. Do not allow the enemy to choose the ground upon which to fight.

If you do block vehicular access, what other ways would someone approach? This is how you would pick your battle space. Force someone to choose a path of your choosing, so you can plan for an ambush, and set the stage for the fight if you will.

If you put everyone that was in a vehicle on foot how will the group approach? If they are trained they will separate so they are not bunched up. Several will attempt to flank the structure and/or your guard units. They will try to penetrate your “all round defense”.

Untrained personnel will be noisy and will likely walk as a group through the brush. They probably will take a head on approach and head for the front of the structure. They will have guns and will think just because they are armed they are the superior force.

Once you know the skill level of the opposing force you can better define your defense. Decisions have to be made quickly however. Overwhelming force is just that, and so being ready to evacuate is essential. To safely evacuate, you need an avenue of escape. This can be difficult, because an escape route is also an avenue of approach.

You cannot wait until the enemy is banging on the door. A previous article talked about foxholes and spider holes, which are defensive, and observation posts respectively. Considerer utilizing both as you plan your perimeter security. You need to know early enough what size force you are up against so you can decide whether to stay and fight or escape to fight another day.

In most situations it will be up to you and family members, or in some cases, a small group to defend your shelter or compound. Looters and criminal opportunist can be driven off easily enough by one or two people, but a larger force not so easily. You need force multipliers, to augment your limited force. Some examples would be guard dogs, barriers like fencing, motion activated lights and other early warning systems that do not require monitoring by personnel.


Getting burned out or bombed. You could fortify your structure to make it less prone to fire damage, by building with stone and soil. To use soil effectively you could dig into the side of a hill, so your roof is essentially 10 feet or so of soil, or dig down into the earth and cover with soil. These structures are of course, labor intensive to build and not practical for most people and they would need an escape hatch.

Most homes are not designed as defensive structures, so it is important that you engage outside of the home, otherwise you could be trapped inside until your supplies run out, or you are burned out or the structure is destroyed by grenades or other explosive devices.