It’s Your Castle, Prepare To Defend It
Personal Security Options For Your Home.
You and your family’s security is not something to take lightly. It seems our world is getting more violent by the day. You need to always have a plan to protect yourself, no matter where you are. But a plan isn’t enough, you also need to have the tools to go with it. Whether you are at home or away, here are a few pieces of equipment to give you a little peace of mind if the bad guys come a’calling.
Wood fences work well, but block walls are the best when it comes to security.
Protecting the Perimeter
If we believe in the adage “A man’s home is his castle,” then we must prepare it to be defended like one. Let’s start outside and work our way in. Of course we can’t have a moat filled with crocodiles surrounding our house (although I’d like to!) but we can have a good fence. Many people have homes without any fences between their neighbors. This is fine if you trust everyone and everything. But I believe a fence is a great deterrent as well as an indicator of one’s intent. If someone has breached your fence, they are obviously up to no good. As you get closer to the house, take a look at your shrubbery and large objects. Do you have a lot of places for bad guys to hide while they get closer to you? Do you have stuff in your yard that obstructs your view of seeing potential threats? If so, get rid of it. If you can’t get rid of it at least be aware of it.
Quality door and window locks are a must, so make sure yours are up to par. How is your lighting? A porch light next to each door won’t get it done. I like flood lights all around the house. You can decide if you keep them on motion sensors or a manual switch. Be aware that motion sensors can be annoying if you have pets that will constantly set them off. Just because you have the flood lights, don’t discount the small porch lights. I have my porch lights set on dusk-to-dawn timers so they stay on all night. This is nice for a couple of reasons. It guarantees a light will be on whenever you come home late. It also keeps my house surrounded by light at night, which is a great deterrent. Remember crooks, like the cockroaches they are, don’t like the light! The same holds true for inside the house. Just because everyone is in bed asleep doesn’t mean you should shut off all the lights. Leaving some lights on inside the house is also a great deterrent.
A quality home security system can give your family added peace of mind.
A security system is also a great idea. A basic alarm with some interior motion detectors works well and can be had for as little as $20 a month. This provides good peace of mind when you are asleep at night or away from your home. A camera system is also a nice idea if you have the money; they have gotten much more affordable in recent years. I got a great system from my local warehouse store for about $400. It came with 8 all-weather night vision cameras and a 1TB hard drive. Installation took a little time but wasn’t too difficult. What is really nice is I can monitor the cameras from inside the house, from work via the Internet or when I’m out and about with my smart phone. The recording capability is great for viewing past incidents or copying for evidence if needed.
Just about any handgun can work well for home defense as long as you know how to use it.
This S&W 317 .22 works great for those a little recoil sensitive and it doubles as a great hiking gun.
With your perimeter secure, let’s discuss some valuable tools to help you deal with potential threats while inside your home. Not everyone wants a gun for home defense (believe it or not!) but if you do, there are some issues you should consider. Do you want a handgun or a long gun? A handgun is easier to conceal and store while a long gun is more accurate and potentially more intimidating to the bad guy. Most people know the sound of a shotgun being racked! A handgun takes a little more practice with to shoot accurately but will usually hold more rounds than a shotgun. If you don’t think you will shoot it often enough to stay proficient then you may want to consider a revolver. They are extremely reliable, even after being stored for years in a nightstand drawer. Just about anyone can handle a 4″-barreled .38 Special.
Some people prefer to opt for an AR platform weapon. This can be a great way to go if you have the right setup for home defense. I have a custom-built JD Machine .308 rifle topped with a Burris 4-12x50mm MTAC scope. I have also added a Burris Fastfire III red dot sight on a mount canted off to the right side of the scope. This combination allows me to deal with potential threats at any distance. This is by no means my first choice when I hear a bump in the night, but it’s a go-to option if I feel my Robar Glock won’t be enough.
Personally, I believe any gun is better than no gun, if you know how to shoot it. Smith and Wesson’s 317 Kit Gun is a small, lightweight .22 revolver with a 3″ barrel, 8-shot cylinder and fiber-optic front sight. This makes a great hiking gun for snake country or taking small varmints and will work for personal defense if you are recoil sensitive. Whichever weapon you choose, make sure you practice with it and not only know how to shoot it but also how to load it, unload it and clear any malfunctions that may occur.
The Gunlocker gun safe allows you rapid access to your firearm in an emergency.
If you go the firearm route, where are you going to store it? A safe is the most secure method for several reasons. Most states have some kind of law related to negligent storage of firearms. What this means is you can be held criminally liable if a child hurts themselves with your gun. Also, you don’t want to leave your gun unsecured while you are away from home in the event you are burglarized. The problem with a safe is they are usually slow to access in an emergency. The folks at Phoenix USA have solved this problem by creating the Gunlocker. This is a wall safe you mount between two standard studs in an interior wall of your home. Once mounted it fits flush with the wall and can easily be hidden by a picture or other wall decoration. The cool thing about the Gunlocker is the electronic lock. When you enter your code the door automatically swings out, presenting your handgun for easy access. A model is also available for long guns if desired, and there is room in either model for extra tools like a spare magazine and flashlight. The handgun model is so easy to install and convenient to have, you could put a couple throughout your house so a gun is always available, yet securely hidden.
Life+Gear lights are designed to keep you safe in any environment.
I recommend you have several high-quality flashlights strategically placed around the house. A good bright light is a weapon unto itself. If you doubt this, have someone shine one in your face and see if you can keep your eyes open. A trip to any gun show or sporting goods store and you will become dizzy with all the flashlight choices. A good light isn’t free, but it doesn’t have to cost a paycheck. Streamlight has been making bright lights for decades and continues to do so with an affordable line of rugged and blinding optics. Their ProTac 1L is a small single-cell pocket light that puts out over 100 lumens of light. I love this little light and it goes with me wherever I go, riding in my pocket and taking up scarcely more room than a Chapstick. As a primary home-defense light, you will want something a little brighter. Streamlight’s new ProTac HL 2-cell light puts out a whopping 600 lumens of intense white light from the C4 LED. It’s programmable and offers high, low and strobe features. This is a great tool to keep on the nightstand ready to go when you hear a bump in the night.
In addition to a good handheld light, I like to have a weapon-mounted light on all my guns. In a home-defense situation, you are typically not trying to hide from the bad guy once you have decided to shine a light on them. In this case, it’s nice to have a lighted weapon. You may want to keep your support hand free to hang onto the kids or call 911. Streamlight makes an entire series of weapon lights for this purpose. The TLR-1 is a great choice and very affordable. It features aluminum housing and a C4 LED bulb that puts out 160 lumens. It will stand up to rough use and give you years of service. If you want a laser on your gun, the TLR-2 gives you the same bright light with the addition of an integrated laser sight. A laser is a great intimidator and may help you avoid having to shoot someone. It will also help you hit them if you have to pull the trigger.
Leaving The Perimeter
As safe and secure as you now feel in your castle, sooner or later you have to leave. When I get dressed I have a set of items always on me. A firearm is a must. I have been given a right to carry a concealed firearm wherever I go, and in this world full of thugs and punks I would be a fool not to take advantage of it. In addition to the handgun I always have at least one reload on me, whether it is a TUFF Products QuickStrip for my S&W J-Frame or a spare magazine for my Kimber Solo CDP. I also keep extra strips and magazines in each of my vehicles.
I always have a small but bright pocket light in my left pants pocket. I also have a good pocket knife I keep razor sharp. I have been carrying a pocket knife since I was in grade school (back when it was ok to take a knife to school!) so I am always surprised when one of my guy friends asked to borrow it because they don’t carry one. Sorry, but I have to ask for their man card on that one! Finally, I always have a cell phone. My preference in a bad situation is to go the other way and call 911. I carry the other stuff in case I can’t. Whether or not you carry a gun, you may also consider carrying a small can of pepper spray. You will find more situations suited for pepper spray than lethal force. It can also be very effective on aggressive dogs. Women have it even easier since they can put all this stuff in a purse!
Since cars have storage space this is a great place to keep more ammo for your firearm. An extra box of rounds in the back (trunk or truck lock box) is also a good idea. Fast reloads should be kept close at hand where you can access it from the driver’s seat, such as in the door pocket. The door pocket is also a great spot for a 2-cell combat flashlight. I have deterred more than one aggressive individual with nothing more than a loud voice and 200 lumens of light in his eyes. The center console is a great spot to keep extra batteries for your lights as well as a good knife/rescue tool. A quality combination rescue tool can help you cut away a locked seatbelt and break out the windows in the event of a crash. Finally, a good GPS device is not just for finding the quickest way to dinner. Anyone who has gotten lost and ended up in a bad neighborhood would gladly shell out $200 bucks on the spot for a GPS to get them outta there!
Often when we think about outfitting our vehicle we think in terms of a natural disaster. But what about a simple problem like a flat tire or engine trouble? If your car breaks down, do you know if your cell phone has full coverage on all of your common driving routes? Bad guys are no different than any other wild predator. If potential prey is stranded in their hunting area they will find it. So to avoid this make sure you stay up on your vehicle maintenance. Find a good mechanic you can trust. Even if you don’t use him for basic oil changes, take your vehicle to him at least once a year for a preventative check-up. A few bucks now not only saves you money later, but may save your life.
If you do happen to break down, you need to be ready to get your vehicle back on the road. A good tool kit, some jumper cables and a can of fix-a-flat make a big difference. If you can’t get your vehicle going again you need to either wait for help or start walking. This is where a set of rain gear and a bright flashlight will come in handy. I keep a set of waterproof pants and jacket in an action packer tub in my truck bed along with several ponchos for any passengers. I also keep water, a change of clothes, gloves and about a half a dozen good flashlights in my truck. If I get stranded, especially in the woods, I want to be as prepared as possible to deal with any predators who may come around.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on the road to personal security. If you have any doubts or questions, consult a professional. The most important thing to remember is you are already armed with the most important weapon: your mind. Be brave enough to examine your life and look for any holes in your defenses. Either plug them or be prepared to defend them. Through it all, you need to adapt the proper mindset so when the crud and thugs come to victimize you, you will be able to protect yourself and your family, and win at all costs.
By John Russo