In the previous article (Part 1), we promised to examine the application of home defense mentality with the functional side: weaponry and practice.
Practical Preparation, With or Without a Firearm
The most robust home defense plan is one that is committed to memory & achievable in reality. Before actually looking at guns, let’s assume you don’t have one available to you - what would be your next best option?
Actually walk around your house & reconstruct some likely scenarios in your mind.
Yes, the dresser is an excellent way to blockade the door--but can you actually put it there in the 2.7 seconds you (*might) have before an assault?
If you have to improvise a defense weapon in any given room, take note of what you can efficiently:
- Pick up
Now, many people jump immediately to a bat as the next best option...and then proceed to place said weapon immediately next to the same front door the bad guys likely would have already barged through when you need it.
Even if that is a possible solution, walk around with it in your hands & (slowly - GENTLY) reenact swinging it all through the house.
Unless you’re sporting a 10,000sq ft+ ranch-style open-floor-plan mansion, there’s probably only one or two rooms you could conceivably get a full-range swing in.
Otherwise, you’ll just end up playing pinball with your own hallways.
While structural collateral damage shouldn’t be top priority in a fight-for-your-life situation, either way you have a severely reduced capacity for landing a damaging blow if you can’t get a good wind-up.
Furthermore, if a loved one is close by, the wind-up, a ricochet, or a swing-&-a-miss could land on them instead of your opponent. Similarly, a young one needing to be carried means you’re swinging with one arm. We won’t get into the physics of it here - but give it a try. Pick up a child in one arm & (again - slowly!) try to fend off an imaginary attacker in the hallway.
The point is not that you can’t or shouldn’t use a bat, but when you actually start trying to swing an object around with control in tight spaces, you’ll gain a more profound grasp on the difference between a weapon you can grip & control well & one that sounds like a good idea in theory.
Take an inventory: what are some items you would be comfortable keeping a grip on and swinging? Some everyday ideas:
Books, pots/pans, a can or other heavy object in a sock sling, light dumbbell, coffee pot, fire extinguisher, pen, carabiner (used as brass knuckles) flashlight, aluminum water bottle, a handful of salt or pepper.
Speaking of which, pepper spray is another common one. Seems like a great idea, right? Spray the baddies at a distance, they’re in agony & you make a getaway.
Problem is, if you’re close enough to employ this tool effectively in a closed environment, you’re also probably within range to feel the effects. Unless you’re certain 1) it’s not expired & 2) you can use it without getting caught in the crossfire, you just activated the world’s most heinous Febreeze.
This brings us to one of the best tools in your incredible, thorough, well-rounded, hero-worthy home defense plan: a gun that you know how to use.
A Gun You're Proficient With
For Kevin, it's his brother Buzz' pump-action BB shotgun. For you, luckily, there are more potent options around. As you choose your defense firearm, the most important factor to consider is how easily you can access and use it in an emergency.
Slight movie detour here, but the idea is crucial: a gun of any model is only as good as its operator. While we’ve established that a gun isn’t a plan in itself, being armed & knowing how to use one can give you a major advantage in a home defense scenario. A simple search will yield you tons of websites recommending their “top (5/10/21) self-defense gun models” - you choose the exact specifications for you. Here are some general considerations to aid your decision-making:
The shotgun is often hailed as being a reliable and affordable home defense option. Depending on the type of ammo used, it also has the potential to do significant damage to a foe while requiring less accuracy.
“Spray & pray,” however, is a dangerous game. And you’ve probably already learned: everything goes through drywall.
Bullets...hammers...door handles...fists...college roommates…
The “punch” packed by a buckshot or slug means a greater chance of collateral damage to your home or even loved ones.
Additionally, you could end up in a grapple for control over the weapon; maneuvering tight corners as you sweep the house means the long barrel is easier for a bad guy to grab.
Rifles face a similar issue with a long barrel, but are significantly more lightweight, with a low recoil. This can be a better choice for a novice as it’s also easy to equip with a red dot or flashlight for better target identification and a more precise shot.
And finally, the pistol certainly checks some important home defense boxes: it’s easy to maneuver in tight spaces, sufficiently accurate for in-home distances, and it possesses some serious stopping power. The intense recoil can be startling for a novice, so getting familiar with this type of shot through training (and if possible, regular practice) is going to be important.
Ultimately, the best [weapon] for home defense will meet 2 requirements:
- You have when you need it
- You will practice & become proficient with it
When you decide which model is the best for you, we’ve got your ammo covered - so you’re ready to take on anything, Kevin McCallister style.