This has been a fun series of articles to write…at least so far. It is refreshing to get back into writing about really serious stuff. It’s also similar to writing my fiction books as well…and I always enjoy that!
In the first article I wrote about some common ways to strengthen your front door. In the second article I shared some hardcore ideas on how to barricade your door to hinder even the most committed home invaders. And then I touched on the “flight” aspect of the “fight or flight” options when serious danger comes busting through your door.
Read the two previous articles before continuing…it will help.
In this article I will talk a little bit about how to defend your home that is being invaded by a determined enemy during a grid-down scenario. I am setting the foundation that there is no police force available and/or capable of responding. In a TEOTWAWKI it may be a rogue bunch of former police or a gang, or simply bad guys hunting food that are the problems. In any event, for the purposes of this article…life sucks and bad guys are trying to do a home invasion on you and your family.
To protect yourself and your family you want to keep the bad guys as far away from you as possible. But, if they get into your home, your castle, you better be ready to defend your precious family. I call this the Castle Doctrine. Simply put, you are responsible for the safety of your home (i.e. your “Castle”) and all those that dwell therein. If you are not going to defend them, who will? Seriously, if you are not prepared to defend your family and friends that have taken refuge in your home what good are you? If someone else is going to defend them instead of you, is it really your castle? The whole concept of the Castle Doctrine is you being responsible for defending your home and the people in it. If not you, who?
OK, enough of me preaching! So…the bad guys are attempting to invade your home. You’ve taken all the reasonable precautions you could…but here they come. You ruled out “flight” as an option. You have decided to “fight” to defend your castle.
Your plan is to kill the bad guys trying to criminally enter your home. Scaring them away is not going to work. Simply injuring them, to try and convince them to stop their home invasion, is not going to work. Your plan better include the term “kill.”
Think about this for a minute, a well-trained and organized group of bad guys is trying to invade your home. To begin with, by default that means they intend to do you and/or your family grave harm. Now, you decide you will just shoot them in the arm to make them stop. OK, they stopped. Now what? Do you think there won’t be a next time? And, what exactly do you think their plan would be next time?
I hope that reality check convinced you to clarify your “fight” plan a little more. So, we’ve decided our plan is to fight, and we aren’t going to try and scare them off or just injure them. You are ½ way to victory now that you have clear intent. Now what?
First, let’s look at the psychology of what is happening. The home invaders consider themselves in charge of the situation, they think they are running this show. They know what they want to do and how they are going to do it. Your job is to disrupt their “heads”, get in their mind, and screw them up to the point where you are now the one running the scene. For you that have had formal training…you are going to get inside their loop…their OODA Loop.
So let’s get to it…
Their Expectations – They expect to come up to the door, and with some minimal amount of difficulty, breach the door and enter your house. Once inside they will proceed to whatever room they feel is the target of most value. And in their mind, the term “value” might apply to your wife and daughter, or food, or fuel, or valuables, or food. While doing so they will eliminate (i.e. kill) any resistance. It is your job to stop them from doing harm…stopping them at all cost.
My suggestion is you already started to defeat them with the measures you’ve taken that I already outlined in my first two articles. In their minds –
a) They know they were observed approaching the house.
b) They heard the dog(s) barking and now have to worry that they might be bitten and that the occupants and neighbors will hear the dog(s) barking.
c) They aren’t seeing as well as they would be normally due to the bright lights that they had to deal with as they approached the door.
d) Then they ran into a really well reinforced door that they are having a hard time breaching.
All of this is disrupting their plan. They have not expected this kind of resistance. That alone may have persuaded them to move on to easier pickings. But, I said we would be dealing with well-trained, determined bad guys so let’s continue. But, whoever they are, they have had their plan disrupted and they are now off their game a little bit and wondering who is doing this. What do you know? How well trained are you, and how badly will they get hurt at your hands.
Let’s take it up a notch. Since they were greatly delayed in breaching the door you have had time to respond. Your family is safely tucked away in the “Alamo Room.” You are now ready to get inside their OODA Loop even more. They aren’t expecting to deal with an occupant who takes the offensive. They don’t expect resistance until they enter the house. (Read the OODA Loop article that I wrote on 8/14/2019) So let’s disrupt them even further…
- From a window or some other opening that is safe and undetectable, open fire on those trying to breach the door. Or better yet, as they approach the house to being with. If they have not yet reached the house use a carbine, I prefer and AR but an AK is plenty sufficient. Just poor the fire on them, rain lead on them like they have never seen it before.
- A Beta Magazine System AR-15 100-Round Drum Magazine is a wonderful accessory for your AR. It holds a ton of ammo and let’s you cut loose without worrying to reload. While it may not be ideal for lugging around in the field, it is great for fixed-position stationary work.
- Add a Slide Fire to your AR and now you are laying out a virtually full-auto welcome mat to the bad guys. And since you are using it on an AR you have great shot control. (Don’t use if they have become illegal by a radical liberal President or Congress who have chosen to ignore the Consitution. However, in lawless grid-down…your choice.)
- If there is more than one defender for your home then get the bad guys in a crossfire as they approach the house, say about 10 – 15 yards. Now make sure there are no “cover” positions and you will cut them down so fast they will feel the heat of hell before they know what is happening.
- We will assume for whatever reason that the bad guys have reached the house. They are stacking-up outside the door waiting for their point man to breach the door with some tool or simply blow off the hinges with a shotgun. But remember, they are expecting you to be cowering inside in fear for your life. They are not expecting you to take the offensive. They feel that they are inside your OODA Loop. They will stack up o the hinge side of the door. It is easier for them to enter the house straight rather then make a turn…so they will stack on the hinge side of the doorway.
- However, they are now struggling to get the door open enough to get inside the house. Great!!! Use that time to convince them that is not a good idea. Start shooting them through the door. Or, unless you’ve reinforced your homes exterior walls start shooting them through a wall.
- Aim about pelvis/thigh high and cut loose on them. Better yet, get them in a crossfire so they can’t easily retreat in one direction. You are aiming pelvis high in case they are wearing body armor or have a shield. Once they go down, it is easier to finish it up, than just plastering their ballistic plates.
- But once again, you have to pour lead at them…I mean a whole lot of lead. Send it downrange on them so fast that they can’t take time to do anything but fall down. If you are using 30-round mags (loaded to 28 rounds I hope), then have mags ready to swap as fast as you can. Don’t let up until they are completely defeated. If you give bad guys a single break of any kind they will take advantage of you and kill you…or worse. Can you imagine two people unloading a couple of 100 or even 30-round mags on a group of bad guys!! You can fire 3 – 5 rounds a second with an AR, two people would be 6 – 10 rounds a second!!! Have a third person hold fire until the first two go empty, then the third person stars firing while the first two reload. Get after it!!!! Don’t give them any time or space to retake the offensive…pour it on and don’t let up. If they can recover the offensive…you are dead.
- Remember, They will be coming through the doorway once they get the door breached (opened). That is a 3′ x 7′ opening. If you concentrate on the thigh/pelvic region it is about 6 square feet. Aim at the small area and just keep shooting as they try to come in. Stack them up in a pile as they try to enter…they then have to climb over their dead badguy buddies to get in. That slows them down considerably. You can then shoot more badguys easier.
NOTE: If you are going to go all Rambo on the bad guys and rain lead, make sure your AR is really wet. An AR-15 is made to run really wet. Get it wet, keep it wet, and let it rain lead! (Read my article on Slip 2000 EWL that I posted on 8/2/2019)
- OK, for this discussion let’s say they have made it past the door and they are making entry. At this point I would suggest using a shotgun with 00 buck in case they are professional criminals wearing some level of body armor or using a bullet resistant shield. A 00 Buck round will hit them like a Mack Truck. Even if it hits them in a ballistic plate it will knock the air out of them, maybe even knock them out, and put them on the ground with ease.
- My opinion is the Siaga 12 shotgun is the best weapon for this scenario. The drum magazine holds 20 rounds, one in the chamber, and you can pull the trigger as fast as you want. Each pull of the trigger is sending a concentrated burst of nine 32cal bullets at them. I can get off about 2-3 rounds a second when I am on my game. Think for a moment if you are on the receiving end of that!
- If you haven’t already opened fire on them as they approached the house, and you were waiting until they came through the door, the home invaders will not be expecting someone to start shooting at them.They are probably thinking this will be just another “job” for them. You are really inside their loop, but the best of them have trained for this possibility.
- Here is the goal…your goal…stop them at the entrance of the door…the doorway. As they come through the door they can only come one at a time, and you know exactly where to aim…the doorway. They will be trying to come in fast and hard, they want to use violence of action. It is your job to keep them from doing that. Stop them as they enter the doorway. A side benefit…if they are coming in too hard and fast they might well trip over the lead guy when he goes down. Take advantage of that…they are stationary, easy targets. Keep them from getting up.
NOTE: There will be no time for a mag-swap! Have more than one shotgun ready, or more than one carbine. You must keep up the rate of fire to stop the attack. If you have multiple people stagger your fire. Make sure at least one person is always firing at the door. That means you must stagger your reloading. To be that disciplined you must train for it. Go out to the range and practice one person rapid fire while the other holds fire. Then yell “loading” so the other person can them open fire while the first person is reloading. Keep doing that until you have the process down…without having to think about it.
NOTE: If they are really well trained they may employ a flashbang, smoke, or gas. All three of those devices are simply to get inside your loop.
1 – For a flashbang, close your eyes, cover your ears, and open your mouth. The sound will be very loud and potentially disorienting. If you have properly planned ahead you are already wearing eye protection, electronic hearing protection, and maybe even have a gas mask ready. One they toss a flashbang they will immediately enter. They want to catch you while you are still disoriented. You must be alert! You cannot let them in the house! As soon as the flashbang goes off you must open fire! Just aim at the door opening and start pulling the trigger. No need to aim at a specific person or a specific area of the person…just shoot!
2 – For a smoke device, they will wait for a couple of seconds after deploying it while the smoke fills the space covering their entrance. The smoke will not hurt you! Count to two and then begin firing at the doorway even if you can’t see anyone entering. If they haven’t started to enter yet they will hesitate. You just got back inside their loop and retook the initiative.
3 – For tear gas, this tactic is meant to disorient and disarm you. With snot and tears pouring out of you it might be a little difficult to see what you are doing. Too bad! You either get your gas mask on or start firing at the doorway. Yeah, you may not be able to see the doorway, but you should have oriented yourself well enough that you don’t have to see it…you just have to pour lead into it. You must ignore the problem with the gas…don’t worry about it…you won’t die from the gas. You must pour lead into the doorway…or you may die from their lead injections.
Defeating all three – DON’T LET THEM GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO USE THEM! Yup, pretty simple…keep them far enough away so they can’t use them. If you are worried about the teargas gun launching round after round through your windows…don’t! They probably aren’t that sophisticated. And it they are…well, your windows and doors are prepared to stop those rounds and they bounce back into their approach route hindering their approach. Yeah, that means you have protected your windows just like your doors. Remember the hurricane/security film?
Couple of thoughts if they are still outside the house –
- If they appear to have one or more members of their team watching for an ambush (lookouts) then consider not shooting. I would suggest you tossing a smoke producing device in the middle of them if you can do it without being shot. That would really make them wonder what the heck is going on. You just got inside their loop, they haven’t trained for this specific option more than likely. So they have probably just hesitated to regroup or discuss their next step. Use that time!!!! Do something more!
- If they have a vehicle or two parked at a distance with people in it, open fire on that unit. They surely aren’t expecting that. I can almost guarantee you that the folks trying to breach the door will break off their effort in response to a firefight with their vehicle folks. And that vehicle is probably housing their command folks. They will regroup to protect their command personnel. If you are hardcore preppers and in a location you have properly prepared, you may have some external security folks pre-positioned. If so, attack their command post.
- If you really want to disrupt their operation light them up, I mean literally. If the environment and setting allows it, hit them with some version of a Molotov Cocktail. No one wants to burn to death or even get seriously injured by fire. Use that to your advantage.
Let’s go back, let’s talk about that they have resisted your efforts to fight them outside, they have breached your door, the plywood with bars or a cargo net has been defeated, and now they are making entry into your house. Remember, they are determined criminals, and if they have made it this far, they are probably highly trained. But, you can still win if you take the right steps, have reasonably reliable equipment, you don’t panic, and you have an unstoppable goal to win. Because winning means you protect your family from harm…your family stays alive. Losing means your family will be harmed by the bad guys and that is simply not an option.
Remember the story of the 300 Spartans? It is probably one of the most famous stories of fighting men in the history of the world. 300 Spartans held off a Persian army of hundreds of thousands. And it was brilliance and simplicity that they employed. The Spartans were some of the best warriors in the world, maybe ever. And they knew that one-on-one they could defeat an oncoming enemy with ease. The Persians used a wholly different tactic, they would overwhelm any potential enemy by sheer numbers. So the Spartans took that advantage away from the Persians. The Spartans took the initiative, they fought the Persians on their ground, they got inside the Persian ODAA Loop.
So the Spartans decided where the battle would take place, they took the ground in a very narrow pass where only a limited number of the enemy could enter at any one time. Some experts think it was an area where only about 12 – 20 men shoulder to shoulder could fit at any one time. That severely limited the number of men that the Persians could throw at the Spartans at any one time. Any more than that would stack up behind the men in front and thus be ineffective. And that put the advantage to the Spartans.
You do the same thing with your defense of your home, you stack them up at the door.
I have not seen where more than one man can fit through a standard 36” entrance door at any one time. So the bad guys will be coming through the door one at a time. That entrance will be made even more complicated by the plywood and cargo net that you have used to impede their entrance. As they appear in the doorway/entrance you shoot them. Yes, you can shoot them in the lower intestinal and groin area as well. Be cautious about shooting them center mass, some of the criminals now may be wearing body armor or carrying a ballistic shield.
One really positive advantage of shooting them in the doorway will be almost assuredly no one else will be able to get through the doorway until the downed man is move out of the way. That being said, it might not always be true. There are some folks that are trained to be bulldozers. Regardless of what happens to the man in front of them, they will push with all their might to get through the door…even if means pushing the dead guy into the room as he is falling. So you have to be ready to keep up a furious rate of fire at the door!
The area you are shooting into is called the “cone of death” for those entering. It is their goal, singular goal, to get out of the cone of death as quickly as possible by getting inside the house/room and away from the doorway. It is your job to not let that happen. So, a slow firing weapon is not an option. A low capacity weapon is not an option. You have to work the problem with a high-capacity, high-rate of fire weapon. An AR or AK with 30-round mags is my minimum recommendation. An AR or AK with a reliable (Beta Magazine) high capacity drum magazine, preferably 100-round.
A shotgun is an option for a one-man defensive action, but it must be a semi-auto shotgun with a high-capacity drum magazine.I already talked about the Siaga 12 with 20-round drum magazine.
An AR-15 with 30-round PMags is minimally acceptable. An AR-15 with a 100-round Beta Magazine drum magazine would be better. I would use a 62gr bullet, alternate rounds between a regular lead round and M855 AP round. That will help deal with body armor should the criminals be wearing it.
And yes, I am perfectly fine with an AR-10 as your weapon. A 147gr NATO round would work just fine. I wouldn’t worry about an AP round at this point because that 7.62 round is going to take any of them out of the fight, body armor or not. The only drawback to an AR-10 would be the smaller capacity magazines. If you have one of the 50-round X-Product drums, that would remove the only drawback of low-capacity mags. There would also be the psychological effect of that big gun booming away taking down the bad guys. Once gain, just be careful that you don’t over heat your weapon. You fire an AR-10 fast enough, long enough, the barrel will glow red. A POF AR-10 is probably your best weapon for this option.
Let me review a couple of things…there are a couple challenges to take note of here, and they are important –
- If these are really professional bad guys they may have a couple of tricks up their sleeve used in conjunction with breaching the door. Once they get the door open even a little bit they may throw in a flashbang grenade. It is not the end of the world. A flashbang is meant to disorient and disable you…not kill you. There will be a really, really, flash of very bright light. Along with that flash of light will be a deafening “boom” that is designed to render you deaf and very disoriented. You can fight through it if you are ready for it. Cover your eyes, or at least look away from the device and close your eyes tightly. Then cover your ears with your hands. Make sure your mouth is open to balance the pressure differences between inside of your ears, and the pressure wave created by the “boom.”
- Next, here’s the important point…once that device goes off they are coming through the door. There won’t be any delay or hesitation…they will come busting in. Your job is to stop that from happening. You have to starting sending lead into the cone of death as fast as you can, even if you are not taking true aim at the exactly right spot. Get your weapon pointed that direction and pull the trigger as fast as you can. You have to stop that initial entry before they can get through the doorway.
- If there is anyway you can have your hearing protection on you will really appreciate it. Not just the sound produced from the flashbang device, but just the shooting alone will be very noisy. OK, it will be absolutely deafening. Your ear protection will be a huge asset to you in keeping your wits about you and staying focused.
- Another option a highly trained home invasion team might employ is tear gas, or some other irritant. They will breach the door and toss in one or more canisters of gas. However, in this instance they will not follow immediately. They will wait a pre-determined amount of time to allow the gas to disable any potential person that might offer resistance. Tear gas, while very irritating, is not deadly for the average person. Someone with COPD might die from it, but not the average person. I have been gassed multiple times during training. While it isn’t pleasant, it is very survivable. With enough determination you can also fight through it. To do so, keep your weapon in your hands, stay focused on the cone of death, start sending lead down range as soon as people appear in the breach. As a side note, military surplus gas masks are not expensive and they could come in very handy. As another note, if there is an upside to this…I can point out two; 1) home invaders employing tear gas will not expect anyone inside to be prepared for it with a gas mask, you will catch them by surprise, 2) as they enter they will be wearing masks and their range of vision will be reduced by the mask. They will have to turn their heads to scan the area for threats…you will not, you simply have to stay focused on the cone of death and pumping a lot of lead into it.
Here are some interesting thoughts –
- Turn it around on them…if you have access to any kind of mace, tear gas, or other irritant that the canister can be locked open and dispensed you might want to consider employing it. When you expect that they are just about to breach put your mask on, deploy your device at them, and allow them to walk in to the enclosed area without masks. You instantly will have the upper hand.
- If you are in serious grid-down environment and you are truly expecting the real possibility of criminal home invaders that might deploy in teams there are a couple additional steps you might consider –
- Place a door stop in the floor so the door will only bust open about 12″ and then stop opening. This will truly screw with the home invaders. And it will severely narrow the cone of death making it even more deadly.
- Be able to place a trip hazard about 40” inside the door you are trying to secure. If the door is breached completely open and they come running in there is a high likelihood that they might trip over the 2”x12” board placed on its end and secured to it isn’t easily kicked over. Most people don’t step 12″ in height when they walk…they trip!
- Place furniture to keep the home invaders in the cone of death for as long as possible. This reduces the ability of them to spread out by turning left and right as they come through the door. The longer they stay inside that cone the higher the likelihood of you being able to shoot them. You can concentrate your fire in a very limited area making your shots very effective. Create a funnel or tunnel with your furniture to keep them in a limited space.
- If you really want to go all the way…use sandbags or equivalent. Build you a little firing pit wherein you can place yourself. The protection will reduce the chances of you being shot as they come through the door. Place it where you can shoot directly at and through the doorway. Make the pit tall enough that you can lie down behind the protection and easily see your surroundings.
- Make sure you have plenty of loaded magazines to easily swap out, and be proficient at swapping mags under pressure. That means practice it, especially in the dark.
- Anything you can do to disorient the home invaders the better it is for you. Focus extremely bright lights at the door itself. Use flashing lights (strobe lights) placed in different locations that face the door that will give the impression that there are more than one of you.
- Play really nasty hard metal rock as loud as you can to reduce their ability to communicate, and it will help disorient them.
- Slathering a whole bunch of oil or axle grease on the floor, especially with BB’s or marbles rolling around to reduce their footing might help as well.
Decide if you are willing to defend your castle and the people you are responsible for. Make a plan. Practice the plan…especially your shooting under pressure skills. Once your have assessed the need (i.e the grid has gone down) implement your plan…don’t delay!!
Once it has started…don’t give up. Keep pulling the trigger…never stop! If the bad guys win, your family loses. That is not an option.
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