The number of firearm sales have skyrocketed given the current situation that’s taken over our lives. Many people are now first-time gun owners solely for protection purposes. To me, this correlates to a need for education. Just having a firearm in your home for protection in no way means you’re “suddenly safe”. Having a firearm for home defense is NOT a point and shoot cure-all. The possibility exists that the threat may be multiple people leaving you “out gunned” or, they could possibly possess better or more advanced shooting skills than you. In short, training is essential. In addition to that you must have a home defense plan that is understood by all living in the home.
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The first point I need to stress when having a firearm for home defense is to never seek out or search for a threat. This is not a Hollywood movie, so we cannot lean on what we’ve seen on television as any type of go-to training. The goal should always be to never confront. If a threat should enter your home the plan should always be to safely gather loved ones, get to a safe room, shut and lock the door, huddle in a corner with your firearm at a low ready pointed in the direction of the main locked door and call 911. Now, in route to your safe room, you should have your firearm in case of an incidental confrontation, and you may be required to save lives. This, however, is a sticky subject as a confrontation of this nature requires skill and mental training. I cannot stress enough the importance of legitimate and applicable firearms training. We must realize that your firearm is not there to protect the possessions in your home but rather the irreplaceable lives that exist there.
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The first step in creating a home defense plan is understanding the layout of your home. You must understand all entry and exit points in case you have a safe opportunity to escape. If not, you need to decide on a room that will act as a safe room. This is where you and your loved ones will go, shut and lock the door, get to a corner facing the door with your firearm at a low ready, if you have one, and call 911. In addition to this you should also create emergency plans for things such as fires, tornadoes, etc. Choosing a safe room cannot be random. This should be a room that is within quick access of everyone in the home. Understanding the layout of your home will help tremendously in making this decision.
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The next step in creating your home defense plan is understanding the use of deterrents. Avoidance should always be the key. A great way to avoid any type of confrontation is to have your home set up in a fashion that a threat would want to bypass it altogether. This is what deterrents are for and the following are some obvious yet wonderful options.
Next up? Home security system with alarms and cameras. This can be done through specialized companies that assist in monitoring your home for a monthly fee. Systems can also be purchased at very reasonable prices through sites such as Amazon or at big box stores. Even if you can only obtain a sign that states this home is protected by… is better than nothing.
Locks. Locks are so important and often overlooked as they’re taken for granted. But not all locks are created equal. Make sure all doors and windows have the ability to lock and are in good working order.
Dogs. Obviously, a larger protection dog is ideal but any type of dog that will raise attention through barking is good. Not only does this alert you to a possible threat, but it could deter an actual threat from entering your home.
Lighting and landscaping are key when creating your home defense plan. Invest in good outdoor lighting around the entire perimeter of your home. If a threat is clearly going to be seen, they will be less likely to attempt anything with your home.
Landscaping. Having landscaping under windows and near doors that make it difficult or even possibly painful to get to will deter a threat from attempting to enter. Anything with thorns or stickers or even just very large plants can make it more difficult for someone to enter your home.
I’m not going to get into what type of firearm is best to utilize. That would take more time than I’m allotted and most everyone has a different opinion. I say use whatever firearm you can shoot well and safely handle to start with. That said, one should actively seek out educational information regarding what firearm and ammunition work best for home defense.
I will touch a little on gun storage as where you store your guns needs to be a part of your plan. This should be a safe place where you can access your firearm quickly and either exit the home or get to the safe room. Decentralized storage (safely storing firearms throughout the home versus one central safe) is definitely the way to go. You cannot predict where and when a threat will enter your home, having your firearms safely stored throughout increases your chances of staying safe.
There are so many aspects to consider when building a solid home defense plan. These points however are a great starting point in becoming a solid advocate for your own safety. Once you have a plan in place, practice. Run drills with your family to ensure everyone can safely and effectively execute the plan you’ve created.
Karen Hunter, GetZone.com Contributor