There is not a more disturbing scenario than having to mount an armed defense from your home. A home is a place of comfort, relaxation, and a place where your children play and grow. The scars of battle will affect a home just as much as they affect those that reside there and will never forget what transpired. As hard as it is to comprehend, it is still a bridge that must be crossed. We must make a plan for the worst and, as always, hope for the best.
Not long ago, I was asked by a friend who had just built a new home to assess the structure from a security standpoint and give him some recommendations on what types of weapons to use, what areas to enforce, and the best security system options. While we were doing the walk through, I could sense that every conversation came back to the type of AR platform and ammo I most trusted. After attempting to explain the difficulties of mounting an effective defense out of a dead sleep, I sent him to the master bedroom, and I went to the front door and imitated kicking the door in and rushing the room. His stopwatch had me over his bed in 4 seconds. 4 seconds from a dead sleep to gunshot doesn’t even seem plausible in my mind, at least of the chances that someone would be combat effective in that state.
He got the message and opted for a tactical shotgun bedside, a solid and secure door, and a perimeter alarm system. I also had to emphasize how important it is to remember “target and beyond.” Most any weapon you own will easily penetrate interior walls, and you need to have absolute knowledge of the destructive power and trajectory when planning what firepower to stage. Also, you need to think about how much time you have and what you can do to slow someone down who attempts to enter the home with ill intent. If I have to mount a defensive position from inside the house against an adversary outside, how can I fortify a modern stick-built and sheetrock house? For those of you with brick or stone homes, you stand a little better chance at defeating penetration by munitions. My home is one of those sheetrock and stick-built homes, and a good pellet gun could penetrate front to back. You always have the option to either throw money at it or improvise with what you already have in the home.
- Ballistic construction-Yes, you can purchase 4×8 sheets of level 8 ballistic paneling capable of defeating multiple 7.62 x39 rounds. The stuff is almost two inches thick, weighs fifteen pounds, and costs almost two grand per sheet. Each window will be more than double the cost of that. Even if I didn’t build the entire home in this material, armoring the room of the house that would be the best to mount a defensive position with is doable.
- Steel- There are steel roll-down options, both commercially made and homemade, but will look terrible, restrict view through “shooting slots,” and scare the heck out of the neighbors. Another problem with steel is that it must be fairly thick to prevent penetration, and it does not hold up well to multiple shots. The energy of the round has to disperse to minimize penetration, and steel doesn’t do that nearly well as composite or earthen materials.
- Household items- This is more my area. The problem is that not much will actually stop a bullet, but it will slow it or deflect its trajectory. I would keep a mental picture of where the bookshelves are in my home as well as thicker furniture. Another option is to visit your local Army Navy stores and see how many ballistic plates they have. Most of this stuff may be from the ’70s and ’80s, but it’s cheap and stacked up under a window, it could provide a little more security. The last option I will add is going to take work, but the best bullet stop you can find is sand or dirt. Sandbags are work, and a mess but are amazing at stopping bullets.
Now that we have some protection in front of us, we need to make an inventory of how we stage our home. Placing weapons and ammo in various areas of the home is the norm, but it is very dangerous if you have children and can quickly get out of control to the point that most families would opt for a more conservative approach. Along with defense, you must consider medical supplies as well. I have a few medkits throughout the house supplied with enough tourniquets and bandages for just about every limb on my family members. The bulk of these supplies are stored in the most defensive areas and are easily accessible from the portions that will provide the most cover and concealment using the landscape outside and not in the line of sight to the pre-determined channels I have established that we discussed earlier in this issue.
In closing, keep in mind that there is a balance to be observed when preparing a home, not only for its defense but also for its relative safety for your family to live and grow.