It’s In The Data
Gun purchases in the United States throughout March 2021 were at an all-time high. MSN Money says March had one of the highest-selling figures since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began recording them in 1998! The FBI records the number of transactions and publishes a list of how many are processed as part of its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). These record-breaking numbers are an astounding 4.7 million in a single month.
What this means is more people are buying guns than ever before. But why? The majority of people interviewed said they purchased guns for defense over the past year, especially while most of the nation was at home during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
If you have guns in your home for personal defense, are you prepared? We’re not talking about stocking up on plenty of ammo, though you need a good supply on hand. Think about these critical questions: Are you ready? Do you have a tactical plan in the event of an intruder? Where’s your safe room or meeting spot?
ARE YOU READY?
Self-defense mindset: Crime happens all the time. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or even where you are. The first step in creating a defense plan is understanding the level of alert/awareness and developing mental conditioning. Levels of alert can be categorized by a series of numbers, colors, or as simple as low, medium, and high ratings. I tend to stay at a relaxed but alert awareness level. This is known as Condition Yellow in the shooting industry. Every situation is unique, so there is not a catch-all response. Mental preparedness and preparation will benefit you most by being situationally aware of your environment, wherever that may be.
Specifically, at home, think about your entrances and exits. You want to map out alternative ways to leave your home just as you should with a fire escape plan. In the event of an intruder, most in the firearms education field will agree if you can safely get out, go. If you can’t leave, the next best option is to hide. When all else fails, you have to fight like hell.
DO YOU HAVE A TACTICAL PLAN IN THE EVENT OF AN INTRUDER?
In what ways would an intruder most likely attempt to enter your home? Make it harder for them to do so. You cannot control what a criminal will do, but you can make yourself a more challenging target. One of the best ways to avoid a break-in is to eliminate opportunities for a break-in to occur. For example; create the illusion of occupancy. Think about it, even if you live alone, the thought of more people inside the home could cause a criminal to pass over your property to an easier target. An unoccupied house falls under the same premise. When you are not at home, you still want to create that illusion that someone is home so that criminals will move along elsewhere.
Your Tactical Plan for Home Defense:
You may have the world’s best tactical plan in place – but if you don’t share the plan with your family so that everyone understands what to do and where to go, your plan will quickly become the worst ever.
WHERE IS YOUR SAFE ROOM (MEETING SPOT)?
Sometimes leaving home is not possible, so you have to hide. Because not everything will go perfectly to plan, having three options increases the chances one of them will work. If you don’t have a room you can dedicate, having a meeting spot will suffice, but the best place will be somewhere that will hopefully shield you from any incoming rounds of ammo. Hiding behind the couch is not a good spot if you can safely move to a better-protected area.
Once you have identified your safe room or meeting spot, it is a good idea to prepare items to store in that place. Hiding in a room or closet armed with a firearm and plenty of ammo is ideal. Studies have shown what happens to the body physiologically under high stress. Specifically, the first functions to go are your fine and gross motor skills. What that means is; as your heart rate begins to rise, you may not be physically able to rack the slide or toggle off the safety. This is why I prefer to store my striker-fired pistol in my safe ready-to-use, meaning it is loaded, the first round chambered, and the safety off.
What else should you have with you? A few suggestions would be spare car keys, cash, a backup phone, batteries/chargers, a tactical first-aid kit, flashlight, blanket, change of clothes, supply of current medications, a supply of food & water, and an emergency radio. If you live in a multi-level home, having an accessible ladder would also help you escape the house when it is safe to do so. The kit you create can be used for universal emergency purposes.
Take the time RIGHT NOW to create a realistic home defense plan with the checklist below.
Keep in mind unfamiliar voices could be an intruder trying to lure you from safety. Use the phone to call 911 and switch phones, tablets, smartwatches, and other sound-emitting devices to vibrate. When you call, provide your address, what is happening (an intruder is in your home), and describe the intruder if you can. Let dispatch know anyone else who may be in the house that did not make it to the safe room. Be sure to tell dispatch that you are armed. This will aid in officers when on the scene what to expect. When police arrive, secure your firearms (not holding them).
A central tenant to more intelligent firearm storage is to decentralize. What that means is not storing all of your guns and gear in one sole location. Or think of it like this: If you cannot escape your home or be able to barricade yourself in your safe room, you need to act quickly to defend yourself. Securing your firearms safely throughout your home gives you an advantage over the intruder. Read more about the principles of decentralized storage here.
Practice, practice, practice.
You need to practice your plan and evaluate your steps routinely. Making adjustments or revisions in advance of any potential home invasion will help you more than you realize. It would be best if you also practiced your shooting abilities. People typically go to the range to practice what they do well. That doesn’t help you – instead, practice what you don’t do well so that you will improve your abilities. Then look into advanced training, which includes shooting on the move, drawing from concealment, and shooting from various positions like laying down, kneeling, seated, and so forth. Remember, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to personal safety. Keep your head up, and stay safe.
Written by Emily Pritt