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David Armstrong
March 16, 2009, 02:30 PM
In another thread, justinucus asked, "How can one reasonably harden one's sanctuary? Assuming that pouring concrete and installing a couple tons of steel is beyond our means, any suggestions...?" I thought that was worthy of thread all by itself. So how about it, folks, let's hear some creative ways to provide some cover inside of the home. Here are some I have used or seen used.
A good bookshelf, with a fairly small number of books, will stop virtually any handgun round, many rifle rounds, and all shotgun rounds except slugs. Large planters, filled with dirt, will soak up lots of rounds. Use the plastic/fiberglass types, not the actual clay and ceramic things. A cedar chest (hope chest/foot locker style) packed with blankets will stop a lot, and slow most others down to where they aren't much of a threat. Don't know about the new LCD TVs, but the old models are pretty good, depending on the size. If it is your own house, get rid of those silly hollow-core doors, and get a solid wood/metal sandwiched door.
Pax added a dresser with a pile of clothes in the drawers.
Any other good ideas?

Lee Lapin
March 16, 2009, 02:43 PM
Filing cabinets (full)

Decorative brick or stone interior half walls

Heavy furniture

National Geographic magazines on your bookshelves, packed tightly. Calendared (coated) paper is amazing.

Bomb blankets (you didn't say 'cheap')

lpl

FyredUp
March 16, 2009, 02:53 PM
I don't disagree with any of your ideas and they all make perfect sense. I would suppose though in my mind I am counting almost as much on the element of surprise to help me get the intruder before he or she gets me. If I am hunkered down in my bedroom, on the floor behind the bed, with a clear line of sight of the door and the door opens I have the benefit of having a clear target while the BG is searching for one. I figure I should be able to have 2 or more shots off before my position is identified. If I am a half way decent shot I should be able to hit the BG standing clearly in the doorway.

Vanya
March 16, 2009, 03:09 PM
If I am hunkered down in my bedroom, on the floor behind the bed, with a clear line of sight of the door and the door opens I have the benefit of having a clear target while the BG is searching for one. I figure I should be able to have 2 or more shots off before my position is identified. If I am a half way decent shot I should be able to hit the BG standing clearly in the doorway.

This is my plan, too -- I'd assume that one shot will identify my position, more or less, but I'd expect to get off more than one... It's about 12 feet to the doorway, so my chances of hitting a silhouetted BG with a shotgun are fairly good, I think. And there are boxes of books under the bed, so it's not bad cover. My other choice, in the bedroom, is to hunker down behind a combination of a bookcase and a chimney that projects into the room, but that would require me to shoot left-handed, which isn't what I'm most comfortable with, so I think I'll be behind the bed.

ATW525
March 16, 2009, 03:09 PM
You can get NIJ IIIA ballistic wall panels. While not cheap (I think they run just under $400 for a 50"x24" panel) you can get a few for a couple grand and use them to armor key defensive points in your house. For instance, you could armor the wall to one side of the bedroom door.

thirdeagle
March 16, 2009, 03:28 PM
I, too, have thought about this on numerous occasions. In short, me and my family have NO adequate cover in our home. We have lots of concealment options, but nothing that I would put my children or wife behind and consider them safe. All the plush sofas, chairs, etc will do me no good. I have no solid wood furniture that is not against a wall. I do have metal exterior doors and redundant locks, but the best me and my family can do is retreat to one of the further removed rooms in the house, protect the hallway and entry to the room, and wait for help.

OnTheFly
March 16, 2009, 03:32 PM
If you live in the fantasy world of Hollywood, you could always just hide behind a couch. They are impenetrable to bullets. :rolleyes:

Fly

bigghoss
March 16, 2009, 05:27 PM
If you live in the fantasy world of Hollywood, you could always just hide behind a couch. They are impenetrable to bullets.

not in "the Jackel" with bruce willis and richard gere:D

David Armstrong
March 16, 2009, 06:59 PM
I figure I should be able to have 2 or more shots off before my position is identified. If I am a half way decent shot I should be able to hit the BG standing clearly in the doorway.
As I'm not sure your bed will provide much cover for you, what do you do when/if you don't stop the BG or there are multiple BGs?

kgpcr
March 16, 2009, 08:34 PM
If i need cover i am hosed. That means i missed with my 12ga. If that happens i deserve to get shot. When i was in the Marines in a combat zone i thought this way but i dont think i need to in my home. I have seen what a 12ga does from inside of 20ft and it aint pretty. My 870 will so just fine so why worry about barricades and such. 99.5% of scumbags will flee after hearing a shot. the others will die of thier wounds before they can flee.

vsgonzo
March 16, 2009, 08:44 PM
my buddy at work told me that he turned his closet into a kind of safe room. invested in a steel door + frame. Then on the wall to living room there are built cabinets (people can't kick in at least plus give some protection.) The other walls have extra wood added to them and then sheet rocked again.

so kicking in is tough. I dunno about bullet resistance though.

David Armstrong
March 16, 2009, 09:56 PM
For those that managed to misunderstand the thread, it isn't a "how will you defend yourself." Plenty of other threads for that. What we were trying for here is ideas on how to improve the "I'm gonna shoot it out and probably win because I'm so good and sneaky" basics to "if I'm not good and sneaky enough what are some ideas to improve the long-term prospects of a gunfight".

JohnRaven
March 16, 2009, 10:15 PM
There a plenty of ways to add bullet resistance to walls in a home....BUT... Most of those ways are out of the question if you are not building the house yourself from the ground up...

This MIGHT be somewhat easy to do...

This is what is protecting you currently... Sheetrock, a few studs, wires & possibly a few pipes + another layer of Sheetrock.
On the interior of w/e bedroom you choose, add a big sheet of 1/8 3/16 or even 1/4 of steel plate + another layer of Sheetrock? Depending on the thickness of steel you use, I think that would stop most handgun rounds....

Thoughts?

onthejon55
March 17, 2009, 12:17 AM
You could get a really mean cat to defend you :eek:

David Armstrong
March 17, 2009, 10:37 AM
I think the assumption here is that we are past the attack-cat layer of defense and into the shooting layer.

armsmaster270
March 17, 2009, 10:54 AM
In the short term until it drails a waterbed has a lot of stopping power

Brian Pfleuger
March 17, 2009, 10:59 AM
My mattress is of the foam variety. I'm not positive but I should think that it would be fairly effective at stopping most rounds, especially since they would be coming at an angle and need to penetrate at least a couple of feet of pretty stiff, resilient foam.


I think the assumption here is that we are past the attack-cat layer...

NEVER underestimate the distracting capability of a cat that INSISTS on being petted.;):D

Brian Pfleuger
March 17, 2009, 11:00 AM
...double...

ftd
March 17, 2009, 11:02 AM
A wall of sand 5.5" thick sandwiched between .5" sheetrock seems to be pretty effective. Tests at -

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot7.htm

Brian Pfleuger
March 17, 2009, 11:06 AM
A wall of sand 5.5" thick sandwiched between .5" sheetrock seems to be pretty effective.

That would be interesting. You could build select interior walls from 2X6s and fill the wall with sand. Heavy and a pain to do but I bet it would work.

onthejon55
March 17, 2009, 01:54 PM
A wall of sand 5.5" thick sandwiched between .5" sheetrock seems to be pretty effective.

1. I would be worried about the sand holding moisture

2. What happpens when someone accidentally puts a hole in the bottom of the drywall? Sand everwhere and no way to stop it from pouring out while you are trying to patch the hole

Brian Pfleuger
March 17, 2009, 03:11 PM
1. I would be worried about the sand holding moisture

2. What happpens when someone accidentally puts a hole in the bottom of the drywall? Sand everwhere and no way to stop it from pouring out while you are trying to patch the hole


I didn't say it was great idea.:D;)

ActivShootr
March 17, 2009, 07:31 PM
Pianos. Lots of pianos.

jgcoastie
March 19, 2009, 03:25 AM
Our "safe zone" is on the far side of the bed. I've taken two sheets of 3/4" plywood and cut them to length and height and put two layers along both sides of the mattress, vertical. Thus giving myself and my family 1.5" + queen size matterss + 1.5" of protection.

Upon intrusion, my wife runs to get the kid while I guard the hall between our rooms with my G22 and 210L light. She takes the little one to the far side of the bed, grabs the S&W 642, maglite, and cellphone. She calls the calvary as I lock the bedroom door and shove a galvanized 2" pipe between the door and the bed to shore the door closed (it's a heavy *** bed). I join her and the kid on the far side of the bed and wait it out. We don't come out until the responding officers relay the all clear to the 911 operator and the operator tells us.

And yes, we go through fully pre-briefed dry runs about every month using my neighbor as the Bad Guy and also as an objective observer. (And yes, we use fake guns ;))

BillCA
March 19, 2009, 04:46 AM
Most master bedrooms are at or near the end of a hallway and have very little "common wall" with hallway space. They may have common wall with other bedrooms but that's not the point here.

If you have a little space, put a knick-knack cabinet or narrow bookshelf in front of the wall (in the hallway). If you happened to fasten a 1/8" steel panel to the back of the unit, so much the better. ;)

Protection only needs to be about armpit high at the door frame. This will allow a kneeling position while covering most of your body. Some kind of pedestal stand for an oak or cedar chest full of blankets or bedcovers would do fine, if a little short on height.

Just as important (to me anyhow) is to make sure that walls of the guest and children's bedrooms are protected from your line of fire. This means adjusting the layout of the kid's bedrooms so they aren't sleeping along the hallway wall or have the head of the bed close to that wall.

If you install the solid core door, also consider some "dead throw" bolts. These are usually used in double-wide doors to keep the non-functioning side of the door closed. Some use a metal loop at the bottom or top to retain the door.

Install the mounting piece with 2" screws. If installed vertically with a hole into the flooring, be sure to install a tight-fitting metal collar at the floor level. If mounted horizontally, one top and one bottom, be sure to use a 2.5" or longer screw to mount the locking loop end.

Vanya
March 19, 2009, 02:13 PM
Does anyone know anything about the bullet resistance of Wonderboard or similar products? The stuff is way denser and heavier than sheetrock, and it's not that expensive. I looked for a test on the Box O' Truth website and couldn't find one; they have test results for sheetrock walls and for ballistic nylon (which did poorly, BTW), but nothing for Wonderboard. :(

Seems a couple of thicknesses might be a good alternative to sheetrock for new construction, or for "hardening" a safe room.

Brian Pfleuger
March 19, 2009, 02:25 PM
If I was looking to reinforce just one wall, or just a section of a wall, I'd seriously consider something like 1/4" aluminum. I haven't looked recently but a few years ago a 4X8 foot sheet was like $400

PoorSoulInJersey
March 19, 2009, 04:58 PM
it depends. Are you planning on scattering cover around your home so you can stage a running fight? Or do you just want cover in one safe room?

It's a lot easier to harden on room than it is to scatter cover around.

jgcoastie
March 19, 2009, 06:26 PM
It's a lot easier to harden on room than it is to scatter cover around.

Not to mention a heckuva lot cheaper!!!:cool:

Deet
March 19, 2009, 06:33 PM
I am no handyman, I'll stick with the bullet proof vest,

THEZACHARIAS
March 19, 2009, 06:44 PM
Lowes sells 1/4" thick Lexan panels for about $5/square foot. You can double up with plywood underneath, screw them to the inside walls of a closet with a solid door, and paint them whatever color they where before. Call it $300-$500 depending on the closet.

pax
March 19, 2009, 07:03 PM
Are you planning on scattering cover around your home so you can stage a running fight? Or do you just want cover in one safe room?

Every house layout really has just one or two "most likely" lanes of fire, given your floorplan, points of entry, and living arrangements. Create some kind of backstop behind those "most likely" areas, and make sure everyone in the home has something solid to duck behind in their own bedroom(s), and you're a lot safer than you were before.

It's not that major an undertaking, if you remember that almost anything is better than nothing and that just because you can't do everything doesn't mean you should do nothing to improve matters.

pax

jgcoastie
March 21, 2009, 07:11 PM
I am no handyman, I'll stick with the bullet proof vest,

Never seen one of those before... Seen and worn many many kevlar vests... Not sure if a bulletproof vest exists. Imagine the manufacturer's liability exposure if such a product was marketed as being bulletproof...

Even if it does exist, I still would rather some inanimate object take the full brunt of a bullet. I've never been shot with or without a vest, but I can't imagine I would still be fully mobile and ready to defend myself... Even if the vest stops the bullet, you're gonna be in a world of pain that's almost indescribable. If the bullet is stopped, the inertia of the bullet as it slows/stops will still be fully transferred to your body. This could cause serious injury to bones and tissue, not to mention the possibility of severe internal bleeding if any organs erupt due to the force.

Just MHO...

David Armstrong
March 21, 2009, 07:22 PM
This could cause serious injury to bones and tissue, not to mention the possibility of severe internal bleeding if any organs erupt due to the force.
that will not happen, assuming the round is within the vest's designed parameters. You get bruised, and there have been a very few instances of a rib cracking or similar, but serious injuries and erupting organs are not going to happen. A fair number of officers have continued the fight with minimal interruption aftern being shot while wearing their vest.

jgcoastie
March 21, 2009, 07:39 PM
that will not happen, assuming the round is within the vest's designed parameters. You get bruised, and there have been a very few instances of a rib cracking or similar, but serious injuries and erupting organs are not going to happen. A fair number of officers have continued the fight with minimal interruption aftern being shot while wearing their vest.

Good advice, just make sure you ask the armed criminal who kicks in your door what caliber weapon he's using so you can select the appropriate vest.

If you'll read what I said carefully, I said these things could happen. And you verified that statement with your own(text in bold is my addition):that will not happen, assuming the round is within the vest's designed parameters

When it comes to SD/HD, I don't want to be making any assumptions...


BTW
This thread was asking for viable options for cover in the home. How many people will wear kevlar while they're watching TV? Under no circumstances am I saying that kevlar is not a great tool. No doubt that it has saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives. I'm just saying that it's not a practical tool for "hardening" the defenses of your home.

rantingredneck
March 21, 2009, 09:07 PM
Interesting question.

The only "real" cover we have is the wall that the gun safes are against and our dresser.

It's solid wood (no particle crap. and is 36 inches wide and full of clothing. It's also one of those half armoire deals so it's got a vertical board dividing the center. 3 layers of wood, not counting drawer side panels with plenty of clothing. I'd imagine it'd stop most common handgun calibers.

Computer hutch might stop a bullet. Maybe.

Our chest with extra linens in it might but it's not in any position that would help us.

Our kids rooms are laid out in such a way that their beds are out of the most likely lanes of fire if I were trading lead down the hallway with an intruder.

Thinking about this makes me regret going minimalist on my books and bookshelves a few years ago. It got a bit overwhelming and I sold off a lot of them...........not very tactically smart :D.

David Armstrong
March 22, 2009, 12:44 PM
just make sure you ask the armed criminal who kicks in your door what caliber weapon he's using so you can select the appropriate vest.
You don't have to ask the criminal anything. You select a vest based on what threat level you are comfortable working with. I'd imagine one could develop a vest that would stop a .50 BMG, but it would be to heavy, awkward, and expensive for most anybody.
When it comes to SD/HD, I don't want to be making any assumptions...
You are always making assumptions concerning SD/HD, just like the rest of us are. How accurate those assumptions are is a different story, as is how one chooses to respond to those assumptions.

Conceal Carry
March 22, 2009, 06:08 PM
use small sand bags made of polypropylene or cotton. to make it moisture free use PE inner bags. Sand is the best bullet stopper.

Glenn E. Meyer
March 22, 2009, 06:34 PM
If the bullet is stopped, the inertia of the bullet as it slows/stops will still be fully transferred to your body. This could cause serious injury to bones and tissue, not to mention the possibility of severe internal bleeding if any organs erupt due to the force.


I don't think you transfer 'inertia'. But this sounds like an energy transfer argument as compared to a penetration and destruction of tissue argument.

Vests are designed to spread the energy, esp. with pistol rounds. Rifle rounds are a different beast. If it were just the energy - your hand would erupt from the force.

Energy transfer as a crucial component of stopping power isn't that much of a factor with handgun rounds. If a home invader come in with a rifle - you are screwed with the common vest - which you aren't going to be wearing as you watch COPS.

sendtoscott
April 18, 2009, 06:55 PM
Every house layout really has just one or two "most likely" lanes of fire, given your floorplan, points of entry, and living arrangements. Create some kind of backstop behind those "most likely" areas, and make sure everyone in the home has something solid to duck behind in their own bedroom(s), and you're a lot safer than you were before.

That's basically what I'm trying to do on the relative cheap. Given my house and bedroom layout, I think a "bullet stop" on the back/side of one or two of my closets should be enough to protect my next door neighbor in the event of my needing to defend myself. I'm just looking for the lowest cost option (as opposed to the expensive options that I'd get around to eventually....).

If I can't stop a 9mm SD round, what's the cheapest/thinnest material that will take enough out of it so the neighbors don't have to worry?

hornady
April 18, 2009, 07:35 PM
Thinking out side the box. I just ordered one of these. My brother has one and it’s loud as Hell. Plus there is no monthly fee, and will call up to 6 out side numbers. A vest or fortified wall only works if you have time to get it on or get behind it, remember Murphy’s law. http://www.homesecuritystore.com/ezStore123/DTProductZoom.asp?productID=1164

GetYerShells
April 19, 2009, 10:31 AM
I am not really sure if there is any right or wrong answer here. Just looking around my room, I see nothing that is going to stop a bullet. I have things that will slow down a bullet but not stop one from penetrating. If my home was to be invaded I think my best solution is to hole up in the master bedroom, have my wife call the police, find what cover/concealment I can and wait for them to show up.

Cheetah-lagra
April 19, 2009, 11:55 AM
Not only can one take cover against projectiles, but against sight as well.
The problem with this — sometimes — can be that you loose sight of
your attacker, too. Rooms have dark corners and, depend on the situation;
you can use that to begin a surprise attack — don’t move to the dark if
the attacker is watching.

Creature
April 19, 2009, 02:33 PM
Not only can one take cover against projectiles, but against sight as well.

No...that would be concealment.

dresden8
April 19, 2009, 03:04 PM
What happpens when someone accidentally puts a hole in the bottom of the drywall? Sand everwhere and no way to stop it from pouring out while you are trying to patch the hole

You could pretend to be in an Indiana Jones movie and make a break for the door before it gets sealed up. Grabbing your hat at the last minute.

X - Man
April 19, 2009, 05:38 PM
It's good to think about this problem before it's needed.

My thought is to make up movable "panels", made of a square (48") of 3/4" plywood. Imagine the first square, then framed with 2 X 3's around the perimeter, topped off with the second piece, like a shallow box. Stands upright and is filled with sand. Would be placed in the likely lanes of fire. I choose 2 X 3's because using 2 X 4's make a bigger box with much more sand in between. Probably would weigh about 300 - 350 pounds. In combination with other objects in the room the panel should provide suitable protection.

It's funny, I've been thinking about this need and now it turns up on the forum.

Ian0351
April 20, 2009, 01:04 AM
So far I really like the sand bag/wall idea... If you found a way to segregate the sand into smaller units, potential for sand loss into the domicile would be mitigated pretty well. I won't pretend to know enough about construction to address the moisture issue. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment. I think the best, cheap thing to do is to place your bookshelves in locations where you anticipate fire or where you opposite from where you would be standing. Having read this thread I think I will try to find a good sized trunk or footlocker I can fill with phone books and blankets (maybe even something practical!) to use as a firing position...anything helps when rounds are incoming.

If I had a home, I would certainly want a "safe room", and would try to use the sand bag idea, re-enforced door, secure communications (something that can't be 'cut' or similarly disabled a la cell phone jammer). We have an awesome walk-in closet in this apartment that would work well for the purpose... but it's not one of the 'rooms' that I decorate and it's so full of stuff it's hard to move around in there.:rolleyes:

AZAK
April 20, 2009, 01:49 AM
I have lived in homes with interior log walls (log homes) and interior rock walls/river rock and masonry stone (real rock not fake). Both full height and half height divider walls.

I feel pretty confident that either of these two options would be more than adequate.

Part of the problem is that builders for quite some time tend to use the cheapest and quickest materials at hand, i.e. sheetrock.

I would say dogs are the solution to this question. Early warning devices and deterrent. You can shore up your house all you want, but most BGs are not too interested in messing with dogs; and if they are, you just may be in for a run for your money.

I prefer to keep the threat out of my home all together to begin with, and dogs seem to fit the bill nicely; but if a new home improvement project is a must: stone, rock or log walls.

raimius
April 20, 2009, 01:52 AM
A walk-in closet would be a nice place to hole-up. Especially if you stored some books/papers/hardwood storage in there.

For household items, I'd say hardwood furniture, books, and waterbeds would be fairly bullet resistant (bonus if you can combine more than one). Bookshelves give the added bonus of being useful for storage of all those books you just bought. Education AND protection! :cool:

Old Wanderer
April 29, 2009, 10:19 PM
While all the people posting on this and similar threads, 100% of the focus has been on HD in the case of a few people coming into the home.

Twice in my life (while in the USA) I have been right in the middle of Anarchy. 1965 Watts Riots, and 1992 Korea Town Los Angeles Roddney King riots.

Here you had really masses of people into looting and just general destruction. Seed like LEO were more interested in arresting shop owner trying to protect their property, than the looters. There was no one to call.

The $64 question will always be:

1. How to defend, and the appropriate level of force to use against large groups of mostly unarmed people, included "children".

2. How to shield yourself from harm.

3. What do you use as defense.

) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MEqZBAu0Vo

When this descends on you, there is no advance warning to prepare. You have what you have. In '65 I had a 25/06 rifle and 12 cartridges, I used 1 to shoot a Molotov Cocktail just before it was thrown at my building. In 92 I had a 45 and 2 7 round clips. I used 2 rounds aimed at a foot each time. Both totally discouraged further advances by large groups. The option of just treating them like zombies may work, but when order is restored, you will have a long time to consider better alternatives, compliments of your government.

I was totally exposed had I had any serious armed opposition, and still do not have the answer for my home, but thinking about sand bags (smaller one, easy to move into a bunker position, and just build a storage box to keep them in.