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View Full Version : Bump in the night.... how do you search/clear


capflyboy05
June 8, 2011, 03:41 PM
If you hear something at night, how do you clear your place?
My house I swear is "haunted." lol.
I'll hear someone going through the drawers...
Then get down there with my Marlin 60 .22 lr.... :rolleyes:
To find nobody.
I'm not 21, thats why I dont have a pistol.
It's either the marlin, or my M91/30... :D
I wouldnt feel like cleaning up that kinda mess though. haha.
Anyways, just curious to see how others clear.
And do you practice clearing your place just in case something happens?

C0untZer0
June 8, 2011, 03:42 PM
This is why you get married and have your wife do it

ZeSpectre
June 8, 2011, 03:50 PM
I call out in a well practiced and authoritative voice... "We are all armed, the police are on the way, and I'm about to release the dogs...you should leave...NOW!"

So far that speech has impressed the hell out of a possum climbing on or back screen door in the middle of the night! :D

Kingcreek
June 8, 2011, 03:53 PM
I roll over and go back to sleep. Unless the dogs are in full alert and the alarm system is screaming, then I would make sure the spouse is next to me and the weapon is hot. No house clearing for me.

capflyboy05
June 8, 2011, 03:58 PM
I dont have any dogs, just two cats.. who are cute and cuddly.
They'd just play with the intruder. xD
We also have no alarm system...
I cant wait to get my own place.
I'm leaving soon for the military.
So I'll get a place off base, and get an alarm, with a pistol when I turn 21.

Webleymkv
June 8, 2011, 04:04 PM
I usually investigate with a handgun while having another family member back me up with either a rifle or shotgun. If I were certain that someone was trying to break in, I would simply barricade and call 911, but calling 911 everytime someone in the house thought they heard something isn't very practical.

g.willikers
June 8, 2011, 04:12 PM
House clearing isn't for sissies.
Or for the untrained, either.
Anyone who has trained for it can verify, it's hard to survive even a practice one.
But if you insist on trying, at least buy some of the training videos.
Better, yet, use house alarms that protect your bedroom, have a good lock on the door, keep a cell phone there and stay there, until you absolutely know that it's safe to leave.
Running around, against unknown odds, is not a good idea.

OldMarksman
June 8, 2011, 04:16 PM
Posted by capflyboy05: I'll hear someone going through the drawers...
Then get down there with my Marlin 60 .22 lr....
To find nobody.

This has been discussed numerous times at great length. Use the search function.

Most people who have "successfully cleared" their homes have been successful for the same reason: there was no one there.

FoF training and simulation have demonstrated that one who attempts to clear a house alone, even a house that one knows inside out in the dark, is most unlikely to prevail. Think about it--while one is searching, one can be ambushed by however many people are in the house, and unlike the resident, they will not have to identify their target before firing. Trained professionals with the right equipment do not clear structures alone.

If you believe there is someone inside who should not be, or someone trying to get inside, and if there are family members who need to be brought to safety, going forth to do that is a necessity. It's dangerous, but you have to do it.

Otherwise, stay put. You want to be on the defensive. The guy who loses is the one who walks into the other guy's ambush. Let it be yours.

Learn to distinguish between noises made by a branch or screen door blowing in the wind, a scratching raccoon, the ice maker or a falling book and the repetitive sounds of an intruder. Listen and see if the noise repeats itself. If you do have reason to suspect that there is danger, call 911 and get into a defensive position and wait.

Oh, and do not shoot until you have made certain that the person coming in is not a family member or a fireman coming to rescue you.

Passive protection, such as river gravel under windows, rosebushes, and bells hanging on door knobs are a good idea, and inexpensive closed circuit televisions can give you eyes in other rooms.

Frank Ettin
June 8, 2011, 04:17 PM
If you hear something at night, how do you clear your place?...
We've talked about this a bit here already. See these threads --

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=379063

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=365308

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=328646

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=317285

Solo house clearing is generally a pretty bad idea, especially for people without training. And people who have had training will want to avoid it unless absolutely necessary (such as to round up stray innocents and get them to a place of safety).

And I just recently got back from my third trip to Gunsite (for an Intermediate Handgun class (350)) (http://ezine.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=87). We did several solo clearing exercises (3 indoors and 3 outdoors) plus a force-on-force exercise with simunitions. That further reinforced my past training that solo house clearing is a lousy idea unless absolutely necessary. Actually, being necessary doesn't make it a good idea; it only makes it necessary even though it continues to be a bad idea. (And note that people who do this sort of thing for a living do it in a group.)

If you think there really is an intruder in the house, get everyone who should be there to a defensible place of safety; call the police; and wait.

capflyboy05
June 8, 2011, 04:18 PM
Thats how I feel.
I've been watching some of those.
I dont live in an area where theres a high crime rate at all.
I figure I wont ever clear unless someone in my family is in immediate danger.
Otherwise, I'd wait to see if they were just robbing,
Or had an intent to kill, hurt, or otherwise injure me or a family member.
If they start coming at me with a knife or other weapon...
They can count on a few bullets flying their way.

sirsloop
June 8, 2011, 04:31 PM
This is my plan, considering only my wife and I are in the house with a dog downstairs. Note it does not involve me clearing ANYTHING. If I hear noises and the dog starts going nuts like someone is down there:

Quickly smack the wife to be sure she is in bed with me and to wake her up. Grab the 870, rack it, close the door (it should already be closed), have the wife call 911 immediately. BE SURE she lets the officers know you are armed and where exactly in the house you are. Tell them a code word like giraffe or something stupid nobody would ever say.

Get in your predetermined tactical position to lay fire on the bedroom door and wall, having previously had taken careful consideration into overpenetration towards neighbors, etc. Start yelling for the BG to leave and tell him you have loaded guns and are not to be ****** with. If you have multiple firearms in the bedroom, now would be a good time to get pistol in your wifes hands if she hasn't already grabbed one.

When the police arrive have them yell a code word that your wife has told the police over the phone before you allow them to come upstairs. Set the guns down, but not so far away that you can't grab em real quick. :p


Anyways, if you have strong suspicion that there is a BG in your house already, you are WAYYY better off waiting for him to come find you. A shotgun behind a closed door is a very good tactical advantage and a fatal funnel for the BG. Another not so bad idea would be to install a emergency light outside your bedroom, so if the power goes out it turns on. For one it will be useful for then the power actually goes out, and it will silhouette and destroy night vision of the BG.

OldMarksman
June 8, 2011, 04:37 PM
capflyboy, if after reading the above and comparing a couple of the posts you are thinking that I have learned a lot from fiddletown, who has participated in a lot more training than I have, you are right.

I hope you have found this helpful. We all have to learn some time. Years ago I found myself traipsing downstairs with my Smith and Wesson Model 39 in hand to investigate noises on a couple of occasions. Then, when I took my CCW training, I learned to "let the threat come to me".

Fact is, though, I should have figured it out for myself long before. If I go anywhere in the house and look toward the path I took coming down into the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, I can see that I was the proverbial sitting duck every time. The firearm in one's hand does not make one bulletproof.

9mm
June 8, 2011, 04:38 PM
You can own a pistol at age 18, just not buy it from any FFL.. Private sales, thats how I own handguns.

capflyboy05
June 8, 2011, 04:50 PM
True, but arent they breaking a law by selling someone under 21 a handgun?
Off topic convo. sorry guys.

kraigwy
June 8, 2011, 04:54 PM
I live in the country, there are lots of "bumps in the night" around here. I have a couple dogs, though I doubt they would hurt anything (they are basset hounds), they let me know when there is something to be concerned about.

They are friendly cusses, its easy to tell if its a critter or human. They think all humans are here to play with them.

Anyway, get a dog, after watching them for a while you'll be able to tell if its friend or foe.

Eghad
June 8, 2011, 05:36 PM
My dog will wake me up barking...is she hears a noise that is unusual.


She already wakes me up at 3am and 4 am to take her out every so often.

Frank Ettin
June 8, 2011, 05:38 PM
You might find this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8klAut0HqI) interesting. I just came across it. It's one of the Gunsite instructors, Il Ling New (she was an instructor of mine at a rifle class I took a few years ago) taking a student through a house clearing exercise. This is the first level handgun class (250), so this is probably this student's first experience doing this sort of thing.

Skadoosh
June 8, 2011, 05:42 PM
If your going to be in the military...you will deploy. Unless you're married, forget getting a dog. Besides that, dogs wind up being VERY expensive to keep fed and seen by a veterinarian with any regularity. Get an alarm system instead. It'll wind up being MUCH cheaper.

Boberama
June 8, 2011, 05:45 PM
I just send the dogs out.

^Above poster, there's more than one reason to get a dog.

Skadoosh
June 8, 2011, 05:48 PM
I am speaking as a dog owner ... and as an active duty military servicemember. I dont recommend any single servicemember getting a dog, especially just out of bootcamp.

Onward Allusion
June 8, 2011, 05:57 PM
capflyboy05
Bump in the night.... how do you search/clear

I turn on the TV in our bedroom and pan the various cameras in and around the house.

If I happen to see any intruders, my wife and I put on our eye and hearing protection, grab the AKs and shoot through the walls and floors. We then wrap it up by tossing a few flash bangs through the hole in the floor that we just made - just to make sure that it's safe to exit my bedroom. <ok, hope y'all know that I'm kidding about the flash bangs 'cause my wife would kill me. It would have to be OC canisters...> :D

FireForged
June 8, 2011, 06:25 PM
I can only speak for myself and my situation is unique to my specific circumstances.

If I suspect that someone may be in my home, I will prepare to defend myself and listen until I am sure one way or the other. If I become convinced that someone really has invaded my home, I am not going looking for them. I will call 911, remain where I am and prepare to act if they enter whatever room I am in.

Sport45
June 8, 2011, 08:19 PM
My response is the same as FireForged's above.

I don't assume unsavory characters are in the house and usually investigate noises (If I'm forced to) by just getting out of bed and seeing what it might of been. The most I do to prepare is pull on a pair of shorts if we have company.

If I do suspect someone is in the house our plan is to barricade, call LEO and defend our position.

mrbro
June 8, 2011, 08:39 PM
I release the hounds. If there's something there, my german shepherds will find it.

9mm
June 8, 2011, 08:57 PM
True, but arent they breaking a law by selling someone under 21 a handgun?
Off topic convo. sorry guys.


For FFL yes, but privately no.

No I do not clear my house, I did when I was like 12 though. Had a pellet gun and my dog lol! threw a treat in dark rooms let him go look around hahaha. :D

capflyboy05
June 8, 2011, 09:01 PM
LOL! :D

I like that idea. XD

TheNocturnus
June 8, 2011, 09:17 PM
My dogs would be barking so much that I could not hear any noise the BG would make. We have 3 dogs and 2 of them are kenneled at night, they are the barkers, the 3rd one would just cower under the bed. (Which is where I would want her anyway)

I would have my wife call 911 and I would hand her the 9mm while I grabbed the .40. I would tell the intruder to either leave or come back to us where all of the good valuable stuff was...then blast them.:D

Steviewonder1
June 8, 2011, 09:44 PM
Me I have re-inforced doors to my bedroom and the bath room next to it and into the walk in closet in the master suite in our home. I do have a full house alarm system for every point of entry. It goes off, we are into the 3rd level of protection with a large keyring of keys to send out to the cops thru the closet window when they arrive in the front yard to get into the house without breaking down the doors. I will have had 2 cell phones with me to talk to 911 for the issues. I am not clearing my 7000 Sq Ft. House. Let the pro's do that. I will kill anything coming thru the last door to my safe room if they can get thru it. The 911 dispatcher will tell me when they are at the first door. Yes it costs money, but my life and lifestyle is worth it. It does not cost that much to harden doors and door frames in places you own, and install an alarm system for the rest of the house. Just get one safe room and you should be good to go, and carry your gun, ammo and cell phone with you when going into the safe room. Good Luck.

cracked91
June 8, 2011, 10:03 PM
Im a fan of keeping the weapon concealed while you investigate, if you choose to do so. Even if just stuffed in your wasteband without a holster. If a BG did break into your house with a firearm, there is likely a chance he will hide and see you before you see him. While he initially may not want to add murder to his building list of crimes committed at that point, knowing the person searching for him is armed and may shoot him on sight is going to make his decision easier. Ill trade the second or two delay for the element of surprise any day.

For people with large families (like me) whether or not to investigate is not really a choice.

Steviewonder1
June 8, 2011, 10:06 PM
If with a family, get them together with you and do not go search out the BG. Set up your ambush in your safe room/area and wait for them to come to you and then handle business.

Frank Ettin
June 8, 2011, 11:16 PM
Im a fan of keeping the weapon concealed while you investigate, if you choose to do so. ... If a BG did break into your house with a firearm, there is likely a chance he will hide and see you before you see him. While he initially may not want to add murder to his building list of crimes committed at that point, knowing the person searching for him is armed and may shoot him on sight is going to make his decision easier. Ill trade the second or two delay for the element of surprise any day...That is inconsistent with all the training I've had. The gun and eyes work together, and the gun is pointed in the direction the eyes are looking.

If you have an armed intruder who is willing to engage, it's highly unlikely he will shrink from shooting you from ambush, even if he may think you're unarmed. An extra second or two in this sort of situation is far too long.

Where did you get your training?

cracked91
June 9, 2011, 02:55 AM
That is inconsistent with all the training I've had. The gun and eyes work together, and the gun is pointed in the direction the eyes are looking.

If you have an armed intruder who is willing to engage, it's highly unlikely he will shrink from shooting you from ambush, even if he may think you're unarmed. An extra second or two in this sort of situation is far too long.

Where did you get your training?

Army-based training at a vocational school during high school.

I was never "trained" to operate this way either. When we trained for room clearing, we trained as a team. I don't remember ever doing a drill where I had to roll out of bed in my underwear, disoriented and confused, and respond to screams coming from the other end of the house.

I was trained never to clear a house by myself. Ever. Sometimes we just don't have those luxuries as civilians.

We often ran, house clearing drills with C02 powered airsoft guns. It was funny, because even when we would hide 2-4 of the younger 15 and 16 YO kids in the house, and send one of the veteran army sergeants into clear the house, about 80% of the time they were shot despite doing everything right. Most times they just couldn't sweep the room with that flashlight quick enough. Also because there were "civilians" in the house, so they had to ID their target before shooting, as we do. The bad guys already knew: Flashlight=shoot.

There is not a single even relatively safe way to clear a house by yourself. Add to that fatigue and disorientation. Then throw in an armed intruder, who is willing to take a life, and has been awake for hours.

I could very well be wrong. I do not pretend to be an expert in anything. When I was trained, it was pistol about 18" in front of your face. Both arms brought back, elbows almost to chest. Lean slightly forward, don't cross your feet while walking. Eyes go where gun goes, gun goes where eyes go.

My common sense tells me that this formula will not work in all scenarios, the one discussed above being one of those. Again IMHO. I might feel differently if my house was smaller, with less furniture and hiding places.

I have surrendered to the fact that if someone is able to break into my house (I do have dogs and an alarm), has the intention or the mindset to shoot me whether they believe I am a threat or not, and is not a complete and utter idiot. . . Im probably going to get shot. I am going to have to rely on willpower to fight through it, and/or divine intervention to get me through. Maybe someday I will learn differently.

Putting myself in the criminals place, I know that if I were to break into a house armed, and someone were to awaken, I would be trying to get out as quick as possible while avoiding detection if at all possible. But if someone came around the corner with a gun and flashlight in hand, they would be getting shot.

BUT, I also am not a criminal, and therefore have different mindset altogether.

This is just the way I feel most comfortable, its all very much in my humble opinion, but until someone can point out a way I feel has a lesser chance of me ending up shot, probably the way I will continue to operate in a situation like this.

shooter_john
June 9, 2011, 02:57 AM
I wait... My wife and I's bedroom is on the middle level of our house (above ground basement and two living levels). The kids bedrooms are upstairs, and I would be greatly impressed if anyone could manage to gain access to my house from the third level. Even the main level would be pretty hard to fleet into without a lot a racket. I the main level is also covered in really creaky wood floors. I can't walk more than three steps without a loud creak, and I know where the bad spots are. I say all of that to say that I can pretty easily rule out bumps versus intruder(s). Lastly, I have big German shepherd that resides on he back deck, and the back yard is HERS!

So I'll wait to hear secondary or continuous noises before I even begin to be concerned. If I deem necessary, I'll wait on sounds and then go check on the kids to make sure they aren't romping about, but other than that I just wait.

As has been mentioned already, one man entry teams are a bad idea unless there are no alternatives. In my particular case, I'd have to choose between three possible options real quick in a real scenario... Wait, immediate ambush on the main level or as the BG tried to get upstairs, or beat the BG upstairs to protect the wee ones.
I've got a few years of SWAT under my belt, and I know what a raw deal solo work can be, but at my house that is what I have to work with.

As far as "practice" is concerned, I constantly visualize things and "what if" myself when moving through my house or any other structure. Visualization is pretty widely taught among LE and at least it gives your brain something to fall back to if you end up in a real situation similar to something you've already worked through mentally. That's certainly no new or magic technique, but it isn't something that I was completely aware of at your age.

Dr. Strangelove
June 9, 2011, 03:39 AM
I dont have any dogs, just two cats.. who are cute and cuddly.
They'd just play with the intruder. xD

My former cat would always sleep with me, he'd wake me up if he heard anything that was abnormal. He ran for the front door if the bell rang to check out the visitors. If I had overnight guests in the spare room, he would stand awake at the end of their bed and stare at them all night. (made quite a few folks uncomfortable) If I had a new girl over he would get in bed between us and growl if she tried to touch me, until I told him it was OK.

He was a super cool, super smart, badass cat. Most aren't like that, but watch your cats' behavior. They alert on strange sounds, watch where their ears point, that's where the strange sound is located.

Dwight55
June 9, 2011, 06:38 AM
ALL buildings creak, . . . groan, . . . and go "thump" as they warm up or cool down during the day. My personally hand built house is no exception, . . . but if one lives there long enough, . . . and is observant, . . . you'll know 99% of the time if it is "normal" for that sound to occur.

When it is NOT normal, . . . arm yourself, . . . stay put, . . . let the threat come to you.

There is no one on this planet who can sweep / clear a normal house safely by themselves, . . . the danger is far too much to attempt it. Call out the LEO's, . . . they get paid to do this, . . . they train for it, . . . they have the equipment and the back up.

May God bless,
Dwight

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2011, 09:36 AM
....There is not a single even relatively safe way to clear a house by yourself. ....I agree.

.... When I was trained, it was pistol about 18" in front of your face. Both arms brought back, elbows almost to chest. Lean slightly forward, don't cross your feet while walking. Eyes go where gun goes, gun goes where eyes go....So attempting clearing with your gun concealed is also inconsistent with the way you've been trained.

....until someone can point out a way I feel has a lesser chance of me ending up shot, probably [gun concealed] the way I will continue to operate in a situation like this. Based on my training, I'd say you have a lesser chance of getting shot if you do it the way you were initially trained -- that is if you have to do it at all.

cracked91
June 9, 2011, 04:48 PM
So attempting clearing with your gun concealed is also inconsistent with the way you've been trained

True. Although clearing by myself is also inconsistent with the way I have been trained.

I guess it would depend on the situation.

sigxder
June 12, 2011, 02:09 AM
You don't clear a house. It's too dangerous. Why do you think when SWAT teams clear a house they go in with shotguns, subguns, bullet proof vests and a medic? Becuase it is dangerous. If you are in a hallway you are in a "cone of death". The best thing to if you're sure something is wrong is to get behind some cover, hit 911 on your cell phone, and have your gun ready. Stay on the line with the 911 operator. If you have other family you have to get to in the house then you may have to go and them. Get some training in what to do. Have plans with the rest of the family if something like this happens. Let them take t.v.'s or whatever. You can get another t.v.. You can't get another you or family member.
And if it is ghosts by the way I wouldn't worry. According to folks who study such things 95% of the time they are just letting you know they are their. Vey few exorcist type things. LOL! Stay safe.

DRBoyle
June 12, 2011, 02:34 AM
Edit- Nevermind the original message. The post with the vid from fiddletown starts to answer that question. Thank you sir.