The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old April 17, 2014, 11:29 AM   #1
OldMarksman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 1,950
Risk Management and Home Protection

A couple of recent threads have addressed the subjects of whether to keep a long arm chambered for home defense and whether to carry a firearm when at home. Part and parcel of each was whether to keep guns here or there unsecured.

So, how might one go about making informed decisions? Let's look at it from the standpoint of risk management.

In any formal risk management process, the first step is to identify the risks. The second is to evaluate them in terms of both likelihood and the severity of potential consequences. The third is to identify potential risk mitigation methods and to analyze them from the standpoints of effectiveness, cost, and the possible introduction of other risks. The fourth is to decide whether to accept the risks unmitigated or to mitigate the risks.

Let's start with identifying the risks attendant to keeping firearms in the home, whether said firearms are kept for protection or for other purposes. The first and most obvious risk is that of having someone abscond with the firearm(s), but if the firearm is loaded, a much more serious risk involves the possibility of having it fired by someone else unintentionally. Keeping the chamber empty may mitigate that risk slightly but incompletely, and it introduces other risks.

The likelihood of an accident will vary depending upon whether children or visitors or repairmen are present in the house. But whatever the likelihood, the severity of the potential consequences is extremely severe.

The obvious mitigation approach would be to keep firearms secured or attended at all times. I recommend that most people avoid keeping firearms, and particularly loaded firearms, unsecured or unattended. In some jurisdictions, it's the law.

Now let's turn to risks associated with using a firearm for home protection.

No, let's back up a moment first and consider the risk of having one or more violent criminal actors attack family members in the home in the first place.

From the standpoint of likelihood, that risk is remote, or perhaps even much less than remote. For reasons discussed in this forum on more than one occasion, it is probably the case that, unless one lives in a gated community, the likelihood is not really dependent on the neighborhood. But the potential consequences would be extremely severe. Most people would consider it prudent indeed to at least try to mitigate that risk.

There are several ways, none mutually exclusive.

The first falls under the general category of "hardening". Keeping the doors locked, having strong doors, putting thorny plants and river gravel around or under windows, having exterior lighting, installing an alarm system, and making sure that points of ingress are as visible to the street or to neighbors as possible are all good ideas. The list is not complete. But even if all of these approaches ere implemented, determined invaders would not be stopped.

By the way, "determined invaders" are not limited to people targeting a particular family for the express purpose of harming them. We know of enough cases of burglars coming in to take valuables and finding families at home to give the lie to that oft-repeated assertion.

At some point, the analysis will encompass the question of whether to add a firearm to the mitigation approaches. That brings into play several questions:
  • Long arm or handgun?
  • Where and how to keep it (or them)?
  • What kind?
  • Loaded or unloaded?

That takes us to the next level of risk management.

We have already discussed the safety and theft aspects. Now let's address effectiveness.

The first and most significant risk, I think, is that of not being able to access the firearm quickly enough to use it. Many people visualize responding to a "bump in the night", but many, if not most, violent crimes in the home occur during daylight hours. One reason for that may be that the perps are usually looking for homes that are likely to be unoccupied, but the reason doesn't matter.

Whether one could access a stored firearm in time to use it would likely depend upon floor layout; upon the physical condition of the defenders; and upon the number of people to be made safe. In our case, we realized several years ago that the gun in the bedroom would be useless to us unless an unlawful entry just happened to occur while we were in the bedroom. By the way, "in time to use it" would likely involve a matter of seconds (I have experienced the unpleasantness of unlawful entry by violent criminal actors--in a very good neighborhood).

That thought process led to our decision to carry at home. Had someone suggested the idea to me six years ago I would have thought it preposterous, but I really had not thought it through sufficiently.

It is potentially the most effective solution from the standpoint of access; it makes leaving the house while carrying automatic and it reduces gun handling; it keeps the firearm out of the hands of others; and for me, it is not uncomfortable.

Risk evaluation should not really stop there. What should one do about the potential for hearing damage and for temporary sensory impairment at what would be a very bad time? Where would the bullets or shot go other than into the target? How many shots may be needed? These may influence the kind of firearm to be selected or the tactics or even the location of bookcases and so forth. The basic analytical technique is the same: Identify the risks; evaluate the risks; identify potential mitigation techniques; and decide.

One should do exactly the same thing in deciding whether to keep one or more dogs and in selecting the breed.

And in deciding the kind of training to pursue.

Incidentally, I spent a considerable amount of time in risk management during my corporate days.
OldMarksman is offline  
Old April 17, 2014, 09:36 PM   #2
Targa
Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2014
Posts: 73
I certainly agree with you that risks need to be evaluated. I live alone so that alleviates certain risk issues for me associated with unattended firearms but one that I have to take very seriously is my choice of home defense firearms and ammunition since I live in a town home. As far as external preventive measures, you hit on it with exterior lighting and our canine buddy's. A porch light and barking pooches are two of the biggest deterents for would be dirtbags.
Targa is offline  
Old April 17, 2014, 11:32 PM   #3
Model12Win
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2012
Posts: 514
I live alone to, but in a tiny studio apartment with neighbors next door so I have to be mindful of things like overpenetration etc.

I keep a revolver for HD because honestly my apartment is so small, someone could bash the door down and be on top of me before I have time to snap to and rack the slide of an automatic handgun etc.

I have a Glock that I really like, a 19, but I just don't feel safe leaving it out on my table with a round in the chamber. That trigger seems like it might be just fine for someone who is carrying the during day when they are fully awake and cognizant, but if I ever need a gun NOW and it's 3 AM and I'm cruisin' Dreamland USA in jammies, I honestly don't feel comfortable grabbing at the gun with a round in the pipe.

I'm actually sorta looking into a DA/SA pistol for the purposes of Home Defense. The only DA/SA handgun I've shot is an M9 in the military, and I really liked the trigger. I shoot DA revolvers regularly and have no problem with DA in general, but I want something with more capacity and perhaps is less noisy that the .357 magnum that currently sits by my bed.

It all adds up to a good excuse to get something like an HK USP 45 or a Sig P227!
Model12Win is offline  
Old April 18, 2014, 07:00 AM   #4
Dwight55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2004
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 2,562
There's an old saying that goes something like: "Much ado about nothing".

Thanks, Oldmarksman, for the effort, . . . but if we seriously have to do a detailed risk management analysis on something as basic a waking up and shooting an invader, . . . uhhh, . . . I think the compass is broken and we are just wandering.

The decision is first: do we defend ourselves, . . . or call 911 and hope?

If it is defend, . . . what weapon is available? It needs to be quick to access, quick to employ, provide immediate "hurting" ability, and be simple enough not to need to think about using. Think Kodak camera's saying "Point and shoot".

Beyond that, . . . sounds too much like a congressional hearing to me.

But then, . . . maybe I'm just too practical for this modern world of assessments, spreadsheets, databases, storage clouds, decision trees, logic ladders, etc.

May God bless,
Dwight
__________________
www.dwightsgunleather.com
If you can breathe, . . . thank God!
If you can read, . . . thank a teacher!
If you are reading this in English, . . . thank a Veteran!
Dwight55 is offline  
Old April 18, 2014, 07:32 AM   #5
kraigwy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 9,448
I think of "reality" more then risk management.

Alarms: Alarms are like calling 911, they rely on the response time of LE. Another problem with alarms one has to watch for. Do security companies respond or does the Alarm company rely on LE? A common occurrence is the alarm company notified the police when an alarm went off. Alarm companies charged the home owner for each false alarm. It was common for the alarm companies to make alarms more sensitive making false alarms more common.

The average burglary takes less time then the response time of LE therefore (assuming its not a false alarm), alarms in reality notify the police that a crime HAD occurred, and not that it will be occurring when the police arrive.

Cameras record the crime and often help in prosecution but not preventions.

Loud audible alarms do deter crime. The loud alarms scare off bandits often prior to entry, notify neighbors who will call the police eliminating the need for expense of hiring an alarm company. They are cheaper to install and there isn't an additional cost paid to alarm companies for false alarms.

Hardened entries: Unless you live in a bunker, its going to take about three seconds to kick in a door or bust through a window. That does not leave much time to hunt up your weapon, load it, or rack the slide. How many, regardless of where you are in the home can get your hand on your pistol and get it into action in less then three seconds?

Dogs: Dogs bark, its what dogs do. Most large cities wont respond to barking dogs. I'll use Anchorage for an example. We didn't respond to barking dogs, we referred the caller to animal control. Animal control normally didn't work at night.

In rural areas, again dogs bark, they bark at deer, loose domestic animals, squirrels, live stock, rabbits, or other dogs barking in the distance. Dogs barking is part of rural life. I have four dogs, it they aren't barking they are about to start. If you call the sheriff about barking dogs in rural area, you get a response of "SO what are we suppose to do about it". Chances are if the did respond you're looking at 30 minutes or more.

Safe areas: There is no safe area, yes some are better then others but there is no safe area. That's like saying there are certain areas where you don't need seat belts or smoke alarms. One only needs to watch/read the news to know there is no safe crime free area. I live in Wyoming, many would consider it a low crime area. In pure numbers that's true, but there aren't many people either. 5 murders per year wouldn't be considered a high crime area compared to a state that has 50 murders a year. Wyoming has 500K people, lets say the 50 murders a year occur in a state with 5 mil people, in reality the crime rate is the same, look at murders per 100,000 people.

Guns and ammo: Little J-frames don't hold much ammo, if you want more ammo you need a bigger gun, a bigger gun means its not going to be available because in reality, big guns are bulky and uncomfortable. Bulky and uncomfortable mean its less likely to be available. 5 rounds are better then no rounds. A gun is useless if its unavailable.

If you feel a gun isn't safe to be carried loaded or loaded without a round in the chamber, you need to re-evaluate your gun, training or both. If there is no guns laying around, there are no guns available for kids or other non-authorized people to get a hold of the gun. If a gun is on the person, its not likely a child or anyone else getting a hold of it without your knowledge. It also means you don't have to hunt it up if needed.

Long guns, if their available (we don't walk around with rifles/shotguns in our homes). They are difficult to use in small homes or rooms. They are difficult to use while carrying a shotgun, or phone, opening doors, etc. etc. They are fine in rural areas for protecting your pets or livestock from varmints. But for home use?????

Its all about reality.
__________________
Kraig Stuart
CPT USAR Ret
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old April 18, 2014, 07:41 AM   #6
OldMarksman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 1,950
Quote:
Posted by Dwight55: ...but if we seriously have to do a detailed risk management analysis on something as basic a waking up and shooting an invader, . . . uhhh, . . . I think the compass is broken and we are just wandering.
Unless I am misinterpreting your comment ("waking up and shooting"), it would seem that you have assumed that your invader will arrive during your sleeping hours, likely when you are in the bedroom.

But there is a very real possibility that it would not happen that way.

So, when you decide where and how to keep your firearm, you need to identify and take into account several risks:
  • The possibility that the intruder may enter quickly and without warning when you are in room A, B, and so on.
  • The possibility that someone may pick up your firearm and shoot it unintentionally.
  • The possibility that the gun might be taken by a burglar.

That's just the beginning, and those questions will lead not only to where and how, but also whether you will rely upon a long arm or a handgun.

And you are also going directly to the use of the gun. The first risk is that an intruder will enter your house. Might you not consider reducing the possibility of that happening in the first place?
OldMarksman is offline  
Old April 18, 2014, 08:06 AM   #7
OldMarksman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 1,950
Quote:
Posted by kraigwy: I think of "reality" more then risk management.
Risk management should always be based on reality.

Quote:
Alarms: Alarms are like calling 911, they rely on the response time of LE. Another problem with alarms one has to watch for. Do security companies respond or does the Alarm company rely on LE? A common occurrence is the alarm company notified the police when an alarm went off. Alarm companies charged the home owner for each false alarm. It was common for the alarm companies to make alarms more sensitive making false alarms more common.

The average burglary takes less time then the response time of LE therefore (assuming its not a false alarm), alarms in reality notify the police that a crime HAD occurred, and not that it will be occurring when the police arrive.

Loud audible alarms do deter crime. The loud alarms scare off bandits often prior to entry, notify neighbors who will call the police eliminating the need for expense of hiring an alarm company. They are cheaper to install and there isn't an additional cost paid to alarm companies for false alarms.
I agree with all of that. I consider the noise to be the deterrent.

We do not have an alarm system, for all of the above reasons.

Quote:
Cameras record the crime and often help in prosecution but not preventions.
Not that I have put them in yet, but they could also tell me whether there is anyone there, and where.

Quote:
Hardened entries: Unless you live in a bunker, its going to take about three seconds to kick in a door or bust through a window.
Likely true, but noisy river gravel and thorny bushes may deter invaders from selecting certain windows. So might visibility from the road.

And an extra second and a half might make all the difference to me. I carry at home.

Quote:
That does not leave much time to hunt up your weapon, load it, or rack the slide. How many, regardless of where you are in the home can get your hand on your pistol and get it into action in less then three seconds?
That, of course, depend upon where you are, where the pistol is and the condition in which it is kept.

A gun in an upstairs bedroom would not be of much use to a defender in the kitchen.

Quote:
Dogs: Dogs bark, its what dogs do. Most large cities wont respond to barking dogs. I'll use Anchorage for an example. We didn't respond to barking dogs, we referred the caller to animal control. Animal control normally didn't work at night.

In rural areas, again dogs bark, they bark at deer, loose domestic animals, squirrels, live stock, rabbits, or other dogs barking in the distance. Dogs barking is part of rural life. I have four dogs, it they aren't barking they are about to start. If you call the sheriff about barking dogs in rural area, you get a response of "SO what are we suppose to do about it". Chances are if the did respond you're looking at 30 minutes or more.
All true, of course. The question is whether the dog will alert me.

I'm not sure about ours.

Quote:
Safe areas: There is no safe area, yes some are better then others but there is no safe area. That's like saying there are certain areas where you don't need seat belts or smoke alarms. One only needs to watch/read the news to know there is no safe crime free area. I live in Wyoming, many would consider it a low crime area. In pure numbers that's true, but there aren't many people either. 5 murders per year wouldn't be considered a high crime area compared to a state that has 50 murders a year. Wyoming has 500K people, lets say the 50 murders a year occur in a state with 5 mil people, in reality the crime rate is the same, look at murders per 100,000 people.
Also true. The risk in a "bad neighborhood" is that of being mugged out doors. No neighborhood is safe from home invasion, but homes in some make more desirable targets.. That is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have when they consider home protection issues.

Quote:
Guns and ammo: Little J-frames don't hold much ammo, if you want more ammo you need a bigger gun, a bigger gun means its not going to be available because in reality, big guns are bulky and uncomfortable. Bulky and uncomfortable mean its less likely to be available.
True that big and bulky guns are less likely to be available, but one can have greater capacity in a smaller weapon. My Ruger SR9c is just as easy to carry as my Centennial.

But round count is only one issue. I prefer the sights and the trigger pull.

I came close to buying a Detective Special the other day (six rounds, better sights and better trigger than the Centennial) but it was no easier to carry than than the Ruger.

Quote:
5 rounds are better then no rounds. A gun is useless if its unavailable.
True fact.

Quote:
If you feel a gun isn't safe to be carried loaded or loaded without a round in the chamber, you need to re-evaluate your gun, training or both.
Agree.

Quote:
If there is no guns laying around, there are no guns available for kids or other non-authorized people to get a hold of the gun. If a gun is on the person, its not likely a child or anyone else getting a hold of it without your knowledge. It also means you don't have to hunt it up if needed.
That is indisputable.

Quote:
Long guns, if their available (we don't walk around with rifles/shotguns in our homes). They are difficult to use in small homes or rooms. They are difficult to use while carrying a shotgun, or phone, opening doors, etc. etc. They are fine in rural areas for protecting your pets or livestock from varmints. But for home use????
That is why I do not rely on a long arm.

Last edited by OldMarksman; April 18, 2014 at 08:12 AM.
OldMarksman is offline  
Old April 18, 2014, 07:12 PM   #8
Pyzon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 17, 2009
Posts: 270
My personal situation is no kids in the house, all brick house with no neighbors closer than 200 yards, and two house beagles that just bark because they are happy to be Americans..

Multiple loaded and chambered long and handguns are located in not visible strategic locations, locations chosen as "expected" places of ingress by the uninvited, day or night.

Good flashlights are also easy to locate, and motion detecting lighting is mounted on the home exterior shining out into the darkness.

And I think Dwight55 was operating under the presumption that we knew his targets were already identified as invaders before shots are fired, whether he specified it or not.

Personally, my quest is to keep it simple and uncomplicated, so that lengthy thought processes are unnecessary, especially in the fog of night and sleeping.
Pyzon is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 11:54 AM   #9
oldbadger
Member
 
Join Date: December 7, 2013
Posts: 24
Risk management

Evil has no geographic boundaries or a time table.

Even knowing this you will not be able to prepare for ALL scenarios, but you can think about it.
__________________
And if men are incapable of managing their own affairs, what explains the ability of a relatively small number of them to manage the lives of so many others?
Mark Levin from The Liberty Amendments.
oldbadger is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 11:57 AM   #10
OldMarksman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 1,950
Quote:
Posted by oldbadger: Evil has no geographic boundaries or a time table.
Excellent starting assumption!
OldMarksman is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 01:17 PM   #11
Skadoosh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 13, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,775
It is easy to develop mitigation measures when dealing with high probability/low impact situations.

The real trick is objectively assessing low probability/high impact risks...which can be particularly difficult when dealing with the various heuristics and biases of the assessor/s.

All to often I have seen risk management assessments become a wrestling match between two 'experts'.
__________________
NRA Life Member (2003)
USN Retired
I think that one of the notions common to the anti-gunner is the idea that being a victim is 'noble'; as if it is better to be noble in your suffering than disruptive in your own defense.
Skadoosh is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 01:43 PM   #12
manta49
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 15, 2011
Location: N Ireland. UK.
Posts: 1,270
Quote:
If you feel a gun isn't safe to be carried loaded or loaded without a round in the chamber, you need to re-evaluate your gun, training or both.
A view I see all the time on this forum. Without knowing the person's background or training, I would find that arrogant and condescending.


Quote:
Hardened entries: Unless you live in a bunker, its going to take about three seconds to kick in a door or bust through a window.
If that's the case the think people should be looking at before they think about a firearm is a stronger door or a way of strengthening their door. It would be more useful thinking about how to keep unwanted people out of the house than what to do when they get in.
As for risk assessments you can over think things, if we did risk assessments on everything we would get nothing done.
manta49 is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 03:13 PM   #13
OldMarksman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 1,950
Quote:
Posted by manta49: A view I see all the time on this forum [(If you feel a gun isn't safe to be carried loaded or loaded without a round in the chamber, you need to re-evaluate your gun, training or both)].
Yes, we do see it all the time.

Quote:
Without knowing the person's background or training, I would find that arrogant and condescending.
Actually, it is an informed opinion, offered by those who understand (1) how quickly an attack by a violent criminal actor is likely to unfold, and (2) that a defender other than a sworn officer may not lawfully draw until the danger is imminent.

Quote:
It would be more useful thinking about how to keep unwanted people out of the house than what to do when they get in.
One can make it more difficult, but one cannot keep determined burglars out. But yes, one should not ignore 'hardening' the home.

Quote:
As for risk assessments you can over think things, if we did risk assessments on everything we would get nothing done.
Most of us perform some kind of risk assessments on anything important. Will the plants freeze? What if the meat has spoiled? Might we be delayed on the way to the airport? Do we have enough meds for the trip? And so on. Should be automatic.
OldMarksman is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 03:23 PM   #14
manta49
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 15, 2011
Location: N Ireland. UK.
Posts: 1,270
Quote:
Actually, it is an informed opinion, offered by those who understand (1) how quickly an attack by a violent criminal actor is likely to unfold, and (2) that a defender other than a sworn officer may not lawfully draw until the danger is imminent.
People could have different reasons why they doint want to are feel the need to chamber a round. That doesn't automatically mean that they (need to re-evaluate your gun, training or both)
manta49 is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 03:30 PM   #15
Pyzon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 17, 2009
Posts: 270
Quote:
It is easy to develop mitigation measures when dealing with high probability/low impact situations.

The real trick is objectively assessing low probability/high impact risks...which can be particularly difficult when dealing with the various heuristics and biases of the assessor/s.
.......say what ?

I'll re-read that again tomorrow before I drink any whiskey and see if I can understand it.

Quote:
maybe I'm just too practical for this modern world of assessments
Yeah, me too.
Pyzon is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 04:36 PM   #16
Skadoosh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 13, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,775
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
If you feel a gun isn't safe to be carried loaded or loaded without a round in the chamber, you need to re-evaluate your gun, training or both.
A view I see all the time on this forum. Without knowing the person's background or training, I would find that arrogant and condescending.
As would I.

Quote:
Quote:
It is easy to develop mitigation measures when dealing with high probability/low impact situations.

The real trick is objectively assessing low probability/high impact risks...which can be particularly difficult when dealing with the various heuristics and biases of the assessor/s.
.......say what ?

I'll re-read that again tomorrow before I drink any whiskey and see if I can understand it.
That will likely help.

It seems to me that this thread is just a rehash of another thread that was summarily closed. Or am I having déjà vu?
__________________
NRA Life Member (2003)
USN Retired
I think that one of the notions common to the anti-gunner is the idea that being a victim is 'noble'; as if it is better to be noble in your suffering than disruptive in your own defense.
Skadoosh is offline  
Old April 19, 2014, 04:44 PM   #17
pax
Staff
 
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 6,933
It always makes me sad when adults stoop to name calling ("arrogant and condescending") rather than discussing the subject at hand.

Closed.

pax
__________________
Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13714 seconds with 9 queries