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Old March 16, 2009, 02:30 PM   #1
David Armstrong
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Finding Cover in the Home

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?
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Old March 16, 2009, 02:43 PM   #2
Lee Lapin
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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
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Old March 16, 2009, 02:53 PM   #3
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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.
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Old March 16, 2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FyredUp
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.
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Old March 16, 2009, 03:09 PM   #5
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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.
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Old March 16, 2009, 03:28 PM   #6
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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.
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Old March 16, 2009, 03:32 PM   #7
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If you live in the fantasy world of Hollywood, you could always just hide behind a couch. They are impenetrable to bullets.

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Old March 16, 2009, 05:27 PM   #8
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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
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Old March 16, 2009, 06:59 PM   #9
David Armstrong
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Quote:
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?
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Old March 16, 2009, 08:34 PM   #10
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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.
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Old March 16, 2009, 08:44 PM   #11
vsgonzo
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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.
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Old March 16, 2009, 09:56 PM   #12
David Armstrong
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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".
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Old March 16, 2009, 10:15 PM   #13
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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?

Last edited by JohnRaven; March 16, 2009 at 10:21 PM.
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Old March 17, 2009, 12:17 AM   #14
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You could get a really mean cat to defend you
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Old March 17, 2009, 10:37 AM   #15
David Armstrong
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I think the assumption here is that we are past the attack-cat layer of defense and into the shooting layer.
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Old March 17, 2009, 10:54 AM   #16
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In the short term until it drails a waterbed has a lot of stopping power
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Old March 17, 2009, 10:59 AM   #17
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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.


Quote:
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.
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Old March 17, 2009, 11:00 AM   #18
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...double...
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Old March 17, 2009, 11:02 AM   #19
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Sand

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
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Old March 17, 2009, 11:06 AM   #20
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
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.
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Old March 17, 2009, 01:54 PM   #21
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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
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Old March 17, 2009, 03:11 PM   #22
Brian Pfleuger
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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.
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Old March 17, 2009, 07:31 PM   #23
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Pianos. Lots of pianos.
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Old March 19, 2009, 03:25 AM   #24
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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 )
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Old March 19, 2009, 04:46 AM   #25
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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.
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