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Old July 23, 2009, 09:16 AM   #1
ZeSpectre
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An Alert and what was done

We had an “alert” last night. In the end it was another non-event but since I think we all learn a lot from sharing and critiquing our strategies and responses I’m going to post what took place and leave it open to comment from everyone.

Our dog is a very alert and watchful, but quiet mutt. He almost never makes a sound except the occasional “yip” to alert me to the fact that someone or something is in/near our yard or a "bay" when he trees a possum. So when he went into full volume barking and baying indoors at roughly 2:15 AM I took it pretty seriously.

I got out of bed and by the minimal but sufficient light of the hallway nightlight I…
  • Punched in the code to open gun vault and retrieved my SIG 229 (which is kept in a ready state).
  • Got the Surefire 6P which I also keep in that gun box. (Note, this was a fumble as I kept grabbing the spare mag for the SIG and it took some effort to locate/grab the flashlight).
  • My wife grabbed the phone and her nightstand flashlight and went to “stand-by and observe” mode as I looked outside through the bedroom windows (I saw nothing).
  • Moving to the bedroom door I could clearly see the dog’s rump down the hallway, indicating that he was interested in something he could see out the front window. I took this as a sign that nobody was –inside- the house and moved cautiously down the hall to where I could peek out the front window.
  • With me present the dog quieted down to whining and pacing at the window. From that vantage point I could clearly see two individuals sitting on the front edge of my lawn. After observing them for a few minutes I moved around the other windows of our house and by the time I finished the circuit I was fairly confident that they were the only persons present and that they appeared to simply be having an argument of some sort.
  • At this point I flipped the switch that throws on all of the exterior lights for the house (including the new 500 watt floodlights) and LIT ‘EM UP! Both subjects jumped to their feet and walked quickly down the street away from my house.
  • I waited for a few more minutes, shut off the lights, and then observed a few minutes more.
  • I then rechecked the doors/windows, gave my wife the “all clear” codeword, gave the doggy a treat and made a “good boy” fuss over him, secured my firearm and flashlight, and went back to bed.

After Action “Self-assessment”

First, our dog is a GOOD dog <grin>!

Next, I was very pleased with how quickly both my wife and I were awake, alert, and ready to handle whatever the situation was. I won’t say we’ve done any sort of extensive practice but she’s put up with my insistence that we role-played through a few “rude awakening” scenarios to try and cover home emergencies such as fire, flood, or criminal activity. Even the minimal “dry-runs” that we’ve done were a HUGE help as neither of us “dithered around” wondering what to do, but instead dropped right into our action-plan roles.

I was frustrated by the “flashlight/magazine” fumble and I’m going to figure out a better way to keep the two items away from each other so I can grab them without looking. Even with the fumble I was “armed”, “lit”, and ready within roughly 18 seconds of being awakened by the dog.

We already had outdoor lights on the house for regular use, the floodlights and master switches are an extra addition I’ve just installed for emergency/special situations. They were worth every cent it cost to install them!

I didn’t realize until after the fact that I simply assumed (due to the dog’s posture and position at the end of the hallway) that nobody could possibly be in the house. Due to that assumption I walked right past the hallway door to the master bathroom without ever peeking in or checking that room at all. This could have been a serious mistake so I need to remember that in the future. I was, however, cautious about entering the living room where the dog was.

We usually keep a pen and pad of paper near the living room phone. The wife had borrowed it for her grocery list so I had to rummage around a bit to find something with which I could write down a description of the individuals in case the info was needed later. I had a conversation with the wife this morning about “borrowing” that pad and pen and how we really needed to keep something there and available. I’m considering adding a small pad and pen combo, or maybe even my old micro-tape recorder to the contents of the gun vault so I won’t have to scrounge in the future.

Critique and comments are welcomed.

Ze
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Old July 23, 2009, 01:51 PM   #2
CorpITGuy
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That response is hard to criticize, brother.
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:09 PM   #3
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I think instead of critique I will borrow some of your action plan and institute it in mine! Thanks for sharing!!
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:09 PM   #4
JagFarlane
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Couple of suggestions to help with the flashlight/magazine fumble:

1) I keep two spare mags in a plastic mag holder. Easy access and easy to tell what they are in the dark.

Or

2) You might want to try velcro. Wally World sells them in small, easy to use packs. Just attach one strip to the side of your gun vault, and the other to the flashlight. That way they're seperate but still very easy access.

Otherwise damned good plan man, and very good after action report/critique of yourself
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:12 PM   #5
ZeSpectre
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Velcro the flashlight... Pardon me while I thump myself on the head 'cause that's a great idea and I can't believe I didn't think of it!
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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I love dogs.

And have advocated them as warning systems many times on TFL. Nice to see you're of like mind.

I'd also say you did just fine. Since you asked for critiques, though:

1) I keep my SureFire on the nightstand, where I can find it immediately. A handgun is also within easy reach; sounds like you keep gun and light in a quick access lockbox. That makes sense for the gun, but why the light?

2) As you noted, you probably should have cleared the room you passed en route to the dog. However, in your position I'd have probably done the same thing you did, assuming the dog would have shifted priority to a threat that much closer if somebody had been there.

3) If you have landlines, just keep a pad and pen by each phone. Useful for messages. Of course, a lot of us don't have landlines any more... guess you could keep pads by your desktop and on the counter by the fridge - those are pretty standard places and easy to remember.

4) Adding floodlights was a good idea. Why not add some motion sensors. Seems like between the barking and the lights, the guys left.

5) Not sure if the edge of your front lawn would be considered "right of way." Guys may or may not have been within legal rights to sit where they were. Just something to think about.

6) Dry runs aren't a bad idea. Pretty rare among non-military and LEO, I think. The only civilian friends I have that I know have done dry runs of this nature are boat owners, and have done their drills primarily in case of a hijacking attempt of their 44' sloop in the Gulf or Caribbean. Last dry run I can remember in my family was a fire drill my dad ran when I was a kid.
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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I say well done. Clearing the room you passed would probably be good, but I'd guess the dog would be aware enough. So, you done good.
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:42 PM   #8
ZeSpectre
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Quote:
1) I keep my SureFire on the nightstand, where I can find it immediately. A handgun is also within easy reach; sounds like you keep gun and light in a quick access lockbox. That makes sense for the gun, but why the light?
Because although I have a bazillion lights (I'm addicted to flashlights) my wife has a habit of "borrowing" them and not putting them back (Kinda like that notepad I mentioned). So to be sure I have at least one good light on hand it's in the vault along with the gun.

Quote:
Adding floodlights was a good idea. Why not add some motion sensors.
I've actually had to disable the motion sensors except on our garage. We live near a big park and at night the critters run around and trigger the lights ALL THE TIME! When multiple 500 watt lights keep coming on all night every night it has the dual effect of killing your electric bill and ******* off the neighbors.
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:48 PM   #9
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Does the flashlight have a lanyard, or the provision for one?

Could you hang it on a hook on the inside of the vault door?
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Old July 23, 2009, 02:54 PM   #10
MLeake
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Just point out to your wife...

... how much lithium batteries cost, and how short the life of a lithium will be if she uses a SureFire as a regular flashlight (I found this out the hard way, not realizing I shouldn't use mine to read while camping... maybe 30-45 minutes....)

Depending on how money-conscious she is, that might fix the "borrowing" problem.

Then again, you know your wife....

My parents disabled their motion detectors due to possums, so I know what you're saying there.

Only other thought, at this time: Door locks, window locks, and stop bars for sliding doors - have you given them the same level of attention?
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Old July 23, 2009, 11:27 PM   #11
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The sensitivity of the motion detectos...

are adjustable.
I set mine using my dog for minimum sensitivity, that way the cats, rabbits , etc won't flip-on & off.

Other wise, It WORKED!
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Old July 24, 2009, 12:14 AM   #12
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I really don't know your exact lawn/home/street set up but at 2:15am a call to the police to report strangers having an arguement in my front yard I would deem as appropriate. I think that the chances were good that they may have been up to something no good and the police checking their ID's may be good information for them to have. Besides, sometimes that graveyard shift can get pretty boring and the officers may have welcomed a chance to check it out.
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Old July 24, 2009, 01:53 AM   #13
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Just for sake of finding a gripe! I would have secured my weapon before giving fido a treat and a scratch

Well done sir!
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Old July 24, 2009, 02:00 PM   #14
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Velcro the light to the door of the vault then its the first thing you grab when you open it. I think if anyone was in the bedroom the dog would have gone ballistic and alerted on the room not the front. Good job.
As far as lithium 123 batteries this is about as good as you can do. http://www.surefire.com/Batteries
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Old July 24, 2009, 03:28 PM   #15
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Good plan, good reaction

Really, this sounds like a nearly flawless execution. Yeah, passing the bath without clearing it... but with a dog that barks at guys 100 feet away, i believe if one was in your bathroom the dog would have been chewing a hole in the door to get at them and not staring out the windows. I am sure i would have made the same assumption.

It pays to know your dog and her voice. When there is a real threat, the barking changes - if you listen you can definitely hear the difference. Mine goes from bark bark to KILLYOUIFICOULDGETOUT and the tone is unmistakeable. Of course, so far it has just meant the neighbor's dog is crapping on my lawn (oops, i mean her lawn).
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Old July 24, 2009, 03:33 PM   #16
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Doesn't the 229 have a rail?
if yes (It seems a few do not...) why not put a light on the rail as well as another hand held flashlight.
That way, if you do not like to pan an area with a loaded pistol in order to illuminate, you have the hand held. on the other hand, if you are full bore, it's grab the gun and go, no fumble for the light.
An added bonus is if you do need to cover an intruder with the 229, you can pan with the hand held.
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Old July 24, 2009, 04:49 PM   #17
MLeake
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229 Rail

Depends on the model. I have a 229 SAS. No rail, melted contours. I never had a use for rails on a pistol. On a rifle, they can be pretty handy for optics or lights. With a pistol, since I have the option of using a free hand for a flashlight, I'd rather do that and avoid unnecessary muzzle sweeping. With a long gun, since there's no free hand, I am more comfortable with the concept of a mounted light.
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Old July 24, 2009, 06:24 PM   #18
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why gun in lock box when you and wife are asleep?

I am no less than an arms reach away from two speed loaders and my .38 special in a holster. (only to make sure the trigger is covered.)

sure other guns are in the safe and I got a 10 shot brit .303 rifle in the closet but I am not sure iif I'd like to take 18 seconds to grab a gun verses like 4 seconds.

any thoughts?
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Old July 24, 2009, 07:56 PM   #19
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I prefer to get uo and out of ...

bed before arming, at least i'm awake, then.

If backpacking then in holster inside the bag.
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Old July 24, 2009, 08:32 PM   #20
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even if you prefer to "be awake", at least put the gun in your nightstand - what if someone had managed to get inside before your dog sounded off? MY dog doesn't bark at all - she's an old Golden Retriever that thinks everyone is there to get petted from. Leave the chamber empty if that makes you more comfortable, but I would keep the gun and light a lot closer - might even look at putting a light on the gun (that way the wife shouldn't walk off with it....
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Old July 24, 2009, 09:30 PM   #21
ZeSpectre
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Some good responses here, thanks.

To clarify a few things. The gunvault is bolted to the bedframe on my side. Normally when I go to bed I open it and leave it open and so all I have to do to access the gun is reach down (much like having it on the nightstand). When I get up and head to work in the morning the vault gets closed to secure the gun while I'm away. Somehow I hadn't followed my usual habit that evening so the vault was secured not open.

My P229 pistols are all "old style" from the early 90's and have no rails. However, even if they did I'm just not keen on weapon mounted lights and far prefer (and have some training with) the old "Harries technique" so for that I'll probably just stick to what I know.
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Old July 24, 2009, 09:53 PM   #22
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What was Done!

+1 on all points. I have 2 new Glocks (G35 and G19) and both have rails and both now have lights. No locked safe as no children in the house, but the bedside stand has the G19 with light and night sites also has a two mag pouch with a 30 inch leather strap in the belt loop. Easier to swing over your head and drop on your chest than get more clothes on with a belt to clamp on a paddle mag and holster rig. Very little noise to get into action and then check things.
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Old July 24, 2009, 10:32 PM   #23
ZeSpectre
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Hrmmm, you made me think of something I hadn't considered before.

To wit, if I had needed both hands for something I'm not sure what I'd do with the gun (I'm sure as hell not sticking it in my waistband).

I have a paddle holster that I may stick in the top drawer of the nightstand for future use.
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Old July 24, 2009, 11:20 PM   #24
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I'm taking notes, ZeSpectre. I don't see anything to criticize, but I'm a rank amateur so don't take that too seriously. That some of the other guys in this thread found little or nothing to criticize, though, should reassure you. ;-)
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Old July 25, 2009, 03:45 AM   #25
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I think you did well from your description. Not much to criticize that you haven't thought of already.
  • 18 seconds is too long from the point of "alert" to acquisition of the firearm. But you explained why.
  • Did the wife check for dial tone as one of her tasks? Should do. Only if no dial tone does she need to say anything - like "phone's dead". That would change my tactical mindset fast.
  • Wife should have a simple wheelgun near her side of the bed... unless she can't/doesn't/won't shoot.
  • I use nightlights around the house (to avoid stepping on cats) and they're set up to throw shadows where I can see them from the bedroom door. (food for thought).

Re: Light fumbling - been there, done that. Also have had the spousal unit "borrow". Here's other solution - keep a back-up light handy. It doesn't need to be a tac-light, but a decent flashlight. If it has a lanyard, hang it on the bedroom/closet doorknob so you know where it is. If you fumble the tac-light and it rolls under the bed, grab the other one. I have two. A cheap green D-cell plastic light with a hardware store name on it and a six C-cell "lantern" that puts out a very bright beam.
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