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Old April 2, 2010, 10:24 AM   #1
JohnH1963
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Using the Powell Doctrine of Overwhelming Force for Home Defense

Some people believe that a six shot revolver or a semi-automatic will be ample for home defense. It seems logical. However, in my readings over the years of several different articles on real life happenings, I have found that whenever the homeowner utilized heavy weaponry then the result was the burglar retreating from the house with speed. On the other hand, when the homeowner had standard weaponry then sometimes the attackers stood their ground and decided to fight.

For example, during a recent burglary over here the homeowner utilized an AK-47 to fire a few rounds through a door which resulted in the burglar retreating at a fast rate of speed. However, in another incident, an off-duty cop used his .380 pistol to engage some burglars and his opponents decided to stand their ground fighting back with their pistols. The officer was ultimately killed while the burglars were simply wounded. I can see where it is not just good common sense, but essential to use the heaviest weaponry available to you to defend your home. In my area of the woods, that weaponry would be an AR type rifle or a shotgun. If you do not use the Powell doctrine when defending your home, then the attacker might decide to stand their ground and fight.

I dont know how a jury or prosecutor would view my opinion. My guess is they would view it quite negatively. However, I would rather be defending myself in a court room and spending a few years in jail like Harold Fish then being lowered into a grave.
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Old April 2, 2010, 10:35 AM   #2
Doc Intrepid
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Where you live may play a role.

You are responsible for the consequences of every round you fire.

If you live isolated in a rural area, by all means let fly with a battle rifle.

If you live in an apartment complex, and one of your rifle rounds misses the BG and goes through the wall into the next apartment where the kids are sleeping, you have issues.

Something to factor into your planning is which direction will your rounds be traveling?

JMHO. YMMV.
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Old April 2, 2010, 10:55 AM   #3
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Isn't it just a little silly to compare any one individual thinking about home defense with one gun to the Powell Doctrine?

Doc is right.

Plus, even though where I live is pretty home-defense friendly, the news media certainly present the use of AKs (and such) in home-defense situations (which does happen from time to time here) as scandalously as possible. Being that DAs are political animals, such coverage could very well have some effect on how they react in reviewing a shooting. As a former prosecutor, I can assure you that many police officers and prosecutors would be more inclined to look askance at a person using such a gun for home defense - even here in the hairy-chested West.

Just something to consider - everyone should decide what's right for him/her and do that. And you might consider easing back on the throttle when comparing your home defense plan to superpower warfare doctrine. Just a friendly little hint from a former prosecutor . . .
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:01 AM   #4
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All of the above (is a high-cap battle rifle safe for innocent bystanders nearby, and will your choice of HD weapon cause you perception problems with a political D.A.), plus ...
you may never hear another spoken word again, if you go blasting off with a rifle inside w/o hearing protection. Better to go deaf than be wounded or killed by armed bad guys, sure, just sayin'.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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All of the above (is a high-cap battle rifle safe for innocent bystanders nearby, and will your choice of HD weapon cause you perception problems with a political D.A.), plus ...
you may never hear another spoken word again, if you go blasting off with a rifle inside w/o hearing protection. Better to go deaf than be wounded or killed by armed bad guys, sure, just sayin'.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:25 AM   #6
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But if 223/556 penetrate drywall less than shotguns then everybody get an AR for safetys sake because it seems established now that 99.9999% of BG's run from battle rifles. So we can be safe and take a bite out of crime at the same time.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:37 AM   #7
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Years ago a friend where I worked bought a 12 ga. shotgun to defend himself in his apartment. A couple of misguided gun guys in the office told him that if he kept it more than partially loaded the magazine spring would lose its force.

So...he went to a local gunsmith and had an extra-long magazine made. So help me, the magazine was longer than the barrel.

He was than advised that if he fired it in the confines of his small apartment he would suffer hearing loss, both short term and long.

So...he acquired some ear protectors.

He then asked for some help in practicing his strategy. Some guys from the office went over to help.

Some of us watched from inside while another pressed the door bell button.

My friend donned his hearing protectors, picked up his empty shotgun, and went to answer the door.

He looked out through the peep hole and opened the door; not being able to hear, he lifted the muff from one ear with one hand and held the shotgun in the other.

The "perp" simply parried the gun upward by hitting the underside of the magazine extension and disarmed the apartment dweller. That had been rehearsed.

I've been a little leery of long arms for home defense ever since.

Of course, I have since learned that one does not answer a door to confront trouble, and that extended periods of compression does not weaken steel springs.

Most everyone who was involved has now passed on.
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Old April 2, 2010, 12:19 PM   #8
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We've got a shotgun for home defense in addition to our carry handguns. We live in a condominium, so I would not want to have a rifle for home defense: too much chance of a stray bullet going through walls and hitting other people. A shotgun is a force multiplier for close-up confrontations without adding to the chances of overpenetration. In addition, if you get a pump-action shotgun and learn to use it, the sound of the shotgun being racked is one of the scariest things an attacker can hear. ;-)
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Old April 2, 2010, 12:28 PM   #9
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I think we prepare for and assume that our HD situation (should one unfold)
will probably not be vanilla.

I used to be prepared/equipped to check the door or respond to attempted
forced entry with a revolver (4in - 7 shot). Thinking one perp, some exchange verbal (he outside / me inside) then he tries getting in, or has
partially made it via force.

Over the last several months there are more stories here about multiple thugs,
and many of the situations are far from vanilla.

I have adjusted and can access both the .357 magnum or a 20 gauge
with six in the tube from where ever I am during waking hours.

If there's forceable entry, then the 20 gauge is ready to go then retreat to safe room unless threats have to be fired upon immediately.

If I'm unsure who/what is going on at the door, I will secure the .357 and I may view via the adjacent window but we don't simply look through the peep hole or put ourselves near the door.

I'm of the 'not unlocking the door / get to safe room / shotgun at the ready
preparedness'.

But surprises happen every day and we need to be ready for them
as much as possible.

Layers of security are obviously important.
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Old April 2, 2010, 01:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
I dont know how a jury or prosecutor would view my opinion. My guess is they would view it quite negatively.
There are studies about that. (Hi Glenn!)

See http://www.astcweb.org/public/public...-Armed-Citizen

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Old April 2, 2010, 02:08 PM   #11
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Depending on your jurisdiction there may be "Castle Doctrine" type laws that make weapon type immaterial. Maybe there have been cases of "crackhead kicks in door at 3am, homeowner uses AK to defend himself and then gets charged cause his gun is all scary-like" but I don't know that it is a realistic scenario. Now, if one is carrying an AK pistol under a trenchcoat or something I could see that, but in a strictly home defense scenario, assuming you don't do something silly like run out of your house to engage I think it would most likely be moot.

Edit: very interesting article Pax, although I admit the methodology sounds strange to me. Perhaps I am not fully understanding it. I also reflect that my knowledge on the exact working of Castle Doctrine may be confused, as ianal nor do I play one on teevee.

Last edited by Balog; April 2, 2010 at 02:22 PM.
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Old April 2, 2010, 02:16 PM   #12
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Thanks for posting that link, pax.

Doc
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Old April 2, 2010, 03:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
during a recent burglary over here the homeowner utilized an AK-47 to fire a few rounds through a door
In the "olden days" when I was in LE, we called that WRECKLESS ENDANGERMENT.

I'm all for Self Defence,

BUT

That's the type of incident that ends up shooting neighbors, or your daughter sneaking in when you think she's in bed.

Not to mention, "where are those rifle bullets gonna end up.

I live in the country, my kids are all grown, but STILL I aint about to start blasting, rifle or pistol, through a door.

But HEY, thats just me. I'm more worried about hitting someone I dont want to hit then getting arrested. I guess I like to see what I'm shooting at.
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:03 PM   #14
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tactical nukes, here I come....
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:07 PM   #15
OldMarksman
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Quote:
For example, during a recent burglary over here the homeowner utilized an AK-47 to fire a few rounds through a door ...
OOPS! Missed that. If the door had a transparent window in it, that might be one thing. However, shooting at what one cannot see is never a good idea.
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:20 PM   #16
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Hi Pax!

Lot's of literature on these issues.
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:28 PM   #17
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I can kinda see where the OP is coming from, however, the use of an assault weapon that fires centerfire rifle rounds, indoors, in a suburban area, during a time of national peace, seems like a bad idea.

Its dark, maybe pitch black. You have more than likely just woken up, your going to be confused, disoriented, and your awareness is going to be impaired. Your aggressor is completley alert, possibly already in the house, possibly hiding if he knows your awake, and possibly under the influence of some mind addling drug.

I know from experience that if you were to get in the situation where you get surprised and are in a melee confrontation with your aggressor, it is going to be MUCH easier to control and keep and handgun than a rifle.

Im not saying a trained person could not effectivly control and utilize their assault rifle in the above situation, although I am saying such a trained person would have an easier time with a pistol.

My biggest issue with it by far though is overpenetration, especially if using FMJ rounds.

I am not at all opposed to the use of a security shotgun, especially one with pistol grips that would make it more manueverable and easier to control (until you shot it that is)

Shotguns are often used as home defense weapons, bring more than enough firepower and intimidation (which this thread seems to be based on) to the table, and have a much lower chance of accidently shooting out your neighbors window. Plus, in the unfortunate event of a shooting, I doubt the legal percussions would be any different than using a handgun.

Personally, I would feel the best equipped with a handgun 9mm and up that holds at least 15 rounds. Or any revolver under 6" .357 and up. But thats because I am a wheelgun guy.

I can honestly say though, that for home defense purposes, Im not a fan of .380 or anything smaller, and I also would not be trying to play hero with one, though I don't see anything wrong with it strictly for personal defense.
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:31 PM   #18
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Well, since I live in an apartment complex, and all I own are pistols the point is mute for me. But even if I lived in the country and had access to hi-powered rifles, I would still prefer to stick to my pistol or a shotgun for home defense. But shooting through a door seems like a very reckless idea, and I would never try it.

I have every confidence that my pistol will protect me and my home if it had to.
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Old April 2, 2010, 04:51 PM   #19
Glenn E. Meyer
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There are lots of info on comparative penetration of handguns, rifles and shotguns that can clarify those risks.

Shooting without a clear identification of the target is incredibly - well, you get the point. How many cases of teenagers acting badly but not as a lethal threat and getting killed by Rambo-itis do we need? Even if you skate - is this a good thing?

Announcing your lethal intent or intent to use max firepower on the Internet will be found and perhaps used against you.

Using an EBR or somehow presenting weapons or yourself in a negative light of unnecessary lethality or out of your competency or implying you have Rambo-itis can be a risk as demonstrated by trial tactics and research studies.

You and your lawyer will have to present why your choices are rational and your actions are rational. Can you explain your training, equipment and strategy choices. You might have a clear cut shoot or it might be ambiguous. If the latter, the issues described might be active.

Expounding the 'Powell' doctrine - well, what do you think now?
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Old April 2, 2010, 09:17 PM   #20
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I currently live in a townhouse and live in a moderately populated area. My pistol is my primary home defense weapon as I have neighbors. I want to reduce the penetration to as low as reasonably possible and still get the job done if I was forced to shoot to save my family's lives.

I have much heavier weapons available but the risk of a 7mm Rem Mag hitting somthing unintended due to possible overpenetration is just too high.

Sure my 45 acp will go through some walls if I were to miss a BG but its a lot less walls than my rifle or my shotgun whoch might go through the BG and keep on going...

Further my wife and I have sought out ammo that law enforcement carrys with an eye toward ammo that should penetrate to about 14 or 15 inches and not farther.

Hopefully the day will never come when I need to fire anymore rounds in defense of anything but if it does I can have some comfort in having made some educated choices.
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Old April 3, 2010, 07:27 AM   #21
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Quote:
Sure my 45 acp will go through some walls if I were to miss a BG but its a lot less walls than my rifle or my shotgun whoch might go through the BG and keep on going...
Sorry, man, but that is some bad info you have there.

watch this vid, pay attention around the 4 minute mark regarding a .223 vs. a .45acp going thru multiple walls.

http://www.downrange.tv/bestdefense/...enetration.htm
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Old April 3, 2010, 09:02 AM   #22
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AK-47 to fire a few rounds through a door which resulted in the burglar retreating at a fast rate of speed
Or the UPS man never delivering ammo to the homeowner again. At least he wore a brown uniform.

Quote:
Isn't it just a little silly to compare any one individual thinking about home defense with one gun to the Powell Doctrine?
What else would we do with the time?
Quote:
Most everyone who was involved has now passed on.
If only they had learned from the example.

Quote:
In addition, if you get a pump-action shotgun and learn to use it, the sound of the shotgun being racked is one of the scariest things an attacker can hear.
Except for the guy that has never heard one because he does not own a shotgun. He will be like "What the hell was that?" and then shoot at the noise.


Quote:
watch this vid, pay attention around the 4 minute mark regarding a .223 vs. a .45acp going thru multiple walls.
He was comparing to 7mm Magnum, not some sissy poodle shooting round. He also indicated hew as using less penetrating rounds. Probably the CTD DRTs. They are quite special.
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Old April 3, 2010, 01:57 PM   #23
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If I do my job right,he won't be advancing or retreating anywhere.

And since I better only shoot when my life is in immediate danger,I should be o.k.

It's more important to train yourself and be ready with what you have then to worry about what scares off the bad guy.

You need to get your mind right about when it's time to unholster and fire that weapon and what you are going to do when you bring that weapon out.

And I definitely do not think you pull out a weapon and automatically fire it.

That's just nonsense to me.

And firing through a door can get you right in jail.

Anyone using a military style rifle in a urban area to stop a burgular better get his savings account right because a lawyer costs around a thousand dollars a court visit these days.

You are better served with a medium or large caliber self defense round loaded handgun or a -shotgun-.

You are also better served with the types of weapons the police use because that takes the question of -why did you choose that particular weapon-.

And yes,now thankfully alot of officers are equipped with short barreled rifles but they only use them when the situation means they might face someone simularly equipped.

But if a rifle is the only defense weapon you have,then it's a real bad day for the bad guy.

Sadly,most rifle rounds at seven to ten yards will go right through someone and keep on going for a long time.

Everything is important to you in justifing why you shot,who you shot and why you used the weapon you used.

You cannot sight the Powell Doctrine to the police or in court and get any sympathy for why you had to defend yourself.

And it does matter.

A police officer and his sargent might call your self defense shooting justified if you shot the guy once or twice with a shotgun or handgun after he broke in your house but if you shoot a guy unseen through a door with a high powered rifle,you are likely to spend a long time in jail.

Now this all still matters if you live in rural areas but the range,at which you might encounter someone stealing or damage to your property or even attacking you for no reason and who might try to kill you to get away with it,goes up dramatically.

In that circumstance,using a military style rifle to defend yourself and your property makes perfect sense.

If I owned a ranch or was frequently out in wide open country that I knew to be dangerous,I'd have no problem carrying a weapon like that for self defense.

Everything matters when your life and your liberty after the fact are at risk.
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Old April 3, 2010, 02:40 PM   #24
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Unless you're in a defensive position waiting to ambush burglars I think you would be better off with a handgun. Even though it has less stopping power and isn't as accurate it'll be a lot easier to use in most home defense situations. Consider if you have to answer a door late at night it's going to be a lot harder to conceal a long arm or bring it into action if suddenly you're attacked. With a handgun it's easy to conceal if the person at he door isn't malicious and can quickly be brought out and used.
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Old April 3, 2010, 05:20 PM   #25
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Having some small experience clearing houses with a few different longs guns and hand guns, I personally find a short light carbine the easiest to use. That's just a reflection of my experience and training of course, but I mention it to dispute the notion that long guns are intrinsically more awkward to use compared to handguns.
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