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Old August 27, 2012, 01:20 AM   #1
TheRaskalKing
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Lights on during a home invasion?

A friend and I were discussing different potential scenarios the other day, and along with all the usual fun ones to talk about, we had a serious discussion about what you would REALLY do, not what the suburban commando within you would do during a home invasion. After grabbing the USP in 9mm, I said the first thing I would do if I heard those noises like breaking glass or whatever else that we all hope not to hear, would be to start turning on lights as I carefully investigated the situation. He wholeheartedly disagreed with that idea, saying that he would want to surprise the intruder. This was absolutely silly to me. In my mind, I stand to lose nothing and everything to gain with the lights on. I don't see any sort of a tactical advantage to staying in the dark.

So what do you all think? Am I off base here? Lights on or off? And why or why not?

Additional note: My friend also absolutely believes that the sound of him racking his Ithaca pump action 12 will scare any and all bad guys away... He's my best friend and has been since we were kids. I love him like a brother, but good grief...
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Old August 27, 2012, 01:44 AM   #2
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I think that would depend a lot on your home layout and family or lack there of situation.

In my little house, it's just me and the dogs, If I'm downstairs, the living room light illuminates the whole bottom floor well enough and I can see pretty much the entire bottom floor from my favorite chair. My dogs bark if anyone comes near the front door, I don't imagine they would bark any less if someone scaled the gate into the backyard to access the window or backdoor.

If I'm upstairs, it's likely bedtime so I'd stay put and just turn on the light in there.

I would imagine unless you're asleep the sound of a door being busted in or a window being broken is pretty distinct. Unless you have family that needs to be secured, lights on or off, I don't think going searching for the BGs is a great idea.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:16 AM   #3
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Definitely no lights. You know the home's layout - the bad guy doesn't. As soon as you turn on the lights he gets a benefit - all you get is blinded. Keep your night vision by keeping the lights off.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:18 AM   #4
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I could see the advantage of ambushing someone in the dark, but if it were me I would want the lights on. In my area there was an incident last year where a drunk that was at a party from out of town accidentally walked into the wrong house and was killed by the owner. There were no charges filed, but the guy is dead and the other guy has to live with it. My main concern with having the lights off is missing something that would help you evaluate the threat properly. It could effect the legal, civil, or moral repercussions. Bottom line, I want as much info as possible before I pull the trigger. So I am turning the lights on.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:40 AM   #5
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Rack the slide ?? Here we go again
Do you really think that someone high on alcohol, or drugs , a sociopath or psychopath will even hear the sound and if so react to it ?.A psycho doesn't react to much !
If you hear someone in the house the gun should be ready to fire ,safety off, round in chamber ,pointed at the sound .
Don't talk , shoot first !!
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:01 AM   #6
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I think it depends on where your lights are in relation to the threat.

You DON'T want to backlight yourself. In the ideal situation you could turn on the light in the room that the threat was in, while still keeping yourself in the shadows.

I would not want to be going from room to room leaving the lights on behind me.

I could see it as a valid tactic if you heard noise in a room and went to it in the dark and then flipped the light on knowing the potential threat was contained in a specific area.

Better yet, have your security system set on STAY mode so when the alarm goes off, you just wait in place until the police get there and let them do what they get paid for.
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:16 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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The mistake is more likely to be going to investigate, not whether the lights are on.
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Unless you have family that needs to be secured, lights on or off, I don't think going searching for the BGs is a great idea.
Quote:
The mistake is more likely to be going to investigate, not whether the lights are on.
This. It bears repeating.

When a criminal breaks into your home, the smart thing to do is to get yourself and your loved ones into a locked room with your weapon out and ready to fire the moment the criminal comes through the door. Once your family is safe behind that locked door, don't go looking for trouble! Call the cops and let them find the intruder for you.

Waiting in a secure place while keeping your family behind your protective firearm is not cowardly. It is not an act of surrender, and it isn't even "hiding from the crooks!" It is simply setting up a well-planned tactical ambush.

This tactical ambush tilts the odds in your favor and puts you in the best position to directly protect the most valuable things in your house: your life, and the lives of the people you love.

Of course, you may surprise the intruder while you are moving to secure your family. That is why we train how to move through the house, how to "pie" corners, how to retain the firearm if attacked, etc. -- not because we will "clear the house" by ourselves, but because we may need to move through danger to protect family members.

Quote:
So what do you all think? Am I off base here? Lights on or off? And why or why not?
Equalize the environment if you safely can. The ideal would be to illuminate the bad guy (light him up!) while remaining unseen yourself. In reality, once you're in a secure room with your weapon trained on the door, there's no reason not to give yourself enough light to work with.

Quote:
Additional note: My friend also absolutely believes that the sound of him racking his Ithaca pump action 12 will scare any and all bad guys away...
Tell your friend he's half right. Racking the pump will indeed scare the bad guy. Unfortunately, he has no control at all over what the bad guy DOES when frightened. Some people -- particularly angry and aggressive young men, as bad guys tend to be -- actually respond to a fear-based adrenalin dump by attacking twice as fast and twice as hard as they intended to before.

Also, contradiction! Your friend wants to "surprise the intruder" in the dark, but also wants to make that noise so the bad guy knows where he is and what he's got. Which is it...?

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Old August 27, 2012, 08:38 AM   #9
Shawn Thompson
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I hate to throw this in the mix, but a majority of the home invasions that have occured in our area recently have been when the occupants were awake, not asleep.
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:53 AM   #10
pax
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Yeah, that's why I put my firearm on when I get dressed in the morning, and don't take it off until bedtime.

Of course, if you're awake, the lights are on already, so it's a moot point.

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Old August 27, 2012, 09:06 AM   #11
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Tactical Lighting

I think the guy at Talon has it right.

http://www.talontraininggroup.com/Vi...tical-Lighting
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Old August 27, 2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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First off not all homes are the same, and not all homes are located in the same area, so the same shoe doesn't fit the everybody's foot.

I live in a rural area, in a smallist house. We leave my wifes "grow light" on over her plants in the living room.

The way my house is laid out, from my bed I can see comings and goings from both doors, meaning if some one comes in I would be able to see if its friend or foe. Yet you can't see in my bedroom from entering either door or in the living room where the grow light is.

I pocket carry constantly but when I'm in bed, my pants are hung on the bed post where I can reach it without getting up.

If grand kids are here and for some weird reason, they decided to get my gun they are going to have to crawl over me to get it, I'm a light sleeper.

As to what to do, like I said not all cases are the same. I can't wait for the sheriff. In the best case scenario, lets say they were on this side of the county, it would take them 30 minutes to get here. That's assuming there is a deputy on duty, and his truck is aimed to this part of the county.

An example when my neighbor fell down the stairs cracking his skull, his father called 911. A little over an hour later the sheriff showed up and 15-20 minutes later, the ambulance. I was closer so he called me after calling 911, yet it took me 15 minutes to get to his house and stabilize his son.

I figure if something happens I'm on my own except for the clean up.

But the saving grace, the chances of a home invasion out here is pretty slim unless its some critter coming through the doggie door.
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Old August 27, 2012, 09:29 AM   #13
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With regard to the question of lighting, it might be worth considering setting up a master lighting system that can be controlled from the bedroom (or safe room, etc, but for this scenario I'm assuming a normal home-owner awakened to an alarm of some kind).

Being able to stay in the dark, while lighting up any zones that one might wish to observe or control, is a double advantage.

"Chokepoint" and "funnel" come to mind.

And, as others said, if there is not a pressing need to move around, don't attempt solo house clearing.
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Old August 27, 2012, 09:36 AM   #14
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I don't want to shoot someone who is no threat. It's hard to imagine how a family member, a neighbor or a drunk could wind up inside our locked house at night (there is only my wife and I - the kids are grown and gone), but I'd rather make sure. Leaving a light on in the central room helps with that.

I wonder when I hear people talking about racking a shotgun slide and how it will terrify the intruder. What makes you think the intruder knows anything about guns in general or pump shotguns in particular? Not everyone is a gun enthusiast like you. Neither of my parents nor any of my siblings would recognize that sound.

If you want to warn, I suggest yelling that the police are on the way and you have a gun. I think that will work better if you are looking to avoid killing someone.
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:36 AM   #15
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Know what’s more intimidating than the sound of a shotgun being pumped? A 230 Grain Gold Dot to the center mass. I would hate to tell a D.A. "I tried to frighten the criminal before I shot them".

My primary residence is a condo, due to the layout of the light switch for the living room from my bedroom I would not be able to reach the switch without exposing myself to the badguy. I have a good tactical flashlight and I use it.

On the other hand, my families place in Wisconsin has excellent exterior lighting. I keep it on all night when I am there. I would again not light off the interior lights though when confronting an intruder. You lose the element of surprise, they know someone is up and looking for them. On the one hand, they might just up and run seeing the light come on. On the other hand if they are not the type who mind confronting and hurting a homeowner they now go into Alert mode. I would much prefer to keep the lights off and clear rooms one by one with a weapons mounted light.

Quote:
An example when my neighbor fell down the stairs cracking his skull, his father called 911. A little over an hour later the sheriff showed up and 15-20 minutes later, the ambulance. I was closer so he called me after calling 911, yet it took me 15 minutes to get to his house and stabilize his son.

I figure if something happens I'm on my own except for the clean up.

I am pretty much in the same position where my family property is in Wisconsin. Because of the way the townships are laid out rather than a copcar taking 10 mins to get there from the closest Police dept. it takes 30 on a good day but more like 45 to an hour for a cop car to go all around a lake, up a country road then over on another country road. We had to call the cops a few times because of teenagers tresspassing and drinking in the woods on our property, the fastest the cops ever got there was 45 mins and that was when they blocked out driveway with a vehicle. The longest took 1-1/2 hours.

If something happens, I will be on my own.

Last edited by Patriot86; August 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM.
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:54 AM   #16
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I can't wait for the sheriff. In the best case scenario, lets say they were on this side of the county, it would take them 30 minutes to get here. That's assuming there is a deputy on duty, and his truck is aimed to this part of the county. ... I figure if something happens I'm on my own except for the clean up.
Quote:
If something happens, I will be on my own.
That's not an argument for needlessly endangering yourself by moving around. It's an argument against it.

If I do get shot or knifed by an intruder, I want it to happen when emergency services are less than two seconds from slamming through my front door -- not two hours away.

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Old August 27, 2012, 12:50 PM   #17
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Your response definitely changes with your location and your home layout. For me, the family is in 4 different rooms on 2 different floors. There is no way you get everyone into one room without moving through the house ... not even 2 rooms. Police, even though I live in the cities the response time is usually like 20min at best. In the number of times they've been called they have yet to get their in time to do anything other than fill out the paperwork.

Staying with the original question of lights on or off if you need to move through the house ... for me it's lights on. Not just flicking everything on at random but when you reach the area of the disturbance, yep, on go the lights. You need to know your target and the threat. I'm not about to risk shooting my son who "I'm sure was in his room" or the neighbor or extended family member who happened, for whatever reason, to enter my home, ... or even the neighbors kid who broke in to steal my 'valuables'. As much as it would irk me to be robbed by the neighborhood punk, shooting one of my neighbors kids is really high on the list of things I never want to do and that is probably the most realistic break in I would have.
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Old August 27, 2012, 01:38 PM   #18
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My daughter has the perfect set up. Her kids are off to college so its just her and her dogs.

She has an alarm with relatively quick response time.

But in addition to the alarms she has security cameras and lights, She can hunker down beteen her HUGE bed in a cornor with her pistol (and dogs). From there she can call 911, and besides being on the phone, she can monitor her cameras where she can see the whole house, seeing if its bad guys or good guys.

She can also direct the polcie to the location in the house where the bad guy is, plus as police enter, she can see them at her bedroom door before they get in, all the time while on the phone with the police.

I realize not everyone pull that off, I certainly couldn't. Little S**t makes more money then the GDP of most third world countries.

It does make be feel better being 1500 miles away and couldn't help her.
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Old August 27, 2012, 01:38 PM   #19
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Posted by pax: That [...it would take them 30 minutes to get here....assuming there is a deputy on duty, and his truck is aimed to this part of the county. ... ... I'm on my own except for the clean up] 's not an argument for needlessly endangering yourself by moving around. It's an argument against it.

If I do get shot or knifed by an intruder, I want it to happen when emergency services are less than two seconds from slamming through my front door -- not two hours away.
Very true. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people do not figure that out for themselves.
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Old August 27, 2012, 02:00 PM   #20
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If I'm sure they are still outside the house, yeah turn on all the lights -- especially outside floodlights. Maybe they'll run off.

If they are in the house or I'm not sure, why ruin the big black dog's tactical advantage? Also, I can maneuver in the house in the dark. Anyone else will trip over all the junk (not gonna say who's junk it is)
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Old August 27, 2012, 02:11 PM   #21
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You know how easy it is to see into a lit house at night. In a night time secenario, if my home is being invaded I would want outside lights on and want to be able to see by the ambient light coming in.

You know how difficult it is to see out when the lights are on inside at night, right?

By the same token, bad guys can not see in if the lights are on outside and it is dark inside. I would take that advantage every time with the bad guy entering a dark space from a bright space and not able to see.
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Old August 27, 2012, 02:17 PM   #22
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I think there's so much of a "protect the nest" mindset among most of us that we feel absolutely compelled to act. Maybe it's the male ego talking, I don't know. It's not at all a bad thing, I just think we need to really consider these situations.

It reminds me of a Jerry Seinfeld bit where he talks about how us guys view ourselves as sort of low-level superheroes- It's pretty entertaining. I'm being facetious of course, but the principle still rings true. Whatever situation or conundrum we encounter we always think "I got it, I got it," even if it's absolutely out of control.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCgqeiiGMmk Watch from about 5:45 on. The whole thing is pretty funny, but that last little bit is specifically what I'm referring to, for anybody who would care to watch.

I often think about this though, and agree with most of you- Why on earth do you want to go pick a fight with somebody who is irrational enough to break into your house? If the intruder is desperate enough to break in, they're probably more ready for chaos than the average bear. This is why we train and talk tactics, right?

Thanks to all who have commented and given great ideas. There are definitely some great ideas to apply here.
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Old August 27, 2012, 02:27 PM   #23
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Why make it hard?

Motion lights and dogs get to engage long before I do. I get to hang out back with momma and her 870. You definitely want to stay behind this woman when she's armed! My principal role is to maintain fire discipline while the dogs recover. I mean, the motion lights come on as soon as you hit the chain link, so that's pretty much out of my control. The dogs have amazing hearing(we don't let them listen to Nugent). I just let the system work.
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Old August 27, 2012, 03:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRaskalKing
I think there's so much of a "protect the nest" mindset among most of us that we feel absolutely compelled to act. Maybe it's the male ego talking, I don't know. It's not at all a bad thing, I just think we need to really consider these situations.

It reminds me of a Jerry Seinfeld bit where he talks about how us guys view ourselves as sort of low-level superheroes- It's pretty entertaining. I'm being facetious of course, but the principle still rings true....
That is, however, a lousy reason to make a grievous tactical error possibly jeopardizing your safety and the safety of your family.

Solo house clearing, unless to try to round up unaccounted for family members or some other compelling reason, is not necessarily "protect the nest." It's more likely putting yourself in tactically disadvantaged situation.

The topic has been discussed here quite a bit, and those who have had some serious training in house clearing and/or Force-on-Force training are disinclined to do it except when absolutely necessary, such as in the case of an unaccounted for family member.

In that regard, how much simulator or shoot house training have you had? Have you done much Force-on-Force training?
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Old August 27, 2012, 04:35 PM   #25
Ben Towe
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I have always thought that a master light switch by the bed would be a marvelous idea, flip it and every light in the house comes on.

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