View Full Version : Home Protection/Pistol Set-Up

July 14, 2009, 11:24 PM
OK, no shoot/don't shoot, no legal ramifications, no personal ramifications, no personal attacks. Strictly a hardware tactical thread please. I have a lot of pistols, both revolvers and semi-auto's. I'm considering setting one up for my bedside personal protection. Since most home invasions happen at night I think, should I consider laser sights, use a flashlight, practice night shooting w/o using the sights at all? What do you guys and gals think. :confused:

Bayou Rifle
July 14, 2009, 11:36 PM
If it had to be a handgun, I'd want a Glock 45 ACP with a round that wouldn't penetrate too much (walls) with the laser light combo. I'd still prefer a shotgun, but that wasn't your question.

July 14, 2009, 11:54 PM
I have a couple of shotguns with short barrels but my house is so chopped up I think that I may run into a problem with them so that is why I'm asking about a pistol set-up. I guess though the same question is still out there for me. Flashlight, Lazer light, instinctive point and shoot?

July 15, 2009, 12:09 AM
I've spent a good deal of time training in low light. Ive also done a good bit of force on force in the dark as well. Heres my thought: In just about any house there is a good amount of ambient light. Electronic devices (clocks, vcr lights, lights from the street etc..) all add some light to a night time living environment. Additionally, your eyes have a great, natural night vision ability after being adjusted to the dark for some time. If you've been asleep for several hours and your awakened by a "bump in the night" your night vision ability will be very good. The bad guy breaking in will not share in that ability to that extent. Hes coming in off the streets (seeing car lights, street lights, and even possibly having just used a flash light to gain access to your home.) Your ability to see in the dark better than the adversary is an advantage you want to exploit. That advantage is lost if you start introducing lights and lasers to the equation. Your best bet would be to know your house. Know where the shadows are, know where the best cover / concealment is. Know where you can and cannot shoot, etc... Then if a home invasion situation should arise, make use of this knowlege. If you use your light, your night vision is largely gone. If you use a laser, your position is compromised to some extent. If you can just run your gun without any addtional light source, thats the best option. Also keep in mind that if there was a break in, your heart is going to be beating out of your chest. Any extra gear that you have to manipulate (lights and lasers) are going to add difficulty to an already stressful situation.

Try this exercise: Set your alarm for 3:30am some saturday morning. Without using any additional lights, try moving through your house and observe what you can and cant see. For myself, in my house, I could easily see if there was somebody there who shouldn't be and could identify whether or not he/she had a weapon. The ambient light coupled with my "night eyes" makes it possible to see what I need to see.

As far as not using your sights: Unless Im shooting from a retention position below my line of sight, I ALWAYS see my front sight. Its just as fast as point shooting. I've proven this to classes time and time and time again. Im a relatively new convert to XS big dot sights. I've found these to be the absolute best, tactical shooting sights on the market. These have worked extremely well for me in all lighting conditions.

July 15, 2009, 12:19 AM
Very good post and information that I had not considered. Thank You!:)

July 15, 2009, 01:12 AM
i perfer a shotgun myself but if you are set on a handgun maybe consider the tauras judge. i stager my rounds starting with bird shot and ending with a larger heavier shot which can also be done with the judge.

July 15, 2009, 07:52 AM
^ Bird shot is for birds, not people, especially in the wimpy .410......

Me personally, I have a Glock 22 with night-sights on the nightstand loaded with golden sabers...

July 15, 2009, 08:13 AM
Really, the criteria for a good HD handgun isn't all that different from a good CC handgun. The main difference is that you aren't constrained to what is concealable. I'd say that a full-sized service model (revolver or semi, whatever you're more comfortable with) in .38 Spl +P/9mm and up would be the ideal choice. The one caveat to this is that a 4" barrel revolver or 5" barrel semi would be the longest I'd care for as longer barrels begin to present weapon-retention difficulties in a scuffle. With regards to overpenetration, any handgun round with enough penetration to be suitable for self-defense will also have more than enough penetration to pass through the interior walls of most homes (as will shotgun loaded with birdshot). Personally, I think it's probably wiser to look at overpenetration as a tactics issue rather than an issue of caliber or loading. Try to take a position that minimizes the risk of collateral damage due to overpenetration and then use the most powerful handgun that you can shoot quickly and accurately and load it with premium JHP from a reputable manufacturer.

July 15, 2009, 08:25 AM
Good idea about getting up at 3:00am to check out your night vision, etc. It is so much different than when you go to bed and turn out the lights.

My choice for a perfect self defense pistol: Glock 21 (.45acp) with Streamlight tatical light attatched on rail, (my set up). Backed up by a Remington 870 .12 GA (#1 buck) next to my bed.

The Glock 21 works just like a revolver (round is already chambered). Just aim and pull trigger if needed. This is a good choice when using a automatic for self defense, (especially when you have to wake up in the middle of the night in a crisis situaiton).

July 15, 2009, 10:07 AM
should I consider laser sights, use a flashlight, practice night shooting w/o using the sights at all?

Yes, you should consider all three of those things. Don't just choose one. Learn to shoot with a flashlight, with a laser, and without any artificial aids. Learning to shoot in low light without the artificial aids will help you be even faster and more accurate with the aids - call that the best of both worlds.

My own home defense set up is a laser-equipped handgun stored in a fanny pack along with my cell phone, a spare magazine, and a small but bright tac light. There's also a key to the front door tucked into one of the pockets, attached to an unbroken lumastick.

With this fanny pack set up, I can instantly have everything I need attached to my body, regardless of what I wore (or didn't wear) to bed that night. If I need to move through the house to get one of the children, I won't be juggling these essentials. If I need to stay put, one of the essentials won't end up on the other side of the room from me, leaving me the unsavory choice of doing without or making noise to retrieve it.

The front door key and the lumastick are so that if we decide to hole up and wait for cops, I can throw the key out the window to them when they arrive, and they'll easily spot it.

I've deliberately chosen a handgun rather than a long gun, based mostly on my personal circumstances. The presence of children in the home means I'm more likely to need to move through the home (although I'd much much much rather hole up -- we have to all get together first!). It also means I am more likely to need one hand to hold onto a child or shove the child behind me to safety, leaving only one hand for running the firearm. And my personal tastes are such that I'm much more comfortable with and confident in my handgun use than I am with any long gun, and that's a factor too. Others have different circumstances and different preferences, and that's okay too.


July 15, 2009, 11:36 AM
I really like the fanny pack idea with all the things that you may need on your person and the suggested training. Very informative post. Thanks much!

July 15, 2009, 11:55 AM
Considering no rules and it's a auto for HD.

I'm going to say a 10mm Glock 20 with a laser ;)

July 15, 2009, 12:16 PM
I guess that I should have stated that my pistol of choice will be my Berretta 92FS 9mm 15 shot magazine or my Sig 226 40 S&W 12 shot magazine. I will set one of these up with the lazer sights I think. I seem to shoot the 9mm better and it has more shot capacity but the 40 is more powerfull plus I already have two extra magazines for it. I'm still pondering my choice.:confused:

July 15, 2009, 12:24 PM

I wouldn't stress to much over it as they are both really nice
guns. If you shoot the Berretta, better than go with that and
use it for HD.

I know the .40 is a better performer than the 9mm but, with
proper ammo this should not be a problem. Making those rounds
hit the target is the most important.

July 15, 2009, 02:14 PM
Be an extreme snowbird.

Live in the Land of the Midnight Sun (Alaska) during the summer, where you can read a book 24 hours a day without any additional light source, and go visit near the penguins during our winter (same lighting story).

If this is not a realistic option for you, or if you live in either locale year round (or somewhere in-between), it is pretty amazing (noted earlier in thread) just how good your night vision is prior to messing it up with artificial/additional lighting. Very good suggestions above. I will add further to one mentioned, the flashlight.

A really bright flashlight (mine is 120 lumens) flicked on into someone's face for a second when it is dark will effectively "blind" them for a short period of time. Think about after having your picture taken with a flash camera when it is darker; remember seeing those flashes every time that you blink?

The downside is that once you "flash" someone you are now on a timer. (Realize that holding a flashlight that is turned on now makes you a target. And once it goes on and off, they know that you are there.) You might want to do this from cover, and/or be ready to take immediate action.

You can practice "flashing" a "target"/(would not recommend eyes possible damage) in the dark just to get used to the results. There are many different ways to handle "flashlight drills", have fun!

Also consider that any gun mounted light definitely gives someone a return fire vector. (A big "Here I am" target.) Where as a flashlight can be moved around and away from yourself.

Just some thoughts, hope that they help.

July 15, 2009, 02:21 PM
Wow, the fanny pack idea is a good one. Think I will try that out to hold all my essential "stuff". Never really thought about the keys,etc.

July 15, 2009, 05:13 PM
I got a tip from a safety officer at my local range. He said that for fast target acquisition or in dim light, the sights mean nothing. Even in broad daylight, any adrenalin or stress can render your sights usless. There are only two remedies for this. One is you engage in high stress situations and become tolerant of it, or you don't use the sights. The way the guy told me, and it has proved effective, is to use proper gripping techniques on the gun, in which your index finger is parallel to the slide/barrel, and you become conscious of where your finger is pointing and use that to hit your target.

BTW, this is a bit vague, so if you have any questions about the technique, message me.

July 15, 2009, 05:15 PM
I tried setting my alarm clock at 3:30am to test my night vision. The problem is that I kept hitting snooze....

Superhouse 15
July 20, 2009, 01:38 PM
I like to have one pistol set up just for HD. That way I don't have to worry about it and it's independant of my daily CCWs. I know that when I tap the combination into the safe at the side of the bed it will be there. I use a Glock 17 with Cor Bon JHP and a Procyon light / strobe setup. Except for practice sessions it never leaves the safe. 17 +1 means less need for reloading, although I have spares available. I have ammo thats designed to expand big and fragment, less chance of shooting through a target. The WML is backed up by Brite Strike "tactical balls" and a Surefire light so I don't shoot my family by accident.

July 20, 2009, 02:36 PM
You will have to excuse my ignorance but what is "WML" and what are "tactical balls"? I'm almost afraid to ask about that second item. Thanks for enlightening me! (pun intended):)

Superhouse 15
July 20, 2009, 03:52 PM
Weapon Mounted Light= WML

And Tactical Balls are just what they sound like:

Scroll down near the bottom. I see they make IR balls now for those of you with night vision. I wrote a review of them a while ago, but they are plastic balls about the size of golf balls with a couple of 2032 batteries and 3 LEDs. They light up when you press the button and you roll them into a room. They wobble around to distract but stop light up to illuminate. I found them to be a good way to illuminate some areas of my house. I tested them on some students in a classroom and some of my fellow firefighters and they did give a few seconds of distraction.

Superhouse 15
July 20, 2009, 03:54 PM
Found it:


July 21, 2009, 12:00 AM
Since most home invasions happen at night I think, should I consider laser sights, use a flashlight, practice night shooting w/o using the sights at all? What do you guys and gals think.

One consideration is identifying your target in low light or no light conditions. A laser does not help you ID your target. A laser sight is merely a targeting device. A flashlight can illuminate your potential target to reveal whether it is a friend or a target. A flashlight when used can also reveal your position.

If you choose a flashlight then you have to consider whether you use your off hand to carry and manipulate the flashlight while using one hand to hold, sight and fire the hand gun; or mount the flashlight on a tactical rail with some means of turning it on and off.

Whether you choose night sights, laser sights or regular iron sights you need to identify your target before firing. So unless you have sufficient light on in your home all night, or have a means to turn them on when and where needed. Assuming that all rooms of your home are not fully illuminated all night, I'd say you need a flashlight at a minimum and from there you can add or not as you think best.

July 21, 2009, 07:07 PM
I keep the light in my left hand and the firearm in my right. That way, regardless of what my light is doing or not doing, the firearm is pointed in a safe place or at the threat. For instance, shining the light into a room you know has friendly inhabitants, if the light is mounted on the gun where is the barrel pointing?

The firearm has one dedicated purpose and that is to shoot BGs. Therefore it gets a dedicated hand for that purpose:)

July 21, 2009, 07:30 PM
+1 to practice all of the above, commit to none of the above (to paraphrase pax a tiny bit). Realistically, none of us know how an intruder is coming in, what they want, or what it'll take to end the threat; so you need to practice for every possible contingency, and put your mind in a place where you can adapt on the fly and adjust to the scenario. Playing out your training drill without your head on a swivel is a pretty sure way to get killed. One of the smarter Corporals I ever knew referred to it as "Semper Gumby".

FWIW (and to answer the original question) I use a 2C maglight and a 4" .357 if I determine that a handgun is in order: so I can choose whether or not to employ the light without having to use my gun hand, and so I can hold it away from my body (even a blinded person can hit a bright light some of the time).

Due to my limited combat experience however, I definitively prefer a long gun (in this case a Mossberg 500) as I would almost certainly be tired, possibly intoxicated, and can use any "gimmes" I can get. I know that buckshot is far from "spray and pray" lethal, but having a weapon in my shoulder makes me a lot more comfortable when instinctively point shooting. Oh yeah, also because I live in an apartment and kinda like a couple of my neighbors:cool:.

July 28, 2009, 05:12 PM
I think you can't beat a well trained double action revolver finger,and a good loaded revolver.

Ricky B
July 29, 2009, 12:30 AM
no personal attacks.

Where's the fun in that???

I have a lot of pistols, both revolvers and semi-auto's. I'm considering setting one up for my bedside personal protection.

Have you given thought as to how you will secure the pistol when you're asleep or out of the home? What you don't want to do is provide a weapon for a teen-aged burglar whom you've just surprised by coming home. That may pose a greater risk than any lighting issue. Not to mention the risk of theft.

Since most home invasions happen at night I think, should I consider laser sights, use a flashlight, practice night shooting w/o using the sights at all?

Apropos of the point another poster made about night vision upon awakening in the middle of the night, consider getting those electroluminescent night lights that plug into a socket. They cost pennies a year to operate 24/7/365, and they don't even look like they're on during the day. But at night, once your eyes have adjusted, they can provide a surprising amount of illumination and make it hard for an intruder to be invisible in the dark. If his eyes haven't adjusted yet, you could see him fairly well. Unless, of course, you turn on the lamp by your bed when you hear the noise!

BTW these work great for target practice in your bathroom (need to use a different kind of gun, though). When you get up in the middle of the night, no need to turn on the light. Just fire away, flush, and no mess to clean up the next morning. Makes it easier to go back to sleep if you haven't been exposed to bright light.

If I were to use a handgun for this purpose, I would get tritium night sights that glow in the dark, one where the dot on the front sight is a different color than the dots on the rear sight. Put the odd-colored dot in the middle and the sights are properly aligned. If all the dots are the same color, it can be easy to put the wrong dot in the middle (even if the front dot is a different shape).

July 29, 2009, 05:55 AM
My primary HD weapon is the Sig 226 .357Sig with CT Grips that becomes my primary carry weapon as soon as I put on my pants so storage is not a problem and I have a Mossberg 500 as backup. I also have a bunch of Streamlights one in the headboard below my Sig when I'm in bed.

July 29, 2009, 05:07 PM
How hard is it to find 10mm ammo? I mean if you are accurate enough you can kill anyone with any ammo but as you all are saying; adrenaline, heart pounding, visibility etc would I want a 10mm if i know i won't be as accurate as i am on the range relaxed? I was leaning toward a full framed .40/.45 Glock for HD. Would that be over the top?

July 29, 2009, 06:00 PM

July 30, 2009, 07:10 PM
I used to use a HKUSP45C with a laser, but I've switched a few years ago to my EDC, a Kimber UCDP, as I shoot it far better, faster, and it has night sights, which I recommend to anybody for their HD weapon. I have a small flashlight next to it. My house is bathed in electronic glows in just about every room except the living room, where I would expect an encounter. The outside of my house is also filled with motion detecting floodlights that really do work to keep punks away.

July 30, 2009, 07:31 PM
A 12 gauge Shotgun should suffice, but I do not recommend them if you have children in the house. My nightstand firearm is my Sig Pro 2022 .40 with Siglite night sights, Crimsontrace Lasergrip and XTI Procyon Tactical Illuminator. I don't believe all of that is needed, but the night sights are a must.

1. A German Sheppard
2. A 12 Gauge
3. A Handgun
4. A Flashlight
5. And last but not least, Slient comfortable slippers :D

July 30, 2009, 09:06 PM
The German Shepard or any other dog won't work as my wife has terrible allergys. I do have a black lab that likes to bark outside in a kennel, but he is getting old and his hearing is suspect as I can even sneak up on him now and then. His nose is very good though and if the wind direction is right he picks up on it very quickly. I have plenty of 12 gauge shotguns and as I've said before, that is my weapon of choice if I decide to take cover and let the threat come to me. The handgun is for times when like a fool according to some, I choose to investigate a "possible" threat inside the house. I live in an older home and the rooms are somewhat chopped up so I am not sure the shotgun would work well manuevering around hallways. I DO need to get myself something better than my $2.00 flashlight that always ends up in my daughters room. As far as the slippers go......no, I'm not a slippers kind of guy.:)

July 31, 2009, 05:48 AM
My set-up is as follows. 9mmP with firstlight next to pistol as well as small leather carry bag which I would have the following inside:
1. Tourniquet.
2. Spare Mag
3. Cell phone.
If I need to go investigate, I would sling the leather bag around my neck and have everything with me that I need.