View Full Version : An Alert and what was done

July 23, 2009, 09:16 AM
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.


July 23, 2009, 01:51 PM
That response is hard to criticize, brother. :)

July 23, 2009, 02:09 PM
I think instead of critique I will borrow some of your action plan and institute it in mine! Thanks for sharing!!

July 23, 2009, 02:09 PM
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.


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

July 23, 2009, 02:12 PM
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!

July 23, 2009, 02:18 PM
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.

Brian Pfleuger
July 23, 2009, 02:21 PM
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.

July 23, 2009, 02:42 PM
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. :D

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. :eek:

July 23, 2009, 02:48 PM
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?

July 23, 2009, 02:54 PM
... 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?

July 23, 2009, 11:27 PM
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! :)

July 24, 2009, 12:14 AM
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.:)

July 24, 2009, 01:53 AM
Just for sake of finding a gripe! I would have secured my weapon before giving fido a treat and a scratch :)

Well done sir!

July 24, 2009, 02:00 PM
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

July 24, 2009, 03:28 PM
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).

Yankee Traveler
July 24, 2009, 03:33 PM
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.

July 24, 2009, 04:49 PM
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.

July 24, 2009, 06:24 PM
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?

July 24, 2009, 07:56 PM
bed before arming, at least i'm awake, then.

If backpacking then in holster inside the bag.

July 24, 2009, 08:32 PM
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....:D

July 24, 2009, 09:30 PM
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.

July 24, 2009, 09:53 PM
+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.

July 24, 2009, 10:32 PM
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.

July 24, 2009, 11:20 PM
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. ;-)

July 25, 2009, 03:45 AM
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.

July 25, 2009, 04:19 AM
the only thing i would change is to Velcro the light to either the inside wall of the safe or to the outside of the safe much like everyone else has stated

July 25, 2009, 08:42 AM
isn't a bad idea;

better yet, though, keep the cell phone by the bed - if an intruder actually thinks to cut the phone line, it won't impact your cell phone.

July 25, 2009, 11:45 PM
The cell phone is a good idea, but only as back-up in case your landline is dead.

I listen to our local PD on a scanner while at the keyboard. Every day there is at least one call from a cell phone where officers are sent to the subscriber's listed address. The downside of a cell-phone:
About 1 in 3 calls actually originate from the address.
If you don't give your location, police will be sent to your "subscriber address".
It takes longer to obtain the subscriber's address for a cell phone.
If that address is your office or a PO Box, well, good luck.
If service is spotty at your home, the 911 folks may not be able to call you back.

- Many people only have cellphones, saving the cost of a landline. This can seriously delay obtaining help.
- If you have cordless or VoIP phones, most don't work without electricity.
- If you have a UPS for your computer, plug one cordless phone base into a protected socket to continue phone service.
- Keep one analog hard-wired phone in the bedroom. If it's out, the lines are down and the cordless won't work either.

July 26, 2009, 03:17 AM
As I read your post, I assumed that you are located in the city... However, for the folks that live "way out in the sticks", a vehicle-type Single Side-Band radio with an antenna on your roof might be a viable investment if cell service is spotty... Most modern SSB radios from Motorola or ICOM are programmable using your existing laptop/desktop computer, all you'd need are the working frequencies for your county...

Lost Sheep
July 26, 2009, 02:51 PM
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.

My house handgun lays flat on its left side ready to be picked up by my right hand. I have my brightest flashlight immediately to the left, parallel to the barrel. Spare ammunition to the left of the flashlight. The drill is to pick up the gun and spare ammunition first. Pocket the ammo, than take the flashlight. They are always in the same locations and relative locations. Steviewonder1's idea about mounting everything on a belt (or vest) seems like a bood idea if your gun safe was large enough. That way, you could be completely naked one minute and (at least tactically) fully equipped with gun, holster, light(s), taser, cell phone, remote light controller, pepper spray and doggie treats immediately thereafter. Everything you need but pants and shoes could be on a single belt/vest No fumbling, instant on.

Just because a flashlight is mounted on a rail does not mean you have to use it for illumination. But it does guarantee the availability of a supplement to your primary light. I agree with the caution you all feel about "sweeping" your house with the muzzle of your gun, but sometimes having a light and gun pointed to the same spot is appropriate, as Yankee Traveler said.

I do have several flashlights scattered around the house. One is magnetically attached to my front door (steel door) and it never gets lost or mislaid. It is the only one other than the one with the gun that is that reliably located, but it is not very bright, just regular 2 AA batteries.

To expand on BillCA's comment, to reduce the frequency of diversion of your (backup) tactical light to household purposes, it might be helpful to tie it to its duty location with a "peace string". (I learned this trick from "Prince Valiant" of the Sunday comics; his "Singing Sword" was secured in its scabbard with peace strings, which, if broken, the sword had to taste blood before it could be re-sheathed.) I would hope the threshold act of breaking the string would prompt your wife to search harder for another flashlight before crossing that Rubicon.

ZeSpectre, what you said about your micro tape recorder suggested this to me: In addition to being able to dictate notes (faster than writing, and requiring less attention with your eyes than writing) it can serve as a witness ff you start the recorder from the moment you are equipped and record continuously throughout the event. Useful for legal defense, eh? I recall that for $400 or so you can get a hat-mounted video recorder that records whatever your hat is pointed at. Marketed for Soccer Dads, so one could always be recording in anticipation of that heroic score or block. I heard about it a couple years ago, so have to apologize for not having a web link. I am not sure about recording time capacity, though, or low-light capability.

A really good set of electronically amplified hearing protectors (and shooting glasses while you are at it) would be useful. My hearing is better with the muffs than without and after a shot is fired, you might be the only one in the house who can hear subsequent movements or be able to converse on the phone. Eye protection isn't a bad idea, either, especially if a home invader is equipped with any kind of debilitating sprayer.

You did very well and followed your plan. Congratulations. You are well equipped, with your lights, dog, safe and gear and both well-trained and in possession of the right mind-set (as far as your narrative of this event went). So, I assume you are equally prepared for the after-incident progression of events, as well. So, all my suggestions are just small incremental improvements or afterthoughts.

Bless you and yours, all your house and last, but not least, your dog.

Lost Sheep.

Spade Cooley
July 26, 2009, 09:54 PM
I prefer to keep my gun, a revolver, in the night stand loaded and ready for use. To each his own.

I might have called the police and laid low inside. It was obvious there was no one in the house or the dog would have let you know. I would want the police to interview both of them and find out what they had been up to. They could have been burglarizing a nearby home or car. If they were seated in the front yard and you were in a locked house with a gun, you were safe and didn't need to do anything but wait on the cops.

July 29, 2009, 05:44 AM
Light is no problem for me I have a Streamlight SL-20, SL-20X, an UltraStinger and a Stinger LED DS. If I have to I'll pull out an old Parachote Flare.:D I personally do not like Rail Lights I prefer to control them separate from my muzzle.

July 29, 2009, 06:24 AM
As people bring up the point I do think that in the future I'd call the police and have them come and "interview" the people on my lawn. Good point.

July 29, 2009, 06:35 AM
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.

I always keep an old cellular phone in the bedside table...fully charged but "off". Even unused ... and "unserviced" cell-phones are still able to access the 911 Emergency system. That way I know there is a phone within easy reach at all times while in bed.

July 29, 2009, 07:30 AM
Oh, forgot to reply to that one.
We keep our cell phones on our nightstand and we have one of those multiple handset landline phones so we have a couple of communication options.

Spade Cooley
July 29, 2009, 07:56 AM
Do you think we should re-think using a light. Living in the city there is usually enough light out to both see inside the home as well as outside. The home is your domain and you know every inch of it even in the dark. You can move in darkness. Why light up the world and let them know where you are? I don't see the need to use a light and would rather keep my position a secret.

Let me tell you about something dumb I did a couple of years ago. I live in the country where we have a small neighborhood with homes along the river. I believe we had a dope dealer working down the road about a quarter mile. He had purchased a small cabin. One night about 2Am a car parked in my driveway and turned out the lights. I got up to investigate and saw some young males seated inside the vehicle. At that time I should have called 911 in order to let the police investigate. I didn't. I picked up my gun and hit the button to open the garage door and the light came on. They immediately started the car and drove away. The police never got to question them and find out what they were up to. I could have easily slipped out my back door and watched them from cover and found out what they were going to do if in fact they were targeting my house. Thinking about it, they were most likely making a drug buy and the business was to be conducted away from the dope dealer's property.

Over the next few months when vehicles came into our area after midnight, I would get in my truck, armed, and follow them. Our local cops do not take care of this type of problem. They all got tired of me and the dope dealer lost business and moved on. End of problem.

July 29, 2009, 08:03 AM
Excellent Plan, Action and Report

No gripe and I am adding to my plan as we read and write here.

I am buying an UPS today, fantastic idea. My comp has one, but one near the bed with gadgets attached is a 110% idea.

Back when my daughter and son were at home (both now in the military and stationed in Afgahnistan) We kept a set of Family band FRS Cobra walkie talkies with ear buds and made sure the kids knew how to use them. Each room had one. Worked out fantastic the night the power went out on the east coast to make sure everyone was ok w/o anyone moving around.

Now that the kids are gone, the neighbores keep a set of FRS and we keep a set in case of a hood issue, we live in a city that has a Nuke plant close by, so as neighbores, we have gotten together on various family and hood plans in case of those types of issues. We have for our neighbores a small suitcase of theirs with their clothes, meds, copies of ID's and things like that, they have ours as well.

I use a Para-Ord Nite-Hog (warthog) as my HD night time pistol. I keep a NAA Mini-Rev with a fns front blade on a neck chain with a sure fire on the chain that goes on first then I grab the wart hog. Wife always had a NAA Mini-rev with fns dot on the front blade velcro'd to the backside of the headboard on her side. The one thing I did learn from the Power Out was just how black the dark was. Nite sights truly were the ticket from then on.

Excellent thread and excellent posts. :D


July 29, 2009, 11:59 AM
sounds like you did everything right ... no kids in my house, so my SD gun simply resides in my nightstand, not in a locked box; the night sights make it easy to index in an instant ... I keep my Surefire 9p right next to the gun and it is there and only there all the time ... if I need a light to go check the thermostat or get a drink, I keep a little Proton nearby; I use a 6P for dog walking, etc., so I don't have to disturb my SD equipment ... my extra mag is behind the light, always in the same place, and I practice locating it from time to time ... cell phone is also in the nightstand, again the same place every night ... my wife knows not to touch any of those items; I got her a nice Maglight for her nightstand and I can't remember the last time she used it ...

Brian Pfleuger
July 29, 2009, 12:14 PM
I always keep an old cellular phone in the bedside table...fully charged but "off". Even unused ... and "unserviced" cell-phones are still able to access the 911 Emergency system. That way I know there is a phone within easy reach at all times while in bed.

Two things about that:

1)Make sure you check and recharge very regularly as it will lose it's charge, even when powered off, after a few weeks or a few of months, depending in the battery.

2)You might consider having it on and plugged in 24/7. The time it takes for a cell phone to power up and be usable will seem like a small eternity in an emergency, and may end up being too long....

July 29, 2009, 04:33 PM
Plus with a home phone they can trace the call just in case you cant stay on the phone the whole time or dnt have time to talk to dispatch.

July 31, 2009, 10:58 PM
1. Pat/hug your dogf for me. 2. Give him an extra treat:D

Our Yorkie is kinda of a watch dog. We love him just as well anyway.

July 31, 2009, 11:38 PM
Sounds like ya done good to me. I like the idea of recording audio better than video--no worries about field of vision, lighting, etc. However, I would definitely want some kind of hands-free setup, even just a lanyard around my neck (with a breakaway link in case of snag or grab) or have it mounted to a velcro-type wristband, so I'm not juggling a gun, light, phone and recorder.

Although I am a good juggler.

Velcro was invented by a Scot after picking cockleburrs from his dog. Or maybe his kilt.