View Full Version : 1st floor vs. 2nd floor

August 7, 2009, 10:28 PM
Hey guys, this is my first post in T&T, so I hope it fits the bill for this forum. My girlfriend and I live together in a 1st floor apartment in a not so nice part of Denton,TX. We have had numerous instances of people banging into our AC unit behind our place, which is a dead end so there is no reason for anyone to be back there anyway, as well as our front door handle being turned at 10:00 at night( just happened 20 minutes ago! SO, needless to say, we have found a new place in a much nicer and same priced are of town, and will be moving in about 6 weeks. Now, my question: what would you take, the 1st floor with more escape routes, but more areas to cover, or the 2nd floor, with only one entrance being the stairs in the INTERIOR of our apartment (they come up into the living room) but only one exit as well. Which makes more sense tactically?

August 7, 2009, 11:01 PM
I prefer the 2nd flr.
1. Back to a "wall," only one entrance that I have to cover. I can take a post in the living room and retreat to the bedroom if necessary.
2. You can jump from a 2nd floor window with no serious injuries. Just make sure you land right and roll. It might hurt and you may twist an ankle but in an emergency it can be done.
3. If it's the top floor then you will probably have less people walking past your front door making noise.

BTW the people jiggling the front door late at night are USUALLY drunk or otherise confused. At work I get a lot of calls about this and is is probably 99% drunks etc. I've had it happen quite a few times, once I answered the door(my hand was on my gun on the other side of the door) and it was just that. Before I get roasted for that last part, the guy had been there for about 5 mins and was trying to put his key in my door, he was REALLY drunk...lol.

August 8, 2009, 11:10 AM

The ONLY reasonable access point is the door. No readily available windows to protect. Don't think of it as being cornered. You're bunkered down a a defensible position with your back and flanks protected. The intruder HAS to come at you face-on and exposed.

August 8, 2009, 12:16 PM
Second is the much better option. I think that people are seeing if you are home with the banging, doorknob jigling. If they dont think you are home they will break in.

Brian Pfleuger
August 8, 2009, 12:18 PM
Second floor, no doubt. Less accessible, more defensible.

August 8, 2009, 12:23 PM
the 2nd floor.

From a physiological standpoint...

Do either of you have foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back issues? Are you planning any pregnancies in the near future? Is there an elevator, or will you have to use stairs?

August 8, 2009, 02:30 PM
Second floor is my choice, assuming that you can get out of your bedroom in case of a fire or other threat.

In every city where I have lived the building code requires a second exit. If you do not have one; provide yourself with one. Check out the link:

It might be an option that saves you.

August 10, 2009, 04:40 PM
I also vote for the second floor. If there is only one way in, there is only one way out. Tactically you are defending one point where the first floor presents multiple areas, door (s) windows, air-conditioning installation, etc.

For just a bit more clarification, you are defending only one entry point, the door. With your back against the wall, you have the clear shot. Chances are most perps will not deal with a second story as they too realize the confinement.

August 10, 2009, 06:01 PM
... is arguably more defensible than first floor, but it doesn't limit a determined intruder to a single point of entrance, unless you have no windows, and no balcony with door.

DOD recommends that personnel traveling overseas get rooms between the 4th and 7th floors of hotels, because they are too high for most burglars to access via the windows, yet low enough that most fire trucks can reach the windows in the event of a hotel fire.

Superhouse 15
August 10, 2009, 07:52 PM
It's harder to move your furniture and stuff up to the second floor, so it will cost you more beer to get your friends to help you move.

That's the only drawback. 2nd floor's the best choice.

August 11, 2009, 03:25 AM
Second floor is definitively better for tactical purposes, but IMO not nearly as convenient for living purposes... especially if you have a dog. Considering that I have to live here far more often than I have to repel invaders, I opt for the first floor. I also like to have multiple escape routes should a fire, earthquake, or other natural disaster occur (again, far more likely than home invasions). As long as you're moving, if possible maybe consider a nicer part of town? The added expense usually includes nicer amenities, neighbors, appliances, and landlords. Find out if any apartments nearby have contracts with local military bases, they are usually pretty nice places and the neighbors are generally decent folk.

August 11, 2009, 06:18 AM
The Army's doctrine for urban combat (MOUT--Military Operations in Urban Terrain) call for attempting to assault multi-story buildings from the top-down in recognition of the inherent difficulty in assaulting upwards against a defender.

You said that the stairs come up into the living room so I assume that the door is actually at the foot of the stairs on the ground floor. This is ideal. You should get some notice that your door has been breached but it is now uphill for the intruder. Try this: Looking straight ahead see how far you can rotate your head and what field of vision you have. Then look upwards and try the same range of vision test. It is severely limited.

I recommend keeping a pot of boiling oil simmering on the stove. :)

August 11, 2009, 06:20 AM
Tactically, the 2nd floor makes it easier to defend points of entry. But something is bothering me... You said...

...or the 2nd floor, with only one entrance being the stairs in the INTERIOR of our apartment (they come up into the living room) but only one exit as well. Which makes more sense tactically?

Is the exterior entrance on the ground floor and then you must hike up a stairwell to enter the apartment? That's a somewhat odd configuration IMO. If that is the case, then ask the landlord to install a deabolt on the door and add a chain and peephole for security purposes. If I could, I'd probably add a lockable exterior door at the top of the stairwell too as added security at night. Motion detector lights at the door would act as a deterrent too.

For a 2nd story apartment, any balcony poses a security risk. You'd be surprised at how many thieves can use the fence below a balcony to gain access. Secure sliding glass doors & windows with pins (or at least broomstick in the track).

August 11, 2009, 06:40 AM
Second floor is more defensible, IMO.

I know a retired cop that can hardly walk. He still lives on the second floor by choice. His reasoning is the same as others have already given here.


August 11, 2009, 06:44 AM
As long as you're moving, if possible maybe consider a nicer part of town?

He stated earlier that they're headed to a nicer part of town, which is odd, because I didn't realize Denton had any nice parts!

Just kidding. I was born in Denton, and had my first apartment there in '92 (first floor, BTW). I moved back in '98 to a second floor apartment. As you can see, I'm still alive after experiencing both sides of the coin.

Forgive me for offering suggestions outside of your original post, but have you considered getting out of apartment complexes all together? With two college campuses nearby your options are virtually limitless. You can rent just about any type of property you want. Renting a small house can prove just as affordable as a unit in a sprawling complex. Sorry if I'm telling you something you already know.


August 11, 2009, 02:58 PM


August 11, 2009, 03:09 PM
2nd floor. 1 entrance means u only need 1 frag to close it haha. but rly i live in a 2nd story and have 1 entrance. if someone broke in id have enuff time to grab a gun, peak over the rail and shoot them in the back. my stairs are inside :P

August 11, 2009, 04:17 PM
Hey guys thanks for the tips. LOL yeah i didnt know Denton had nice parts either! It does though, our place is a huge step up from the old Bonnie Green apts. lol. And I know it sounds strange about he stairs, but its like this: pull up in parking space. walk up to door. open door. walk inside. you are now inside the apartment standing in a 5x5 foyer with carpeted stairs leading up. close door, walk up stairs. you are now in the living room. it is a loft style place, so you are inside when you walk in but have to go upstairs to get to living area.

Yankee Traveler
August 13, 2009, 10:10 AM
Second floor...
Especailly if it is only two story. No noise from above at night. That alone is worth carrying groceries up the stairs every week. Just make sure the ac unit is serviced...
And get a coil up ladder or two for fire/emergency escape. The portable ones tha anchor against the window frame.
I'm suprised that codes don't require a second exit for fire escape.

August 13, 2009, 11:08 AM
Second floor. Except when it comes time to move. :(

Besides the other mentioned benefits, when you look out a 2nd floor window you generally have better visibility and perspective compared to a 1st floor unit.

September 8, 2009, 09:28 PM
Yep, get used to drunks fidgeting with your door if it's a big complex.

I remember my first weekend in this apartment complex....forgot to lock the door, went to bed, woke up to some skunk drunk woman freaking out thinking my place was her place, and I was a half-naked intruder in "her" apartment.

It was a 10 minute affair to get her to fire off the unit number (one floor down, some over), and I asked her to look at "her front door"....she got embarassed and bolted.

Sadly, about 5 months later she was pounding on my door, drunk again...she thought her boyfriend who lives with her changed the locks :rolleyes:

At least she was amusing....and well, the first time taught me to triple-check those locks! Drunks have their reputation for a reason :p

September 9, 2009, 02:33 PM
The only disadvantage of the second floor is when you're moving. But 2nd floor is probably the best apt to get tactically. Intruders only have 1 way of entering your place--the front door unless they use a ladder or jump across to the balcony.

September 9, 2009, 06:30 PM
and once in they have to go through a Kill Zone to get to you.

September 9, 2009, 08:34 PM
Which makes more sense "tactically?" The second floor, of course. Which makes more sense overall? Consider egress in the event of a fire.

Decades ago, my wife and I declined to even consider a second floor apartment because there was only one way out.

September 10, 2009, 06:16 AM

I would choose 2nd. floor. But I would be aware as well that molotov cocktails aren't so expensive to make or difficult to use. A dedicated attacker without the intention to rob could use those, and put you and your family into a -very- delicate situation.

Concordantly, I would have several (maybe more than usual) fire extinguishers, just in case.


September 10, 2009, 11:20 PM
Fire is certainly a consideration, but it should not be one that is too worrisome. Not unless you've made some very serious enemies. :eek:

When my wife and I lived in a third floor apartment, we bought one of those escape ladders to use, just in case. The fire was below us, then we'd simply evac down the hall and exit an outside stairwell to the pool area.

Use a little common sense and you'll be fine.