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Old September 29, 2022, 05:04 PM   #1
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Choices for a novice to improve security

Hi everyone,
I wanted to ask your insights on next steps for home security and proficiency.
I hope this question is also relevant to others at my level. Think of a suburban family man who has other hobbies and time commitments but would like to become more competent for bump-in-the-night scenarios.
My setup:
  • Home alarm
  • CZ-85B 9mm in bedside electronic safe
  • Mossberg 500 in key-lock gun cabinet (not quickly accessible)
  • Pistol-caliber shooting range is nearby -- 3-5 range trips per year.
  • Shotgun requires a 3 hour round trip to an outdoor range -- once a year (last-minute practice for turkey season)
  • Master bedroom exit has an awkward corner at top of stairs that lead to the front door.
  • Young child

I don't truly need anything other than training and practice time. Time is unfortunately the most difficult thing to change! I do recognize the need to improve accuracy and speed. I participated in two competitions at a club -- I realized that I'm surprisingly decent at stationary targets but become quite inaccurate (minute of trashcan lid) when motion is involved.

Now suppose I have around $500-$1000 for hobby spending that hopefully also improves security. Which way would you go?

1) Get a laser dry-fire training pistol to augment my skills with iron sights?

I'm hoping this would increase my dry fire time in short sessions at home. It may be more effective than using just snap caps and thumbing the hammer back each time. The thought also occurred to me that I could combine laser training with my exercise! (Shoot - pushups - shoot - jumping jacks - shoot - burpies.)

2) Get a more modern pistol that allows a red dot and mounted flashlight?
I realize that one can't replace skill with hardware. Yet's clear that I shoot better with an optic. (The optic option may not fit well with the above laser training system.)
Secondly, it somewhat bothers me that I can't mount a light on my CZ. I do know the problem with pointing the gun to identify a person. But even if I obey all the safety rules, I wonder if a weapon mounted light might provide a last layer of safety to prevent a tragic mistake. One can practice flashlight carry techniques (Harries, etc.), but I find it definitely decreases my accuracy and speed.

3) Pistol caliber carbine?
  • Can practice at a local range unlike the 12 gauge
  • Requires a quick access long gun safe

4) Something else?

(assume I'll likely invest in a weekend training course in any case)

Thanks in advance!
- Sriracha

Last edited by Sriracha; September 29, 2022 at 05:14 PM.
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Old September 29, 2022, 07:35 PM   #2
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You included training at the very end, almost as an after-thought. My reaction as I started reading your post was, "What good is all that hardware if you don't know what to do with it?"

Definitely, IMHO, your next step and your first priority should be training. Not a tactical, go-to-war training class, but something geared to your needs. The NRA has (or had) a class called Personal Protection in the Home. I think that would be a good first step. It's not the be-all and end-all of classes, but it's a start ... and that class would provide you with a better idea of what type(s) of additional training you think would benefit you.
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Old September 29, 2022, 08:36 PM   #3
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* Well-lit exterior
* GOOD door locks/deadbolts
* Exterior cameras
* Doberman

(It's cheaper to keep them out than to engage in a gunfight inside the house)


*I'd give right arm to be ambidextrous*
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Old September 29, 2022, 09:07 PM   #4
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Voice controlled smart light bulbs so you determine what is dark and what is lighted.

Interior and exterior video cameras and motion activated outside lighting.

Training and practice far more often.
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Old September 29, 2022, 09:59 PM   #5
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Voice activated lights sounds like a great idea, an easy and effective upgrade.
Just got motion-detecting front lights today!
Have motion activated cameras.
Doberman ... wife might require some convincing, haha.

Yes, I will definitely do the training! (I only mentioned it at the end as it's already a clear course of action..) Haha, I entirely expected people to say "don't focus on equipment. Get training." I do get the wisdom in this

But equipment choices do matter in a limited sense:
Some of the intermediate courses require a weekend in addition to other investments: ammo, extra magazines, and holster in some cases. (I have received basic instruction in the past so was aiming for the next level up.) If I decide to switch to a carbine, that might lead me to a different class entirely. Or if I wanted to switch to a Glock, M&P, etc., I would hope to show up to train on that new gun.

Nonetheless, Aguila Blanca, I do see your point. I might get personalized answers to my questions from an instructor in a class such as the type you mention.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old September 30, 2022, 05:49 AM   #6
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One other relatively inexpensive idea is to get double doors, the regular door and a metal framed locking tempered glass storm door. This adds one additional entry barrier but also provides a secondary barrier so that if you do open the door there is now a second still locked door. Tempered glass is no protection when it comes to bullets but it does provide a secondary entry barrier and some slight additional time for your responses in all other instances.
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Old September 30, 2022, 06:55 AM   #7
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Look deeply at your exterior door locks. Often the real lock plate(I think called strike plate??) is omitted to safe time and effort. Fitting those seems like a drastic entryway improvement.

Also, are ground floor window locks functional and in use? If you have a patio door, do you have a functional bar lock?

Do you have a front and rear camera accessible through your phone?

Do you have motion detecting lighting? Does your landscaping keep people from using it as cover while working on a lock? Low roses bushes or things like that make for uninviting cover in front of a window prevent someone from working on the window.

I prefer a rat terrier. He will defend you with his 14lb life and make a ton of noise…..but is still decent with children. There are other big protective breeds too.

Last, but maybe should be first….take a class. They are fun!
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Old September 30, 2022, 08:51 AM   #8
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Training definitely seems to be your weak point. You need more. Under stress whatever your current skill level is it will fall significantly.

A laser training pistol is an excellent way to practice. I prefer SIRT. They aren't cheap but they're well worth it.

A red dot and weapon light are great options but they'll require practice as well.
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Old October 1, 2022, 04:42 PM   #9
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I am not sure that much of "that" is going to improve your personal security. It more of a short list of gadgets.

If you want to improve your level of security, get some training and perhaps alter a good bit of how you normally operate or interact with the outside world, people and places.

Learn about how to detect developing danger , understand how those elements can impact your life and how best to mitigate them as well as how to manage them if they are thrust upon you.

Your security can often be bolstered by how you live your life and the decisions you make from day to day. Its not really a gun and gadget issue. Sure, a gun can be a very important part of a persons safety system but its about much more than that.

If you want to bolster security at home... you might want to think about

methods of detecting danger early

deterring danger by means of physical barriers and difficult obstacles . You might want to make these difficulties obvious from the street.

consider what a badguy likes and dont like. Work toward making your place problematic to potential criminals.

Methods for getting a help response out as quickly as possible

have a well thought out plan on how you will defend your home ( if it comes to that). How to best exploit conditions in your favor
Life is a web woven by necessity and chance...
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Old October 1, 2022, 10:01 PM   #10
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Be healthy. Being 30 lbs plus overweight and unable to maneuver to cover is no bueno.

Too many fantasists I see practice hard on shooting, reloading and first shots, but the gun in obstructed by the suet around their middle.

Not glamorous, but really necessary.
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Old October 2, 2022, 09:09 PM   #11
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Good dogs - they don't have to be police dogs, but anything that can give you an alert, even one of those obnoxious ankle biters. Thorny bushes under every window like roses of berries, pea gravel path around the house (TRY to walk quietly on that (see dog above as early alert); motion sensor lighting. If your house lot is small, tall fencing not easily climbed
"I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a 'temporary license to exist'—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn't own you."- Frank Zappa
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Old October 3, 2022, 05:11 AM   #12
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After training the only other thing that you need is a marine recon unit.
Gun control is like stopping drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to drive.
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Old October 9, 2022, 12:39 PM   #13
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It is pretty simple at home.

You need intruder alert system….barking dogs are great. Trained dogs can lead the defense.

A plan to react to being woken. Go somewhere, be armed with phone, light, gun.

How/when to counterattack. I feel like people, me included, love the idea of buying a gun and shooting it, but truly having an abc plan seems more rare.
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Old October 10, 2022, 05:26 PM   #14
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Congrats, you already know there is no omnipotent piece of hardward that will protect your home and loved one---if there was we'd all have one and this question wouldn't even be around.

The best answer, I think, is the one mentioned a lot in the thread which you are already going to do, get more training. And when you go to the training remember you are paying someone to give you answers so ask any question you have even if you suspect it might be a dumb one and have an obvious answer.

Lastly, what's your neighborhood like. Do you know your neighbors? Are your neighbors vested in keeping the neighborhood safe or are some of your neighbors the problem? It's the most unglamorous question but IMhO a very, very relevant one.

P.S. I like dogs, if they like you they'll go to the mat to warn/protect you and your family.
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Old October 10, 2022, 09:05 PM   #15
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Longer screws for all door hinges and striker plates. Metal skinned outer doors to go with those longer screws. While those things won’t keep a determined person(s) out, it’ll slow em down.

Combined with a good alarm and a barking dog, it will give you time to implement the training you’re going to get.
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Old October 11, 2022, 08:01 AM   #16
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Cameras are cheap these days.

Lighting, motion sensor ideally.

Training. A training class or two is not all that expensive. Just do some homework on the trainers if you can (now that MD is forced by Bruen to allow normal folks to get a carry permit I recently took the 16 hour MD class, the training company I used was terrible).

More range time. Shooting is a perishable skill. Over the past few years, I haven't gone much. When I shot for my carry class, I was rusty (I missed the target once, my groups were terrible). I've gone 3 times in the last 2 weeks and I already see a big difference. Ammo isn't cheap these days, so if you will shoot a lot, a .22lr pistol that is similar to your defensive gun can pay for itself in ammo savings quite quickly (in your case, I'd suggest ideally getting a Kadet kit, though you'll have to hurry since CZ recently discontinued the one for the 75/85, though any full sized hammer fired .22 would be acceptable).

The laser trainer is a great idea. One of the best gun related purchases I've made. You can get the laser training gun for maximum safety, or you can get a laser insert for your home defense gun for most directly transferable training. I did both. You can get a lot of training, you'll make up the cost in ammo savings quickly, and you can set up targets and practice scenarios within your own home.
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