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Old August 15, 2011, 10:50 AM   #1
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The Combat Mindset: Lessons learned From a Recent Sort of Real Home Defense Situation

We hear a lot about the combat mindset, and about what will go through your head in a real self defense situation. I recently had an experience in my home at night that drove this point home to me in a BIG way.

Last night, I was lying awake after my wife had fallen asleep. It was almost 11 PM, and there was a lightening storm going on. It wasn't anything big, just a colorful light show in the sky. Anyway, I'm lying there, and I hear a noise in the main part of the house. It's not anything I really get concerned about, I hear them about 3-4 times a month. I always check them out, as I figure better safe than sorry. I reach in the nightstand and get my pistol and flashlight.

I walk out of the bedroom, and I don't have the flashlight on because there is enough ambient light in the house to see by, and if someone is there, I don't want to give them a heads up. I stop just outside the door of the bedroom and scan everything that I can see. All of a sudden, my blood runs cold. The front door is wide open. At that moment, A million thoughts flood my head. I am in condition red, big time. THEY ARE INSIDE THE HOUSE!!! I start thinking of all the training I've taken for pistol combat, and all the books I've read. Center of mass, front sight, breath control, trigger squeeze, double tap, controlled pair, failure to stop drills, clearing a malfunction, tactical reloading, you name it, it popped into my head in about 3 seconds. I also began to think about the legal can of worms that can be opened with even the justifiable use of force. I pushed THAT thought out of my head, because in my state, BG in the house=justifiable use of force.

Like I said, this took about 3-4 seconds and then I hear the floor creak, right on the other side of the door (the door opens toward my bedroom, so when it's open, I can't see the entryway). Whoever is in my house is on the other side of the door. At this point, I have a half inclination to start putting rounds through the door, but I immediately dismiss that as a bad idea. When the door is open, not only can I not see the entryway, but it opens toward a center load bearing wall that has a closet and the pantry in it. In order to get to the other side of the door, I'd have to walk all the way around this center section, through the kitchen, through the dining room, and the living room. I'm pretty sure the intruder doesn't know I'm there, and I'd like to keep it that way so I can surprise them. I don't want to try something like saying, "I have a gun, lie on the floor" because I'm afraid that if they're armed, THEY'LL start putting rounds through the door.

So, with my options dwindling, I decide upon what I think will be the best course of action. In the same instant, I rear back and kick the door closed on the BG (it's a heavy door). At the same time, I jump around the door, click on my flashlight, and yell "MOVE AND I'LL SHOOT!!!"

At that moment, I'm confronted by the sight of my eight year old son, whom I've just sent crashing through the screen door, lying on the porch in the rain crying. Apparently, he got up to watch the lightening. My wife comes running out of the bedroom, holding her Lady Smith like a damned Charlie's Angel, yelling "WHAT"S GOING ON?!?!?!"

I know it was probably just the sudden release of tension, but at that moment, I start laughing hysterically. I mean eyes tearing up, I have to take a knee because I can't breathe laughing. My wife is ready to kill SOMETHING, I'm probably doing irreparable harm to my son's self esteem my laughing at him on the porch hurt, and I just can't stop.

My son wasn't hurt seriously, just a knot on his head, and we stayed up and had a LONG talk about opening the door at night without permission. Right now, I'm seriously thinking about getting convex mirrors to mount around the house so I can see around corners.

What amazes me is the multitude of things I hadn't thought of before hand. What if there was more than one BG? How many blind corners are there in my house? Why don't I wake my wife up before I go check things out?

All in all, I think I lost a year off my life from the ordeal, but it goes to show that preparation, especially mental, is key to self defense.

Did I do anything wrong? Any ideas how I could have done better?
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Old August 15, 2011, 11:13 AM   #2
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Man, that was a close one. You might consider an alarm system. Then if your son was to go outside, he'd have to disengage it.
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Old August 15, 2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Got children in the house? 99.9% of the time they will be responsible for noises in the night. Esp when teenagers start leaving/coming home late. Don't shoot thru any doors or walls.
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Old August 15, 2011, 11:47 AM   #4
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Wow that was quite an event.

An alarm that announces which door has been opened, while annoying at times, is helpful.

Video surveillance cameras may also have helped prevent a potential tragedy.
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Old August 15, 2011, 12:49 PM   #5
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Alarm systems are a good tool and can give you a heads up when something is going on. New systems can have some pretty advanced options such as remote access and video surveillance. At the end of the day the best tool you have is the one between your ears. It sounds like you used yours pretty good, but might need to start including the entire family in your planning.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:15 PM   #6
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Buy a dog. A child should have a dog, and maybe, so should you.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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I'm confronted by the sight of my eight year old son, whom I've just sent crashing through the screen door, lying on the porch in the rain crying. Apparently, he got up to watch the lightening.
That sure could have ended up in a bad way if you had shot thru that door.

Motion sensor lites, a dog and the boys understanding he doesnt open doors at nite.

This post sent a cold chill right down my spine. My son just turned 9
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:38 PM   #8
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Video surveillance cameras may also have helped prevent a potential tragedy.
Proper tactics prevented a potential tragedy. Cameras would have saved the boy a knot on his head and damage to the screen door.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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We actually have a dog, and she's the worlds most useless and dumb chocolate lab. She won't even bark at Jehova's Witnesses.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:47 PM   #10
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Rule 1: if you hear a strange noise that merits investigating, wake the wife up first before doing anything else.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:50 PM   #11
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The VERY first thing I do, on those rare occasions that I feel the need to grab my gun and check out the house is 1) verify my wife's location; 2) verify my child's location; and 3) verify the dog's location (should be on the floor next to my bed).

Nothing else should be moving around in my house.
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Old August 15, 2011, 03:58 PM   #12
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I already knew where my wife and dog were, and my son's room is on the other end of the house. I'd have had to clear the entire house to check on him.
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Old August 15, 2011, 04:00 PM   #13
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she's the worlds most useless and dumb chocolate lab
Just got a beagle that's the same way. Depending on how the intruder acts, she might just roll over for a belly scratch.

Very glad everything worked out as it did, minus a few bumps and a new screen door.

Cameras might be a bit obsessive, but strategically placed mirrors ( of the decorative variety, not the ceiling mounted shoplifter catchers, gotta think resale) might not be a bad idea.
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Old August 15, 2011, 04:04 PM   #14
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Before investigating, if possible, check in on your kids and try to move them to your bedroom or other safe room. We have an alarm system, armed on "instant" setting every night -- alarm sounds immediately if a door or window is opened. Happened a few weeks ago, and I retrieved my flashlight and firearm and went to check it out. A garage door was left slightly ajar and blew open in the wind. Get and alarm . A very good first line of defense and early warning system.
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Old August 15, 2011, 04:13 PM   #15
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Shew! That also gave me chills down my spine. That's a good lesson to keep in mind. Another point for me to keep in mind, the kids are out of the nest and have keys to the house. It's not beyond them to drop by unannounced at any time. Is it rule #2 - #3, always be sure of your target and beyond? Glad it worked out o.k.
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Old August 15, 2011, 05:01 PM   #16
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Armed home defense doesn't exist in a vacuum. An armed response must be tailored around the normal occupants. Each stage of the family cycle brings a different response, from inquisitive toddlers to teenagers bringing their occasionally low-life friends home.
Sure glad you trained yourself not to shoot at noise.
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Old August 15, 2011, 05:09 PM   #17
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i 2nd the home alarm. Mine cost me something like 400, and the monitoring is another 15 a month....between the doors and the motion detectors i know when anybody moves anywhere in the house, if its armed the alarm goes off but i can get up in the middle of the night and walk anywhere on the main floor and not set it off.
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Old August 15, 2011, 05:12 PM   #18
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Cameras are wonderful. I have a 16 channel dvr with 16 cameras, 14 of which are night vision capable. I can watch my home from any internet access including my cell phone. In fact I'm watching as we speak from my work computer. At night I simply hit the source button on my 32 inch tv from the master bedroom and can see every entry into my home instantly from the outside.

It has afforded me a peace of mind far exceeding the 2600 dollar price tag. That price included the dvr, a memory upgrade to 1tb, all the wires, power sources, 16 cameras, and the splitter for getting signal to two tv's.

So now I have a multi layered home security setup. DVR, Burglar Bars, Monitored Alarm System, Rotweiler (indoors), and Armed HomeownerS. Neighbors beware because they aren't coming my way LOL.

P.S. My cameras have recorded a rock attack on my neighbors home, a kid stealing my campaign signs, an attempted burglary on my pickup truck, and a man dropping off a beheaded rooster (complete with head) at the stop sign on the corner. The latter was believed to be a religious ritual according to LE.
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Old August 16, 2011, 06:33 AM   #19
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A little follow up:

Yesterday at school, my son's teacher, who is a very kind older lady we count among our friends, noticed the knot on his head and asked how he got it. My son, being the painfully honest knucklehead that he is, replied "Dad kicked me through the screen door."

Luckily, she called my wife instead of the police, and gave us a chance to explain what had happened!
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Old August 16, 2011, 06:51 AM   #20
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WOW, that was a great story and a damn spooky one too.
I haven't much experience except real world stuff, having intruders in my home twice and I didn't shoot them either. I even caught a man breaking into the neighbor ladies car, no lead therapy required.
However in my eyes you did well, except maybe as you suggest waking up the wife.
I keep mentally coming back to the man who shot and killed his girlfriend when she stayed over the first night because she was thirsty and he heard the noise.
Remain in mental control, use non-lethal methods first, but remain mentally ready with restraint. You should be commended.
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Old August 16, 2011, 06:57 AM   #21
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I don't know if it is possible to do, but if it IS possible, I would make sure your son's bedroom is not all the way across the house for a multitude of reasons, this being one of them. I can get to my boys immediately if i need to, and they can get to me immediately if they need to. No house clearing involved. We also have an American Bulldog and a new half grown Staffordshire Terrier. Both have good ears.
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Old August 16, 2011, 07:46 AM   #22
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I had a similar experience, awaken in the midsts of a deep sleep, daughter and friend came running into the bedroom in a panic saying someone was trying to get in the house. At the time I had a Bersa Thunder .380 as my HD/CCW gun and funny, the first thing that went through my mind was, I need a bigger gun with more bullets.
The noise they thought was a door knob being jiggled was the motor for the ice maker stuck on, moving the ice cubes around, it really did sound like someone was jiggling a door knob.

I did sell that little Bersa and have since slept soundly with a fully loaded Glock 21 on my night stand.

Scary, but the best training you can get to expose your weaknesses and areas requiring improvement.

BTW, what handgun did you grab and what was it loaded with?
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Old August 16, 2011, 08:01 AM   #23
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I grabbed a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm loaded with 18 (17+1) rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124 grain JHP +P.

I've only recently (less than three years) been using that platform, but I've fallen in love with it. I used to carry a Springfield XD .45, but shooting 300 rounds of .45 ACP every week got too expensive. I needed something it didn't cost so much to feed, and I got a good deal on the M&P, and I've never shot better with any other pistol I've ever owned. It's the most naturally presenting and pointing pistol I've found. When I draw, it seems to leap into my hand. I'd give up my dog before I gave up my M&P.
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Old August 16, 2011, 08:31 AM   #24
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Expanding on an adage of Confederate General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson in regard to taking counsel of one's fears, General George Patton is reputed to have said, “The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!”

Acting on FEAR and not knowledge is one of the things that gets armed citizens in trouble a good bit of the time. It's your home, your environment, if there is any place on the face of the earth where there should not be any need to feel FEAR, your home is that place.

What you need to do is figure out some good ways to replace FEAR with knowledge. You need to find some better ways to "collect facts" before you go charging off to do battle with an unseen and unknown foe.

First thing is establishing one new habit for you and/or your wife- each night EVERY night before going to bed, CHECK THE DOORS (and any windows that might have been opened during the day) to make sure they are closed and locked. Don't close your eyes until you KNOW the doors are all closed and locked. And re-emphasize the lesson to Dear Son - DO NOT open exterior doors, ever, without you or your wife knowing he's doing it, and who's on the other side.

I would suggest you consider taking the NRA's Personal Protection In The Home class, if it's available near you. Take your wife to the class too. See for a locator tool. Failing that, get a copy of the textbook at , and/or the DVD of the classroom portion of the course at .

Formulate a better plan for dealing with odd noises -or worse- in your home. The class above will help a lot in that regard. Details are up to you but now you at least have a basis to build on.

Get a dog that is NOT worthless as a watchdog. Doesn't have to be a $15,000 Schutzen-trained Malinois, but you need a dog that will at least warn you if something odd is going on near or inside your home.

Some kind of alarm system is mandatory. Doesn't have to be a professionally installed hardwired monitored system, a $100 no-fee X-10 DIY jobbie can work for you IF you'll use it. is one source, shop around. I'd avoid motion detectors and just use magnetic reed switches on doors or windows, they're more reliable IMHO.

There's more but this is a start... hope it helps,

Mindset - Skillset - Toolset. In that order!

Attitude and skill will get you through times of no gear, better than gear will get you through times of no attitude and no skill.
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Old August 16, 2011, 09:30 AM   #25
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A learning situation and very ggod outcome here!

When my daughters were young I made sure that I had to get and cover some distance before handling a firearm.

Additionally, I had the little neon nite light put in darl corners to illuminate not depending a ambient sources.

LIkely the son got scared with the lightning and decide to sneak-in to a secure place {Mon/Dad]
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