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Old October 5, 2011, 09:44 PM   #1
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WOW! House alarm went off... How did you do?

When your alarm goes off (hopefully a FALSE alarm), how did you react? Did you do everything by the book and feel comfortable about it, or did you fumble around in the heat of the moment (like me )?

The other night, we are staying at my wife's parents house (which has a normal alarm). However, said alarm will be set off with no warning if the phone line loses it's signal (AKA someone "cuts" the phone line). So here we are, sleeping away pleasantly (about 12:40a) than all of a sudden it's SHTF in no time flat. It's the first time I heard it, so let me tell you how I performed.

I kept my new Colt 1911 in the case on the ground next to me, next to my glasses (now that I think about it, why the hell is there no nightstand?). When the alarm went off at like 110 dB, my wife and I were both completely stunned for about five or six seconds- coming out of a deep sleep, I was totally incoherent. This leads me to my first point- I had heard people like to leave the gun unloaded or semi- loaded, so you have to perform some basic tasks before you handle your firearm. Sounds like a fine idea, but for me (condition one, all the time unless in transit), as soon as the lights were on, I was ready to go and cognizant (sort of). I feel that only having to click off the safety is better- i think that given an unready gun, attempting to get it into "ready" condition would be much more problematic (even though my wife did it just fine )The one thing I didn't go for was my glasses- I wear contacts, so I don't depend on my glasses like some people, so my first impulse was to go for the light switch and then to shut off the alarm as soon as possible. I immediately stopped myself before I left the room (since my brain stopped me and told me going out there unarmed was entirely against my ideals), and turned around and grabbed the Colt. Before I even had my hand on the case, my wife had was all over it. I leave her Sig P238TL in condition one as well- she was unsure of it's condition, so she had opened her case, dumped the mag, loaded the second and racked the slide before I even had my hand around my Colt. We cased the house (as someone else shut off the alarm) and everything seemed normal. I did it sans glasses, and sans flashlight. So, how do I grade my performance? I give myself a D, since I almost failed to make sure I had the means to make the house secure and be visually impaired (focus-wise and illumination-wise). My wife? I give her an A-, since all she needed was a flashlight in her hand and she'd be perfect. Well, it was the phone lines, so everythIng was fine.

How did I improve? I have my glasses and Colt laid out for if I need them, and I picked up a 150-lumen Remington flashlight. If it happens again, I'll feel much better about it than fumbling around the first time.

Well, that was my experience. If you've had a false alarm, what/how did you do?
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Last edited by MagnumWill; October 5, 2011 at 09:51 PM.
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Old October 5, 2011, 10:55 PM   #2
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I had some strange commotion going on on the side of my house in the backyard two nights ago, dogs ran out and were barking, I was already in bed. I grabbed my MnP and flashlight and went out. What I learned was I did not like the harries technique at all. Will definitely be looking for a tac light option for my MnP. I'd much rather have my hand free.
Yes I know the nay sayers will say they dont feel comfortable pointing a gun at something they havent identified yet so theyd rather carry a flashlight in the other hand. If someone is back there they shouldnt be back there. Whether they are an actual deadly threat or just a trespasser they gave up their right for me to take all the precautions in the world to protect them.

Plus one for the wife staying in control
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Old October 5, 2011, 11:02 PM   #3
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Yes, I often think about what I would do. I keep my fully loaded SIG P220, flashlight, and glasses within arms reach and can find them very easily in the dark. Also, my cell phone is located just another foot away, so I have quick contact with 911 and/or the alarm company.

However, I am a little unsure what to do next. Recently my elderly Mother has come to stay with me about 75% of the time, also any or all of my three nieces stay with me occasionally. I want to assure my family is safe and I know the very loud alarm will be very stressful for them. So, I suppose after getting my bearings I would most likely make my way into the hallway assess the situation and try to make sure everyone is safe.
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Old October 5, 2011, 11:13 PM   #4
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When I hear something that gets me out of bed I grab the gun from my nightstand then check the kids bedrooms, if they are in bed I quietly check the rest of the house, if not I turn on the lights and make enough noise so that we do not surprise each other.

When I first moved in to this house I did this often because some kind of acoustical anomaly makes car doors and people on the street sound like something is going on downstairs, when I am upstairs. This has probably made me a bit complacent, I do not jump out of bed to go look nearly as fast now that I have gotten accustomed to the noises.

Also I do not rely on alarms much. The pros can bypass the average home alarm in seconds.
Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old October 6, 2011, 05:43 AM   #5
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In my neighborhood, we hear false alarms all the time. I think we develop a sixth sense to differentiate between a false alarm and the real thing.

You must consider tactics. First, assuming it's the real thing, tactical advantage lies with the person who remains silent and motionless. Investigate a noise and you're a moving target. Your legal status is stronger indoors than outside your home, where you may have an obligation to retreat if that avenue is available to you.

Also, most jusisdictions do not permit deadly force to be employed in a property crime. If a neighbor's alarm goes off, if they're wired to a security company, then let them manage it. If not, call the police if necessary but don't go out, armed, to investigate. You can be ambushed by the burglar's back-up or lookout and if the police have been summoned by someone else, you don't want to be on the scene with gun in hand when they arrive.
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Old October 7, 2011, 08:30 AM   #6
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Light colr suggestion...

I have found that putting an 'amber / orange" filter on my mini-mag allows me better at dark vision.
The white light is of a shorter wavelength, while the amber /orange is alonger wavelength, this will give you a better peridperal area visual to your sides.

I have a "Q-beam" for my boat and use the amber filter entirely, unless I want to blind (temporarily) someone at night.

When tent camping / backpacking I keep either the revolver or 1911 @ condition one BUT in a "hammer-block" holster, during the night then reach fot it after I'm fully awake.

When daughter were tots, I made sure I had to walk 10 feet before holding something, just to ensure no problems. After all, kids are such great thunderstorm warning alarms. DAAAAADY!!!
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Old October 7, 2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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I keep a Glock 22 and flashlight in my nightstand and then a Glock 26 on top of the night stand in this little box thing a watch came in. Gotta have options! I also leave them condition three. Ive been known to get a little crazy in my sleep and I believe i would have to be fully awake to rack a slide.
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Old October 7, 2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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Also, most jusisdictions do not permit deadly force to be employed in a property crime.
Would you agree that someone who is breaking and entering your home at night while you occupy the premeises is no longer commiting just burglary? Would this person be commiting a home invasion... and much more serious than just a property crime?
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Old October 7, 2011, 09:57 AM   #9
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I do not have an alarm I have a dog. He is a great greeter though. I can tell the differance when it is some one strange, or the girlscouts from down the street selling cookies. For some strange reason when those girls show up my dog gets happy, I get robbed, and those cookies make my pants fit tighter.
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Old October 7, 2011, 12:17 PM   #10
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There have been many burglaries of occupied dwellings in which the burglars got what they could without disturbing the occupants. And, of course, there are the home invasions where the objective is to confront the occupants and force them to disclose the location of valuables. You would have to ask a criminal lawyer exactly how the law classifies breaking and entering of an occupied dwelling compared to a vacant dwelling as often occurs with daytime burglaries.

In using the term "property crime" I'm referring to all those nuisance crimes that involve theft without a direct confrontation with the victim. To add to the confusion, a person who has been burglarized will often say that they have been robbed. I think robbery requires direct victim encounter, a much more serious crime and one which sometimes justifies deadly force.

When you consider the very real and substantial criminal and civil ramifications of confronting someone with a gun, whether or not shots are fired, I think it's best to restrict armed intervention to only when innocent life is threatened. As a young man, I was the neighborhood ninja. With age comes wisdom and I don't plan to throw my remaining life away for a neighbor's car or TV set.

Also, home invasions, at least the term, is a relatively new form of crime. I don't know if any state legislatures have yet passed any laws making home invasions a separate class of crime.
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Old October 7, 2011, 12:39 PM   #11
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WOW! House alarm went off... How did you do?
I've had one false alarm almost 20 years ago and I failed on an epic scale. I'm a very light sleeper and to this day I answer my phone in 1 ring from a dead sleep and I sound totally coherent. This is because I'm used to being on-call.

Well, in this particular scenario 20 years or so ago, the alarm went off and I was up and out of bed with my 38 in 2 seconds and........running down stairs in my shorts in another 1 second.....yeah...EPIC FAIL.

These days, if there was another alarm while I'm at home asleep, the first thing I'd do is turn on the TV and scan the cameras throughout and outside the house. The next thing I'd do is call 911 (even though the system is monitored) and keep them on the phone while turn off the siren (so I could hear). Then I would creep out of the bedroom to check on the boys and round everyone up into our room. My wife has been trained to have her 38 and her phone with her while I do this.
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Old October 7, 2011, 10:01 PM   #12
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The last time our alarm went off, . . . we were all SOUND asleep, . . . it was like Dark 30 out there.

Anyway, . . . alarm goes off, . . . get awake, focus, get bearings, . . .

Ahhhhh, . . . just 5 deer munching their way around my driveway, but near enough to set off the perimeter alarm.

It was a good solid 15 minutes before I got back to sleep

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Old October 7, 2011, 11:47 PM   #13
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In Colorado, we have the castle doctrine law- so if there's any kind of home invasion where the perpetraitor has a weapon, you are within your rights to defend yourself and your family as you see fit (taking into account the "disparity of force" rule outlined well by Mr. Ayoob in many of his books). However, I assume that 90% of home invasions will be diffused without any intervention of a weapon. Hell, in college I would always go downstairs to a bump in the night, and find a new (drunken) friend to have an interesting chat with. Most of my home invasions went like this- "Hey man, what's goin' on? Nothin man, having a great night, came from our friends house, etc. Yeah, I know them, yada yada.... So, what the he'll are you doing in my house? Whoa-YOU live here? My bad man, thought I was at MY place and YOU came over". Hehe

But yes, I highly agree on a weapon light. It is tough to maneuver with both hands occupied if you're not a police officer by trade.
Those who hammer their swords into plow shares will plow for those who didn't...

Last edited by MagnumWill; October 7, 2011 at 11:54 PM.
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Old October 7, 2011, 11:49 PM   #14
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Haven't had an instance with the alarm going off, but we've had quite a few times when someone would ring the doorbell and run off. Not sure if its some kids pranking houses, or burglars casing a neighborhood, but when that happens I grab my pistol and head out to check. Making sure that they're not going to the nextdoor neighbor or vandalizing other homes or vehicles.
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Old October 7, 2011, 11:53 PM   #15
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Oh man, those kids would be surprised to have me open the door on them, and my hyper-sensitive wife standing behind me with the RPK and the drum mag... hehehe she has a tendency that if she hears something that sets her off, she'll go get the nastiest gun we own, regardless of the situation. love her
Those who hammer their swords into plow shares will plow for those who didn't...
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Old October 8, 2011, 12:53 AM   #16
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So sad how wee have come to be such a frightened nation.

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Old October 8, 2011, 11:23 AM   #17
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When to shoot?

Discussions of trying to intercept an intruder or going outside to investigate noises reminds me of a shooting maybe 10-15 years ago of a Japanese exchange student named Yoshie who became lost or confused while trying to find his way to a Halloween party. The homeowners wife, seeing this dude in costume and who was play-acting his costume role, implored her husband to get his gun. He did just that and produced a .44 Magnum revolver. Yoshie, thinking that the homeowner was also play acting a role, and not accustomed to the hair-trigger mentality of people who imagine death and destruction lurking behind every bush and encounter, continued to play act, where upon the homeowner shot him dead.

If the homeowner had remained indoors, Yoshie would not have needlessly lost his life. If you must draw a line in the sand, make it the perimeters of your dwelling, not your driveway, outhouse or the back or lower forty.

If I must live with the fact that I've taken human life, that act must have been justified beyond all doubt.
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Old October 8, 2011, 12:26 PM   #18
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I don't have an alarm, but I keep my HD gun in a holster on the night stand next to my bed. A flashlight is nearby as well. I used to keep it just on the night stand, but decided that in the dark, it is better off in a holster, since I have an extra one.

I wake up instantly fully alert so grogginess isn't a problem.

I've only had a couple of instances of bumps in the night. One was unexplained and the other was a mop leaning against the sink that somehow fell over. A lot of heavy farm machinery and an occassional truck use the road in front of my house. Vibrations from that probably knocked it down.

When the last one happened, I listened at the bedroom door for a minute or so, and didn't hear anything. No kids anymore, so they were not a factor.

Not hearing anything, I proceeded to check out the noise source and found the mop on the floor.

The one time I had a real problem, it was outside and I heard nothing. Woke up to find some vandalism.
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Old October 8, 2011, 04:27 PM   #19
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Years ago, when I lived in town, I was sound asleep when I heard the front door open & my dog started barking. That bark that tells you something is not right.

My kids were little then, so I kept my gun in a dresser drawer unloaded, mag removed, but full. I grabbed gun & mag shakin' like a dog. Seemed like it took 2 minutes to get the gun loaded! I walked slowly out of my bedroom, up the hall to the living room. Just as I turned the corner where I could see the door, a man's hand was pulling the door closed.

Not much scares me, but I was shakin' like a leaf for some time!
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Old October 8, 2011, 04:57 PM   #20
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If you must draw a line in the sand, make it the perimeters of your dwelling, not your driveway, outhouse or the back or lower forty.

Very important!

Sure, It's better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6, but try telling yourself that in solitary for 20 years because your half asleep hair trigger hit the cat burglar as he was making a bee-line out the back door.

Rule number one for all post-shooting incidents: SHOOT AND SHUTUP
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Old October 8, 2011, 06:47 PM   #21
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My alarm is the same as the one in my pizza shop so when it goes off I can not know where the disturbance originates. Our bedrooms are all located together in a section of the house that is, for practical purposes, inaccessible from all but one direction. My kids are 5 and 3.
I have experienced several false alarms and zero real ones.
My response has and will always be the same. My Glock is in the gunvault next to my bed, my phone is next to it. I grab them both, check the hallway/kids rooms and wait there in safety for the alarm company to call. Once they tell me which zone is the problem, I can decide how to proceed, which so far has been a single, nonrecurring front motion, which means a spider, so I go kill the spider.
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Old October 9, 2011, 11:46 AM   #22
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Old October 15, 2011, 08:01 AM   #23
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Our dog is our alarm - a hypersensitive yappy terrier.

When we started keeping him in the bedroom with us, he used to react to every light in the cul-de-sac. I decided to use these as opportunities to rehearse HD. I keep amplified shooter's muffs (easier than fumbling with hearing aids), SIG P238, and a tac light by the bed. The first two times I fumbled the muffs and had trouble finding the switch. By the fifth time, I had the whole routine down pat. I don't even attempt to clear the house, I let the dog run downstairs and listen in the upstairs hallway. If I don't hear him running or do hear the whine-bark which means something is intruding on his (our) territory, I'll fort up in the bedroom and call 911.

As he's gotten more used to sleeping with us, he's given us far fewer false alarms, and the ones that he does give have been reasonable (neighbor's daughter's boyfriend in the wrong driveway once, early morning delivery once).
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Old October 15, 2011, 08:40 PM   #24
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Alarm went off once. Wife and I did a 'mad minute' and all was quiet after that.

Took weeks to patch all the holes in the walls.

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Old October 15, 2011, 09:46 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Deaf Smith
Took weeks to patch all the holes in the walls.
I laughed hard, thank you.

Okay, so, I'm actually not at home. I'm in California, out of choice, and watching the house and the dog for family. I don't have a gun here, they do, but they are locked up. I have two 14 inch throwing knives, two 10 inch throwing knives, a 7 inch knife, and my "Baby" 12 inch fighter. Also, a pair of Kali sticks. Luckily this is a gated community, but that means little as the back wall can be jumped without anyone knowing. I've heard one odd sound so far, that wasn't the neighbors arguing. It sounded like trees rustling, so I took a peek outside, found nothing. I always keep my light handy, as well as my phone. The knives won't help me much, and I only keep the one handy... But it's all I have, and it's a good thing I know how to use it.
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