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4 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself During a Home Invasion

Maybe an alarm went off, your dog started wildly barking, you heard your garage door open, or you heard the shattering glass of a window. Someone is invading your home. What do you do? Hopefully you have prepared ahead of time.

1. Have a gun (or several—strategically and safely stashed throughout your home) and know how to use it.

Immediately retrieve your firearm and head to a safe room (see #2) with your loved ones (if they are able to get there without running into the intruders). Guns are simply the best tools to combat an invasion. There may be multiple attackers, and even if you are a Kung-Fu Master, you are no match for multiple attackers when they catch you off guard. Get a gun.

2. Plan ahead by designating a safe room.

It should have only one point of entry so that when you are in there (with your loved ones) anything coming through that door is easily identified as the attacker. Because all homes are configured differently, you may have to develop contingency plans if family members are in different areas of the home and cannot get to the safe room. Long ago, I told my children that if they heard any major disturbances while they were in bed, to just stay put and hide under their beds until they heard the all-clear from their mom or me.

Tools for the safe room: Have a flashlight in there, a phone (mine is always on me), and a gun. It’s a good idea to have a gun already stashed there with extra loaded magazines (or speedloaders for revolvers).

Shut and lock the door behind you. Hide behind cover: a large desk, a bed, a bookcase—anything that could potentially offer you concealment and even stop a bullet.

Do NOT go and try to find the intruder(s). It is far too easy for them to ambush you. Let them come to you. None of your possessions are worth dying for. If you can possibly call 911, let the police know your address, what the threat is, and that you are armed. Let them know where you are in the house and who is with you. Leave the phone on so they can hear all that is happening. If you hear the intruders at the door, shout for them to leave; tell them you are armed and will shoot them. Remember, all this is being recorded by the police dispatcher, and it will help you if you have to go to court.

Of course, things may happen so quickly that you do not have time to head to a safe room. Go for a weapon (hopefully a gun), and repel the intruders with everything you’ve got.

3. Shoot if you feel that your life is threatened and when you have a clear shot.

Do not shoot through a door. You will have to shoot multiple times to stop an attack. Do not think that one or two shots will do. Do not wait until they are on you. Do not think you can talk them out of their plan. Shoot them. And remember that stray bullets can and do go right through drywall. Firing hollow-point ammo may decrease that likelihood, but practice now to get good at hitting targets accurately. Aim for center mass (the chest), of course. But know that even if someone is shot directly in the heart they can still fight for another 12 seconds or so and do a lot of damage. So, don’t stop shooting until they are on the ground.

4. Once the attacker is down, do not approach him.

Even if he is groaning and writhing in pain, he could be faking. Scan your surroundings for other assailants. Reload if you need to. Wait in your covered position until the police arrive. Do not let anyone enter or disturb the crime scene. Follow all instructions when the police arrive. When they arrive, put your gun down and keep your hands in plain sight. They probably do not know that you are the innocent party (yet). Comply with all orders from the police.

Make a plan. Then practice the plan. You will fight like you train.