Survivability, by definition, is the ability to remain alive or continue to exist. This is after all the goal right? To be able to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and alive even in adverse conditions. The choices you make every minute of every day can directly affect the outcome of a vast array of situations you may find yourself in.
Every day of your life you make decisions, but what criteria do you use to deem something a good or bad decision? For me every choice I make is the result of me attempting to increase my survivability. In my life there are no coin flips, I do not leave things to chance. Everything you do should have a reason behind it and that reason should not be convenience. Comfort based decisions and complacency can and will get you killed, not only in a combat zone but here at home as well. In the coming 3-part article we are going to talk about things you can do to give you the upper hand at home, in your vehicle, and when you are out and about.
When you are at home you are the most relaxed and least alert. We all have this false sense of safety in our own homes, but this does not have to be so. It would be a mistake to think you are safe in your own home if you have never taken any steps to actually make it a secure place. By now you may have seen the video of the clown in Jersey Village, TX, if you haven’t I will include it below but I will also give a brief explanation. A family woke up one morning recently to their front gate wide open, upon further investigation of their security cameras they learned a shocking reality. The night prior an individual dressed as a clown wielding a kitchen knife entered their yard and proceeded to do everything he could to gain access to their home short of breaking windows. He tries to open doors, windows, and cars only to fail. This individual had a clear intent of murdering a family while they slept and wanted to encounter no opposition.
Your first and most obvious defense are locks. Of course you should always keep your doors and windows locked when you are asleep and at night, but what about during the day? Is it an inconvenience to have to lock and unlock your door every time you go out it, yes, but remember we don’t make comfort based decisions. Another thing I would like you to ponder is your vehicles while at home, do you keep them locked? You may think, “I don’t have anything worth stealing so who cares”, but it is much more than that. What do you usually keep in your vehicle on your visor? That’s right, a garage door opener, and if you don’t bother locking your door to your house in the garage then the enemy has just gained access due to an unlocked vehicle. Locked doors only do so much though, while it may be a deterrent for most criminals like the one in the video, is that really and end all be all? Of course not, that’s why I employ you to look into alarm systems.
You don’t have to have a fancy high dollar alarm system, although the better your alarm system is your survivability does go up. something as simple as a noise telling you when a door or window is open. In my old home in Texas we had a feature on our alarm system that would sound off three loud chirps every time a door or window was opened. While this was kind of annoying as a kid, as an adult you begin to hear those chirps as reassurance. You know every time someone enters or leaves your home. In addition to your alarm system, a video monitoring system is another feature that allows you to monitor your home. Cameras and motion detectors placed facing every entry point to your house as well throughout your property let you see any threats coming up or you can go back to review tape in the instance of a burglary. You should never be surprised when your doorbell rings. I suggest that your alarm system and cameras be connected to a secondary power source whether it be a backup generator or a solar panel. in times of bad weather like hurricanes you will lose power to everything and remember what happened in New Orleans, looting and mischief. Once a threat is inside your home the dynamics change, your locks have failed you and the alarm is what is going to give you an early warning that something has gone array.
So what happens when someone enters your home and intends to do you harm? Do you get your family in one location and strong point that room? Do you go on the offensive with your weapon of choice? There is no right answer but you should take in to consideration a couple of things.
- Do you have a “safe room” and how long will it take you to get everyone in your family there? it may not be feasible, depending on the layout of your home, to get everyone into a safe position you can defend from. Take things into consideration like the fact that you will likely have to expose yourself and other to the enemy, the size of your family and the layout of your home.
- Are there any ways to safely get out of your home? As much as everyone likes to daydream about dispatching ISIS in their home John Wick style, the truth of the matter is that the safest thing to do is likely leave if you can. If been in a few firefight’s in my time and the last thing I want is to get in a gunfight while I’m dragging my wife and kids along.
- Do you have any training that will let you successfully eliminate the threats? Real life is not like the movies, if you have minimal to no training then going on the offensive may not be your best option. Clearing you home alone is less than ideal and if it is dark it will be that much harder. Remember, you won’t rise to the occasion, you will resort to your most proficient level of training.
- What weapon is your “go to” home defense gun? Although you probably envision yourself in full kit with your AR-15 that is likely not going to happen. Personally if I have to eliminate a threat in my home, especially at night, I will either use my suppressed .45 or my Mossberg 12 gauge. High power rifle rounds are not going to be stopped by walls, if you miss your target with you AR it is more likely you will run into a friendly fire situation. For home defense try to stay away from ball ammo and go with something like a hollow point. Remember when you fire a weapon in the dark it will likely disorient you and the attacked due to the muzzle flash. That’s why I like my suppressor. Lights on your go to weapon is a must.
Your home is your castle, if you aren’t safe there then where are you safe? Do everything you can to make your home more defendable and give your family the best chance at survival. This isn’t meant to lay out a home security plan for you but to get the mental juices flowing and to get you to think about some of the decisions you make. I’ll leave you with one more question, do you carry while you are at home? If you are on the couch or in the bathroom when something goes down where is your nearest weapon?
Author – Wes Nanny is a former Marine Sgt. He did 8 years as a grunt being a team leader and squad leader. I deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in 2010-2011 with 3rd battalion 5th Marine Regiment. After that, I stayed with that unit and went on the 15th and 31st MEU’s. In my spare time when I’m not with my family, I like to climb, shoot, and hike. I stay very current on firearms and fear of all sorts. I also did some side work with custom kydex for the last two years.