Simple Defenses against Home Invasion

I recently read a post at TTAG on a home invasion in Oklahoma. The resident repelled the assailants with his firearm. He and his wife were unharmed. But things could have gone very badly.

But I’m wondering what else can be done, other than owning a firearm, to protect a home against home invasion. I don’t think it’s practical to carry, concealed or open, at all times in your own home. You are better off having a firearm in a quick access gun safe:

Gun Vault makes a nice quick access safe for a single pistol. There’s a biometric (finger swipe) version and a keypad version. Sentry Safe has a similar pistol safe: biometric or keypad, single hand quick access, silent. Once the code is entered, the door automatically swings open.

But in the Oklahoma incident, the gun owner was only able to get to his gun by luck. The assailants were in his home before he knew it. So what is needed is some way to secure the points of entry to your home, so that anyone breaking in will need to take some time and make some noise to do so. This will give you time to get your family in a locked room, grab your gun, and call 911.

It would be ideal if the entry way to your home had a mud room, so that you enter at one door, pass through a small room or hall, and then enter the main part of the house through a second door. Anyone breaking in must get past two doors. But that is not very practical. Another option is to have a screen door that opens out in front of the main door that opens in. Most screen doors have plastic panels you can use in place of the screens. Secure these well and lock the screen door.

The first door cannot be easily kicked in; anyone breaking in will have to make some noise. Then they are faced with a second door to get past. This will give you time to react to the attempted home invasion. You also have an advantage if you decide to open the front door in response to a knock. There will be another door between you and the stranger at your door.

Most front and back doors can be kicked in with relatively little effort. You can reinforce each door with a kit you find at a local home improvement or hardware store. Amazon and other online retailers also sell this type of product. This type of hardware will make it much more difficult to force open any door, again giving you time to react. With this type of approach, a would be home invader might give up and look for a softer target.

Windows are also easy points of entry in many homes. Locking the window is a little helpful; the noise of breaking the glass might alert you. But it would be better to have storm windows on the outside of each window (as many homes in New England have). These are plastic windows that can be slid open and exchanged for a screen. They are more difficult to get past than glass, and an intruder would need to break through the storm window and the inner glass window. No entry point to a home will be invulnerable. You just want entry to be difficult, time-consuming, and noisy.

When you are not home, a burglar can take his time getting into the house. A basic home alarm system, connected to doors and windows is very useful. Some companies include a “glass break” option that supposedly detects the sound of someone breaking into the house through a window.

What type of firearms are best for home defense? Here’s my short list of 5 top choices.

– Thoreau

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