How to Defend your Home: Room Clearing
In the event of a home invasion, you are your own first responder. Calm can become chaos in seconds, and even the fastest police in the world wouldn’t be able to reach you in the time it would take for you to grab your self-defense firearm and defend your home and your loved ones.
Your home is your castle, and a good castle is prepared for a siege. A well-prepared home defender should have an appropriate weapon for close quarters combat and an easy way to access it. Iron sights are impossible to see in the dark, and illuminated sights should be prioritized for nighttime home defense. Shotguns are an excellent choice for room clearing, and in a low-light environment, a red dot like the hardy Sightmark Ultrashot or the long-lasting Wolverine would be excellent for quick target acquisition, but for those who prefer rifles for home defense, a low-powered variable optic (LPVO) like the Sightmark Core 2.0 1-4x24mm is perfect for both-eyes-open shooting and precise fire at short and medium ranges. Its variable illumination allows for low-light vision shooting, while the design of its etched reticle is specifically designed for practical combat applications.
It would also be beneficial to mount a flashlight on your weapon. INFORCE makes rugged, powerful rifle-mounted lights with high lumen and candela counts. Perfect for flooding an entire room with just one small light, these INFORCE products are built with home defense in mind.
To keep your weapons easy to access, consider storing your weapon(s) in a panel in your headboard. This will keep your firearms within reach and out of the hands of your children. While this might seem like something from out of a James Bond movie, American Concealed Furniture specializes in making concealed panels for your bed or cupboard. This makes your weapons easier and faster to access than they would be in a gun safe with a combination while also giving you peace of mind that your children will never find them.
Your priority in the event of a home invasion is to protect your life and the lives of your family members. If you live alone, or if you and your significant other share the same bedroom, there is absolutely no need to exit the room to clear the rest of your house. If your room has a single entry point, it acts as a bunker, and your home insurance should cover the cost of whatever you lose to the burglary, but it won’t be able to bring you back from the dead.
If everyone you care about is in the same room as you, access your weapon and aim it at the door. Call the police and let them know there is a suspected burglary at your residence. It is important to let them know you are armed. When you hear them announcing themselves, stow your weapon to avoid being mistaken for the suspect.
Standing directly in front of the door would not be the smartest thing to do, since it puts you in the direct line of fire of anyone coming into the room. Instead, huddle in the corner of your room behind cover if you have it.
Most might think that hunting for the people breaking into your home is the first thing to do, but the only situation where room clearing would be justified is if another person, whether that be your child, parent, or significant other (maybe she wanted you to sleep on the couch for the night) is in another part of the house. Your sole duty would be to find them and defend the room. As tempting as it would be, the objective of home defense is not to seek and destroy the enemy.
Home invaders rarely act alone and rely on strength in numbers to overcome their own fear. You have no idea how many of them are in your home, and by looking for them, you may be running headfirst into a fight where you are outnumbered and outgunned.
If you do have loved ones in another part of the house, you will have to make your way to them using stealth and caution. Room clearing aside, it’s important not to disregard footwear when you make your way to your objective. Whoever is in your house may have broken your window to gain entry, or smashed a pot looking for hidden cash. Needless to say, lacerating your feet on broken shards of glass is a bad thing. Quiet footwear like flip flops or bathroom slippers is advisable.
One of the shocking things about engaging in a real-life firefight is you might experience a phenomenon known as “combat stress reaction.” The sheer stress of your home invasion scenario combined with the grogginess of being roused from your sleep, assuming it’s a nighttime event, will affect your combat effectiveness. Your ability to process information will be severely affected, and you may forget the most basic fundamentals of firearm operation, such as disengaging your safety, reloading, or even that your finger needs to pull the trigger to make the gun go bang. Your fine motor skills may disappear along with any accuracy you may have had when shooting on the range. Both your eyes will be wide open due to your natural fear response, which is another reason why an LPVO like the Core 2.0 1-4x24mm makes a good optic for your rifle.
When proceeding down the hallway to rescue your loved one, corners will be your enemy. To ensure that you won’t walk into an ambush, you will have to employ a technique called “slicing the pie.” This involves moving in a quarter circle around a corner, making sure that your barrel never extends beyond the corner’s edge, keeping it hidden from the enemy.
Stay close to the wall, but avoid touching it, as the noise will alert any nearby intruders. Imagine yourself standing on a “slice” of the pie, stepping onto a new “slice” when you’ve made sure that your section is clear. Continue “slicing” until the corner and everything around it is clear of danger.
When encountering a target, you will have a split second to identify whether the thing you are shooting at is actually a home invader or the very loved one you are trying to reach. It’s crucial to be aware of your target before you pull the trigger.
Doors will be another challenge to you if you are room clearing alone. Since opening one could find you facing down the barrel of a gun, stand behind the door frame instead of the entryway. In the United States, door frames are thick enough to provide cover from small caliber rounds more than the doors themselves or the drywall surrounding them. Turn the door handle quickly, swing the door completely open, and slice the pie through the doorway as fast as you can.
Make sure to step back from the doorway as soon as it’s opened to avoid being seen by potential threats. Once you’ve seen as much as you can, enter the room, going either left or right, into the corner of the room you are entering, never straight into the room. Try to hug the walls, using them as a “road” to guide you through the house, since doing so will provide you with the assurance that you will not be ambushed from whichever side is being protected by the wall.
This also applies when ascending stairs. Stick to the walls, with your weapon pointed at what is above you, ascending slowly and silently. Getting caught in a staircase without cover and without a quick escape route is a death sentence.
If you want to take this self-defense skill seriously, practice it at home. Know the blind spots in your rooms, think about how a person might enter your house through a window or the backdoor. You don’t even need your weapon to do it. Simply map out the house every time you come back home from work, or every time you head to another room to make a sandwich or watch a game.
But always remember, you are not superhuman, and in the event of a home invasion, your purpose is to save lives, not to neutralize every hostile in the house.