Home Defense

August 9, 2013

in Manage Risk

Home defense is not as simple as owning a gun or installing a security system and the subject area can be expanded almost without limit if we are willing to consider factors such as natural disasters, financial collapse, war, and so on. We start by splitting those areas off as makes sense and begin with a simple scenario of protecting the place where we live against an armed mob.

  • Intelligence – having good intelligence at the moment of an attack is often the key to success. We need to gather as much intelligence before an attack as possible. We need to know our enemy. We must develop means of gathering intelligence and practice them. We should consider installing sensors (motion detectors, sound detectors, light detectors, radio detectors, cameras, noise makers, tripwires) that can give us real time intelligence during an attack. If we have access to a stream of news, we need pay attention to the wider scope of what is happening around you. If our news feed is not available, then we need to keep our attention turned outward and stay vigilant.
  • Operations Security (OPSEC) – OPSEC is the inverse of intelligence. It is the process of analyzing what our opponent knows about us and our defenses and working to minimize the knowledge available to them. We can “case” our own home and find out what we can easily determine that would aid an attack. We can check internet and other sources that might reveal when we are not home. We can observe light and sound and activity patterns from outside our home. We can analyze what could be gleaned by stealing our mail or going through our trash. We can examine how much an attacker might learn by knocking on our door or walking around our home or looking in through a window.
  • Perimeter – in the case of a private home, the perimeter is likely to be the yard and maybe a fence around the yard. For an apartment, it is likely to be the front door and any windows. We should study our perimeter and seek out means of providing intelligence (viewpoints, sensors, trip wires, etc). We can study obstacles and attack paths to figure out our weaknesses and strengths. We should consider how relocating items might change this to our advantage. Most intruders will attempt to come through a door or window. We should consider which ones are most likely and how the penetration can be stopped. More secure locks and bolts and bars and braces can supply reinforcement to existing barriers.
  • Interior – once an intruder is inside, we should still think about intelligence and attack paths. Help can be provided by adding motion sensors and lights, dogs, alarms, even noisy obstacles placed where an intruder might try to climb in through a window.
  • Strategy – a strategy is an overall philosophical viewpoint that determines what objectives are most important. Strategy provides a framework for actions. We need to decide what the most important objectives are and develop a framework to support them.
  • Tactics – is how weachieve the objectives set by our strategy. Tactics are actions we take and the consideration of how we can best take them as well as the costs and gains involved with each action.
  • Arms – considering armament should come last on this list because the other elements are pre-cursors that will determine the requirements of how we arm ourselves. We must choose weapons that we can use effectively, that fit into our strategy and tactical plan and that we can afford. We should consider not just firearms but also many other categories of arms:
    • Firearms – a shotgun is an effective and versatile home defense weapon. Handguns are most useful at short range and rifles most useful at longer ranges. Each type of gun has an appropriate place in the overall strategy.
    • Shooting weapons – bows, blowguns, slingshots, air rifles. These are mostly shorter range than most firearms and carry less energy, but have an advantage of being quieter.
    • Throwing weapons – spears, arrow and dart throwing weapons, and shuriken (throwing stars). Knives, sticks, clubs, tomahawks, rocks, even chains and ropes can be used as throwing weapons. Once we have reached an athletic level of competence with these weapons, they are easy to pre-position in hidden locations to supply highly improvisational tactics.
    • Stabbing and cutting weapons – spears, swords, machetes and knives of all kinds. Most kitchens have several or many knives available.
    • Bludgeoning weapons – clubs, bars, batons, staffs and sticks, baseball bats, flashlights and a wide variety of common place tools. Identify what you already have in your home, know where they are, decide if you are capable of using them.
    • Defensive weapons include: anything that can be used as a shield, staffs and sticks to parry, heavy clothing or cloth wrapped around a free hand, barricades/blockades
    • Traps – tripwires, nets, animal traps. Most of these are only likely to be used in extreme circumstances and can be equally dangerous to defenders. It is possible to pair up some of these like tripwires and nets with sensors and non-lethal weapons.
    • Martial Arts – the downside to this is the time and effort involved to learn the art to an effective level. But even Tai-Chi can be adapted to use defensively and any physical training will improve all other weapon handling skills.
    • Other weapon categories include: nuclear, biological, chemical (pepper spray, tear gas), cyber-weapons, electro-magnetic weapons (laser, taser, light, jamming, pulse), sound weapons, explosive weapons, rockets, artillery and more. Most of these are not effective for home defense but a few of them might be.


  • Maintain situational awareness by collecting intelligence and applying OPSEC to our own environment.
  • Develop an overall strategy and define tactics.
  • Collect an array of tools and weapons and fit them into our strategy and tactics.
  • Know the tools and weapons, know how to use them, and know where they will be positioned.

Operations Security = OPSEC

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