Your home is your castle. Like any good ruler, you want to protect your throne. That is why most of us have a concealed carry weapon or a home defense gun to train with and master so as to slay unexpected evils. However, there is more to securing your home than simply having a firearm. Guns are powerful tools with unrivaled capabilities, but they require training and practice to be effective. Every situation is different and you might not have time to grab your gun or be coherent enough to use it, should you ever need it.
You never know what will happen in a home invasion.
This is why you shouldn’t support your home’s safety with one element. It is similar to what you learn in your CHL class, if you have taken one. There is more to carrying a weapon than going straight to shooting a threat. You should do everything in your power to deescalate any situation and your gun is the last resort. Well, home defense is similar and your gun should be the last line of defense. The repercussions from defensive gun use will be incredibly messy and you want to minimize the possibility of it happening.
So, how do you accomplish this? Deterrence. Layers of deterrence will significantly decrease your chances of using deadly force because the situation should never get that far.
What is deterrence?
Deterrence is used to discourage someone from attempting to do something that you don’t want them to do. The government uses punishment like prison or the death penalty as a deterrent to keep criminals at bay and make them rethink their actions. In theory, this should keep people from invading your home, but the system is broken. You need to create your own deterrence and stop a criminal from targeting your house before it even begins. This is where the layers of deterrence come in. There are 3 layers that you should have protecting you and a well layered house will make a potential threat turn around and find a different target. Layers are important because they all work together to strengthen the others. Anyone invading your home wants a victim, not a challenge.
Layer 1: Basics and Street Appearance
The first layer of deterrence cannot be stressed enough. It is composed of the little things that are viewed from the street, and believe me, they make all the difference. Little bits of deterrence may not seem like much on their own, but when stacked together they amount to a big factor. The main elements of the first layer consist of signs, neighborhood, motion lights, and locks. For best results, apply all components.
Signs: Signs are more effective than you think. Having a couple strategically placed signs let everyone know that you are aware of your personal security and that resistance will be met if they enter uninvited. Signs can consist of “secured by x company”, “beware of dog,” or even “trespassers will be shot.” Really anything that expresses potential danger for someone trying to make you a victim will deter them.
Neighborhood: Your neighborhood has a big effect on potential threats. If you have a neighborhood watch and/or interact with residents, then there are always eyes on your place. If your neighborhood does not have this you might want to consider rallying everyone and spearheading a watch yourself.
Motion Lights: Motion lights are one of the best deterrents. If someone is casing your place and is suddenly blinded with exposing light, chances are they will bail without a second thought. Strategically placing motion lights near main entrances of your house mean that no one can get close enough, without being compromised.
Locks: Come on people, lock your doors. It may sound like common sense, but you would be amazed how many people forget to do this. Every door has a lock and they are one of the best deterrents. Most people attempting to break into a house will try an entrance and move on if it is locked. Breaking open a door, window, or garage brings a lot of unwanted attention and noise.
Layer 2: Alarms and Surveillance
The second layer of deterrence is beefed up in case someone decides to break the first. If they disregard the signs, locks, and everything else, they might reconsider once they come face to face with your dog, hear your alarm system, or spot your security camera. These elements take deterrence to the next level because they make it clear that you are not messing around when it comes to defending your home. Unfortunately, they are more of a commitment and require some financial stability, but security is priceless.
Dogs: You will be hard pressed to find anything with the same awareness as a dog. Dogs are alerted of and hear things that you are completely oblivious too. My dog has an amazing sense of my home, which is also his domain. He is at the door or window if anything feels out of place and he barks at any suspicious person walking around. He very well may save my life if someone enters the home at night as he will both alert me, giving me an advantage, and also get in between me and an adversary. No one wants to mess with a dog, especially in the dark.
Alarm System: Investing in an alarm system is never a bad idea and they do well to reinforce your security. You will have sensors and sirens covering every inch of your house that will notify the authorities to send back-up while scaring off any would-be criminal. If someone does disregard the alarm and gets the jump on you, at least you have the reassurance that someone is aware of your situation. You can rest assured that your house is covered while you are not around.
Security Cameras: Cameras are excellent for deterrence. They say a lot about how you watch yourself and your house, while letting everyone know that you are very situationally aware. If you don’t have the money to invest in a good security camera setup, you can actually group these into the first layer because you can buy just the cameras and leave them unhooked. Visually, they look the same from the street and you will be the only one who knows that they don’t work, while you save up for the rest of the system.
Layer 3: Reactive and Deadly
The third and final layer is easily the scariest and most powerful. It consists of you and your gun. If someone makes it past the first two layers and sees either of these things, they’ll be gone faster than they arrived.
You: You are the best deterrent. Make it known that you are home. Keep your car parked out front, keep lights on, and make noise. Anything to make it clear that your home is occupied will act as the best deterrent. No one will enter your house knowing that you might be there. The last thing 99% of criminals want is to run into the homeowner. They want a quick snatch n’ grab, not to face…
Your Gun: Whatever it is you chose as your home defense gun, you can bet that they will recognize it. This is what you have trained for and hoped would never happen. They disregarded your layers and warnings. Now they have sealed their fate. This is your ultimate last resort and is not a deterrent. It is the final step to protecting your house if all else fails.
Nick Harper – I am an avid gun enthusiast and I spend all my time reading, talking, and writing about firearms. While pursuing a career in criminal justice I decided to start GunGuider.com, a website designed with all shooters in mind. Continuing gun education is our goal and we want to keep your passion for pistols revolving and evolving. For more information, visit our website or follow us on social media to get your gun game on target.