Don’t Roam Your Home

Guest Post by John Payne, Jr. – A Good Guy with a Gun


More and more I'm seeing commercials or “funny” vids showing homeowners engaging possible intruders in all areas of their property – NOT generally a good idea, amigos.

I teach my concealed carry and handgun students the best thing to do in a situation such as this is to LEAVE the home immediately if you have a clear “safe route,” say to a car via an attached garage, that ALL in the house can reach. There's nothing worth DYING FOR in your house if you have you and your loved ones out, and you can file an insurance claim later. And you have no idea how many perps there may be, and exactly what they are armed with.

If you can't do that, have a planned “safe room,” usually the master bedroom that everyone rallies in. Call 911 and tell them your exact numbers and location in the home and that you are armed, and leave the line open so everything is recorded. Announce loudly to the intruder that you are armed, the police have been called, and tell the intruder to leave immediately.

One should NEVER “roam around” one's property “looking for bad guys” – more “roaming” homeowners get shot by responding police because they are mistaken for the perp. Only move about if you need to collect a loved one (infant, elderly) into the safe room. (editorial note from Home Defense Gun – Roaming around is also a good way to shoot one of your loved ones in the dark.)

Have a “final line” in your mind where you will be physically and mentally prepared to shoot. Usually that could be the door threshold of the safe room. In your mind, “if he crossed that, I fire until he is down!”

Following these steps you and yours will be safe, alive, and pretty much “bulletproof” yourself regarding the justified shooting if some asshole prosecutor charges you with anything!

Semper Fi,

John Payne, Jr., LtCol, USMC (Ret) is A Good Guy with a Gun (AGGWAG).   He writes about one “Good Guy's” lifelong exposure to firearms, and the teachings and responsibilities that come with them. From early hunting trips just watching his Dad, to NRA-sponsored 4-H rifle instruction, his first shotgun and rifle, bagging small game in the Deep South, Marine Corps boot camp, Fleet Marine Force rifle and pistol matches as a young enlisted Marine, close-quarter battle training, civilian concealed-carry weapons (CCW) permits, carrying a weapon in multiple combat zones, and now serving SE Arizona as a certified NRA instructor teaching marksmanship, self-defense, and gun safety – guns and the responsibilities they impart have helped shaped who he is as a productive and responsible American. He looks forward to meeting you on his Facebook page often. Feel free to “Like,” and share your positive and inspirational stories about the weapons, tactics, training, scenarios, and philosophies you've experienced, and the freedoms in your lives they help insure. Check out and LIKE his Facebook page – A Good Guy with a Gun


  1. I absolutely agree 100%! Get out – or barricade in a safe room. Shooting is the last option.

  2. Joel Stoner says:

    That assumes one calls 911 at all. Or that police will arrive before you find and shoot the trespasser, also that you have insurance to call. Not everyone has home owners insurance, lives close to the police, or calls 911. Sometimes it is best to shoot the perp, then call the non emergency number, so they can remove the body.

    • Home Defense Gun says:

      You would put yourself in a bad spot by doing that.

      • Just bury the dude in your back yard.

      • Sorry, my wife is diasabled has MS, My daughter is also legally blind and is seeing a Doctor because we think she also may have MS…If someone breaks into my house I WILL SHOOT FIRST,then call police…I will not allow anyone to harm my family,%imute avg responce time for local PD”If they have anyone in the area” when I call, I am safe under my states “Castle Law” in doing so.

        • Majority of the time when somebody breaks into your home they’re just there to steal your stuff, so it’s a lot safer to just get your family out of the house and into a hiding defensive location, and calling the police instead of trying to hunt the guy down, because you have to realize this soon as you fire off that first shot, if you missed, or hit him you wouldn’t be able to tell due to your ears would be ringing, and you wouldn’t be able to see because of the muzzle flash vs your eyes adapted for the dark, and now you guys are shooting blindly and you have to account for where your bullets go, and same for his, you have to worry about if you’re missing and hitting somebody else on the other side of the wall that you don’t want to hit and the same for him.

      • Thomas Case says:

        With a gun for me and one for my wife, Who is a good shot, the door way to my bed room is a very unsafe place to be for any intruder. Historical speaking, it is easier to defend a position than to assault an unknown enemy in the dark. With 911 listening to what is going on in my house over the cell phone and a LPD on the way, It will be a very bad day for any intruder.

  3. Michael Triplett says:

    Wrong. More people are grabbed or attacked trying to flee their homes than hiding. How do you think the bad guys got in to the house in the first place. Most likely the same way you are going to get out. If you have weapons for self defense then you should be properly trained on them and know what to do in a home invasion scenario. There are weapons attachments for handguns and rifles that will give you a complete tactical advantage over any intruder unless Seal Team 6 kicks in your door and I can promise you that’s not going to happen. It is fine if you have a safe room that they can’t enter or fire through to place your family in there and if you are that scared then feel free to go in there as well. If you buy the weapons be ready to use them. Hiding is not protecting and is a waste of money on a gun or ammunition if that is all you are going to do. Like I said as a multiple tour Combat veteran, I can clear my 4000 sq ft house in 5 minutes with either my M4 or any one of my handguns, so can my wife and my 10 year old son. Hiding turns you into a hostage, which draws things out and your safe room may not be fireproof should the intruders see no way out and decide to burn your house down with you in it. Find your Type A personality and if you don;t have one then get one. It;s your home, you defend it. Don;t depend on someone who is going to take 20 minutes to get there to do the job. Find, engage, and neutralize. End of Story.

  4. One primary problem with “clearing” your house yourself,the bad guy knows where you are in the house,you don’t know where he is.That simple fact puts you at a great disadvantage.

  5. @fss25 A homeowner’s advantage is that we know the layout of our home. everyone should know where they have affordable cover and where they have concealment. Protect your family is priority #1.

  6. Thankfully I don’t live in an area that allows cops to randomly gun people down. As a homeowner, I do not have any fear of the Pennsylvania State Police gunning me down without making positive ID that I am indeed a threat. I’m not worried about a crazed SWAT team blowing in my door.

    If you have concerns that your cops are going to shoot someone who is carrying a gun, who is not actively threatening an officer – you need to get new cops.

    As to a final line. They crossed it when they trespassed on my neighbor’s property, to get to mine.
    You are also making some awful big assumptions about income levels. I can not file an “insurance claim” on my car: I do not carry full coverage – I’m not sure why someone would want to steal a car/jeep with 200k miles, or a beat up truck made in 1988, but I’m not about to allow them to take what I need to enable me to provide for my family – or allow them to drive off with a lethal weapon that can not be traced to them.

  7. It seems ignorant to assume that one strategy will work for all people in every situation in every home. Not every home will allow every one to “run for the hills” for the safe room. For one reason or an other this may not be an option. And that’s assuming that you have something more than the standard interior hollow core door securing your safe room. A safe room is not a bad idea but shouldn’t be your first and only choice. If you are not willing and able to defend your family by any means necessary then don’t have one. If you are not willing and able to use your firearm to take the life of someone who is willing to take the life of you and or your family then don’t have a firearm. Unless the intruder knows your home you may have that as an advantage.

    Obviously it is not the best idea to grab the biggest belt fed machine gun and start blasting away. Be aware of your target and what’s behind it if you miss and your depth of penetration if you don’t .

    And if you are going to call the police it would be a good idea to give them your description and tell them that you are armed . I would even have the operator give you a safe word that they would tell the responding officers to identify themselves with for everyone’s sake. Something quick and clear and have them give you your own safe word to respond with. All of this after you have retrieved your firearm .

    • If you can’t get out of your house get your family members into your room or the attic or a basement and make a defensive post there, and call the police stay on the line, so that way you can ask the dispatcher if there is a police officer outside your door and not the intruder acting as a bad guy.

  8. Mike Rosenkrans says:

    I will agree that shooting another person should be the last resort but when the line is crossed its time to act. While it is a sound idea to barricade the family into a safe room, I dont believe in barricading myself in there with them and then yelling to the intruder that I have called 911 and telling them to leave immediately. By telling them that, it gives them a chance to leave and come up with a better plan for their next attack on my house. If they pose a threat to me or my family then I will pose a bigger threat. I live in a rural area and its at least a 20 minute response time for the law to get there, late at night the response time is much greater.
    Putting my family in a safe room, I know where they are and would not be worried about them roaming around in the dark and taking a chance at getting shot.
    I agree with the person that said…If your barricaded in a safe room, then the intruder(s) know where you are and can turn into a hostage situation.
    Im sorry but I bought my guns for self defense, to protect me and my family, not to run into a room and yell….Ive called 911, leave immediately.

    • I wouldn’t recommend yelling due to the fact that you just gave away your location while threatening them, so now they’re going to shoot where they think you’re at, which means they could be missing you completely and hitting all of your family members’ bed rooms, or hitting granny mcfinklestein on the toilet, and if you shoot a high caliber round in a closed environment no ear protection, and you just woke up after your eyes have adjusted to the dark your ears are going to be ringing and you’re going to be temporarily blinded, so now it’s a Hellen Keller firefight, and you have to worry for where your bullets and his bullets are going because you have to worry about if they’re going through a wall and hitting somebody on the other side of that wall, and you also have to realize there’s not that much cover and when I say cover I mean something that will provide a shield from bullets not something that will just hide you, if it just hides you that’s concealment which majority of houses don’t provide adequate cover for you to use.

  9. Richard Mackey says:

    I don’t know where you live or why you would tell someone to leave their home if they have had a concealed carry course and know how to use their firearm.
    Most of the incidents I’ve seen or have read about take place late at night or when someone arrives home. Most people I know took their concealed carry course so they could protect their loved ones and property!
    If some stupid person wants break into my house it will be their last!

  10. You violate my property then all lights go out and I hunt you Urah!

  11. Carroll Mohr says:

    It sounds great that you are going to clear your house. But take a look at it from a tactical point of view. If your bedrooms are upstairs, as many are, you have a choke point you can defend. If however you are going to clear the house now you must negotiate the choke point. Is it you and your wife? Is it you and your wife and a couple of kids? How many of you are armed? If it is just you then you don’t have the right to put everyone else in danger by abandoning them for you to play NCIS. Intruder alert, grab gun and cell phone extra mags. Get everyone together and harden your bunker. A dresser pushed against the door can buy you time to aim real well as they are trying to push past it. Call 911. Yes maybe it takes 20 minutes to respond so what 20 minutes isn’t all that long if you are safe. You go roaming your house at night and you at least double the chance of getting shot. I had a student who was very proud he had taught both his wife and son how to shoot. He had a break in he bunkered them and went hunting. He found the bad guys and engaged them. Shot the hell out of his living room and brought down two of the three bad guys. He went back upstairs to tell his family all was clear. He never heard the challenge because well guns indoors are a tad loud. So he never gave the safe word. His son shot him in the left lung with a 22LR round from his rifle and his wife hit him in the left leg and abdomen with three shots from her Lady Smith. He won his gun fight. But, did he? Luckily the dispatcher sent not only the deputies but a paramedic unit.

  12. I got married when I was 15 yrs old , I am now 64 but I remember being home alone one night and I heard something outside, I lived in the country. I looked out the window and there was a man snooping around my house. I remembered I had not locked the kitchen door. I was in bed so I slide off the bed and crawled to my closet got my 410 shotgun and my shells got back on the bed. lol sitting like and Indiana I opened the gun with the shells in my hand I made up my mind right then if I heard that kitchen door open I would load the gun if my bedroom door open I would shoot! Thank God the dogs got after the man and he ran off through the woods ! But I believe if it were to happen again I would do the same thing only maybe I would call 911 now , we didn’t have 911 then :)

  13. It is all situational dependent. I live in an bungalow and the kids were living at home the two teen girls had bedrooms in the basement. Our bedroom and the boy’s bedroom were upstairs across from each other. Sure, I could get the boy to come to our bedroom, but what about the girls? Do I leave them to fend for themselves? Do I tell my wife and boy to barricade themselves in our bedroom with the shotgun while I retrieve the girls? Sometimes you have no other choice other than to “roam” the house to retrieve family members. There is no universal “one solution” fits all as not all situations are the same.

    If all family member’s bedrooms are located in the same area it makes it easier, but in a multi level home with bedrooms on different levels it’s now a whole different ball game.

  14. If you break into my house, I will not hide. I will call 911 either during or after the breakin, but I will engage immediately.

  15. Adrian Hummel says:

    From doing actual room clearing, i agree with the above point. With my 3 bedrooms upstairs, i hold the advantage. They are in the fatal funnel. Once i go down the stairs, my odds go down to 50-50, since the stairs open up either way at the bottom. What helps me is i have an alarm system plus a large, loud dog, for which i know his behavior patterns. As much as one may want ot get the bad guy, engaging probably reduces your odds. Now if they come upstairs and you have a clear shot, then game on. As all are taught and learn tactically, the situation will dictate your tactics. Above all, practice and stay safe all.

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