Clearing the House

Ensuring there are No Intruders

So you have been out for a nice dinner and a movie with your spouse. You arrive home and note that the front door is open slightly. Did you shuthome defense planning it tightly? Or has someone forced it open? This is a very uneasy feeling.

There are a couple of ways to handle this. One is the call the police. Then withdraw a safe distance and wait. This is the smartest way. You might consider clearing the house yourself. Please understand you could find someone there, perhaps someone armed. If you are not trained, not armed, and there is no hurry, opt for the professionals.

Another scenario is you think you hear something in the house and want to check it out. Again, be wary here. If you can summon the professionals, go to the safe room, or lock yourself in a room and call for help.

Having a weapon for home defense in case things go from bad to worse is a good idea. If you live in the country, sometimes what you hear are marauding animals thumping around on the porch. Even living in the city, I once had a raccoon come into the house through the cat door. If you live in a crime free area and the odds are it is not a threat then clearing the house might be a first option. But just in case, there are specific techniques that make this safer.

First is how to carry a weapon while clearing. We carry the weapon at the high compressed ready. This position is defined by having two hands on the weapon at center chest. The muzzle is pointed down 45 degrees. Your finger is off the trigger and the thumb safety, if it has one, is on safe. Your elbows are straight out from your body at chest level. Forget what you saw on television. The elbows keep someone behind you from easily accessing the gun. If approached from the front, leveling the muzzle, flicking off the safety and squeezing the trigger brings the weapon into play. Sticking the muzzle straight up with elbows at 90 degrees or out in front of you with arms extended (the isosceles stance) like they do on TV allows someone to grab the gun from in front or from behind and control the muzzle.

So we start our tour of the premises. If others are sleeping then we might not want to wake the whole house and have family running around when we are carrying a weapon. Plus they could become hostages. So we use a flashlight. Many newer hand guns have a Picatinny rail under the muzzle where you can attach a flashlight.

I would suggest you do not do this. If the flashlight is attached to the gun, then you are waving the muzzle around the house with it. If the intruder is your teen age son home from his first encounter with alcohol, you do not want to be aiming the pistol at him. If you were startled by a small, scared, sleepless child running to you in the dark, would you want the muzzle pointed at him/her? The second reason is that the flashlight is an aim point for a bad guy. Keep it offset from your vital organs and the weapon.

Now, how do we proceed? As we approach an open door way, we stay back from the entry and slowly work ourselves in an angular method around to see as much of the room or area inside as we can before getting close to the door. This is called slicing the pie. Think of pie wedges centered on the entry way.

Once we have worked our way around then we slowly approach the doorway. If in a hallway, we hug the opposite wall. If the door is closed, and it opens away from you, reach for the handle, unlatch and push the door away while stepping back. Slice the pie before entering. If the door opens toward you, stay out of the arc of the door opening, unlatch, pulling the door briskly open while stepping back. Again, slice the pie.

The thought process here is look from a distance. Then ensure we cannot easily be surprised or overcome with someone pushing the door in our face or jumping out. The more distance we have the more time we have to react. We keep as much distance as the house allows until we have situational awareness.

Proceed from room to room until the area is cleared. Then secure the weapon, return to the bedroom and announce the “all clear.” I am sure your spouse will applaud.

Do you have any tips on house clearing?  Please let us know in the comments.


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