Help for Home Defense

June 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, Equipment, Mindset, Self Defense, Training

shotgun and light

Or, what to have in your home besides your gun. 

Now that you’ve had some training in your home defense firearm and have practiced with it to be familiar how it operates, what should you have in your home for self-protection besides your gun? If you’re a new gun owner, all of this may seem a little bit paranoid, and I totally understand. Don’t be afraid, though, because the point of this isn’t to live in fear, the reason for all of this is to gain the confidence that IF something happens, we can deal with it. Fear and paranoia should not be our driving force, but rather the desire to live our lives with free from fear because we are ready for the absolute worst day of our lives. 

Okay now, what do you need in your home besides a gun? 

A Safe Room

If you’ve created a self-defense plan for your home and have strengthened your doors and windows, designating a “safe room” as a refuge place should be part of that plan. In that safe room, you should have … 

A flashlight or two

Ideally, more than one. There is endless debate in the gunblogging world whether you want a weapon-mounted light like this Streamlight or a handheld flashlight like this SureFire. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but my recommendation is get one of each. There is NOTHING handier for lighting up where you gun is aimed at than a weapon-mounted light, but sweeping the muzzle of your gun at everything just so you can see what’s there is not a good idea. Get one of each. 


There’s an old, old saying out there that “two is one and one is none”. If you’re relying on your landline for emergency communications, it WILL fail when you need it most. 

Now what? 

Well, for starters, have an old unused cell phone plugged into the wall in your safe room. Any cell phone with a SIM card in it can be used to dial 911, whether it’s on a plan or not. We have an ancient “candy bar” Nokia in the safe room that still holds a decent amount of charge as a backup phone, and it performs that job admirably. 


If (God forbid) you have to use your gun defensively, you’re going to be talking with the police, and that means paperwork, which you should have ready to go when you need it. Imagine that panicked feeling you get when you’ve been pulled over and you’re fishing around in the glovebox for your license and proof of insurance, but even worse. Have a copy of your driver’s license, gun permit (if needed), CCW license (if needed) and keep them handy. Those around-the-neck badge holders you get at conventions are PERFECT for this sort of thing. 

As for what you’ll say to the cops after a defensive gun use, that is another thing altogether. I am not an expert on this subject and my suggestion is do some reading on this subject and then consult with an attorney or a professional firearms instructor for more advice. 

First aid 

If everything has gone wrong and you’re in your safe room with your firearm, chances are, someone is going to need first aid, and a band-aid probably isn’t going to be enough. The infantryman’s first aid kit (IFAK) was created by the military for this sort of thing, and it’s a great way to keep everything together in one small package. Failing that, make sure there’s SOME kind of first aid kit in your safe room, and supplant that with an Israeli combat bandage or two. And if you haven’t already done so, get some first aid and CPR training as well. 

This may seem like a lot to think about, and in reality, it’s a lot more than most people think about their whole lives. I have good friends and family who don’t even have a hammer and screwdriver in their home, much less a first aid kit. How they hang a picture on their wall, I’ll never know. 

If you’re reading this, you’re not like them. You’ve realized that you and not the cops will be the first person to respond when something bad happens. The question isn’t IF you’ll respond, the question is how and with what. 

Carry Often, Carry More Than A Gun

February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Carry, CCW, Equipment, Self Defense

So you’ve decided to carry a gun on a regular basis. Good. Deciding to take care of your personal safety yourself is one of the most important decisions you can make, because you are, and always will be, your own first responder. Carrying a pistol with you, concealed or not, creates options in defense of your life that you just cannot have without having a firearm on you.

But a gun is not enough. In fact, a pistol is just the end of the journey, because chances are you’re not going to need it, thank God.

So what should you have with you besides your gun?

  1. A Flashlight. We spend half our lives in the dark, a flashlight isn’t just a good idea, it’s an aboslute necessity. In the past, I relied on the flashlight app on my iPhone, but after some testing, I found the flashlight app just isn’t anywhere near as powerful as even the smallest dedicated flashlight. After filting around with a few different lights, I’ve settled on a Streamlight Microstream, and I absolutely love it. Why?
    • It’s small, which means you’ll carry it with you more often
    • It’s BRIGHT for it’s size, brighter than a AA Maglite, and bright enough to light up a doorway from across the street.
    • It’s cheap, so you won’t be heartbroken if you misplace it
    • It’s rugged. Mine has survived two trips through the washing machine and the dryer (don’t ask why) with no issues whatsoever
    • It takes one AAA battery, which means you can find spare batteries for it everywhere, and if you want the longer-lived (and more expensive) lithium batteries, they’re also available.
  2. A Knife. Quick! Open up that clamshell plastic packaging without a sharp object, I dare you! Oh, what’s that you say, you can’t quite lever out the jammed paper in the photocopier? And now you’ve ripped the “easy open tab” off your microwavable entree, and you’re faced with the prospect of an unintentional day-long fast or a jaunt outside of the office for lukewarm, lackluster fast food. Knives make too much sense not to have one on you, and I understand they’re a pretty decent self-defense tool as well (sarcasm). As I work in an office and I don’t want to carry something that screams “TACTICAL!”, I usually have a CRKT Pazoda unobtrusively clipped to my pants pocket. It’s small, lightweight, sharp and doesn’t stick up over the pocket much at all. 
  3. Extra Ammo. Make a quick list of everything that can go wrong with a modern semi-automatic pistol. No, go ahead, I’ll wait.
    Done? Good.
    Now, how many of the items on your list are related to the pistol’s magazine? And you don’t carry a spare magazine on you because….?
    I use a Blackhawk! Single Mag Pouch when I carry my CZ P07, and it works like a charm. I’m not planning on shooting 32 rounds of 9mm in a defensive situation, but I figure if something goes wrong with my gun and I have to reload, I can.
  4. A Smartphone. We can have the “I just want my phone to be a phone and make phone calls” discussion some other time, but the fact is a smartphone allows you to have a Red Cross First Aid Guide and an Emergency Radio Scanner and a GPS and a weather alert radio and a whole bunch of other useful information at your fingertips. Plus, we now know that when an emergency happens and the cell phone towers are overloaded with traffic, text messages can go out when phone calls can’t (pdf link). A smartphone also has a camera to document what happened for the police and/or insurance companies, and you can always play Angry Birds on it while you wait for the other first responders to respond…

What other items should a well-prepared person have on them besides their gun?