What Else Is In Your Toolbox?

In the firearm industry, we put a significant emphasis on
the gun. Naturally, anything that has to
do with and/or interacts with firearms is going to be covered. So discussing things like storing your gun,
maintaining it, what accessories you might want to go with it, so on and so
forth comes par for the course. Recently
a student of mine and I discussed different home protection concepts,
specifically the “shotgun” subject.

I’ve brought up my contentions with shotgun use for home
self-protection in a couple of past articles.
I’m not saying that a shotgun is not an effective firearm to use. However, I
still maintain that the circumstances need to drive the motivation, as well as
deep thought on all the “what ifs.” I don’t think too many people put
full stock into what may happen when an adrenaline dump occurs, nor the
mechanics behind maneuvering in a defensive situation. This situation is where proper training,
awareness, and thought comes into play.

Through the correspondence, which revolved around the “gun,”
my friend brought up perimeter alarms.
His statement was basically that a home alarm system is one of the best
deterrents and early warning systems that we can utilize as homeowners. I could not disagree with him at all, even
though that was a digression from the closer study we were having. He’s 100%
correct in pointing out the value in an alarm system.

When it comes to home self-protection, we need to approach
the topic as a whole body. Take the
human body and ailments, for example. If
you have a fever, you can treat that fever’s symptoms but not necessarily get
rid of the underlying bug without treating what is causing it. We must treat the whole body and specific
aliments to really get to the core of things.
Home self-defense is no different.

Okay, you’ve got your firearm, now what? You’ve figured out
your storage solution, came up with dry runs in your head/done walk-throughs on
what to do if something goes bump in the night (or day), and you’ve explored
everything related to using that firearm.
What other tools do you have at your disposal? If you’re looking at your home as a complete
body, what can you do beyond the “gun” to protect yourself and your
loved ones?

The following list is to serve as an “ah-ha” or
primer for thought about things you can incorporate into your plans:

  • An alarm system with central monitoring (that
    you set regularly).
  • Video surveillance – whether a multi-camera
    system or one of the new doorbell cam systems.
  • Flashlights handy and close by in the living
  • Other non-lethal defense options such as pepper
    spray or a striking weapon of sorts.
  • Motion-activated lights for the exterior.
  • Keeping a fully charged phone at your bedside at
    night (or really at all times).
  • Does your yard have any bushes that could offer
    concealment to unwanted guests?
  • Do you have glass entrance doors to your
    house? How about things in your yard
    that can be thrown through them to gain entry?
  • Do you have deadbolt locks on entrance doors?
  • How about a dog?

That is just a partial list of things to consider when
building a home self-defense plan. You
can be the sharpest shooter in the world with excellent proficiency. Still,
none of that is going to do you any good if you’ve opted for a storage solution
that is too far away from where you spend time or too demanding to gain access
to at a moment’s notice. Nor is your
proficiency going to pay off if someone can quickly gain access to your home
undetected. The concept of thought needs
to be applied at every step of the way when implementing plans.

Training is another must.
For those out there that want to use a shotgun for home self-defense,
kudos! But go and find training with your firearm that focuses on the defensive use of a shotgun. You hand gunners out there, likewise. Classes offered by the USCCA or ones like the
NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home can give much-needed insight. The concepts concerning having the proper
mentality or mindset will be covered in classes like those. A recommendation, seek out and take both the
NRA and USCCA classes. As a matter of
opinion, courses like that will help you, the homeowner, better decide your
best options for your particular circumstances and determine what is realistic
for you.

This article aims to wet your whistle a little and spark an
interest in learning more about or thinking about the ideas within. Take some time and research things like the
color code of awareness, the OODA loop, and the Tuller drill. Also, research things for hardening your home
and self to keep you from being victimized in the first place. Another recommendation would be to read books
by Col.
Jeff Cooper
and Massad
. Two pioneers in the world of
self-defense, combat, and awareness. A
final reading recommendation would be to check out a book by colleague and
friend master firearms trainer Anthony Colandro, Crime
: Think Like a Criminal and Beat
Them at Their own Game
. In it,
Colandro discusses many of these concepts and much more.

As you navigate the world as a defensive-minded person,
think about what tools you have at your disposal. Consider your options. What can you employ or use to keep you from
getting into a combat situation in the first place? The best resolution to a conflict is
avoidance; remember that.

Stay safe out there and think before you do!

John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer,
author of “Decoding
Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use”
USCCA certified instructor, NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor
living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional
gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com
on Twitter at @johnpetrolino
and on Instagram @jpetrolinoiii