Home Defense 101: Your Guide to Protecting Your Family
Developing a home defense plan and having the proper firearms, ammo, and storage options can prevent you from becoming a victim.
You never want to find yourself in a situation where there's no choice but to defend your home. Creating deterrents and securing the outside of your property are far better options than having to neutralize a threat inside the house.
However, if an intruder does end up getting inside, you'll be glad you've taken the necessary steps ahead of time and can protect your family.
The precautions you'll want to take include purchasing weapons, learning how to use them, securing the proper ammo, storing your guns safely, and coming up with a home defense plan.
This guide will take you through some options as you develop a comprehensive home defense strategy.
One of the first things you'll want to do is select your home defense weapons. There are three different types of guns to consider, and much of your decision will come down to personal preference. The location and size of your home could also be considerations, as a smaller, less powerful pistol could be a better choice in an apartment or house in the city, while a shotgun or rifle might be more useful when living in the country.
- Pistols: Handguns are a top choice for home defense because they're small, lightweight, and portable. These attributes make the guns easier to carry around the house while securing the building and moving your family to a safe location. However, they're less powerful than other gun types and can be challenging to control compared to a shoulder-fired weapon. They're also less accurate than larger guns, particularly in a nerve-wracking situation where you might be shaking. Pistols come in many different styles, including standard, compact, sub-compact, micro, and competition.
- Rifles: Rifles are robust, accurate, and easier to stabilize than pistols. These features make rifles an excellent choice for inexperienced users in a home defense situation. You'll also find that rifles are quicker to reload than shotguns, and their large magazines mean you'll reload them less often. It's worth noting, though, that larger rifles can do a lot of damage if you miss your target. Over-penetration could go through the walls or doors in your home, leading to property damage or potential injury to family members. Depending on the model, their size can make them more challenging to maneuver in close quarters or through doorways and halls in your house.
- Shotguns: The great thing about shotguns is that they're intimidating. These weapons are large, and the sound of a pump-action gun could be enough to scare off an intruder. They're easy to aim, as all you have to do is point and shoot, and have significant knockdown power to neutralize any threat that comes your way if the intimidation factor isn’t enough. The main drawback is that shotguns take some time to reload and most of them don't hold much ammo, so you could run into issues if you end up having to take many shots. Shotguns also have high recoil, which is the kickback the shooter feels when the projectile is discharged. This recoil could make shotguns a non-starter for inexperienced gun owners.
There are pros and cons to each weapon type that you'll want to consider before making your purchase. However, the more you handle these weapons, the easier it becomes to use them in a high-pressure situation.
Types of ammo
The ammo you need will depend on the gun type, its caliber, and your personal preferences. The caliber of a weapon is determined by the diameter of its barrel. Guns with a larger caliber will hold heavier and larger ammo, allowing them to pack more stopping power.
Popular handgun calibers include 9mm, 10mm, .44, and .45, while some of the most common rifle calibers are .223/5.56 (these rounds are usually interchangeable, but check your rifle specs to be sure), .243, .270, .300, 6.5, and 7mm. Keep in mind that the naming conventions can be a bit confusing because some use imperial measurements and others are on the metric system. Be sure you know which ammo goes with your gun to ensure you purchase the right items for your firearm.
When it comes to shotguns, the caliber is measured by gauge. You'll typically purchase a 12 gauge, 16 gauge, or 20 gauge shotgun and will have to grab the corresponding ammo that fits with your gun.
Each caliber of gun has multiple ammunition types from which to choose, as well. For example, hollow point and full metal jacket bullets are commonly used in handguns and rifles. Hollow point projectiles are the more expensive of the two because they expand after contacting the target. As a result, they do more damage, making them an excellent choice for home defense. Full metal jacket ammo has a soft core protected by a hard metal shell, which helps the projectile move through the target. This ammo costs less, so it’s good for target practice and effective for defending your property, but full metal jacket ammunition doesn’t have the stopping power of hollow point and is more likely to over-penetrate.
For shotguns, a slug is a single projectile loaded into a shotgun shell, while buckshot consists of multiple pellets. A slug is more effective at range, more accurate, and has better energy retention than buckshot, helping it penetrate deeper and do more damage to the target. Buckshot, on the other hand, leaves more room for error at short distances because the pellets spray toward the intruder. However, there's a greater risk of collateral damage when using buckshot than a slug.
The ammo you select is largely dependent on your home defense situation, what’s available for the caliber of firearm you purchase, and your budget.
Storing your firearms
An essential aspect of keeping your home safe is storing your firearms in a location where untrained family members can't access them. At the same time, this storage location should be close enough to where you sleep or spend much of your time that you can have the weapon ready to go in seconds if there's an intruder.
For the most part, it's a good idea to keep most firearms in a locked safe. You might consider disguising the safe to ensure it blends in with the rest of the room and doesn't become the center of attention. Since most break-ins occur in the middle of the night, leaving the safe near your bed makes the most sense.
Some homeowners keep multiple safes through their homes, each containing firearms. That way, if you spend most of your time on the middle floor, for example, you'll have access to a gun if there's an intruder while you're spending time there with your family.
Likewise, if you hear something outside your door when you're in the basement, you won't have to head up a flight of stairs, potentially leaving your family unattended, while you retrieve your gun.
Having a plan
Once you have the weapons in place, the next step is coming up with a plan. Every family member should know their role in this scenario because one wrong move could spell disaster. Remember, communication is critical in any emergency, especially if you'll be carrying a firearm around the house.
Your plan should include a protocol for where every family member will go, such as a safe room, if there's an unwelcome guest, as well as an escape plan.
Buying your firearms and ammo
When the time comes to purchase the weapons you need to protect your home, going with a knowledgeable dealer who can provide the insight you need is important. That way, you can be confident you're buying firearms that will fulfill your intended purpose.
Ammunition Depot is an online ammunition store and gun dealer that is doing everything in its power to keep American families safe. We achieve this by providing high-quality firearms and ammo at low prices while offering the industry's best customer service. Visit our e-commerce store to see what we currently have in stock.