man with a gun

Basic home defense: How to improve your home safety and peace of mind

This story is by Trevor Thrasher, Senior Instructor & COO of 88 Tactical


If you came home and noticed something amiss or out of place—an open door, a curtain moved, a broken window—what would you do? Your first instinct is going to be to run in and see who is in your house, but that’s a mistake. Even if loved ones are home, take a breath, keep some distance, then call 911 or call your loved one inside. Rushing in could create more victims and may make matters worse.

Never open the door for strangers. If you read reports on home invasions, you will likely see a phrase similar to “forced their way in.” Most often, this is a polite way to say that someone simply opened the door for the intruder. Knocking on the door is usually either the start of a ruse or a method used to check if the home is occupied. Again, take a breath, see who is there first, gather more information or start a discussion from a position of safety, then decide whether or not to open the door.



Look at your lighting, landscaping, and fencing. Do these things make it easy to approach your home while unseen? If so, change them. Next, look at your doors and windows. Could you breach the door with a few kicks?  Could you simply break out a small pane of glass and undo a lock and walk or crawl in?  If so, fix it.  Main doors into a house and at least one other door leading to a “safe room” should be hardened significantly. The simplest way to do a home security assessment is to think like a criminal and plan how you would break into your own home.



What if you discover a criminal breaking into your home before they are actually inside? A lot of people will run and hide, put themselves in a corner and hope for the best. That may work, but 90% of criminals will flee if they know someone is home and hear this phrase: “Stop, I’m armed, the police are coming.” You may not have a gun, but you certainly have some type of defensive instrument in the house. If the bad guys keep coming after that, then they are after more than your flat screen TV.

These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. In our Basic Home Defense course, we cover:

  • Hardening the home
  • How to deal with people at your door
  • Developing a family emergency response plan
  • Constructing a safe room
  • Dealing with a break in
  • How to deal with an armed criminal already in your home

We don’t just talk about it, we make you do it, and prove that a little training and preparation can go a long way toward improving your home safety and peace of mind. In the meantime, avoid the big mistakes and make yourself a harder target.

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