Your Home’s Basic Defenses

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The world we live in is full of dangers, many of them two-legged. Protecting our homes and families from these dangers is paramount. Fortunately, most states have some version of the “castle doctrine” otherwise known as “stand your ground” on the books, allowing us the right to defend our homes, rather than having to flee if someone invades our homes.

There are three basic types of attacks our homes can come under, if we assume that the United States isn’t going to be invaded by extra-terrestrials or zombies. While related, each is unique:

  • Robbery – Someone breaking in to the home, with the goal of grabbing what they can of value and getting out of there as quick as possible. Robbers want to get in and out, without alerting anyone that they are there, so robberies generally happen when nobody is home. The perpetrators look for unlocked doors or windows to gain access.
  • Home Invasion – Someone forcibly entering the home, either by tricking the occupants into opening the door or by physically breaking in, through a door or window. Perpetrators of home invasions don’t care if anyone is home or are purposely waiting until someone is there, in the case of rape. Violence against the occupants is part and parcel of a home invasion.
  • Gang Attack – This is most likely to happen after a disaster, when people are breaking into homes, looking for supplies so that they can survive. These desperate people may band together, especially if they find a home which they believe has a lot of surprise. In such a case, they will attack the home, intending to overwhelm the occupants and steal what they have. Violence is seen as a tool to get in and get what they want.

Obviously the first two are much more likely to occur than the last one. But a full home defense plan must take all three into account. As there is some overlap in the defenses that we use, preparing for a gang attack that never comes isn’t a waste. It’s insurance that can help you defend against a home invasion as well.

So, how do we protect home and family? There are a variety of different things we should do, but just like there are three different categories of attacks that can come, there are also three different categories of defenses. A good defensive plan has to take all three of them into account.

  • Passive Defenses – Your home should defend itself, at least to some point. That means having good quality locks on doors and windows, so that it is not easy to break into your home. It also means making access to windows difficult, so that someone with criminal intent can’t easily jimmy open or break a window. Properly done, passive defenses can help you with your active defenses as well.
  • Appearance – The appearance of your home is important, as criminals “case” homes, looking for ones that look like good targets. Part of what they are looking for are homes which are likely to have easily disposed of goods, that they can make a profit off of. Another part of what they are looking for are homes they can get into, without being seen. If your home is isolated, with entry ways that are not visible to the neighbors, the chances of criminals getting in unseen increases. You can counter that by adding motion-activated lights, which attract attention and make the criminal more visible.
  • Active Defenses – Part of your defensive plan has to include taking up arms in defense of your home. No passive defense system you can put into place will be perfect, unless you turn your home into a concrete bunker. If attackers are determined enough, they will get through your home’s defenses. At that point, your family’s safety is dependent on you, with a gun in your hand.

These three must work together. Controlling the appearance of your home, so that it doesn’t look like a good place to rob, helps prevent your passive defenses from being tested. Those passive defenses buy you time to prepare, so that you can actively defend your home. They also provide you with some protection from the bad guys, while you are defending your home. At the same time, your active defenses back up your passive ones, encouraging those bad guys to give up and leave, before they breech your defenses.

Life Straw


  1. My husband and I have been prepping for 5 years. We don’t talk to others about this as hinting at disasters of any kind doesn’t get a response that anybody else is planning ahead. It certainly makes us feel better that we are ready for almost anything except zombies. How does one prep for zombies? (LOL) It also helps to keep your sense of humor. Thanks for all the tips and good reading. Good Luck!

  2. We were fortunate enough to design and build our own Rather Large home in 2004. It has a daylight basement and all the 12″ block walls are poured solid with 5100psi concrete with 3/4 re-bar. The only windows in the basement are 8″x16″ openings with 4″ thick glass blocks. The front of the house which is at ground level is faced with 7″thick granite cobbles stone which were salvaged for a pittance. On the remainder of the 1st. floor, and the entire 2nd floor of the house, we installed 1/2″ plate steel under every window and 24″ to 32″wide by 6′ tall beside every window and door. With wainscoting to cover up, and textured plaster on the walls to blend things together no one can tell it is there.The plate was gathered from salvage yards and construction sites over several years prior to construction.The closest cover to our home is about 40 yds. So before we built, we constructed sample walls and shot them with various arms. We went up in size and power until the wall failed. It took a .50 cal to get through the granite wall with enough force to kill the defender. The remainder of the walls repelled all pistol and conventional military ammo. A 30-06 with a 180 gr conventional bullet would not penetrate. A 300 magnum with a Barnes X bullet or 220 gr FMJ came through with enough force for minor injuries. Any conventional house with 1/2″ drywall can easily be retro fitted with the plate steel for a very reasonable cost. It beats the hell out of trying to move furniture in a hurry to hide behind. With the steel already in place you can spend that precious time in assessing the situation and forming a defense plan that may be the diference between life and death.

  3. This is a good article. The gang or mob attack is the biggest threat. If you bug-in in suburbia you will be a victim. You cannot defend a house in a suburban environment. Mobs use a sweep and destroy tactic. If they can’t get in, you will burn. Negotiations, “I’m just as hungry as you are, this is all I have” may work, probably your only chance if you stay.
    Don’t plan on having water, human waste becomes a major issue.


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