Being mentally prepared to act quickly and decisively in response to a home break-in could save your life. When you are unsuspectingly thrown into a life threatening situation, the adrenaline rush is too powerful for you to think logically, forcing you to rely on your instinct. With the proper mental preparation, your training will become your instinct.
In this article I will list some of the things that have crossed my mind that I believe might help you survive if your home is broken into.
The first and most important thing you can do is learn how criminals choose their targets and take the proper steps to reduce your risk. I wrote a full article about this called How to Prevent Burglary. By making yourself a difficult target, you significantly reduce the chances of break-in and make it easier to plan your defense if someone breaks in.
Planning your Defense
If you have done everything you can to prevent a break-in, you now need to think about what you would do if someone still decides to target you.
Thinking about Different Scenarios
OK, so lets think about how and when a break-in might occur? Most people automatically think they will be sleeping in bed at night and hear a loud noise like glass shattering. But this is only one out of many ways that a break-in might happen. What if you pull up into your driveway and see someone in your house? What if you fall asleep on your couch instead of your bed, and you planned on defending your home with a gun that is now difficult to get to? Needless to say there are a number of scenarios that could become a reality, but you should try to focus on the most likely ones.
Deciding your course of Action
For each major scenario, you need to decide ahead of time what action you will take. This will allow you to take action quickly and calmly. For example, if you plan to defend your home with a gun, you need to know what the laws are in you area. Does the law allow you to use a gun based on the fact that someone has broken in, or do they have to display a weapon or make a threat before it is legal to use a gun? Once you know what the laws are in your area, you need to know exactly what you plan to do during a confrontation. There will be no time to second guess yourself.
Having the Element of Surprise
By knowing your course of action in advance and knowing the layout of your home better than anyone, you now have the element of surprise. A criminal is going to make decisions re-actively and will therefor be at a disadvantage. For example, image you are waiting around the corner with a gun that you plan to use if confronted. If the bad guy walks into that room, they will have to locate you, identify you as a threat, and make the decision to draw a weapon on you. All you have to do is pull the trigger.
Minimizing Collateral Damage
Collateral damage is always something that should be considered, especially if using a firearm for home defense. Most common calibers will easily go through drywall and siding while still maintaining a deadly velocity. With guns it is important to consider safe shooting lanes that have no risk of injuring other people if the shot misses. This should be factored in when deciding how you will position yourself. If you are not using deadly force, you still need to consider things such as keeping valuables in areas away from your spouse or children and leading any confrontation away from your loved ones.