HomePosts Tagged "home defense"

Almost all preppers love their guns.  It has been my experience, though, that most non-prepper family members do not love guns quite so well perhaps, as some of their counterparts,  Let’s face it – without proper education, care, storage and maintenance, guns are absolutely one of the most dangerous things you can bring into your home, especially if you have children.

That said, guns are one of the most useful items you can have.  They are an absolute essential piece of home defense, self-defense, and they can be used to hunt game for food as well.  Outside of a knife or a cell phone, very few items that you can prepare with have dual purposes that can equal a gun.

If firearms are causing a fight in your family, if you have a legal record, or if you live in an area that disallows firearms, then it’s time to start thinking of an alternative.  There are plenty of alternatives out there, and while none of them are quite so effective as a rifle or a pistol, they can work in a pinch.

Bows or Crossbows

The best alternative to a true firearm is surely a bow or a crossbow.  The former is quieter, cheaper, faster to reload, easier to maintain, and more versatile, but requires significantly more practice, while the latter is much easier to use, and much more accessible for those with poor arm strength.

If, for whatever reason, you are unwilling or unable to own a gun, then owning a bow is something that should top your list.  While either weapon requires practice, it shouldn’t be very long before you are able to at least develop a minimum level of arm strength, aim and tactical knowledge for using these items. Your local park district, nature preserve or school may even offer courses for all age ranges as well as any archery range in your area.

As far as uses go, a bow is quite similar to a firearm.  You could conceivably use it for defense, although you’d certainly look a little strange doing so, and bow hunting is a very popular sport among hunting enthusiasts.  The major disadvantages to bows are obvious – they are less portable than handguns, and less powerful than any gun, so you need to be accurate in your shooting to cause damage to larger game while hunting.  That said, they are significantly quieter than guns, and you can reuse the ammunition quite easily or make new arrows from materials in the forest.

A simple recurve or compound bow set with arrows and a target will run you about $300 for an adequate starter set, and is often enough to get you started without worrying about accessories or professional-level equipment.


There are many slingshot truthers out there who believe strongly in this weapon.  In my opinion, while a slingshot is another alternative to guns or bows, it is a far distant third or even fourth-place option among ranged weapons, almost to the point of irrelevance.   It is far less powerful, using small metal balls to do damage, but has minimal ability to do damage, a short range, and wide variations in accuracy.  It is far cheaper than other options, running less than $50 for most models, including ammunition.
For self-defense purposes, a slingshot is nearly useless, as it won’t stop attackers without a perfectly targeted strike, and it’s not useful for hunting most animals larger than rabbits, but in a pinch, I’d rather have a slingshot than my bare hands.


Yes, seriously, bolas are a ancient South American weapon that consist of a par of small weights connected by a length of strong cord.  By whipping the bolas at a high speed, then throwing the bolas at a targets’ legs, you can trip them up and immobilize the target for long enough to hopefully approach and strike before they can free themselves.  Heavier weights on the ends of the ropes will do some damage as well, but a bolas should be looked at largely as a capture tool first and foremost. Bolas are not a particularly effective weapon for all animals, as it may be difficult to fully ensure a nimble four-legged creature, but for hunting birds or smaller quarry, they can be quite useful. The native people who use this weapon are often able to take down birds in flight, or use these as a surprise capture tool for birds on the ground.  This is another weapon whose effectiveness will depend largely on the amount of effort you put into practicing with the device, but it could be a useful alternative.  Unlike an effective gun, bow or slingshot, a bolas is a weapon you could create with materials you already own, so it’s possible to start practicing with a homemade weapon quite quickly.


A club is a good self-defense weapon for close-quarters combat.  You could use a baseball bat you purchase at a garage sale, or a tactical option like a telescoping weighted club, and each would be at least somewhat effective for keeping attackers at bay.  If you happen to be a larger person, a club also offers a strong intimidation factor, but it is very ineffective if thrown or used as a ranged weapon, where it would have no practicality in a fight.  It’s certainly a low-level option.  Of course, unless used in combination with a bolas or similar trapping/ensnaring weapon, a club is not a useful hunting weapon.


I’m a person who believes that you should carry a knife with you at all times, so it does fit with being a EDC device that you could use for self-defense.  Knives share many similar features with clubs, as close-quarters self-defense tools that are certainly more effective than hand-to-hand combat.

I included knives specifically because I consistently see advertisements for tactical throwing knives that I think need to be addressed.  The idea behind throwing knives as a weapon baffles me.  Anyone who has experience using these items knows that they are iffy at best.  Hitting a moving target with a knife that is flipping end-over-end and having that knife not only strike, but also damage, is nearly impossible.  It’s perhaps the coolest option to show off as a parlor trick, but it cannot be used with any effectiveness outside of sheer blind luck as a hunting or self-defense tool.  Don’t be a movie star, get a real weapon, or at the very least, when you’re in a fight, don’t throw your knife at your attacker.

If firearms are causing a fight in your family, if you have a legal record, or if you live in an area that disallows firearms, then it’s time to start

On castles of old, the front gate was often the “soft spot”–the easiest place to breach. Modern homes aren’t built with siege defense in mind (sadly), but doors are still the most common point of entry for thieves and intruders–something like 85% of forcible entries occur through the front door.

How to secure your doors? The photo to the right, a security door from a company in Bogota, Colombia, is a pretty good “best case”. It’s armored, bullet proof, steel cored, with a vault-style locking mechanism and a steel frame. It will even stand up to power tools and mild explosives. Pretty awesome, and if you can afford it, I’d say go for it. There are several domestic companies that produce similar doors; I’d contact a reputable locksmith or security door company and go from there.

However, this high-end, vault-like door is probably a bit much for the average home–we want to look at the principles at work here and see what we can do for less. Click the link below for more.

Before we get started, some basics:

  • Deadbolts are the standard and exterior doors should have a deadbolt, as a minimum. The lame little locks built into door knobs can be defeated in about 3 seconds with a credit card.
  • Invest in good locks; cheap locks can be picked or bumped quickly, quietly and easily.
  • Buy the most solid door you can afford.
  • Windows that could provide access to the door’s locking mechanism are a bad thing and defeat the purpose of reinforcing your door. A smashed window and an intruder can have quick access to the interior of your home. Get rid of the window if possible, or cover it with decorative burglar bars or a security film.
  • Have a way to check the door without opening it. Peep hole, security camera, etc.
  • Hinges/bolts should be on the interior, otherwise an intruder can pop them out and dismantle the door.

The average home has a deadbolt on the front door. Deadbolts are good, but need reinforcing to stand up to a concentrated entry attempt. The door jamb — typically only an inch or two of wood — is all that really stands between you and a thug trying to smash in your door. That wood is usually what gives way in a common kick-in attack. One or two kicks and the back guys are in.

There are several products available to reinforce existing door jambs — look for “door reinforcers” and “door jamb armor.” Door Jamb Armor on Amazon looks pretty good. These are steel plates that reinforce the soft points on a standard door; they’re under $75 and install with basic tools in under an hour. Once installed, they will help hard harden your doors to common kick-in attacks; the door itself will probably give way first. They’ve even tested it successfully against a police battering ram – not bad for the price.

A security door can add an extra layer of protection.

If you’re concerned about a lock picking/bumping entry, look into adding a second deadbolt – a one-sided/single-sided deadbolt. This gives you two deadbolts – one with an exterior facing key face, and the one-sided deadbolt, which has no key face and can only be opened from inside. The exterior facing deadbolt is what you engage when you’re gone. When you’re home, you can lock both. Because the second deadbolt doesn’t have a key face, that means there’s nothing for a burglar to bump or pick.

A security door is another consideration. This is a second, sturdy metal storm/hurricane-type door with its own deadbolt and reinforcement. These open outward, which makes it harder to smash in–and you’d have to smash in through the metal frame, too.  These doors have two benefits. First, if you need to open the regular door for fresh air or to talk to someone, you’ll still have a locked, secure door between you and the outside. Second, it provides a very difficult barrier that potential intruders will have to get through before they start on the main door. The door pictured, a First Alert model, is rated to 700 pounds. Unfortunately, criminals, drug dealers and stash houses often install these kinds of doors as well, recognizing the added protection they provide from criminal competition and even SWAT teams. Standard procedure for SWAT, I believe, is to rip the security door off with a chain attached to a truck. Anyways, a security door may, depending on your area and the design of the door, draw some unwanted attention or send the wrong signals. Keep that in mind.

An old school crossbar, courtesy Wikipedia.

A final solution, and potentially the most secure, is a what I’ve heard called a crossbar. This is a medieval-style bar across the interior of the door; if you want in, you’ll need to brake the bar, tear out the brackets or completely destroy the door itself. With a steel bar and sturdy, well-installed brackets, this kind of barricade can stand up to a lot of abuse. A crossbar can also be fairly easily improvised from basic materials–there’s not much to one, which makes it the go-to for improving a door’s security after TEOTWAWKI.

Here’s a modern version of the crossbar on Amazon called the Bar-Ricade. Steel tube, brackets installed into the jack/king studs of the house. Here’s a video demo. Looks pretty decent for the price and is pretty low profile.

If permanent modification of the front door is impossible, I would look into a door jammer or security bar. These wedge in at an angle between the door knob and the floor – basically a serious version of the old angled chair trick. Of these, The Buddy Bar seems to be the best recommended, and made from all-steel, versus plastic and aluminum like cheaper models are. These slide into place fairly easily and do a good job of reinforcing the door. Not as good as a permanent option, but better than a standard deadbolt alone.

With a little bit of investment and work, there is quite a bit that can be done to harden the typical front door. Maybe not medieval castle strength, but strong enough to give you adequate time to plan your response.

To go along with the great post above, I also found this video from Liberty Steve of Tin Hat Ranch’s YouTube Channel. He goes over a lot of the options above but gives some nice visuals.

On castles of old, the front gate was often the “soft spot”–the easiest place to breach. Modern homes aren’t built with siege defense in mind (sadly), but doors are still

Everything around us is getting smarter: phones, television, brands, and now our homes and our home security. The “smart revolution,” anchored on emerging technologies and connectivity, is clearly taking over. The objectives of such innovations are generally noble. The smart trend aims to make living easier, more practical, and more intelligent. Don’t forget cooler, of course.

Let us zoom in on the smart home revolution. It sounds like a really hi-tech and romantic concept. Unfortunately, while people hear it all the time, the majority of homeowners do not know what it is about. Based on a white paper from Consumer Electronics Association and Parks Associates, nearly two-thirds of heads of households are not familiar with smart home security concepts.

What makes a home smart? It’s when a home is equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely through the Internet. This also includes home security systems that have greatly evolved to better ensure home safety, whenever and wherever.

Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System 8-piece Plus Package

Home security trends of the year are clearly moving towards smart home security. It’s when you can monitor, access, and control security devices such as alarms and cameras remotely through a phone or computer. Sounds too technical for you? Let’s make it simpler with an ultimate list of everything you need to know about smart home security systems.

Easy installation for Smart Home Security systems

It does not take a master technician to install smart home technology. Most of the brands available are wireless so you should not worry about running wires and cables throughout the house. All you need to do is to identify a location for the panel. The central control unit of the system will make contact with the several area detectors such as infrared or motion that are mounted around the house to raise alarm when necessary. DSC alarm systems usually come with a video of how to install the technology so you won’t have to go through technical manuals. For example, it is a breeze to install DSC Powerseries Neo in your home as you only need to mark, mount, and connect.

Personally program your smart home security system

People have different security preferences. Smart home security technology gives you different options to program your home and personalize settings. For example, you can set alarm verification to reduce the number of false alarms. You can even do this remotely.

Connecting to the Internet of Things


The Internet of Things or (IOT) is an essential concept of smart home technology. This simply means that the Internet will be working with many appliances and devices, including security, at home. IoT is an area of endeavor that makes a home “smart” since it makes possible the networking of objects and security. Smart home security basically requires a reliable Internet connection so that all of the things around the house can be connected to each other.

Z-Wave Control

When you go shopping for smart home alarm systems, you will likely come across Z-Wave. Don’t bother with the letter “Z” because all you need to know is that it is a wireless communications unit that makes home automation possible. Most DSC alarms have a built-in Z-Wave unit that will let you control your home’s temperature, lighting, and door locks.

Control via a security app


So you wonder: how can I access and control my security panel when I’m in the office. As for everything else in the world, there’s an app for that. You will be provided with a security app, such as Alarm.com or Canary, which will be installed in your phone. Most apps are compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, tablets, and other web-enabled devices. It is through this app that you can access, monitor, and control your home security real-time and on-the-go.

Arm and disarm your security system remotely

You don’t need to physically be at home to arm and disarm your alarm. Gone are the days when you set an alarm and hope it works. With smart security, you can arm and disarm it via your mobile device. If you need to reconfigure settings and disarm it for a while, you can do so from the palm of your hand.

Alerting authorities


When an alarm is raised, can the authorities or the police know about it? They will. Modern home alarm systems allow your chosen security provider to listen in via built-in microphones and through a two-way audio alarm verification system. Once a threat is verified, appropriate authorities will be notified.

Power vs. false alarms

The propensity for false alarms is among the issues with traditional security systems. But with a smart home security, you have the power to reduce false alarms with enhanced verification features. The most common are the two-way voice alarm verification system and dual verification features that allow officers and providers to see and hear what is happening on your premises before sending help.

Real-time alerts

The beauty of smart home security is the capability of alerting you through push notification emails and text messages. You just need to program your unit to provide you with these alerts.

Building a comprehensive system

You might think that you are limited to door and window sensors. Well, entry-level systems typically include just a few sensors and detectors to be connected to your home Wi-Fi network or other wireless protocols such as Z-Wave. But over time, you can add an extra door sensor to provide coverage—including locks, surveillance cameras, smoke detectors, and water sensors—for the entire household.

You won’t believe the level of comfort that a smart home technology provides. It is like having a Jarvis to your own Iron Man. Of course, coverage depends on how extensive you want your home security to be. This is why it is important to know your preferences and priorities. Do you want minimal or absolute control? Do you want a network system where everything is connected? What are the things that you want to be able to control remotely? These are the things that you need to ask before making that purchase. Do not let the technicalities fool you because the main premise of technology is to make life simpler and better.

Everything around us is getting smarter: phones, television, brands, and now our homes and our home security. The “smart revolution,” anchored on emerging technologies and connectivity, is clearly taking over.

Under normal circumstances, home security systems such as ADT home security can be an excellent step towards achieving peace of mind. But these systems are far from a cure-all for your home security needs – especially in a grid-down scenario where your system is left unplugged. Even alternative power sources run dry eventually, meaning that relying on a home security system solely for your home defense needs is careless. These can also become impractical when an emergency drives a family from their home, leaving remains open to looters and thieves.

Often during emergencies, homeowners are taken advantage of while away at an emergency shelter or searching for supplies, making sustainability an important safety feature. Your household should also be prepared to handle intense heat, cold, and grid-down scenarios for as close to indefinitely as possible. While a home security system can be an immensely effective tool in warding off potential crooks when everything is running as it should, there are certain aspects of home security that homeowners should consider when preparing their home in order to take whatever the world throws at us in stride.

Weatherize your home

When your power runs out, one of the most noticeable conveniences you’ll sorely miss is indoor climate control. Even with an alternative power source, heating and air conditioning are not practical uses for power when it becomes scarce. Weatherizing your home both improves your family’s health and comfort while allowing your family to stay within shelter without needlessly searching for fuel sources or outside aid. It also protects your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide that many basic fuel sources create. Finally, a well-sealed home is also more likely to avoid the complications of flood damage. To prevent extreme weather conditions affecting protection against home invasion or personal injury, there are several steps to consider in preparing your home.


Weatherize your home.

First, it’s crucial to have an energy audit performed in your home. Professionals often offer energy auditing services, though a DIY approach to this task can be fruitful. Put simply, this audit is about checking your home’s insulation, looking for air gaps, and sealing your home as tightly as possible inside and out. For more information and advice on energy audits, see Energy.gov.

Some other crucial steps of weatherizing include protecting your pipes from freezing or corrosion. Should your water remain potable throughout a natural disaster or emergency, it would be important to keep your water source as well-maintained as possible to withstand the hardiest conditions. (However, water frequently becomes not fit to drink for a while after the grid goes down when filtration systems lose power; see the following section for advice on water sources.)

Besides sealing your home well, consider some simple modifications to weatherize your windows and lower the chances of your home becoming damaged, especially during storm or blizzard conditions. Shatter-proof panes, shutters, and storm windows are excellent affordable options in making sure your windows won’t shatter, which makes home invasion and personal injury from debris all the more unlikely.

Prepare food and water sources

Keeping your family unexposed to the elements outdoors and looters is the only sure way to defend them, so unless there is an emergency shelter accessible it is prudent to become as sustainable as possible in your home. As a bare minimum, the FDA recommends creating a supplies kit that would last your household at least 72 hours. A household able to function without requiring travel or delivery for resources is ideal, though only possible through meticulous planning.

A steady supply of preserved, dehydrated, or garden-grown foods is your first concern. Your food supply should be non-perishable; but this can make avoiding salty, dehydrating foods difficult. Seek out salt-free or low sodium versions of foods that your family enjoys. Dry mixes and dehydrated foods are a popular choice amongst preppers for their healthiness and shelf-life. Canned foods are feasible, though usually come steeped in salt and other preservatives. Generally, any food which requires neither cooking nor refrigeration is best.

Keeping a potable water supply besides your water system is another essential part of a good survival plan in your family. Some types of water contamination can be boiled away, though this form of sanitation can be inconsistent and requires a fuel source. Bottled water can be helpful, though scarcity and expiration dates definitely limits their use. For in-depth advice on properly sanitizing different outdoor and indoor water sources, see this pamphlet by the Red Cross. The popular rule of thumb is that you should have a gallon of water per individual to cover both their hydration and sanitary needs. If your emergency situation is in a particularly hot climate, you may need to double or even triple this standard.

Have a family plan


You can’t say you didn’t warn them.

Preparation is the biggest factors playing in your odds for survival in any emergency – and natural disasters are no exception. In order for your family’s emergency plan to be successful in survival and to keep your home secure, mutual planning is necessary. Each of your family should be aware of meeting areas for circumstances when family members need to leave or when a home invasion occurs. Share common emergency contact information and know precisely where to go when a member becomes separated.

Your plan should incorporate some basic kits of medical supplies, batteries, alternative power supplies, light sources, and anything else to cover the special needs of your family. If possible, stocking on medications that your family might require in advance is a good precaution. Make sure you have adequate tools that run independently of power, such as auxiliary locks for entrances with electronic locks and manual cooking appliances. Your primary concern for backup generators and other power sources should be for lighting and communications devices.

To enhance your home defense during power-down scenarios, there are a few modifications you can make. Equipping the front of your home with motion sensing lights can ward off potential looters. Alternatively, sealing main entrances with signage warning off looters can make your home less of a target – especially if leaving your home is necessary when resources run dry. Maintaining your presence known can be a powerful deterrent to burglars, but avoid making your resources or power obvious to outside observers.

What other tips would you recommend to families faced with a natural disaster to keep their family members and home safe?

Under normal circumstances, home security systems such as ADT home security can be an excellent step towards achieving peace of mind. But these systems are far from a cure-all for