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Home Defense

Calling 911 is what you do after you have eliminated the threat. If you think calling 911 or having your alarm company doing this will help, you have been greatly misled. Help will show up after you are dead.

This is a subject that I have had a great number people ask about, so I am going to share my opinions with you. These are my opinions, and are not necessarily shared by this magazine.

Think about this. You wake up in bed from the sound of breaking glass or a door being kicked in. What do you do?

You do everything in your power to protect your home and family.

I am a believer that you have to be ready to protect your home from the bad guys, and to do this you have to be ready. Now, when I say “be ready,” I mean be ready quickly. I feel you need to have access to your weapon without having to reach up in a closet and then search for the ammo. The bad guys are not going to wait on you to get ready.

I feel home protection is like car insurance. Each month you pay your premium and hope you never have to use it. But, if you do, YOU ARE DARN GLAD you have it. The difference between car insurance and a home protection firearm is that if you wreck your uninsured car, you are only out a little money, but if someone breaks into your home with you there, you could lose your life.

You have to be convinced that if someone breaks into your home with you there and you are not ready, you could lose your life. This you have to believe.

Weapon Selection: Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a home defense weapon.

Is the weapon for me or for me and my wife? Do I want each of us to have a weapon that we are comfortable with or one weapon that we share?

When I thought about this, I decided that both my wife and I should each have our own weapon that we were familiar with and had easy, quick access to. I want my wife to be able to defend herself and our home when I am not there. Do you?

If so, then read on. You might like what I have to say.

Most guys can stand to have a firearm with a big recoil, while most women will like firearms with mild recoil.

I base this on my observations of the many women I have trained to shoot in past years. So, I usually recommend a wheel gun in .22 to .38 caliber or a semi-auto handgun in a .380 to .40 caliber.

These offerings have a pile less recoil than a .44 wheel gun or .45 semi-auto. Recoil is a major consideration because you do not want the shooter to be afraid of the recoil.

Why is recoil a big deal? When you decide on the right firearm for you or your wife, you are then going to have to practice, practice, practice. And, if you flinch when you pull the trigger, or it scares you to shoot it, your effectiveness with this weapon will be lacking. I believe the gun needs to be an extension of your hand and comfortable to shoot.

You will need to be familiar with the workings of this gun so when you shoot it, the procedure will have to be second nature. You want to be so familiar that when you do need it, you do not have to turn on the lights and get your glasses so you can see how it works. You need to be able to pick it up, point it, fire it and hit your target. I would rather have a box of rocks than a gun with no ammo or one I am not familiar with.

You are not going to need a firearm that you can shoot accurately at 100 yards. If you do have to use it in your house, your target is going to be 10 to 30 feet away. You want to keep both eyes open and be able to point and shoot without having to line up the front and rear sights.

For my wife, we decided on a .38 caliber revolver with a Crimson Trace laser grip. For me, there was only one choice – a 12-gauge short barrel pump shotgun. We do not have any children in our house, so a shotgun next to my bed seemed like the best choice. The .38 revolver is light, does not have a big recoil and has enough stopping power to end a threat.

The shotgun I chose has an 18-inch barrel, is pump action, and with it I only have to get close to my target to end the threat. For what my opinion is worth, I feel a short barrel, pump shotgun is the ultimate home defense weapon.

It is easy to manage in close quarters, is dependable, packs a heck of a punch and will not go through walls unless you press the muzzle up against it.

If you decide on a shotgun for both men and women to use, I would suggest a 20-gauge short barrel pump loaded with low brass bird shot. This combination will end any threat on the first shot.

Laser Sights: Crimson Trace (www.crimsontrace.com) makes laser sights for several makes and styles of handguns. These are great additions to any handgun.

The laser works like this: As you grip the gun, you depress a pressure sensitive switch that illuminates the laser. Where the laser points is where the bullet hits. Of course you will have to adjust the laser regardless if you install it or purchase a handgun with one on it.

Homes With Children: Your decision will be affected depending on if have children in your home. If you have a firearm lying around and one of your kids or their friends shoots someone with it, you are legally responsible.

So, what do you do if you have kids in the house? You can still have a handgun that is easily and quickly accessible to you, but not to your children. Gunvault (www.gunvaults.com) makes gun safes that are small enough to securely mount to a table, the headboard on your bed or just about any place you want it. They make two kinds of these tamper-resistant safes. One that can be opened by reading your fingerprints and the other that opens with an easy-to-enter, finger-depressed combination.

Both of these can be secured in place so they cannot be moved and will keep unwanted persons from accessing your handgun, yet open quickly enough for you to have easy access.

Practice: Now that you have decided on the right gun (or guns), you have to shoot it. I am not talking about a few times. Buy a case of ammo and head to the range.

Once you are comfortable with your gun, shoot it regularly. The more you shoot it, the more familiar you will become with it. This is important!

I hope all of you make it through your life without having to deal with a home invasion, but if you are prepared to deal with this threat, you will be glad you are.

If you decide to purchase a home defense weapon, but have not grown up around guns and are not familiar with them, go to a range that will provide instructions and a safety instructor to help you shoot safely.

Shoot Safe, Shoot Straight.

If all guns were treated as if they were loaded, there would be NO MORE accidental shootings.


Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”