You’re asleep, all snuggled in your bed, when breaking glass at your front door awakens you. During the haze of waking from a deep sleep and a shot of adrenaline due to hearing the front door opening, you realize that someone is now in your home. Still foggy, you grab your gun, knowing that you need to get your children to the designated safe room. Go!
Let’s stop and think about this scenario and how we can utilize our range gear to our advantage for home defense. I am a firm believer in pre-planning and practicing a game plan for myself and my family. But rarely do I hear individuals talk about having the proper home defense gear and tools for such a situation. The typical response is, “Grab a gun and check it out.” But to be truly prepared and to reduce the risk of a potential tragedy, we need more than just a gun. This is where some thinking ahead and a little bit of gear can make a huge difference in handling the situation to our advantage.
I am not going to get into tactics and “what ifs.” I’m going to talk about home defense gear that allows us the flexibility of handling a home-defense situation where deadly force may need to be used. Does a police officer or soldier head out for their shift or mission with nothing more than a gun? Of course not, so why would we do the same thing when we are going into an unknown situation? We should be equipped to handle a variety of issues that could potentially arise. This is where having a general “equipment kit” or “shooting rig” would be a great benefit.
Most of us who are serious about firearms training have a ton of gear that we take to the range: modular belts, chest rigs, blow-out kits, and so on. This is gear that we (hopefully) practice with on a regular basis, so muscle memory and repetition have become ingrained through the use of that gear. While under stress and dealing with an actual self-defense scenario, why would we not want the same gear with us that we train with? Granted, we have to be able to adjust to the circumstances, as a real-life situation will be dynamic and unpredictable. But if we can adjust and still have the fundamental tools and skill sets that we practice with, then we don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it’s the real deal.
Let’s look at the “bump in the night” scenario. I have two young children, and their rooms are on the opposite side of the house from the master bedroom. I usually sleep in boxers and a t-shirt. I have a large area to navigate with a potential threat and am not dressed appropriately to handle such a threat with only a gun. I am at a disadvantage from the start.
To offset this disadvantage, I keep a “war belt” or Modular Padded Belt System by High Speed Gear Inc (HSGI) next to my bed and, in my nightstand drawer, a GunVault MicroVault where I keep my loaded firearm. (Be aware that under certain state laws, you can be charged with a felony if an unsecured firearm gets into the hands of a child and harm or death results from that firearm not being secured.)
This is the same belt I use when I am at the range, at shooting classes and instructing. I have thousands of repetitions drawing my weapon from the holster, as well as working with the specific items I have on the belt. I have set up my belt to meet my specific needs and have trained with it for situations that are most probable for a civilian to encounter. I believe in keeping things simple, but I do want the ability to change out my gear or adapt it as needed.
The modular belt is a great piece of gear because it has just about everything I may need to effectively handle most situations. I have extra magazine pouches, a flashlight, blow-out kit, and a spare pouch for a phone, video or multi-tool. Through repetition, I know where everything is and how to use it, and can do so with my eyes closed. The belt holds everything I need and I can throw it on in less than five seconds!
Think about that: five seconds or less to have the tools you need for dealing with a dynamic, potentially life-altering threat. Here is a list of items that I deem critical and why. I also recommend the following manufacturers, as I have thoroughly tested each item and therefore am willing to trust my life with them.
Home Defense Gear & Training for the Bump in the Night:
- Weapon: Smith & Wesson M&P9 or Glock 19. If deadly force is to be used, these are the preferred tools, but guns/models will vary depending on users.
- Holster: G-Code OSH holster. I want something that will secure my weapon when needed, as my boxer shorts are not going to cut it.
- Flashlight: SureFire or Streamlight. We must — and I cannot stress this enough — identify the threat before using deadly force. We want to be sure we are dealing with a bad guy who poses a true threat, as opposed to a family member. No one wants to live with the grief of shooting an innocent person.
- Medical Trauma Kit: Dark Angel Medical D.A.R.K. (Direct Action Response Kit). I want to have access to basic medical gear in case I am injured during a fight. It would suck to eliminate a deadly threat only to have you or a loved one injured and bleed to death before help arrives. I always carry a blow-out kit whether I am on the range, in my car, or at home. And simply having it is not enough. Knowing how to use it is just as important, if not more.
- Extra Magazine/Ammo Pouches: HSGI Double Decker Taco Pouch. When I carry concealed, I always carry an extra magazine, so why would I not do this at home? With the belt, I can carry more than one magazine and, since I train with two extra magazines, I might as well carry them.
- Extra Pouch: HSGI Single Taco Pouch. For me, this extra pouch is for the one thing that is just as important as everything else — my phone. I can call 911 to get help on the way and simply slide my cell phone with the “mic” end up. Then my hand is free to deal with the threat, navigating, my wife and kids, etc. All the while, 911 is on the line and the situation is being recorded. That recording could be a very important piece of legal documentation if lethal force is indeed used.
There it is, simple and efficient. Simple in the fact that I only put items I need on the belt. Efficient in that the belt can be put on quickly, and everything on it can be accessed easily. Plus its contents can handle just about everything when it comes to a home-defense scenario. You could apply this same set-up to a chest rig if you prefer to run that instead.
When buying gear, look for something modular and not necessarily proprietary when it comes to what it will hold. For example, the HSGI belt itself is extremely durable. All seams are double stitched with additional reinforced stitching at key points, and it comes with a padded non-skid interior. The MOLLE webbing allows multiple options for gear placement, but the best items I’ve found to add are the Double Decker Taco Pouches. The pouches are flexible and allow for diverse applications. The larger pouch will hold AR or AK magazines, and the smaller pouch will hold just about any pistol magazine. These pouches are not just magazine pouches but will hold a multitude of other items, such as smartphones, handheld video players, lights, multi-tools, and anything you may find useful. This allows the pouches to be truly universal, and I can adapt my belt without having to change out gear.
What people choose to carry will vary from person to person. This is simply my setup that I have created after many hours of testing. This gear works for me and my intended purposes. This article is not intended to promote particular pieces of gear but rather the use of gear that gives us an advantage when all hell breaks loose in the middle of the night.
As responsibly armed citizens, we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to be prepared and educated. Being prepared doesn’t mean merely having a weapon at hand to fight the bad guys. It means having the skill set to not be a liability with a weapon. Gear can be a beneficial tool if used properly. It can be a liability if used incorrectly or not for its intended purpose. I want the benefit of gear that will allow me to focus on the potential threat at hand instead of fumbling with a lot of things that could put me in an inferior position.
In closing, think about what you would do if you were facing the “bump in the night” situation. Looking at it realistically, you may have limited time and lack full cognitive ability to comprehend the entire scenario. Time will not be on your side, so you must do what you can to be ready at a moment’s notice.