Firearms & Home Defense

Last week at about 3am I woke to my dog (Rhodesian Ridgeback) barking in the living room.

This was very “out of character” for him, so it made my internal alarm go off…

I immediately bounced out of my bed, grabbed my Glock, positioned myself away from my bedroom door with my handgun ready to engage.

I stopped all movement and listened for several seconds. But I didn’t hear anything. So I proceeded to the living room performing “perfect” CQC (close quarters combat) techniques and noticed my dog was at the front door. Again, very uncharacteristic of him for 3am.

Keeping all lights off I activated my front door camera and saw nothing. I continued by performing a quick sweep of the rest of the interior of my home. All clear…

So what was that all about? (I wasn’t likely to get an answer from my dog…)

You see, if someone was in my home after being confronted by my dog, they would have been either very brave, desperate, or stupid.

A criminal will generally strike the path of least resistance and if someone was trying to enter my home – after hearing my dog’s reaction – they were likely off to the next target.

This is why dogs are one of the very best forms of home protection. They will not only give you a “heads up” but are a great deterrent to a would-be robber or burglar. Again – path of least resistance.

Now, before I continue, let me remind you: I preach safety, preparation and vigilance – NOT paranoia!

That said, when a situation occurs that is out of the norm – pay attention and react smart and appropriately.

This situation could have been any number of things, but if or when this happens to you – you need to know how to react. Whether that’s calling for help, or properly engaging a threat and standing your ground in a safe manner.

If you don’t own a dog and hear something inside your home that is again “uncharacteristic” you should do the following:

1. Call 911 and alert authorities you think you have an intruder in your home.

2. If you own a firearm – get it and position yourself crouched in a location that provides cover (behind a door frame for example).

3. If you have children, spouse, or roommates – try to establish if they are the source of the disruption and if they are safe.

4. Announce, “I have called the police and they are on the way.”

If you don’t get a response to anyone that you might be sharing your residence with and the disruption continues then there is a decision to make.

Which leads me to the number one question I am asked most on home defense: “What do you recommend most for firearms?”

Well, to answer that question I ask you three of my own.

1. If you are going to have a firearm, are you willing to train on a regular basis to maintain your proficiency and safety?
2. If you have kids in the home do you have a safe way to store the firearm? (finger print activated lock box)
3. If you are in a situation where you have to use the firearm and take a life for your protection, are you willing to do it?

So, if I don’t get a strong YES to the three questions above then I generally discourage the individual from obtaining a firearm for home defense. Bear Spray is a great option.

However, if I get a thumbs up on the questions above… I do have a few suggestions on various firearm options:

1. Handgun – compact, light-weight, and requires a moderate amount of training to be effective. I’m a big fan of .40 caliber, for stopping power and capacity. Glock makes an amazing handgun and is VERY reliable.
2. AR-15 – very deadly and efficient and requires a lot of training for the shooter to be effective. BIG caution note here – the rounds have a high penetration capability which means going through walls. You might have engaged an intruder but you could risk others in the process. Please use any and all safety precaution if this type of firearm is necessary.
3. Shotgun – my favorite home defense firearm. This is an incredible deterrent much like a big dog barking. It is very easy to use requiring minimal training and typically does not penetrate walls.


This is a very situational dependent scenario.

1. If you feel like the intruder is advancing toward you, hold your position and get ready to engage.

2. If you think the intruder is roaming through your residence you can decide to slowly close the distance, moving from cover to cover to investigate. Understand that this technique also known as “close quarters combat” or clearing is something that Spec Ops train for years to perfect so use this as a last resort. Better to let law enforcement do their job then to round a corner in your home and find yourself face-to-face with an armed assailant.

3. That said, if you feel your family is in a life-threatening situation – you have to do what you can to protect them. Just understand this decision could have a terrible consequence.

Be a survivor… not a statistic,

Cade Courtley
Former Navy SEAL / 4Patriots Contributor

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