Defense Inside the Home: Avoiding Over-Penetration
by Jeffery Denning: So,
You Want To Bury Your Guns?
decisions, decisions… it seems like when it comes to
defending your family there is a lot of them. Caliber,
and the omnipresent
legal repercussions self-defense is a
hailstorm of life or death choices and another one of these
(and one often neglected) is over-penetration.
and terrain determine tactics and nowhere is this more evident
than when firing a gun inside a closed environment like your home.
Accordingly, a self-defense minded gun owner needs to first
take into account where he lives (a suburban house, a farm,
a studio apartment etc.) and then assess the location and materials
used in its construction. These factors will determine your choice
of gun and round.
location and terrain means knowing where targets will appear, potential
backstops and beyond. Since most inner walls in homes in western
societies are made of sheet rock and many outer walls made of brick
or siding, it’s important to realize rounds could leave your home
and keep traveling. That said, thinner than usual walls, glass windows
or close neighbors should all play a part in your assessment of
your home as should the sometimes strange angles and backstops inherent
to ranch style or multi-level homes.
are dynamic with people moving about helter skelter and this
may include your children, so it is important to be aware of the
location of spots where over-penetration can: a) occur and b) injure
a friendly target. Practice identifying these places with your
family with both the lights on and off; most home invasions
occur during the daytime, but they also happen in the early morning
and evening too. This underlines the importance of knowing and remembering
your backstops and beyond.
bigger better when it comes
to self defense ammunition? Well, I think that even the greenest
of novices would agree that it depends on if bigger is appropriate.
So, how do you know what’s appropriate? Well, in a nutshell, by
understanding the round/guns’ ballistic profile.
ball or target ammunition) can penetrate many layers of drywall.
is the study of projectiles and represents a discipline in shooting
that can quickly turn into a private obsession creating scientists
out of shooters. Indeed, understanding
the ballistics of a round is the key to understanding the theory
of shooting but realize that theory is not practice and you
don’t need an intimate knowledge of muzzle
velocity and “knock down” power to make informed decisions about
popularity of the round, too few realize that 9mm
ball ammo can easily punch through not just one but several
interior walls. By contrast, .223
rifle ammunition tends to tumble,
turn and slow down when penetrating barriers, even more than
a 9mm fired from some pistols. Many shooters like to debate this
point, and admittedly on the surface it doesn’t seem logical, but
studies done by SWAT teams over a decade ago revealed this phenomenon
to be fact and it was one of the main reasons a lot of tactical
teams transitioned to
M-4s/AR-15s and gave up the H&K
MP-5 SMG in the 80s and 90s.
teams, while most have gone to ARs, one big city team in has
stayed with the 12-gauge
as have most militaries around the world which says something
to me about the effectiveness of shotguns. Using both rifle slugs
buck, a shotgun allows both for powerful stopping advantage
and light penetration.
But I’m also
hesitant to endorse shotguns as
the universal cure all for home invaders as Vice President Biden
recently suggested. A shotgun blast is not like the movies where
people fly backwards or fall down right away. Unlike a rifle, one
shot doesn’t necessarily mean one kill. Consider that your home
invader may be
high on meth or some other drug. Tweaked out criminals can take
a handgun round and keep going so know what it is going to take
to stop a human (which may mean a couple of shots and to me that
to me is an endorsement for guns like the Taurus
Judge or S&W Governor). There are all kinds of rounds out
there, but remember over penetration with any type of ammo is a
reality that cannot be ignored.
The key to
defending your home and limiting penetration is to establish a point
of domination. Assess your home and determine
the likely entry points (mostly doors, including the garage
and sliding glass doors, and perhaps windows). From there determine
a counterstrike strategy. Essentially, this means asking yourself,
“Where’s the best location to fight from?” The best options are
cover and concealment, good fields of fire, and excellent observation.
On multilevel homes, high ground is preferred, especially when it
gives a tactical advantage.
windows when assessing your home for a tactical advantage.
have to factor in how fact you can get toy our weapon gun and set
up covering the likely entry points of your home. Realize that wherever
those weapons are in the home, anywhere along that path could likely
turn into a battle zone. This is called taking into account Murphy’s
Law you may have to fight from anywhere in your home, so
consider observation, obstacles, and the other stuff mentioned above
(e.g. fields of fire, cover
and concealment) from less advantageous vantage points.
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