I was recently asked to send "security" advice to someone who's been threatened by some Muslims. Edited here is basically what I wrote in the emails I sent.
First of all, security is when you lock the door behind you. Protection is when there's a threat of you being injured or killed by someone else and you decide to do something about it. That's how I define it, anyway.
This all assumes you live in the city. Start at the curb, going in:
- If you have security at the door and think they're inadequate or incompetent, contact the company and complain until you get the guards you want.
- If you're approaching the door to your place, whether on foot or in a cab, and you don't see the usual guard or doorman, look to see if there is someone else in his or her place. When he sees you, does he give some sort of hand or head signal to someone watching out of your sight, does he look over his shoulder and nod or make a cell phone call as you're approaching? If so, don't go in. Call to see if the family inside the house are okay.
- You have to plan and rehearse all potential scenarios with your family, if you have one. If you're a target, don't be an easy one.
- If there is a guard or doorman you trust, you might consider setting up visual duress signals so he can let you know of danger close, before it gets too close. Consider whether it would be wise to give this guard your cell phone number as a second method of communication. You should have the phone numbers for the security desk and cell phone numbers so you can call before you arrive to see if everything's okay. Guard should have verbal duress codes to use to alert you of danger, such as: Your car is ready for pick-up.
- If you live in an apartment or condo, depending upon the floor you live on, you shouldn't take either the stairs or the elevator all the time. Alternate stairs/elevator every day and mix it up. For example: one day walk up to the 3rd floor and then get on the elevator going up to 12, then walk up to 15 and then catch the elevator down to your floor on 7. Or whatever. Next day, take the elevator to 6 and then walk up to 9, ride down to 7. Don't be predictable.
- If you're catching a lift in the lobby and there's someone already in the elevator when the doors open and he/she doesn't get out, don't get in that car. Step away from the door and move to the side.
- If you're in an elevator and some suspicious person steps in, push all the floor buttons, that way the car will be stopping every 5-10 seconds giving you a chance to step off or for help to get on.
- Ideally, you should be living between the 4th and 7th floors ~ too high for bad-guys to jump to, but low enough for fire ladders and SWAT teams.
- Use all available exit/entry doors. Don't be predictable.
- Be looking for unusual things/people near your front door, something close enough blow you up when you stop to unlock your door or someone close enough to rush you when you open it. If you see that, keep walking by as though you don't live there. If your family is inside, call and make sure they're okay. Consider duress codes you can use in case they're being listened to. Call the police and ask them to help you, in this case, or security if they're competent.
- Buy and install the best deadbolt locks you can afford for the exterior doors. Chain-locks don't help. Check out these products here.
- Once inside, announce to everyone that you're home and make it SOP that they respond to you verbally when you call to them. You're taking a head-count, getting them to tell you they're okay.
- I'll talk about handguns later but immediately consider buying a shotgun, if you don't have one already.
Just remember this; for now: if anyone approaches or attacks you in the city streets and seems to be trying to take you from that spot, fight them then and there. You'll have a much better chance of getting help there at that spot than at the spot they're trying to take you... and kill you. When you fight, don't shout Help! Nobody will come. Shout FIRE!
Inside the house, some thoughts:
- You need to have a plan for what you will do if this happens or that happens, whatever bad thing that might come through the door or be waiting for you on the other side of one. The plan(s) has to be simple, easy to remember and practice and needs to be rehearsed once a month at least.
- The plan(s) needs to take into account your current self-protection profile: armed or un. But if you get a shotgun or pistol, redo the plan to take the weapons into account, but keep the unarmed plan too.
- An armed response plan needs to take into consideration where you might be shooting from ~ is it cover and will stop a bullet or just concealment that will hide you ~ and where you'll be shooting to ~ is the wall over there thick enough to stop a 12 ga shotgun round or a 9mm pistol round. Etc.
- Can you set up a safe-room in the house? Needs good lock, reinforced door and frame, comms such as a charged extra cell phone, first aid, some sort of weapon; if no gun, then a sword. Yea, a sword.
- Such as the one shown below, which is definitely sharpened for combat.
- Or this one below, which might be sharpened for combat, I can't tell for sure. If this one isn't sharpened, I'd still buy at least two, maybe one for each room, and get then sharpened to combat quality.
- One of my favorites is here, shown below. Very simple. Um, you might have to click on a couple links to find this one, once you get to this knife's site.
- Another good one is right here.
- A good thing about these is they're easy to find and buy, and can be sharpened very easily. Too, you can cut a broom handle or something to the same length of the sword and have a great practice tool.
- If you buy one/some of these, have them sharpened so that they cut meat easily. Depending on the threat at your place, don't have them in their sheaths. Have them hanging unsheathed at about knee level so you can grab it as you run by it or reach it from the floor. The hooks should be strong enough to hold the weapon but not so strong that you can't pull the whole thing out of the wall if you need to do so. The backs of doors is often a good spot.
- Of course, these mounting suggestions have to take into consideration house guests and the general decor of your place.
- As for knives you can carry on your person, go to an outdoor gear store and handle knives, don't buy online. You want one with a stud/bolt on both sides of the blade so you can open it one-handed with either hand, which is something you will practice faithfully, right? Studs/bolts are different size/locations on the blade, some don't have a stud/bolt but a large hole. Find what feels best in your hands, which one opens easiest for you. But at least two. You can get good ones for around $20. You don't need the super-priced ones. Get them sharpened up real good. One goes in your coat pocket dedicated to just that knife. There's no business cards or gum or anything in that easily-reached/opened pocket but that knife. Oh, yea, it should have a belt clip on it too.
- Here is a very good practice video for Krav Maga, defense against knife attack.
- Here is one on taking a gun from someone about to shoot you in the head.
- As for when you might have to use a knife as a defensive weapon, remember your best defense will be a good offense. When shooting, the best place to aim is the Center of Mass (CM) of your attacker, usually in the chest area, because this is the easiest to hit and there are vital organs there.
- CM for you in a knife attack, when it's you with the knife, is the neck and throat area, especially the side and front. This includes the shoulders, sloping down from the neck.
- In the center/front of the neck is the trachea. If you plunge a knife in there, it will disrupt his breathing, he'll sputter on some blood but still be able to fight you for a while. So, if you have to stab him in the throat from the front, you need to jerk the knife to the left and right so that you can sever the trachea and possibly get to a carotid artery.
- The carotid arteries on both sides of the neck are not far under the skin. Then can be lacerated with a cutting motion or punctured with a stabbing motion.
- Directly under the collarbone on both sides of the neck is the sub-clavian artery. That can be cut with a downward stab to either shoulder, from the front, but you must hit this one hard as the clavicle might need breaking for you to get to the artery below.
- You might need to twist the knife in the wound to do maximum damage. That's true of any wounds you inflict with a knife.
- You must strike with as much force as you can when defending yourself this way. In doing so, you just might cut yourself. Remember that in any fight, if you are hurt and you stop to tend your wounds, you will lose the fight and probably die. You must fight on despite the wound and get treatment, or treat yourself, ASAP after the attacker is stopped.
- The longer any type of fight goes on, the more likely that you'll be hurt. So, you need to fight fast and furious. You need to train this way as well. Upper body, arms, legs, hands must all be worked in quick reps and sets to get an aerobic effect. You need to work up a good sweat and be breathing heavy at every workout in order to train your body for a fight.
- Item last: the best place to win a fight is on the ground, grappling, not dancin' around like some martial arts princess. Look at the cage matches. Most are won when somebody gets taken to the floor. So, take a good look at the Krav Maga training videos on that subject and practice, practice, practice.
Let' s make sure we all understand fully that I'm not telling anyone to do any of this. But if a bad situation develops and you're faced with defending yourself with a knife, it won't be at all like the little playground "sword" fights you had with twigs when you were a kid.
From the front step to the street:
- When you're preparing to leave a building, slow down to take a look for suspicious situations/people. Look out the windows if you can, obviously, but also take time to look across the street at windows there to see if they reflect a suspicious someone or something out of view on your side of the street. Report your suspicions to security if they're there, or the cops.
- While you're walking in the city, remember to look to the side and behind you from time to time to see if you're being followed. Use windows on the opposite side of the street to see who slows down when you do. Every now and then just turn on a dime and see if anyone does the same thing. Anyone who does is probably following you.
- Your choices then are to loudly confront them: Hey, why the hell are you following me? This might scare them off. Try taking a picture of them with your cell-phone, if you can. That creates a record of what you saw. Save the pics on your computer. Or you can lead them to the nearest cop. Whatever you do, don't go into a secluded spot when you think you're being followed and never go home; maybe they don't know where you live yet.
- The most likely abduction/attack location will be close to somewhere you often/usually go. Most likely abduction scenario on the street: you're walking along and ahead of you is a man close to the buildings ~ loitering, leaning, pretending to be busy. Opposite him across the sidewalk is a van with the door open and someone in the driver's seat. The van is parked strangely: sticking out in traffic a bit, too much room between it and the car parked in front of it, driver taking a look back over his shoulder at the loiterer or at you ~ he's set-up for a quick get-away. As soon as you get between the loiterer and the van door, the loiterer will force you into the van. This is where you start fighting, kicking, biting, punching, Glasgow-kissing', screaming. Someone inside the rear compartment of the van will shut the door as the driver speeds away. If a car is used, the rear door will be open and there will be someone sitting behind the driver to pull you to the floor when the loiterer shoves you in and then jumps on you. If you spot this in advance, turn back, do not continue forward into the "danger zone".
- If they want to just kill you, they'll do it there and not drag you into the vehicle. If they try to get you into a vehicle, it's an abduction and they're still gonna kill you, they're just going to take their time in doing it. So you have to run like hell or fight like hell. Right there. Don't let them take you.
- If you had a bodyguard, he would be responsible for doing the advance work on your moves. But you have to be your own bodyguard. You might consider introducing yourself to people who work in buildings opposite or next to buildings to which you often go. Get their phone numbers on speed-dial and call them about 5 minutes before you arrive to find out if they see something suspicious being set-up before you arrive there. Maybe set up a duress signal with those people as a secondary signal: if there's trouble, they stand at the curb and scratch their head.
- No matter where you are/going, know the way to the nearest hospitals, police station, safe places. And safe restrooms.
- If you're driving or in a cab, get out if someone you don't know gets in. Don't ask questions or bitch about it ~ get out immediately.
- Never say yes if someone asks to share a fare. Too many bad scenarios spin from that.
- If you're driving and a vehicle blocks your way, slow down to about 10MPH to look like you're stopping. Depending on where the most get-away room is to the front or rear of the blocking vehicle, accelerate to about 15-20MPH and hit the blocking car in the front or rear wheel and then keep up the acceleration to drive through the blockade. If there are two, slow down again and then punch it to 15-20MPH pointing the center of your cart to where the two blocking cars meet and then accelerate through them and away. Do not stop. Unless you drive a "smart car, the impact won't damage your vehicle to the point that it's not drivable. But expect an air bag to deploy.
- If people are out of vehicles or blocking you in some other way and you determine to a reasonable certainty that they mean to harm you and/or those with you, run them over. Lean toward the center of the car to duck any incoming bullets, but keep an eye up so you can drive straight. Aim for the bad guy(s) and run them over. And then keep on going. My guess is that the cops would like to know what happened and it's usually the first story told that gets believed the longest, so you might want to report the "accident."
- Whether it's in a school, theater, restaurant, hospital, synagogue; the best thing to do when a terrorist attack begins, like at Beslan, is to run to get out of the building. Hiding is the second best option. Staying inside, surrendering to the terrorists is not an option. This goes for you and those with you, whether you're at a crowded venue or at a private affair.
A shotgun... is not a bowling ball.
- Keep it available, not in a bag under the bed. I'd lean it, muzzle down, in the corner of the closet so it can be reached easily by the grip. Or in the corner of your bedroom/next to the bed farthest away from the door. Keep a round in the chamber, and use the safety. The sound of you racking a round is cool, but it's not good tactically. You need to understand what a powerful weapon you have. And you need to not fear it.
- For use in a dwelling, #4 Buckshot is recommended over the famous #00 Buckshot
- Here's some good #4 buckshot at a good price.
- You need to shoot several different brands (Federal/Winchester/Remington) from your gun to find out which shot shoots best from your gun, which has the tightest pattern of pellets at about 25'.
- This is the only slug really recommended for dwellings: Brenneke Home Defense Slugs.
- Know your state ammo purchase laws.
Forgot to mention earlier: When you're out walking, stay at least an arms length away from walls and doorways. Too easy to grab you if you're that close.
Below you'll find some items I suggest you put on your shotgun. I looked for all the items at one place so, if you order them, you can make just one order. CheaperThanDirt is the lowest price you can find on the www for these items. These accessories are for a Remington 870 12 ga pump shotgun. All the accessories are also available at CTD for most other self-defense shotguns.
- I'm not sure of your size and upper-body strength but you want to be able to shoot the your gun comfortably and to handle it well, so you might need a collapsing stock.
- Because you'll be using this at home, maybe, and you don't walk around with ammo pouches in your pants, you need to have as much ammo in and on the gun as you can get. This handy shotshell holder is part of the collapsing stock.
- This shotshell holder affixes to the left side of the receiver.
- In order to quickly, fully, and comfortably actuate the pump action, you might need a little help. Failure to fully pump/cycle the action is the main cause of shotgun misfires, so you might need this pistol-grip forend.
- The little tiny bead sight on the some shotguns is inadequate for the type of shooting you might need to do. Buy one with installed ghost-ring sights or have a local gunsmith install a good strongt set.
- Remember what I said about having as many rounds in and on the gun as you can get? You might try a 7 or 8 round magazine extension.
- You need to go to a range and shoot the heck out of that gun, to get familiar with it and to see how devastating it can be. But you also need to practice dry-firing at home. These snap-caps help you practice without killing anyone or blowing holes in closet doors. They come two in a pack, buy six packs so you can practice firing and reloading.
- Light for your gun? That's a personal decision. Yes, light helps you see bad-guys in the dark. But it also lets them see exactly where you are. It may be best to arrange ambient light to your tactical advantage and use furniture/accessories to guide bad-guys into your subtly lit field of fire.
Now that we have all that paraphernalia out of the way, you need to think about some tactics. I don't know the lay of your home, you do. As stated earlier, you need to have a plan for what you're going to do based on how the house is laid out and what and whom is where and when. You might want to move some things around to get things to your tactical advantage. But, while it's true that you can set up your place to your tactical advantage, circumstances as they develop in front of you might require a change in tactics.
Some possible scenarios and some suggestions, totally your choice:
Scenario 1: Someone breaks in the house and the bad-guy is still down the hall way, not yet to the bedrooms.
- Take up a position with your shotgun that covers the hallway.
- If he's taking the TV, let him have the freakin' TV.
- If he starts coming down the hall toward the bedrooms, give him one verbal warning, if you want: Get the hell out of here now or I'll shoot you where you stand. Be very loud. You are not required to give a warning of any kind.
- Not a good idea to fire a warning shot. Hopefully, he'll leave when he hears he might get shot if he hangs around.
- Once he leaves, then call the cops.
- If he doesn't turn around and leave after your warning, maintain your position of cover and if he continues down the hall toward you, shoot him in the CM, Center of Mass, his chest. Twice might be good.
- Don't let him get closer than 20' from any room in which there are people. That's enough space for him to get in the room before you can shoot.
- If you shoot him, immediately rack another round into your gun and stay covered.
- Listen. Is he making noise that indicates he's alive? Wounded? Just pissed off?
- Can someone in the house call the cops now? Tell them to do so.
- Keep the guy, whether dead or not, covered with your shotgun until the cops arrive.
- If the bad-guy gets up and moves to leave, I guess you should let him go. Don't go near him.
- Get a good description of him for the arriving cops: Uh, yea, and I think his left arm has suddenly gone missing... that might be it over there on the floor. Can I have his watch?
- If he gets up and continues to be a threat to you and your guests, shoot him more carefully this time to stop his action.
- Remember this: never say, I don't want to shoot you, or Don't make me shoot you. This tells the bad-guy you're probably afraid and will hesitate if he makes an aggressive move toward you, which will give him an extra second or two to take your gun.
- Also, don't say: If you move, I'll kill you. You're not trying to kill him, you're trying to stop his aggressive, illegal actions and if he dies because you shoot him, it's his fault for being there in the first place. Also, if he lives, the first question from his atty in the civil case he'll bring against you will be: Why did you want to kill my client?
Scenario 2: A guest/family member screams from a bedroom.
- Without going into the room, yell, Are you okay?
- If no answer or another scream, call 911 on a land-line and get an open channel to the cops but don't spend any time chatting with the operator, let her figure it out. Use the land-line if possible because your location shows up on their dispatch screens.
- Since there might be bad-guys close to/holding your guest, I'd shoot a slug if I have to shoot, not buckshot.
- Carefully, come around the corner into the room with shotgun at high-ready ~ prepared to shoot, just looking down the barrel for your target.
- Target might not be too big, he might be holding your loved-one or guest around the neck and the head-shot you want isn't available.
- If you don't do something, he might kill the guest and then come after you. Or try to leave with the guest Neither of those are options I'd permit and neither would you, I imagine.
- So, this is what I'd do, if I can get a shot off. Remember the scene from Speed with Keanu Reeves where he shoots his partner in the leg so he can get a clear shot at Dennis Hopper? Don't do that unless it's the absolute only option. I'd shoot the bad-guy in the feet. The steel pellets pounding into many sensitive feet bones will cause a ton of pain and he'll react to that by dropping to the floor, if he's standing. While he's falling, I'd rack another round and go straight to his head, maybe moving a bit closer as I fire, to be sure, and I'd put one in his head. If you're shooting buckshot, you're probably going to hit your guest with some of the pellets. You can train your family to drop/pull away from the bad-guy as soon as you take your first shot, because you're looking for a second shot and you don't want them in the way. Your guests won't have this training so you'll have to tell them what to do. Tell them. Clearly. Don't ask. If you're shooting slugs, you'll have to aim a little better for his feet/leg and for his head, but the chances of hitting your family member/guest is lessened. No matter where you shoot this guy, you must know he might react with what's called a sympathetic reaction in his gun hand ~ when his muscles tense up in pain after you shoot him, his trigger finger muscles might tighten too. If he's got the safety on, the gun probably won't go boom. Safety off... I don't know. Holding a knife? If your family members watches the Krav Maga video, they can know how to escape that blade. This is a worst-case scenario and you'll have to pre-plan your response and rehearse it. Yea, really. Bed-guys are gonna rehearse. Why not you?
Variation of Scenario 2: Bad-guy says: Put down the gun or the girl get it (he's got a gun or knife)
- Watch the movie Taken. Scene where Liam Neeson has the sheikh at gunpoint in the boat bedroom.
- He's acquired his target but remains silent.
- The sheikh begins to speak: We can nego... and then Neeson shoots him in the head. Whoever did the advising on that movie knew his stuff.
- If the situation develops where there's a stand-off, you don't have to talk.
- Acquire your target.
- When he starts to talk, he'll do it thinking, Oh, he hasn't shot me yet and he's not screaming at me... maybe I can talk my way out of this.
- If he's talking, he can't be planning to pull his trigger at the same time.
- So shoot him in the head while he is talking.
- That's what I'd do.
Scenario 3: Bad-guy(s) come in shooting/slashing.
- Yell to your kin/guests: "Stay down, call the cops..."
- Return fire using #4.
- Don't shoot unless you see them, no blind firing.
- Between shots, ask if the guests/family members are okay.
Item last: Handgun
It's up to you totally. If you decide to buy a handgun, I'd recommend the Glock in 9mm. I carry a full-size Browning Hi-Power myself so I can't be a cheer-leader for Glocks, but they're fine guns. If you fire the right 9mm bullets, it will do the job without bouncing around in your hand like larger calibers. Plus, you can buy cool 30-round magazines for it. Go to a pistol range and fire one if you can. That's all I have to say about that.
All of these Protection emails I've written are offered as general advice and no matter how you heed it or practice it, the situation may develop where you're thinking, Oh, what do I do now? You're busy so you probably can't fit in a few months of intense combat training, so you have to have a combat mindset available, if you don't stay in that mental zone. You have to be able to switch from loving father/mother/sister/brother to thoat-cutting warrior in less than a second because if it happens, that's how fast it'll happen.
No matter what, never stop fighting. If you're hurt, keep fighting or you will die.
Remember, no matter what occurs, never lie to the cops. Never, even if you think you were wrong in some aspect of what you did or didn't do. If you lie, they will discover it and you'll be in serious trouble.