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Perimeter Home Defense For The Urban Prepper & Survivalist

4 Jun

This post is a response to the excellent post over at Thoughtfullyprepping about perimeter defense.

“Does that mean I’ve largely written off urban dwellers?
Realistically? Yep, you’re toast.”

This is true if you face a large mob in complete chaos. Thoughtfullyprepping is correct. In the country, you can use distance to create a “barrier” between you and your attackers. Open ground is the best. Open ground is an odd sounding “barrier” but it works.

If you’re a great rifle shot and those attacking you aren’t, you have a chance to keep them at bay. Many shooters aiming at you from 150 meters could get you, but you’re much better off than being taken on up close by superior numbers.

This assumes you’re a better shot than those trying to take you out. A professional sniper can hit you in the head from 500 yards out. If you’re up against those guys, you’ve got trouble.

Any kid who’s watched old westerns knows you’re safe at day! It’s at night when they’ll come for you. You won’t see them. You can’t shoot what you can’t see. That’s offset somewhat if you have night vision capability. John Wayne would have been a real bad-*** with a night scope on his 44-40.

You need enough numbers so some can sleep while others keep watch. From an attacker’s standpoint, waiting till your target falls asleep isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He could just be waiting for you to crawl a few more yards forward before he shoots you. “Yeah. He’s fallen asleep. Sweet.” Bang.

In the military, there are many ways to discourage opposing soldiers from wanting to come at you through open ground. Barbed wire, claymore landmines. Anything that slows the attackers down or thins the herd helps.

In the city, this all falls apart. I’ve said exactly this in my book. In the city, one guy with a good arm can hit your home with a Molotov cocktail. Regardless of how you fortify your dwelling, attackers can burn you out. Thoughtfullyprepping makes this exact point. Toast is a good word!

There is one thing you could hope for and that’s a community response. If citizens came together to protect their homes, you could create a defensive perimeter. You’d keep the bad guys out of your neighborhood.

This could fall apart for many reasons. Are your neighbor’s dead because they starved? Did they flee because there wasn’t any food? Are they willing to work together or have they turned on each other as each tries to provide for his family?

As a small group of neighbors, I like the term defensive perimeter more than perimeter defense. What is a realistic area you can control? A block? Four Blocks? That only offers a bit of a buffer.

For most of us most of the time, as homeowners, we think of our perimeter as our walls or maybe a fence. We can’t keep out a mob intent on killing us. We can highly discourage the typical small gang of robbers or looters.

Stripped Thread Repair & Great Links: Ammo Care, Intruder Home Defense

16 Apr

Just sharing some great information I found on other prepper websites.

David Nash ( talks about the best home defense plan. This is really important: the best thing is to arm yourself and stay positioned to protect your family. Call the police from a safe and protected position. Don’t go searching room to room for an intruder chasing them around the house. If you ask anyone with extensive police/military experience, they’ll tell you Nash is right. If you’re pumped up with adrenaline, it’s difficult to stay put, but it’s the right move.

In the video, there is a hall. This is the best situation. If all bedrooms are together and a hall channels an intruder, you’re very safe. No burglar is going to run down a hall with a homeowner with a shotgun waiting on the other end! Stairwells are another defensive impediment. Reminds me of the end of the movie Rolling Thunder. Good film, I recommend it.

Back in Medieval times, when a man’s home really was his castle, after entering the castle, there was often a long and narrow corridor. Not like today’s homes when you open the door and have full access to the living area. This was for defense. A larger force would be constricted. A small number of defenders could hold off a much larger force.

I searched online to find a picture of this inner castle corridor, but all I found was some castle defense game and yet another prepper TV reality show “Doomsday Castle.”

Here is a neat presentation about castles thou.

On TNgun there’s a short post about repairing a stripped screw hole in wood. The old toothpick trick. Another option is to drill out a hole and hammer in a tight-fitting dowel pin. You can purchase dowel rod at a hardware store. Use glue, if you want. Predrill the new screw hole.

If you need to reuse a wooden screw hole, give threaded inserts a look. They come in different sizes and allow using a machine screw.

I mention this gizmo in the book for securing portable air conditioners to windows for those who remove ACs after summer.

As summer approaches, if you use a portable air conditioner, don’t forget to adequately secure it to the window frame and window. To many people just set the AC in the window frame. A burglar just pushes it into the house and crawls in the opening.

Metal bolt holes strip out too. If you do metal work or car repair, invest in a good tap and die set. For some holes, you can drill and tap to a larger bolt size. Another option is to use a HeliCoil threaded insert.

I didn’t have time to search and find a good video demonstrating its use, but here is a list from youtube of HeliCoil videos:

Some really good information about the care of ammunition on ThoughtfullyPrepping. Cartridges on a leather gun belt look romantic, but it’s not the best way to keep your ammo protected from the elements.

If you shoot spring piston air rifles, you should know about the unique recoil of spring piston air rifles.


The Three To Five Ds of Burglary Prevention (Home Hardening Techniques Continued)

18 Oct

In previous posts we looked at the nuts and bolts of hardening doors. In this post we’re going to step back and take a more theoretical look at protecting your home from burglars.

Police officers and the military like to talk about the three to five Ds. How many Ds there are depends on who you talk with. We’ll compromise and choose the number 4. The four Ds of home hardening are:

1) Deter
2) Detect
3) Delay
4) Defend

There is overlap between the Ds. A big dog barking is a strong deterrent to a burglar. His barking alerts people to somebody’s presence thus helping detect the burglar’s presence. If he takes a bite out of crime, he’ll also delay and defend.

1) Deterrence. Anything that encourages a burglar to choose another house to burgle is a deterrent. These are common deterrents:

a) Somebody is home and answers the door.
b) A barking dog inside the home.
c) Multiple strong deadbolts, indicating it might be difficult to get past the door.
d) A sign saying you have an alarm system. From the burglar’s perspective, why take a chance?
e) Video surveillance cameras. Burglars don’t want to be detected. They’re usually camera shy.
f) A lack of concealment around doors and windows. More chance of being spotted by a passerby or neighbor.
g) Lights inside the house or a TV on indicating that somebody might be home.
h) Vehicles parked in the driveway, indicating somebody might be home.

Deterrence is the best because in the end it means you’re home won’t be targeted. There are more subtle ways to deter a burglar. A fenced in backyard asserts territorial rights. It sends a message that strangers should knock at the front. Somebody in the fenced in yard is more suspicious.

2) Detecting. The idea is that burglars want to get in and out and not be seen or heard. Anything that alerts others to their presence increases the chances of arrest. These are some common ways of detecting a burglar:

a) A barking dog inside the home.
b) An alarm that sounds loudly when they enter the house.
c) An alarm system that contacts the police or the home’s owner if the shell of the home is breached.
d) The sound of breaking glass.
f) A lack of concealment around doors and windows.
g) Strong hardened doors which force the burglar to take more time to get in. Time is a burglar’s enemy. The more time it takes, the more likely he’ll be caught. The more noise he must make, the more likely he’ll be caught.

The options today for early detection are immense. With a bit of know how, you can set up surveillance cameras that can be remotely monitored with your cell phone. You can set up an auto-dialer to notify you if your alarm system is tripped. If electronics is one of your hobbies, you can create your own cell phone auto-dialer to attach to your alarms.

Remote monitoring and an auto-dialer is a powerful combination. If you get the call, you can inspect what’s happening. You can notify the police with less fear of false alarms.

3) Delaying entry. To keep from getting caught, burglars want to operate fast. Anything that delays their entry into your home minimizes the chances they’ll continue trying to get in. Another D some like is Deny. A strong gun safe might completely deny a burglar access to your most precious possessions. Denying is delaying indefinitely. Here are some common ways of delaying a burglar:

a) Strong locks and a reinforced door jamb.
b) A lockable storm door before your main entry door.
c) Replacing lower level windows with glass block.
d) Installing pins to close unused double hung windows.
e) Installing a bar to keep a sliding window from sliding open.

Anything that creates uncertainty in the burglar’s mind will delay him, if not deter him. If it’s night and the shades are down, he can’t see inside. Is somebody home or not? He’ll knock longer than if he can see into the home into many rooms, seeing nobody home.

4) Defending your home. Defense. This is what many preppers focus on. If your home is under attack, how do you defend it? Your options depend on if you’re home or not! Here are some common ways of defending your home:

a) Answer the door, or not. If somebody suspicious is casing your home, knocking on doors and looking in windows, the easiest way to send them on their way is to let them know you’re home. Don’t open the door to them though. The downside: They might try again later.

Another option is not to answer the door. Watch them. If it becomes more and more clear they’re targeting your home for a break in, call the police. Delay them before showing your presence. This is only a good option if you’re armed and can defend yourself if they breach your home’s shell. Remember, one solid kick can do in many doors. The idea is to maximize the chance that this burglar gets caught and will not to target your home again.

b) Arm yourself. Get your Glock 19 or your 870 Remington and your cell phone. Call police, but be prepared to defend yourself if attacked.

c) Take up your chosen defensive position. If you have hardened doors and secured windows and an alarm, you’ll have a bit of warning before a burglar enters. One option commonly recommend is to have a safe room. The idea is that you can call the police from the safety of a reinforced room with a locked door. That sounds great in theory, but most people don’t have safe rooms.

If you don’t have a firearm or a safe room, another option is to hide. Burglars are less likely to look in an attic. Hide under a pile of laundry in the laundry room. Decide upon a clever hiding place if you go with this option.

The easiest option: If you’ve gone for your cell phone and gun, stay in that room if it’s defendable. If you’ve just awoken, do you really know where the intruders are? You don’t want to be taken by surprise. Staying in the bedroom is safest. If you have small children in other rooms, staying put might not be an option: You want to get to them to protect them.

If armed, I’d prefer to meet intruders right at the entry door. The ideal location would give you a measure of concealment and would leave the burglar exposed. The best situation: You have cover and they’d be channeled into a small area with few options. If you can confront them while they’re in an entry hall that would be great. They only can go two directions.

An entry hall with a few stairs, even better. You want to be far enough away so that they can’t physically charge you. The idea would be to trap them and hold them at gunpoint until the police arrived.

d) If you’re not home, hide your valuables so the burglar can’t find them. Burglars don’t have time to search for hidden compartments. They’ll look the usual places, focusing most attention on the bedrooms.

e) If you have the capability, remotely trigger an alarm and call the police. As I write in my book, I don’t advocate boobytraps because of the legal ramifications. In most or all jurisdictions, it’s not acceptable to injure a burglar merely to protect property.

Sorry this post has gotten so long. I hope it’s given you some new ideas to protect your home from burglars.

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

Home Hardening Part 2 (Bump Resistant Locks)

12 Oct

In a previous post we wrote about the importance of strengthening your door. We addressed the two primary ways most burglars will enter a door: Kicking it in or jimmying it. We gave solutions to both attacks that will delay, discourage, and send away an intruder empty handed.

Lock picking is rare among burglars. More common is the “bump lock” technique. Most burglars don’t use these methods because it requires the burglar to carry “burglary tools.” Criminals don’t want to do this because they can be arrested for the possession of such items.

A guy once told me a dog isn’t a deterrent because a criminal can shoot the dog with a silenced 22! Ah, Ok. This is nonsense. In many jurisdictions possession of a silencer is illegal. It can carry a longer prison sentence than the intended crime. Just walking down the street, the criminal could be arrested. Not to mention a criminal shooting anything will get major attention from investigators. Criminals know this. It’s the same with “burglary tools.” Burglars don’t want to be carrying them.

Because bumping a lock can defeat most deadbolts and easily let an intruder into your home, you should get a Medeco or other expensive security deadbolt. This link to Youtube has a video that shows just how vulnerable most deadbolts are to bumping:
I won’t explain the same stuff as the video. I recommend watching it to learn the features of a more bump-proof lock. I don’t want to scare you, but it’s good to see how easily most locks are defeated too.

The most important thing in prepping is YOU. You must take precautionary actions to be better prepared. It’s not enough to just know this stuff. You must implement it into your life. Only you can decide if the extra protection of a security deadbolt is worth the cost. Preppers can make a “Prepping To Do” list of things they want to do but might lack the current funds to do. This way you won’t forget about installing bump-proof locks and taking other important steps. When you have the funds and time, you can check items off of your “Prepping To Do” list.

Home Hardening Revisited & A Rant About Criminals

8 Oct

In some areas today, it violates building code to install double cylinder deadbolt locks. These are deadbolts which need a key from each side. I understand the concern for fire safety. It would be horrible to be locked in during a fire. If you have windows near your door or if somebody could smash a pane and reach in and work your lock, a double-keyed deadbolt is nice. Homeowners should have that option. I don’t think state or local governments should dictate whether we put fire safety ahead of burglary and home invasion protection. That should be a personal decision.

If you have double keyed locks, you could have a spare key made and store it just inside the doorway. If you can’t open a locked door from the inside, don’t forget the hinge pins. On most doors these are easily popped up and out with a screwdriver or a pliers. Then pry the door away from the frame from the hinge side. The best locks in the world won’t stop your exit.

If a little burglar crawls through a window (or shimmies down your chimney!), he can let his fat buddy into the house by opening the door from the inside. If he encounters a double cylinder deadbolt, he’ll be stuck. Some say there are two aspects to protecting your home from intruders: Be sure they can’t get in. Be sure they can’t get out with your stuff.

There are security hinges made with a little pin that prevents the hinge from being removed. The pin is only accessible when the door is open. Another option occurred to me for those with a lathe.

This isn’t completely secure, but you could try this: Chuck up a hinge pin in your lathe and drill a smaller hole down the center. Thread this hole for a small bolt. The idea would be to have the small bolt hold in a cap to prevent the hinge pin from being removed. You might need to modify your hinge, in addition to the hinge pin.

To remove the hinge would demand the intruder realize the two halves must be unscrewed. The most secure bolt would have a head that can’t be grabbed with a pliers. It could be a security fastener like a star pattern. It’s unlikely the burglar would have a star drive screwdriver! The star would look like a decoration on the end. Many people wouldn’t realize it was a bolt head.

You could recess the bolt head in the cap you make on a lathe to make use of a pliers impossible. This is the same concept as a deadbolt with a rotating ring on the outside: If a burglar tries to grab the lock with a pipe wrench to twist it off, the outer ring spins and the lock remains fully intact.

I recommend all DIY homeowners look inside the strike-box hole for their deadbolts. You’ll notice a slight gap between the door frame (jamb) and the wood used to frame the door opening. This is common. If that gap is much larger than 1/4,” I suggest carefully removing the trim and installing some wooden strips to bridge the gap. That will make the screws holding the strike box more secure. It has the added benefit that it’s more difficult to jimmy open the door. Theoretically, if you have a one-inch throw deadbolt and even if the gap is 1/2″ the door should be secure. But why not make it even more secure?

I re-read Cobb’s book, Prepper’s Home Defense, and he wrote about how some modern houses can be breached by cutting a hole through the wall! This applies to homes with siding. I’ve never heard of this happening in our area, but I’ve been told in some parts of the country burglars actually do this. Cut a damn hole in your wall.

A hole in an exterior wall would really suck. It would be no small repair job. This is the reason I hate criminals. They don’t care about the costs to other people. They only care about themselves and what they can get. If they leave behind thousands of dollars in repair costs, they don’t care. If they steal money somebody needs to feed their family, they don’t care.

I know people make mistakes. I know people get desperate. I know I should be forgiving and understanding and compassionate, but then a read something like this.  Shavelle Chavez-Nelson was a criminal given chance after chance after chance to straighten out his life.

Charged for drugs. He was released. OK.

He drives a getaway car for an accomplice who snatches a purse. He doesn’t receive prison time. He’s released. These things happen.

He points a gun at a neighbor’s head, steals his car, and threatens, “If you call the police, I know where you live…I’ll kill you.” Prison? Nope. Sentence stayed. He’s put back on the street. What happens next?

One day at a bus stop Shavelle Chavez-Nelson meets a beautiful, intelligent young lady, a honors student in college. Somebody who believes in the good in people. He tells her he’s a stockbroker. They date. He borrows thousands of dollars from her. He has another girlfriend. A guy talks to his other girlfriend. Shavelle Chavez-Nelson murders the guy for talking to his girlfriend. The poor college student who probably witnessed this and got involved with this piece of s***? You know the outcome.

People shouldn’t be frightened of new people. But if you have a daughter who meets a guy who is questionable, give some thought to running a background check on him. You’ll only need his name and address. Look for clues. Outside of New York, how many stockbrokers take busses? How many borrow money from their date?

If you’re in a relationship with somebody new, don’t lend them money. Don’t borrow money from them. If you find out they’re a criminal and they have “borrowed” money from you, you’ll  never get your money back anyway. At that point, I’d write it off and cease any contact with such a person. If they persist, call the police. Despite the goodness in your heart, if somebody lies to you about a criminal history and misrepresents their job, you won’t be able to help them “get their life back on track.”

Charlie Palmer -author, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (link to book on Amazon)


Correction to last article. I wrote that no police officers were present when a SUV driver was assaulted by several bikers. I was wrong. There was at least one police officer riding with the bikers who witnessed the attack. He didn’t intervene. Other reports say anywhere from three to five off-duty police officers witnessed the attack but didn’t intervene! Somehow this is less reassuring to me than not having police present.