Your Home of a Suspected Intruder - Part Three
this edition of the Firing Line, we’re going to start
discussing some techniques for effective and safe house
clearing. But be sure you’ve caught up with Part
One and Part
Two before reading on.
that you’re aware of the complications involved in
clearing a house or apartment, we’re going to start
discussing some basic techniques you can use if the situation
absolutely requires that you search your home for an intruder.
Let’s be clear about that point-we’re going
to discuss what I consider the best method for a solitary
civilian to search their own home-this is not the way an
entry team would do it.
use our example from Part 2-you’re asleep on the second
floor of your home when you are awakened by breaking glass
and muffled voices from the first floor. While you have
pre-teen kids that have rooms on your floor, your teenager
sleeps in a bedroom in the basement, so you have to go and
ascertain that he’s safe. Waiting for the police to
respond would endanger your child, so you must act.
first step is to try and gather some basic intelligence.
If you have a dog, what is your dog doing? If you have a
dog that barks at the slightest provocation and he’s
sitting quietly by your door, that might be an indication
that the noise is benign. If your floors squeak, or your
doors creek, have you heard any noises that indicate someone
moving about? The one big advantage you have in your own
home is an intimate knowledge of the layout and idiosyncrasies
of its construction. Use that knowledge now.
your firearm and your flashlight. You’re going to
move through your home with your firearm pointed forward
and down, with your finger off the trigger. This is commonly
called the ‘ready’ position. Try and avoid having
the gun extended out at arm’s length-instead, keep
your elbows down and close to your body. This prevents your
firearm from preceding you as you approach a corner, and
also makes it easier to protect your gun if you get in a
scuffle with an intruder.
As you move through
your home, you’re going to follow some basic rules:
A basic precept of clearing a space is not turning your
back on anything that has not been cleared, or thoroughly
searched. Working alone, you will find situations where
this ideal must be compromised. Still, work toward that
you leave your bedroom, take a quick glance out of your
door, keeping your body behind the wall, not the door. If
the hallway outside appears clear, move quickly and decisively
out the door and to the next corner or position of cover.
It’s important not to hover near doors or in hallways-these
are the areas that professionals refer to as ‘fatal
funnels’-areas where an aggressor can predict your
movement. If someone is waiting for you to come after them,
it’s common sense that they’ll prepare to encounter
you where they know you’ll be, and that’s a
doorway or hall. You must leave these areas as quickly as
you safely can, and spend no longer in them than necessary.
Before we wrap
up this edition of the Firing Line, here’s another
your flashlight and a banana (alright, it doesn’t
HAVE to be a banana-anything that will work as a substitute
firearm is fine), practice moving through your home following
the above principles. Consider how you will open doors,
and how and when you will have to employ the flashlight
or room lights. This rehearsal should find you modifying
your movement each time you repeat a specific task, since
you’ll likely identify better ways to move as you
you’ve done that a few times, consider playing ‘hide
and seek’ with a partner, and in darkness that resembles
real life conditions. (“Pax”, from The High
Road forum, suggests using your kids, armed with rubber
band guns to keep you honest - an excellent idea!)
In the next
edition, we’ll look at some specific approaches to
various floor plans. In the meantime, stay safe.
Pomykalski is a former military firearms instructor, former
police officer and certified instructor in pistol, knife,
OC and defensive tactics."
© 2003 by Armed Females
of America. All rights reserved. Permission to redistribute
this article for noncommercial purposes is hereby granted,
provided that it is reproduced unedited, in
its entirety, appropriate credit given, and that the author