Thinking through possible home defense scenarios can help you prepare for the unthinkable. It’s difficult to get an accurate average of police response times. Times can range widely based on the city. It can take anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes for officers to respond to an emergency. You should have a protection plan in place of what to do until police arrive to help you.

Step 1: Know Where Your Gun Is

Entering your home doesn’t automatically mean you’re safe from all danger. The best place to keep your gun is on your person right up until you go to bed. However, many home invasions happen at night. Know where your gun is when it’s not on your person, as well as how to get to it quickly.

Step 2: Tactical Advantage

Get yourself and your family to a safe space. Know where your place of tactical advantage is in your home. This applies to all levels of your home. Have a spot you know you can get to and from which you can defend yourself on each floor.

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Step 3: Call for Help

Now that you have gotten yourself to safety, call 911. Tell them what is happening without sharing too much. “Someone is breaking into my house. I fear for my life; please send help immediately.” Then put that phone in your pocket but do not hang up. Remember too, that phone call is being recorded. Dispatch can hear exactly what the bad guys — and you — are doing.

Step 4: It All Comes Down to Training

This is the point where it is all up to you. Know the laws in your state regarding deadly force. Rely on your training to accurately fire your weapon if you need to. If you’ve fired your weapon, whether the bad guy has run or is still there when cops arrive, be sure to identify yourself clearly. You do not want to look like a threat when they come through the door.

On the Street

Similar to having a plan to protect yourself in the event of a home invasion, you should think through worst-case scenarios when you’re out in the world. You likely won’t have time to call 911 if panhandling turns aggressive. One tactic to take is the “fake surrender.” After “reaching for your wallet” and coming up with your self-defense weapon, only engage the threat long enough to cause dysfunction before getting away. Immediately call 911 once you’re safe.

Learn all of this and more in a USCCA Concealed Carry Class