What Your Wife Must Know About Stopping a Home Invasion

What Your Wife Must Know About Stopping a Home Invasion
What Your Wife Must Know About Stopping a Home Invasion
What Your Wife Must Know About Stopping a Home Invasion
What Your Wife Must Know About Stopping a Home Invasion

My wife is a lawyer, but she no longer practices law. Instead, she’s chosen to stay at home with our two kids. That’s why the question below is near and dear to me, and why I want to write about it today.

“Hi Jason,

My greatest fear, and one I think about often, is a home invasion. I’m a stay at home mom of two and constantly wonder what I would do IF. And it seems no one I know can give me an answer. No one has a plan for this. We don’t own a gun; I am not opposed but my husband is. Do you offer a training for self-defense or home invasion preparedness or anything that will give me peace of mind? Or even training on using some type of gun that I could maybe get?” ~Michelle B.

Most people don’t realize how many home invasions occur during the day. After all, burglars think people are at work during the day so they break into the house hoping to have plenty of time to steal electronics, cash, and jewelry.

But, if someone is home during the day and an intruder breaks in it can quickly turn into a violent confrontation. For instance, in Alabama, an elderly man was at home when someone kicked in his front door. Thankfully, the elderly man had enough time to grab his gun and shoot the intruder before he could attack him.

The thing is, none of us ever wants to have to shoot someone if we can avoid it. That’s why the first thing anyone should do when it comes to preventing a home invasion is to make your home less attractive to criminals so that they’ll target any home on your street except yours.

How do you do this?

  • Put alarm sign stickers around your front door and also around your back door. If you already have an alarm, use the ones the company gives you. But you can also buy these stickers online. Also, get one of the alarm signs that comes on a stake and put it in your front yard.
  • Buy a large dog bowl and put it outside at your back door. I know this sounds corny, but consider this: If a burglar is casing the neighborhood and he sees your large dog bowl and other neighbors show no signs of a dog, do you think he’s really going to take the chance on your home instead of the no-dog home next door?
  • Do the obvious things such as keeping the grass cut, the bushes around home entrances trimmed, and the newspapers from piling up on the driveway. An unkempt yard is an invitation to burglars.
  • Get exterior cameras for your front and back entrance. If for some reason you don’t want to get real cameras, at least buy the fake ones.

After you’ve “hardened” the exterior of your house, the next important thing you want to do is get an alarm system. Basic monitoring for alarm systems isn’t expensive these days and will only cost you $15-$20 a month.

Here’s how the alarm system comes into play for stay at home moms: When nobody is at home you set the alarm system in “away” mode so if anyone breaks into the house or trips the motion sensors the alarm goes off.

However, when you are at home, you will set the alarm in “home” mode so that the motion sensor is turned off but if anyone tries to break in through a door or window the alarm gets tripped and the loud siren goes off.

In other words, you can be at home with the kids all day, with the alarm on, and if someone tries to enter the house the noise of the alarm will hopefully scare them off.

However, since there are no guarantees, I do recommend having a gun for home defense as the last line of defense if nothing else scares the burglar off. I can tell you that I use either a Glock 19 or Smith & Wesson M&P for home defense and that my wife uses a Glock 19.

But there is no perfect gun for everyone, which is why I recommend going to your local shooting range and renting several guns to try out until you find one you’re comfortable with. (Don’t let your husband or the gun store guy talk you into a gun you don’t like because you’ll be the one using it, not them.)

If you get a gun you need take a training course (find firearm instructors in your area here) and also have a simple plan for what you’re going to do with the gun. For instance, if someone’s breaking into your home you will grab your gun and you and your kids will lock yourselves in the master bedroom while you call police. And, if the intruder tries to enter the master bedroom before police arrive you will have to shoot and stop them.

If your husband refuses to have a gun in the house, even if it’s locked in a rapid access safe, then I would go with a knife. It’s certainly not ideal but can still do a lot of damage to a criminal. The bottom line is, try and make your house as “uninviting” as possible so you’re hopefully never forced to use a gun or knife in the first place.

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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Excellent article … even though you addressed this for a stay-at-home mom, much of what you have said is applicable to anyone who will be at home throughout the day. Many of the points are also ones that anyone can do to make their home less attractive to intruders. When scouting a neighborhood you want your home to be the last one to be chosen by the bad guy(s). Thanks for the reminders and new ideas.

James S.

Good advice. If your husband doesn’t want or like a gun in the house for self defense then get rid of his worthless ass because he nothing but a little girl in guys clothing. If you don’t care enough about your family to allow them to take advantage of all possible defensive tools then he is a pussy.


as Thelma
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on the internet . more info here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

Hoss Nelson

I truly wonder sometimes where you come up with some of this stuff. I do agree the dog bowl is good, and a alarm is good too. But nothing said about a cheap pay as you go flip cell phone in your pocket to call 911 and hide if you choose not do protect your self. As for homes were smaller or larger kids with no gun education a gun carried concealed on her would be best, and if done right the kids wouldn’t even know its there and its quickly accessible while having first hand knowledge that the gun is secure from unauthorized access.

Now for the NO GUN IN MY HOUSE people a asp or extendable baton can be as small as7″”-8″” closed and 3times that open and easily carried in a pocket or nylon sheath can be a much better option than the old baseball bat. Heck even a can or two of wasp spray around the house is great as its got strong stream spray for hitting a wasp nest at a distance so it can hit someone in the face at a distance too.


If you don’t want a gun in the house the next best is cans (plural) of Wasp spray stored in different locations so they are close. They are effective up to 30 feet away and if you hit the criminal in the face they will be blinded until they can get to an emergency room for treatment. I am sure that the ER people will then automatically notify the police.

Another plus for the wasp spray is it will prevent the criminal from getting close to you. For a woman who could possibly be overpowered this is an important consideration against using bats or other items that are only effective with 3 to 4 feet.

But the most effective defense tool still remains a firearm.

James Andrews

Get a gun, and learn how to use it, but make sure that any children cannot get to it.

Eric Jackson

A guy who refuses to let his wife have a gun in the house sounds a bit “off” to me. Maybe he has a reason, maybe he needs his balls returned to him. That’s a couples issue though. All the other security layers should come first anyway, so that would be a start.

There is one thing I’ll never get. Why do so many recommend a handgun for home defense to somebody who won’t be carrying it? I know the inbred training industry likes to start everybody on handgun for some reason, but long guns are easier to handle, inherently more accurate, far more potent, have a shorter learning curve, and pose much less risk to kids finding them. The only downside to them is if you have such a training disparity that handguns feel better, you might be more comfortable with a handgun.

Biff Sarin

I would agree that Long guns CAN be easier to handle if you are well trained in their deployment, however, they can also be A) more complex than a handgun, B) more intimidating, to the attacker, but also to the potential defender if she is unfamiliar. C) They are … long which makes them extremely difficult for an under-trained defender to maneuver inside a home. D) With the exception of 22LR or some of the lighter shotgun loads, most long guns will be high powered rifles firing at 2,500 FPS or more. Those rounds are FAR more likely to penetrate/over-penetrate walls and windows striking unintended bystanders.

I personally switched away from heavy ‘self defense loads’ in my carry weapon, opting for a lighter (85 gr) 9mm hollow point, leadless, frangible round. My thinking is that, at close range (which is the most likely scenario for a defensive encounter), 2 or 3 frangible rounds would do plenty of damage and effectively remove the will to fight from any attacker. If, in the heat of the moment or during a struggle, a round misses the attacker, then at least I know that the round will expend all of its energy on the very first impact. This effectively eliminates the issue of over-penetration as well as fears of a ricochet striking a bystander or an errant bullet passing through the exterior wall of a home and killing someone inside.


Eric Jackson

All fair opinions and as always, thanks for sharing. In my experience, it ALWAYS comes down to how much training time, and what platform it was done on. Giving a person (guy or girl) a handgun course and then handing them an AR leads to failure more often than not. Same holds going the other way (ask a USMC instructor about training new marines on the M9 after they get done being grilled on the M4). They are just different, they have different applications, and people equally trained on them pretty consistently agree that handguns are for when you need to carry unencumbered, and long guns are for everything else.

That said, given competent instruction, and equal time, I’ve yet to see an able bodied person (obviously disabilities introduce special circumstances) have a hard time with a suitable (ie, 16″ carbine not your 28″ duck gun) long gun have a harder time moving around indoors. There are team tactic advantages to things like short barreled rifles, but to the extent any of that is relevant to home defense, a 16″ carbine works just fine. In fact, I’ve seen pretty consistent results where shot were faster and more accurate, movement was done with better muzzle control, the learning curve seemed shorter, and when panicked shots were taken, it was a night and day difference in shot control.

As for load selection, that is a concern on any platform in any caliber. There is always a range from featherweight frangibles to heavy weight deep penetrators. FBI and the prominent advisors they listen to consistently say to stick with something that penetrates 12-18″. Nothing in that range will fail to penetrate multiple walls. Counter intuitive as it may seem, the commonly recommended SD rifle loads don’t penetrate any further in walls or humans than handgun rounds do. They just do the job a whole lot better, and the platform lends to faster and more accurate hits. As for .22, most people that are hyper recoil sensitive are still fine with a 5.56 once you convince them to try it (barks like pit bull, kicks like a fly), but if even that isn’t okay, there are suitable loads in .22 that when fired out of a rifle meet or beat a 9mm in all metrics.

Finally since you mention using frangible for HD, that is a major side topic, but I’d urge you to do some open minded research on that. My experience is frangibles go through walls just fine and they cause life altering and life threatening injuries so they aren’t really as safe as people would think, but when it comes to actually forcing an attacker to stop then and there, the damage is eventual not immediate so they really solely on pain compliance at which point pepper spray, taser darts, and loads designed to be less lethal are all honestly better choices.

Biff Sarin

Actually, I may have confused the issue here. I DON’T use frangible rounds for HD. I use a larger capacity Sig P229 9mm with heavier Self Defense rounds (Hornady Critical Duty 135gr) for HD. I am married with no children, so my entire family (including the dogs) is in the Master Bedroom at night. Therefore, I am not concerned with overpenetration inside my home. If one of my bullets penetrates a wall and kills someone, it’s because I was trying to shoot them through a wall. Likewise, I would not hesitate to use my AR-15 inside my house as my home has a completely brick exterior and the chance that a 5.56 round or even the heaviest 9mm (ie. 147gr) could exit my house with enough force to still be lethal, is very low.

I guess, in my last comment, I was attempting to draw a parallel between adapting the caliber and type of round I carry, or that someone else may use, to the expected or most likely encounter scenario for that particular weapon. My carry weapon and HD weapon are both 9mm but are loaded with completely different rounds. I would not likely load my HD weapon with heavy 135gr Self Defense rounds if I had children in neighboring rooms and I certainly would not use an AR-15 inside the home if that were the case.

I understand the FBI’s approach and their methodology, but you must understand that their expected encounter scenario is based largely on their experience from the 1986 FBI Miami shootout. They have since opted for much heavier rounds which would penetrate car doors and other barriers more effectively while still retaining ‘stopping power’ on the far side. That is not necessarily the type of round that you want to use to defend your family, bearing in mind that you are unlikely to need to shoot through a car door or any other obstruction if you are defending yourself in your home. In a HD scenario, you are most likely to be engaging an intruder directly when he enters the room in which you have taken a defensive position behind cover (i.e. behind the heavy wooden foot board and mattress of your master bed). He has to enter the room through a single doorway, not knowing where in the home you are located, or even if you are home at all, which gives you the element of surprise. When he enters the room, he must locate you and shoot a much smaller target (as you will have obscured yourself behind cover). You, on the other hand, know exactly where he will be, will already have your gun targeted on the door and he will not have the benefit of cover as he enters.

Now, your comments about frangibles will have me doing more research regarding wall penetration. As for the “cause life altering and life threatening injuries” comment, I would completely agree. If a bad guy gets shot with a 9mm, 85 grain, DRT bullet traveling at 1350 FPS (rather than 1010 Fps for the 135 Critical Duty), and the bullet essentially ‘explodes’ inside of him, I have to think that would likely end his aggression, if not his life, instantly. Due to it’s higher velocity, the 85 DRT has 295 Ft lbs of energy at the muzzle which is nearly comparable to the 306 Ft Lbs of muzzle energy from the 135gr Critical Duty round. The FBI’s newest Winchester 180-grain .40 S&W Bonded bullet produces 420 Ft Lbs of muzzle energy and still packs 375 Ft Lbs of energy at 50 yds. I would argue that a round such as that might be too much if you had to be concerned about innocents in adjoining rooms or perhaps neighbors in adjoining apartments. However, because the DRT disintegrates after it’s first impact and looses most of its mass almost immediately, the DRT round should have very little energy left after it passed through two separate sheets of .5″ sheetrock, 3.5 inches apart. Again, I’m willing to admit that this could be a false assumption on my part and bears more research but physics would support the assumption.

In summary, my thoughts for HD, center around a careful consideration of your specific circumstances as well as location and then getting the most powerful round you can effectively handle while considering your personal ramifications of overpenetraion (in my case there are none; for some others, the consequences of overpenetration could be catastrophic).

Just a few more of my thoughts for a healthy discussion.

Eric Jackson

When I was looking heavily into ballistics (been a while, so this is just from memory), the FBI stats were spurred by that miami shooting, but the deeper they dug, the more they entrenched in the correlation of gel penetration to satisfactory bullet effects. Got to the point where even stuff getting 10-11″ like most #4 buck gets pooed on for being marginal when things like heavy clothes or bags of junk get in between the muzzle and the heart. They also heavily dump on what get termed flesh bombs that blow up just under the skin but don’t reach vitals. Lots of people die from them, but not any time soon. I also came across a bunch of videos (really wish I kept better archives) of frangible style bullets sailing through drywall. IIRC it was usually the 4th or 5th layer before they really break up. Basically they (and birdshot) represented the worst case in all metrics. Penetrated walls fine, presented eventual threat of death or disfigurement, wouldn’t stop a determined attacker. Consensus was if you want pain compliance and the mental impact of being shot, but not the risk to loved ones, less lethal loads were better than anemic loads, but using loads that go the distance and the training to reliably use the bad guy for a backstop was preferable.

Sir TuberKopf

I have always thought several good dry chemical fire extinguishers throughout the house are excellent self defense tools. As well they can protect you from fire, which is a more likely risk.

As a self defense weapon they can let you blind an attacker at a safe range, if they still insist on advancing, use it as a club. Taking out a blinded bad guy who can hardly breath is like shooting fish in a barrel. For those who are passafists by nature, you can strike down at the shoulder on either side of the neck, the collar bone is easily broken and makes the bad guys arm useless, but heals rapidly, and there is little risk of long term injury. The fire extinguisher could also buy you the time you need to get to a firearm.

They are available to everyone, even people with legal entanglements that prevent them from buying a gun.

You can keep them unsecured around children, schools do! Teach your older children who may be home alone how to defend themselves with one. The way laws are now guns are not an option for underage children, in most states.

Contact your local fire department to find out when they have their next fire school. They can teach you how to properly use and extinguisher, there are also YouTube videos on the subject. Fire schools are often free to residents and could save all you hold most dear.

If an innocent gets sprayed by accident, just help them to the sink and help them wash out their eyes with lots of water (about 15 minutes).


That is an excellent idea!!! We already have them.

Hoss Nelson

Have you ever used a dry-chem in a an closed space? First its designed as a close in fire fighting tool (short range) you actually need to get right down to the base of the fire and not the flame to use properly and its extremely dirty, second you are going to get just as choked as the attacker with some chemicals that are actually very bad for the lungs, plus better than half the people who try to use a fire extinguisher forget to pull the pin to release the trigger. And thats when there is a small fire, just think whats going to happen when someones kicked in a door and coming after you.

Sir TuberKopf

Actually I have attended several industrial fire schools. I have used numerous types and sizes of extinguishers. Over the years I have put out several car and truck fires, during my travels. An extinguishers range far exceeds a knife or club.

Since dry chemical extinguishers are not deadly, no one need hesitate using it. Don’t talk to the attacker, don’t try to reason with an attacker, don’t ask the attacker to surrender or flee, just use it. Step up and defend yourself. Even if it is your intention to flee at your first opportunity, spraying an aggressor can give you the edge you need.

Many people with guns hesitate and that is when, you can be disarmed and it used on you. Though statistically in real life that is very rare. Point is there is no excuse to hesitate with a non-lethal weapon and that can give you an edge.

Have a plan, practice it, test it, and be prepared. If you hear an out of place noise you should not investigate it without a plan and useful tools.

Hoss Nelson

Go for it, just please not around me or mine. Its going to surprise you bad that will be in a narrow hallway or room sprayed up in the air compared to at a burning fire.

If your going to try to spray something at an attacker, wasp spary or similar type product has a better range, better accuracy and are cheap enough to stash all over and practice using them.


This is great advice. I would get a gun whether he liked it or not. She has a right to keep herself and the kids safe. If he doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t have to handle it.


Although I mostly agree with the response to her question, I feel that there are other alternatives not mentioned. One alternative between the gun & knife is a Tazer or even high grade OC spray with dye (not my personal top choice, but better than an extinguisher or wasp spray). Also, I am personally not comfortable with suggesting the knife option, as it takes a lot of training to use a knife effectively in combat and depending on the skill of your opponent you can still sustain a lot of trauma.
For home defense I personally prefer a combat shotgun, it definitely commands respect and has been shown to have a psychological deterrence by it’s mere presence. It also has less chance of collateral damage by over penetration (hitting someone in the other room/outside). It’s size and recoil is the down side, but I have found that some individuals can sometimes accept it over a handgun if they have a moral objection to guns (just in my experience).
Just my two cents.

Biff Sarin

+1 for the Taser. The newest civilian Tasers have a range of 15 feet and are somewhat more ‘persuasive’ than wasp or pepper spray and SIGNIFICANTLY more persuasive than a 100 lb woman facing a 250 lb man with a kitchen knife.

Jodi Linn Miller

The wasp spray sounds like a great idea! Never thought of it before. As for a husband who is opposed to guns.. sounds like you have a wife instead.

Pete Phillips

Unfortunately it happens >> I have such a in law . When he found out I carry everywhere it bothered him to no end I have no understanding of his point of view . I remove my pistol to go into his home out of respect . When we go out I am armed and he must respect that .. non negotiable .. What he would do if something happens at his home I have no clue . I hope nothing ever happens to his family . Not even a set of golf clubs .. I do hope his steak knives are handy ..


Eliminate the threat, however you have to.

Brian A

If you have easily accessible windows on the first floor, plant prickly shrubs and trees up against them. A nice knockdown rose bush is about the equivalent of a shrub of barbed wire. If you plant a good looking mixture of different types of plants, your house would look normal (or better) and you’ll limit your burglar-access points to the house.


if your husband is opposed to having a gun, but you are not, i think you should both see other men.


if your husband is opposed to having a gun, but you are not, i think you should both see other men.