VOICES OF EX­PE­RI­ENCE

3 Pros Pro­vide Ad­vice on Best Guns, Men­tal Prepa­ra­tion, Train­ing & More

Home Defender - - Con­tents - By a Staff Writer

Our elite panel pro­vides ex­pert ad­vice on a num­ber of top­ics, in­clud­ing best gun choices, men­tal prepa­ra­tion, train­ing and more.

They are the real deal. One is a for­mer SWAT of­fi­cer and op­er­a­tor. An­other is a re­tired U.S. Navy SEAL. The third is a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer and firearms in­struc­tor. To get you the best an­swers to a mul­ti­tude of home-pro­tec­tion ques­tions, we went to the best peo­ple. The line-up is Thomas Ali­brando, Re­becca McCoy and An­drew Arra­bito. In the fol­low­ing, these ex­perts pro­vided their take on the same ques­tions, as they each have their suc­cess­ful meth­ods they em­ployed in the real world. There is a ton of in­for­ma­tion com­ing your way, all of which is de­signed to make you and your fam­ily safer.

Lis­ten to the voices of ex­pe­ri­ence. —Edi­tor

Q: What type of gun do you rec­om­mend for home de­fense? Are we look­ing at a shot­gun, hand­gun, AR-15 or bullpup?

A:

I rec­om­mend that home­own­ers use the weapon they train with the most, or in some cases—the one they have— but all the above choices are good. I will typ­i­cally use a pis­tol or a bullpup sys­tem be­cause of its abil­ity to ma­neu­ver in tighter spa­ces, large magazine ca­pac­ity and the ease of at­tach­ing a light­ing sys­tem onto the weapon.

The key is the ap­pro­pri­ate type of am­mu­ni­tion for the sys­tem be­cause over-pen­e­tra­tion in a res­i­dence is a real con­cern. Light, high-ve­loc­ity rounds (like a 5.56mm 55-grain jack­eted hollow point) tend to de­stroy them­selves when im­pact­ing in­te­rior walls. Hollow-point pis­tol rounds will fill with sheet rock and over-pen­e­trate if a tar­get is missed, so accuracy is key. Never de­pend on physics to keep

rounds from ex­it­ing a room, how­ever. A home­owner must place se­ri­ous thought into which rooms will be oc­cu­pied if a home in­va­sion or bur­glary oc­curs. Spe­cific and ac­cu­rate fire is a must, re­gard­less, which means train­ing is ex­tremely im­por­tant.

Q: To pre­pare for a home de­fense en­counter, how of­ten do you rec­om­mend home­own­ers/gun own­ers train?

A: I al­ways break train­ing down into two cat­e­gories: core skills and tac­ti­cal skills.

Core skills are the abil­ity to work a weapon sys­tem ef­fi­ciently, with­out hav­ing to think about the fun­da­men­tals. There are a lot of rep­e­ti­tions of press­ing the trig­ger, reload­ing, clearing mal­func­tions and fight­ing the weapon from var­i­ous po­si­tions. Tac­ti­cal skills re­late to ma­neu­ver­ing and us­ing the en­vi­ron­ment to your ad­van­tage. It’s the con­stant de­ci­sion mak­ing process that ul­ti­mately increases your chances of stop­ping a threat, or in some cases, evad­ing a threat en­tirely.

A lot of one- and two-day cour­ses cover the core skillsets. Af­ter be­com­ing safely pro­fi­cient with the cho­sen weapon or weapons, a stu­dent should seek out a tac­ti­cal school that teaches those key thought pro­cesses, such as read­ing the sit­u­a­tion and en­vi­ron­ment and the abil­ity to ex­ploit the given weapon sys­tem.

A stu­dent should train as much as pos­si­ble with the un­der­stand­ing that train­ing is the be­gin­ning of un­der­stand­ing, not the end. Cour­ses can be ex­pen­sive, so set­ting am­mu­ni­tion aside for per­sonal train­ing pur­poses is equally im­por­tant. A per­son who takes his train­ing se­ri­ously needs to train on his own. Train­ing on your own re­quires plan­ning and spe­cific at­ten­tion to those skills re­cently learned though proper rep­e­ti­tion and de­vel­op­ing weak­nesses. With­out re­in­forc­ing re­cent skills, all you have at­tained may be lost, along with your in­vest­ment.

Q: What cri­te­ria should they look for in a good train­ing fa­cil­ity?

A: There are a lot of good fa­cil­i­ties. The key is find­ing the fa­cil­ity that fits the train­ing they are look­ing for. A lot can be ac­com­plished on a 100-yard square range with pa­per and steel tar­gets. Hav­ing a cov­ered area, ac­cess to wa­ter and a de­cent class­room can make for an ef­fec­tive day at the range.

If there is a tac­ti­cal course, hav­ing a shoot house or ac­cess to bar­ri­cades is a must. Just be­cause a live fire shoot house is not present doesn’t mean the train­ing can’t be ef­fec­tive.

Sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties offer Simu­ni­tion/UTM

“YOU MAY NOT BE LOOK­ING FOR A FIGHT, BUT SOME­TIMES THE FIGHT FINDS YOU.”

— THOMAS ALI­BRANDO

force-on-force train­ing that proves very ef­fec­tive. There is some­thing about hav­ing an­other hu­man fir­ing paint rounds back at you that proves or dis­proves your train­ing meth­ods. Be­com­ing fa­mil­iar with that kind of stress in a train­ing en­vi­ron­ment is help­ful, too.

Home­own­ers should be look­ing for a qual­ity in­struc­tor. The mar­ket has been sat­u­rated with in­struc­tors from all types of back­grounds in re­cent years. Find­ing a qual­ity in­struc­tor with a solid back­ground who can teach to a stu­dent’s spe­cific needs as a civil­ian home­owner is im­por­tant. The skills learned are the ones re­lied upon on in life-and-death de­ci­sions. The limited amount of time a stu­dent has with an in­struc­tor must be ef­fec­tive to re­mem­ber crit­i­cal skills un­der stress. Look at the in­struc­tor’s rep­u­ta­tion and back­ground. If seek­ing a school to learn com­pe­ti­tion shoot­ing, look for an in­struc­tor that spe­cial­izes in that skillset. If you’re look­ing to de­fend your life, look for some­one who per­formed this on a pro­fes­sional level. If you can, talk to some­one who has been to the in­struc­tor’s class. Hav­ing qual­ity in­struc­tion trumps a fa­cil­ity at the end of the day.

Q: Where do you keep your home de­fense weapon, and what do you rec­om­mend to home­own­ers?

A: I prefer the sys­tem be se­cured, no mat­ter what. I se­cure most of my weapons in a safe. I only have cer­tain weapons ac­ces­si­ble for de­fense.

Even if you don’t have chil­dren, they may come over for a visit. I per­son­ally wouldn’t have weapons strewn through­out the house with­out be­ing se­cured in some way. Tac­ti­cal Walls makes fur­ni­ture that con­ceals and se­cures a weapon yet still pro­vides rapid ac­cess. While they may be ex­pen­sive, it’s an ef­fec­tive and se­cure way to have a weapon handy.

There are small, rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive safes that se­cure a sin­gle weapon. They use a com­bi­na­tion key that is in the shape of your hand that al­lows the door to open upon re­ceiv­ing the cor­rect com­bi­na­tion. A tra­di­tional key­pad may be dif­fi­cult to open un­der stress and the fog of wak­ing up in the mid­dle of the night, es­pe­cially when the glass starts break­ing.

If kids live in the home, and re­gard­less of the method the weapons are se­cured, re­mem­ber that the best means of safety is ed­u­cat­ing your chil­dren about firearms. Not an­swer­ing ques­tions and mak­ing the gun a mys­tery is a sure way to gen­er­ate cu­rios­ity in chil­dren. Show­ing them that the weapon is un­loaded, telling them the four firearms safety rules ev­ery time, and then letting them point the weapon in a safe di­rec­tion—while re­in­forc­ing good habits in han­dling—is a sure way to elim­i­nate the cu­rios­ity of some­thing they see in var­i­ous me­dia out­lets ev­ery day. His­tor­i­cally, this was a com­mon skillset taught to all fam­ily mem­bers, but this has dropped off over the last half cen­tury. Ig­no­rance can be more dan­ger­ous, re­gard­less of how the weapon is se­cured.

Q: What ac­ces­sories does the gun need?

A: A good light and a good sight or an op­tic are a must. The weapons can be em­ployed with iron sights ef­fec­tively with prac­tice, but op­tics to im­prove your abil­ity to hit [a tar­get] un­der stress—and in less than ideal po­si­tions or in poor light­ing—are ben­e­fi­cial.

There is a danger in mil­i­ta­riz­ing the weapon too much. Re­mem­ber, if a shoot­ing oc­curs, the weapon will end up in court. Not crim­i­nal court, but civil court, po­ten­tially. Af­ter a lethal force en­gage­ment, the weapon will be seized by po­lice and in­ves­ti­ga­tors and their firearms spe­cial­ists will ex­am­ine it. Hav­ing a 3-pound trig­ger, camo pat­tern and “Born to Kill” stamped on the side of the weapon will not bode well with a 12-per­son jury that prob­a­bly knows noth­ing about firearms or self-de­fense.

Re­gard­less of how righteous the en­gage­ment may be, the plain­tiff (per­son su­ing you) will paint a neg­a­tive pic­ture of you. It’s added

stress you don’t need on top of a very stress­ful sit­u­a­tion.

A light helps iden­tify pos­i­tively that the threat was in­deed a threat. The op­tic guar­an­tees well-placed rounds, be­cause there may be oth­ers in the house. All those items are eas­ily jus­ti­fied.

No mat­ter what sys­tems you have, prac­tice with them. I prefer op­tics that can be left on (one less thing to re­mem­ber to do when the weapon is im­me­di­ately ac­cessed). The light should be ac­ces­si­ble from the right or left hand and should have a con­stant-on ca­pa­bil­ity.

Be care­ful of hav­ing too many lu­mens, as the light will re­flect (or splash) off the walls and po­ten­tially blind you. Any­thing in the 200-lu­men range works very well in­doors.

As with all items re­lated to sav­ing your own life or that of a loved one, buy a qual­ity prod­uct. That’s qual­ity— not ex­pen­sive.

There are a lot of qual­ity weapon-mounted lights and op­tics that won’t break the bank. Just re­search the cur­rent prod­uct lines, and if pos­si­ble, visit a re­tailer and try the op­tic or light on a sim­i­lar platform you al­ready own.

Q: What type of am­mu­ni­tion do you keep on hand?

A: As ad­dressed in ques­tion 1, I prefer lighter, faster rounds for the ri­fle and hollow points for the pis­tol. For a shot­gun, I would use bird­shot be­cause of over-pen­e­tra­tion issues through mul­ti­ple walls. It will still pen­e­trate a wall, but the light shot will, more than likely, not go through an­other wall.

At the end of the day, no mat­ter what type of am­mu­ni­tion you use, ex­pect that it will fail. I keep see­ing ar­ti­cles on the “one shot stop” round, but that is usu­ally the ex­cep­tion, not the rule. The re­al­ity is that af­ter the en­gage­ment be­gins, de­spite how many times you’ve hit the mark, you have no idea what will hap­pen. We an­tic­i­pate fail­ure dur­ing train­ing—ex­pect it, and we are there­fore pre­pared for it.

Pis­tol rounds, re­gard­less of size, still cre­ate very lit­tle damage. It’s al­ways been about place­ment, not size. Pick the cal­iber you can af­ford to prac­tice with and ef­fec­tively em­ploy. When it comes to a ri­fle, I sug­gest you zero with the self-de­fense rounds and prac­tice with rounds of a sim­i­lar weight. Shoot whatever self-de­fense rounds you have through your weapon to ver­ify the weapon func­tions well with the defensive round you’ve cho­sen.

Con­sider hav­ing two sets of mag­a­zines, as well. I have one set used for defensive pur­poses and other mag­a­zines I don’t mind throw­ing on the ground dur­ing prac­tice. I will shoot out of my defensive mag­a­zines to ver­ify func­tion and oc­ca­sion­ally ro­tate them out. I also down­load one to two rounds out of the magazine to mit­i­gate spring fatigue, as well as ease of seat­ing.

It’s im­por­tant to mit­i­gate any po­ten­tial fail­ure of your weapon sys­tem dur­ing a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent. Re­mem­ber, the mag­a­zines and am­mu­ni­tion sup­port the sys­tem. No mat­ter how reli­able a weapon is, hav­ing poor qual­ity or dam­aged sup­port for the weapon will cre­ate issues at the worst pos­si­ble time.

Q: En­coun­ter­ing an in­truder has got to be a high-in­ten­sity, bone-rat­tling sit­u­a­tion. What are the keys to re­main calm?

A: Train and have a plan. There are en­tire cour­ses on mind­set. We teach them. And mind­set is the most crit­i­cal part of any en­gage­ment. By hav­ing a plan, an­tic­i­pat­ing pos­si­ble out­comes and prepar­ing for them, you will re­move some of the stress. An­tic­i­pate an in­truder dur­ing a time when fam­ily mem­bers may not be in their bed­rooms.

This ad­vice ex­tends out­side the home. At a restau­rant, driv­ing down the street, no mat­ter where you are, if some­thing hap­pened, what would you do? Un­der­stand that avoid­ing or evad­ing is a real op­tion, es­pe­cially if you are with your fam­ily. Train­ing cre­ates con­fi­dence in your abil­ity. An­tic­i­pat­ing po­ten­tial prob­lems and be­ing phys­i­cally fit all help deal with stress.

Q: Many peo­ple be­lieve that they will never en­counter a crim­i­nal. For those who main­tain that way of think­ing, what would you say to them?

A: You may not be look­ing for a fight, but some­times the fight finds you. The po­lice will have a response time. That time can be one minute or 20 min­utes. Imag­ine how much damage can be done in one to 20 min­utes … if you can even get the 911 call started in the first place.

What peo­ple choose to ig­nore is that be­tween the mo­ment you get the call out and the time the po­lice ar­rive you are alone. Either fight, evade or be at the mercy of the sus­pect. If your fam­ily is home, evad­ing is prob­a­bly not an op­tion. Maybe you survive, but if you do, it will be­cause they de­cided to leave you alive. You will have no con­trol over that out­come. If you haven’t pre­pared for the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing a life-threat­ing en­counter, the pos­si­bil­ity of sur­viv­ing is greatly di­min­ished.

Q: What type of gun do you rec­om­mend for home de­fense? Are we look­ing at a shot­gun, hand­gun, AR-15 or bullpup?

A: There are many con­sid­er­a­tions when choos­ing a weapon platform suitable for home de­fense. One thing is the size of the weapon. Ease of stor­age and quick ac­cess are im­per­a­tive dur­ing a home in­va­sion. The over­all length of the weapon can also be an is­sue with ri­fles and shot­guns when at­tempt­ing to move through small rooms and nar­row hall­ways. The abil­ity to at­tach a light­ing sys­tem should be in­cluded with weapon selec­tion. Since over-pen­e­tra­tion of rounds through in­te­rior walls is a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue, cal­iber selec­tion must be con­sid­ered. Thought should be given for the weapon’s am­mu­ni­tion ca­pac­ity and the abil­ity to reload the platform quickly, or clear a mal­func­tion, if need be.

For home de­fense, I keep both a pis­tol and a bullpup ri­fle in my home. I have the pis­tol be­cause it’s an ev­ery­day carry for me. It is also typ­i­cally fast to ac­cess and easy to ma­neu­ver in tight spa­ces. The bullpup’s over­all length makes it ideal for tight spa­ces and nar­row hall­ways and of­fers a greater magazine ca­pac­ity. The bullpup de­sign is unique. It has a long bar­rel (in­creased ve­loc­ity and accuracy) with a short platform (per­fect for tight ar­eas), with very lit­tle felt re­coil or muz­zle rise. Be­cause all the weight is in the rear of the ri­fle, once shoul­dered, it can be held and fired by one hand, if nec­es­sary. Open­ing doors and turn­ing on light switches can be han­dled while main­tain­ing ex­cel­lent con­trol of the ri­fle. I at­tached a light to both plat­forms and a red dot op­tic to my bullpup.

Q: To pre­pare for a home de­fense en­counter, how of­ten do you rec­om­mend home­own­ers/gun own­ers train?

“RE­HEARSE A HOME IN­VA­SION THREAT DRILL WITH YOUR FAM­ILY.” —RE­BECCA MCCOY

A: As of­ten as pos­si­ble. I am a firm believer that a re­spon­si­ble gun owner is one who knows his weapon in­side and out. Un­der­stand­ing how the weapon func­tions is as im­por­tant as know­ing how to ac­cu­rately fire it. If a mal­func­tion oc­curs, the user will have a clear un­der­stand­ing of how to rec­og­nize and get the weapon back in the fight. Prop­erly main­tain­ing the weapon will help en­sure that when needed, it will func­tion as de­signed. Peo­ple have many ex­cuses why they don’t train of­ten, from busy sched­ules to am­mu­ni­tion cost. The safety of the home­own­ers and their fam­i­lies re­ally de­pends on them set­ting aside the time to do qual­ity train­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. There are plenty of dry fire prac­tice drills that can be done to re­in­force proper weapons han­dling and tac­tics. This in­cludes stance, weapon pre­sen­ta­tions, reload drills (with in­ert train­ing rounds), moving through the home with min­i­mum ex­po­sure dur­ing the day, and at night with the use of flash­lights. Don’t think that the only way you can train is by putting ac­tual bul­lets down range. Train­ing should in­clude both dry fire and live fire drills. Also con­sider hav­ing a home se­cu­rity as­sess­ment and ba­sic med­i­cal train­ing from com­pe­tent cer­ti­fied in­struc­tors.

Q: What cri­te­ria should they look for in a good train­ing fa­cil­ity?

A: Home­own­ers should look for a qual­i­fied, cer­ti­fied trainer. Re­search the in­struc­tors. Qual­ity train­ing should in­clude firearms safety, fed­eral, state and lo­cal firearm laws, fun­da­men­tals of weapons han­dling, marks­man­ship, shoot­ing from var­i­ous po­si­tions, shoot­ing in var­i­ous light­ing con­di­tions (in­cor­po­rat­ing flash­lights) and even­tu­ally learn­ing close-quar­ter tac­tics.

This isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a quick process and marks­man­ship is a per­ish­able skill. Find­ing a fa­cil­ity that con­ducts reg­u­lar train­ing, re­fresh­ers and op­por­tu­ni­ties for ad­vanced train­ing is ideal.

Q: Where do you keep your home de­fense weapon, and what do you rec­om­mend to home­own­ers?

A: I rec­om­mend that home­own­ers keep the weapon in a place that is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to them, but it should also be in a dis­creet, se­cure lo­ca­tion, so that vis­i­tors or chil­dren can­not ac­cess them. Whether this means in a locked safe or cab­i­net or sim­ply out of sight in­stalled with a gun lock is purely up to the home­owner’s dis­cre­tion.

Keep in mind that it should be quickly avail­able to the owner, so that un­der stress, it is not too dif­fi­cult to ac­cess. For ex­am­ple, keys to locks can eas­ily be mis­placed; com­bi­na­tion codes can be for­got­ten un­der stress­ful sit­u­a­tions; turn dial vaults can take time and if you miss a needed num­ber you must start over, etc.

I per­son­ally like a sim­ple touch­pad ac­cess vault, where you don’t have to re­mem­ber num­bers, but a sim­ple tap se­quence code with your fingers. This way, even in the dark, you can open the lock by feel.

Q: What ac­ces­sories does the gun need?

A: I am a fan of the “less is more” men­tal­ity when it comes to ac­ces­soriz­ing a home de­fense weapon. There are so many af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories avail­able for ev­ery type of weapon platform and a home­owner can eas­ily sink a lot of money in ac­ces­sories that may look “tac­ti­cool” but don’t re­ally serve a re­al­is­tic pur­pose in a close-quar­ters set­ting. Hav­ing too many prod­ucts on the weapon also adds unnecessary weight.

I think es­sen­tial items on a home de­fense weapon are a good light­ing sys­tem, night sights and a good op­tic. Flash­lights are nec­es­sary to iden­tify the in­truder. We don’t train to shoot at shad­ows, and we must pos­i­tively iden­tify a threat. There have been mul­ti­ple cases in which a home­owner shot a fam­ily mem­ber they thought was an in­truder. Avoid this hor­ri­ble tragedy by us­ing and train­ing to use a flash­light. It’s prefer­able that the flash­light be at­tached to the weapon lo­cated so that the switch to the light can be eas­ily turned on or off with­out hav­ing to ad­just the shooter’s grip. If you can’t at­tach the light to the weapon, learn the var­i­ous flash­light hand­hold tech­niques with a por­ta­ble small flash­light. Prac­tice go­ing through the home at night us­ing the flash­light dur­ing dry fire train­ing, af­ter guar­an­tee­ing there is no am­mu­ni­tion present or fam­ily mem­bers in the train­ing area.

I use a red dot op­tic on my bullpup that al­ways re­mains on. It has a bat­tery-sav­ing fea­ture that shuts off af­ter about 30 min­utes of in­ac­tiv­ity, but it will turn back on when the weapon is moved. There are many high-qual­ity op­tics with ex­tremely long bat­tery life. Re­search which is best for you. The red dot al­lows me to get sights on tar­get very quickly. Lin­ing up front and rear sights on a ri­fle takes more time and is more dif­fi­cult at night. I’ll take ev­ery sec­ond I can get in gun fight.

I also ad­vise you to keep loaded spare mags with your de­fense weapon.

Q: What type of am­mu­ni­tion do you keep on hand?

A: I keep hollow point rounds in my .45 cal­iber pis­tol and law en­force­ment jack­eted hollow point .223 ammo for my bullpup. (I buy the same duty am­mu­ni­tion that I use at my part-time po­lice depart­ment). I train with duty am­mu­ni­tion with my de­fense guns. I also have other sim­i­lar weapons used only for prac­tice that that I use with cheaper, lighter load am­mu­ni­tion to save money. I al­ways rec­om­mend that own­ers train with the rounds they keep in their de­fense weapon, so they get the same re­coil and accuracy.

Keep in mind that home rounds may over-pen­e­trate and go through walls. You are ac­count­able for ev­ery round that comes out of your gun. Hit place­ment is cru­cial. Re­search the am­mu­ni­tion that you use. Use am­mu­ni­tion that is de­signed to ex­pand on im­pact.

Q: En­coun­ter­ing an in­truder can be a high-in­ten­sity sit­u­a­tion. What are the keys to re­main­ing calm?

A: A few things can help mit­i­gate some of the fear and stress as­so­ci­ated with an at­tack in your home.

First, know your state and lo­cal laws re­gard­ing firearms you are legally al­lowed to own. There may be re­stric­tions about the over­all length, round ca­pac­ity and cal­iber of your firearm, and you need to know when—in your home or prop­erty—you can en­gage an in­truder with lethal force. Some peo­ple hes­i­tated to shoot when they needed to be­cause they were more con­cerned they might end up go­ing to jail for de­fend­ing them­selves … when they were clearly jus­ti­fied. Know­ing the laws will help the home­owner be more con­fi­dent and ready to pro­tect them­selves or oth­ers if the need jus­ti­fies it.

Train­ing with the weapon you choose will also make you more con­fi­dent. For­get­ting how to take the safety off be­cause you haven’t picked up the weapon in a year, or be­ing afraid to shoot a shot­gun be­cause you’re nervous about the re­coil is not some­thing you want to deal with dur­ing a stress­ful en­counter when your life de­pends on it. When you train con­sis­tently with your weapon and re­in­force proper tac­tics, your mind is free to fo­cus on the threat it­self.

Re­hearse a home in­va­sion threat drill with your fam­ily. Have a plan. Be pre­pared as much as you can be. This is where you iden­tify things that need to be ad­dressed in your home, such as fur­ni­ture lay­out, cre­at­ing a safe room, in­sur­ing a flash­light is in ev­ery bed­room, teach­ing kids how to call for help, etc. Hav­ing a plan in place may mit­i­gate some of the stress dur­ing an ac­tual event.

Q: What type of gun do you rec­om­mend for home de­fense … shot­gun, hand­gun, AR-15 or bullpup?

A: I say that is a per­sonal pref­er­ence be­tween hand­gun, AR and shot­gun. In any case, I per­son­ally think one of each. If you do get to use, say a hand­gun at one point, then switch to the shot­gun the next time. This gives you real world ex­pe­ri­ence on all of the above. I also tend to go with a shot­gun if you do not have much time be­hind a hand­gun, as running buck shot you have a greater coverage, es­pe­cially in low-light scenarios.

Q: To pre­pare for an en­counter, how of­ten do you rec­om­mend home­owner train?

A: Train as you would fight. Get on a range and get your ba­sics down. Prac­tice reloads over and over in case more than a few rounds are fired.

This prac­tice will enable you to reload fast. Reload in the prone, sitting and crouch­ing po­si­tions, and you will want cover, etc., while do­ing this. Shoot around and over bar­ri­cades and odd an­gles.

Prac­tice low light shoot­ing. You must un­der­stand that low light is your ad­van­tage as well. By know­ing your home/place of liv­ing, you have the

huge ad­van­tage of light/dark ar­eas, cover and liv­ing spa­ces.

Q: What cri­te­ria should they look for in a good train­ing fa­cil­ity?

A: You would want a plan that not only teaches the ba­sics but also moving and shoot­ing, bar­ri­cade and fa­cade shoot­ing and low-light sce­nario-based train­ing.

Q: Where do you keep your home de­fense weapon, and where do you rec­om­mend the home­owner does?

A: I am not mar­ried and I have no chil­dren, so I keep a few pis­tols by my bed. There is one on each side of my bed in the night­stands and a Salient Benelli M2 in the cor­ner, as well as in my backpack.

Q: What ac­ces­sories does the gun need?

A: It’s great to have a light, of course, but when us­ing white light you be­come a tar­get as well, so that’s where low light and shoot­ing con­sis­tently comes into play. You get to a point you can hit a tar­get in close to the same spot with mus­cle mem­ory with low vis­i­bil­ity.

Q: What type of am­mu­ni­tion do you keep on hand?

A: I have all kinds. When I dig through my ammo cans, I top off my pis­tol mags with a few hollow points, and the rest are ball.

Q: En­coun­ter­ing an in­truder can be a high-in­ten­sity sit­u­a­tion. What are the keys to re­main calm?

A: I don’t care if some­one is not calm, as long as they have their weapon off safe and are ready to blast. Un­der­stand­ing that you have the ad­van­tage is key; in gen­eral, this is a new en­vi­ron­ment for the in­truder.

Q: Many peo­ple be­lieve that noth­ing like this will ever oc­cur to them. For those who main­tain that way of think­ing, what would you say to them?

A: Well, it’s bet­ter to have and not need, than to need and not have. Also, you have an in­her­ent re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect those you love. If you have oth­ers in your home and you serve as their pro­tec­tor, take that roll on as an honor. When you are pro­tect­ing those around you that may not be able to pro­tect them­selves, it is hon­or­able to take that re­spon­si­bil­ity on. HD

“WHEN YOU TRAIN CON­SIS­TENTLY WITH YOUR WEAPON AND RE­IN­FORCE PROPER TAC­TICS, YOUR MIND IS FREE TO FO­CUS ON THE THREAT IT­SELF.”

Re­becca McCoy (right) says there are a num­ber of ways to re­main calm and con­fi­dent dur­ing a home in­va­sion, in­clud­ing get­ting plenty of train­ing with your weapon.

Thomas Ali­brando said it’s crit­i­cal to find a good in­struc­tor, as the skills learned are the ones that you will need in life-and-death de­ci­sions.Photo by Laura Fog­a­rty Tac­ti­cal Pho­tog­ra­phy

To pre­pare for a home in­va­sion or a bur­glary, train and have a plan, says Thomas Ali­brando (right).Photo by Laura Fog­a­rty Tac­ti­cal Pho­tog­ra­phy

Re­becca McCoy, IWI’s US com­mer­cial sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive and a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer, said com­pla­cency leads to huge trouble, and it’s “re­ally naive to think there’s not some­one out there who wants what you have.”Photo by Oleg Volk

An­drew Arra­bito (front), a re­tired SEAL, ad­vises to prac­tice low light shoot­ing.Photo by Gus Alonzo

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