Most gun owners will tell you they think they are prepared for an intruder in their home. That might be, but the real question is, How prepared are you, really? For the most part, your past training or experiences are what will guide you in your preparation for an intruder to enter your home in an unwelcome fashion.
LEARNING FROM THE PAST
My past military experience and some additional training have guided me in my preparations. Over the course of many overseas deployments, both for combat and during peacetime, I had developed a method of preparing for a violent encounter within my residence. In combat, it was easier, because the threat was always there. Body armor and additional kit were placed neatly by my bed in the event of being awakened in the middle of the night and having to “kit up.” For peacetime deployments, it was less of a threat. Still, some threat remained, so guns and “kit” were next to the bed at night and near me the rest of the day.
CARRY EVERY DAY
Even after completing my military career, I still carry concealed everyday—unless there is a situation when I can’t. I try to avoid this when possible. When at home, I still carry; I don’t put my gun away just because I am in my house. While I feel safer there, I know that homes get broken into while homeowners are present. At night, I have a gun near me. And, until a few years ago, I had a single magazine with it. I also had the standard flashlight for nighttime encounters, but that pretty much covered it.
That changed about four years ago, when I was awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of my dogs barking. Not the “run of the mill” dog barking, this was alarm barking. I live in the country, where my closest neighbor is almost a half-mile away. The amount of noise was deafening, even in the house.
Both my wife and I were startled awake. She went to check on the dogs, and I grabbed two guns and a flashlight. As I came out the front door to see what the noise was, I was ready for a fight. I had my flashlight in my mouth and swept the yard for an intruder. As I illuminated the fence, a 60-pound coyote/dog mix (known as a “coydog”) attempted to leap back out of the yard toward me.
One shot from my Glock 43 immediately stopped him, but it wasn’t over. I continued to scan the area. Another coydog made an attempt to get back out of the fenced yard. I got a glancing shot at it, and it turned and ran toward the opposite side of the yard. I continued to shoot until I emptied the first gun. I dropped it and now was able to shoot two handed with the second gun—a Glock G30. I fired two more rounds; one made contact with its hip. It dropped on its side.
As I continued to scan, I saw a third one enter my house through the dog door. Knowing my wife had gone to check on our dogs, I raced into the house and down the stairs to the basement in case she was still in the dog run. She had gotten the dogs out and into our main basement. I went past her, focused on the third coydog. I opened the door slowly; I didn’t want it lunging at me. I “pied” around the door but could not see the coydog. Then, I slowly opened the door to the outside and scanned for where it might be.
“I continued to shoot until I emptied the first gun. I dropped it and now was able to shoot two-handed with the second gun — a Glock 30.”
As I swept the yard for the last coydog, I saw the second one dragging itself along the ground. I finished it off and located the last coydog. It was now cornered. The fence was too high for it to escape. It turned toward me, and I put two rounds of .45 Federal 230-grain HST into it. The encounter had ended. When I removed the magazine from my gun, I had just one round left and no additional magazines.
From start to finish, fewer than 10 minutes had elapsed. One of our dogs was covered in blood and bite marks. He healed but remained traumatized until he passed away earlier this year.
After that encounter, I changed how I was prepared. Now, I have several magazines, a brighter flashlight and a Remington 870 express loaded with 00 Buck. I was comfortable with my shooting ability with a pistol back then but had rarely trained in low-light conditions. While I was ready for multiple intruders, although canine, I felt I should be better prepared. I realized that my gun next to the bed with a fully loaded magazine might not be enough. I don’t sleep with my kit next to me, but there are options to think about for those who want to be better prepared.
I had a chance encounter with Joe Piazza, the owner of Viper Holsters. He showed me the company’s Viper Emergency Threat Response Kit. Developed with input from the Special Operations community, it is a perfect addition for your “go bag” or your nightstand.
It features a padded belt, custom holster, three magazine pouches, K-Bar TDI knife and a Powertac E5 flashlight. In the event of a threat, you grab it, strap it on, and you are ready for almost any encounter. It has several add-ons, such as a shotgun shell carrier, an AR magazine holder or` emergency medical kit, depending on your preference.
“Make sure you have enough protection and training to thwart an invasion to your home.”
PREPARE FOR THE WORST; HOPE FOR THE BEST
As you prepare, make sure you plan for the worst. The coydogs could have easily been human—and even worse, they could have been shooting back. Make sure you have enough protection and training to thwart an invasion to your home.
Brian Berry is a retired Army Special Forces Command sergeant major. He is a former Special Forces weapons sergeant and has multiple combat tours under his belt. Brian is the co-founder of Spartan Defensive Concepts, at which he teaches concealed carry and defensive marksmanship courses. Brian retired in 2014 and is now a consultant currently working for the Special Operations community, as well as a senior instructor for American Survival Guide University.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.