Answering the Door at Night

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

One of the more dangerous things that any of us can do, when we’re home from work and trying to relax, is to answer the front door of our home. Burglars mostly come during the daytime, when everyone is at work. But people who commit the crime of home invasion come at night, usually after dark, when they know people are at home. Whatever crime they want to commit is more against the homeowners or renters, than just burglarizing their home.

While these criminals are perfectly capable of kicking the door open, most will try to get you to open the door. Kicking a door open is noisy, meaning that it can attract attention. That attention can lead to a call to 9-1-1, ruining their plans.

Let me say here that a deadbolted door really isn’t much of a deterrent, as the deadbolt is usually going into a wood door frame that’s only ¾” thick and the hole is only ½” from the edge. A good swift kick, right where the lock is located, is usually all that’s needed to make the deadbolt break right through the frame. To keep that from happening, either a metal door frame needs to be used or a security striker plate needs to be installed, mounting it with 3” or longer screws.

Even approaching the door can be dangerous, let alone opening it. Your home’s front door isn’t going to stop a bullet, if a home invader wants to shoot through it to get to you. While the likelihood of them wanting to shoot you through the door isn’t high, defending yourself requires thinking about what is possible, not just what is likely. The old peep hole in the door is dangerous, in that you have to get right up to the door to use it. Video cameras are better, as you can view the take from them anywhere.

If you’re going to put video cameras on the front porch, allowing you to see whoever is outside, it’s best to install two, aiming from opposite sides. That way, there’s no way for them to just turn their back on the camera, denying you the ability to see who it is. If they manage to hide their face from both cameras, that’s suspicious and you shouldn’t open the door.

The other thing that’s needed is a means of communicating with whoever is outside. Intercoms have long been the means for doing this, but few people bother installing one on their home. But without that intercom, you’ve got to get close to the door, making yourself vulnerable to someone shooting through it.

I would recommend against opening the door to anyone at night, unless you are sure of who they are. There’s nothing wrong with pretending you’re not at home. If you don’t know who they are, then the only person you’re going to get angry is probably someone you don’t know. So what?

Your other option, if you are expecting someone and you can’t see who it is, is to outflank them, using another entrance to go around and see who they are or using a window that overlooks the front porch. I used to have a home with a window in the living room which offered me a perfect view of the front porch, so that I could easily see if someone was trying to hide from the camera or looked like they were preparing to attack.

Ok, so what if you feel like you have to open the door?

In that case, a couple of precautions are appropriate. First, be sure to be armed and to have ready access to that weapon. If you normally carry concealed, there’s nothing wrong with uncovering your pistol when opening the door, making it so that you can draw a touch faster. For that matter, there’s nothing wrong with opening the door with your pistol in your hand, perhaps hidden behind your back.

The other thing to do is to back away from the door, as you open it. Anyone you open the door to, whether friend or foe, is going to expect you to be standing right there. If you back away, and especially if you back away at an angle, you change the battle problem, making it harder for them to attack you, if that was their plan. You may think that would look funny; but the person who you are opening the door to doesn’t know why you are moving. If they are a friend; it could be to give them room to enter.

A moving target is harder to hit and the farther away you are, the harder you are to attack. So, if that person intends to do you harm, that distance can give you the room to respond, bringing your own weapon to bear, before it is too late. If everything is fine, you can just holster your gun, explaining to your friend that you didn’t know who it was.

This may sound a bit extreme; but that second of time it gains you can be all that you need to survive the encounter. Preparedness, takes all forms, not just keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

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