Prepping for Apartment Dwellers – part 4

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

See the previous sections here:

Prepping for Apartment and Condo Dwellers Part 1

Prepping for Apartment and Condo Dwellers Part 2

Prepping for Apartment and Condo Dwellers Part 3


Self Defense Class - gunGreetings. Today I want to wrap up our series focused on apartment dwellers. There is much more that we could say about survival for apartment dwellers, as we could, and maybe even should, discuss every aspect of survival, with a focus on their needs. But, not everyone who reads these letters is an apartment dweller, so I need to think of them too.

But there is one issue that I haven’t yet discussed, which I feel is important; that of self-defense. While self-defense is self-defense, living in an apartment means that your perimeter is your front door. That leaves little to no room for any error.

One of the problems with living in an apartment is that you typically can’t make modifications, such as a homeowner can. That usually means you’re at the mercy of the landlord, when it comes to home security, but even so, there are some things that you can do.

To start with, I’d recommend asking if you can put in a security striker plate, if your front door has a wood frame. A normal front door, even with a deadbolt, can be kicked open. The weak point is the frame. A security striker plate is a longer plate, which spreads open the force of any kick. Installed with long screws that go into the studs in the wall, it will resist forced entry much better. If the landlord does not allow you to put one of those in, replace the screws on your door lockset and deadbolt with 3″ long screws anyway.

Another great security device is a stick that props under the doorknob and braces against the floor. Sold under a variety of different names, these door security bars work by spreading the force of any kick into the floor, supporting the door.

Between that and the security striker plate, your door will be much harder to break through. But nothing will make it totally impossible. Therefore, you must be ready to deal with anyone who tries to come through your front door. The first step in that is to have a security camera to tell you what’s going on outside your door. Avoid using the peep hole that most apartments have installed in the door. Instead, replace it with a camera. If you can, mount another camera at the ceiling, covering your door.

They make wireless security cameras now, which are ideal for this. You can find them for a reasonable price on Just look for spy cameras, and you’ll find all sorts of useful cameras that will work for security. Some will network with your cell phone, making them very easy to use.

The problem with going to your door to look through the peep hole is that people in the hallway can tell when you are looking through it. You will block light off from going through that peep hole, essentially turning it from white to black; making a very effective sign of your presence to any intruder. They can simply shoot you through the door then.

Since it is so easy to shoot through door and the walls around them, it’s a good idea to have body armor. That way, if you do have to confront anyone, chances are lowered that they can shoot you in a vital organ and kill you. While no body armor is perfect, any body armor is better than no body armor.

Of course, your best course of action is to meet fire with fire and have a gun to use. I’d recommend against rifles and shotguns in an apartment, simply because it is too easy to shoot through an attacker and the wall behind them. That would put neighbors in danger. The last thing you want to do is to kill an innocent neighbor accidentally.

A pistol is effective enough, even a low-powered one. However, you will need to practice extensively with it. The adrenalin coursing through your veins in a such a moment severely degrade your fine motor skills, reducing your ability to shoot accurately. So, the better you can shoot, the better your chances of actually hitting your target.

But what if you can’t own a gun? Then I’d recommend some sort of melee weapon. By this I mean something which allows you to fight at arm’s length. During the Middle Ages, there were all sorts of melee weapons used, many of which were quite effective. These include things like the mace, battle axe, and war hammer. The big advantage of these weapons is that if you are fighting an enemy with a knife, you have a longer reach than they do. So you can hit them, while they can’t hit you.

Swords are technically melee weapons as well, but they require considerably practice to learn how to use. While extremely effective in the hands of a skilled swordsman, a sword in the hands of someone who has not been trained in its use is more likely to give a sense of false security than anything else. In contrast, the other melee weapons don’t require that level of training.

Just be sure that if you buy anything like this, that it is a real weapon and not one that is made to be a decoration. Both exist and the decorative ones will most likely break the first time you try to use it. Find something you can beat on with whatever you buy and give it a good test before you depend on it.

Any time you use a melee weapon the idea is to become a berserker. Go crazy and be very aggressive, attacking them over and over. That will be more effective than anything else you can do. Hopefully, any attacker will run in fear, which accomplishes your goal of defending your family.

If you are forced to fight with a knife, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Whoever attacks you with a knife will probably be more accustomed to its use than you are, even if they aren’t a trained knife fighter. But even if they are, you can defeat them. The secret is to fight the knife and the arm that is wielding it, rather than the whole person. In other words, don’t try to stab them in the body, just try to cut the arm holding the knife. That arm is easier to get to and if you cut it a couple of times, they won’t be able to fight.

So, I hope this series has been of help to those of you who live in apartments. You can survive, even in your situation. Think it through and adapt. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So get out there and invent something. If you do, we’d love to hear of it. In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival equipment close at hand.

Dr. Rich

PS: This how you can get prepared with one trip to WalMart.

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