Dear Fellow Survivalist;
You’ve probably seen plenty of examples of SWAT teams entering a building and clearing it room by room. But what if you find yourself having to do that at home? What if you hear that infamous bump in the night and have to go investigate? How do you do that, while making sure that the bad guys can’t get a bead on you?
First of all, clearing a building by yourself is extremely difficult. There’s a reason why the police use a team of people to do it. That’s basically because one person, acting alone, can’t keep an eye on everything. It’s just not possible to clear a room, while making sure they don’t slip past you into the part of the house you’ve already cleared. But somehow, you’re going to have to do just that.
Of course, if you have more than one shooter in the family, you’re going to be much better off. Even if all they can do is watch your back or guard the part of the home that’s already been cleared, that’s going to allow you to focus on what you have to do to clear the next room.
Building clearing always has to be done in a logical manner; so you want to plan it out, if you can. In fact, develop more than one plan, so that you know what you’re going to do if you are in bed, coming in the front door or parking the car in the garage. Each requires that you start from a different point, and that you come at the blind corners in your home from different sides.
Always start from the room you are in; clear that room first. That means looking around the room, 360 degrees, to make sure that there aren’t any bad guys or signs of bad guys in the room. Once you’ve swept the room, go back and check hidden areas; behind the sofa, under the bed, in the closet and other such areas that you might not have been able to see. You can then call that room secure.
Now you want to expand on that, clearing more and more territory and bringing it under your control. Try to do this in sections or wings of your home. In other words, if you are in your bedroom and all of the bedrooms are in one side of the house, clear them all first, before going on to the living areas.
You also want to try and clear those areas in such a way that you can keep yourself between the cleared part of the house and the uncleared, if possible. If you can’t and you have another family member who can act as a shooter, have them guard the part you have cleared, while you are clearing more rooms. Their position will probably have to shift from time to time, as you clear more of the home. Be sure to communicate with each other, so that you don’t end up shooting each other.
There are two basic ways of entering a room; fast and slow. A fast entrance is riskier, especially working alone. It consists of rushing into the room, sweeping it as you go. The problem in doing this alone, is that you’re counting on luck to ensure that you sweep the right part of the room first, so that you see the bad guys before they shoot.
The slow way is to “slice the pie.” This means moving to a position where you can see a small wedge of the room from outside the room and clearing it. Then you move laterally, opening another “slice” up to your vision to clear. Bit by bit, you work your way across the doorway, visually clearing one slice at a time.
The same thing can be done for going around any blind corners. You will most likely see just a shoulder or arm of your opponent at first. That gives you the opportunity to react to what you see and engage that target. But make sure it is really a target, before you start shooting!
One way of increasing your safety margin while doing this is to get down close to the floor, prone or squatting, and slice the pie from there. While you won’t be able to see everything in the room from there, if the bad guys take a shot at you, it will probably be high and pass over your head. Once you’ve visually cleared the room from down low, you can move to check behind obstacles which blocked your view of parts of the room.
There are several things you can do to increase your effectiveness when doing this. The first is to put tritium night sights on your gun. That will increase their visibility in the dark. Chances are, the bad guys won’t have those, so that gives you an advantage.
Take a tactical flashlight with you, but don’t use it unless you have to. There should be enough light coming in through the windows for you to see, unless you are entering a room without windows. Other than that, the only time you should need a flashlight is to identify someone you see, making sure they really are a bad guy and not just one of the kids coming home late.
The big problem with lights is that they tell your opponent more than they tell you. If you wander around the house, checking rooms with a flashlight, the bad guys will know exactly where you are. Then, when you point the light in their direction, all they’ve got to do is shoot at the light and they are guaranteed to hit you. So if you use one, merely flash it on and off for a second; then move immediately.
Finally, practice tactical clearing of your home, so that you’ll know what to expect when the time comes. Look for hazards you might want to move or those hidden areas where they can hide. Ask yourself if you need to move anything, so that it will be better for clearing. See how the rooms will look in the dark and what the shadows are like. That will give you the biggest advantage, as you’ll be fighting on familiar ground, while they are in a place they’ve never been before.
And as always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.
Chris and Dr. Rich