home defense tactics outdoors prevention

Home Defense Tactics & Strategies

Millions upon millions of new gun owners have purchased their first gun during these recent months and recent years. The primary reason has been for home & personal defense. With that said, and for anyone else, I would like to offer my opinion for best home defense tactics. And it may surprise you to an extent…

What Are The Best Tactics For Home Defense?

Okay, here goes… My primary recommendation for home defense tactics is, wait for it… prevention! I bet you thought I was going to get all tactical on you, right? Well, that’s only if and when your preventative measures have all failed – a worst case scenario.

You do not want to be in a situation where you are in a last resort relying on your gun. That scenario could wind up with either the perpetrator, or YOU, dead. So first, I suggest that you do what you can to prevent it. It may or may not be successful. But, if you do not try to deter, then you will surely end up in a riskier position.

I will tell you some of what I do for home defense tactics here at my place. I’m not going to list in any order of priority. Rather, I believe that together, these actions help to complete a better home defense. Your actions may differ to an extent, depending on where you live. I happen to live rural, with plenty of outdoor space and opportunity to slow down or stop a potential problem. (Perpetrator moving on to other, easier prey – unless utterly determined for whatever reason).

Early Warning (For Me) – Driveway Alarms

driveway alarm for home defense tactics

My best, or should I say one of the first home defense tactics is to KNOW that someone is coming. That gives me time to evaluate. “They” have no idea that I know they’re coming – whoever they are. That is a clear advantage.

Chances are it’s the UPS truck. Or, my neighbor friend down the road coming to visit. However there are times when a lookie-loo drives in for various reasons of curiosity (usually tourists tempted by mountain views down my private road). No, they’re not a threat. But the thing is, how do you know the motivation as to why a vehicle is driving down your road if you’re not expecting anyone, and you don’t recognize the vehicle?

For example, there’s a big drug problem in this country. Who’s to say it’s not some crack-head looking to break into a house for valuables to feed their habit? Or, any other number of examples. We are all living in an increasingly dangerous world of uncertainty. So, do not assume that the approaching person or vehicle is just a friendly Jim or Jane…

Driveway Alarms!

I have installed magnetic driveway alarms in the road. One alerts me as they enter my property (my road is about 1/3 mile long). Another alarm alerts me when they’ve made it to within several hundred feet (you can’t see my place until you’re fairly close – where it opens up into fields and the homestead itself). Anyway, when the second alarm sounds, I know they’re committed and soon I will see whoever it is. I wrote about one of my alarm systems as follows:

[ Read: Driveway Alarm With No False Alarms ]

Now I’ll bet some of you have thought, what if someone comes in on foot? No vehicle to trip a magnetic driveway alarm? Well, I’ve got that covered too. An infrared sensor which triggers an alarm on your home base unit. I have the following, which I’ve used in several various applications. It’s great! Long distance too…

[ Read: Wireless Driveway Alarm Up To Half Mile Range ]

Early Warning (For The Perpetrator)

I employ several home defense tactics to early warn the perpetrator. As the defensive measures add up, the perp will soon realize that someone’s up ahead who has taken this seriously. That is, their home security. Hopefully, unless the perp is stupid, terribly desperate, or seriously intending to intrude – they’ll get the hint.

Motion Lights – Some Hidden, Others Out in the Open

I have installed numerous outdoor motion lights. Several will not be seen. Others you can see them. Of course, in the evening and at night each of them will light up after being triggered. But during the day, those which can be plainly seen will message to the perpetrator that I’ve taken this seriously. I have more than just the typical motion light on the garage, for example…

I installed solar powered motion flood lights along the road – mounted up in the trees. You’re not going to see them unless you look right up at them. Here’s one for example:

solar powered motion lights for home defense tactics

[ Read: Solar Motion Lights – Mount Them Anywhere ]

Since I ran electrical power to my chicken coop area, I also installed several motion lights there too. Any perpetrator beginning to get closer to my house will set these off too, and is part of my overall home defense tactics.

Additionally they are on all sides of the home, and mounted over on my shop building too. The reality is, by day its obvious that I take my security seriously by noting these, and other measures, some of which are listed below. At night, it’s impossible to approach from any direction without being lit up along the way. Great deterrents.

[ Read: Best Outdoor Motion Light ]

Security Camera Signage

This, in my opinion, is an awesome home defense (preventative) tactic. Even if you don’t have security cameras, the perpetrator will not know this. I have one sign partway down the road. The other is up at the house, with slightly different messaging. All non-threatening, but certainly makes you think about whether or not you want to be on camera…

video surveillance signs for home defense tactics and prevention

Security Camera In Plain Sight

Yes, I do also employ security camera technologies. I do believe it’s important to have at least one that’s visible in plain sight. You want them to see it. It provides yet another visual message that I’m serious about preventive home defense tactics. As more messages and clues pile up, it should become increasingly clear to the perpetrator that if they actually choose to enter / break-in to the premises, what awaits them behind the door will be even more serious…

Okay, so, here’s an example. My primary security camera which is plainly visible but out of reach, mounted off the 2nd-floor of the house:

Speaking of outdoor security cameras, you might also consider an additional stand-alone infrared illuminator to help see further out at night with your camera. That is, assuming your camera has the capability. It certainly helps mine. I’ve got an IR illuminator mounted up near the peak of my shop building.

Another good thing about it is, if you have a night vision device, it will light up the place for you to see. It’s amazing how everything’s turned to daylight during a pitch dark night while running my PVS-14!

Security Monitoring Window Decal Stickers

Whether you are paying for home security alarm service monitoring or not, these stickers are certainly a deterrent and an important part of one’s overall preventative home defense tactics. Mine are on the front storm door (pictured below), the back door, my slider upstairs, and a few other windows.

Deadbolt Lock

Although a deadbolt lock is starting to transition to indoor tactics and strategies for home defense, I will mention it anyway. Install a high quality deadbolt along with heavy duty steel plates and extra long screws that go deeply into the framing lumber.

Sliding Doors Security Bar

Speaking of doors being a transition point into your home, sliders are especially vulnerable. Their locks are awfully useless in this regard. So, it’s simple to make your own (or buy one) security bar for sliding doors. I simply cut a piece of lumber to fit / wedge in the frame as shown below. Sure, the perpetrator could smash the glass, as with any window. However, this is an excellent tactic to stop them from opening that door.

A Dog For Home Defense (Deterrent) Tactics

I don’t care what kind of dog you have. Or how big or small it is. Most all of them will instinctively alert and/or try and protect. There are exceptions… We once had a golden retriever that certainly would not deter or prevent a perpetrator! However during the same time we had a German Shepard too. These days we have our little mini doxie. He will bark up a storm. But an inside dog who’s getting older and likes to sleep alot…

Home Defense Tactics After An Assailant Enters Your Home

This is the event we’ve been trying to avoid. But if it happens, what are you going to do?

This is not advice. Rather, opinion. Everyone’s situation is different. Homes are different. Environments vary. There are tons of variables. And more importantly, laws vary too, sometimes quite dramatically! Some have a requirement to retreat. Others a castle doctrine whereby you’re more at liberty. Stand your ground laws enable even more liberty to protect yourself and property. Know Your Laws in this regard.

I’m not going to tell you what to do. You are welcome to offer your own opinions in the comments below. But I will present some questions that you might want to ask yourself. And some things to consider.

I know what you might be thinking right about now. Grab a gun and confront the assailant. But is that the best course of action at the moment? It depends, right? What if the assailant is attacking a member in your household? Well yes, maybe it’s time to do something about it. But if not, at least not yet, well what are you going to do? Does the assailant know where you are at the moment? Or even know you’re in the house? Should you call 911 now?

There are a bazillion hypothetical scenarios that one could think of. But you know what is the common denominator for home defense tactics for once the assailant gets inside?


Plan Your Home Defense Tactics Preemptively

If you do not plan ahead, there’s an increasingly likely chance that you might just ‘freeze’. Not knowing what to do next.

Here are some bullet point thoughts and questions…

  • is it a daytime event while at home, or catch in the act while coming home (are you prepared while going in?)
  • nighttime event, likely much more dangerous because assailant should presume someone’s home at night
  • can you escape?
  • call 911? is your phone near your bed at night, just in case?
  • what is your “go to” weapon for this scenario?
  • practice with a tactical flashlight
  • number of bad guys involved
  • where is the bad guy(s) right now, locate
  • who are they (e.g. druggy? just a thief? organized? other?)
  • what are they after, what do they want?
  • your physical location during the moment when “it” happens, next tactical move?
  • use barriers (furniture, appliances, etc.) for protection during confrontation or while moving about
  • the state of current events – societal collapse?
  • during “ordinary times” or SHTF times
  • layers of defense, last stop is the home
  • ways to deter
  • legality issues in your state, know the laws ahead of time, does state have castle doctrine or stand your ground law
  • if you must take the shot, KNOW where your target is, and what is behind your target (especially critical in urban and suburban environments)

An excellent online resource for gun related law in your state:

IMPORTANT! I highly advise that you read the following book. VERY eye-opening in the event that you are ever involved. It’s worth every penny, written by Attorney Andrew F. Branca

The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide To The Armed Citizen

There are lots of things to think about when running scenarios through your head for personal & home defense tactics. It’s a good exercise to do this (think about it).

It’s a great thing to know how to use and be proficient with a firearm. It takes practice. Classes are good too. It’s a great skill to have. It is a last resort weapon, but it could save your life (or that of another household member).

Is there a best gun for home defense? No, that argument will go on for eternity. There are pros and cons to all of them. The best one is the one that you actually have, and are preferably familiar and at least fairly proficient with it. That matters more than caliber, brand, number of rounds in the magazine, etc..

Okay, this has all been just food for thought.

[ Read: Self Defense Threat And The Tueller Distance 21-Foot-Rule ]

[ Read: Door Security Bar | Extra Layer of Protection for Home Security ]


  1. Invest in several, quality, outdoor speakers…and high definition recordings of various, vicious, dogs barking and growling, all pressure pad..or trip-wire..or motion detector..activated. Place dog, cut-out, silhouettes around the property, large dog bowls, bags of dog chow, ripped up dog toys, chain, dog house with “Bruno” name plate…etc..

    Place an obvious grave stone in your front yard, surrounded by lots of dead flowers, just marked, “Mother.”

    Place high intensity aircraft landing lights pointing toward any approaches to your abode, so it becomes impossible to see once they are tripped…use strobe lights, too.

    Create a giant, realistic, full-sized, Puma, Mountain Lion, or African Cat, posed lying down…and placed on your porch, near your entry door. The fake animal should be looking at the approaches..and small solenoid motors cause its ears to move…and the last two feet of its tail to flip up and down against the porch. Inside secrete a speaker…so the recording of large cat sounds can be heard at a distance. Sign at front warns people to beware of dangerous cat.

    Build a trap door under your welcome mat, which drops people into a holding pit.

    Replace your bedroom door with a solid-core, four-hinge, fire-rated, door with a metal jamb. The one thing you will not survive..is when you are awakened by an intruder…who is already standing over where you are sleeping.

    Kill anyone, who enters your home…against your will…AFTER they already know the home is occupied..and you are aware of them. They mean to do you, or your family, harm. Kill them with great prejudice, and do not engage them in any conversation, nor accept any surrender.

    1. Ision,
      or you could just go to the animal shelter and rescue a dog. save their life and enhance yours.

  2. We bought from Amazon these smaller solar LED lights, they are preforming well and are bright. There are 120 LEDS. HMcity is the vendor. There are over 40,000 reviews. There is a box of 2 or a box of 4. Very easy to put up so a lady can if she is by herself. We fix them so they can be moved easy.
    Our old yellowish orange sodium light just died and the electric company put up a LED. Told Mr. they do not even have the parts for the old lights anymore. I figured it just needed a new photo cell. Will cost only $6 a month instead of $12.

  3. We have : 1. Dog that barks very loudly & aggressively when ever anyone comes to our gate or near our property.
    2. The Castle Doctrine in our state.

  4. Years ago, knew of an older gentleman who lived in Boston, he had a 3 lb. cannon setup in his living room, aimed at the front door. NOBODY bothered him.

    1. The cannon fired a 3 lb. ball/shot. Was it loaded? yes. What did it have in it? He never said.

  5. Paintball gun with the pepper balls mixed with permanent dye marker balls, you gan buy full auto paintball guns, that way nobody dies but somebody gets dyed, cant go to jail for shooting a home intruder with paint balls

    1. Kula,
      You can’t go to jail if you shoot a home intruder with a REAL GUN in Colorado. It’s called the “Make My Day Law”. The libs hate it, but they don’t dare try to overturn it.

      1. Minerjim,
        In Colorado the libs don’t want you to be able to protect yourself from an intruder in your house?
        Are those the same libs that recently passed a law legalizing partial birth abortion? The killing of a partially born baby? How soon will Colorado follow Virginia and allow birthed babies to be abandoned and die?

        1. Lived south of castle rock off of I-25 and watched as the state deteriorated by the libs taking over…locals always referred to Denver as the armpit of Colorado as the majority of malcontents, gangs, and yes sheeple live there. The insane front range taxes on everything plus the state income tax finally pushed me into leaving it behind.

    2. Look at the byrna sd, has kinetic balls filled with tear gas AND pepper spray, even legal in CA with a license. There are not a fir earm so no license and can be carried anywhere. They incapacitate the “recipient” for 20 – 90 minutes. some great videos of this on the yxutube channel. a real game changer.

      1. Thanks, I didn’t know about byrna. $349 for the HD, $429 for what looks like a newer one with different trigger and grips, at amazon and ebay.

      2. They sell hard rubber balls that will work in most paintball guns

    3. Kula,
      Brah, might research that, home defense in our commie state may be looked upon rather poorly
      by the local CONstabulary. Property defense bad, assaulting a perp bad….. Hawaii laws bad!
      just a thought bro. ( I would take my chances though…..perp bad, a good ass whooping…good)

      1. I was thinking kill em and bury them in the field for fertilizer for a tree

    4. Yeah…. you end up dead because you died due to your stupidity

      1. Be careful Raven.If you try you’re usual BS on this site you’ll be gonezo right quick and that would be a good thing.

  6. In addition the the security measures listed above, I installed 8mil security film on all of my windows and the doors that have glass. It won’t stop a determined person but it will slow them down a that’s a plus when seconds counts. Also installed 8” Dutch Door bolts at the top and bottom of the exterior french doors.

  7. Good article…good comments so far. I have no doubt that homestead security concerns will come front and center in the coming months. Any time spent hardening the target will be worth the effort.

    For those who would take from others, the prime considerations will always be a balance between risk and reward. Most will always surveil before they act.

    Make note of strange vehicles/persons, make sure they know that you are watching them.

    If possible, make sure someone is always home…or at least one vehicle is parked there. Make it look as if someone may be home. Leave a tv on with volume up…a coupla lights on, etc.

    Avoid getting into routines that others can make note of…like closing and looking a gate only when gone…or vis versa.

    Every community, no matter how sparsely populated, has some low-lifes…most folks know who they are. Whether or not you keep an eye on them…they most likely are watching you.

    A while back, a neighbor lady called me, telling me of a rash of petty thefts in the community…mostly gasoline and maybe tools out of barns or shop buildings. I told her, truthfully, that to my knowledge, I had nothing stolen from me since I had moved there….she replied …”that’s because they’re scared of you”….I replied…”well, respect would be better, but fear works too.”

  8. Well ken, this is one of those articles that make me go target practice tomorrow. I keep a stack of targets in the garage and easy set up. It’s been a while, so I’ll use two of my firearms.
    On a good note, last time I practiced, I hit torso 15 out of 15 at fifty feet! Maybe invite my daughter, she went through all the hoops to get CC, and I’ll bet she’s only went off to the range once or twice in a year. Thanks for the article.

  9. Some other Suggestions that may work for you.
    1) strategically placed gun vaults in your home for quick access. 3 works for me

    2) make a laminated map of your home with key and light stick attached. Throw out the window if you have called 911 and tell them where it is. Stay on the phone with 911 and always confirm that they are the police that is telling you all clear to come out. Stay in one room and wait for the bad guys to come to you.

    3) Have one single cylinder deadbolt and one double cylinder on all doors. Most burglaries are from the back of house. This will make them leave from where they came in, even if they came in from a window. Always unlock the double cylinder lock at night for emergency egress.

    4) install 2 additional hinges with long screws.

    FYI, from what I have been told, adding security film to existing windows helps, but it really needs to be applied behind the frame to be fully effective

  10. I have a small handheld portable Jbl speaker that can be placed anywhere and on my iPad I have a ten minute nuclear siren which I downloaded from you tube……..once on a summer day I had the windows open and let that rip it scared the living heck out of the neighbors, more then one came outside and started to look around and up, later told them I was testing my home burglar alarm, in a emergency and at night or even during the day it would stop a criminal in their tracks or at the very least upset anything they had in mind. Also have hazmat signs and yellow boundaries tape that I can attach to doors or windows that is also a deterrent. Criminals are leery of things they are unsure of or not familiar with.

  11. Living in the country I tried the wireless motion driveway alarms and after a month of false alerts from animals and even planes flying overhead, I installed the magnetic alarms, they work, even with a person with carrying something metal will set the alarm off. My only negative is that the wireless units require frequent battery changeout, and the overall life of the units (have had three different manufacturers over five years) is relatively short. I decided that having a couple of units stored away and ready to be installed in a emergency situation is a better alternative.

  12. Multiple cow bells on the gate. I even tell people that stop by. If the gate is closed ring the bell.

  13. Pepper and paint balls sound good, but be realistic. A crack head or very large criminal, add to that more than one character….and your fooling yourself.. Find cover, call 911 and as they enter your room shoot dead center mass, if keep coming move site up 1/4 inch and double tap brain….911 on line yell “HELP I’m being attacked”….your JOB is to protect your family. Not paint people. Sorry to sound extreme. Just MHO.

  14. Wasp and hornet spray. If you’re in any area “unfriendly” to firearms. Keep a can of 25’ wasp spray within hands reach. On your desk, inside each point of entry… washing an intruders face with wasp spray will definitely give you the upper hand.

  15. Good comments… some remind me of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, where Leonardo, Brad, and Brad’s doggie deal with intruders.
    (spoiler: it involves a flame thrower).
    I’ve been thinking of the people coming up from south of the border, many from countries where most shops have bars or sliding metal grates or pull down shutters to cover the glass windows and doors when the shops are closed. I fear that America by comparison is Candyland.
    I now have 5 of the indoor mini blink cameras from Amazon in the house. I have 2 kindle fires I can monitor them on. The outdoor cams are battery powered and formatted for saving power, the indoor ones are plug in power. Mine are in the windows looking out. They have a talk/listen function that you can turn off and on remotely, in camera 180 picture flip, etc. So far so good. You can get started with one camera and one control module for $35 each, and then $3 per month per camera. And thank you Ken for mentioning outside IR lights, I may have to check them out…

  16. Overkill is under rated. I have mentioned this before, but I am a fan of boat radar. I live in a large flat area with no neighbors. I have an old digital boat radar system and I could see cars 6 miles out. If I program an intercept alarm, anything driving towards me within what ever range I set turns on an alarm. If somebody approaches with any metal over 6 inches long, and they are walking above ground clutter (1 ft winter, 3 feet all other seasons) I can see them. I can see tornados and rain squalls as they approach. Drones are easy to spot.

  17. Having an untraceable throw down weapon is a good idea. Only one story to tell.

  18. OK, some of the “advice” is getting kind of weird in a moral/ethics way. (idea of a “throw down” or drop weapon placed near body of a perpetrator)
    I will say this: If you use non-lethal means to defend yourself, you are still facing the risk of being sued by the injured party after the incident is over. True, you will walk out of court with minimal consequences if you are truthful in your statements and was truly in the right (dependent upon the judge). Chemical weapon residue is also difficult to clean up. Soft fabrics like curtains and carpets may have to be removed and replaced. I just wanted people to be reminded of these things before using pepper spray/pepper balls within your own home.
    On a personal note: When I am in fear for my life or the life of my wife within my domicile: I have firearms for that. Yes, I know I will be sued by surviving family members but it is difficult to explain in court what this “former choir-boy”/now-dead individual was doing 6 feet inside your home with obvious signs of forced entry at the door or windows.

  19. Lethal vs Non Lethal: having the on-hand choice of both sounds good to me. That byrna pistol for example- what a blessing for someone who has chosen not take a life (some people believe that killing another can adversly affect their spiritual development and derail their reincarnation track,). Shooting someone dead “legally” when I clearly could’ve used non lethal? What a memory to carry with me. Then there’s the police, the blood, the corpse, the trial, and the bad guys low life friends and family to deal with, who now know and hate me. Might have to move. And don’t forget the dead guy, cause maybe he didn’t “go to the light” and he’s still hanging around…
    I do possess deadly force tools, just throwing out another pov.

    Happy Good Friday to everyone…

    1. Bud,
      if it comes down to me and my wife or them, i know where i’m going to go with it. i’ll just have to deal with the aftermath later. we may still be alive as opposed to the other alternative, think about you and your family.
      i will not be a victim if i can help it.
      anyone who considers a non lethal means of protection in a home invasion situation is a fool and will die a fool, or be a victim at best if it were to happen.
      someone kicks down my door at night the first and last thing they will see will be some #4 buckshot coming their way. i can always mop the floor and would have no problem with it. really.

      1. No offense meant, but until that event happens for you…..and I pray it never does….you really don’t know how you will respond. I gave been there….and am still here, so you can draw a good conclusion from that. But I have to tell you, it becomes a life changing event,

        1. @Pioneer Woman – agree completely that you make the choice at the moment. I was robbed at gunpoint while working in college. Like you, I am still here. I think having multiple choices gives one options depending on the situation.

  20. One thing we are going to be installing on our windows that can be reached easily from the outside, is clear protective 8mil Shatterproof Security Window Vinyl. This will hold the glass together if someone tries to smash it and slow down someone trying to enter the house through the window. You can get it on Amazon and other places, I think. I also like the IR light idea. I will have to check on them and add it to the yard.

  21. Almost every home clearing exercise we have done results in the party who stays put and waits watchfully wins! Dogs are a great asset. Use them but protect them as able.

  22. We kept bear bars in all windows and sliding doors on the mountain….now we have cable catches on all roll out windows and extra deep bolts into frame and floors on all doors (no sliders anywhere here). But the dogs and motion lights are our first line of defense.

  23. I believe your mindset is as important as any practical or technical factor involved. If you are a peaceful person who is not willing to do violence, you are in effect a harmless individual and fair game for any predator. But if you have the will and are willing to commit to violence then you are in fact a peaceful person. The Communist-Left would have you believe that only through non-violence will you and the world be safe. History and the present actions in the Ukraine have proved them wrong time and time again.

    1. Arch Stanton, Pioneer Woman,
      i have said this many times in the past. how many people in this country have been there and done that in actual combat in the last 50yrs. you never know who is standing beside you in a store, where they have been and what they have had to do .
      i’m reminded of a news article from several months ago from Fla. about someone who tried to perpetrate a home invasion on a 80yo man. the old man was a Vietnam special forces veteran. the old man had a shotgun but did not shoot the guy, he beat him to death with it!
      ya never know who is around you and most like him most likely never talked about it to others, they just don’t. ya never know.
      never make assumptions about people you don’t know, its dangerous to do so.
      cut in line in front of a Ronda Rousey, get smart about it and see what happens : ) it won’t end well.

  24. An observation about pulling the trigger on another human being: The first time I did it, there was a distinct hesitation on my part. The subsequent events: there was less or minimal hesitation on my part. Others who have survived deadly encounters have said much the same. You learn to live with it. If you have trouble with nightmares, try to avoid self-medicating with alcohol or drugs (prescription or otherwise). I found some solace by going to church. My wife is the only girlfriend that did not run away when they found out what I had done. She got the shock of her life when she surprised me by knocking on my door without calling one time (she brought me lasagna- I answered the door with a loaded gun). She no longer tries to surprise me.

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