clearing your own house at night?

This is a discussion on clearing your own house at night? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was reading the thump in the night thread and I was wondering about the proper way to clear a house. This guy in the ...

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Thread: clearing your own house at night?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Timmy Jimmy's Avatar
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    clearing your own house at night?

    I was reading the thump in the night thread and I was wondering about the proper way to clear a house.

    This guy in the other thread grabbed his flashlight and handgun.

    I would grab the shotgun give the handgun to my wife and turn on the lights.

    Am I wrong?
    Timmy Jimmy

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    as long as you grab the cell phone too, that sounds fine to me.

    I'm of the opinion that unless you have family members in another area of the house, you have no reason to clear it yourself.
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
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  4. #3
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    Its never a good idea to clear any building by yourself unless you really really know what you are doing. With that said, sometimes you got to do what you got to do.
    I would rather clear a house with a handgun, unless its a very open design. A shotgun or carbine can get a little tricky to move with properly even if you do know what you are doing. I would rather have the wife hunkered down with the shotgun, or have her hold the bedroom hallway- that is much easier done with a long gun than it is with a handgun.
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    Member Array Harold Green's Avatar
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    Plan & Practice

    I had one of those “bump-in-the-night” occurrences happen not too long after returning from the Gunsite 250 class where we got a chance to practice house clearing technique for a couple of days.

    During the class, our lead instructor made some comments that I thought were worthwhile. He mentioned that we likely know the layout of our own houses much better than an intruder. He also suggested we could take best advantage of this by strategically placing night lights around the house in order to provide just enough ambient lighting to allow us to navigate and to identify an intruder’s silhouette. If and when we identify an intruder, we can light him up with either the regular room lights or with a flashlight prior to taking aggressive action.

    I had taken his advice by strategically placing nightlights around my house prior to the incident. Further, I used the kind with a built-in electric eye that automatically activates them once ambient light levels fall. This way, they automatically come on when the room lights are turned off.

    The ambient light provided by the nightlights allowed me to clear the house without telegraphing my position by using the flashlight. It actually did work pretty well and, luckily, nobody was there.

    If you’ve not practiced clearing your own house in the dark, it can make for an interesting exercise. There are a few techniques that can really help when you are doing this. I’ll only mention two here. The first is to lead with your eyes. That means the first thing around any corner has to be your eyes, not your gun, not your shoulder, not your knee, and not your foot. The second is to create distance and not crowd your cover/concealment. That means to work corners from the far side of the room or hallway. If you do both of these you will be able to see the hand, elbow, and shoulder of an opponent before he sees any part of you, and you will have allowed yourself enough room to maneuver if you have to engage him.

    Although it’s best to not clear your own house unless you have to do what you have to do, a little prior planning and practice can help when push comes to shove.
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

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    Member Array chiboxer's Avatar
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    I am a member of a full-time SWAT team in WI. Clearing houses is a bread and butter type of activity for us. That said, if you're using a handgun, constant on is bad. You need to "blip" the light for small moments of time to maximize your tactical advantage. You know the layout of your home, so that's an advantage. You can also use the light to pin people behind cover, conceal your own location, etc. I strongly recommend you take a tactical low light course like the one SigArms put on. Just my two cents.
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    VIP Member Array obxned's Avatar
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    Dogs - providing home security for 16,000 years.
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    Senior Member Array f8lranger4x4's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go clearing my house alone. not a good idea. It takes 2 to clear a house otherwise your gonna get flanked. Also turning on the lights is bad for the nightvision and gives away your tactical advantages.

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    I was about to say that I wouldn't bother if I didn't have to go secure the kids. Safest thing is to hole up in the bedroom with the Mrs and wait for PD. Then it occured to me, am I really going to hear them because I heard sometrhing in my sleep? Was it even real or only part of a dream? Was it the wind or the cat? Can't very well spend all night covering the bedroom door on a regular basis, and can't really call the cops for every noise, and good luck going back to sleep when you don't know if its a threat or really nothing. So while it's far from ideal clear your home by yourself, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

    I vote for handgun. A long gun is difficult to retain control of and more unwieldy in close quarters. It's poking through the doorways before you can see what out there or it's in a retention position and not covering the threat area. Great if you are stationary but for moving, I gotta keep it compact. The weak hand is also available to open doors, fend off blows, hold the flashlight, etc.

    A useful tool for clearing the house might be remote control lights. A handheld remote can turn on one at a time or all of them. I could peek out of my room, which is the the back and a very dark spot overlooking the kitchen and living room. I could then turn on the living room or hallway light. They are both illuminated and probably thinking someone is in the hallway to turn on the light. They either leave or look to take me out in the hallway and now I'm behind them or on their flank with a big surprise for them. I've thought about plugging in a moderately loud buzzer or bell so I could even move without being heard once I know where they are, in case I need to get a better position or not shoot towards my kids' rooms.
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    VIP Member Array havegunjoe's Avatar
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    I release the hounds, have my wife behind the bed with her finger on the dialed 911 button, and I take it very slow. As someone above pointed out I have several night lights throughout the house to give me some light to work with. I have also announced that we have called 911, I have a gun and it is time for you to leave unharmed if you want to. There has never been anyone in the house luckily.
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    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Clearing your own house is probably not a good idea.

    Clearing the house is the job of the police and or swat team. Thats what they get paid to do.

    "Every situation is differn't but, still clearing your house is not the recommended first option"

    1)
    Establish a Safe room. (can be multiple rooms in the house, but there should be at least one armed person (s) in the room if you have more than one)

    First you find your family and get accountability once they have been located and all is well. The only time you should go out side of the safe room is to retrieve one of the family members if there not safe or the house is burning.

    Why would you ever go clear your house unless you were worried about the above is beyond understanding.
    Potential for shooting a fleeing suspect in the back is increased. Depending on what state you live in thats very bad.
    If you stay in a safe room you have a bottle neck, if you go outside of your room you are walking into a bottle neck.
    Potential for liability has just increased significanly
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    Member Array Airborne Sniper's Avatar
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    I clear my own house 4 to 6 times a year, mostly for practice and not because of any bumps in the night. I've cleared so many buildings in the military and as a deputy sheriff for over 27 years it's just a natural thing to me. I use an M-4 type rifle or 870 tactical shotgun as my primary firearm with a big bore pistol as a back-up gun. One thing to remember: It may be natural for me BUT I am NOT complacent about it. I expect trouble and am leery as I move through the house.
    Imagine that you're an enemy soldier and you are surrounded by U.S. Army paratroopers on one side and American marines on the other side... Talk about a hopeless situation... That has got to be legal grounds for suicide!

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    Member Array DrSal's Avatar
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    The only way I would clear my house is if the dogs rather ferocious barking came to an abrupt end. My kids are on the other side so I do not have a choice, just me and mr. sig.

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    Member Array Glock35's Avatar
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    I would think yelling at the intruder to leave the premises would be effective (burglar thinks everyone is asleep or gone, then heres the owner yelling). Although I think this might be the opposite of my instinct in the middle of the night.
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    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    Funny solution

    I keep a cardboard cutout of Andy Rooney in drag holding an AK-47 in my front room. That seems to send most people (let alone BGs) running...

    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    If you REALLY think there is an intruder then clearing your house by yourself, absent another consideration such a children who must be rounded up, is tactically unsound. If children or other family members must be secured it's STILL unsound but sometimes required by circumstances. It usually gives the intruder the defensive advantage instead of you, which can be a considerable advantage.

    If the house must be cleared, or children must be moved to a the safe room, or if you're simply not sure if there is an intruder and would rather check than call the cops for a false alarm... well, I don't feel like doing a whole article on tactical movement, pie-sectioning corners and doorways and the tactical use of flashlights. It's an involved subject... you can find info lots of places, but you might want to get real training.

    Chances are if the BG is really there, on the defensive and has half a brain you will die.

    In military tactics a defender in a hasty defensive position has a 3:1 advantage. In prepared positions it can go as high as 6:1. Your saferoom/ bedroom should be equal to a prepared defensive position. The badguy will likely have the advantage of a hasty defensive position. So, you're going from say 5:1 in your favor to 1:3 against... not good odds to face if you can help it.

    Having a dog can help, at least to know for sure someone is there... and a spouse who can help or at least hold the fort in the saferoom helps, too.

    I would use a shotgun as the weapon of choice. It's a better close combat weapon if you have to hit someone with it, and it's not as easy to disarm someone with a long gun as the movies and TV would have you think... else why do our guys in Iraq clear buildings with M4's instead of M9s?
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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