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From Home Invasions to SHTF: Defending Your Home Against Intruders And Attackers

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It doesn’t matter how much food and water you have – someone else is going to want to take it when the SHTF.

Many people think they’re prepared for the end of the world as we know it. They stockpile food, water, medicine and even ammunition. Unfortunately, though, most preppers aren’t aware of just how bad things can get when everything has collapsed, including the rule of law. 

Your friends and neighbors? They won’t be so friendly and neighborly anymore. They’re going to be starving, terrified and willing to do anything to stay alive just one more day. And they’re not even the worst of your problems.

Organized crime gangs, including outlaw bikers or even rogue military units are also going to want to stay alive. 

Thinking of calling the cops? Don’t bother. Because not only will communications systems fail, the cops will have long walked off their posts to go home and protect their own families from the ensuing chaos.

VNSH Holster

It’s a simple fact: When civilization starts to break down it’s every man for himself. Think about the drastic measures that you would take to feed your family in the event that you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from. Everyone else is going to do the same… or worse.

If you’re a loud and proud prepper you need to stop right now. The best defense for a situation like this arising in the future is to be very mum about what you have on hand. Everyone will be a target, but if you’re perceived as a man who is prepared for the worst, you’re going to be the biggest target on the block in the event that the worst actually happens. 

The situation is dire, difficult and grim… but it is not hopeless. In fact, with just a little bit of preparation for the worst you can plan for the best. Why?

Because the types of criminal gangs that will be stalking the post-apocalyptic wasteland will be looking for low-hanging fruit and easy targets. That means that if you can make yourself a harder target, you’ll move yourself a little further up the tree and they’ll start looking for someone else to rob, rape and murder. 

Word will likely travel fast that you are not a man to be trifled with. While this might have some stern characters thinking they can handle you, you’ll be prepared for them while simultaneously sending the message to all comers that there’s easier food to be had. 

The best part is that you don’t have to implement these techniques in preparation for the end of the world. Much of what we’re about to teach you will hold up for a home invasion just as well as it will an attack by apocalyptic wasteland warlords. 

So how do you prepare for attacks on your castle and keep your family safe?

How To Fortify Your Home Against Attacks

A good home defense plan starts with getting your home ready for an attack. What’s more, conflict avoided is conflict won. What this means simply is that if you can avoid being attacked in the first place, you’ve already won the battle. Think of it: Would you rather have a cool war story of how you fended off attackers or a totally boring evening?

The choice is obvious. So here’s how you start getting your home ready for an attack. 

Clearing Brush

There are two ways to think about clearing brush and keeping your area nice and tidy. Now we know that in an apocalyptic situation yard care isn’t going to be your first priority… but hear us out on this.

For normal situations, clearing brush is absolutely necessary so that you don’t give your targets anything to hide behind in the event that there’s a bunch of them coming for your home. 

That’s one way of looking at things in a more lawless situation.

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The other way of looking at things is making your place look like an absolute dump so that people avoid it. They think it’s either already been picked over, or else… well, it’s a dump and they’re just going to keep looking for somewhere a little more posh. 

Think about it: If you were a wasteland raider trying to get your hands on whatever you could find, what would you raid? The well-kept McMansion in the cul-de-sac or the place with garbage and dog poop and everything else all over the lawn? 

So while you might be house proud now, when the end of the world as we know it comes a-knockin, you might want to be the guy that’s always doing battle with the HOA over the state of his law. You might not like looking out at your yard, but it’s one way to make your place less appealing to the kinds of people who might show up demanding everything that you have. 

Keeping Things Well Lit

Again, this is another area where there are different approaches. In the normal, mostly law-abiding world in which we live, you definitely want to have everything around your house as well-lit as possible. 

On the other hand, if you’re in a SHTF type scenario you don’t want any kind of lighting if you can help it? Why? Because if the grid is down and you have flood lights going 12 hours a day, that’s a huge neon sign pointing to your house that says “rob me.” 

On the third hand, having those flood lights in place and being ready to deploy them at a critical moment of your choosing is a great way to catch your enemy totally off guard. Not only will they be completely exposed in the light, they also will not be expecting there to be electric lights of any kind in the brave new world you live in. 

You’ll want to deploy these judiciously, but the important thing to remember is that it’s better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.


Cameras aren’t going to do you much good in a SHTF scenario. After all, who are you going to show the tapes to? They might have some value in giving you footage to “Monday morning quarterback” from, but all told, they’re probably not worth the energy that you’re going to spend getting them.

Here in the world we currently live in, however, these are an absolute must and the more the better. You can get an eye on people lurking about your property, giving you something to hand over to the police before you have a mob arriving at your doorstep. Likewise, you could also use these for recon of your yard to see if anyone is sniffing around in a post-apocalyptic situation but, like we said, it’s going to take a fair bit of electricity to do that and you probably have better things to spend that precious voltage on. 

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Like many things, this is a situation you will have to evaluate. If you have an absolutely baller solar system, it might be worth the juice. For everyone else, skip it. 

Securing the Perimeter: Alarms and Traps For Home Defense

There are other, better ways to secure the perimeter of your home against intruders that don’t require any electricity whatsoever. Some of these go one step further and disable, incapacitate or even kill attackers for daring to trespass against you and your family. 

We’re talking about alarms and traps. Alarms don’t have to be modern, electricity intensive alarms. In fact, there are a number of ways for you to alert yourself to the presence of intruders on your property without using a single watt. 

One thing that many people don’t think of as an alarm is a dog. In fact, if you’re building a serious “compound”-style survival retreat, a dog or four is a great investment… though keep in mind that’s more mouths to feed. Several breeds such as German shepherd dogs, boerboels, bullmastiffs and Rhodesian ridgebacks are bred specifically for the purpose of being guards dogs. You can even train certain breeds to detain intruders without harming them, such as the bullmastiff. 

Triplines are another device you can set up that requires none of your precious home electricity and can alert you to the presence of an intruder. They can be rigger in such a way that once the tension in the line reaches the breaking point (i.e. when an intruder trips over the line), an alarm (either battery or solar powered) will go off. Of course, you can rig tripwires just as easily to be traps as you can wire them to be alarms. 

Security cameras that aren’t hooked up don’t require electricity and also don’t do much… but they can act as a deterrent to more easily intimidated and credulous intruders who simply see a camera and assume that you’re waiting to ambush anyone who steps onto your property. 

A quick word about setting traps on your land: First of all, there are entire multi-volume book sets written on the subject of booby traps to ensnare, injure, incapacitate or even kill intruders on your land. However, we have to address one major problem with all of these traps: They don’t discriminate between malicious intruder, benign wanderer and small child who’s lost their way. 

The point is this: We’re not going to tell you if you should or shouldn’t put traps on your land to protect yourself and your family. That’s for you to decide. But before you start digging through old Army manuals on how to lay traps for the enemy, please at least consider the potential that any deadly or disfiguring traps that you set on your land don’t discriminate between good guys, bad guys and the totally innocent (children and animals). You also wouldn’t be the first prepper alive to run afoul of their own trap. 

So exercise caution when setting traps. They might provide you with some kind of protection, but they’re certainly not without their drawbacks. All of this must be weighed before you start deploying them all over your land. 

Do You Want To Build A Bunker?

People throw the word “bunker” around in this space a lot. Well… let’s talk bunkers. 

First, there’s the classic bunker that’s well… a bunker. You can get these made, but they’re not cheap. There’s also the small problem of everyone seeing a bunker being built in your backyard. Even if you somehow manage to conceal this from your neighbors, you’re going to have a record of your transaction somewhere out there in the world. 

Don’t be surprised if the workmen start showing up at your place after the SHTF. Things are going to be desperate and what’s effectively a gentleman’s agreement to keep quiet about your construction project isn’t going to be worth the paper that it’s printed on once people start starving in the streets.

Shockwave Mini

Much better – and cheaper – is a panic room for you and your family. Think about what you really want when you talk about getting a bunker. What you really want is an impenetrable fortress for you and your family to retreat to if you have no other options. So a safe room can serve that purpose whether you’re planning for a home invasion or the end of the world as we know it. 

Unlike a bunker which is kind of an “all or nothing” kind of proposal, a safe room is more of a modular affair. You can build it out then add to it as you go. You might end up spending five figures on the final project, but you can pay for it as you go rather than having to drop 60 grand on a bunker all in one go. 

Defending Yourself And Your Family: Weapons

There’s no question about it… when the chips are down you’re going to have to be a man capable of doing violence – potentially savage, lethal violence – to another man. If you’re not capable of this there’s a good chance you simply won’t be able to hack it in a world without the rule of law.

The purpose of this isn’t to glorify violence. Far from it. Violence is ugly, but it will be the currency of the realm in a world where the cops simply are not going to come if you call them and violent men are taking whatever they can from the weaker among us. 

One problem that Sam Colt fixed is that all men are not created equally when it comes to the field of combat. So you can level the playing field with a 250-pound outlaw biker even if you’re a 70-year-old grandmother thanks to firearms. 

VNSH Holster

Guns are absolutely the cornerstone of any home defense plan. You need them and you probably need more than one. A good guideline is going to be at least one for every person in the house. 

But what kind of gun should you get?

Like basically everything else here, the answer is “it depends.” The short version is that the best gun for you to have is the one that you shoot best with. So all the argument about shotguns versus carbines versus semi-automatics versus revolvers ultimately come down to whatever you feel most comfortable shooting with. 

That said, you might want to consider broadening your horizons based on the following information:

  • Shotguns: Shotguns are great for people who just aren’t that great at shooting because a shotgun blast is going to go everywhere. The downside is that they kick like an angry mule and you hopefully don’t value anything in the room you just discharged into. They’re imprecise, which is great if you can’t hid the broad side of a barn door, but if you’re even a halfway decent shot, they’re probably not the best for home defense, though they may still be a great option for defending your home from the outside. Shotguns are extremely limited in their capacity and semi-automatic shotguns are very likely to jam up because the heat tends to melt shotgun shells. 
  • Carbines: People tend not to think of the AR-15 as a home defense weapon, but it’s actually an excellent firearm for defending your castle against intruders. It doesn’t kick anything near what a shotgun does and you can buy some high capacity magazines for taking out 20, 50 or even 100 intruders without reloading, provided that you’re a good enough shot. A sling means you can have both your hands free while retaining the weapon, and they also make it harder to take away from you. This is going to be, all things being equal, your best option for home defense. 
  • Revolvers: Revolvers mostly fall under the category of “if this is what you feel most comfortable shooting.” They have a major disadvantage compared to other weapons because they’re firing capacity is limited. When you do run out of ammo, it’s going to take you a lot of time to reload and reloading requires fine motor skills which likely will have gone completely out the window the second you got into a life-threatening firefight with an intruder. On the other hand, they’re not going to jam up on you. 
  • Semi-Automatics: A lot of people don’t like semi-automatics because the have a reputation for jamming up. However, this isn’t nearly the issue that it used to be in the 20th Century. Semi-automatic firearms have come a long way, provided that you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks for something a little more top of the line than a modern day “Saturday night special.” They can hold far more rounds than a revolver (but far less than a carbine) and they’re very easy to reload. Even if they do jam, you just drop the magazine, clear your weapon and load another. 

Thinking Beyond The Barrel: Weapons Other Than Guns

No matter how much ammunition you have, on a long enough timeline you’re going to run out. While you might be able to scavenge some or even do a bit of reloading, it’s important to have weapons other than firearms to help you to level the playing field against larger, stronger attackers. 

To be clear, none of these are as good as a gun. However, in the hands of a skilled operator, they can be absolutely deadly. It should go without saying that you need to train with any weapon that you plan on using in combat before your life is on the line.

  • Bow and Arrow: It doesn’t matter if this is a crossbow, a compound bow or an improvised longbow. You’ve got a fair bit of range, a deadly weapon and a virtually unlimited supply of ammunition all around you. You can also use these to hunt, which makes them… not as good as a gun, but the closest thing that you’re going to get when all the ammunition in the world has dried up. 
  • Knives and Machetes: If you’re in a survival situation there’s no better tool you can have in your hands than a machete. There’s just about nothing this thing can’t do when it’s not splitting the skulls of your enemies open like over ripened coconuts. Most people don’t think of either knives or machetes as range weapons, but in the hands of a skilled operator, they’re great at taking out enemies. You need to know how to throw them properly and the method for throwing a combat knife is totally different than the method for throwing one for sport competition. 
  • Improvised Weapon: Just about anything can become a weapon if you’re willing to make it one. There are a number of books out there explaining how to create improvised weapons out of anything you can think of. This is great, because what it means is that everything in your home has the potential for violent, lethal force if you know how to wield it properly. This is a very big topic and one deserving of a several books… which is why there are so many out there to teach you how to make improvised weapons. Don’t count on having your favorite weapon in your hand when you need it. In any given situation, the best weapon is the one you had… not the one that you wish you had. 

Preparing your home against intruders, be they run of the mill criminals of the modern age or psychopathic warlords of the post-apocalyptic wasteland isn’t about making massive investments or huge changes to your home. It’s about common sense preparedness Unlike many other forms of preparedness, home defense is going to start paying dividends long before the SHTF. 

Every family should be prepared for attacks from criminals, because they can happen anywhere from the inner city to the countryside. Those more concerned about the end of the world as we know it can rest assured that the measures they take to protect themselves in the world we live in will help them to stand on firm footing if the relatively safety of contemporary life goes away tomorrow. 

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Protect Your Second Amendment Rights: Oppose SB 1160 and SB 1253 in California


On Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30am, the California Senate Public Safety Committee is slated to review two concerning bills that threaten the rights of firearm owners across the Golden State. As staunch advocates for the Second Amendment, it’s imperative for NRA Members and supporters of gun rights to take action. Senate Bill 1160 and Senate Bill 1253 pose significant threats, and it’s crucial to voice opposition to these proposed measures.

Senate Bill 1160: Annual Firearm Registration Requirement


Senate Bill 1160 represents a direct assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. This bill seeks to mandate an annual re-registration process for all firearms with the Department of Justice. If enacted, firearm owners would be compelled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles each year and pay undisclosed fees to maintain their registration status.

This onerous requirement not only burdens responsible gun owners with unnecessary red tape but also sets a dangerous precedent for government overreach into the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment. Under SB 1160, failure to comply with the annual registration mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $1000 and the potential confiscation of unregistered firearms.

Upholding Second Amendment Freedoms: Take Action Against SB 1160

It’s imperative for Second Amendment supporters to stand united against Senate Bill 1160. This legislation threatens the core principles of individual liberty and firearm ownership rights. We urge all concerned citizens to contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and vehemently oppose SB 1160.

Senate Bill 1253: Restricting Firearm Possession without Firearm Safety Card

Another concerning proposal slated for review is Senate Bill 1253, which seeks to further restrict firearm ownership rights in California. Under existing law, individuals are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Card to purchase or receive a firearm. However, SB 1253 aims to extend this requirement to possession, effectively prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms without a valid Firearm Safety Card.

This additional hurdle not only imposes unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners but also fails to address the root causes of crime and violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to firearm laws, rendering such measures ineffective at curbing illicit gun activities. Instead, SB 1253 unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens and undermines their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Defending Second Amendment Liberties: Oppose SB 1253

Senate Bill 1253 represents yet another attempt to erode the Second Amendment freedoms of Californians. By imposing stringent requirements for firearm possession, this bill unfairly targets responsible gun owners while doing little to enhance public safety. It’s essential for proponents of gun rights to take a stand against SB 1253 and advocate for the preservation of constitutional liberties.

Take Action: Protect Second Amendment Rights in California


As the Senate Public Safety Committee prepares to review SB 1160 and SB 1253, it’s paramount for NRA Members and supporters of the Second Amendment to make their voices heard. Use the Take Action button below to contact committee members and urge them to oppose these egregious bills. Together, we can defend our cherished freedoms and safeguard the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Do you live in California? What do you do to oppose greater encroachment on your right to keep and bear arms? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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The AR-15: A Versatile Platform for Every Shooter


The AR pattern rifle, affectionately known as the “AR-15,” has become a staple in the firearms community, offering unparalleled versatility and customization options. From budget-friendly builds to high-end boutique rifles, there seems to be a configuration for every shooter’s preferences and needs. But with so many parts available, is there truly a rifle for everyone? And is there even a wrong answer to the AR question?

Diverse Builders, Diverse Builds

The AR-15 has evolved beyond just a firearm; it’s now a sport in itself, with enthusiasts eagerly assembling rifles tailored to their specific desires. Whether someone is aiming for the cheapest build, the most boutique setup, or a specialized rifle for a particular purpose like suppressor use, the AR platform offers endless possibilities. This diversity among builders reflects the platform’s adaptability and appeal to a wide range of shooters.

Navigating Budget Builds: A Personal Journey

Recently, there’s been a surge in interest in building affordable AR-style rifles, prompting many to explore budget-friendly options. One such endeavor involved sourcing parts directly from Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA), a company with a reputation for offering budget-friendly components. Despite initial reservations due to past controversies and quality concerns, the experience of assembling a rifle from BCA parts proved surprisingly positive.

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Upon receiving the parts from BCA, there was a mix of anticipation and skepticism. However, upon inspection, there was a notable nod of approval for the quality of finish work, packaging, and overall presentation. While some parts lacked robust packaging, none arrived damaged, showcasing BCA’s attention to detail. Despite some vagueness regarding product specs, BCA’s use of 4150 CM-V and 416 Stainless barrels instilled confidence in the build.

Assembly Practices: Attention to Detail

Building the lower receiver proved relatively straightforward, but attention to detail was paramount. Proper torqueing of the castle nut, staking the end plate, and meticulous lubrication ensured adherence to factory specifications and optimal performance. The importance of using proper tools, lubricants, and assembly techniques cannot be overstated, particularly for critical components like the trigger and gas system.

Navigating Upper Receiver Assembly

While assembling the lower receiver was relatively straightforward, the upper receiver presented more complexity and significance. Attention to detail during barrel installation, gas system alignment, and muzzle device timing were crucial for ensuring accuracy, reliability, and safety. Thermal fitting techniques and proper torqueing procedures were employed to optimize barrel-to-receiver fit and gas system performance.

Range Testing and Final Thoughts

After meticulous assembly and function testing, the rifle was taken to the range for reliability and accuracy testing. Using a variety of ammunition types and optics configurations, the rifle performed admirably, showcasing respectable accuracy and reliability. While there were minor issues such as an over-gassed barrel, these were addressed with aftermarket solutions. Overall, Bear Creek Arsenal’s components proved to offer excellent value for budget-conscious builders, demonstrating that affordability doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality.

The AR-15 is a highly adaptable platform allowing builds for a wide array of preferences for all kinds of shooters. Whether building a budget-friendly rifle or investing in high-end components, the AR platform offers endless customization possibilities. While each builder may have their own priorities and preferences, the beauty of the AR-15 lies in its ability to accommodate them all, ensuring that there truly is a rifle for every shooter.

Do you own an AR-15? Have you ever built one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Mack W. Gwinn Jr.: A Tribute to a Firearms Pioneer


Mack W. Gwinn Jr., a visionary in the firearms industry, passed away on March 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and dedication to his craft. Born in Florida, Gwinn’s journey into the world of firearms began with his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces, where he earned several Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star during seven deployments to Vietnam.

From Military Service to Firearms Innovation

Following his military service, Gwinn transitioned into the firearms industry, where he made significant contributions. One of his notable achievements was acquiring the rights to the Colt IMP-221, a stockless, gas-operated bullpup pistol initially developed for aircrew survival in the U.S. Air Force. Redesigning the concept to accept the 5.56 NATO caliber and standard AR magazines, Gwinn founded Gwinn Arms and introduced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol in the early 1970s.

Pioneering Personal Defense Weapons

The Bushmaster Arm Pistol, an innovative pistol-sized firearm utilizing an intermediate round, predated the concept of personal defense weapons (PDWs) by a generation. Although not a commercial blockbuster, the Arm Pistol laid the foundation for Bushmaster Firearms and left an indelible mark on the industry.

Legacy of Innovation

Beyond the Bushmaster Arm Pistol, Gwinn’s influence extended to various other firearms projects and inventions. He held patents for extended capacity magazines and developed concepts for firearms applications ranging from target pistols to recoil reduction systems. His ingenuity and curiosity led him to explore diverse projects, including vehicle design and accessory development.

Remembering a Trailblazer

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.’s passing marks the end of an era in the firearms community. His contributions to the industry will be remembered for years to come, serving as inspiration for future generations of innovators. In honoring his memory, donations can be made to the Maine Veterans Project, and condolences may be expressed to his family at BrookingsSmith.

Mack W. Gwinn Jr. leaves behind a legacy of excellence, marked by his unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of firearms design and technology. His impact on the industry will continue to resonate, ensuring his place among the pantheon of firearms pioneers.

Do you know Mack W. Gwinn Jr? How about his famous firearms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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