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Old 09-08-2009, 04:48 AM   #1
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Default House Clearing

I've been practicing clearing my house in the event of a break-in situation. I've come upon a question. I'll try my best to illustrate my house layout.

I live in a 2-story ranch style home. The entry level is the upstairs, and the basement is below the ground. I live in the basement, at the furthest-most point in the house. Clearing the basement from my room is no problem. There is only one point in or out. I open my bedroom door and have eye contact with that entry point. All threats will have to be directly in front of me.

Here is where it gets tricky. The entry point is a stair case. Directly at the top of the stairs is outside door #1 (back door). But when you make it to the top of the stairs, you must turn 180 degrees to continue to the rest of the house (in other words, my back is exposed the whole time while ascending the stair case).

How should one clear a staircase like this? From the bottom of the staircase it is very clear whether or not the door was breached or closed, or whether someone was standing there. Im more worried about what would be in the rest of the house. Should I ascend the stair case backwards?

Also, the staircase has a solid banister. You cannot see on the other side of it until you are at the top. So, it may be possible for someone to be crouched down and me not know it until I was literally on top of them.

Any suggestions from you tactical types would be greatly appreciated.

The weapons I would be clearing with are either my Glock or my Mossberg 590.

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:29 AM   #2
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you could figure out a way to set up a mirror kinda like they put in hallways in buildings but you would have to make sure a bad guy couldnt use it against you, you would have to get the angle just right.but what i would personally do is buy a cheap baby closed circuit monitor yhey got color display or black and white.if you have a little money to spend you can get a low or no light system and just run it to the t.v. in your bedroom that sounds like a lot to do but if your truly worried then its not to much.

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Old 09-10-2009, 03:12 AM   #3
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If it were me and i knew there was someone in the house i wouldn't go up the stairs at all. I would wait for them to enter the bottleneck while i wait behind cover.
If i HAD to go up the stairs (and there would need to be a damn good reason, i.e. a vulnerable family member etc) I would keep my back to the solid wall for the best range of vision, then move quickly and smoothly to minimize my time in the open and keep my muzzle steady for better target picture.

I have no formal tactical training. That is just what I would do.

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Old 09-10-2009, 04:42 AM   #4
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That is a tough one, my choice would be to add a dog to your home defense. It doesn't have to be a guard dog just one that will follow simple hand commands. They are great as they hear anythig well before you do and will alert when they hear an odd noise/smell in the house. If someone is on the other side of a stair case the dog will know it. In a worse case senerio the dog will clear the vantage point first and take the BG's fire, distract him or attack him. I have a lab and a rot, the lab is better trained but the rot will be the one who takes a bite out of crime. Both sleep in my room and when they get up in the middle of the night I take notice.

Choke points are always your advantage but I expect most of us aren't willing to let our homes to be robbed while setting in the perfect spot. Also if you have other people in your home you may have to move beyound that prefect spot to defend them.

I mirror isn't a bad idea but it should be something that seems normal in a home and understand if you can see them in the mirror they can see you as well.

As always expressed good motion sensor lights outside, a good alarm system with vid are great ideas. Make your home a harder target than your neighbors.

Something I added to my routine is a spare remote/fob for my truck on the night stand, it's always parked in the driveway. If I believe there is someone in the house I would hit the panic button on the remote setting off the alarm, with luck it would distract the intruder and wake the neighbors.

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Old 09-10-2009, 04:57 AM   #5
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Something I added to my routine is a spare remote/fob for my truck on the night stand, it's always parked in the driveway. If I believe there is someone in the house I would hit the panic button on the remote setting off the alarm, with luck it would distract the intruder and wake the neighbors.
Thats brilliant! Why didnt I think of that. I will deff make a note of this! (I always wanted a remote starter anyways, I can just get them both on one remote!)
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by falseharmonix View Post
Here is where it gets tricky. The entry point is a stair case. Directly at the top of the stairs is outside door #1 (back door). But when you make it to the top of the stairs, you must turn 180 degrees to continue to the rest of the house (in other words, my back is exposed the whole time while ascending the stair case).

How should one clear a staircase like this? From the bottom of the staircase it is very clear whether or not the door was breached or closed, or whether someone was standing there. Im more worried about what would be in the rest of the house. Should I ascend the stair case backwards?

Also, the staircase has a solid banister. You cannot see on the other side of it until you are at the top. So, it may be possible for someone to be crouched down and me not know it until I was literally on top of them.
You might try going up at a angle with your back to the wall. But not touching it but a few inches away so you don't have to worry about skidders (skidders are rounds that hit a wall and then ricochet or bounce along the edge of the wall in the direction they were fired). This way you can keep an eye on the door and the edge of the bannister where it meets the top floor and also have an eye on the top where the rest of the house is. You would also keep your weapon pointed generally in front of you so you could quickly swing towards the direction of the seen threat. If you hear something on your way up stop, listen and wait for a minute or two. Once you start back up start getting lower so your head does not go above the bannister until you have almost reached the top of the stairs. Lean over the top of the bannister if you can to clear that section of the top floor and then move around the choke point to finish clearing the house. If that door you mentioned at the top of the stairs is open I suggest closing it if you can to secure the area behind you as you move through the rest of the house.

Your the one defending not the other so take your time. You should know the house well enough to navigate in darkness unlike the threat. Slow sure movements are the way to go in this situation. Don't funnel yourself in doorways and pie the corners. Good luck to you if it does happen. I always hated having to clear stairwells in training and they are a nightmare in real life, but grenades always made them a little easier to get through
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
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Ideally, you don't want to move. Ideally, you want the threat to come to you. For those times when you don't have a choice and must move, you could try using a telescoping inspection mirror like one of these in order to get around a tricky corner:

SWAT MIRRORS

Don't forget that a large convex wall-mounted mirror works BOTH ways, and may significantly increase the reaction time of either opponent. If it were me, I'd use a dog - A big, hard-biting dog!





PS: Have you ever thought about slipping out a window or the backdoor and approaching the problem from the outside of the building?

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WDB View Post
That is a tough one, my choice would be to add a dog to your home defense. It doesn't have to be a guard dog just one that will follow simple hand commands. They are great as they hear anythig well before you do and will alert when they hear an odd noise/smell in the house. If someone is on the other side of a stair case the dog will know it. In a worse case senerio the dog will clear the vantage point first and take the BG's fire, distract him or attack him. I have a lab and a rot, the lab is better trained but the rot will be the one who takes a bite out of crime. Both sleep in my room and when they get up in the middle of the night I take notice.

Choke points are always your advantage but I expect most of us aren't willing to let our homes to be robbed while setting in the perfect spot. Also if you have other people in your home you may have to move beyound that prefect spot to defend them.

I mirror isn't a bad idea but it should be something that seems normal in a home and understand if you can see them in the mirror they can see you as well.

As always expressed good motion sensor lights outside, a good alarm system with vid are great ideas. Make your home a harder target than your neighbors.

Something I added to my routine is a spare remote/fob for my truck on the night stand, it's always parked in the driveway. If I believe there is someone in the house I would hit the panic button on the remote setting off the alarm, with luck it would distract the intruder and wake the neighbors.
You wanted the best advice you could get from any of "us" tactical types this is the best one mentioned. The others would work, but add a dog and an few motion detectors lights to outside entrys and an alarm system.

Even just a few motion detectors mounted at all entry ways inside would be very helpful. #1 offensive and defensive security accessory for the home in America, besides a firearm, a dog.

Jack
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by WDB View Post
Something I added to my routine is a spare remote/fob for my truck on the night stand, it's always parked in the driveway. If I believe there is someone in the house I would hit the panic button on the remote setting off the alarm, with luck it would distract the intruder and wake the neighbors.
That's genius!!!! I have my keys by my bed aswell, but this never occurred to me.
But as others have stated, I would get a dog if I was you. It's hard to think about your dog getting hurt in that situation, but remember, a loyal dog is always willing to lay his life on the line for his owner. Besides, I feel sorry for any poor SOB that messes with one of my dogs. If they don't make it to him I sure as heck will.
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:29 PM   #10
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I agree with G21.45 about staying put. Not that I advocatesitting and waiting for trouble however calling 911 and getting to cover would be the best bet.

If you needed to get upstairs to grab your kids or had some other dire need to clear the house to that point, I just offer that clearing stairs while maintaining your personal security is a huge tactical problem, especially if you're doing it alone without the aid of a cover man (or woman, whichever the case).

I have cleared many buildings alone and when it comes to stairs, I generally keep my back to the wall and move as quickly as I can to the blind spot, then haul butt out of the funnel. Since it's your house, you know what's at the top of the stairs for cover and/or a clear field of view so use that to your advantage by getting there double fast. Only my thoughts if you don't have any of the means mentioned before and a real need to seek out the intruder.

I'd more likely reccomend turning on every light switch you can get a hold of and announce that you are armed and have called the police. If you go looking to engage someone, chances are that you will get the opportunity.

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