Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Best Home Defense Weapon

Now, this post is not meant to start a rabid debate.  This isn't about the best home defense weapon against hoards of zombies, or gangs of starving raiders.  For the sake of this post, a home defense weapon is what you grab on an average night when you wake up and hear something go 'bump'.

It's easy to be an "Arm Chair Rambo" and go on about how a Man's home is his CASTLE, it's should be manned with machine guns, and kill anyone who gets too close!!  That might be fine for tv and movies, but that doesn't work in real life.  Real life is always more complicated.

My goal with this post is to get you thinking realistically and practically about home defense.

The best home defense weapon is one of those topics that seems to instantly polarize people.  Is it a shot gun?  Is it a pistol?  What caliber?  What make and model?  There are hundreds of different options and thousands of different opinions.

Well, I recently picked up the absolute best home defense weapon.  For me.  For my situation.  Don't laugh, I'll be giving a thorough explanation why.  

Yes, for absolute best home defense weapon I chose a baseball bat (youth model, from Sports Authority, $19).  (A close runner up was pepper spray, another good option)

At this point, I'm sure you're all thinking "What the hell?!?"  Let me explain, I've got plenty of reasons.

I live in a very small apartment.  Like, insanely small.  I've seen bathrooms bigger than my apartment.  So, if something goes 'bump' in the night, it's already within spitting distance of my bed.  I need something that I can pick up and is immediately ready to defend me.  I won't have the time to stumble to the closet, rummage around, pull out a gun, rummage around some more for some bullets... 

I can see you thinking,  "Why not keep a loaded gun by the bed?"  

Well, there are a couple of problems with that.  I'm sure you can think of a few.  Half asleep, loaded gun...  

This is also where I need to mention that each state has different laws on what levels of force are acceptable when defending your home.  I'm not a lawyer, so DO NOT take this any of this as legal advice, look up the laws in your own state before you make your home defense plans.  Yes, you need to do the research and make a plan.  Do it now.  Just like everything else in life, it's better to have a plan in place BEFORE it's needed.

Now, from what I understand of Hawaiian law (again, do your own research), it is not legal to use a gun to defend your home.  It is legal to use a gun to defend against grievous harm or death, but not legal to defend property.  So, if you shot a burglar and he wasn't armed, theoretically you could be arrested.  In fact, in most home defense shootings the home owner is usually taken into custody until all the facts are sorted out.  Again, do not take these as facts, this is just what I understand from the documents I've read.  Research it for yourself in your state, it's amazingly convoluted.  There are huge differences between the laws in each state, it's important to learn the laws where you live.  It's probably also wise to talk to local law enforcement about home defense, learn their procedures, what to expect from them when they are responding to the call.  Remember, they will be coming to a potentially dangerous situation, knowing how they respond could make a big difference in the outcome when they show up.

That's why it's so important to do the research, talk to as many people as you can, gather all the information you can, and make a solid home defense plan.

There are also a lot of laws on how to keep and store your guns.  Again, I'm not a lawyer, but in Hawaii it is illegal to keep any firearms where children might be able to get them (ie, under my pillow).  They need to be out of the way, trigger locked, in a safe, something.  I'm not even sure if you can keep them loaded.  If I planned to use a gun as my primary home defense weapon I would know those laws inside and out.

So, those are the more legal-ish reasons for not wanting a loaded gun by my bed.  

On a more personal level, I don't like the ramifications of potentially using lethal force in a questionable situation.  Obviously, if it is a clear cut "it's him or me or my family" scenario, I wouldn't hesitate to use lethal force.  But when is anything ever clear cut?  Wandering a dark hall way with a loaded gun, not quite awake, scared, doesn't lead to good decision making.  Or what if I shoot at the bad guy but one of the bullets goes through the wall?  There are families that live in my neighboring apartments.  If I made a mistake, or hurt a neighbor, I would have a hard time living with myself.  

A mistake with a baseball bat has far less consequences than making a mistake with any gun.  Worst case scenario with the bat is I hit my TV in the confusion ($250).  Worst case with a gun... well, you get the idea.

To sum it up:
Bat is always locked and loaded
easy to use without training
effective at close quarters
more legal for home defense
if the bad guy gets it first I'm not totally screwed
usually non-lethal
less consequence for a mistake
less likely to get me sued
never runs out of bullets
better reach than a knife
effective against zombies

And finally, when I'm half asleep, storming out of my apartment in my boxers, bat in hand, the cops are less likely to shoot me.

My goal with this post is to make people ask questions, think about their situation, and try to come up with the most practical solution for their situation.  Talk to the police, research the laws in your state.  Make a plan that fits your situation, your family, your house, and your state.  A gun is not always the best self defense weapon.
For me, a baseball bat is the absolute best home defense weapon. 

What's yours?


  1. This process for self defense weapons is pretty detailed! I am glad you shared it because my brother is into karate. He said that he is trying to learn about disarming people in his class.

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