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A little history. When my family and I(my parents and myself) first moved into our home here in Plano, on Halloween night some vandals stole the rear view mirror from my dad's classic car. The very next day my dad installed a set of motion activated lights, to alert us and possibly scare off anybody lurking around the back of the house(in the alleyway). That was two years ago...and occasionally, something will set off the lights. Usually, it is when there is a storm or heavy wind and it blows the trees around enough to activate the lights, occasionally it is a cat, dog, or raccoon. Somehow, it became my duty to investigate when the lights go "on"(as opposed to out). And this became one of the various bumps in the night around my home.

Tonight, the lights went "on", it wasn't overtly windy and the time was just about the end of dusk(still a very faint light in the air). As is my duty, I went to investigate. Taking my 1911 loaded with 230 grain Winchester hollow points, my cell phone, and my Surefire G2 flashlight. It turned out to be a slight wind combined with the neighbor's cat prowling around chasing lightning bugs.

It occurred to me as I came back inside, that I have a very well thought out plan for "bumps" in the night. First I grab the 1911, flashlight and cell phone(all within close proximity of one another) and check it out. It also occurred to me as I've been training and preparing more and more for things like this, that I felt very confident should I have to face any potential situation. I realized that my very bright flashlight, combined with my powerful handgun, my skills in using both, and my cell phone, would provide me with all the tools I could possibly want in any event.

So how about you folks? What are your responses to some "bumps in the night" and do you feel confident in the tools you choose to confront them?

-Rob
 

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Hello. If at all possible, the rare time or two this sort of thing has happened, I've given more than ample time for the BG that made the "bump" to come to me. In each case it turned out to be nothing. Years ago, I heard someone trying to get into my new house and I interrupted his doing so but he was clearly outside and I was inside.

Yes, I feel pretty confident in the tools I currently have for such greetings. Currently that would include a Stinger flashlight that's kept charged and regularly checked and a Glock 17 loaded with Winchester 127-gr. +P+. This is essentially backup for the Remington 870 loaded with 000 buckshot.

Best.
 

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Rob,

There's not been many times.

First time I was probably about 16. I ended up shooting a warning shot over some guy's head. My dog had alerted and I grabbed my Single Six loaded with magnums. We went to find some guy coming in through the front door. I opened it, stupidly, and let one fly over his head. I yelled for him to leave, centered the front sight on his chest, and his paralysis broke. He ran. I didn't let Shep pursue. I spend the rest of the night behind a barricade made out of the couch. I had my old Mossy 500 slug gun, my Winchester 9422m, and the Single Six there with me. I guess I kinda' overreacted. Afterward I just made sure I had a good barricade to jump behind, in a "safe room."

Currently, however, the house we're remodeling almost literally from the 2x4s on up does not lend itself to good security at the present time. If something goes "bump" I have to do the room clearing thing I learned in college. I'd rather not take the fight to the BG, but I have to get to the kids' rooms.

Josh <><
 

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I am loathe to wander around in the dark looking for noise makers, but sometimes I do, when I am reasonably sure it is NOT a bad guy, but more likely one of my horses loose (occasional problem) or Mr. Possum raiding my garbage can (more likely). Either way, I keep a Smartcarry next to the bed with my current carry gun (.357 snubby), two bianchi speedstrips, my Surefire in the pockets, and my cell phone clipped to it. I can quickly put that on. My wife keeps her purse, with her carry gun and cell phone and Surefire, on her side of the bed. As noted elsewhere, we also have a couple reliable guns stashed elsewhere in the house in case we are not in the bedroom when something bad starts breaking in.

My first plan, if I hear a bump (usually wife is first to hear it), is strap on the gear and wait to see what happens next, being ready to move to our "safe room". I am very leery of playing tag out in the dark with some clown trying to do evil.

If I do decide the bump needs investigating (i.e. it's probably NOT a bad guy), I kill any lights inside the house, activate any outside lights not on by the motion detector, then check thru the windows, then check again with a light. THEN, with wife staying IN the house with phone/gun/light, I carefully venture out the front door with light and handgun in hands, and start checking (first hiding places around house for BG, then for loose animals, etc). So far have not encountered anything more fierce than Mr. Possum (and he can be fierce!). I would prefer to take my 870 with me, but in the dark it is safer/easier to use the handgun and a separate light so I don't have to muzzle-flash everything in creation to see, and I like to keep the gun in close, instead of sticking out in front where someone could grab it more easily.

If the "bump" is more of a "crash" or some other noise that indicates B & E, we of course grab our bedside equipment, then move into the walkin closet in the bathroom which ajoins our bedroom, secure the bathroom door (I put a steel cross bar on the inside for this purpose), then call the cops. The closet is 90 degrees off the bathroom entrance, so even if someone shoots thru the bathroom door, we are out of the line of fire. If they break thru the door (which is not the stoutest in the world, the bar is there to slow them down and make them work at it), they will get a surprise in their left ear. The closet has extra weaponry, flashlight, water, and a radio, since it is also our hiding place for tornados. We would call the cops on our cell phone and wait out the siege.

I recently read some tips on another website, which I can't recall at the moment, that made sense to me, and I think I will add this to "the plan". It recommended putting your house key and a laminated diagram of your house on a key ring with a light stick, so that when the cops do show up and have the outside of the house under control, you can tell the 911 dispatcher about it and toss it out the window without having to leave the safe room to go to the door (and thru the house where the BG may still be lurking). The cops can find the key, and the diagram tells them where the armed good guys are, and what the rest of the house looks like. They can then enter at their leisure, and do their house clearing routine. When they end up outside my bathroom door, the dispatcher can tell me it's really them, I can carefully unlock my door and stick my empty hands out, and go from there.

I would be interested in Stephen Camp's perspective as a law officer, responding to a call of a "bump in the night," and wondering if he's going to run into an armed BG, an armed citizen, or both, and how he would handle it. This maybe a topic for another thread; if so, I will rewrite this and pose the question to our board's law enforcement community.

elb
 

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Hello. When an officer I now and again responded to "prowler calls" at night in which the complainant was armed. The dispatchers would usually note this information and relay it to us so we made darned sure they knew we were the police. I had no real problems with armed homeowners.

Rarely did we find a prowler but now and again, yes. Usually it was a window-peeper watching some young girl or woman while masturbating. I often wondered if that was all they had in mind or if they were working themselves up for something else like a sexual assault.

As a homeowner and private citizen, I still suggest letting the "bump" come to you if at all possible but sometimes it is not. This is where tactics and proper gun handling can pay off big time not just if the "bump" turns out to be a real threat but in not shooting a member of the household or the cat.

Best.
 

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Unless I'm sure they're four-legged bumps, I too prefer letting them come to me. That way they're having to come to MY space, which gives me the advantage. I have a couple of really noisy dogs out there who give me a good heads up, at least when the threat comes from the front. If someone managed to work their way around back, I'm not sure if the dogs would know, or care. That's where the bumpinthenight gun comes in. Because of the layout of my home, it's very hard to work around behind me, however.

From a strictly legal standpoint, it's also a lot easier to justify a shooting if the intruder is inside the premises. The position of the bad guy's remains can make a huge difference in perception when the DA begins looking at his cases.
 

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Hi there,

I generally don't worry too much about things outside the house that go bump in the night. As long as the doors are locked and I know the location of family members within the household, there's not too much to pay attention to as far as intruders.

The incidence and probability of home invasion is very low where I live. Should something happen, I do keep a loaded firearm near by, as well as, my cell phone.

Chris
 
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Hello,

I agree with the majority in letting the "Bump" come to you. Going outside to meet the threat opens up a whole new can of worms and things can go downhill very fast. I prefer to avoid any direct confrontation if possible, and stay inside.

I had an attempted breakin one morning while I was at home and I scared the inividual off by pointing my Remington 870 at him through my sliding door next to the window he was trying to break into. I was inside, he was outside and I called the police after he ran.

I alway keep a loaded firearm next to my bed as well as 2 Surefires and the cell phone.

Brian
 

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"Bumps" that don't go bump....

I routinely wake up throughout the night for various reasons (bladder, child who needs me, etc.) and I make it a habit to always go to the windows and casually check out what is going on outside around the house. Several times I have "caught" people doing things they shouldn't have that weren't making any noise...everything from vandalizing to going from house to house looking for unlocked cars to rob.

I am fortunate that my house is situated right next to a corner that has several streetlights that keep the area well lighted.

Each of my children (11, 13, and 14) have cell phones they keep by their beds and safe spots in their rooms they are instructed to go to in the event of an emergency.

I have a lock box with my .40 HP next to the bed (with key inserted) and a 4 cell maglite.
 

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If the "Bumps" can read the newspaper here in Alabama, they will see the headlines about the new self defense law, (like Florida's), passed here. Then hopefully, the "Bumps" will think twice about changing the bump to a crash. If they are so dumb, can't read, then I'll be waiting with my 1911 cocked and unlocked!!
og
 

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My favorite medicine for bumps outside in the night was a 40 pound Bull Terrier that loved a confrontation. I would just open the door and say
 
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I never leave the house. When I wake up nervouse I get out the HK with the Tac light on it and walk around inside my place with the light off. Then I sort of hang out outside of the bedroom doors and wait (the doors are right next to each other, I can cover both from the same spot.) Anything coming in from outside has to go by me and it won't make it. If someone comes in to the house then I'll put the HK down and pick up the 12ga, they're both right there. At that point it would get noisy. Ulu knows to call the cops at that point. Hopefully I'll never need all that stuff.
 

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I agree with the folks who take the position whenever possible, let the bumps come to you. I think that is the best response both for legal reasons if you are required to shoot, and for tactical ones. If necessary I could respond with several trustworthy pistols, a Surefire readily available, possibly one of several pistols with a tactical light mounted, an 870 with Surefire tactical light, and my cell phone.

If you let the possible threat come to you, it may indeed turn out not to be a threat at all. A family member, a pet, etc. But if it is a bad guy, you already have the advantage of being familiar with your surroundings. They are trying to figure them out without making a great deal of noise. But I think it would be rare they would not bump into something to make some amount of noise, moving around inside an unfamilar environment.

But something that has not really been addressed specifically is the use of all these flash lights we are so quick to grab. My 870 has one permanently installed, and several of my pistols will accept tactical lights. I also keep my Surefire handy. But I never turn any light on if I am waiting on a bump in the night. Most importantly I do not want to destroy my night vision I already have, which after the use of a light could take several long minutes to return to me. Maybe I would have that time to spare, maybe I would not. I don't want to flip that coin.

I am also in a position I deem safe, as several folks have mentioned already - their safe room, or a specified area within a room. I know where I am, and do not want to give the bad guy any clue of my location. I want to maintain all the advantages I possibly can in defending my castle.

Should I have to shoot, even in a very clear case of self-defense, most police department policies will require my weapon to be seized as evidence and for ballistics analysis. Once the prosecutor's office has resolved the legal issues, hopefully my weapon will be quickly returned to me.

But as a former homicide detective, I am aware it may well be permanently marked for identification. Our state bureau of investigations had the ballistics lab that was used in all shooting cases. When they knew ahead of time they were dealing with a LEO's weapon, they still had to permanently mark it for identification, but they would do so under the grips, where it would not show readily.

Just a few thoughts and suggestions I wanted to add to an excellent thread.

twoguns
 

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Just a suggestion I intended to mention in my first response. Several have mentioned having a plan, which is really important. Those of you who have family living at home with you, that is crucial. They need to know what they are expected to do, and more importantly WHAT THEY ARE EXPECTED NOT TO DO.

One of the most tragic shootings I ever worked was a father who had mistakenly shot and killed his oldest daughter when she was walking into his bedroom. Have a plan, discuss it with your family members so they know what they will and will not do. You can never bring that bullet back once it leaves the barrel, so KNOW your target is a bad guy before you squeeze.

Hope this causes some new plans to be made, and existing ones to be reassessed.

twoguns
 
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