In the next 2 parts we will cover also the points related with the 2 most frequently questions relating on which is the best firearm for Home defense or if is the Shotgun, the most appropriate one .
I know it’s long, but this is, if we want to cover properly the main dynamics of the matter, for me it’s an hard work,
especially because i do it in a language that isn’t my native language.
THE CONDITIONS WE NEED TO FACE
When we talk about Home Defense we are talking about a comparison that will mainly take place in closed and confined spaces, in 3D artificial environments and therefore with typical CQB dynamics.
Now if we consider by logic that the “house cleaning” with an armed subject inside it is very complex and risky even for an entire SWAT TEAM who constantly trains in this type of application, let’s imagine how much it can be for a single person, who may never have not even attended a CQB course and that perhaps in addition to an armed intruder, he also has his own family inside the same house.
Every time I hold conferences about home defense, I read infinite amazement in people’s faces when I tell them that in the case of an intrusion, “their home” is no longer just “their” but becomes an aseptic space for confrontation, in which it is the life of a single person or of the whole family is at stake.
If on one hand we have the advantage of knowing every inch of our environment, every noise, every nuance, on the other hand we may not know exactly where the intruder (threat) is, whether it is a single subject or multiple subjects, if the subject is armed or unarmed, what are his real intentions or if for example he is under the influence of drugs.
If one day we are forced to defend our life and our family with a firearm, there will be nothing cool in what we will do, nothing as beautiful or fascinating as when we were listening to war stories, gunfights, secret missions told by someone else perhaps during some tactical course we attended or simply over a beer.
Almost always we will be thrown into the worst nightmare, all the cool phrases, the tactical clichés, the perfect theory of the shooting range will vanish leaving room for the harsh and imperfect reality, made up of unexpected events, in which nothing goes as we expected or as we thought it was.
We will be alone in front of someone ready to take our life and maybe ready to hurt our family too, we will not be able to stop the action, call a time out, we will not be able to repeat if we are wrong, if the error is substantial we will come killed and we will join that number in the statistics indicating the victims of violent crime.
We will be forced to react under the highest psychophysical, physiological and emotional alteration, due to the stress process, with some of the worst conditions, such as low light, close range, threat discrimination times close to a sub-second and maybe with the rest of the family reacting in an irrational and disordered way, generating dirty lines of fire or potential ballistic collateral.
We will miss the air, it will seem like we cannot breathe, we will feel all muffled, our heart will beat so strongly that it will seem to come out of our chest, we will shake, we will have zero salivation, we will have sweaty hands and YES, we will feel the deepest fear.
There could be chaos, loud noise and smoke due to gunshots, if we have other people in the house there could be screams, we will probably also under acoustic shock.
In all of this we will have to maintain concentration, rationality and control of our firearm, in all of this we need to be efficient in our actions, in all of this we nee to take care about each single member of our family while we are dealing with the intruder/s:
Our brain will have to spin at a crazy speed, because the amount of information, solicitations and stimuli it will receive will be enormous and will have to be analyzed in frames of a second.
This is and remember that this could be the best case scenario, because the worst one could be written by the coroner and could be referred to you.
Breathing control is fundamental during any critical event, especially because we do not know how long the event or the confrontation will last or if we will have to face a physical effort that will require an even more oxygen supply.
One frame of a second after being involved in the stress stroke, our breathing will change and the oxygen cycle will undergo an alteration as important as the entire physiological plane.
We will seem to suffocate, we will breathe heavily even if we have not made any physical effort and this is where we will have to intervene promptly and effectively.
We will have to breathe correctly by carrying out our deep breath IN through the nose and our controlled exhale OUT through the mouth (Nasal breathing).
Unfortunately, during the acute phases of stress the phenomenon of “air hunger”
( induced by central nervous system ) is generated and therefore we will have the impulse to reverse the breathing cycle and carry out the IN and OUT from the mouth (Oral breathing), in this way we will have the sensation of breathing better being able to capture more air with our mouth, but it is only an apparent sensation since the lungs extract oxygen from the inhaled air especially during exhalation, increasing the respiratory rate we reduce the oxygen absorbing.
If we exhale through the mouth, the passage of air is facilitated, so there is not much air left in the lungs and the oxygen taken in is drastically reduced.
We will then apply the “tactical breathing” (deep breath IN from the nose until the rib cage is fully expanded, then we will retain the air as much as possible, maintaining the thoracic extension and we will discharge the air in a controlled way OUT from the mouth).
In this way we will avoid hyperventilating avoiding the consequent hyperoxia or hypoxia which are absolutely common on subjects who are not trained to manage stress conditions when exposed to highly stressful events.
The effort that the rib cage makes in nasal breathing creates greater intrathoracic negative pressure, which reduces cardiac fatigue. By applying this type of breathing we will also work on the diaphragm and will help us to lower the heart rate. The supply of oxygen is also essential to maintain an effective cognitive capacity the hypoxia in fact would greatly expand the cognitive reactive time.
COMPRESSED SPACES – COMPRESSED REACTION TIMES
What makes home defense extremely complex are the extremely compressed spaces that automatically generate extremely compressed reaction times. The problem arises from the fact that in order for there to be an effective reaction to an upstream problem / danger / threat there must have been a process of analysis and rationalization of the information we receive in real time from our sensory interactivity with the environment and with every dynamics contained in it and consequently a decision-making process.
Let us try to better define this step because it is the fundamental key to the main problem linked to home defense and the possible legal consequences:
If we find ourselves involved in a critical event inside our home, we will be forced to make irreversible decisions, which could change our life and the life of our family forever or worst they could kill us in few moments .
It takes about a second or so to cover a distance of 15 feet (4.5m) and it takes less than thirty hundredths of a second to press the trigger of a firearm and this applies to both sides, the criminal and us.
However, there is a substantial difference in reaction time between us and a criminal in the decision making process that leads to pressing that trigger. In fact, the criminal must not carry out any process of assessing the conditions, he must not assess whether he has the conditions to be able to use the firearm or not, if we are armed or unarmed, he has already made that decision when he chose to commit a crime by breaking into our home with a firearm.
A criminal who sneaks into our home with a firearm or any other weapon is not a thief, but a potential murderer, the question is how much time we will have to figure it out.
Usually at this point the cliché that is most popular is the one that says: “better a bad process than a nice funeral”, I always add that one does not exclude the other and that if we do not operate with extreme attention, caution and efficiency, especially if we live at home with our family.
If we have pressed that trigger, who will judge us, will instead do it comfortably seated in a courtroom, in total tranquility with all the necessary time available.
He will probably do it years after the fact and without having the slightest idea of the emotional state, of the psychophysical alteration, about of the pressure of the fear and about of those few hundredths of a second that we had in which we had to make that fatal and irreversible decision.
No judge, jury, expert will ever really be able to reconstruct the emotional state and psychophysical alteration of those who made the decision to press that trigger. The most common mistake often committed by the judging authority is to retrace the events , evaluating them coldly, calmly and being in possession of all the elements that emerged from the investigations, many of which could not be known by the subject at the time he made that decision, especially with respect to the extremely compressed time he had available to evaluate the condition: threat/danger/reaction.