How To Defend Your Home Without Firearms

So, what, you think you're better than Batman? He's out there defending the city without a gun to speak of, so clearly you can defend your patch without nasty firearms, right? Here are four methods for protecting you and yours without shooting anyone.

Buy a Home Security System

The least dangerous way to protect your belongings is to hire someone else to watch your stuff while you're away. There are conventional monitoring firms like ADT that will perform the necessary equipment installations and system monitoring for a monthly fee. You could also install a self-monitored system like an Iris or Nexia. These systems are great for knowing what is going on within your home, just not very good at actually stopping it.

Fortify Your Perimeter

Since you won't have firearms as a deterrent, you'll need to make your home as unappealing a target for criminals as possible. Install exterior flood lights if feasible, especially over secluded rear doors and windows, which should be kept locked as a matter of habit. LED-based flood lights are quickly becoming the norm and will last for decades. Set them on a motion sensor if you find the soft glow of security too distracting at night.

While flood lights will make most burglars skitter off like cockroaches, they aren't deterrent enough for more determined robbers. You'll need some sort of physical barrier as well. Like a moat! 3.5-metres wide, 4-metres feet deep, crocodiles and draw-bridges, the whole shebang. Of course if that isn't feasible -- limited funds or the fact that your apartment is on the fifth floor -- rose bushes make for a formidable alternative when planted under windows and along fencing. Few stereos are worth a face full of brambles.

Get a Cute Dog and an Ugly Stick

With a sense of smell 100,000 times more sensitive and hearing range four times that of a human's, not to mention superior low-light visibility, dogs make for wonderful intruder early warning systems. And even if you opt for something as small and unintimidating as a Bichon Frisse, its high-pitched yipping will easily rouse even the deepest sleeper and ward off all but the most determined burglars.

If your doggie alarm goes off in the middle of the night and it's not a false alarm, first, call 911. Then, if you feel you must, arm yourself with something blunt, heavy, and easily swing-able in preparation for the defence of your immediate area. Improvised weapons about the length and heft of a softball or cricket bat are good a good choice, able to inflict solid damage in a single strike but manageable enough to swing more than once.

You should avoid excessively long or thin weapons like bo staves or kendo swords as they will inhibit your movements in the close quarters of your apartment, for example. Edged weapons like machetes, kitchen knives, and katana are also a definite no-go unless you've had formal training.

Yes, in the Face

If going toe-to-toe with a potentially drug-crazed home invader while armed with little more than a large stick and some adrenaline doesn't seem like a situation likely to work out in your favour, ranged chemical weapons like pepper spray, mace, or bear repellent can help you even the odds.

Pepper and bear sprays use Oleoresin Capsicum, the chemical that gives peppers their burn, as an incapacitating agent with OC constituting up to 18 per cent or more of the formula. These sprays are delivered either as an aerosol stream or a lathery foam. While aerosol may travel farther, these streams are more prone to misting than foam types, which could backfire on the user. In a severe pinch, fire extinguishers can be used as defensive weapons as well. But be warned, a blast to the eyes can and often does cause permanent blindness.

And no, booby traps are not a valid option for home defence. Period. You are not Kevin McCallister so don't even ask.

[Daily Kos - Death Valley Magazine - Image: Lisa S. / Shutterstock]


    All of these are very useful techniques, against intruders that aren't carrying firearms.

    Get a miniature giant space hamster. Go for the eyeeesssssss

    Once again, is it not time that Gizmodo au distances themselves from the US site?

    I have kids. I will do anything and everything to increase the safety... of any intruder. My kids are absolutely feral, anyone who wanders in uninvited is taking their life in their hands.

    Step 1, move to Australia. Step 2, nope, that's it.

    Only reason you need guns in America, is to protect you from OTHER Americans with guns.

    The demographic of readers of Giz in Australia is a lot less educated and a lot younger than I thought if we cannot accept differences between the US and Oz in articles. I like having the US content here too because there is just so much more of it. I hold an example out: The Economist is one of the all-time premier periodicals. It is published from London. They do not go out of the way to speak in British terms yet most of their subscribers are in the US.

    That said, many of the solutions in this article could get you into nasty trouble here in Australia, so Giz needs to be careful.

    At least the guy mentioned a cricket bat! Maybe he is Canadian.

    If someone is breaking into your home in the middle of the night, it should not be your responsibility to engage in: 1) hand-to-hand combat, 2) negotiations, or 3) weigh up whether you could "take them" with what little ordinance we are permitted here. Australian laws fail in this regard.

    Keep it Up Giz,

      I agree that the cultural and geographical clash goes haywire in this article. And the legal ramifications could be nasty if applied here in Oz!

      With mention of both 911 and bear repellant but with the Oz reference of a cricket bat, the neutral softball bat reference and nary a mention of a baseball bat!

      It seems like a half-baked Oz re-edit!

    Small nitpick, but capsaicin is the active chemical in peppers that causes burning. Oleoresin capsicum is just concentrated capsaicin in a resin form to help make aerosol delivery easier.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now