As many who have attended MDTS courses know, I am not a big fan of tactical gear for the average citizen who is primarily interested in protecting themselves or their family. Often I get questions from students about why I do not advocate or utilize some type of “Chest Rig” or LBV during carbine training courses and classes. Frankly, I never saw a realistic utility in them for me since, as a citizen, I will rarely, if ever, utilize the carbine or shotgun outside of my home. This is of course my opinion and don’t misunderstand me, I love gear as much as the next guy. I simply believe resources and time are better spent on skills training and practice, not gear. However, proper gear selection and set up is an essential part of being prepared and ready for whatever situation may face you. Recently, I have been investigating, testing and utilizing a more generalized gear set up for home defense/protection.
My primary concern is some type of home invasion or burglary while myself or family is home. Rapid response time is critical in a situation like this and many people select guns and gear, have a gun near their bed but never consider how fast something like this occurs. See this article for some info on Home Invasion Burglaries: How a Burglar Robs Your Home in 8 min
I also spent some time this year investigating crime in my immediate area in order to justify this project. It is no real news that crime is going up in many communities in response to the declining economy and job losses. Here are just two recent incidents that influenced my decisions: Burglary/Home Invasion, Syracuse NY, 2012, Burglary/Home Invasion, New Hartford NY, 2012.
Having witnessed the PFC testing on the new Victory Tactical Gear Special Pistol Threat hard plates I was sold on their lightweight yet extremely effective ballistic protection. VTG SPT Test Vid
SPT Testing all rounds shot at same point on plate:
.45 ACP 230 GR. FMJ
.45 Speer Gold Dot JHP
9mm 125 GR. FMJ
12 GA 00 Buck Shot
12 GA Tactical Slug
Brian Hartman of PFCTraining recommended plate carrier, pouches and accessories from Specter Gear.
Specter PriMAC Mag Pouch : $36
Specter/PFC TQ Tri-Fold :$20
Specter Universal Pistol Mag Pouch : $20
Specter Modular Plate Carrier :$160
Raven Concealment ModuLoader Shotgun Shell Carrier and Panel : $35
I integrated this new set up into my home readiness plan: Safe At Home
The Specter carrier and VTG plate are extremely lightweight and due to the side buckles I can literally grab this carrier and throw it over my head not even bothering to buckle the final buckle, grab a firearm and GO. With this single piece of kit I have essential gear to include:
Overall I am quite happy with this piece of kit. Under timed drills I can be out of my bed, corrective lenses on, gun in hand and have this carrier over my head in less than a minute on average. $450 may seem steep to some and granted, its not cheap however I believe when considering the current state of things that this isn’t a bad investment in ones home protection planning and preparedness.
About the Author
Chris Fry is the owner and director of training and curriculum development for Modern Defensive Training Systems in Utica, NY where he conducts courses in reality driven practical combatives skills, extreme close quarters physical defense, tactical folding knife and edged weapon combatives and combative pistol, carbine and shotgun skills. Chris has been an active instructor with Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts in Nevada since 2003, servicing law enforcement, military and select government agencies. Chris is a certified AR15/M4/M16 and Glock armorer, contributor to various online firearms resource websites and a frequent presenter at national and international personal protection and small arms training conferences for both citizens and law enforcement.
We all like to get out and train, whether it be fitness, firearms and especially “tactical” training. However, very few people ever train to defend their home and family, let alone train with their family members. Enter Modern Defensive Training Systems’ Home and Family Defense Skills training class. According to the description by MDTS, the Home & Family Defense Skills course provides the home defender with immediately accessible knowledge, skills, and information to properly prepare an effective home defense. Even better, I had my wonderful wife, Erica, to take the class with me.
One of the most important aspects of this class was understanding that a proper mindset is needed to overcome any potential assailants that may try to cause harm to you or your family. In fact, one may argue that mindset is one of the most important components to making a successful attempt in defending yourself. The class includes force-on-force training with airsoft training handguns, working from cover, and low-light techniques to provide students with realistic feedback and validation of the skills taught in the class.
Some of the initial topics were discussion the mindset of home invaders and the difference between them and burglars. In addition the importance of your mindset was presented in a way that makes you think twice about how you go about your daily activities.
Then we discussed various modifications to your house and lifestyle to mitigate and deter any possible attacks. Everything from security systems and door locks to windows, garage doors and more. In addition, being aware of your surroundings was a pretty common topic throughout the discussion.
We also discussed response planning and team (aka your family) tactics, and communication both with your family as well as with emergency services. Without much training for some of the participants, including my wife, we went right into some force-on-force to illustrate several important points. These included use of flashlights to disorient your attacker, use of barricades and cover/concealment, as well as moving to saferooms with your family.
Not only was the force-on-force training an excellent way to learn and practice training, there was some great bonding between my wife and I as we worked together to solve some very real problems of defense in the home.
The final block of the day included learning to escape restraints and then it followed into a final team exercise where we had to work as a team to escape restraints, move as a team to the “safe room” and then contact authorities. It was a great exercise and really solidified all of the previous training throughout the day.
It is very hard to convey the type of emotion involved in attending a training course like this. I know that when we left the class, we spent the entire ride home talking about various changes to our house, more things we need to pay attention to, and everything else we felt we should work on to better our mindset and preparedness. This course is highly recommended, especially for people with families and a big desire to protect themselves. This is probably one of the best classes I have taken, and had the most useful knowledge over many of my other training classes. I cannot speak for my wife, but I believe she enjoyed it, because she cannot stop talking about everything we learned there!
Home Defense Mindset & Family Preparation
Mindset of Home Invaders vs. Burglar
Layering Security Measures for Home Protection
Common Home & Apartment Vulnerabilities- Security Systems, Locks, Doors & Windows
Response Planning, Individual & Team Tactics (Spouse, Children)
Communicating with Family + Contacting Authorities
Firearm & Support Equipment Selection and Ready Access
Safe Rooms, Cover, Concealment & Zones of Fire
Structure Cornering, Clearing, Holding & Barricading Tactics
Challenging & Controlling Unknown Subjects
Low/No Light Considerations and Tactics
Force-On-Force Drills & Scenarios
Contacting Modern Defensive Training Sytems
I have learned over the years that the one solid, steady state tool I have at my disposal 24/7 is me. It doesn’t matter if I carry a gun or a knife; the fact is that I cannot be armed all the time. Because of this fact the one personal protection and “Life” tool I have invested the majority of my training time in over the last 10+years is my general physical preparedness (GPP) level. Everyone has an excuse for not wanting to get into better physical condition: I’m hurt, I don’t have time, work is too busy right now, I don’t have money for a gym membership… the list goes on, I know because at one time or another I have used them all and frankly they are all BS.
Attaining a basic level of GPP should be the first and foremost concern of any serious student of personal protection, martial arts and/or combat athlete. Having the physical ability to “weather the storm” and outlast an opponent is very often what wins fights after the initial 30 second onslaught or attack has ensued. If you can survive the first 30 seconds of an attack without outright being killed, maimed or knocked out you have a good chance of winning and surviving IF your mind and body can support it. Notice I mentioned MIND first since mindset drives everything we do however, without a basic level of physical preparedness our mind may be telling us what to do, to NEVER give up but the body simply cannot meet those demands.
Some GPP considerations:
You don’t have to join agym to get on the road to better fitness. Depending upon your current physical state, you may or may not be able to lift weights and it’s probably best to start off with a simple body weight program. If that is even too much, start off walking every day on the treadmill or outside with the dog. However you choose to start, begin small and build your way up slowly. Ego pushes more people, especially men away from working out than anything else other than sheer laziness. What I could do at 20 is different than what I could do at 30 and now at 40 I have realized I just have to get over that baggage and do the best I currently can do within my current physical abilities. It doesn’t matter what you do, walk, run, lift weights, swim and bike, just do something a minimum of twice a week for a month and then assess how you feel. For a basic program to start off check out the personal defense network article HERE.
We are all responsible for our actions and or inaction. Find something, anything that motivates you to get into better physical condition and use it. Some motivators may be:
Ultimately it doesn’t matter WHAT motivates you as long as SOMETHING motivates you, find it and use it to the fullest.