Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Beefing Up Home Security Without Adding To The Gun Safe

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

The area where a lot of people are concerned with their personal defense or security is home security and home defense. A lot gets written (including some by me) about home defense guns, but the truth is that the gun is just a fallback. There are in fact a lot of home security improvements and additions that have nothing to do with guns, bullets or anything else that will make your home far more secure.

Nothing will make a home impervious to invasion, but you’d be surprised how darn close you can get. Not only that, but adding to the gun safe will actually do less than opening up your toolbox.

Failing your toolbox, opening up your wallet. Unfortunately, home security often requires investing in some things that aren’t cheap.

First is addressing all possible points of ingress and egress, namely doors and windows.

The best doors if security is a concern is to get steel doors. While not terribly expensive (steel doors can be had for less than $150) this is a must. Exterior doors must-needs be heavier than bedroom doors, and you want to go for the heavier stuff. If you can afford solid oak, that works too.

Avoid doors with windows, except for models with the fan-style window at the top of the door. This still lets in light, but windowed doors can be easily broken into.

However, the real trick when it comes to door is the framing. The tighter the framing, the more secure the door is. It may be worth having a professional do it if you haven’t ever framed and hung a door. Be sure to apply a sealant around the door such as insulating foam. Not only does this give the doorframe a bit more solidity but also prevents heat transfer.

The next step after that is to install both a locking doorknob and a deadbolt. A kickpad as a backstop is also a good idea, as this gives a potential home invader a third passive barrier.

Next, the windows. Just as with doors, the more secure their framing the better so window installations are best left to professionals if you don’t feel up to it.

Additionally, single-pane windows are far more easily broken. Double-pane or triple-pane windows aren’t shatter-proof, but are far more resistant to being broken. Usually, double- and triple-pane windows are sealed with a gas between panes. This makes the window denser and therefore more impervious to impact. Not completely impervious, of course, but more resistant.

Provided good installation, not only does this make your home harder to break into, it has the side benefit of reducing heat transfer and thus saving on your heating/cooling bill.

You should install window security locks on all windows. Yes, even that one to the basement and in fact especially that one.

Add shades to all windows that can obscure views into the home. Don’t be afraid to open the shades when you’re home and in a room, but draw them when you leave. A potential thief or burglar that cannot see inside the home can’t plan a way around defenses.

The perimeter of the home is also worth addressing. You’d think that adding more trees and obscuring the view of the home is a natural deterrent, but it turns out that burglars use whatever they can to conceal their approach. People can’t see in, but you also can’t see out. This isn’t to say don’t landscape, but rather to make sure you can see what’s out there, especially if your home borders an alley.

Home security systems should be wired to all doors and windows. Smart doorbells and security cameras are also great ideas.

For low-cost solutions for surveillance, you can mount game cameras. They’re motion-activated, so they take pictures of anything that moves. However, you need to change the battery and SD cards periodically to ensure seamless operation. Another low-cost solution is to install a baby monitor as a surveillance system. Many work wirelessly, and video-supported units are now available for less than $100. As good as a professional security system? No, but they do record video and audio, which isn’t anything to sneeze it.

Exterior lighting should be ample and constant. Motion-activated lights aren’t the deterrent people think. When casing a house, a burglar will look for that feature before hand and won’t be stopped by it. Constant outdoor lighting, on the other hand, tends to suggest that someone is definitely home.

The idea here is that an ounce of prevention can be worth a ton of cure. Believe it or not, a way to not find yourself in a fight is not to pick them. A sure-fire way to drastically reduce your chance of being a victim of violent crime is not to live where there’s a lot of it and not go there if you don’t have to. Similarly, proven barriers to forcible entry can reduce – though not eliminate – the risks that you’ll have to deal with a home invasion.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a home defense handgun or long gun and it also surely doesn’t hurt to carry a pistol in a concealed carry holster. However, managing risks in other ways can reduce the odds you’ll have to use one.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit