House-Clearing for the Armed Civilian

I just saw an ad(not current) for a course in House Clearing for the Armed Civilian, and holy hoppin’ jalapenos it was expensive! So, I am going to save you a fortune, travel expense and 3-5 days of your precious time and explain it in this blog for absolutely free. Furthermore this course will contain all of the information and techniques 95% of you will need! I am completely confident that after reading this you will be able to perform this task in an expert fashion.

Scenario 1: An Unhappy Homecoming

So, you come home and there are signs that your house has been entered in your absence. First attempt to determine if the intrusion is unfriendly. If a car belonging to a friend or family member isn’t parked conspicuously nearby, odds are the intruder is hostile.

  1. Get some distance from the house and maintain situational awareness.
  2. Get out your phone and dial 9-1-1
  3. Wait for the police
  4. Watch the police search your house.
  5. Enter only when instructed to after it is determined that there is no threat or a suspect is under the police’s control.

Scenario 2: Not business as Usual

So, you arrive at your place of business and there are signs that the premises has been entered in your absence. First attempt to determine if the intrusion is unfriendly. If a car belonging to a co-worker isn’t parked conspicuously nearby, odds are the intruder is hostile.

  1. Get some distance from the premises and maintain situational awareness.
  2. Get out your phone and dial 9-1-1
  3. Wait for the police
  4. Watch the police search the premises.
  5. Enter only when instructed to after it is determined that there is no threat or a suspect is under the police’s control.

Scenario 3: A Bump in the Night

So, your are in bed asleep when wake suddenly and there are signs that your house has been entered as you slept. First attempt to determine if the intrusion is unfriendly. If a car belonging to a friend or family member isn’t parked conspicuously nearby, odds are the intruder is hostile.

  1. Stay where you are and if necessary gather family members present to the same room. Maintain situational awareness.
  2. Get out your phone and dial 9-1-1
  3. Wait for the police and continue to talk to the dispatcher.
  4. Listen to the police search your house.
  5. Exit the room and speak to the police only when instructed to after it is determined that there is no threat or a suspect is under the police’s control.

The more perceptive among you may have detected a common thread here…

Critical Equipment

I’ve already specified you are an armed civilian, so we’ll assume a handgun or other suitable weapon. You also need a cell phone, and it may be prudent to carry a compact supplemental charger to make sure it operates.

It doesn’t need to be a Sig Sauer and an iPhone, just your EDC and whatever phone you have.

You will also need a brain and common sense.

In Conclusion

OK, this article is obviously a little tongue-in-cheek, but I’m making a real point here. Most of us live in urban or sub-urban areas with lots of neighbors and a not-crazy police response time. Your taxes pay for those police; use them. It’s what they’re for.

I did a lot of building searches back in the day. Doing it with a partner is difficult and nerve-racking. Doing it by yourself was viewed as just plain dumb. I came off shift one night and arrived at my apartment to discover that there seemed to be someone in there. What did I, a trained, armed police officer do? Cell phones not yet being a thing I went to a neighbor’s and called the police. Fortunately the burglar went out a back window when they arrived and no one was hurt. My neighbors may have thought I was a coward, about which I give not one single shit. It was late, I was exhausted and, most tellingly, I was alone. My training told me that doing a search alone was dumb, and I was not about to risk dying for pride and to save face… because that would be dumb.

Look, 99% of us are just folks. We know our way around our gear and how to handle it safely. Hopefully we also know how, and more importantly when, to shoot. We’re not trained for this stuff, and trying to DIY it on the fly is liable to get someone killed. Unfortunately it won’t necessarily be the bad guy. The likelihood that we will need to do this is remote enough that it probably doesn’t justify the cost of a SWAT-type course… which if it’s any good at all will train you to not try to do this alone anyway.

The police are trained; in fact it’s their job. They will bring the right gear and enough people to do the job properly. Don’t worry that it might be nothing; it’s their job and they’d probably rather it was, in fact, a false alarm.

Note: I know some of you may live in situations where this advice is impractical for one reason or another, so obviously this doesn’t apply to you. You’ll have to make your own assessment of the risk and your needs and prepare appropriately.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 21 February 2021

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