Understanding the layers of weapon system engagement

Podcast episode 102721

Published on October 27th, 2021

In this episode we discuss the different layers, or distances, to engage targets, both in the defensive and offensive posture. Defining the differences between offensive and defensive, as well as other tools that can be deployed to give us the best chance of success.

Time to hit the old mail bog

Tina from New Mexico asks “are weapons the answer to home security?”

Galvin from Massachusetts asks “I am thinking about buying a firearm for home defense, what types of things should I consider?”

Gigi from North Dakota asks “I really don’t know how I should protect our home?”

Devin from Oklahoma asks “what are the civilian equivalent to the military defensive strategies?”

Bonnie from Idaho asks “do you propose shooting home intruders?”

Great questions to all those who sent them in. If I didn’t get to your question, sorry about that, but don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll touch on this topic again as its really relevant to a requirement for survival.

Before we get too far down the “weapons” trail, I need to make sure I caveat this show by saying, in my experience, there is very little need for a multiple layered weaponized defense parameter for urban living, rural may have some additional requirements. So, don’t think that I’m saying that we must have an arsenal when attempting to defend our homes. In addition, I will say that using weapons in defending our homes brings a substantial amount of legal “goat ropes” that we’ll have to sort out after the event concludes.

Overall, the idea of deploying weapons for home defense systems really comes down to “range to target”.  Within our discussion, we are looking at this discussion from the perspective of the average citizen. So, military grade weapon systems will be excluded here, although for those of you who may have served in the military, the training will be included in our civilian tool belt. Primarily we are going to look at four layers, and notice that the four layers represent the arena of engagement.

  1. Defensive posturing
  2. Long-range systems
  3. Medium range systems
  4. Hand-to-hand techniques

In today’s show I want to talk about these layering of weapon systems. There are a multitude of definitions that we can use when discussing layering weapons in a defensive, or offensive positioning. Today I want us to talk about weapon systems being deployed in a defensive position, and from a civilian perspective. Notice in the list that the first item I discuss is the “defensive posturing”? This is on purpose. We need to consider the defensive strategies when positioning everything from shrubbery into the potential entrance lanes to the home. Once inside, by directing individuals to the path that offers us the best options for defensive engagement. Anything we can do to take away the suspect’s optimal stance, we give ourselves a better chance at success. Another aspect to the defensive posturing of obstacles, forces the suspect to enter into lanes in which weapon systems can be engaged much more effectively.

The first situation we need to discuss in an honest conversation about in engaging weaponry, is the legality of using weapons in your area. Whether you are authorized to carry the weapon in an unconcealed fashion, or concealed, or not at all. In addition, we have licensing requirements that may be imposed, that may limit, or eliminate ones ability to have weapons at all. The key here is that I hear a lot of people say that not registering your weapon, or filing off the serial number is our “constitutional right” blah, blah, blah. Here’s the thing. After a home shooting event, the local law enforcement is going to arrive. They (the officers) are going to want to secure the scene, and may (most likely) seize the weapon involved in the shooting (especially if the shooting was concluded in a fatality). The officers are going to clear the weapon and seize it as evidence. I’ve read tons of reports about the shooter (home owner) being arrested, and charged. Obviously in most cases the home owner is released, but although criminal charges may be dropped, civil process may see the individual sued by the suspect’s family for “wrongful death”.  Obviously I want you to be aware of this potential.

So, as we are speaking of engaging a suspect with weapons, be cognizant of that, as even the most righeous shooting may result in someone being charged. We’ll discuss some of the other considerations of discharging a firearm within an urban area here in a bit, but suffice to say, there are a ton of other things to consider. But, let’s define what “deadly force” is. Deadly force is the definition as to what you are going to engage in when using firearms to defend your home. Here in Alaska the standard is “Under Alaska's law, you can use deadly force on someone – like using a firearm or knife — when you "reasonably believe" that it's necessary to defend against death, serious physical injury, kidnapping, robbery and sexual abuse in the first and second degree.” Now, I’m not going to kid you for a second and say that its easy to prove, because I have heard terrible stories. In such a case, providing video evidence will go a long way to proving intent.

With all that said, let’s talk about some generalities about weapon system engagement. So, to start this discussion lets start with the longest range weapons in our defense of posturing. This will include long rifles, and is exclusively gunpowder driven. In other words, there is no way to throw a spear, or an arrow, the distance a bullet can travel when fired from a long gun. However, the utilization of long guns inside city limits is going to be limited, for civilians. However, this is our longest and first line of defense. In urban scenarios, this line of defense will be “damn near” impossible to prove. The fact that you have a minimum of 500 yards of distance between yourself and the suspect. Without mitigating circumstances, this one will result in a guilty verdict of the shooter.

Next line of defense is your medium range weapons, and this is where we can include bows and arrows, atlatl, spears, maybe even catapults or trebuchet‘s, but medium range medium range meaning, affectively less than 1000 yards. Many of the modern assault rifles, modified combat weapons, fit into this category, with their range on the higher side of the thousand yards, versus where the bow and arrows and some of the other weapons are going to be middle to about 100 - 500 yards. Again, this one is going to be a little more challenging to defend legally. With some many possible alternatives, a very challenging legal battle will certainly ensue.

Once we arrive at less than 100 yards, or even 50 yards, we get into a much better legal position. Now we get to what I would refer to as “hand-to-hand” weapons. These weapons typically have a range less than 100 yards, or are literally handheld. Effective range will be even less than that. In addition, this also becomes the last line of defense. When ever discussing hand-to-hand weaponry and combat, one immediately thinks of martial arts, street fighting, and brawling. However, the reality is a bladed weapon up close is 100 times more lethal than a martial artists would ever hope to be. Fact.

The underlying scope of this discussion really speaks to our defensive posturing and its effectiveness in countering threats. When we were discussing weaponry, and it’s deployment, I only want discuss using weapons in a defensive posture. Discussions, and negotiations are far more effective, and with less potential for collateral damage.

Another significant factor that one needs to consider when discussing the use of weapons in a defensive engagement is the potential for collateral damage. In many cases, average citizens don’t understand over penetration, ricochets, and scatter patterns, or the forever life-changing results that these can bring. In reality, most civilians, who have never served in the military, haven’t a thorough understanding about this area of weapons usage in this theater of conflict. When considering the use of weapons, we have to also consider misfires due to aged ammunition and jams due to poor maintenance. Poorly maintained weapons have the potential to explode, this could potentially cause more injury to ourselves and the innocent people with us, then it does the suspect. Therefore there are three thoughts that I would leave with you on this point.

  1. Consider deploying more natural defensive barriers instead of relying on a weapon system to balance things out.
  2. Receive and continue to get effective training in the deployment and usage of weapon systems in a defensive posture.
  3. Maintain whatever weapon system you have. Ensuring that it will work when push comes to shove.

As always my friends, I am honored and humbled that you have chosen to spend this time listening to me. I deeply appreciate each and every one of you. Being prepared provides each of us with the confidence for successful survival. We mentioned before, and will certainly say again, that survival is a 90% mental task, but that 10% of physical resources is critically important.. By having a confidence and discipline, we can and will survive. Remember to be strong, be safe, and keep your head on a swivel… Peace

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