Why Building Searches are Bad

In the last post I mentioned how you should avoid slowly and methodically searching a building. I would even avoid searching carports, outbuildings and yards for bad guys.

The reason is for a variety of factors. You must identify everyone to avoid shooting the wrong person. The bad guy won’t do this. He can just shoot you as soon as he sees you. He doesn’t need to shine a light at you or ID you, just shoot you.

Here is a test for you: Have a family member stand in the middle of the room and turn all the lights off. Have them take a few steps to the left or right. In almost all buildings you will see the person moving but it will be difficult to see them until they move, even if it is just a gloomy shadow. The bad guy will have the jump on you no matter what search technique you use. They have all the advantage because your house is not completely dark and you have to move to find them. Is the person shooting at you another family member looking for the bad guy?

Searching as safe as possible is somewhat complex and requires training. After the training you must practice over and over. I have searched thousands of buildings as a police officer. I spent over 5 years being the bad guy in force on force training during building search training. Even the best police officer doing the training correctly will be behind the action/reaction curve when they confront someone in a building. Many police departments allot a great amount of time to building search training and the officer is still slower to react to the bad guy. The training minimizes the danger but it can’t eliminate it. Will you train and practice enough to perfect the technique? If not you will be even farther behind the reaction curve of the bad guy.

To avoid having to search your house you need a good communication plan, a good emergency evacuation/fire drill and common sense.

If you return home and realize someone broke into your house use common sense and call the police. Let the police get in the shootout instead of you.

A good family evacuation plan can save your family during fires, weather disasters, home invasions, fights, etc. In almost all emergency situations having loved ones run to the predetermined location and call 911 is better than staying around the house.

While making your plan remember to think outside of the box. If you have little children that can’t climb out of a window then put them in the bedroom next to yours. Even if this means giving an older child the master bedroom or making it the den. There are no rules where you sleep and live except the ones you make, tradition be damned.

Hearing the bump in the night is another incident when you might want to go search for bad guys. Do your best not to. Change outside lights so they illuminate everywhere you want to search. Change where you park. Arrange your life as much as possible to allow you to see outside while remaining inside.

Use your hearing from a position of advantage, such as a window or cracked door. Call the police while putting yourself in a position of advantage and let the bad guy know you are there. Yell out a door or window. They will usually hear the door or window anyway. Usually they will run away saving you from being as much of a victim. If they do confront you, you will be in a position of advantage. In my neck of the woods the bad guy running away is usually a black bear or skunk. Another reason for a position of advantage. You ever try the Tueller Drill with a bear?

We all want to arrest the bad guy for the police. How dare they take my stuff. But it usually doesn’t turn out like we believed. Have you studied the differences in your state law between bad guys inside your home and in your yard? I bet they are quite different.

A note about building search training: I have heard people talk about their training in mythical terms. How you can find, fix and defeat the bad guy hiding from you or shooting at you. I strongly disagree. I believe this is egotistical and marketing at its best. Again, any search technique you use will try to reduce the danger to you but will never eliminate it. Some of the techniques I’ve seen are just down right silly, a waste of money and counter productive to your survival. Use your common sense and think about any technique from the bad guy’s perspective.

If you decide to search for bad guys in your self-defense plan then please go to building search training and make sure it is designed for civilians. Usually this means one person searching a building. All police oriented building search training I’ve ever seen is two person searches. Will you have a partner to search your home or business?


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