The information detailed in this website is for information purposes only and is published in good faith to provide a support system
to those who would defend themselves. We assume no responsibilities for any misuses or misinterpretation of this information by
any person or entity in any way whatsoever. Please use the information at your own discretion.
Ordinarily, the word 'tactics' is associated only with Close Quarters Combat, Defensive Tactics and other martial subjects. But, in
general, it refers to the methodology used in a number of pursuits. Among these are hunting, self-defense, home defense, survival,
economic strategies and many others in addition to offensive combat strategies. Unlike terms like 'strategy' and 'strategic'
however, tactics are generally restricted in application to individuals and small groups and, therefore, tend to be a bit more
personal even though they are part of larger strategic plans. 'Tactics' are commonly applied in terms of immediate action while
'strategies' generally imply long-term goals. Tactics therefore are the implementation of strategic goals.
This page will discuss both tactics and strategies important to shooters under various circumstances.
The defense of your home begins at the curtilage of your property and priorities in preparation and action increase in value and
intensity in direct proportion to their proximity to your living space. The best part of any defense is prevention.
Home Invasion: Motive: greed, obtain drug money, other self interest. Means: usually a crime of opportunity. Home invaders have
been known to cruise through neighborhoods searching for victims who value comfort more than prudence by looking for houses
where only the glass or screen doors are closed, with the security door open. These will not deter a criminal long. Keep any
security door (one that must be unhinged or battered with appreciable force to breach) that faces the street closed and dead bolted
at all times. If you are not confident the door will slow down a potential assailant, replace it. A metal security door is often as
ornate and inexpensive as a wooden door. If you must open a window to allow a breeze in, open the top half only. If you don’t
have this kind of window, turn on the air conditioner. Better to pay the bill than to be killed.
None of this will deny entry to a determined assailant but it will delay him long enough for you to put your plan of defense into
Make sure alarm system signs are prominently displayed at public access to your property. If your alarm company doesn’t use
them or didn’t display them, demand that they be displayed or get another company. This may not stop a veteran criminal but it
may be the deciding factor in which house he picks to victimize.
Do not put up signs like “Property Protected by Smith and Wesson” or “Beware of Dog.”
These only allow a criminal to tweak his plan of attack. After all, if two cars in the driveway and the lights being on did not deter
him, it is unlikely that such signs will do the trick. He should not know you are armed until the fire comes out of the barrel of your
gun. That’s when being armed makes its best impression on any attacker. Remember, your life was in danger, you were afraid,
you were concentrating on staying alive--besides, only the cops have any legal obligation to warn an assailant he’s about to be
shot. The obligation for a civilian to warn an assailant that he or she is armed is out-weighed by the fact that it puts the victim--
you--at a tactical disadvantage. A determined attacker can take the same steps to avoid a mortal wound that you can (see ’Hand to
Hand,’ defense against the ’gun’ below).
It’s better to let him find out you have a dog after the dog has alerted you or when the dog has his leg in its mouth and you are
standing over him with pistol drawn, assessing the wounds you've inflicted. There are ways to defeat your dog and the determined
crook knows them all. Give your dog a fighting chance or it may be the first victim.
Key control: do not leave your key ring, with the house keys, in the ignition of your car. Most folks become victims of home
invasion because they have in some way facilitated the home invaders. Don’t make entry to your house easy by giving them the
key or other access. This includes garage door openers.
There are devices available that can be aimed at your garage door that read the code. If you entered the code into your remote by
pointing it at the unit and holding down a button, any one else can do the same. Get in the habit of disabling it at night or whenever
you sleep. Put in a second switch in a nifty place that deprives it of electricity or unplug it. Also, any seasoned criminal knows that
manufacturers use relatively few frequencies in their remotes, and that those frequencies are along a very narrow radio frequency
spectrum. Like a car thief with a ring of keys, a practiced criminal may have a bag full of remotes, one of which stands a good
chance of opening your garage door. Unplug it.
Don’t leave ladders and battering rams lying around in your yard. Many car maintenance tools and garden tools may double as
burglary tools. Make the crooks bring their own tools!
Have your home defense weapon at the ready. Find a safe place to store it equidistant to all outside doors. It is unlikely you'll have
time to disengage a trigger lock in time to use the weapon. Educate family members on gun safety and find a safe, non-typical
place to hide it within reach.
Have a plan of defense. Know where you can cover/protect yourself while firing at an armed assailant who breaches each door. A
large caliber pistol is good. A 12-guage loaded with bird shot is better, especially at the ranges inside your house. In many cases,
the shot will not even leave the shot-cup at these ranges--until it strikes the assailant’s body like a rifled slug, in which case he’s
either on his way to the morgue or a very long stint on the operating table. The 12-guage is the most powerful weapon that can be
employed at these ranges without worry of over-penetration (into the next room where family members may be).
Do everything you can to make your house seem uninviting to crooks. Use your imagination. Continually think about tactical
improvements. Have a “Safe Room” prepared ahead of time with a phone in it and with a door that can be secured against all-
The Safe Room: have a 'safe' room prepared ahead of time. This is a room, perhaps an upstairs bedroom, with a phone and a
fortified door. The phone must be one that’s usually kept in the room. You don’t want to retreat there only to find the cordless in
the teenage daughter’s room and inaccessible in your moment of need. A cell phone (and the habit of keeping it with you at all
times) is better. A sophisticated attacker is likely to cut phone lines but will usually lack the sophistication to deploy a digital
jamming device. Fortify the door. Strengthen it or replace it with a metal security door. Install a cross bar with security grade
bolts that bolt into the door jab. Also, think about how you will escape in case of fire. If the safe room is upstairs, make sure the
security bars on the outside of the window leading to the fire escape can easily be unlocked or install a chain or rope ladder long
enough to reach the ground.
The room must be secure enough to hold criminals at bay until you’ve called the police and have had time to get behind cover to
Have a prearranged signal for family members to know when to retreat and rehearse as you would with a fire drill. If your plan is
to defend with a weapon, drill family members in taking refuge in the safe room. This way, you’ll know where they are and can
avoid shooting towards them. If they repair to the safe room, have a signal only family members know that lets them know it’s
you so they won’t open the door to just anyone if things go bad.
This should be your most secure living space.
Once a threat enters that living space it then becomes a matter of Self-Defense the solution to which is usually a case of Close
From an ethical standpoint--and most certainly from a tactical standpoint--'self defense' should always be synonymous with 'lethal
force.' This is inescapably true for several important, unimpeachable reasons.
Given that this treatise is intended for general audiences and that the spectrum of moral conclusions about it are so widely varied,
the point of discussing the matter in this context is that you may have to judge in an instant of time whether you are faced with a
life or death situation and there will not be enough time to contemplate the issue philosophically. You will only have time to
recognize the situation for what it is and react to the circumstance. You will have to react within one single immutable second.
You are already at a disadvantage because reaction is always slower than action. If you’ve ever taken a Defensive Driving
Course, you already know this. Perhaps you were taught the “Two-second rule” of driving. It allows you to give yourself enough
“reaction time” to avoid stupid (or unfortunate) moves made by other drivers. You should follow as far behind the vehicle in front
of you as your car will travel in two seconds at the speed you are driving. Reason: your reaction (while driving or faced with a life
or death situation) occurs in two parts--1) perceiving the threat and 2) taking action to avoid it. This two-part process occurs on
average within about 1.6 seconds. It took longer than that for you to read and react to the previous sentence. It would take you a
life time to read every sentence written on the subject of “deadly force.” 1.6 seconds is not enough time to reach a moral
conclusion about it. In other words, from a practical and tactical standpoint you will have had to decide in advance whether or not
you will kill to save your life or someone else’s.
If you are undecided about this question or you have already decided the answer is 'no' then there is little information here or on
any website that is likely to help you defend yourself.
The reason is simple: in self-defense there is no substitute for lethal force and for the average defender there is no substitute for a
firearm. The reason for this is just as simple: most people never achieve a level of martial arts mastery that is truly effective
against knives, bludgeons and firearms; and there is no 'less lethal device' known at the present time that is as available to the
general public and is truly as effective at stopping a threat as a firearm used with lethal force.
Here are some obvious reasons why you should not employ less lethal devices in a deadly force encounter:
1) Such devices are only “less lethal:” they are not “non-lethal.” There’s a big difference! Employed too close or improperly
deployed, they can still kill. At six feet, a bean bag round or rubber bullet fired from a shotgun can still penetrate a door. A rib cage
wouldn’t even slow it down. Such devices are properly deployed at thirty feet or more for this very reason.
2) Pepper sprays and foams don’t always work. The cops use them because they work much of the time, because law enforce-
ment agencies are always teetering on the brink of another deadly force liability law suit, because officers are highly trained in their
use and in what to do when they fail, and because such devices are normally used when “back up officers are present” to help
subdue the bad guy when he recovers.
3) You have to get too close to use a stun-gun. The so-called “stun-gun” is a contact device. With the stun gun, you have to put
the device against a part of the assailant’s body, actually contacting skin in most cases, for it to work. Then, it only works about
75 % of the time (often, not at all on persons under influence of PCP, or any drug that affects, alters the operation of the nervous
system). This means that 100% of the time, you will deploy it within knife range and certainly within pistol range of any opponent.
75% of these encounters your attacker may cut you or shoot you as a reflex at being “stunned.” The other 25% of the time, he
will easily be able to and probably will cut or shoot you because you “pissed him off.”
4) Then there is the question of how fast you can run. Less lethal devices all have one thing in common: the criminal recovers
from their effects--often faster than you can tie him up or put handcuffs on him or run far enough to do you any good. You
cannot then shoot him while he is lying on the ground because he is no longer presenting a threat. And there are other
considerations: are you going to run and leave him in your house? What are you going to do when he recovers--threaten to 'stun'
him again? One thing is certain: a stunned or pepper-sprayed assailant is likely to recover before police arrive--and, in addition to
his motive for coveting your property, he will now possess a motive for revenge, reprisal and retribution.
5) Finally, as if the ethics of using deadly force were not convoluted enough, in many states the law prohibits use of less lethal
devices except in cases that would have warranted deadly force in the first place. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New
Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin do not even allow such devices to be shipped or owned. Even in states where
ownership and use are not prohibited, one is bound by law in their use.
In short, you cannot deploy a stunning device or spray because someone made you mad or you have the means to devise an
assault story to justify use. You must be genuinely in danger. If used illegally, such devices can get you an “enhanced” assault
charge. This means you may be charged with say, assault and battery, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature or some
charge other than “simple assault.” Ordinarily, such charges can land you in jail rather than just a summons to magistrate court--all
of this even if the assailant was in the process of committing a felony at the time you deployed the device.
The mere fact you feel you’re not killing or shooting someone may make use of such devices easier, more compelling and less
likely to trip your action inhibitors (cognizance of law). This makes them civil liability magnets.
For these and many other reasons every self-defense situation is a deadly force encounter until it is no longer a matter of self-
defense. One of two things determines it is no longer a matter of self-defense--the assailant's absence or his death.
Close Quarters Battle is the methodology of the use of lethal force at short distances both in the open and inside buildings. CQB is
employed in individual and squad level tactics while closing with and engaging an oposing force. It involves short distance
shooting, movement and maneuver, hand to hand, light and noise discipline, cover and concealment and other field craft. These
methods are used by law enforcement agencies as well as military--all of equal value to the home defender. As the subject is
extensively covered on a number of internet sites and in classes offered by experts in the various fields of CQB, here are a few
exerpts to get you started asking the right questions and places to go for answers:
"You hear a scream. As you approach the living room, you see your wife unconscious on the floor. Your first instinct is to go to
her and render aid. If you try to render aid there will simply be two victims lying there instead of only one. Clear the room and the
remainder of the dwelling first! Make sure every threat has been cleared--then and only then do you render aid. You can't help
anyone if you, too, become a casualty."
"Circumstances require you to clear a building. You are not sure how many oppose you. You are unsure if they have line of sight
with each other and you do not want your encounter with one to give away your position to any others. You have your pistol
ready against you chest, clear the doorway, slicing the pie as you go. Just as your lead foot crosses the threshold, you sense a
presence, feel a fist tightening into your shirt and you start to be pulled forward toward the assailant.
"You have chosen to clear with a pistol. There is no time to reach for a knife. But you don't want to alert others. What's your best
option? Answer: a contact shot to the torso.
"First, lower your center of gravity. This not only helps you keep your balance but throws off your opponent's plan of attack.
Step into the opponent, sweeping block to the outside with your weak hand to clear weapons and open up the way to the
opponent's torso. Place the muzzle of your weapon against the opponent's chest at or near the solar plexis, thrust in until the
clothing gives to the muzzle and squeeze the trigger as the top slide goes back into battery. Note: some pistols, a Glock for
example, will not fire with the slide pushed back even slightly. They will fire once the top slide goes back into battery. Solution:
pull the trigger and withdraw the weapon until it fires. If the weapon has a trigger disconnect this may require 'feathering' the
trigger--let out slightly and wiat for the click then pull.
"The contact shot has two advantages. First, by placing the muzzle against the target one reduces the chance of bad shot
placement. And, secondly, even though the projectile may be inherently subsonic, the gases escaping at the muzzle are not. The
contact shot directs those hypersonic gases into the target, acting as a suppressor to reduce the signature of the gunshot."
[Source: Universal Shooter: Home Defense. by S. A. Roach; coming soon to Amazon/Kindle]
"If you are in some other contact situation where you are not actually moving and breaking contact, and you are engaged in a
firefight with a casualty exposed in the open, then don't risk all to go to them. Concentrate on suppressing the enemy and winning
the firefight." "SHTF Combat Casualty - Considerations & Realities," by Max Velocity.
"...the second man on such an angle to support the first in those dire first contact moments, he acknowledged no contact OR the
contact was managed and instantly changed his direction path to the next threat area. He would even engage moving into his area
of domination, even before entering the doorway or whilst moving through it, to give the first man a better chance at survivable -
shooting past him but being aware of line of fire and having strict and situational control over paths of movement.
Contact management is very important in those multi-person engagements and between buddy pairs differentiating their own lanes
of fire and targets. If the third man noticed only one threat and two muzzles from the entry team already on it, he would switch up
and check other areas (including a 180 to check behind the door and the hard corner)."
http://www.amazon.com/C-Q-Close-Quarter-Battle/dp/0552144657 C. Q. B.: Close Quarters Battle by Mike Curtis
[See also: The Military & Police Page at this site.]
Most avid hunters rarely think of the general subject of hunting as a system of strategies and tactics. They have learned the art
from their fathers and friends and hunt as a recreational pastime, taking for granted the immense knowledge they have picked up
through years of patient practice. More often than not, they return from the hunting trip empty handed, having enjoyed the hunt as
much or more than the kill. Preparation and pursuit are as much pleasure as the end result and failure does not mean disappoint-
ment in any deep, abiding sense.
This all changes if the objective of the hunt is survival--if failure is a matter of life and death. When failure has catastrophic
consequences only the best tactics and an overall strategy that consistently provides food and resources will do.
The best time to learn the strategies and skills to hunt effectively is now--not when your life depends on them. For those who do
not practice the art and science of hunting the collective wisdom of those who do that is shared on the internet and in informative
DVD's and books is a boon that should not be passed up.
Animals that exist in the wild use on a daily basis natural principles derived through the senses that in humans have long been
dulled and diluted by centuries of societal living and agrarian displacement. Although these senses and sensations are largely
vestigial in civilized, cultured folk, they are retained by a select few--largely by hunters and an even smaller body of scientific field
researchers in academia and the Department of Natural Resources. Much of this collected knowledge is now accessible on the
internet. The following remarks will get you started asking the right questions and the list of websites will get you going on the
Animals are generally divided into two basic categories--predators and prey. Both use senses that detect sight, sound and odor;
and the principles used to hunt them will concentrate on the way these senses are used by a quarry. One of the first principles to
learn is that there are few animals that have no food value at all, even fewer that contain toxic elements and virtually none whose
toxins cannot be dealt with by taking proper precautions. That makes just about anything that walks, runs or flies edible.
Of course, humans have developed preferences for some animals over others for many practical reasons. There is a point at
which size and sustenance are outweighed by efficiency and effort. The amount of food value of some animals is not worth the
effort it takes to hunt them; the energy expended is greater than the sustenance obtained. It is important to know at this point that
virtually all animals are edible and should be obtained for food if the opportunity presents.
At the same time, some animals one would not eat can be used as bait for other more edible species. It is equally important to
know the habits and habitat of bait animals if one hopes to lure larger animals. It is also important to note, particularly in a survival
context that predatory animals are often a substantial feast in hard times.
That said, all animals are hunted using the same basic principles. The hunter needs to know the habits and habitat of the quarry.
Knowledge of habitat includes all animals within it--especially those with which the hunter may be competing for food. The hunter
needs to know:
1. How the animal uses its sense of smell. Some animals 'wind' for predators. They depend on scent particles carried by wind to
their nostrils to alert them to danger. The predators who hunt them depend on the same principle to alert them to prey up-wind of
them. Such animals, both predator and prey, are alerted to the presence of man in the same way and must be stalked from down-
wind. An old mountain saying speaks to the heart of it: Keep the wind in your face and your eye along the sky-line. This is sage
wisdom when it comes to stalking. It also helps determining other methods in hunting.
In deer hunting, for example, hunters thwart having their scent carried along on ground breezes by hunting from trees and
platform stands 10 feet or more off the ground. The practice also aids in masking movement (deer are usually more concerned
with predators on the ground rather than in trees) and shots taken from a downward angle are generally safer when other hunters
are around--among other reasons.
2. How the animal uses the sense of sight. Hogs have poor eye sight. Deer are color-blind; birds are not. All have an excellent
sense of smell and acute hearing. Movement and noise discipline are critical skills in a hunting environment. While it is virtually
impossible to totally rid oneself of 'human odor' to the standards of animal senses, it is possible reduce and alter human odor
enough to confuse their sense of distance from the human being producing the odor.
It is also possible to mask human odor with that of other animals and confuse the senses of prey animals.
There has been a great deal of detailed research done in soaps, animal scents and other product development for the purpose of
allowing hunters to mask their presence in the field. See the websites below.
3. Where, when and how does the animal feed? Generally speaking animals do not eat where they sleep and move on a daily basis
between 'bedding/roosting areas' to 'feeding areas.'
4. How does the animal move about? When? What is its pattern of movement? Since few animals sleep where they eat and have to
move between bedding areas and foraging sites, it is well to know whether they are nocturnal feeders or nocturnal sleepers, where
their feeding area is and when they move back and forth between the two. Many animals are tuned to the phases of the moon and
will adjust their feeding/bedding times in accordance with how much moonlight there is provided by the lunar phase and the
5. What are signs the animal is in the area or has been in the area? Scat and tracks are but a small part of the evidence that an
animal is in the area. A well-worn trail is a sign of constant use but may actually be of little value in determing if the animal is
staying in the area. Many animals use game trails through transition areas but move on quickly to a feeding or bedding area that
may be a long way off. Food in the immediate area or signs the animal has lingered in the area are good indicators of a good
Rutting deer will mark an area with broken branches and spiked or blazed tree bark (called 'rubs') to claim territory or to indicate a
'scrape' is nearby. A scrape is a place on the ground where leaves and grass have been scraped back to form a roughly circular
pattern. A buck will urinate in the scrape to let does know he is in the area; and any freshened (sexually accessible) doe that
wanders by will urinate in the scrape to let a buck know of her accessibility.
Deer, bear, moose, elk, caribou--these as well as most land animals can be hunted with success if these five principles are known
about them. If the quarry is a predator of any of these then the objective will be to know the habits and habitat of their prey as
well as how they hunt that prey.
For more on these subjects and animal-specific hunting information, see the websites and sources listed below.
The survival level of tactical consideration is liable to include all others listed above with the additional consideration of squad to
company level military tactics. In addition to the information on the websites listed below, the reader may want to review the
valuable information in the articles archived at this site on the Archives page.
See also books and titles on an extensive range of survival topics on the Bibliography Page.
For more survival topics, sites and blogs go to the Survival Page.
Small Presses/Book Caches