I think I’m gonna start a business

After reading about yet another fatal SWAT Team Screw-up, I think I want to start a business that will try to, for a very affordable fee, harden your home against forced entry (solid doors, armored glass, etc).

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, it’s not hard to harden the home, it’s just not affordable. I would just love to hear about one these RAIDS coming up short because the doors wouldn’t batter down and the windows just chipped instead of breaking. I can just imagine the SWAT team standing outside of the little bungalow they tried to force, a bit perplexed that they couldn’t get it, when grandma’s voice comes out of the intercom speaker by the door, “Can I help you?”.

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26 Responses to I think I’m gonna start a business

  1. Davidwhitewolf says:

    Yes, but at least here in Cali it’s a crime to have “fortified” your home against a police raid. Statue was meant to deter crack houses armoring up, but it applies even to bars on your windows if you get the wrong prosecutor.

  2. Davidwhitewolf says:

    To clarify, it is a sentencing enhancement.

  3. Armageddon Rex says:

    To Hell with all unconstitutional nanny-state impositions on what I do with my home! I’d very much like to fortify my home. I’m not a drug producer, dealer or user. I’m a decorated, honorably retired veteran who now holds a job in the IT department of a government agency.

    Some megalomaniac twit in a black robe has decided to put 32,000 convicts out on the street here in the tarnished state. I want my home protected!

    You say it’s not hard to “harden” a home, but all the really effective hardening seems to involve bulldozers tearing down the entire existing stucco and wood frame structure and rebuilding from scratch using insulating concrete forms, with nine inches of poured concrete in the middle and lots of steel reinforcing bar for strengthening and earthquake safety.

    Then there are the windows and doors to think about. To be safe, it seems the only real solution is to just not have any windows large enough for an adult human to fit through. They used to build arrow slits in castles like that for a reason! Where’s this glass that won’t shatter after repeated blows from a 30 pound steel entry tool?

    What about the doors? To be effective the only realistic solution seems to be the example from James Rawles book Patriots, where a new extremely heavy-duty steel frame and hinge set is installed and a custom made welded steel door is fitted, with outside wood layering for cosmetic and insulation purposes and to keep explosives away from the steel surface… Anything less will quickly yield to a battering ram on the front of a tactical vehicle. Even then one would need to reinforce the wall around the frame and use locking cross bars on the door to stop it being yanked off it’s hinges by a dynamic entry team drilling or puncturing through the door, attaching an anchor and chain, and using a vehicle to pull the door out of the building!

    What about the roof? Any decent dynamic entry team will have a back up plan involving a second team with a ladder and “quick entry tool” to come in through the roof. In Iraq, that tool was usually made of layered det cord taped to the edges of a sturdy piece of cardboard in the shape of the hole you wanted in the roof. A soldier carried the, usually 1×1.5 meter rectangular “tool” and stuck it to a spot on the roof. Unwound the det cord leads, stood back a safe distance (or went halfway back down the ladder) and hit the clacker, BANG! And there’s a nice hole in the roof the same shape the cardboard used to be.
    A well trained team will have an ordinary front door down about 20 – 30 seconds after rolling into the front yard / driveway. The roof entry team can be through the roof in less than two minutes. In a typical U.S. house such an entry would leave the team crawling around in the attic. This is obviously sub-optimal for the entry team. In Iraq, I never saw an attic.

    At any rate, I’m calling you out for your statement: “I know, it’s not hard to harden the home, it’s just not affordable.”

    I’d say that for 99% of U.S. homes it’s basically impossible to harden it against a well-trained and equipped dynamic entry team or well equipped home invasion bandits posing as such a team! If you have effective ideas, I’d like to hear them, and if they pass muster, I’ll want an estimate for you to perform the hardening and upgrades.

    Sincerely, Armageddon Rex

  4. Armageddon Rex says:

    For everyone’s edification:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm4bzV31k14

  5. MadRocketScientist says:

    Rex,

    I’m not interested in stopping the police entirely, just slowing them down enough for the homeowner to wake up, realize it’s the police at the door & not a handful of criminals, and try to communicate/peacefully surrender without loss of innocent life.

    I have no doubt that the police will just go Waco on any home that resists entry on a long term basis.

  6. Chris Byrne says:

    Thus, the post I put in my comment above.

    It’s actually pretty easy and pretty cheap, to fortify a decent door enough that you can take it out easily with a sledgehammer or doorbuster.

    Of course, that presumes you have a decent door; in particular a solid core hardwood, or metal fire door etc… with a solid frame/jamb. If you don’t, then a 10 year old could punch through it in a minute.

  7. Armageddon Rex says:

    I appreciate the feedback folks.

    I don’t plan on raising my Gadsden flag and declaring war on the usurpers just yet, so I’m not interested in stopping a genuine cadre of sworn peace officers for an extended period.

    I am very concerned with a small team of 3-5 home invaders posing convincingly as members of a regional narcotics task force, or ICE, or DEA, or any other group of law enforcement agents who wouldn’t ordinarily communicate with my local police department before executing a warrant showing up and staging a home invasion. All it would take would be a couple, unmarked, Crown Victorias or Dodge Chargers with red and blue lights in the the back windows and under the front grills and the team looking clean cut, Caucasian, and wearing body armor and windbreakers with the appropriate official looking logos and lettering and nearly all of my neighbors will stay inside, peak through the windows and wonder what’s going on while a neighbors front door or living room window is busted in and the house looted. Heck, half my neighbors are probably expecting the ATF to raid my house any day now anyway. Nice folks my neighbors, but sheep nearly to the last! Would they even know if the victims were cuffed, gagged, hooded and kidnapped by thugs posing as peace officers? I don’t honestly know, but I don’t think so. Not until it was far to late to intervene effectively, even for the few who do own firearms and know how to use them.

    Regrettably, it’s gotten to the point in this country where if one’s neighbors house were to be “taken down” by peace officers and one were to show up and ask to see a warrant or otherwise demand to know what they Hell is going on and who they are, you are likely to be cited or arrested for interfering with a crime scene, obstructing justice, aiding and abetting a felon, or whatever other charge can be thought up on the spur of the moment. If you don’t believe me, just show up at the edge of the police line at such a scene with your video camera and attempt to record everything happening.

    We had several instances in and around Baghdad and Mosul, where “terrorists” acquired police or army uniforms and instead of attacking U.S. Forces, used them for ethnic cleansing and a bit of banditry, to stage “raids” on members of other religious communities. Shiite thugs raiding Sunnis, Christians, and Yezdis, or Sunnis raiding Shiites or Christians, etc. It usually ended up with cash and easily portable valuables looted from the targeted home, all attractive females raped, and all military age males dead. We think we eventually got most of them, but building concrete walls to segregate the neighborhoods with armed locals securing the checkpoints is what really ended that practice. If such a group were to operate in middle class suburbia here or target relatively isolated homes in rural areas, given today’s environment, what would stop them? It would be a huge mess, where pretty quickly you wouldn’t trust, and certainly wouldn’t obey or easily cooperate with any law enforcement at all unless they were personally known or vouched to you by someone you trust.

    That’s the threat I’m primarily concerned with. Do you have any suggestions? I already have relatively secure front, rear and side doors. I don’t want to put bars on my windows. I don’t live in a ghetto, and my neighbors would go completely ballistic if I tried anything like that.

    Sincerely, Armageddon Rex

  8. Alexander says:

    Well. I can tell you about Russian experience. We have here a highest crime rates in eurasia. So, panic buttons, alarms and metal doors – is necessary to live safe. A bit.
    First of all – no need to mount safe doors if one wall in your home is made of glass. They will come through easiest way to go in. Heavy steel door? Ok. They breech through window. Armored glass? Ok – they breech through the wall. Let me guess – your walls isn’t concrete or brick? That’s the weekest point.
    Standart US homes isn’t going to be a fortress. So – usual door with good locks and laminated window glasses will be enough. It’s not really an armor, but they will not be so easely to crush. And don’t forget about alarm – it doesn’t cost much, but can be very useful.
    And if you want more – well… start from massive concrete walls. 🙂

  9. Justthisguy says:

    Well, I live in Southern Florida, and hurricane season is about to start. I live in a concrete-block-stucco house, necessarily. The doors and windows are weak, though they are small.
    We do have some sliding glass easily-smashed doors by the kitchen. I think my best plan is to try and cultivate the local deppities and get on their good side.

    My landlord, god bless him for the slack he has cut me for arrears of rent, is a bit of an oblivious hippy and doesn’t really understand the necessity for hurricane shutters. Owhell…

  10. M Gallo says:

    I’m planning on finding some of those steel security gates used at malls, but the size of an ordinary door frame. Then, I will use them INSIDE the house for security. I live in a cape cod, so I can, with two of those, stop an entry team (or zombies, but I repeat myself) from getting to my bedroom before I am awake and clearly know what is going on. I can roll them out of the way, and there’s no way to tell they are there from outside the house (or even inside the house with some clever camoflouge).

    Better still would be to trap a team for a little while by using four of those, with the two by the doors on a delay trigger to let the team in, then close. I can’t imagine anyone with a brain NOT being momentarily unnerved by getting to where you want to be, and then realizing that you must now find a way out or at least through. Since the breaching guy is the last to enter, you’d have a group of guys with guns standing around trying to get him inside, while watching the hallway for contact and not shooting the other team on the other side of the hallway at the same time. I only need a few seconds to get on my carbine and assess the situation to see if I need to counterattack or surrender, and I think this would do the trick.

  11. I’ve often thought that if I was building a house from scratch on a large piece of property, I’d love to follow the plan of a Roman domus: one strong exterior door, and outward-facing windows only on the second floor, but with airy windows, balconies, and patios opening onto a central courtyard garden. It’s the kind of security against petty criminals and mutant zombie bikers that only an unbroken exterior wall can give, but without the feeling that you’re living in a fortress.

  12. Phelps says:

    I was thinking the same as Elmo. My only problem was the weakness of the interior courtyard to air assault. My inspiration on that was a slat patio roof style cover, with 24 inch centers, and razor-wire style barbs on the sides of the slats at a reasonable spacing. Not especially obtrusive, but you have have to be insane to try to fastrope in with the threat of those fouling and shredding your line 30 feet up.

  13. Phil says:

    Let me know if you can use any South Sound help in this venture, MadRock.

  14. Davidwhitewolf says:

    Elmo, one of the things I noticed in old-town Barcelona a couple years back was how the medieval residential buildings were designed against forcible entry, by mob or otherwise. Gigantic thick doors at street level opened to a wide interior room that could easily by covered by archers on the massive staircases inside. Windows were 2nd-story and above, and had in many cases very thick shutters. Made ya think….

  15. RT says:

    My wish would be a house that had all basements underground. The other rooms would be above ground in a normal looking hosue. Entrances to underground would be heavily fortified and some of them would be hidden. Floor between would be reinforced concrete. Of course I’d have a range underground as well :).

  16. RT says:

    Arrgh. That should be “all BEDROOMS underground”. Sheesh…

  17. Rivrdog says:

    All y’all seem to have missed the point of defensive tactics somewhere along the line. You are all correct who say that the cops will eventually get in, in fact they put a LOT of skull time on that very point. They WILL get in. You would be far better served spending most all that moolah on an escape route, because the NEXT principle of tactics to come up is: YOU pick the place and time to fight, or YOU are likely to lose the battle.

    Imagine: you have a moderately strong door, AND the inside-the-vestibule delaying door (I LIKE that idea!). You hear the bang in the middle of the night, and a quick look tells you that dynamic entry is underway. You hit a switch to shoot the bolts in your delaying-door, then you (and family if you have them) drop down thru a semi-fortified hatch into your escape tunnel, lock the hatch behind you (floor hatches are MUCH harder to breach) move the length of the tunnel, and come up behind the entry line somewhere out of the inside perimeter. Now YOU have the choice of whether to continue to escape and evade, OR fight from a position that the enemy is COMPLETELY unprepared to have incoming fire from. YOUR choice, so YOUR tactics have a much greater chance of success. Just remember that you can’t beat the Motorola, so adjust your tactics accordingly. If it were me, I continue to E & E, not fight at that point, then I go to one of my several prepared safe places, arm up and REALLY get into the fight.

    That’s how you do it if TACTICS mean anything to you. If you stay in your house, you will simply be killed. Killed a little later if you’ve done a decent up-armoring job, but killed anyway.

  18. Armageddon Rex says:

    Rivrdog:

    You bring up an interesting idea. If I were part of a resistance movement, building in a war torn country like Iraq, or were a mid-level drug dealer, where I would expect with some certainty to have my home invaded eventually I might consider such a tactic.
    There are however a few flies in your ointment from my perspective:

    1) Cost; Constructing a home using steel reinforced concrete, bullet resistant doors and shatter resistant windows is very expensive but is within the realm of common construction materials and techniques. Banks, jewelers, correctional and law enforcement facilities and wealthy private individuals all have buildings constructed utilizing these materials and techniques on a regular basis. This means they are somewhat “affordable” Such construction may be considered custom work, but the materials are readily available with a few weeks advanced notice, and such a design won’t usually require a licensed civil engineer to draw up new plans and perform calculations to ensure such structures are safe. All the “common” hardening techniques and materials are already incorporated into the U.S. , Canadian, and European residential and commercial building codes. This will not be the case for an escape tunnel. What about collapses, earthquakes, flooding, ventilation and radon gas? I’m just going off the top of my head, and I went to school to be an electrical engineer, not a civil or mining engineer. I’m certain there are at least of few other problems I haven’t thought of yet.

    2) In a criminal home invasion, deterrence is where it’s at. Even a determined group of thugs who specifically target your residence because it looks hardened (what are they keeping in there? Whatever it is must be valuable!) are likely to call it quits when their door or window breeching tool is destroyed while unsuccessfully attempting entry with it. By that time they will probably have attracted the attention of all the surrounding neighbors. As you pointed out above, no realistic measure of hardening is going to prevent the government from coming in if they have the time and determination.

    3) How are you going to secure your tunnel so it isn’t used as a hidden passage into your castle? It was not unheard of in the middle ages for a stronghold to fall because the “secret” back entrance to the castle was betrayed or discovered. How will you keep it secret? Will you copy what European royalty and nobility did and slay the designer and builders so they can never betray your closely held, critical secret? More conventional hardening doesn’t require secrets be kept. A well thought out and implemented hardened fortress will be a time consuming bitch to penetrate, even if you were the designer.

    4) Being on the run after TSHTF. One of the reasons I’ve begun to harden my home is to afford a greater level of protection in a deteriorating or post SHTF environment. I’ve stockpiled an extensive and expensive equipment and consumables larder, and in a post SHTF environment that’s what will allow my family and I to survive. If the far fetched eventuality comes to pass, and it comes to “looters” trying to take it away, it might be better if I died fighting on the ramparts, taking as many of them with me to Valhalla as possible. I cannot afford to construct and provision multiple safe house fortresses. I’m a retired military officer and engineer, not a bankster! Escaping to the “wilderness”, suburban or otherwise with my family in tow and just the supplies we could carry on our backs and in a bugout vehicle doesn’t sound very promising. Picking off mutant biker zombies a few at a time using a night vision scope mounted on my M-1A while they try to batter down one of my doors sounds like a better plan than abandoning my fortress and all my supplies.

    Again, I don’t plan on fomenting open warfare with my local, state or federal peace officers. I’m on friendly speaking terms with several local LEOs and a couple fed LEOs, and would only wish to slow down a misdirected or accidental no knock dynamic entry long enough to move my family and I into our safe room where we should be able to safely ride it out long enough to contact outside assistance in order to send one of the LEOs I know to find out WTH is going on, or to contact my attorney, or the local FOX news affiliate if no one else could be found.

    Respectfully, Armageddon Rex

  19. David,

    I think it was either in Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives or Medieval Mercenaries that he tells about visiting European castles and suddenly realizing that not only were they fortified against attack from outside, the family’s quarters were additionally designed to protect against (for lack of a better term) the domestic security team. Medieval lords felt the need to hole up against their enemies and against the people they commanded or paid to protect them.

    From what little I know of architecture, most homes have always been pretty poorly hardened against attack, but that’s probably due to lack of means. It would be interesting to know whether indefensible houses have been historically common among people as wealthy as modern westerners, or whether it’s a side effect of our (relatively) peaceful recent history.

  20. Kyle says:

    Elmo, if you travel to the rest of the world outside of the US and Canada, you will find that most homes at the middle class level and up in urban areas ARE far more hardened against attack. This includes Western Europe, although the UK is “softer.” In urban Asia, Japan aside, you will find that many, many middle class people have reinforced concrete homes with a wall around the perimeter (6′-8’concrete walls with broken glass embedded in the top, or iron fences with real spikes on the top, or supplemented with razor or barbed wire). The poorer the country, the more elaborate things will get. In France and Spain, most of the suburban homes more than 50 years old that I saw had walls with broken glass at the top, and a solid-looking gate for the driveway.

    In Thailand and Laos, for example, it’s really amazing how incredibly poor people live right next to the wealthy in most urban and suburban areas. I am talking people who have a home that looks just like the seasonal shelters that people put up on farmland to operate from during planting and harvest time, and may have one lightbulb, a radio, and a tiny television, right next to people with 15k sq ft pieces of land covered in pavers with nice landscaping and a 3k sq ft home with a lot of marble. The wealthy keep the gates closed most of the time, and can button up their reinforced concrete homes with very little effort.

  21. All I gotta say is, You guys rock!

    And you are all a little scary…but you still rock!

    If I do start a business like this, ya’ll get to sign on as design consultants.

  22. Nate says:

    You guys ought to look into earthbag walls. They’re basically as strong as rock and concrete, and anyone—and I mean anyone—can build them. If you have the opportunity to design and build your own house, look no farther. In addition to their substantial advantages for hardening and fortification, they also offer built-in insulation and thermal mass for a more comfortable interior climate, and they have substantial sound dampening qualities as well.

  23. Chase says:

    Earthbag? Try rammed earth. Solid as rock.

    Although, come to think of it, rammed earth is labor-intensive and requires you to set up steel forms. You have to spend lots of effort tamping the earth down into the forms (hence “rammed earth”) so it takes a long time. Earthbag is a lot easier, but not as strong, I think.

  24. MadRocketScientist says:

    When thinking about ways to slow down an intruder, setting up something like this might be an idea.

    Net Gun – Set it up with CO2 cartridges & you’d have a nice, compact, non lethal way to slow down an intruder.

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