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The Defenders: Your Home-Defense Loadout

The Defenders is a column found in Concealment Magazine! In it, we highlight the home-defense setups from your average citizen. 

Want to be featured in this column? Email us at [email protected] for instructions!

For more in this column, take a look at Concealment Issue #30!

Armando Basulto

Profession: Combatives instructor, outdoor writer, and history teacher

Current job title: Head instructor, Basulto Academy of Defense, Gracie jiujitsu third degree black belt, weapons combatives instructor

Describe your residence and its occupants as it relates to protective or defensive decision-making. 

Our house is in an Appalachian rural area, surrounded by neighbors with everything from chickens and cattle to horses and hunting hounds. Because we are far outside the city limits, our first responders to 911, which might be state troopers, could take significantly longer than if we lived near Main Street. Luckily, even without formal organization, “neighborhood watch” happens organically in our little cove in the mountains. Even though it is a two-story home, the main living and sleeping quarters are on the first level, so the majority of potential home invasion/defense scenarios are based in and around that space.

How does your home/neighborhood environment affect your choice of home defense/bedside firearm and defense items? 

Our house sits on a high bluff with a rise of woods behind our house that acts as a natural stop. Though I have to consider factors like ammunition and overpenetration within my house structure, I don’t have to worry about collateral damage to my neighbors because of distance and angle (elevation of our property). 

For our type of secluded, mountain-forest environment, I’m not a huge advocate of automatic outside lights and/or alarms. The lights would instead provide illumination for B&E. The alarm systems we have had experience with would constantly go off for every woodland creature that comes to explore our house or duck enclosure. A well-trained (or well-bred) hound dog with a good nose is the best first-warning system. 

With experience, you can differentiate the types of bays used by the hound dog to indicate a critter outside, a stranger at the door, or mom with groceries.

Describe each of your home defense/bedside items.

Glock 26

Glock 26 with Ameriglo front sight, black rear. Two mags with extenders, with Hornady Critical Defense 9mm. This ammunition provides the least recoil and muzzle flash to preserve my night vision.

AMTAC Northman Blade

AMTAC Northman Blade by retired DEVGRU SEAL Bill Rapier of AMTAC Shooting. My EDC do-everything/CQB blade, in a Deep Concealment rig.

Galloway Precision Do-All Holster

The Galloway Precision Do-All Holster is lightweight and carries the extra mag. A holster is crucial even in home defense in order to be hands-free when needed.

Streamlight Stylus Pro Flashlight

The Streamlight Stylus Pro flashlight is my EDC light and becomes my tactical bedside light. Its 350 lumens are enough to get the job done and still light enough to clip to a pair of pajamas. WMLs are great, but I prefer to not use my muzzle as a flashlight with so many “friendlies” in the house.


The CAT Tourniquet is part of my EDC, but they are also placed in every family member’s bag. This TQ is easy for self-application and is the one I’ve drilled with most frequently.

Cell phone

In case power or phonelines are cut, a cellphone not reliant on Wi-Fi may be the only way to call for 911. iPhones make it easier to dial “hands-free’ using Siri.

Explain your home defense philosophy.

Just like Albert Einstein reportedly had several variations of the same suit so he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what to wear every day, I believe in having the same system for EDC as I would for home defense to avoid reinventing the wheel every time I move or travel. At home, I use my first-line tools to get to my second-line tools (rifle, shotgun, etc). 

I follow the combatives dictum to “use your blade to get to your pistol; use the pistol to get to your rifle; use your rifle to get to your team.” Your team is defined as your family or co-habitants. Whatever your domestic situation, you cannot have anyone who will not follow proactive procedures and become a liability.

Every family/teammate should know how to keep the house secure, know and follow protocols and procedures (and train them), and if possible, provide backup and/or assistance.

Ryan Domke


Profession: Business consulting

Current job title: Creative director and content writer, Gun Made

Describe your residence and its occupants as it relates to protective or defensive decision-making. 

We live in a two-story home in a quiet suburb, with neighbors situated closely on both sides and limited street lighting. In our home is myself, my wife, and our two children. 

We also have a Rottweiler mix that acts as a supplemental alarm system in addition to our actual alarm system. Our master bedroom is directly across from both of our children’s rooms, which makes it quick and easy for us to gather everyone and secure our room of choice.

 With the estimated law enforcement response time of 6 to 8 minutes, we cannot be dependent on outside help, not that we’d to begin with.

How does your home/neighborhood environment affect your choice of home defense/bedside firearm and defense items? 

Having some tight corners and short hallways in certain areas of the house, overall weapon length is something we have to consider. With the close neighbors and limited street lighting, we also have to take into account bullet penetration and supplemental lighting (motion activated lights, cameras, flashlights) in our home-defense strategy. Given the above, my primary weapon of choice is my 9mm handgun, followed by my AR pistol, and lastly my 12-gauge shotgun.

Describe each of your home defense/bedside items.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact with a Streamlight TLR-7A and Crimson Trace RAD Pro

The M&P9 M2.0 is my most frequently carried gun, so I train with it more than any other gun I own. In turn, I’m confident in the reliability of the gun and my accuracy with it. It’s easy to clear rooms with since I have an extra hand to open doors, use a handheld light, or reload if necessary. 

It’s secured in a quick-opening nightstand safe with a spare magazine and knife, with an IWB holster and flashlight next to the safe. With the spare magazine, I have total of 31 rounds.  

S&W M&P15 Pistol (7.5-inch Barrel) with a Swampfox Optics Liberator II, an INFORCE WML, and a UTG foregrip. 

With two children in the house, I need to be able to keep every weapon safe and secured at all times. That being the case, my M&P15 Pistol is my secondary option since it cannot be stored in the nightstand. 

However, it’s extremely close by and quickly accessible. If I have the time or know there are multiple threats, I’ll likely be reaching for it along with our plate carriers.

Winchester SXP Defender shotgun

If we are backed into a corner and/or pinned down in the house, the shotgun will likely come into play. It’s loaded with 00 buckshot and will be pointed toward the only entryway into the area in which we are situated, with the children safely behind us. 

Explain your home defense philosophy.

Protect your family at all costs. While defensive measures should always be ready, I believe preventative measures should be in place as well. If you can prevent an intruder from ever entering your home, that is ideal. 

The use of cameras, motion activated lights, a security system, and keeping your doors locked are your first layer of defense. Then, having your weapons ready, communications in place, and a plan to follow come next. 

At the end of the day, nothing should be considered overkill if it ultimately keeps your family safe and secure.

James R. Hill

Profession: Logistics with focus on specialized on highway transportation

Current job title: Retired 

Describe your residence and its occupants as it relates to protective or defensive decision-making. 

Single-story home. Urban setting. Law enforcement response times should be the average for a city of our size — 7 to 10 minutes. Two adults, no children. Sliding-glass door from deck in rear into dining/living room. Bedroom is down the hall, off this room. 

We have decided to use the bedroom as our shelter in the event of home invasion. Bedroom window has view of driveway and the street we live on. 

How does your home/neighborhood environment affect your choice of home defense/bedside firearm and defense items? 

Our neighborhood is sandwiched between a major interstate and a main thoroughfare. Main concern is wanted/armed and dangerous criminal(s) who may have foot-bailed from a police pursuit and/or crash. 

We chose an AR-based platform for the standard-capacity magazines that’d provide ample firepower to defend front and rear entrances simultaneously. We also chose 300 BLK to utilize a suppressed round that will not overpenetrate yet provide very good terminal ballistics. 

Describe each of your home defense/bedside items.

Aero Precision 300BLK pistol with SBA brace, SIG Sauer Romeo 5 RDO, SureFire X300 WML, SilencerCo Saker 762, Lancer 30rd 300BLK mags loaded with Hornady 220-grain subsonic

300 BLK suppressed is primary. Suppressed is highly desired in CQB, in my opinion. 

Unless time does not allow for access of the 300 BLK pistol, then the G19 is primary. Why AR Pistol versus a shotgun or standard AR? The pistol is more maneuverable in CQB, and 300BLK is designed for suppressed fire. 

Lipsey’s Vickers Gen 4 Glock 19, Night Fision tritium/fiber-optic sights, Streamlight TLR-1 WML

G19 with WML as backup in the event the 300BLK pistol suffers a major malfunction, a simple-to-use platform for my significant other to defend position. 

No children in home, so no “securing” devices. Gun safe is in the lower level to secure any firearms that are left at home. 

Fire Extinguisher 

Explain your home defense philosophy.

All tools for home defense are kept at close reach in the bedroom. Firearms, cell phones, and fire extinguisher are critical in-home defense. Exterior doors are reinforced. Currently researching internet-based security systems with cameras.

Brittnei Schaeffler


Profession: MS conservation biology, BS environmental science and policy, NASM certified personal trainer and fitness nutritionist, founder of the Why Should You Care project, wildlife and nonprofit videographer

Current job title: Professor of environmental science, personal trainer at Salty Fitness Studio, videographer for the Why Should You Care project, Spartan athlete

Describe your residence and its occupants as it relates to protective or defensive decision-making. 

Living on the second story of a cozy townhome community makes me immediately feel safer. However, our bedroom is also located near the back of our unit, which provides me with a direct line of sight down the hallway. In the event of an emergency, I could much more easily defend myself by keeping my back to the wall and focus on what is approaching/coming directly through the front door. 

Additionally, I have two large windows that I could easily use as exits if necessary. With my Spartan training, I’d do just fine jumping from either of the two if need be. At night, our complex is very quiet as well, which makes hearing any abnormal sounds, movement, or cars easy to do so. I tend to be a light sleeper, so this works to my advantage when it comes to my safety. Also, I’m close with all of my surrounding neighbors, so we are able to easily alert each other via text or door knock should an emergency of any kind occur. When you live in a community like I do, it pays to be close with your neighbors.

How does your home/neighborhood environment affect your choice of home defense/bedside firearm and defense items? 

We live in close quarters with many other individuals nearby. So, having a firearm that allows me to maneuver quickly in the event of an emergency is key. Additionally, I feel most comfortable shooting my Glock 19, as my husband and I go to the range often. 

Also, having a bat by the door is just a great old way to scare the crap out of someone if necessary. It’s old school but knowing it’s there and having multiple defensive options provides an additional layer of confidence. There’s a staircase not far from our door that I can also easily hear people coming up, which is another reason having the bat nearby for any quick needs is good.

Lastly, our neighborhood can be pretty dark at night, so having a battery-powered lamp by my bed is always a must. Whether due to a power outage or an emergency, it’s hard to defend yourself when you’re in the dark. 

Describe each of your home defense/bedside items.

Glock 19 in Last Line of Defense appendix carry holster

I love this gun because it is easy for me to hold and aim with. I prefer it over other options because it’s also somewhat compact and easy to keep in bedside drawers or safely nearby. 

Pocket knife

There’s something about having my grandpa’s old knife nearby that just automatically makes me feel safer. In the event I’m not able to get to my Glock or need additional defense, this is a nice item to have. 


It’s hard to defend yourself from what you can’t see. This helps to solve that problem should it ever occur or there is an electrical outage, which happens often in the summer months of California. 

Pepper Spray

Depending on the situation, pepper spray may be all you need to get out and get to safety. 


I keep it right next to the door because you just never know. Plus, I have a pretty strong swing.

Explain your home defense philosophy.

My home defense policy is pretty simple. Keep the doors locked at all times while you’re home. Check the inside of rooms and behind doors upon returning should you happen to leave to take the trash out or grab the mail, etc. 

Keep your self-defense items, or at least always know exactly where they are. Never post videos or photos showing your house number or easily identifiable features. 

Keep your phone charged and, if you’re like me, your glasses always right by your bed. And lastly, be aware of your surroundings just like you would in any other situation. 

If you notice something is off in your surrounding neighborhood or parking lot, keep an eye on it and always maintain the upper hand. It’s all about being proactive versus reactive.

Kerry Slone


Profession: Nonprofit president, educator, self-defense advocate 

Current job title: President, We The Female; firearm and defensive mindset instructor

Describe your residence and its occupants as it relates to protective or defensive decision-making. 

My husband and I live alone in a two-story, traditional Southern home on many acres in rural Georgia. While we have neighbors, there are not close by. Most of the area is agricultural or wooded. Like most cities big or small, our police department and county sheriff’s department are sorely understaffed. Fortunately, we live in an area that has local government and law enforcement that are very supportive of an individual’s right of self-defense..

How does your home/neighborhood environment affect your choice of home defense/bedside firearm and defense items? 

With our home being down a long private drive, we are also in a position where the neighbors wouldn’t be aware of any criminal activity, so we have extra security features such as motion activated lighting, trail cameras, and motion sensors on all entrances to the house.

Describe each of your home defense/bedside items.

I’m a big advocate for women using the AR platform, both rifle and pistol, for home defense. 

Battle Arms OIP

I love the Battle Arms OIP — it is lightweight (under 5 pounds!), easy to operate, and has very little recoil making it great to operate, especially for women. And the .223/.556 caliber is great not only to neutralize human threats, but smaller critters as well.

CMMG Banshee (9mm)

The CMMG Banshee is my go-to bedside firearm — small, lightweight, and provides a higher-capacity option without magazine changes, which matters when there are multiple intruders.

FN 509

Handguns are good to have in certain spaces, and one of my favorites is the FN 509. Being a full-size 9mm handgun, the FN 509 is my choice for some of smaller spaces in my home — i.e. my laundry room that has a glass door leading to the screened porch. Being a handgun, it’s also much easier to holster and take with me to my outdoor living spaces without being too cumbersome.

Explain your home defense philosophy.

As a firearm instructor and as I’ve had to draw my firearm in self-defense (but fortunately did not have to fire it), I’m aware of how using a firearm can affect me not only legally, but also psychologically/financially. Our home-defense plan focuses on de-escalation/avoidance before “pulling the trigger.” 

Wherever possible retreating to a safe place, with a firearm, is my first choice. It provides time and allows for the true intentions of an intruder to show. For example: are they there to steal my TV or cause me personal harm? Personally, my TV or other material objects are not worth the trauma and legal hassle of shooting someone. 

My life, and the life of my family, is a different story, and I will neutralize any threat at all costs. There is no fair fight when it comes to protecting yourself. I’m also a huge proponent of legal protection, such as U.S. Law Shield.

Natalie Strong,

Profession: Freelance writer, blogger

Current job title: Owner of Elegant & Armed

Describe your residence and its occupants as it relates to protective or defensive decision-making. 

I’m the only resident in my urban apartment, so I don’t have to worry about a roommate or child discovering my firearm. 

However, I keep my gun secured in a Sentry Safe by my bedside. When maintenance gives notice that they’ll be entering the apartment, I slide the safe under my bed to avoid drawing attention to the fact that I own a gun. 

I do have neighbors below and on three sides of my living space, so when loading and unloading my pistol, I keep it pointed in the one safe direction.

How does your home/neighborhood environment affect your choice of home defense/bedside firearm and defense items? 

For home defense, I keep a SIG P365 and an M&P Shield next to my bed. I originally chose these guns with concealed carry in mind, the SIG being my current everyday carry. Yes, the gun is small, but so is my apartment, so any attack would take place up close. Also, I practice with it the most, so I am familiar with it. I keep a flashlight beside the safe to help me see in case the invasion occurs at night.  

Describe each of your home defense/bedside items.

SIG Sauer P365

I chose the SIG P365 because I like its size for concealed carry, it’s comfortable in my hands, and it shoots 9mm. I also love the capacity of 10+1. Because I train with this gun the most and I’m comfortable with it, I would also use it in the event of a home invasion.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 

Another firearm I frequently train with is the M&P Shield, which used to be my main carry weapon. I keep this as a home defense backup because it holds 7+1.

Eureka NiteGuide 210 flashlight

When I purchased it, I was looking for something small, inexpensive, and simple. From a design perspective, the notches near the back help prevent it from rolling. Also, because it’s made of metal, it could also be used as a striking device. 

Sentry Safe Quick Access Biometric Pistol Safe

I chose Sentry Safe because I was looking for something fireproof with a biometric fingerprint scanner for quick access. I like how the spring pops the lid open quickly.

Vaultek LifePod

I have to include the Vaultek LifePod because I frequently travel and use it as my main nightstand safe when I do. When I visit relatives who have children, more I feel at ease knowing I can secure my firearm. 

Explain your home defense philosophy. 

Making every effort to prevent a conflict is the cornerstone of my home defense strategy. I would accomplish this by remaining in the back room and calling 911 if I could, while issuing commands to warn the intruder not to approach. 

Of course, I’d defend myself if they keep advancing, because that’s a pretty good sign that they intend to hurt you physically. I believe it’s crucial to only take life as a last resort. 

Even though it stinks when someone breaks in to steal something, if no one gets hurt, I count that as a win.  


These are just some of the many ways Americans approche their home-defense. For a lot more, take a look at the latest issue of Concealment magazine.

If you’d like to support your follow citizen and share your home-defense ideas, email us at [email protected] for instructions!

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