7 Essential Basics For Home Defense


7 Essential Basics For Home Defense

Below are 7 things that you should know in case you ever run into a real home invasion scenario. Now most of this stuff is applicable in other circumstances, but to keep it simple I’m going to mostly focused on home defense.

Let’s get to it.

 1.How to Hold a Pistol

I want to cover the basics on how to hold a pistol.

Before we go any further, it’s important that we establish a firm grip for firing, plant our feet firmly on the ground, and assume the right body posture in order to shoot properly.



Especially if we have our children and wife grabbing on to us, a stable base is important to prevent being off balance.


In order for me to get a good firm footing, I need to spread my feet a little apart, move my “firing leg” half step back, and then bend my knees.


After, I tightly grip the gun right outside its edge using my “firing hand.”

Next, I’m going to place the palm of my non-firing hand just right on top of the space where my firing hand is at.


Then using the same hand, I firmly wrap my fingers around my firing hand and underneath the trigger guard.



I’ll place the thumb of my non-firing hand down. Now, both of my hands are clamped and shelling the pistol.



Now, I’m going to raise the pistol to my target, lock my elbows and drop my chin in between my elbows as much as possible. I’m going to gain a front and rear sight picture while focusing on the front sight. Placing my finger on the trigger, I’ll slowly pull it to the rear.



And that’s how we get a firm firing grip and assume a basic firing stance.


2.Compensating for Over Penetration

 So, what if a bad guy was standing between us and our child who’s sleeping in her room, how do we take care of this individual? How do we neutralize that target?

If we press out and pull the trigger, the bullet’s trajectory might not only go through the bad guy, but it might also go through the drywall of our child’s room and potentially kill him or her.


One of the ways that we can take of that angle and trajectory problem is to simply move, from left to right, or vice versa.


For instance, if we were pressed out and at the left side, we want to move side to side while keeping the weapon pointed at him. The trajectory angle of the bullet in this instance is at the right.



So, when we cracked out that round, not only does it take care of him, but it also does not over penetrate the area where we don’t want it to go.


And that area doesn’t necessarily have to be the room of our child. It could be two rooms, a closet, and then a bedroom.

Firearms today have ballistics that will penetrate two or three rooms.

We have to keep in mind that when we have a firearm, we can’t just move, shake, shoot, drop, and pull it. It doesn’t work that way. We see that in the movies, and it doesn’t work.


We have to gain the right angle. The only way that we’re going to gain the right angle is to practice it. We have to move inside our house. We have to know that we have a couch corner here; because if we were to move up, we could hit the couch.


If the bad guy moves (and he will) and crosses over, we may need to drop on one knee to gain the right angle.


By dropping the non-firing knee, we can support the firing hand knee and could bend more over.



Now, you see I’m pressed out with one hand. How many times have you practiced this shot? How about the turn over, how many times have you practiced that shot?

Two hands and turn over.


I can’t get the angle, so I have to let the one hand go.


It doesn’t matter if you’re a left-handed shooter.


Just drop your non-firing hand knee, roll it over, get a better angle, and back up.


3.Muzzle Direction

Wherever you point your muzzle, if you’re actively engaging, that’s exactly where you need to fix your eyes.

As I press out, I can see the front side of my target. I can also see what’s beyond it.


If I move my head, I can’t see any more where my muzzle is pointing at.


Get in the habit of making your gun’s barrel go where your eyes are looking. I don’t want to take the muzzle or barrel of my gun stray away from the object I’m looking at.


So, wherever your eyes go, so is where your gun should be pointed at.





Back to you.


 4.Canting Pistol 45 Degrees

Another position that you can hold your weapon while moving through your house is taking the gun and moving it off to your right hip—that’s for right-handed shooters.

You need to cant the gun 45 degrees because a semi-automatic has a slide that will slide back when you fire the trigger.


Should you be wearing a bulky shirt, sweater, or a jacket, that slide could momentarily hung-up and knock chamber fully the next round.


So, instead of hanging it up to my body, I have the butt of my pistol where the magazine sits, into my hip.


I keep the gun slanted by 45 degrees. I have my shoulder and elbow tucked tightly.



And now, I have this hand free.


Your eyes and belt buckle need to move as one; because the direction of your pistol is where your eyes and hip need to turn.



This position could be used when the threat is in close proximity to you, where you might take a strike, where he might try to hit you, or where he might come in close.


You could protect your gun and operate it without letting him see it to prevent him from knocking it down. Keep the gun by keeping your elbow and shoulder tight and cant 45 degrees.


You can use your free hand to block a strike, to push away, and to gain distance.



And should you closely encounter him, and you’re able to push and gain distance, then you can go into your high ready stance and deliver the rounds necessary



So, close,


gain distance, keep backing out,


press out, high ready stance, all in your sights, and then finally pull the trigger to the rear.


5.Getting a Sight Picture

I want to dispel a myth. I want to go ahead and just clarify this right now…

When a time is life’s situation hits, when that instinct takes over, when that autonomic nervous system kicks in and that surge of adrenaline hits you.

When a certain life situation hits you, when your instinct starts to take over, your autonomic nervous system causes adrenaline rush, you will NOT close one eye,


look through the rear of the sight, pick up the front sight, slowly pull the trigger towards the rear to wait for the reset, letting the trigger out at the reset, and then pulling it back again.


This won’t happen. This is what will happen.

You will press out instinctively.

You will get that front sight in front of both eyes, which are kept open, and you will pull the trigger.


And that bullet will go where both eyes are looking at.


It is almost impossible to close one eye when you are so jacked up on adrenaline—your heart is racing a mile a minute and your hands and feet are trembling. You will not be able to do it.


You will press out and pull the trigger immediately.

Both eyes will be as wide as they could possibly get.


Your nostrils will be flared out, sucking as much oxygen as they can.


Your mouth will be gaping, sucking every ounce of oxygen in your immediate atmosphere into your body. Your lungs will never felt so full of oxygen, and you will pull the trigger.


And you will continue to pull the trigger until that threat is gone. So, when you go to a static range, and you’re in your stall and loading your magazines, put it in your gun, load your gun, run that target out, take a deep breath, and gain that sight picture.


That is only gun handling training that you’re doing. It is NOT gun fighting.


6.How to Pie a Corner

This is pieing a corner. There is a way to take a corner without exposing yourself any more than you have to. For this demonstration, the corner that I will be pieing is on my right side.


I am a right-handed shooter. But because I’m using a right-handed corner, I need to change my grip.


So, as I’ve earlier demonstrated about the firm firing grip, the void is filled by the palm of the non-shooting hand. I’m just going to reverse that grip.


I’m now going to move my hand over to my left hand, which is my firing hand. (I still have the same void.) I’ll take the palm of my non-shooting hand and fill that void, wrap my fingers around, and keep my thumbs down.


Can you see my fingers outside the trigger?


And that’s how you hold a gun.

So, let’s pie this corner.


I want to get as much standoff from this corner as possible. A lot of guys like to get up from the corner, stick their gun out like this,


and expose your left chest, which holds your lung,


a portion of your heart,


your left shoulder,




hand, gun, and leg—all of these can be shot.


So, back off from the corner and step to the side where you cannot visually see your target.


Get that firm firing grip—use two hands, press forward, assume your stance, gun, hand, leg, forward, drop your base.


Lock your elbows out, and tuck your chin into your arms. Now, do a small side step while exposing only as little gun as possible.


Do not stick out your elbow, shoulder, hip, or leg.


You need to lean over a little and take a slight step. I see my target at the moment.


If I need to move the right leg to brace myself, I can. Now, I can get a firm firing grip, good sight picture, and slowly pull the trigger to the rear. I can also come back in, if I did not shoot.

Come back in.


Move back out. Come back in. Move back out.


 I have some concealment because of this wall. And again, it’s not a cover; but it is a kind of concealment.


Now, should I press out?

I’ve got a good angle.


I see him, but I did not shoot for some reason—I need to change angles.

I can drop my knee at the gun side, use the right leg, get some base, lean out while rotating the gun over, and fire.



Lean back in, rotate the gun back up,


stand back up, slowly lean out, gain sight picture, and pull the trigger.



In this way, you only expose a minimal amount of your body. What is exposed is the barrel of your gun. Your eye can pick up what your gun is pointing at. You’re not exposing any parts of your body more than you need to, and you can make a clean shot.

That’s pieing a corner.


7.Cover and Concealment

Cover and concealment. Cover is anything that would stop a bullet. Concealment is something that would keep you from being seen, but won’t stop a bullet.

In a residential house just like this one, you’re going to have walls that have sheetrock, insulation, and then on the interior side you’ll have sheetrock again. This wall will not stop a bullet.


Now, there are certain areas that you could gain a small amount of cover. And by small, I mean very small. But it maybe just enough for you to transition to another area, and that would be the door frames.

The door frames typically have studs that are two studs combined together. And they go over the door frame with the nice header.

These 2 studs combined will provide a small amount of resistance for that bullet. But understand that 2 2x4s is only going to cover about the size of your heart. So you leave the left and the right side of your chest, lungs, exposed.


So understand, should you get behind a wall, you still can be shot. You can still stop an intruder from attacking you by shooting through the walls.

The doors inside of a residence typically are hollow. As you can see here, very hollow, and a bullet can go right through this. So just by merely closing the door, you don’t stop a bullet. You do conceal yourself, if he doesn’t know you’re there.

And then it’s just hide and seek. But you’re not going to stop his bullet.

But just as this door won’t stop his bullet, it won’t stop yours either. So if you close this door and you hear him banging, “I’m coming in there. You better open up! I’m coming! I’m coming!”


Well, you do have an opportunity to neutralize that threat, by pointing your weapon and firing. When you fire, you want to fire from the door handle, to center mass, and up. Start from the door handle and work your way up.

You can see on this door handle, this door handle is set at just at my hips. Should you start your shot here, work your way up. You’re now hitting vital organs. You will incapacitate him, should you shoot him in the hips. But you can continue to shoot up. So use that as a point of reference.


Door handle, middle of the door, and up.

Remember the difference between cover and concealment. It could save your life.


  • Wynn says:


  • Doc Tj says:

    Great info bro. Look forward to more important and helpful information

  • Dan says:

    Great information and great camera work. I know from experience it took a ton of work to get it all laid out correctly on the blog.

  • Les Hurlbert says:

    Great video thank you EJ can’t wait to see more

  • Jstarusa says:

    A lot of commonsense shown here. Excellent presentation! Thank you sir!

  • Prewitt says:

    Really great info… each of the 7 basic Home Defense steps made so much sense. As the Brother said above, about it being common sense, I would love for that to be true for everyone. However I’m one of those, that have been in situations in which common sense seems to have “Left the Game” but I really enjoy these training steps. They allow Gun fighting Novices as myself to have a good foundation to build on…. With my family and home, the term Fight or Flight….will be 99.9 percent fight (no where to go Brother). Each step played well off the other, Pie a Corner, and Cover Concealment are very helpful in my situation. and last but not least. the statement you made about the difference in Practicing shooting and Practicing for a Gun fight.. I guess I have spent most of my time being more of a target. Today that changes…. Thanks EJ.

  • Peter says:

    So basic and helpful -thanks -Look forward to the next…

  • Willy says:

    EJ: Great presentation.
    I learned a lot, and I have had military training as well.
    Sure are a lot of different considerations when you are thinking about family and kids in the picture or surroundings.

    Stay safe, Keep practicing !


  • ronald says:

    crsytal clear explanation and demonstration!!! : )

  • Jackie says:

    Great presentation for home defense. Keep up the great work and it just might safe many life’s. Thanks for the presentation and the information.

    Thanks EJ,
    coming all the way form south Texas

  • Great info! One of the thing I have done in my home is to place some cover in strategic areas of my house. Full bookcases will provide cover from almost any round you are likely to encounter in a home invasion so I placed these in key areas of my house to give me a protected firing position. Knowing my house’s layout and where to stand and fight will give me a key advantage. Sure the bad guy could use them but I know the layout and will move to another area and shoot through the wall or just wait them out. My wife will have called the police and I can wait if I need to. He will be wanting to get away once he realizes he s facing an armed and determined home owner, I just want him to get out or to end his aggression so I can wait if I need to. I practice moving through house in the dark with an empty gun so I know where the funnel’s are and how to move with no light on. Again, very good info but it does you no good if you don’t practice in your own home. Stay safe.

  • AndyJ says:

    I would add; Get to the range and practice, practice, practice. Practice dry firing. Practce live firing. Practice at least once a month. Fire at least one full clip. Preferably a box and know how it will recoil. Know how much noise it makes. Know how much the pull will be. Know your weapon. Treat your weapon as if lives depend on it.

    Most people do not practice. They do not have the habits of -NOT- placing finger on trigger until ready to fire. Their lack of familiarity will cause them to drop the weapon, fire blindly, or fire in error.

    The large numbers of people who have purchased weapons in the last ten years is probably a net good for our society. I wish there was a way to have them get to the range and/or work with an instructor at least once a month. When you need a weapon is -not- the time to begin doing your homework. A bullet once fired cannot be recalled.

    Thanks for your article and efforts.

  • BigFED says:

    While most of this is “common sense”, it is NOT common practice!!! One reverts to what ones does “instinctively”. The amount of training to have those “new” actions become the norm is HUGE, unfortunately! AND that costs, time, ammo, range fees, etc! Not only that, but most ranges do NOT allow shooting from the draw or “reactive” shooting (i.e. rapid fire).

    It is a known fact that LEOs (police officers) often have great difficulty in documenting a shooting event. So plans, as well intentioned and as noble as they may be, almost never follow what was scripted (plans fail since not everyone knows or has read the plan!)

    Everything EJ states is absolutely correct. The problem is REALITY! I’ve been legally carrying, either with CCW/CHL and/or credentials for over 50 years and have had one or three “serious social discussions”. In my cases, 1 shot in each instance is all it took for me. Being good is great, being lucky is even better! DO NOT GET ME GOING ABOUT THE OTHER DEPUTIES INVOLVED! They epitomized almost all of the things that can go bad!!!

    1) Keep your gun about two to three steps from your bed. That make you wake up BEFORE you get your gun in hand.
    2) Count heads. Wife, check; kid 1, check; kid 2, check (etc); dog, check; cat, check; etc. etc
    3) Grab gun AND flashlight!
    4) Give phone to wife to call LEO.
    5) Do what you have to do.
    If you and wife are alone, defend the bedroom. Kids at home, defend the hallway. I usually recommend checking out the house ONLY after five minutes or so of “listening”. I my case, I wait until my 127 pound Belgian Malinois stops barking and growling and my 80 pound Boxer brings me a leg or arm! I love dogs!!!

    In the confined space within a house, things go FAST, mere split seconds, not seconds! “Working the pie” is just one of the seven topics EJ covers and there just is NOT enough time to mentally do the “checklist” during an “encounter”. Concealment is NOT cover, but trying to compute your geographic location relative to the wall studs and frame just isn’ t going to happen. Same for “should I go to one knee or…”

    For one thing, since most of us are NOT “high speed, low drag ” operators, we don’t bend, flex, go prone, go kneeling, etc. without a plan and/or something breaking or tearing!

    One solid piece of advice, practice dry firing!!! Do it in almost every location in which “contact” may occur, i.e. front door are, back door area, hallway, etc. Skip the pantry, laundry room unless it is a foyer to the back door. And if it is like mine, using the washer or dryer as cover ain’t going to happen. Now that second refrigerator, that’s another story! It’s YOUR house! Learn it! Know it! Know just where you can and cannot (should not) shoot.

    And one more thing. A flashlight, especially one of these new, high intensity, LED lights. Smack one of those on an unwanted “guest” and they will be seeing stars for seconds to come. BIG advantage. Don’t sweat that “they’ll see me” crap about using a flashlight. NO ONE eats enough carrots to have that good enough night vision to start throwing lead without KNOWING ABSOLUTELY the target. Light them up and shoot as needed.

  • You can also set up your house so you know where the hidden switches to the surprise dazzling spotlights are located (and which switches are dummies connected to nothing, for the burglar to fiddle with all he wants). Hidden switches can also be run to remote control solenoid operated switches in door jambs, which can make doors open for you only, close for the bad guy when you hit the right buttons, and even trap the burglar between electrically controlled doors so he isn’t going anywhere as long as he can’t bust out of mechanically strong doors, barred windows, and walls. Pressure mat sensors under rugs at doors and windows can send you a signal the instant a burglar steps on them. The signal can be to sound a loud alarm to scare the burglar away, sound a silent bright light alarm to wake you up in bed, and/or alert the police and/or call your cell phone if you are away. Why give the criminal sucker an even break?

  • Steve says:

    Good info. I had an instructor teach me the same pistol hold as you showed, with one exception that I found very useful. You lock both elbows then you pull the cover hand back slightly. It locks and steadies my pistol better and the sight picture is more secure.

    Keep up the good instruction……

  • Wil says:

    Great presentation, Just wanted to Thank You for all your doing. After listening to you on the survival summit, I purchased your book for my sons and family.
    One question for you, you have said in one of past videos that if you use shotgun for home defense, you recommend 20 Guage, which I agree with. Could you or have you ever shown how to utilized a shotgun in house for home protection? Trying to utilize your videos with pistol using shotgun. Some family and friends only own a home protection small barreled shotgun (18.5″ barrel). It is quite the challange to try and pie a corner with one of these shotguns.
    Thank You

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