Fortify Your Home To Outlast A Grid Down


Most of the disaster scenario experts agree that bugging in is safer than bugging out, but that doesn’t mean that bugging in has no risks of its own. To minimize the chances of your family being harmed, your supplies being stolen, or your home being invaded, it’s important that you make the necessary preparations to turn your house into a highly defendable fortress.

In this two part article, we will cover the basics of important home fortifications and proven defensive tactics that will allow your home and everyone in it to outlast any disaster scenario. Let’s get started:



The first fortification you should make on your homes are the windows and the doors as they are the two most likely entry points for an intruder to make. We’ll start with the windows just because over one half of home break-ins occur when the burglars break through the windows.

Before a disaster strikes, replace all of your glass windows. Yes, all of them. While glass is very common, it’s also easily breakable. An intruder could easily barge through by smashing the windows with their bare fists if they wanted to.

We recommend that you replace your glass windows with ones that are made out of Plexiglas. Plexiglas is a very durable material and they actually look like glass windows to, so the look of your home will not be tarnished between now and a disaster. It is possible to break through Plexiglas by repeatedly hitting or throwing heavy objects at it, but it will definitely take longer to break through than regular glass would.

If you want to provide even more reinforcement to your windows, you could install steel bars behind them. Many people are resistant to the idea of installing steel bars in their home because it’s obviously not an attractive modification, and a permanent one at that. If you want to stick with the Plexiglas that’s fine, but just keep in mind that many jewelry and gun stores have steel bars installed on their windows for a reason: they keep intruders out!

The best alternative to steel bars would be chicken wire. The advantage to chicken wire over steel windows is that they can be easily installed and un-installed, so you can set them up when a disaster strikes and keep your home looking normal in the meant time. The disadvantage to chicken wire is it doesn’t nearly offer the same protection as steel bars do.


Once your windows have been replaced and fortified, it’s time to turn to the next most likely entry point: the doors. You’re going to have to replace all of your doors, at least all of your ones that lead outside, just as you did the windows.

It may be hard to think about, but normal door locks are very ineffective against intruders. All it takes an intruder to do is to beat the lock with a heavy object, and they’re through because once that dead bolt becomes bent, it’s a completely useless security measure. For this reason, replace all door locks on your home (inside and outside doors) with heavy duty dead locks that will give an intruder a harder time to get through.

Have all of your outside doors replaced with steel doors. On a normal door, an intruder can use a sledgehammer or an axe to cut their way through if the heavy duty deadlocks are resisting them. On a steel door, however, intruders don’t have this option and even if they do somehow manage to break through, by that time you would have noticed them and hopefully scared them away.

We’re not saying that your doors will become invincible with these kinds of fortifications, but we are saying that they will last a lot longer against intruders than normal doors would.


There’s a reason why sandbags have been so widely used for fortification and defensive purposes since the 18th Century. They are simple one of the most effective and straightforward items for bolstering a defensive position.

Most people believe that sandbags are just there for taking cover and absorbing ammunition, and while sandbags undeniably do serve these purposes very well, there are many other things that you can use them for as well. The bags themselves, when emptied of sand, are excellent for holding and transporting supplies. The bags can also be used as blankets or pillows too.


Sandbags also take up very little storage space. Buy the burlap sacks and the sand separately and store them separately. Then, when the time comes to turn your house into a fortress, quickly fill them up and stack them up like Legos around your doors and especially around your windows. The thicker of a layer of sandbags you have, the more apt they will be at shielding anyone in your home from outside gunfire.


Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. They us with affection, companionship, and most importantly, protection. A big guard dog who follows commands and is intimidating to others truly is one of the most efficient security systems out there.

Yes, dogs need to be fed and given care, but it’s an investment that is well worth the money. Dogs have excellent senses of hearing and smell so they can detect intruders when you can’t. And when an intruder does show up, there will be nothing that makes them think twice more than a growling dog that has teeth barred.

The best guard dogs are those that are of a decent size, are loyal to their owners, and good with children. Smaller breeds of dogs are fine alert systems but they won’t be enough to scare away an intruder, which is why investing in a bigger breed would be wiser.



The whole goal of fortifying your home is to keep a fight outside of it rather than in it. But ideally, you would hope to stop a fight from happening at all, right? That’s why sprinkling warning signs around your home and property area is a smart move. It sends a message to any potential looters that your house isn’t worth risking their lives to try to conquer.

In our last tip we talked about how a guard dog is one of the best security systems you can have. But even if you don’t have a dog, did you know that simply setting up a ‘beware of guard dog’ sign could be enough to scare away certain bad intentioned folks? Some intruders are aware of this trick, but you can make it more convincing by having a dog house in view along with bones and dog dishes throughout the yard.

Equally if not more effective at scaring away intruders would be to set up long guns at your windows that are visible to anyone walking by. Contrary to what you might think, this likely won’t attract intruders to your home for the guns and ammo that are surely inside. Instead, those intruders will be more scared for their own lives. If you pull off the impression that your home is well armed and defended, any group of intruders may move onto the next home down the road.

Even simple messages that read ‘all intruders will be shot!’ are effective on their own. In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit, looters were everywhere. However, many of them avoided homes that had these kinds of signs or spray paint set up.

So far, we have learned how to reinforce your windows and your doors, why to stockpile sandbags and how to use them for defending your doors and windows, why having a guard dog is a wise idea, and making warning signs evident to anyone thinking of invading your home.


Each of these fortification measures are excellent and should absolutely be made if you want you and your family to make it out of a grid down scenario alive, but when it comes down to it, these kinds of defenses are only likely to work against intruders who work alone or in pairs. In a long term disaster situation, many intruders will not only be working in well armed and highly organized groups, but entire desperate mobs could form that will pay no heed to your warning signs of any kind.

For these kinds of bigger threats, more serious fortification measures and defensive tactics are needed. In the second part to this article, we’ll focus on what these more serious measures and combat defensive tactics are and how you can apply them. Stay tuned…

Fortify Your Home To Outlast A Grid Down – Part II

In the second part of our home fortification article, we’re going to cover more serious home fortification measures and defensive tactics that you can use to build off of the knowledge and steps that you learned about in Part 1.


The fortifications in Part 1 were based around actually fortifying your home. Now we’re going to learn about how to fortify your property, or at least a small perimeter around your home. As long as you manage to keep intruders outside of your perimeter, you can definitely keep them outside of your home as well.
The best type of barrier to set up around your perimeter will be barbed wire fences. The same principles for stockpiling sandbags are the same for sandbags; just like how you should stockpile the sand and your burlaps sacks separately for sandbags, you should store the barbed wire and the actual stakes separately as well. This simply gives you more room to stockpile and means you can store more of both.

Install the stakes in a perimeter around your home. The tops of the stakes should be pointed to deter anyone from climbing over them. Then, warp the barbed wire around the stakes and wrap the wire tightly around the fence so that a raider can’t simply pull the wire off.
If you have enough materials, you can also set up multiple layers of barbed wire fences, so that even if enemies manage to get through one layer, there’s one, two, or more layers for them to have to get through as well.

In between each layer of barbed wire fences, or at least in between your fence and your house, cover the ground with nail beds. These are square plywood pieces that have nails driven through one side of them. The pieces are then turned upside down so that the nails are sticking up in the air.
Nail beds in between layers of barbed wire fences will double the defensive capabilities of your perimeter. They also deter raiders who would attempt to stealthily crawl their way to your house.


We’re now going to switch gears and turn our attention to defensive tactics. We’ll start with tactics you can use for defending your perimeter before moving into defending your actual house.
When defending the outside of your home, you will want to make sure that you have supplied yourself with lots of cover while denying as much of it as possible to your enemies. The most effective way to deny cover to your enemies is to give them fake cover and plenty of obstacles so that they have no choice but to move to that fake cover. Doing so allows you to control how your enemies move because they will be constantly moving to places to shield themselves from your return fire.

You already have your obstacles in the form of the barbed wire and nail boards. Examples of fake cover that you can use includes ditches, logs, and brush. The reason these kinds of things are fake cover is because even though someone may feel protected (at least initially) by hiding behind them, in reality your bullets will still shoot through them.
By setting up obstacles and fake cover, you can easily make predictions as to where the raiders will move. Once you have predicted where your raiders will be moving and taking cover, you can then decide where you need to place your shots.
Now like we mentioned, your goal in defending your perimeter is to deny your enemies cover while preserving as much of it as you can for yourself. In any defensive position you use, make sure you have a clear view line of your general area. Examples of cover that you can use include sandbags (remember the thicker the sandbags, the better they are at stopping bullets), as well as basements, underground crawl spaces, foxholes, and a fortified section of your home itself.

Keep as little obstacles in between your cover spaces so that you don’t have to navigate between a maze of barriers yourself. Remember that if you want to stay alive in a gunfight, be on your feet, constantly on the move, and never behind one area of cover for too long.


Any fight that is brought upon you should be kept outside of your home at all costs. That’s why we’ve spent a lot of time discussing perimeter fortifications and defensive tactics. But you should still prepare for the worst, and that means preparing for the possibility that a group of organized raiders have managed to penetrate your outer defenses and have made it to your home.
Is this the time where you should lay down your guns and give up? Absolutely not. To be truly prepared to outlast a grid down scenario, you must be ready to fight inside your home just as well as you are to fight outside of it.

The fundamentals to defending your perimeter exist to defending your home as well. With both, you want to give as many obstacles and as little cover to your opponents while provide yourself with less obstacles and more cover in the process. You also have a distinct advantage to fighting in your home: you know the entire layout of your house, while it’s very likely that your intruders do not know.

As we discussed in Part One of this article, your windows and doors should already be satisfied. If you took the advice that we suggested on those things and you’ve locked yourself inside your house, the intruders should already have a very hard time getting inside.
But again, we have to assume the worst has happened. So let’s say that the raiders have still managed to invade your house despite the bolstered doors and windows. Now they have total access to most of your house.

We recommend that you fortify the inside of your house by using furniture, barricades, wood, or sandbags along the walls to create narrower passageways inside your house. This way, anyone who breaks in will be forced to move down the halls in single file line. In addition, you’re now directing their traffic as well.

At various points throughout your house, you can have fake cover set up just like how you set up fake cover outside. The indoor fake cover can be things such as a turned chair or table. Both of these things are fake cover because they only offer an illusion of protection to an individual and your bullets can easily shoot through them.
At more various points in your house, you will want to set up defensive positions. An excellent defensive position would be a bar. You can stack sandbags up and over the bar with holes poked through for shooting holes.

Another suitable defensive location will be a room at the end of a hall that’s been narrowed using the strategy we just talked about above. The intruders will be forced to move single file down the hall into the room. You then set up two defenders in the room so that you have an advantage against each intruder, even if there are more overall attackers in the home then there are defenders. One defender is focused on the first intruder in line, while the second defender will direct their fire to the next intruders who are moving up behind the first.

Just keep in mind that once the enemy forces have regrouped if this happens, that they won’t come again the same manner. Be ready for any kind of an approach that the enemy could make. Run through all of the different scenarios in your mind and be prepared for each one.
Hopefully a fight won’t even occur inside your house and if there even is one, it will be outside. But you still can’t bet that there won’t be on in your home either. The perimeter you set up around your house or property is going to be your first defensive position and you should do everything you can do to keep your enemies outside of that perimeter. Just be ready for a worst case scenario.

Use the knowledge that you have gained in these articles and apply them to your own home. There will be very few homes that will have these kinds of defensive measures in a grid down scenario, meaning that if your house is properly fortified, it will be much likelier to outlast a disaster situation and preserve the lives of you and your family.


  • GrimAbbott says:

    Fortify your windows first: A couple of comments here…first, plexiglass is not as UV stabilized as Lexan and will yellow and become brittle with prolonged exposure to UV rays. Second, a much cheaper alternative to replacing windows or installing bars is to have a security film installed on the glass. There are multiple advantages to this: cost is first and foremost, appearance (vs. bars) would be another advantage and finally, film can actually provide additional UV filtering in addition to its security features. Tiffany’s Jewelers does not install plexiglass, Lexan or window bars in their upscale urban locations…they use a high quality security film. You can literally shot it with a gun and the film will still serve as a security barrier to intruders.

    Fortify your doors next: No, you do NOT need to replace your doors if they are solid core wood or steel or even steel clad. This is pretty typical for exterior doors but if your doors are hollow core, they should never have been on the exterior or had a deadbolt installed in them in the first place! Deadbolts should have a minimum 1 1/2″ throw but more important, the door frame/jamb needs to be reinforced…always! There are many different products at your local hardware store or online that can be used to help reinforce a door frame. Be be aware, given enough time a determined intruder can probably open any door no matter what it is made of or how well it is reinforced.

    • left coast chuck says:

      I agree with Grim’s comments. The only caveat I would add is that with the plastic film, make sure the installer removes the glass from the frame and installs the plastic all the way to the edge of the glass. I made the mistake of just having the plastic extend to the frame and not under it and the burglars kicked the glass until they had broken enough around the frame to pull the intact piece of plasticized glass back and crawl through. This was on the main drag in town with lots of traffic, including the local cops, so you can see how alert they are. Installing the film to the edge of the glass will most likely entail having a glazier on site at the same time the film installer is there unless the film installer can also reinstall the glass in the frame. With the film installed under the frame, entry via a window will be very difficult as the film is very tough. While the glass was broken where the b.g.s kicked it repeatedly, it still remained in one piece with the film intact and stuck fast to the film.

      I had another business on the same main street burglarized on Sunday afternoon. The neighbor across the street said the cops cruised by while the crew was taking the stuff out the front window, so he figured if they didn’t stop it must be okay and he didn’t sound the alarm. The cops in this town are so inept they make Barney Fife look like Perry Mason.

      To reinforce your door while you are home, you can simply buy 2 x 4s that stretch across the doorway from frame to frame. You can buy brackets for the 2 x 4s at your local big box store or at your friendly neighborhood hardware store. Fasten six brackets to the frame evenly spaced down the door from top to bottom three on a side. When you want to secure that door you just drop the 2 x 4s in the brackets. I assure you that it will be a major effort for anyone to break in. You can certainly be in position to greet them with a load of your favorite buckshot when they finally breach the door. If you aren’t home, then, steel doors and frames are the least expensive way to make your doors hard to get through. There is no way you can make any building impervious to forcible entry if it isn’t guarded, so don’t even try. The main purpose is to make it harder than the house next door to get into. If all the other houses on the street have been looted and the gang wants your stuff, if you aren’t there to dissuade them, they will get in.

  • Steve Luettchau says:

    Thanks, can’t wait for part 2+

  • edbytes says:

    Good article.

    “All intruders will be shot” can and will be construed by diligent anti gun attorneys as “intent” which can turn self defense into murder. Guard dogs, attack dogs and loud cranky dogs can be a nightmare. Both you and the dog need to be trained. A frightened dog is an unknown, will she bite or run? Like people dogs need to be trained to fight. Only at the right time and with you in control.

    I have seen trained dogs, expensive dogs, stolen and resold to other unsuspecting concerned people. The dog needs to only alert to real threats not every thing in the night. Barking dogs breed angry neighbors and you won’t know if it is a cat or a cat burglar. Dog bites can be as bad as a gun shot. If your dog bites someone can it be said that you launched a “deadly weapon” wrongfully?

    What do your neighbors think when they see guns prominently displayed? How about the local police? What do you do when you go out, just leave the guns?

    Plants with thorns, especially if they conceal trenches or other barriers can slow attackers and still look very “normal” in your neighborhood. Also be very aware of fire, a Molotov cocktail or three can turn you castle into ashes. Set a fire on your porch and then do you go out and expose yourself or stay in and burn?

    Castles all over the world have been breached, sacked and burned for centuries,. Troy, Constantinople, Jericho to name just a few. Remember to have an escape plan. Trading lives defending a fort may be a necessity in the military but not so good when it is your family.
    A viking funeral works best when you take your enemies with you but it is probably better to escape and live to fight another day.

  • drew m says:

    An easy, inexpensive way to send a clear message to “move on down the road” is to fly a Gadsden and/or POW-MIA flag in your front yard… people will assume you are armed and capable of inflicting serious damage.

  • Paul says:

    Sandbags are a great idea but I would have to get them up to the third floor. Any suggestions on something a lot lighter and more portable? Maybe there isn’t anything. How thick does a sandbag need to be to prevent penetration by a 5.56 x 45 or 7.62 x 39 round?

  • left coast chuck says:

    Just because you have a large bag doesn’t mean that you have to fill it to the brim. Fill it with as much fill as you can carry. You can always make two or three trips to fill a bag. One bag will not stop any kind of rifle round with the possible exception of a .22 round. If I were sandbagging a position, I would make it a minimum of four sandbags deep. As with the concept of “too much ammunition,” the concept of “sandbags are too deep” is a non-sequitor. The more sandbags, the better your cover. If you are on the second or third floor of a residence, you need to take into consideration how much weight your flooring will bear.

    As a personal note, I have a home water softener and need to purchase salt to keep it operating. The bags hold 40 pounds of potassium chloride pellets and I suspect that they would hold probably 50 to 60 pounds of earth or sand. I keep the empty bags. Those are my sandbags for when TSHTF. No need to buy sandbags. I probably have close to 100 put away now. The only problem will be filling them, but I suspect I can enlist some neighbors in the effort in a fill one, get one sort of exchange. I have a big roll of 30# bank line for tying the tops off to keep the fill from spilling.

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