Instructor Notes - Our first middle of the night intruder

To preface this, we live in a very rural area behind multiple gates and fences well off the main road.

Last night at about 0300 the household went into red alert when the dog went into extreme “rip your head off” bark mode!
This has NEVER happened before, day or night. The K9 has had professional EP training.

My immediate reaction was to spring from bed, first floor bedroom, and rush to the scene of the alarm.
Upon entering the great room, the dog was ferociously barking and pacing while looking out the front window with her cackles up.
My attention was brought to the front deck outside where I saw nothing until I flipped the front porch light on.

And there he was!!! A huge opossum sitting on the log pile inches from the front window, just staring inside.
A great feeling of relief came over me as I tried to subdue the dogs adrenaline dump.

The kids upstairs started yelling, “what’s going on?”
We should have a plan, when this happens they should close and lock their bedroom doors, and retreat to their locked closets which are hardened. They should stay there until the predefined all-clear password is sounded.

I should have gone to the great room with a edc firearm and streamlight flashlight. I’ve NEVER run this scenario (middle of the night home invasion) through in advance, not even in my head. In the area we are in, this is extremely unprobeable. I went empty handed into the fray, even with all the advanced tactical training I’ve had. I should have been in condition orange, but at most was in condition yellow.

I should have locked and closed the bedroom door behind me and had the wife retreat to the safe room.

I should have flipped the master switch turning on all exterior illumination.

In conclusion, a fantastic dry run spontaneous scenario and a great learning moment, but in my opinion a colossal failure of OP-SEC.

I am going to create a hands-on class scenario based on this experience.


Good insights. Glad it was a dry run.


Excellent! Thanks for sharing. I live in a similar area and have had many scares from mischievous raccoons, possums ans skunks. Plus a couple cougars, coyotes and one bear.

You have to take everything seriously. You never know. I sleep light, always with the window open (I hear everything - a second floor window) and if I hear anything unusual I dont go back to bed until I understand what the noise is. Have been many “unusual” “encounters”. Some make you laugh, others remind you to be sure to turn the water off… so many things.

Like you, in the country, you hear everything. There are no vehicles or people walking down the street to distract your senses. You hear nature. Any it is amazing ho attuned you can get to it and notice anything different. It is exciting and fun. But also a challenge. If you should have a genuine bad guy encounter you really are on your own and have to keep your senses about you.


Just a thought. Why is your log pile near a window? Easy access for breaking your window & beating your dog. Doesn’t matter where you live, bad things can happen quickly. Take a walk around & try to think like a thief.


I have not owned a TV for maybe 10+ years, but if I recall there was some show with a similar title/plot. They would hire a person to break into their house as to find weaknesses. It was very enlightening. I still remember the “theif” in a couple episodes saying how fun it was to break into a persons home using the tools the owner left sitting around outside the home.


I’ve had this similar incident at least twice and I always had my EDC firearm and a flashlight. Thankfully, they’re both false alarms.

No. 1 rule in my house is I’m the only one who will check it out. My wife is ready to call 911 if there turned out to be a real threat.


@John512 , I do know every sound and where it could come from and what it is. But, here’s the kicker on that. We moved the wife’s ageing mom (87) into our place from the Wuhan Solitary Confinement Home last September. She gets up and paddles around to the bathroom twice a night, crashing into walls and such. I’ve become accustomed to that so much, I don’t even hear her get up any more.

@David-65 Good catch… but, our window go virtually from floor to ceiling so outside I still have the remanence of a 2 foot tall log pile from when we had the blizzard here in Texas back in February. If anything it would cause a bad guy a bit of grief actually trying to climb over it. Yes, I also know it’s a mouse magnet.

Hopefully the incident will make folks who read this, sit for a few moments… … and just think, “What EXACTLY would you do if this happened to you”. What if you’re at home and this happens, but, you have a teenage kid who comes home late, maybe a neighbor comes pounding on the door in the middle of the night because her husband is having a heart attack…

There are a multitude of scenarios which all may or may not be benevolent.


Living in a rural area, I have been awaken by disturbance (not possums) by kids. Both deceptive and careless actions.
Evaluating the take-aways from each incident really shows that improvement of actions needs refined.

  1. Panic. worried more of what is out side than to prepare my own readiness.
  2. Plan. Not having clear steps with wife to be taken.
  3. Actions. Stay inside? Go out? Confront? Call 911?
  4. Items. Not having nearby to grab in moments.

These incidents, there was never any threat to me or my family but surly was a wake up to improve conditions.
Thanks to USCCA, Community and Subject Matter Experts to assist in improving my well being…


This is why tools, especially power tools, need to be several layers inside of your security perimeter, and locked up if possible. Otherwise you’re just providing easy implements to break through all of your hardened entry points and containers.


That totally surprises me, @Fizbin! I thought you would definitely have a plan in place!

Or they will walk away… :unamused:

One scenario I hadn’t thought about, but my son encountered this weekend, was a violent issue at a neighbor’s where he lives in TN. Said son got home from work as an unmarked car pulled up behind him in the driveway, a uniformed officer got out and directed son into the house as the neighbor is yelling at police (unmarked wasn’t the first on scene). The neighbor shot his wife at some point during or just prior to this situation and then starts shooting at the police.

Son sends videos of all of the EMS and Police vehicles’ lights on his road. He was in the house until the situation was resolved. Then he goes upstairs to go to bed and finds a bullet hole in the wall and a bullet on the floor of his bedroom. Thank God he wasn’t in his 2nd-floor bedroom when this all happened. We discussed what to do if something like that ever happens again.


I’ve never really thought about it ACTUALLY happening.
The extensive hardening and all the other security measures we have in place would make it MORE than not probable for an incident.

We’re moving soon to a new house with a further increase and elevation in security and home defense measures.
I’ve learned that my complacency with respect to my OpSec needs to be changed.


Awesome, thankfully, dry run. Instances like that make us all sit up and take notice.
I don’t practice getting up in the middle of the night to clear a room, but I do run scenario after scenario, unfortunately, all day long in my head, to include nighttime invasions with multiple perpetrators! It’s just the two of us, we use codes and hand gestures. We’ve been together in the same home for over 35 years! We are a better team than Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys.

This is me and my wife clearing the living room! Spoiler alert, we don’t look like that anymore!

Maybe the wife and I should scare the crap out of each other and drill just for that situation! My fear is (and I’ll deny I said this) I will scare her to death because of her age. I’ll never be able to live with that. ( So, how did your wife die, we were practicing home invasion scenarios, I snuck up on her in the middle of the night). Sounds like a bad movie plot!

If we were 30 again, I would use any tactic to drill from room clearing in pitch black, to looming over the bed at 3 in the morning!
We do still play cops and robbers with these blue guns, role play and some shoot don’t shoot videos are a good way to get the heart rate up and adrenaline flowing.

We’ve cleared rooms in the middle of the night, but that doesn’t get the blood flowing, like a dog in full on red alert or our alarms going off.
To help mitigate some of these circumstances we’ve upgraded our security to include perimeter warnings, HD cameras, and LED lights that can be seen from space!
If y’all don’t hear from me in the next few days, we are practicing tonight!

You have to admit that was no failure! If it turned out to be life threatening, it seems to me, you kept a cool head. Now you have a plan and everyone is safe!


Had a bump in the night a couple of months back. Two biggest takeaways were my flashlight (olight 750 lumens) is too bright and I should have flipped on the interior motion sensors first. That would have told me if someone were downstairs before I had to clear it. I did think to check that both kids were still in bed before I went down. Also we have hardwood floors. I don’t wear socks to bed due to the slippery factor.


Just wondering you have any skills for clearing your home?


Similar incident. Did Everything wrong, even after all the years of studying and absorbing all the techniques and best practices. Didn’t do One thing right! Left wife unprotected. Went outside looking for intruder, unarmed. Left house entry door unlocked. Didn’t immediately call 911.
Confronted intruder(about 6’3’, 230, age about 25-I was 79 at the time). Fortunately it was a case of the ‘wrong house, and my side door was unlocked, so he just walked in looking for the ‘party. What a wake up call.I immediately graduated from stupid to just dumb, but I’m improving. Got wife involved in correct response in case of a future incident. You just never know how you will react unless you practice, practice, and practice some more.


Hi @David-65 ,

Yes I do. As part of 3 weeks of training at Gunsite Academy, we did home and building clearing using a pistol and carbine with multiple scenario type goals. It was pretty intense and brought all the training to head wrapping all the techniques and disciplines we had learned into 3 days of real life application.

I now teach home/house clearing as part of the end set of scenarios in my Defensive Shooting Fundamentals course. Virtually the ONLY time you’ll ever use this (unless you’re LE with a team) would be to fight our battle your way to protect the kids or other members of your household. For example in this situation above, I’d clear my way to create a safe passage to the kids room upstairs. Everyone’s homes are different, so think about what you would do to make your family safe.

A bad example of when not to clear your house, you’re all in the car getting home from shopping/movie/etc at night and you notice the front door of your house wide open. Don’t clear your house even if you extensive experience with this discipline. Retreat to a safe location and call LE. LE will arrive and as a TEAM will enter your home.


That’s typical when we study and absorb the knowledge not actually having it practiced.

Hey, @USCCA and all Instructors here !!! Perhaps it’s time to start teaching members?
I’ve been begging here for last 2 years for “DSF Level 2” classes… :pray:… and still nothing… :imp:

Without defense scenarios we will have more people like @Oliver_F … me including… :pensive:
I attended DSF1 twice… and both times I did huge mistakes during “home invasion scenario” :grimacing:


@Jerzy, have you checked out the “Find a Class” resource on our website?

That should show you if there is a DSF Level 2 in your area. If there isn’t, that would be a great opportunity for you to take advantage of and become an instructor! :wink:

Also, there are TONS of free educational and training articles and videos on our website at and on our YouTube Channel.

And don’t forget about the Protector Academy in your USCCA Member Dashboard! There are hundreds of hours of training there for USCCA Members!

One additional resource - the Community - check out the what would you do scenarios to get the mental training juices flowing! (Check out the Mental Training Category too!)

Hope this helps!


Thx for quick response.

As I mentioned, there is no DSF2 at all… tons of DSF1, which is great class, but as we learned at this thread, we need more than knowledge… we need practice.
I’ve been checking “Find a Class” for DSF2 since February 2020… :smiling_imp:
If there has been a class within driving distance… it would be finished by me already… :wink:

I’m a NRA Instructor and I’ll never be USCCA’s Instructor. The only reason is my time availability to teach others. NRA doesn’t require to teach certain amount of students per year. But unfortunately NRA doesn’t teach “real scenarios”…
So that’s why I’ve been looking here for more “practice” class.

All other resources mentioned, as YouTube, training articles, videos, Protector Academy… these are KNOWLEDGE only, not something we can experience in real.

Anyway… the reason I’m posting it is to encourage Instructors to run DSF2 classes. WE NEED THEM :slightly_smiling_face:


The Protector Academy has range time involved :wink:

Come up to Wisconsin! We’ll get you into a DSF 2 class! :grin: