Home Defense: Harden the Castle or Train the Knight?

Home Defense is a term that a lot of people use when they ask us about training. There are really two concepts that are traditionally addressed separately. However, there is a better approach.

In traditional mainstream crime prevention talks given in law enforcement circles, the “harden the castle” approach is the most common. The politically correct way to address personal safety and safety of one’s home and business is to talk about how to alarm, light and secure assets and buildings. When alarm companies advertise, they talk about equipment, response times and efficiency. These sell.  They sell the idea that your local cops care and want you to be safer. They sell alarms, safes and all the stuff we use to secure our homes, businesses, vehicles and whatever property you want to protect.  This is important and all true.  We need to make our property harder to take.  Thieves will move past a house with an alarm sign and go to the one without.  Just like a predator preys on the weak, slow, or infirm, a thief will break into the easy target.  Think of it as a survival of the fittest, for houses.  This is solid reasoning and a very large business in our country.  This is hardening the castle.

When it comes to people getting training, they look to the “train the knight” approach. They are looking for firearms training, Taser training, pepper spray, hands-on or some other method of protecting themselves.  This type of training is what most of use focus on in the training world.  We do it because that is what people ask for and are willing to pay for.  People want and crave training on equipment and gear.  Teaching a person the basics is important.  But, it is the first step.  I have seen instructors literally train people to use a firearm by putting it in a box on a table and working from that.  Ground a safe weapon, pick it up, load it, fire it, make it safe and put it down.  Great, they are qualified to carry a box with an unloaded gun around in it. But, this person can go get a concealed weapons permit with this training.  Good training takes this a step further and has them work in some realistic drills from a holster.  Great training mixes reality based training with dynamic shooting drills, even on a basic level.  There is a huge value in this approach.  The knight has to be equipped and prepared to do battle.  But, think about this, the knight’s armor is too loose, the sword is too heavy, and the horse is a nag, not a battle horse. He knows the moves and has the mindset, but, his gear is wrong.  When the castle is attacked, he is asleep and they snuck in.  Surprise!

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