Home invasion instincts: What does it take to defend your home?

<p>Three hours in the classroom, and nearly two hours in intense simulations are designed not to teach how to kill, but how your body will react under the stress of a home invasion.</p> FOX21 - Mike Duran

Nearly 4,000 new background checks were conducted from private sales of firearms in Colorado last year.

Many new gun owners say they’re buying up guns to be able to protect themselves, citing concerns over recent shooting tragedies in Colorado and across the US.

In the state of Colorado, your home is defined as the four walls you live inside, and if a person presents a hostile threat to you inside those walls you have the right to protect yourself according to the Colorado Revised Statutes. 

The “Make My Day Law” recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

But just because you have the right, doesn’t necessarily mean we all have the ability when it comes down to the moment it happens.

“There’s a break-in happens at 2 am. And all of a sudden I have to respond. Without a plan, the probability of mounting a successful defense approaches zero,” Tony Brunetto, a Defensive and Adaptive Shooting instructor explained.

That’s why Tony instructs the “Defending your Home” course at Whistling Pines.

Three hours in the classroom, and nearly two hours in intense simulations are designed not to teach how to kill, but how your body will react under the stress of a home invasion.

“Trying to figure out what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do? When the adrenaline’s flowing, your vision is clouded, your hands are shaking, that’s the wrong time to try and figure it out. You have to know ahead of time,” Brunetto said.

Brunetto introduces students to the physiological and psychological aspects of coming face-to-face with a hostile intruder.

While these intruders don’t shoot back, with the lights out, pressure from the audience of shooters and poking and prodding from instructors like Brunetto make it that much more stressful when you’re trying to load a magazine, while finding cover, assessing the threat and trying to aim.

But, that’s the point.

“We’re not training you to be close quarters combat, house clearing, swat type techniques and tactics. We’re trying to give you a grasp, just to get a basic understanding of the difficulty of defending your home,” Brunetto said.

There’s a lot to consider in the brief moments before you act. Even the best range shooters lose accuracy under that amount of stress.

“When you face that person, you’re gonna have to make a decision within a few seconds. And when I say a few, I three to five. They’re gonna move. You’re going to have to determine what their intent is, are they moving toward you in a hostile manner?,” Brunetto explained.

Then, you have to decide if you can even pull the trigger in that moment?

Do you even want to?

“There’s the mental and moral issue you have to overcome, of actually having the ability in your hands to end someone’s life,” Brunetto said. “It’s not a situation we ever wish anyone to be in.”

He’s had students warn off an intruder just by yelling out to them, “verbal jiu-jitsu,” they call it.

But, the class teaches not to shoot to kill, but shoot to stop the threat, understanding the consequences that choice could bring.

Tony says if you’re aiming at anything but center mass once you’ve assessed a significant threat, it’s more than likely you’ll miss, potentially putting yourself in more danger.

“A lot of the students say, ‘Oh I’m just going to fire a warning shot or I’m just going to shoot to wound’, but remember we said your accuracy is probably 40 to 60 percent as good as your best day on the range. Trying to fire a shot to wound, is probably not in the cards. You’re probably fire a shot to miss,” he said.

The instructors say what’s most important is knowing how you will react before it happens, so in that moment you can decide if it’s best for you to shoot or not shoot.

“Yes you’re shooting at paper targets, but it’s a lot better to understand what you can’t do in a non-threatening, non-injury environment than it is to not have a plan,” Brunetto said.

Some students taking the course said it made them change their mind about home defense. They decide that instead of taking an active approach and searching their home for the intruder, they would be more confident and feel safer getting their family in one room, calling police, and defending that one door.

“Just getting people in the thought mode of, ‘What if, if this happened what would I do?’ It’s invaluable. It could save a life,” Brunetto added.

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