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Apartment/Condo Living and Home Defense

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by kyguylal, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. kyguylal

    kyguylal Loaded Pockets

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    Hello everyone,

    not entirely handgun specific, but this was the best posting area for my thread.

    I finished college, started a job, and recently bought a small condo. My new place is a converted apartment building with the typical setup of two units per floor.

    While we do have buzzer doors and I installed a strong unit door with multiple locks, I am on the "garden level" (i.e: the half basement, ' below grade, windows 1' above grade). My windows are very large and if someone felt the need, they could get in. The town is a small, safe community, however, I know that things happen to the least expecting. I have reinforced the sliding glass windows, but again, the determined burglar could smash in.

    I have contacted the condo association and I have been given permission (in writing) to plant some rose bushes and other thorny plants immediately outside my windows as a deterrent. I told them that I like roses and offered to pay for them.

    The exterior walls are brick and being in the lower level, at chest height, my walls are cement. There is one entire side of my unit which faces the neighbors who are only separated by a few layers of drywall (small hallway between units).

    I am concerned that if, Heaven forbid, I ever needed to shoot within the condo, I could be facing serious over penetration problems with my current home defense set up.

    I have a Mossberg 500 20 gauge which has served the purpose, but I am reconsidering my shell selection. I have kept it ready with buckshot, but thinking about loading it up with some #5 birdshot instead.

    My other options are my M&P15-22, a Seecamp .32acp, a .357mag, 5.56/.223, 7.62, among other various .22lr rifles. I can not imagine any of which being any "friendlier".

    I spoke with a guy at the gun shop who told me to forget about ever using the guns and to buy a can of bear spray, or a baseball bat instead. I don't like his suggestion.

    What do you guys do/suggest for home defense within smaller apartments/condos?
     
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  2. patientcero

    patientcero Loaded Pockets

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    I have seen some people arrange their bedroom furniture and approach according to their walls such as you mention. So essentially their back is to the common wall (sheet rock in your case) side when sleeping a room, then firing at an intruder would lead to a harder, the brick in your case, secondary wall (living room with lots of furniture to hit on the other side) or outside direction opposed to their neighbors common wall. They also had a large flower pot (those 3ft high or bigger) filled with sand in a corner likely not above direct living space for unloading a weapon in a safe direction should they live in a unit above someone as well.

    As far as the weapon choice, there are tons of videos showing how much a shotgun will penetrate with various loads in common house hold building sheet rock. Use what you're most proficient at so as to minimize a miss to begin with should it happen. Keep in mind a shotgun blast out of a even a short 18" barrel self defense orientated weapon is still going to have a fairly tight pattern at average room distance of 10-20 feet in the bedroom/living room of an apartment.
     
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  3. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    What are you concerned about; a B&E or a home invasion?
     
  4. Djs105

    Djs105 Loaded Pockets

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    Personally, I've always felt longs guns don't suit ME for home defense. My place is not that big and any fight is going to be very CQB. My oh **** gun is a Glock 17 with a Streamlight TLR 1 HL and night sights, loaded with JHP. Any gun fight taken outside into open space will probably be an unjustifiable homicide as the Castle Doctrine round these parts ends at the door. So I'm not worried about long distance shooting.

    I'm not too worried about over penetration, but it's important to know YOUR backstop (I.E. floor and wall construction material.) If you live in building with wood lath, I'd throw a banana at an intruder and hope he slips. If you have poured concrete with rebar, a 155 Howitzer should sufice.
     
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  5. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Not directly a response about guns for you but I would look at having some security film installed on your windows too if this is a real concern of yours?

    They make a film much like the Window Tint you put on car windows that when installed correctly will make it a lot tougher for someone to break in through the glass.
    Your Windshield in your car has some sandwiched between the glass layers and this is why even in a crash or rock through the windows they still will not fall out of the car.

    I have installed this stuff many times and the physical security it can provides is often enough to thwart the break-in as it starts,any window without it is just an easier target and by a long stretch too.

    Most films also block U.V. light from damaging your furnishings at the same time.

    Security/Alarm companies as well as Window Tint companies sell & install it.
     
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  6. McNasty

    McNasty Loaded Pockets

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    Trust me at the distances inside a condo shot size really doesn't matter.. I use same as I use for SASS.
    Winchester WinLite™ Low-Recoil Shotgun Ammunition
    Forget using center-fire anything of you have common drywall.

    Think about those bushes.. Once a lowlife is behind them no one will notice them. What size window
    well do you have to with?
     
  7. Carcass

    Carcass Loaded Pockets

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    I wouldn't worry about over penetration. If you have to defend your life then do whatever it takes. But if it is a concern how about a 380 handgun or even a .22 handgun?
     
  8. Water-Rat

    Water-Rat Loaded Pockets

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    The bushes are a good suggestion. Yes, they do reduce visibility of folks hanging near the building, but not if you get shorter, smaller rose or similar bushes that will still have enough pricklies to make going through the window a non-issue. From the viewpoint of prior to an invasion, the goal is to provide a deterrence. If you've got prickly bushes guarding the windows, lights to spot intruders at night, and strong windows (film or even bars across them), that upps the chance Mr. bad guy will find easier pickings. Also, keeping valuable things out of sight of the windows or having curtains closed all the time would keep Mr. bad guy from seeing things he likes on the inside.

    For during an invasion, I like strategically placed furniture. Odd shaped things under the windows, like plants, tables, chairs, etc. will make their landing inside rough and make them a better target. A big chair, table, or appliance near doors can be moved into place to block access or act as concealment or cover.

    I like having options. Pepper Spray and melee weapons give you options. Laws can go against you when prestaging melee weapons, so know your local laws especially towards bats and bladed weapons. Having ways to control the light in your building are good as well. If you can suddenly blind an intruder by making it suddenly bright or suddenly dark via light switches, breaker boxes, or flashlights, that can give you an edge.

    If you can install a stronger door and or lock in a bedroom, that might be an idea for a fallback point or refuge for others that might be staying with you. Even having furniture within the bedroom to block access can make all the difference. While they're trying to breach, they make a big target. I have a desk chair in my bedroom that can be used to brace the door as a backup to the wimpy door lock. A wood desk chair makes a nice weapon or shield vs. melee weapons also.

    Just my 2 cents. I'll leave the gun comments to the gun guys as that's not my thing, though there have been several good suggestions above about knowing what your units building materials are.
     
    qkarl likes this.
  9. aasoverteakettle

    aasoverteakettle Loaded Pockets

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    In such a situation, I concur with the folks who suggest a solid non-firearm defense, including resistance via room and exterior layout. This is only my opinion, and anyone is welcome and encouraged to disagree: The desire to reach for a firearm immediately can have some horrible consequences for everyone involved, and some who aren't involved (such as your neighbors). The question is whether or not you are prepared to take the life of someone who may be dangerous, but is more likely being very very dumb. Or accidentally take a neighbors life. Even a 22 is nothing to scoff at. Depending on the construction, it can definitely penetrate walls. It's a difficult question, not to be taken lightly. I have a very solid bedside defense plan. I also own 2 handguns and 3 rifles. I'm more fearful of my toddler than an intruder when it comes to my firearms, which is why they are double locked and safe. Honestly, I have weapons all over my house, but my guns are very safe from accidental discharge. It's just too easy to do fatal damage with them I when the likelihood of the need for actual defense versus accidents is so skewed to the latter. Bottom line though: you protect your home how you see fit, I'm not testing it and you're free to do what makes you feel safe in your home.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  10. MCPOWoller

    MCPOWoller Loaded Pockets

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    Sounds like you are on the right path with the bushes and all. As for a weapon, I'd go with the .357 loaded with .38 wad cutters or semi-wad cutters.

    Last thing I'd want to do is let loose with some bear spray in my home and still try to physically fight someone.
     
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  11. VT-aroo

    VT-aroo Loaded Pockets

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    You also might want to account for the noise. A shot gun in a small apartment is going to damage your ears ( Which is better than getting stabbed, I admit). Massad Ayoob just had a recent piece on all police rifles needing suppressors.
     
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  12. Carcass

    Carcass Loaded Pockets

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    Taking another persons life is not easy and if you do it's something that you'll always have to deal with. But at the same time you don't know their intentions. You WILL NOT have time to decide that. I already made the decision that if someone breaks into my house I will use critical force to eliminate the threat. I have to protect my family at all costs & deal with the traumatic consequences later.
     
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  13. jstert

    jstert Loaded Pockets

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    as others suggest, in a condo with drywall interior walls i would go with a 22 handgun, e.g. semiauto ruger sr22 or even a single action 22lr/wmr revolver (heritage roughrider or better but more costly ruger single six). a semiauto is overall better for defense; but single action revolvers can be run fast, 22wmr hornady or speer handgun specific defense ammo works well, and they are simply fun pieces.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  14. patientcero

    patientcero Loaded Pockets

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    Do not underestimate the .22 in a home situation for penetrating drywall, however I would not choose it as a self defense round unless it was the only firearm available. While none of the videos represent absolutes for a multitude of reasons, it gives you an idea of what is possible.

    Pick the weapon and round you shoot the best with and most likely to stop a threat with the least compromises for YOU. That includes moving in your home, handling in a high stress situation, off hand or compromising shooting position and the ability to stop the threat when shot placement is an "ideal" area, head and direct CNS shot not considered.







     
  15. Telstar

    Telstar Loaded Pockets

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    when I lived in an apartment, I added several full book shelves in the most likely backstop areas and considered the opening of the bedroom door as the most likely gunport. I selected a 20ga with birdshot as my primary HD weapon. I was confident in birdshot at such minimal distances.
     
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  16. Goob469

    Goob469 Loaded Pockets

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    I did the same thing when I lived in an appartment - a bookcase. Try to think of ways to "bulletproof" areas were bullets might go and put it on the wall. Be creative bookcases, a thick mirror, I big piture with some plywood hidden behind it...

    I used a 45 ACP with frangable bullets - it worked for me.
     
  17. Joshetect

    Joshetect Loaded Pockets

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    A good very bight flashlight is also great for home defense. There are a few out there that are physically strong enough to use as a weapon too. Elzetta and Okluma come to mind.

    Practice is going to be key. Have your sig other or friends come in with nerf guns or whatever and practice different scenarios. You will find out what the best weapon of choice is. The last thing you want is for someone to really be breaking in and you're sitting there trying to figure out what to do.
     
  18. Spirit_Rider

    Spirit_Rider Loaded Pockets

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    I had a salesman at one of the big box outdoor stores tell me that a .223 AK was the BEST home defense gun and caliber in the world. His reasoning was that a .223 will not penetrate 1/2" drywall. Then I left laughing like crazy.

    A policeman told me a double barrel .410 was a good option
     
  19. charlie fox

    charlie fox Loaded Pockets

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    My apartment defense gun is my Mossberg 500. I load it with a bean bag round up front and four rounds of OO buckshot.
     
  20. ran23
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ran23 Loaded Pockets

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    apartment life was decades ago. In the beginning, I would wake up to lots of strange noises, with a .357 in my hand .I switched out the first two rounds to buckshot, then 2 .38 HP, then 2 .357 Metal piecing. late 1970s