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The "Home invasion" GLOCK commercial: What could the young woman do better?

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There’s an ad for GLOCK pistols circulating around the Web that portrays an attractive young woman, home alone, who is unexpectedly confronted by a home invader.

The commercial runs a little over two minutes. I’ve embedded it in the video sidebar. Take a look and than come back here. While it’s a fictional situation used to sell a product, critiquing the video does offer some lessons.

The first thing I noticed is the woman has to retrieve her pistol from a quick access lockbox in the bedroom. While this is a good way to store a pistol to keep it secure from unauthorized access, it does have its drawbacks. I’ll discuss those later.

Note that when she retrieves her pistol from the lock box, she doesn't perform a chamber check to ensure that it was loaded. While some instructors insist you should always check the chamber, in some cases reflexively checking the chamber is nonproductive. If you are the only one with access to the pistol, and you absolutely know it was loaded when you put it away, it will be loaded now. At that point a chamber check is just an unnecessary manipulation that burns a little time and gives you an opportunity to fumble the gun under stress.

The trade off of keeping the pistol in a safe in the bedroom is that it is not instantly accessible to her when she is in the living room and hears the knock on the door. If the bad guy had chosen to simply kick in the door rather than play a couple of rounds of “Knock, Knock, Who’s there?” she’d have been in trouble. The pistol secured in the bedroom could just as well been on the Moon for all the good it would have done her. There is a good argument for keeping your CCW pistol on your person whenever you are up and dressed at home. (Or at least having it within arms reach, if you live alone, as she appears to do in the video). Home invasions are typically violent and quick, not slow and deliberate as depicted in this commercial.

After the first knock and no response she should have retrieved the pistol and a phone. At that point it really doesn't justify a 911 call, yet, but having the phone handy would have been good.

After the second, more insistent knock, there are a couple of possible responses, either of which would have been better than what the actor did in the commercial.

If she wanted one last chance to “warn off” the possible intruder she could have called 911 and, while the line was open, called out a warning to the possible intruder. The NRA recommends, “Go away. I have a gun. The police are coming. If you come in, I will shoot you.” This gets the message across. The disadvantage of trying to warn the intruder away from the front door is it leaves her in the living room, close to possible danger. She could mitigate that slightly by moving behind the couch to put an obstacle between her and the door. Assuming that the bad guy doesn’t immediately break in, she could give 911 her address and describe the situation. (She definitely should NOT have gone to look through the peephole the second time. If he pushed in the door right then he'd be right on top of her.)

Another possibility would have been for her to move to the bedroom to put another (hopefully locked) door between her and the possible intruder. This is also right out of the NRA playbook. At that point she could call 911 from a better position of safety while continuing to cover the bedroom door with the GLOCK. If she hears the front door break she could then issue her warning from the bedroom.

In any event, the video portrays possibly the worst possible course of action. By simply retrieving the pistol and moving to a spot directly in front of the door she puts herself in harms way. If the intruder forces the door momentum could carry him into her. Even if not, he’d still be so close that she’d have little time to react, which largely negates the advantage of her pistol. In real life home invasions are typically quicker and more violent than the rather leisurely way they are depicted in this commercial. I also rather doubt most home invaders would simply faint dead away at the sight of a women with a gun. (Btw, the commercial also makes an excellent argument as to why you should use good locks and reinforce your front door. The video is dead on about how easy it is to force most residential doors.)

As a final thought I realize that, yes, this is a commercial and not a training video. Even so it can picked apart for lessons applicable to real life. At the very least the commercial deserves credit for promoting the first rule of armed self-defense: Have a gun.

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