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When dealing with an intruder who complies, use cover and summon the police. Tell them you’re holding an intruder at gunpoint and follow the instructions of the dispatcher.

You awake suddenly to the unmistakable sound of glass breaking. As you try to shake out the cobwebs in your head, several thoughts race through your mind. Is someone breaking into your residence? Is there more than one intruder? Are they armed? Do they intend to rob you or worse? Are the kids okay? As you fumble to retrieve your firearm and flashlight, you direct your spouse to dial 911.

With flashlight and gun in-hand, you make your way down the hall to the kids’ room to make sure they’re safe. As you get to within a few feet of the room, you see a large male wearing a ski mask round the corner clutching a menacing-looking knife. One of your children walks into the hallway to see what’s going on and nearly runs into the intruder. As your child screams and turns to run, he advances on them. You shoot the intruder, who subsequently drops like a sack of potatoes.

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When you get the upper hand on your attacker, always maintain control. If you leave your cover to treat or disarm a fallen assailant, you could potentially expose yourself to fatal consequences.

Now what? Should you approach the intruder to take the knife away from him? Are you obligated to render first aid to the intruder? What should you do with your gun? While the “correct” response will be based on the totality of the circumstances, a little planning combined with the application of sound tactics can go a long way toward keeping yourself and your family safe during a nightmare scenario that literally hits home.

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