Isolate the Family and Defend the Room

There are a lot of different philosophies out there about home defense tactics. I don't feel that any of them paint a full picture of the best course of action for every potential scenario. Since we can't predict every potential situation, we can't assume that a single response plan is going to work all the time. That said, today I want to review a home defense strategy that I refer to as “Isolate the Family and Defend the Room” or IFDR.

865559_21638743The Main Idea

I think the name speaks for itself but the general idea of this defense strategy is that you may find it much easier to defend a single room or space in a home than the entire home. If you can isolate the family into a single space then you only have a single point of entry to defend. In theory when you believe there is a threat you react by gathering the family quickly into a single and defend-able room and defend it's point of entry while contacting law enforcement to come and clear the threat for you.

The Core Advantages

The primary advantage of this strategy is that beyond the gathering of the family one shouldn't have to clear each room of the home … leaving the most difficult job of breaching and clearing to a professional whose job it is to serve and protect.

Another advantage is that you may be able to prepare one or more strategically located safe rooms in the home that offer a strong space in which you can easily defend and outlast the threat. This plays well to a strong, in advance home defense strategy.

The Core Disadvantages

The single greatest disadvantage in being reliant to this plan is that when the family is spread out in the home your plan falls apart. If for example an invasion occurs during the night and family members are spread out in bedrooms on different levels of the home then you lose any potential tactical advantage by taking the time to move members collectively through the home to get to different levels. Not practical.

Another disadvantage of isolating the family is that you may limit your options to escape. While a single door is an easy point of entry to defend; its a very difficult thing to breach and escape when the attacker knows you are there. Whoever can out wait the other gains the advantage and if your communications are down or for some other reason you have to leave the isolated space you become immensely vulnerable. If you gather in a upper level room than you don't have to worry about defending windows as points of entry but you also lose the windows as a qualified escape route.

RESOURCE: Podcast Episode About IFDR Strategy

Your thoughts about this idea? Anything else I should have mentioned? Let me and other readers know in the comments below. Have you seen our reciprocity map yet? It's the most comprehensive in the industry. Check it out, and bookmark it for future use!

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. nat dawes on September 29, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Hi- … Cover a portion of the door with 1/8 sheet steel. Will deform and deflect most rounds

  2. Doug on November 27, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Huge disadvantage. Containing the threat to a particulr area,room or wherever so he/she/it has little or no room to advance to my family. I will take the fight to him not the other way around. I will give Intruder every chance to leave…..trespassing is one thing…
    Threaten me or my family in a physical manner……leaves in a body bag. My 2 cents

  3. Nemo Curat on July 30, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Upper level windows can be escape routes if you have a fire escape ladder in the room. They’re made with metal chains and steps, so fold up compactly when not in use, and are intended to hang from the window sill for emergency use.

  4. Dennis Bader on September 22, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Why not have two or more safe rooms ?,or a primary and secondary ? Since intruders do not come by appointment who knows what part of the home you may bein.

  5. RandyE on October 25, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Ahh yes, windows. At least in upper stories, less likely to be an entry point for people or bullets? Ground floor? Maybe an escape point, assuming assailants aren’t out there waiting? Oh well, take your chances? Room w/o windows and defensible door?? Most houses built with sheetrock walls, so how’s that go in an attack? Next room assailant firing through wall may hit someone? Why cower, waiting for relief from police who may not arive for 10 min, a half hour, or more? Face the threat, all guns firing and take them out! What you only have one weapon? Well, some don’t get it, maybe

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