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Maintaining a Perimeter

3483 Views 19 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Lucky Jim
Hello all! A "newbie" prepper here...hoping to gain some insights regarding the establishment and maintenance of a perimeter during a disaster scenario.

The following question pertains to my ability to defend a single family the middle of 5 wooded a suburban area that is a little less "cramped" than a typical suburban location. (We're not in a housing plan...most of the homes near us sit on multiple acres by themselves.)

I do have pretty extensive firearms experience...just nothing in the way of operational/tactical experience.

In a perfect world, in a SHTF scenario with transients and looters, I'd have a "team" around me to help with security.

Regular patrols would be done...a spotter would be utilized at all times...barriers would be "layered" in nature to include distant alarms, a fence, obstacles to "funnel" intruders where I'd want them, etc.

In short, I'd have at least a 100-yard (that's as far as I can clearly see in some directions) perimeter maintained and would have at least a reasonable amount of time to respond to intruders.

When you're a single family...with a spouse and non-combat-aged children...I would think that the rules probably change.

Is it reasonable, in this case, to attempt to establish and maintain a true "perimeter"? I "peeing in the wind", so to speak?

Remote motion detectors are fine...but costly to maintain battery-wise...and get set off by deer. Same with the IR ones since humans and deer are similar in terms of size and heat signature.

I'd need a 2nd and 3rd mortgage to put a fence all the way around my place.

Even in an emergency situation, you have to sleep and to interact with family members in some "normal" capacity.

It is unrealistic to be fretting about an exterior perimeter?

Should I basically consider my operational perimeter to be the outside walls of my home...and work on fortifying it and on my response to potential threats?

I'd really appreciate the insights/feedback of someone with operational experience...I'm not sure where to realistically allocate my time & resources at the moment...

Thanks! :)
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If someone wants in, not even the perimeter defenses our base camps in Vietnam had will keep them out.
I have simply put field fence (aka "red top", or hog wire) around our property to keep our dogs in and provide an obvious boundary line. It took me about five years, and a lot of cash, doing it all myself.
You can always start smaller than your whole property, just around the house for example.
But I really don't think anyone will be beset with roving gangs of thugs. Maybe if you live in a big city.
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I specialized in perimeters in the army back in the 80s. My advice is, unless you have a community of about 60 trained people, concentrate on invisibility.
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I refuse to live my life cowering in fear.
That's why our homestead is on a dead end dirt road 6 miles outside a one stop light town of 2,000 people.
It's true what they say about real estate - location, location, location.
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My property is plenty bigger. I have concentrated on early detection of a problem and means by which to bug out from my
primary location to a secondary (still on the property or nearby). The best fire fight is the one that didn't happen. I had a
weakness in that a well maintained county road exists to one small point of my property. Damn Govt (jk). The home I'm
building is about 1200 yards from that road entrance to my property and a natural creek (with some man made help)
requires one to cross a gated drive way to actually enter my property. Its my one point where I upgraded the physical
security that would require a nominal vehicle (pick up even Humvee) to stop and take measures to bypass the gate -
basically it'd take a tank or APC to roll through without stopping. That one stop would be my chance to put anyone coming
that doesn't belong on foot - I am not good enough a 1000 yard shots for moving people targets - but I can hit a sitting
vehicle :) By the time they move a 1000 yards to my residence me and mine are long gone from there.
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And that is what's meant by the old axiom - Make it too hard for the enemy to get in and it will be too hard for you to get out.
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Thank you all for the wonderful feedback! Sounds like we also have some experienced operational/perimeter contributors here. my particular case, I'm wondering what you'd be doing following a significant "event".

Again...about 5 open, wooded acres accessible from all sides if someone were so inclined. No prepper "community" to speak of. A suburban setting that errs on the side of "slightly rural" for where it's located.

My first inclination would be...everyone inside...blackout curtains down...everything locked down room ready...locked and loaded.

At that point, do you let your dogs run freely in the house to alert you to any noises? Stay with the wife and kids? Tuck wife and kids away in the saferoom and do some ghillied-up observation outside?

(Again...I can't fence things in for the foreseeable future...really no use having the dogs run free outside, as they'd be gone and lost or taken/killed in short order.)

What would be your physical course of action on, say, Day Three when people are starting to get hungry and to move out and about? Bug in and be prepared to defend the inside of the house with all you've got? Attempt to observe/recon alone from the outside in hopes of keeping threats away?

I realize it's a calculated gamble...the risk of being burned out versus being picked off from afar...just wondering how contributors would be likely to respond in such a scenario...

Thanks! :)

Thanks also for everyone's hospitality...good people.
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A few thoughts:

1) Give them as little cover and concealment as possible. Thick trees, shrubbery, stone walls, fences, etc. within a close radius of your home are an advantage to unwanted guests. At a controllable distance you can place barriers, such as dense, thorny shrubs (holly works well) around your property.

2) Walking a perimeter patrol with insufficient numbers isn't really that good of an idea... as DRT mentioned, if they can see you, they can take you out.

3) Know every inch of the property surrounding the house. Know where someone might *try* to conceal themself and visually patrol from cover with quality optics. If you don't have a serious pair of binoculars, get some decent ones... don't skimp (too much). We have a pair of Canon 18x50 image stabilized bino's that are exceptional even in low light conditions. They were a lot of money, but we have no regrets. Effective, on-demand perimeter lighting helps a lot.

4) Get a dog

5) see #4

6) Train on your land. Have a friend/family member walk a pattern on the land surrounding the house and take notice of how visible they are as they move around. From what points of cover would you best be able to engage them while still at a reasonable distance.

7) Create two or more points of cover & concealment that are not in or right near the house and that would not be obvious to an attacker. This would give you the ability to move away from the house and defend it from a position other than that which is the focus of their attention.

8) Make it appear that you might not have anything worth taking, while still presenting a hard target. Attackers may simply pass you by if they don't think the juice is worth the squeeze.
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There's a wise old military saying- "An obstacle not covered by fire is not an obstacle, so even if we spent a fortune on a fence and barbed wire like this below, a zomb with a pair of wire cutters would be through it in a couple of minutes at night when we were all tucked up in bed!
We couldn't expect ourselves or some other poor slob to stand sentry duty all night, so the next best thing would be to splash out yet more money for tremor-detectors to sound an alarm if they detect somebody messing about with the fence. There are also motion-detectors we could rig up, or infra-red detectors, all at extra expense.
We could leave dogs outside all night to bark us awake if zombs approach, but the zombs might sling drugged meat over the fence to knock out the dogs before getting out their wire-cutters, you know how cunning zombs are..

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I know you indicated that you can't afford fencing, but have you considered an external bunker? Clearly you fear people - likely those people would come from a commond direction would they not? You can conceal the opening
of a bunker quite well with shrubs and such, and if there were a crisis you could leave enough "provisions" in the cupboards to make the hoards think you already left with everything and most likely - they will move on after
helping themselves to whatever you leave for them. Then you can return to normal.

You indicated neighbors but no community / group? Spring is coming - BBQ for the neighbors and see what you have.
Roving gangs of thugs are already happening.....PA, IL, NY.....large crowds of gangs and thugs overtaking shop owners and stealing what they want and tearing up their businesses.....there are the same types that live outside the big cities.....
Look up "Flash Mob Robberies" Not all flash mobs are violent or robberies!

There is something that these all have in common.....I cant quite put my finger on it??? Watch a few of these links ALL flash mob robbery footage on youtube and the internet...I think they have the SAME common denominator! OBAMA VOTERS!

Police probe Germantown flash-mob thefts - Crime Scene - The Washington Post

Good dog or two as an early warning you can not watch it all and 100 yards is not much.
Make a range card. Get a card and find benchmarks around your property or where you want to defend. Either walk it off or use a range finder to get the distance. Make sure that your fire zones are concentric circles, in that they overlap.
I don't feel the same way about dogs. They were good when with handlers who would then let me know to alert site security, but all they will do at my place is let people know we are alive and able to feed pets.

You know, it depends on your scene. Every site is different.
If I had a nice little place like this I'd probably think "Coils of barbed or razor wire" and lay it around the house in two rows along the red lines.
The advantage of putting it just around the house is that it'd keep the cost down, and you could cover any part of it easily by sticking a gun out the window,and floodlight it at night, and you could tie tin cans to it so the rattling would alert you that a zomb was probing it.
All in all, a neat little tight perimeter..:)
(If it was further out around the whole acre perimeter it'd cost the earth and there might also be blind spots difficult to cover and floodlight, and you wouldn't hear the cans)

This is the stuff, you could link each coil to the next with metal ties. Its deterrent effect would probably make zombs go off and hit an unprotected farmhouse instead-

If you felt like splashing out more cash you could have fun building thick, deep layers of it like this-
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I like to take my lessons from nature.

Look at the lowly swamp frog. He is a singular animal. While you may find frogs in proximity to one another they are usually solitary creature. They don't, flock, school, or herd. A frog has little to no defenses. His only tool is camouflage followed by rapid escape.

Now lets look at the Gazelle's and Impala of the African Savannah. They maintain a perimeter but they are a heard animal and travel in large packs (larger than your family). Their defense is perimeter by having heard members on look out that notify the rest and then rapid escape comes in. Giraffes on the other hand travel in smaller groups but have the high ground. They maintain a perimeter and stand their ground. A giraffe will fight first and flee second.

I make these three distinctions because you will find your self in a changing environment. When you go out to check your land and forage for food - you are a frog. Depending on your retreat you may need to follow the gazelle or giraffe model (if you have high ground).

A lot of good suggestions have already been put out there. And I agree with them all - especially dogs. IMHO the Catahoula is the best bet for a prepper. They are an excellent medium frame dog with high durability. They can be very protective and aggressive and work well in teams. They are a herding dog but can be trained to track and trap prey as well as act as a sentinel.

If it were me with a few acres, I'd get a thick thorny hedge row on the perimeter. Range out some targets and practice shooting at those distances. Maybe some false cover so that if some one gets in behind something you know you can shoot through it (think like an AK chewing through an empty cored out washing machine carcass). Then let the dogs have run of the property at night.
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Makes sense, but not for me.
I'll be outside at night when times get bad. The area is mine, the intruder is the guest. No dog needed to warn me or make my general or specific presence known.
The thing we can do, for example, is determine a threat from a non-threat, or when it is not a good time to make a sound.
Again, though, each scenario, each piece of property is different. In the right place, a dog can be more help than another human.
I feel that bands from cities and larger towns will be problem because they will have exhausted all the food,booze,drugs,etc and will then roam in search of "stuff"
How are they going to get here? It's a long walk.
You forgot the Gatling guns and Claymores!
An NVA (North Vietnamese Army) soldier would be under that wire in a matter of seconds, without even rattling the C-ration cans containing pebbles wired to the concertina. The first warning you'd get would be them inside the perimeter slinging satchel charges.
An NVA (North Vietnamese Army) soldier would be under that wire in a matter of seconds, without even rattling the C-ration cans containing pebbles wired to the concertina. The first warning you'd get would be them inside the perimeter slinging satchel charges.
Yeah, when Col.Norman Schwarzkopf arrived to take command of a battalion in Nam '69 he soon got their sloppy perimeter licked into shape in this extract from his autobiography 'It Doesn't Take A Hero'-

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