Someone is in your home. Can you shoot him? Should you? by Grant Cunningham

The recent case of the Miami woman who shot and killed a home invader has gotten some thoughtful gun trainers thinking. I just posted about Greg Ellifritz’s thoughts on the foolishness of people saying, “I’m going to kill anyone who breaks into my house.” And now I see that gun self-defense author and instructor Grant Cunningham has weighed in on the issue as well. His blog post, too, is well worth a read:

Someone is in your home. Can you shoot him? Should you?


I particularly like Cunningham’s concluding recommendations:

If you’re interested in really learning about the justifiable use of force (and every gun owner should be), I have two options for you. The first is Andrew Branca’s superb book “The Law Of Self Defense”. Everyone who owns a defensive firearm should have a copy and read it thoroughly. It’s the best authoritative guide I’ve yet found to the intricacies of the legal system.

The second is Massad Ayoob’s course “Armed Citizen’s Rules Of Engagement”, also known as “MAG-20”. I consider it a must for anyone who is serious about carrying or using a firearm for defense of himself of his family. It’s not cheap, but it’s the most comprehensive course of its kind and I highly recommend you take it.

I have taken and blogged about both MAG-40 and “The Law of Self Defense,” and Cunningham’s recommendations of them are on target.



  1. Just a thought. Let us assume the intruder does in fact act so as to make you reasonably believe he threatens your life. Further, let us assume that he is a stranger, not someone with a personal, unique grudge against you as an individual. In that case isn’t it your duty to engage him with all available force? If you don’t, and this guy escapes unscathed is there really any doubt that he will do it again, only with better target selection, which means he will attack someone young enough, or old enough, or disabled enough, to be unable to resist? For reference, I have killed armed men. I have never lost one minute of sleep over killing them. The only nightmares I have are the ones where those men approach the young, old, and disabled members of my family and I am not there to deal with them. The act of shooting has consequences, yes it does. But not shooting is also an act and it has its own set of consequences.


    • Thanks for the comment. I think you hit on a key point of target discrimination for lack of a better phrase. The Tactical Professor on his blog routinely analyzes mistakes people make for failing to make this discrimination. You successfully doing so no doubt contributes to your peace of mind.


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