As always, my disclaimer I am not a lawyer.

As a general rule, don’t shoot through the door.

Quite often, some chest thumping idiot will tell you that if someone is banging on your door, trying to come in, just shoot through the door.

That is terrible advice, since the prevailing opinion is that the guy outside hasn’t breached your perimeter, he’s technically not an imminent threat to you.

By shooting through the door, you are the one breaching your perimeter, and therefore initiating the violence.

It’s very rare that I would come across a case that makes me go against this.

This one, I think might just do it.


This guy is actively threatening the home owner with an illegally modified, full auto Glock with an drum mag, for maximum intimidation factor.

It’s a message that screams, “Here is my machine gun I’m going to kill you with.”

I think that’s a sufficient level of a threat to justify going through the door.

Just make sure you have something that has the oomph to do that.

I’m thinking this might be one for busting out with the AR-10 and a mag full of 150 grain 308 soft points.

I’ll have to circle back on this one when Andrew Branca covers it.


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By J. Kb

15 thoughts on “One where shooting through the door may be justified”
  1. If that homeowner was me and it was occurring in Florida, upon viewing the deadly threat from a person with the ability to shoot through my door and kill me or others inside my home, while he’s in my curtilage of my carport, I’d drop him there before he drops me and call 911 to report a home invasion.
    Now, obviously all state laws are different, but Florida and Texas I believe offer the homeowner the right to use deadly force when facing a deadly force threat, which reasonably could occur when the assailant fires through my door, which I have every reason to believe is about to take place. I don’t have to wait until he fires through the door, the threat that he will if he believes I might try to open my door is by law a deadly threat.
    Most +P 9mm self-defense loads go straight through the average exterior entry door.
    In this case however I’d use my AR 10

  2. No worries. They’ll be wrapped around a tree in a couple miles. If this was in Arkansas or Georgia, the state police will have assisted them.

  3. Use of lethal force in defense of property would be the only thing that would stay my hand.
    While there was an obvious threat, and it is reasonable for the homeowner (car owner?) to think the pistols were actually loaded, there has not been anything more than an actual threat. And, you are indoors. And this was recorded on a doorbell camera, not by someone looking through a peephole.
    There are a lot of ways a DA could use this as a way to incarcerate the homeowner, if deadly force is used. Questions are:
    “How did you know the gun was real?”
    “How did you know it was loaded?”
    “How did you know the perp was actually serious about shooting at you?”
    “Where were you in the house when you saw the gun?”
    “Were you armed when you saw the car theives? Or, did you have to go get your gun?” (Ohhh, that is a self defense case killer…If you had to leave the area of the confrontation to get your gun, you were not in danger. And, coming back means you just restarted the conflict. Ergo… you are now the bad guy.)
    Now, had an actual shot been fired at the house… all bets off. You now have justification.
    Of course, if you are living in a state where use of deadly force in defense to property is allowable, totally different story.

  4. “How did you know the gun was real?”
    “How did you know it was loaded?”
    “How did you know the perp was actually serious about shooting at you?”

    There are the true-dark-blue Lefty states, but everywhere else I doubt the “reasonable man” theorem requires actual direct confirmation of whether or not the gun is real, or loaded, or the mental state of the perp when he points a gun at you or in your direction. Basic knowledge that generic 9MM ammunition could penetrate the door – which the perp obviously believes is the case – should be more than enough to define the threat.

    As for “leaving the area of the confrontation to get your gun,” “well, judge, I always keep my loaded AR-10 at the front door just in case something like this were to happen.” Which, actually, in some cities / neighborhoods should probably be standard practice.

    Now, as to tactics….shooting through the door, nope, too random, too easily attacked by the shyster set; logic would say “go out the back, circle around and take them from behind.” But that does change the defender / aggressor paradigm. Unless…..there were at least 3 infantry and 1 mounted cavalry (in the car in the street) and video confirms at least 2 were armed and it’s reasonable to presume all four were armed, so “disparity of force” might apply. It might be a little rough on the vehicles, but a ceiling-mounted claymore just outside the door could work wonders.

    At some point the equation must change to allow “problem resolution” or this will go from today’s unreasonable level to endemic (in some places it already has). Or, if one has good neighbors, part of the problem resolution is discrete waste disposal.

    1. Indeed. “Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.” — Brown v. United States, 256 U.S. 335 (1921)

  5. It may be a poor idea to fire through a door or wall for the first shot. After that in a firefight, however, I’d argue it’s fine if you know where your target is.

  6. This seems like a good place for one of those remote-control turrets meant to hold a security camera. Keep the camera, add a laser pointer. Use it to lay a laser dot on the chest of one of the perps. There’s a good chance that would stop the crime.

    1. Nope … assuming they notice, they might stop what they’re doing for a few moments. When nobody gets shot, I’d bet they’d happily keep on doing whatever.

  7. They’re car thieves…not home invaders. The camera work was simply the ground ape telling the home owner that to stay inside as his car wasn’t worth risking his life over. And in most states that would be correct. For even if the homeowner prevailed in any kinetic action, in most states they would be crucified for leaving the house to engage the protected class. While tactically, shooting through a door can be an effective response, legally it is almost always the wrong choice. Sad commentary on the state of America.

  8. I’ve read the comments, and there’s much wisdom in all of them. But the main question is. is there a deadly threat being directed at you on the other side of your entry door? The answer is yes. One doesn’t not have to speculate “IF” the perp is going to shoot or when he will shoot, because there is an actual deadly threat to the homeowner. And it doesn’t not matter what the intention of the criminal is, the fact is, he’s threatening to kill by firing through the door, so you don’t wait for him to do it, you stop him from doing it. You don’t have to wait until he fires first, and you don’t have to concern yourself with what his state of mind is, he’s already made that perfectly visible, he’ll kill you if he wants to.
    Question, in this case, what if the homeowner made noises that he was going to open the door, such as unlocking the door and moving the door handle, and the perp pointed the gun at the door as a result, has the homeowner done anything illegal and should the homeowner wait for the perp to fire through the door before he fires in self-defense.
    Do all homeowners have to stay in their homes because a guy with a gun tells you to or they’ll kill you? Now in this case if the perp did not show a gun and simply announced he’s taking your car and if you come outside, he will shoot you, if this was the case, then there is no actual jeopardy of an actual deadly threat with a weapon, there’s a verbal threat only let them steal the car.
    Standing at your door threatening you with an illegal weapon of war, (according to the gov. definition) without saying a word, must be interpreted as an actual deadly threat at the exact moment. Again, how can anyone guess IF the perp will fire through the door? How do you know he doesn’t want more than just your car? Maybe he wants your daughter.

    1. The fact that the criminal says “stay inside or I’ll shoot you” doesn’t mean you’re safe if you stay inside, or that it’s valid to claim there isn’t a deadly threat so long as you stay inside.
      The reason is that thinking you’re safe in that case means you’re relying on the honesty and sanity of a criminal, which is by definition a person possessing neither. You have NO valid reason to assume that he won’t shoot you 10 seconds later, either to get rid of the witness or just for s**ts and giggles.

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