Lessons Learned from a Home Invasion

Burglars Break into Home of a Former French Special Forces Operator…FAIL!

The below was sent to me in an email from a very good friend of mine…we’ll call him Jean-Pierre. I asked if I could post his email (with names changed) so others can learn from his lessons. I think he did an outstanding job and hope I would do the same in a similar situation.

The Email

Yesterday morning around 4 a.m., I was woken up by a noise in my living room. [My wife] was awake and also heard something. I took the pistol on my night table and started to clear the apartment. Our maid lives with us and I could hear her knocking at her door from inside her bedroom. I was watching her door and calling her when in the corner of my left eye I could feel something; I turned and pointed my gun there. There was a guy behind my sofa in prone position…my sights were on his head.

I ordered him to show me his hands that were hidden behind the sofa. He obeyed. [My wife] brought me plastic cuffs I have ready at the entrance of the apartment. I put my knee on his neck and cuffed him. I body searched him. He had taken one of my kitchen knives but had dropped it before. I finished clearing the room. There was no one else.

I could see my PlayStation on the perimeter wall through the window. I caught him while he was going back and forth to take away my stuff. He was with another guy who could escape. The other guy fled with one laptop.

Here is what I learned yesterday morning:

1) I caught the second guy because I had a plan. I keep my gun on the night table with a dedicated flashlight, a knife, extra mags, one back-up surefire and sneakers. Having plastic cuffs on ready position in an accessible place known by my family members made the neutralization fast and there was no space for confusion.

2) I had done some drill exercises of room clearing in my home, with and without daylight. So I was very comfortable even though it was super dark. This is a big advantage compared to the criminal who discovers furniture by bumping into them.

3) My wife was my best ally yesterday for several reasons. I read an article that was asking the reader if they had recently shared the contents of their training with family members. [My wife] knew where the plastic cuffs were, she knew how to set them up, she knew how to pass a message to the cops and knew how to stand behind me at our bedroom door, as an ultimate shield to protect our ten-month-old boy, in low ready position.

She was pissed because people violated our home but she remained calm because she could feel that the situation required control. So I’m happy that my wife knows basic skills to be able to support me and eventually back me up safely.

4) Mental rehearsal was the key. I had projected myself many times in this situation. What would I do if I was pushed out of the bed by a noise in the apartment? Well, it was not like I had imagined it (the guy surrendered immediately) but at least I had gone through this scenario many times so there was no improvisation. I was following a road map.

5) At no time did I let adrenaline take over. I was thinking of [someone] who once told me; it’s a job, leave your emotion at home… Well, even though I was at home (ahahaha), I think I acted like this.

6) I sucked at the cuffing maneuver. I had to put the pistol away (the guy didn’t see that) because I had no holster in my underwear… I needed my two hands to do that. This is something I will have to work big time. Luckily the kid I caught surrendered. It would have been another story if he had decided to fight back. I could have asked [my wife] to point her gun at him while I cuffed him, but she would have left [our son] unattended, and under no circumstances would she have done that.

7) I have to admit I had a bit of tunnel vision once I saw the kid behind the sofa. I realized that after I didn’t pay attention to the corner of the living room. No one was there, but it could have been different.

8) I sucked with our perimeter security. We live in a residential building. From outside, they could slide our windows. It’s not the case anymore because I reinforced the locks and set up a small analogic alarm. But I could have paid this reminder way more expensively.

Thank You, Jean-Pierre

I’d like to thank Jean-Pierre for sharing his experience with me and allowing me to share it here. If you would like to ask him any questions, please comment below and I’ll pass them on to him. Hopefully he will have time to respond in between raising his son and fighting off bad guys!

Thankfully I’ve never had someone break into my home. I hope I would react the same way as I would in combat, but I’m sure the added stress of having your family there with you changes the dynamics. If you’ve had someone break into your home, share your lessons learned to help keep others safe.



  1. My only thought is that the flex cuffs suggest capturing, not taking out. Catch and release is good for bass, not for criminals. Just my thought, but great article.

  2. Thanks for sharing this story. many years ago I also had a run in with a couple of people who were bent on breaking into my vehicle. If it had not been for the practice I had at observing and reacting to such threats under pressure, I’m sure the outcome might have been much different. The KEY is practice and more practice. In my case much of that practice came from taking part in the sport called paintball. Some might argue that this isn’t a useful tool, but I’d beg to differ. Dealing with stress, learning how to avoid falling prey to tunnel vision and learning how to react are just some of the lessons one can learn through use of what most consider as just a way to have some fun with friends.

  3. Respectfully: The firearm on the nightstand. Could he elaborate on it’s safe keeping? Is it only kept there at night? Does he keep it out? Loaded? Chambered? What is French law like on firearms possession in the home and self defense? Is there some form of Castle Doctrine?

  4. A lot of what you claim is astonishingly legitimate and that makes me wonder why I hadn’t looked at this in this light previously. This particular article really did turn the light on for me personally as far as this particular subject matter goes. But there is one position I am not really too comfortable with and whilst I attempt to reconcile that with the actual core idea of the issue, let me see what all the rest of your readers have to say.Nicely done.

  5. Something tells me that former French specops guys are able to keep a weapon with them if they want to. Much like the way that Brit SAS guys are allowed to have concealed weapons permits because they do work on British soil quite a bit against the IRA.

      People might get confused thinking this happened in France…it might be good to clarify it happened in the DR [Dominican Republic].
      The military personnel in France aren’t allowed to carry duty weapons if they aren’t on duty.

  6. Some nice tips about I have not thought of such training with the family.
    I met a similar situation in my house in Poland but because of the legal structure I can’t possess a gun in my house 😐
    On my night table I have: EDC knife, baton and very powerful tactical light – those are the only things we can defence 🙂

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