Spider Hole Tactics to Defend Against Looters

Sarah Davis
By Sarah Davis December 14, 2016 15:54

Spider Hole Tactics to Defend Against Looters

While many government authorities advise evacuating, in some situations it is vital to stay and protect that which you’ve worked so hard to build.

Before we jump into the spider hole discussion, follow these 4 simple steps, so you can have the best chance of avoiding the situation entirely.  If you ever face some stranger breaking through your window, you know that those thugs are going to be in for a rough day.

The 4 Steps to Secure Your Perimeter When SHTF

Assess Your Weaknesses

Take a long look at everything that could possibly entice someone to target your property. Do you currently live near a bad neighborhood? Is your house relatively secluded? In a disaster scenario, many people will become emboldened by the lack of structure, though criminals will want to rob a soft target, not a house that appears like they mean business.

Develop Deterrents

While it is possible that your location might have higher security than your neighbors, a looter will not care about a video camera if the government has collapsed. A guard dog offers a strong psychological protection against a trespasser, and this can be combined with warning signs to demonstrate your intent to defend. If it is clear that you will fight for yourself and property, most criminals will slink off to easier targets.

Build Fortifications

Eternal vigilance is an impossible task. The basic repetition of a routine will create compliancy and when everyone else is out of resources, they will come for you. It is important to have built defenses against intruders before they are needed. Drop bars, plexiglass, and panic rooms are great for those with money, but many people do not have the capital needed to turn their home into a fortress.

Related: Ways to Make Your Home More Defensible

Plan for Contingencies

While you might have boarded up your windows and sealed your doors, it is important that your plan covers exactly what you will do if your home is breached. Don’t stop there, though. After your home is breached, it will likely be the best option to leave. Develop a strategic bug-out plan with multiple egress routes.

Spider Hole Tactics to Protect Against Looters

The United States Army’s Infantry school specializes in a specific subset of warfare called Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT also referred as Close Quarters Combat, CQC). These tactics guide how small units can effectively enter, clear, and neutralize any targets within a building.

By focusing on the critical danger areas outlined in MOUT training, it is possible to see the best places to develop a spider hole with the maximum destructive force against your enemy. Spider holes were heavily used during the Second World War by all belligerents in their quest to maintain strategic superiority.

Spider holes are used primarily for scouting and observation rather than extended combat. But of course this is for millitary purposes. When SHTF, there will be no “extended” battles between two looters and a concealed prepper with an AR-15.

How to make a spider hole

Spider holes usually require little effort due to their small size and minimal construction materials. Here are the basic steps of how to build your own spider hole:

  • Find a tactical spot. Look for spots away from trees and bushes unless they don’t obstruct the view of the area you want to defend. I would personally build my SHTF spider hole in a position good for retreating if I’ll ever have to (retreat), or if I miss my first shots and my position is discovered. Anyway, even in that situation, looters tend to move to an easier target rather then picking on a dug in prepper.
  • Then you dig a circular hole which would be just a bit larger than your body size. You can also go for a bigger hole if you want more space to store weapons and ammo or if you want to move around. To keep water out of the hole you should either dig it at the top of a hill (if that’s an acceptable spot, but in most cases it is not. See here why – no. #4), or place a small pallet at the bottom (most rainfalls won’t fill in more than a few inches of the hole).superspiderholes
  • spider hole coverNext step is designing the lid. It should be made of a light, yet resistant material that can be easily camouflaged. Depending on the spider hole’s location, you can use a variety of elements such as native plants, grass, bushes, soil or rugs – the most important fact to consider here is to perfectly blend your spider hole with the surrounding landscape!

Once you have found where to place your spider hole, you will want to have two major elements for your position, cover and concealment. Cover is defined as obstacles that can stop a bullet. Concealment is the stuff that can hide you. It is important that your fortifications do not block your vantage of the fatal funnel, and do not trap you in the spot in case you are overrun. The latter is the reason why you should not hide in a closet.

Deliberately construct your spider hole to misdirect the enemies’ attention. Create a makeshift mannequin so that in the chaos, it might draw some rounds away from you. Try to break up your own silhouette, because the eye looks for shapes rather than details once it is in the fight or flight response.

Fatal Funnels & Engagement Zones

fatal funnelThe most dangerous points of contact while fighting within a building are areas called, “fatal funnels.” These spaces restrict movement and force targets into a specific spot. The most common fatal funnel in any building is a doorway. Since a doorway offers the easiest avenue of approach for an intruder, it is possible to lead would-be looters to the specific door of your choosing. Make all of your home’s exits incredibly difficult to bypass, except for your intended fatal funnel. A smart criminal may realize this for the trap that it is, so try to find a way in which they will get caught before they realize what is going on. This often runs counter-intuitive to the deterrent method outlined above, because you want your adversary to underestimate your strength.

In order to inflict maximum casualties, the element of surprise will multiply your forces exponentially. Imagine the looters walking in through your front door, only to be constricted by a long hallway (even if your house opens naturally, move furniture to enlarge your fatal funnel) then you unleash a volley of lead from somewhere above.

Though doors are the most common danger areas in a house, MOUT teaches that stairways are the most lethal. The difference in elevation drastically reduces the perception of the incoming self-defenseforce and the stairway itself elongates the killing zone. If you wait until the enemy is halfway up the stairs, you have effectively trapped them in, since neutralizing your nearest threat will act as an obstacle for their future forward movement. Once they turn their backs, light ’em up.

Even though you will likely have the upper hand, you have to be prepared for anything that is thrown at you. In addition to having a primary engagement area, you should develop a secondary that is much more flexible depending on the situation. An example of this would be to set a spider hole somewhere within sight of the only stairway that leads up or downstairs. If someone breaks into your house in a location other than your fatal funnel, this can serve as a last ditch effort to eliminate the threat.

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Sarah Davis
By Sarah Davis December 14, 2016 15:54
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  1. King David December 15, 05:54

    Please put me on your email list

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  2. Nicholas December 21, 18:02

    what a great idea

    Reply to this comment
  3. Chirita December 21, 18:08

    I want one

    Reply to this comment
  4. Labienus October 28, 14:51

    Bear in mind a spider hole makes for a fine burial spot. Keep in mind, other people can be just as good, if not better, at tactical abilities than you are. If so, you just went from having a good point of defense, into fighting in your own coffin.

    Reply to this comment
    • Uncle July 5, 02:22

      99.5% of looters are not tactically inclined. .5% are weary of getting caught more observant, but not lethal. you are unless you take a siesta

      Reply to this comment
  5. Clergylady November 4, 16:58

    I live in a very old, ugly, mobile home. I figure on an egress through the floor of a closet accessable from a bedroom, hall coat closet, kitchen broom closet, or a bathroom linnen cabinet. They all converge on three sides of the back end of the closet. My bugout bags are there. The skirted mobilehome has 12 access doors conceiled in the old metal skirting. There is another gun safe conceiled in a nondescript outbuilding. There are multiple caches of food and med supplies about the property. Cactus that bloom pretty and bear edible fruit abound on much of the property lines. Motion detectors are scattered about. With soft sound or lights to show where someone walking or driving in might be.
    It looks poor and is. Three quite broke families live here. The others only know parts of what is here. But each is looked out for. One home doesn’t have a secret eggress but windows would do if needed. The third home does have a very well conceiled eggress but just one access point.
    Are we some sort of nuts? I don’t think so. Those egress points are also service points in deep snow when the usual opening are covered and miserable to crawl in. We can still access waterlines et. if needed, or set a small heater under the floor if we hit -20 or more. It is rare but does happen.
    I have a pellet stove for heat, cook with propane, and can heat with small propane heaters that mount on my many 25 lb bottles. I keep a minimum of 5 bottles filled and close. I am too old to take on a wood stove anymore but I always loved one. Best biscuits ever made, were baked in a large wood cookstove I had years ago.
    Today my dream heater would be a gravity fed pellet stove. That would cost about 10x what I paid for this used pellet stove.
    I have my chickens, ducks, and rabbits in another old mobile home with a strong fenced yard for the fowls to enjoy. The green house is there also. Handy and working out well. Winters, critters body heat helps warm the greenhouse. Use fresh rabbit manure starting plants and composted chicken manure for the gardens. The old kitchen is my potting room and storage area.
    My grown son has set up solar powered motion sensor lights inside for me. Power panels outside with lights inside. Just walk in at night and I have lights. Fairly inexpensive to buy and no cost to use. If lights are on and I’m not in there then someone is and I can check on that. Lights are set high enough it takes sombody walking in there to turn them on. Same for the lights around the outside of the other buildings.
    This isn’t a fortress. No high fences or razor wire. Just a few poor folks making a comfortable home place. Nothing fancy. Motion sensors, Harbor freight, $10 each. Solar lights also Harbor freight, $10-“$35 each.
    Digging a spider hole is beyond me today. Interesting idea. Maybe I need a spider blind out in the juniper bushes or a spider tree stand up the cottonwood tree with a pull up ladder?
    Good ideas for those capable of what you describe.
    I would love to see something for the old, handicapped, or like me…not too well, and caring for a husband with dimentia and growing feeble. The articles I see are great for the young and those still strong and healthy. We “boomers” are a large aging population group. I fall at the beginning of the group and two of my sons fall at the end. Injuries have crippled me up but I’m still able to work here and have a productive life. One son has cancer, another a TBI from a work injury but still smart and capable but has to work slow and deliberate. Third son has PTSD and other problems since he served in desert storm. Each is ex military so still has that training knowledge and different abilities but all have bugout bags and contingency plans.
    They each suggest things to me that fit their abilities. No one is addressing the old, feble, or infirm. We no longer matter? I am the one who teaches wild foods and medicine classes. I can still gather foods and care for sick or injured folks. I can’t dig holes or build fortifications anymore.
    I have built a tiny family here. Two can still cut or gather wood and one family heats with my old wood heating stove. Two can build almost anything. One is a great cook and seamstres. I garden, can, freeze, and dehydrate food, herbs, and medicines. I own the place but the others live here at the cost of equal shares of the electric bill we all pay. The property has two wells but equipment only in one. I plan to build a handcrancked winch system for the other one. Three of us are artists in different ways but it adds to our incomes. I did sell rabbits but I have cut back to our food production and firs for lining winter mittens et.
    My husband is a retired man who is now lost if I am out of sight. He is still stronger than I am but that is fading. He works well with me. So for now he is my helper and companion. Sometimes he sits and watches me. His sense of direction, even here where he knows the place, is 180 degrees off. In a bugout situation he could carry a backpack but a long walk or hard climb is for days past. He still loves to camp out or go fishing and does that quite sucessfully.
    How about brainstorming for us “preppers” with declining health and strength. We still do a lot and have knowledge and skills that are worthwhile. But we aren’t digging holes or walking 30-40 miles for any reason. We aren’t planning for fire fights in stairwells. In fact I hate stairs. I now have a ramp to my main entrance. There are 6 steps off the far end of the ramp and 5 steps at 2 other places.
    I always have lived in nice homes until this property. Used mobile homes were quick and cheap. How about addressing prepping for us in cheap tin houses.
    Mine still needs a lot of mostly small repairs plus tearing out old original carpeting and painting every room. It will be nice inside. Unless I can add new sidding it will always look.old and ugly on the outside.
    I guess that isn”t a bad thing in a SHTF situation. Neighborhood tough. All know we are poor now and I have known most here since 40 years ago. Bad boy neighbors could be trouble but an asset if trouble is from outside the tiny area.
    I am still moving in so once the repairs are done things will be sorted and excess sold in yardsales. Any income can go into needed projects here or a couple of bigger remodeling projects that have to wait for warm weather.
    My only real plan for bugging out involves an old camper that will go on a trailer I am putting together. Fire would get us moving out. I plan storage under the cabover bed and a fold down platform and step that will fold up to cover the back door while traveling. It has everything except a shower. A tiny home for fishing trips and no more loading it on a truck. My husband loves it. Great great gramdmas can still think and do some things. 🙂

    Reply to this comment
    • crisdale April 3, 14:02

      Try Gimpy Preppers on Facebook. I am a member as well.

      Reply to this comment
    • Combat Tested January 11, 06:29

      I have, unfortunately, due to my age and combat injuries, have resigned myself to the role of “rear guard” in the event of major hostilities. My mission as an Army anti-tanker was “Die In Place” so others could withdraw to better defenses. I am comfortable in that role as a civilian as my afterlife is secure.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Clergylady November 16, 13:06

    I’ve thought about this post and others. Other than a floor service hatch that could be used to get out of my mobile home I am not going to be digging holes unless it’s where I can use the backhoe on the tractor.
    I do plan to dig a trench to hook up the 250 gal propane tank I bought. Tractor hasn’t been running. A secondary fuel pump is out. Found a new one on eBay and it’s here. The neighbor that does our repairs has lost his tools to thieves so I’ll provide a set. Worth it to have help.
    Want the trench for the propane hook up and a 4′ hole 10’x18′ for a half burried , earth sheltered greenhouse. I had one at my other home. We hit a recordsetting -46 and everything at 6′ deep survived beautifully. For normal times- 4′ deep will be plenty. I may build a heat exchanger earthen wall behind that new green house so it can shelter the South end of the home an add warmed air under the mobile home. That would help save the plumbing. And if needed it could provide a little unobvious room for a spider hole of sorts. Not quite your hiddy hole for guard or shooting position but a hidden shelter with bench beds and food and water well sheltered from eyes and the elements. Really just a well stocked place to store the gardens bounty with room for water and storage benches with some extra clothing and sleeping bags inside. A built in rocket stove venting to the space under the trailer would be easy, and they can burn without smoking. A stocked shelter is better than a spider hole.
    I now have a newer mobile home. Structurally sound and modern. Found an unrepaired one on a lot as it was moved in. Made a cash offer. And after a bit of haggling it was accepted as first offered. Just clean up and painting walls and paid a man $40 to tear out the livingroom carpet. Paid the repair independent crew there to replace a broken window before moving it. Friends came to help paint the livingroom and put down a slightly used wood floor. It looks good. I painted the bathroom and kitchen. We also have taken the new home off grid solar. Already winter and just half skirted. Need to find more metal. Started wind side with used Propanel roofing cut to fit as skirting. May finish with old corrugated metal panels that I’d gotten to use for a chicken coop. They were free on Craigslist. The used Propanel was $50. Also on Craigslist.
    No dug out holes as the spider hole was shown but still planning the half dugout greenhouse and a big cellar room beside it.

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