Ask a Navy SEAL

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Cade Courtley is taking over the reins this week, answering your questions from a Navy SEAL’s perspective.

Take it away, Cade!


Cade… we live in a very large gated community. However, the security is minimal — anyone can gain access. In addition, I have a 6-foot-tall concrete block wall surrounding three-fourths of my backyard, with the back of my house being the final quarter. I have motion-activated solar lighting in the rear and side walkway. The front entrance has an infrared alarm about 6 feet in front of my reinforced front door. The front gate to the rear/side walkway was replaced with 1-inch-thick Marine-grade plywood, 1-inch angle iron mounted along the sides and a lock about 3 feet off the ground so no one can reach over to pick it. Also, exterior windows have 3M film over them. Where can I improve? I should mention I’m also an FFL dealer and there are multiple firearms available within my home to both myself and my wife. Thanks!

— Jeff G.

Cade Courtley: Hey, Jeff, I’ve got to say, you’ve done very well. You’re 99% better protected than most people. Criminals will often follow the path of least resistance, and you have definitely created some obstacles. That said, have you considered exterior cameras?

Also, I can only assume as an FFL (federal firearms license dealer, for anyone who doesn’t know), you have the proper safe in your home. If a criminal does manage to get inside, you don’t want them getting their hands on your guns.

Lastly, do you own a dog? I have a Rhodesian ridgeback that keeps folks away — big dogs are very effective deterrents.

But again, you are WAY ahead of the curve. Well done!

Re: Home storage of long guns, pistols and valuables… what, in your opinion, is the hardest safe for a criminal to open with the max fire rating? Can you suggest a manufacturer?

— Ken K.

Cade Courtley: Well, Ken, I’m a big fan of the folks at You can choose from many different styles and types of safes and assemble them yourself in any room you want. That way, the stranger who delivers it won’t get a sneak peek at the where you’re going to put your new safe.

According to their website, with a SnapSafe, you get a full 1½ inches of ceramic fiber fire protection rated at 2,300 degrees F for one hour. These safes also feature door seals that expand during a fire to protect contents from hot air and water damage.

Check them out and then shoot us an email at and let us know what you think.

I’m a U.S. Navy veteran 1965–67, and my father was a naval aviator and test pilot.

I am writing out of concern for the U.S. Navy SEALs and their safety/security at their training locations/bases. I’m a bit paranoid, but I imagine you are near the top of the target lists of terrorist organizations around the world and here in the USA. I hope you are thinking through possible scenarios and taking precautions.

P.S. My dad had a friend in Ventura who was a retired Navy Underwater Demolition Team member, and he would stay in shape by swimming around the Ventura pier. I admire your organization. GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY!

— Stephen & Dusty

Cade Courtley: Hey, thank you and your father for your service to this amazing country. I would love to hear some test pilot stories — those were REAL men!

Regarding your fears about the safety of certain military locations — which I appreciate — honestly, I think if terrorists tried to attack a SEAL training facility, they would be setting themselves up to have a very bad day.

As for personal security, I practice what I preach — meaning I keep my head on a swivel and am ready to deal with whatever comes my way.

But again, thanks for your concern and for your service, shipmate.

If one desires to purchase a weapon to protect themselves if someone attempts to break into the house or if people attempt to storm a house due to social upheaval, etc., what would you suggest? Is it necessary for these purposes to obtain both a handgun and a riffle?

— Stephanie C.

Cade Courtley: Good question, Stephanie. Whenever I’m asked this, I first have to ask these three questions:

1. Are you willing to train in order to be proficient with a firearm?

2. Can you safely store this weapon if there are children in the house — but still have rapid access when the need arises?

3. Would you be willing to use this firearm if that time comes — i.e., are you willing to shoot someone to protect yourself or another member of your family?

If you answered YES to all three questions, then I would recommend a firearm for your home. And if I were to recommend just one, it would be a simple 12-gauge pump-action shotgun for its ease of use and lack of penetration — meaning you won’t shoot through multiple inner walls.

Whatever weapon you ultimately choose for home defense, be sure to train with it so there’s no hesitation if you have to use it. Be safe!


Hey there, Jason again.

If you missed this opportunity to pick Cade’s brain, we’d like to give you another shot. Send your questions to and we’ll put together another SEAL-sponsored mailbag in the future. Just be sure to specify if your question is meant for Cade.

Next week, I’ll be back in the saddle, so get your safety and survival questions in now.

Until next time…

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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