That’s What She Said: Contextual Handgun; The Armed Parent

| May 10, 2016 | 5 Comments

At the start of my defensive firearms training, the focus was strictly on me. I strove to effectively manage unknown contacts, de-escalate encounters, and use my firearm to safely and legally defend my life.

After watching “Terror at The Mall (our review)”, the HBO documentary about the massacre at Westgate Mall,  I was disturbed by the stories of the women with children who were caught completely unprepared by the attack. I have children, and we shop together. The scope of my self-defense training was too narrow to apply to my lifestyle.

I began thinking about how I could incorporate the things I had learned into my daily interactions with my children.

I quickly learned that family-focused defensive training is an under-served market. The only material I could find was Melody Lauer’s Babywearing & Carrying class which didn’t really apply to me due to the age of my kids.

I was thrilled when Melody approached me to attend a class she and John Johnston from Ballistic Radio were creating to address this void in the defensive firearms training market. It was a prototype follow-up to her Babywearing & Carrying class. This newly expanded curriculum would address how parents might factor toddlers and older children into self-defense scenarios.

Defense Midwest hosted the two-day event in Topeka, KS. Their facility had everything, from a media-ready classroom to an outdoor range that was able to accommodate the entire class in one firing line.

Lucky Gunner Ammo supplied 12,000 rounds of ammunition. I was impressed by their show of support for the training community.

Day 1

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After introductions, Melody and John used the ” Talk – Show – Do” teaching method. First, they would talk about a concept. They then used visuals to show the concept. Finally, we were able to do the concept after lecture wrapped.

The lecture portion of the day was well-paced and informative. The instructors took turns speaking about:

  • The civilians role in self-defense and how it differs from the military or police
  • How to define “The Problem,” their term for the potentially dangerous situation at hand
  • Ways attackers victimize children
  • How to assess “The Problem”
  • Typical responses to danger
  • Gear (types of firearms, sights, belts, holsters, holster position, lights and med kits)
  • The defender’s mindset
  • Psychology of violence (the attacker’s mindset)

Careful yet considerate steering by Melody and John allowed for time to discuss the concepts, but not so much that we wandered off-topic.

We broke for lunch and then spent the rest of the day on the range.

Melody and John designed this course to see if they could take students with little to no experience with formal firearms training and get them shooting with enough proficiency to pass an FBI qualification shooting drill. While the class was populated with industry heavy hitters, there were also students who fit their target market.

Day 1 shooting covered:

  • Unholstering and reholstering safely
  • Finding your sight picture quickly
  • Most effective places on the body to aim your shots
  • Reloads
  • One-handed shooting
  • One-handed recovery of a grounded weapon

Day 2

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The entirety of day two was spent on the range and began with a ballistics gel demonstration comparing the expansion rate of different calibers of ammunition for pistols, then rifle and shotgun.

After briefly touching on some of the previous day’s drills, Melody and John began building on the skills we practiced in day 1:

  • Props: illustrated why mastering a basic concept like one-handed shooting or safely recovering a grounded weapon with your off-hand would be useful in a real gunfight
  • Techniques designed to safely transfer your child out of your arms and to the ground
  • How to steer an older child away from the fight but still maintain control of them
  • When and how best to deliver hits to the body versus head shot in a hostage situation
  • Incorporating movement to draw the fight away from your child
  • How to deal with someone who is using your child as a shield

They make the case that proficiency to perform these skills can focus your thinking and allow you to process what is happening around you. This skill becomes vital when dealing with an emotionally charged situation involving your children.

We wrapped up day 2 with another run at the FBI Qualification, which had been modified to include some of the things we’d practiced that day.

Final Thoughts

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The curriculum Melody and John created is ambitious, and since this was their trial run you should expect the material to evolve as they determine what works best for their target market.

The things I liked the best about this class were the techniques developed specially for defending your family. I learned things I can apply to both my 10 year old and my 17 year old (much to his mortification). I also found a lot of value in performing basic concepts with new instructors, and I learned that all of my fundamentals go straight into the toilet the minute a timer is involved. I’ll be writing more on this in a later post.

I think this course is an excellent choice for parents with kids of all ages, especially for those who carry every day.

If you are interested, this course will be available September 2016 in Ohio.

The dedicated Web site for this class is under construction. For now, follow Limatunes and stay tuned to Ballistic Radio for future dates and locations.

Related posts:

About the Author:

The She-Shepherd

The She-Shepherd is a defensive firearms student, mother and advocate for pushing the boundaries of how we train. She believes that defensive training must balance context, mindset, and skill to be most effective.
Her specialty has become testing alternative modes of firearms carry and best practices of less than lethal force options through rigorous force-on-force scenario based training.

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5 Comments on "That’s What She Said: Contextual Handgun; The Armed Parent"

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  1. Scott says:

    This is truly an under educated area.

  2. Phillip Jones says:

    I love the photo of a woman with child in her left arm and drawing pistol with right hand. Have you done an article for women and men who need to consider public spaces, when to drop the hand of a child to defend, why you should never fill both hands with shopping bags and why…the need for one hand free always?

    • The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd says:

      Hi there!

      That is an excellent topic I’d like to cover more. I have addressed your ideas in smaller ways in other posts, but I’ve never put them all together in one dedicated article.

      The course this article is about does an excellent job of addressing how to navigate a gunfight with your kids in tow, and I HIGHLY reccommend it.

      I do some specific things regarding communication and engaging my own kids through transitional spaces. There seems to be some interest, so I will put something together soon.

      THanks for reading and for the thoughtful suggestion!

  3. Jimbo Peterson says:

    This is a scenario I first discovered in a IDPA shoot where we had to carry a 30 pound child sized doll. It really opened my eyes and every time I talk to the “I’ve got the 12 gauge pump in the closet guy” if they have a little kid I always ask if there was a problem you would go grab your kid right? Then how are you going to pump your shotgun? Training exposes weaknesses. I would drive to IA to take this class.

  4. James C Peterson says:

    This is a scenario I first discovered in a IDPA shoot where we had to carry a 30 pound child sized doll. It really opened my eyes and every time I talk to the “I’ve got the 12 gauge pump in the closet guy” if they have a little kid I always ask if there was a problem you would go grab your kid right? Then how are you going to pump your shotgun? Training exposes weaknesses. I would drive to IA to take this class.

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