Friday, June 24, 2016

Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian

So, in the news recently was this dramatic security camera footage of a woman fighting off some creeptastic dude trying to abduct her 13-year-old daughter right there in the middle of the Dollar General.

If you carry a gun and have a family, odds are good that when you need to use that gun to fend off some bad guy, you will not be alone, but rather will have loved ones close at hand.

There's very little in the way of firearms training that specifically takes this into account, however. Recognizing this, my friends John Johnston and Melody Lauer have spent the last year and more putting together a curriculum built around the realities of employing a firearm in the situation that is every parent's nightmare: With toddler in hand or baby in arms.

Melody, known on the intertubes for her site "Limatunes Range Diaries" (now was hired by John Johnston to help stand up Citizens' Defense Research, the training division of Ballistic Radio. Melody's an EMT with a gun school resume that puts mine to shame.

John Johnston, host of Ballistic Radio, has been to a whole ton of gun school himself. It was in doing all this training that John noticed the void that the Armed Parent/Guardian class was designed to fill.

John's a big fan of two things:
Context, because a lot of tactics, techniques, or bits of gear get criticized by people who have no understanding of the context for their use; and high standards of measured performance.

It was the latter that had me criticizing the curriculum when it was first being bandied about. The class standard for shooting was high enough that I wondered aloud if students would be able to keep up.

I was wrong.

Day one began with a well-organized classroom presentation that laid out the reasons for the course and gave video examples of the sorts of situations that the training was created to address.

Melody explaining the actual vital areas on a target and how they shift based on the bad guy's orientation relative to the shooter.

The hand-picked students for the shakedown cruise of this class consisted of a bunch of industry professionals as well as a few students who had never run a gun from a holster on the clock before.

Day One was spent on the range after lunch working on basic gun handling and shooting from the holster, with the pace gradually picking up until we shot the current FBI qualification course.

Day Two started off with a ballistic gel demonstration which served to illustrate what a bad idea it is to plan on using your body to shield your loved ones. Against FMJ ammunition (or un-expanded hollow points), human bodies are concealment, not cover.

Context: Are there times when you want to close the distance on the bad guy instead of opening it? Well, is the bad guy actually holding your loved one? Will stepping in get the muzzle past your loved one?

Day Two featured the meat of the shooting portion of the class: Shooting with babe in arms or child in hand.

Shooting one handed can be hard...

...when the other hand has a child pulling and tugging on it. Techniques were discussed to mitigate this, such as pinning the child's arm to your side with your elbow, which stabilized your shooting immensely.


When I learned that the graduation exercise would be shooting the FBI qual with baby either in arm or set down before shooting, but with no change to the par time, I was again skeptical. That's tight, especially for some of the newer shooters.

Again I was wrong. The quality of instruction was good enough that the entire class shot passing scores despite having to deal with SAND BABY.

If you have munchkins, preteens, or adult kids who leave the grandbabies with you, I highly recommend looking into this class. It'll be available September 10-11 at DTS in Troy, Ohio, or you could contact Melody and look into hosting the class at a facility near you.