On Dec 10-11, 2016, I hosted the new Armed Parent course taught by John Johnston and Melody Lauer from Citizens Defense Research. John and Melody are best known for the Ballistic Radio podcast. The concept of the course came from articles Melody had written on the challenges of carrying around small children. It’s a new course, still evolving with each delivery, but covering a topic that’s rarely discussed in depth in traditional firearms and tactics courses. John and Melody both have young children and have studied with many top national trainers. Development of the course involved several trainers as consultants and advisors, all credited during course delivery for their contributions.
Scheduling a 2 day course in December, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, at the end of school semesters and in the middle of Texas’ deer and football seasons was probably not the best idea, as holiday bills and a crowded schedule made it difficult for actual parents to attend. But a handful of determined students enrolled, and we had perfect fall weather for the entire weekend.
The first day was mostly classroom, a mix of review of the standard topics covered in every defensive shooting course (safe gunhandling, use of force philosophy, gear and pistol shooting techniques) enhanced with deeper discussion of the aspects of those topics as they related to family situations. John and Melody used many carefully selected video clips of real incidents to illustrate key points.
We did get out on the range after lunch on day 1, shooting 2″ circle targets, concentrating on techniques and trigger control, to set a foundation for the drills that followed on the next day.
Day 2 was almost all range time, starting with a demonstration of carry ammo penetration in ballistic gel. This provided a deeper understanding of risks of penetration or over-penetration both for the rounds fired by the armed parent but also those that might be fired at the armed parent and/or other family members.
Range time emphasized one handed shooting, trigger control and muzzle direction awareness. Handling a gun in close proximity to family members, particularly those that may be at waist level or lower, poses unique problems. For most of the shooting drills we used their custom paper targets that presented front and side views of an armed threat.
To baseline our skill, we also shot the FBI qualification test and other drills for score.
Drills requiring manipulation of a weighted prop (simulating a child carried in one arm), movement, and other tasks were added to the mix, building on the foundation built on the previous day. A modified version of the FBI qualification test that incorporated all the armed parent-specific skills taught during the course was used as a graduation test for the live fire portion.
This course aligns with my own approach to training: relevant to likely situations an armed citizen might encounter, with focus on using the gear the armed citizen is likely to have. I don’t have kids, but I have quite a few young relatives, as well as neighbors and friends with children. Even for someone that may not be around children on a daily basis, understanding the concepts taught in this course are valuable.