A Parent’s Guide to Concealed Carry

By Nic Lenze
Posted in #Skills
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A Parent’s Guide to Concealed Carry

July 26th, 2023

6 minute read

In today’s article, Nic Lenze tackles one of the primary responsibilities all parents share: protecting their children. Be it a predator on the streets or a wild animal on the trail, an adult is responsible for keeping kids safe. If you choose to carry a gun as a parent, you have to exhibit excellent gun safety both in how you choose to carry concealed and how to store firearms at home. The following are the author’s opinions on the subject of gun handling as a parent. Take his thoughts and make appropriate decisions for gun safety in your life. Be sure to understand the firearm laws for your jurisdiction.

In my home state, there are more than 500,000 concealed handgun permit (CHP) holders. On top of that, Colorado recognizes permits from over 30 other states, and no gun permit is required to conceal in your car.

parent guide to ccw
As a parent of two young children, the author offers his advice on self-defense and gun safety in this context.

Out of those many, many concealed carriers, how many have children? Personally, my wife and I have created two rambunctious children. We made a promise to do everything we can to protect our kids from predators. With that promise came a few considerations for carrying a firearm when I’m with one or both of our children.

I have a four-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. Your family probably looks different, but we can safely sort children into two categories. The first is a non-walking child. My daughter isn’t walking yet, and even when she starts, I won’t be able to rely on her to seek cover. She’s essentially tied to me.

looking for escape routes
Avoiding confrontation is the best choice, but it’s not always an option. If forced to defend your family, proper preparation can set you up for success.

The second type is a walking child. My son is a walking master (unless toys are on the floor), and I can mostly rely on him to listen to me. At the very least, he can run from a situation that scares him. Each type has its own considerations, so I’ll try to include both.

Run the Gun One-Handed

When I began taking my defense seriously, I had no kids. If I needed to drop something to establish a two-handed grip, the biggest tragedy would be the shattering of an unopened bottle of single malt. Now, I don’t really have that option. Two-handed pistol shooting is a luxury.

one handed shooting
Learning how to shoot with one hand is essential when protecting a child. You may not have time to move your child to safety before being forced to employ force.

If you are holding hands with your kid, or carrying them, you will need to be proficient with one-handed drawing, shooting, and manipulations. If one hand is busy and one is holding your firearm, you may need to utilize your holster to open a door. This is a good case for a rigid Kydex holster. Use something that retains its shape and makes reholstering easy.

Teach Code Words: It’s Not Just A Board Game

Defensive situations are quick and dynamic, meaning that you should probably be moving. When you have to worry about what your kids are doing, this becomes more difficult. For my walking son, we use a code word. Ripped right from the mouths of executive protection professionals, saying “link to me” attaches him to my waist, allowing me to move and feel where he is. This also means that I can keep a hand free for picking things up, opening doors, or using a two-handed grip. We also have another phrase that means we’re leaving right now. This is in case my wife or I spot a situation before it becomes a problem for us.

This is something that can easily be practiced at home. Now, I don’t know your child like you do, so use your instincts. Should practice be a game, or emphasize the importance of listening during a dangerous encounter? It doesn’t matter as long as they perform how you need them to when it counts.

Boo Boos and Uh-Ohs

My wife and I took a trauma course last year to gain more emergency medical knowledge to help our kids. What I realized while I was there was that a standard CAT tourniquet is too big for my son’s arm. For smaller kids, the instructor told me it would make the most sense to squeeze his arm in my hand until help arrives.

That said, we all have children that are in different phases of life. Carry the medical gear that makes sense for your family. I carry a Snakestaff Systems TQ on my person and keep a more robust kit in my car. That kit also includes a small boo-boo kit. In general, it’s a good idea to at least keep a couple of Band-Aids handy.

[Don’t know much about tourniquets? Check out Do You Know How to Use Your CAT for more information.]

who are you willing to risk your life for
For whom are you willing to risk your life? If you are a parent, that answer is probably clear. So start thinking — and training — now.

I’ve mostly been talking about things to consider when under attack, but there are other ways for tragedy to strike. While I’ve never read a story of the gun being taken from your holster, it’s something to be mindful of. I just crank down the retention screws on my holsters, but if you’d like added security, consider an active retention holster like the Safariland GLS. 

What’s the Plan, Man?

When I teach CHP courses, one of the things I always stress is to have a plan. Sit down with your partner and discuss which situations deserve what level of response. Having these decisions made ahead of time will hopefully minimize the time between stimulus and action and could possibly save your life. I know that my first response will always be to try and find an exit to get my family to safety. That’s not always possible, though.

parents guide to concealed carry lead
Being both aware and prepared are top responsibilities of yours as a parent, and you must take them very seriously.

Included in this plan is a literal list of who I’m willing to die for. Think of it this way. If you’re outside the grocery store and someone inside starts shooting, who needs to be in that store for you to go back in and risk your life?

An overarching plan like this won’t always be practical, so a quick glance around to identify exits and potential threats could be crucial. Just as you would for yourself, be aware for your kids who have yet to develop these skills for themselves. 

How to Handle Later

The last thing I’ll mention is the need to be there for your kids. Assuming you did everything correctly and survived whatever villainy was thrown your way, your actions will still be judged. I have no allegiance to any self-defense insurance or legal services plan.

ccw legal assistance
There are a number of legal assistance programs available to firearms owners. The author encourages you to research them and pick one.

I don’t care who you sign up with, but it’s essential to understand what could happen to you if you ignore the legal aftermath aspect of your defense plan. You can get coverage for as little as $10 a month. I recommend compiling a pros and cons list of all the companies that cover self-defense, then getting signed up as quickly as possible.

Our children are the most vulnerable among us, and they look to us for protection. Let’s all do our best to keep them safe and be as prepared as possible. I hope this article sparked some ideas and questions. Remember to carry often, carry safely, and stay aware. Thank you for reading.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Nic Lenze

Nic Lenze

Nic Lenze is a lover of all things that go bang. Originally from Southern California, he now lives in the beautiful state of Colorado where he shoots anything and everything he can get his hands on. Pistol shooting is his main focus, but slapping steel at 610 yards is a regular occurrence. Living in a nature-rich state has opened more opportunities for fishing, hunting, and camping. He enjoys goose hunting and two-day, bird-free grouse hunts. He is a husband, father, and lover of liberty.

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