Contextual Handgun - The Armed Parent/Guardian from Citizens Defense Research | AAR [2024]


Citizens Defense Research The Armed Parent Guardian Photo courtesy of Tim Reedy.

Editor: Primer Peak contributor Daniel Martin recently made his way to Bandera, Texas to get some training. We've spoken about The Armed Parent in the past, though some changes have taken place over the past few years. Check out Dan's thoughts on the course here. 

Location Location Location....

Bandera Gun Club is on the outskirts of San Antonio, TX, and regularly hosts a number of traveling instructors and competitions. Tim Reedy's TDR Training is based out of Bandera where he regularly teaches License to Carry and other courses. Tim also served as the host for this course. The range rules are friendly, the course was operated as a hot range, and facilities were sufficient for our needs. The lecture period on day 1 was held at a meeting room at a conference center a few minutes away.


Our weather was generally fantastic. It was pleasantly warm with a light breeze and slight overcast on day 1. Day 2 saw mostly a similar overcast with occasional and ever-so-slight rain. This is of such minimal consequence that no one even dons rain gear.


Citizen's Defense Research suggests that shooters bring an appropriate defensive handgun with appropriate holster, concealed, 600 rounds, and at least three total magazines. The usual other miscellaneous gear such as a camp chair, bad weather gear, and note-taking gear were also suggested. As is my usual, I did not carefully track round count but would estimate the total expenditure to have been certainly below the 600 round published count. Uniquely, CDR asks students to bring "a backpack which can be weighted and dropped" to this course. As one may surmise from the course title and available photos publicized of the course, these backpacks serve as simulated children.


Citizens Defense Research is composed of a cadre of instructors, but our course was direct from CDR President Melody Lauer. Her extensive experience in training and instruction over the last nearly two decades can be seen on their website. The students on the line included myself, host Tim Reedy, a couple of other experienced and trained shooters.  There was also one relative newcomer to serious training who identified this course as her first formal training.

Day One of The Armed Parent/Guardian

Training Day 1 began with a thorough lecture from Melody, covering numerous relevant topics. This lecture segment is actually offered as a standalone course/ticket, although I must say I recommend the full course over the lecture alone. This truly is, as they call it, a Contextual Handgun course. No time is wasted, no frill or froth spilled. Melody speaks on the kinds of criminal activity which target parents/guardians with and around their children. The relative risks to the children in those incidents are covered, tactical considerations, and the necessity of discussing hard choices which might have to be made.

Citizens Defense Research The Armed Parent Guardian
Melody demonstrating proper wrist control. Photo courtesy of Tim Reedy.

After the lecture, we proceed out to the range. As is the common practice, after the safety brief we begin with dry exercises. Melody thoroughly vets all students' ability to safely draw from a holster with their present equipment. We proceeded through demonstration and drilling of marksmanship fundamentals, integration of the drawstroke, and more. The day closes with an excellent recap/summary and instructions for Day 2.

Day Two of TAP/G

Training Day 2 is entirely on the range. Melody runs an excellent range. We continue to work marksmanship fundamentals while adding various dynamics pertinent to the armed parent or guardian. We work in our backpack children and a high-fidelity, weighted child mannequin of which Melody is quite proud. Melody also conducts a thorough, structured set of safety checks to disarm all students before conducting a cold-range force-on-force drill with limited scope. Her elaboration on the limited scope of the drill and the differences between a drill and a scenario was emblematic of a top-tier professional instructor.

Craig Douglas, perhaps the living master of FoF scenario training, would be proud. In fact I imagine that he is, as I have reason to believe that Melody and Craig are colleagues and fellow travelers in good company. A serious and systematic conversion from cold to hot status was conducted and additional shooting skills and drills. These emphasize manipulations and compensation for the presence and interference of a child. The day concluded with a review of optimized defensive posturing in parking lots and around vehicles.

Final Thoughts on Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian from Citizen's Defense Research

If Melody Lauer speaks, you should listen. I am not personally aware of anyone else teaching this content. Frankly I have difficulty conceiving of how it could be more thorough, specific, and appropriate than what has been built here. When you've first installed an MRDS on your handgun, you should take a red dot course from someone like Scott Jedlinski, Aaron Cowan, or Michael Green. When you find you have small children you will regularly need to care for, and during the course of those events you will be armed, you should take this course from Melody Lauer and Citizen's Defense Research.

You should also seriously considered all of the other offerings from CDR's cadre of instructors. See what is available near you!

About Daniel Martin 3 Articles
Daniel is an emergency medicine PA, tactical paramedic, and Veteran USMC Infantry. He teaches Texas License to Carry courses, is authorized to instruct for the TX DPS Level III security license, and has over 200 hours of professional instruction received outside his military experience.

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