Being a mom is one of the most rewarding, stressful experiences one could ask for. My kids are constantly surprising me with a new word or action I didn’t know they knew. There was one day my daughter, age two, looked at me with a stern look on her face, licked her thumb, and wiped it across her forehead as though she was getting ready for war. To this day, I have no idea where she learned that, but now it’s like a secret code between us. With all of the enjoyable parts of motherhood, stressful parts follow.
It’s not always the kiddos who bring on the stress (and if I’m honest, that’s a big part of the time) it’s the things outside of us that we can’t control. As parents, we are constantly living with our heads on a swivel. I’m 100% on all the time, in any situation. I choose to carry a firearm for these reasons. I know that carrying, especially concealed, isn’t for everyone, but I would like to share my journey in carrying a firearm as a mother.
I have two littles, ages four and two. They’re incredibly smart, funny, energetic, but also vulnerable. It’s the vulnerability that has given me the purpose of carrying a firearm. When I first started carrying it was for myself and keeping my confidence high when I was alone. I mean, what is more independent and feminine than being able to take care of yourself, right? However, concealing a firearm with little ones hanging on you, holding your hand, needing to be carried, there’s another level of responsibility that comes with it as well. I am not claiming to be the one to come to with questions; I’m not even claiming that I practice my training every minute of the day. However, every chance I get I try to learn something or practice something that helps me become better when I protect my kids and my family.
Carrying and the Law
Before you’re can carry a concealed firearm, each state and county have its own requirements for classes. I had the opportunity to take a class lead by a woman that catered to the typical female carrier. In the class, she taught us the basics of firearm mechanics. Now, this may sound boring and unnecessary, but if you’re going to carry a firearm with you, on your person I recommend knowing every little detail you can. I don’t think there is too much information for us to have in our repertoire.
Our class had divided into two days of training: day one was the ins and outs, questions, laws, the nitty-gritty of it all, and the second was range day. If we had a firearm, we were encouraged to bring it to familiarize ourselves with what we intended on carrying. We had an obstacle course set up with targets waiting for us. Each class and instructor are different. In ours we were given obstacles to shoot around, scenarios to practice, and maneuvers to learn. It was empowering to say the least. Everyone had a chance to shoot, and the instructor would shout different patterns in which we were to fire. As far as concealed carry classes, I’d give mine a five-star review. I learned a lot and was able to see and experience different levels of possibilities. In the future, I would love to take a more tactical class with my husband.
After the class is over, I had to decide how I was going to carry. There are so many options out there for a woman to carry concealed. The way that I have chosen as of late is a belly band. If you are not familiar with what that is, let me enlighten you. Mine, for instance, is a long black band that looks almost like a back support belt. It has velcro on one end and pockets around the center area. Mine has two pockets, one for the firearm and the other for an extra magazine, knife, flashlight, or even phone. I choose to carry an additional magazine and knife. Each pocket is a stretchy material that allows you to holster pretty much whatever firearm you feel comfortable with as well as a strap to hold it in place. The belly band also allows you to wear your favorite leggings, which, if we’re honest, are the main pants we wear nowadays.
Concealed Carry and Access
Part of concealing a firearm is not just keeping it hidden, but it’s keeping it in a place where you can comfortably and quickly access it if you are ever in a situation where you need it. That is where training how to quick-draw comes in handy. Not all of us have full access to a shooting range or open space right outside our doors. The next best thing, and the thing that I like to do, is practice in front of a mirror. When I do this, I use an empty magazine (for obvious reasons). There are, however, different options for this, depending on your budget. I have seen some that have a target and a laser with a rubber-like bullet so you can practice firing. That is not in my budget, so I wait to fire until I go to the range or my family’s farm. I try to focus on the motions I have to make when accessing, aiming and firing. Not only do I have to think about the mechanics, but I have to worry about my surroundings, too. “Where are my kids in the situation? Where is my target? Will this be a one-handed or a two-handed draw? How many movements do I need to make this the safest and most effective outcome?”
Going through each of these steps seems like it would take an eternity to have the outcome come to fruition, but it all has to be split-second decisions; this is why practicing is so important. With the belly band that I use, I typically have 3-5 steps I will have to go through in just drawing my firearm. If I’m in a scenario where I can use both hands, I use my left to lift my shirt above the concealment, and I use my right hand to unlatch, draw, and aim. Each time I practice I go through each step as though it was frame-by-frame, slowly and accurately. As I become comfortable with each step, I re-holster and start again at a faster pace. Sometimes it feels a little silly to be standing there talking myself through those steps, but then I remember that each practice makes me better, faster, and sharper than the time before.
When I’m ready to do a live fire, I have two options: the range and our family’s farm. When practicing a quick-draw at the range, they typically ask you to let them know for safety reasons. No one wants to be the reason for an accident, am I right? Just like practicing in front of the mirror, take things slow from the get-go. I move with each step, slowly and accurately. It’s like a dance. When I’m at our family farm I have a little more freedom in how I can practice. I’ve been able to fire from a horizontal, standing, hiding, and moving position. I enjoy this way of practice more than the firing range, but not everyone has the space for these. There are options out there that give you different levels of training. I know of a few places in my state where former military service members hold tactical training for all levels of shooters. I have not had a chance to do one of these, but it is on my list of things to do in the future.
There will always be different levels of people carrying out there. In my opinion, the more education I can take in, the better equipped I will be if there ever comes a time to protect my family. I do not recommend stopping at taking the class. I have friends who know how to shoot, and we enjoy shooting together, but the idea of concealing a firearm makes them nervous. It’s not for everyone.
I want to encourage the moms I shoot with to grow in their knowledge and training. Empowering another mom to take their family’s safety into their own, capable hands is something I will continue to do. The other thing I look forward to is teaching my kids what I have learned. Right now, we focus mainly on Nerf guns, finger off the trigger until ready to fire, no pointing at people, no pointing at yourself, etc. When the time comes, we’ll get out there and work on it in real-time. For now, I’m happy being their super mom, protector of my babies.
Kelsey is a wife, a mom, and entrepreneur born and raised in Colorado. My husband and I enjoy hunting, fishing, and spending as much time with our kids as possible. Part of our pastime is trying and learning new things together, and teaching our kids how to do things with their own two hands. My goal as a mom is to teach my kids to be strong, full of faith, and able to do just about anything. I didn’t grow up hunting or around guns in general, but I’ve been in that life now for the better part of ten years. I love getting to do these things with my husband and kids, and getting to show them another piece and way of life. The ultimate goal is for my family to own our own acreage large enough for gardens, an archery range, and all the outdoor playtime adventure one could desire. For now it’s just finding adventure in our little slice of heaven.