FINALLY!!! It’s that time of the year – the first nice weather in Upstate New York. For many momma bears (that have been stuck inside with the kiddos all winter), that means it’s time to go do something outside!!
Playgrounds are busy, the zoo is, well, a zoo of people, strollers on the sidewalks all around and parking lots at area parks are full!
It’s all very exciting and a little terrifying at the same time. Along with the nice weather and chance to be outside comes the danger of large masses of people at the same place, because bad guys who are targeting the masses know these nice weather facts too. Predators know that the playground activity goes up this time of year, whether they are looking for women alone or children. Scary. But true.
So, let’s talk basics first. Do you know what is going on around you? Or are you using the time when your kids are busy playing to check out and scroll your phone? (No judgment – we all need that mental break sometimes!)
Did you notice the guy just sitting in his car in the parking lot, watching? Did you see the guy with no kids sitting on the playground?
Did you see the two people with the big bulky jackets -when its 75 degrees and sunny? Do you know where the nearest exit of the zoo is?
Do you know an alternative exit is?
Do you have a plan if something just doesn’t seem right? (That mother’s intuition is a real thing).
Do you have a plan if something is obviously wrong? What if run and hide are not options? What if a fight is the only option you have, are you ready??
Is just reading this article scaring you? DON’T. STOP. READING. Don’t ignore the fact that it could happen, because, IT. COULD. HAPPEN.
Police officers are amazing, but sometimes they just can’t get there fast enough. YOU are your own FIRST LINE of defense. And, momma bear, you have to protect those baby bears.
Now that you know that you have to be prepared, the question is how.
There are lots of different options when it comes to concealed carry. And the most important factor is YOUR comfort level. And that will vary depending on your comfort level with your firearm, the ages of your children, the season and where you are going.
A lot of people will tell you different ways that are “the best way.” Politely thank them for their advice and keep what you may. Here are a few examples I have liked as a mom, and this has been an ever-evolving list of ways for me as my children have grown and as I have gotten more comfortable with my firearm, and I’m sure it will still continue to grow and change. The key is finding what works for you!
- In the Waistband Holster – a holster that can go in various positions inside your waistband. Usually, this does not require you to wear a belt, but that really depends on your pants and your firearm. For a smaller/lighter firearm I don’t wear a belt. There are many great holsters available. Kydex is a hard plastic material and is a very sturdy holster. They fit tight to the firearm so you don’t need to worry about it falling out of your holster when you reach down to pick up your screaming toddler or use the bathroom. Leather holsters are nice too and very comfortable. Different holsters come with different clips to attach – my favorite one has a fabri-clip, so it clips right onto my leggings and doesn’t move.
- Concealed Carry Pants – there are some great concealed carry pants/leggings out there. Sexy, comfortable and most importantly sturdy enough to carry a firearm. They come with multiple pockets to carry firearms in multiple ways. Appendix carry or on your back. They have retention straps so they don’t fall out when you bend over. And what mom doesn’t love leggings – for all that bending, chasing and moving that we do. The best part, comfortable, and NOT SEE THROUGH!! Check out my favorite brands – UnderTech UnderCover (available at Eight’s Armory) or Alexo Athletica (ask us for a discount code!) Bonus: Alexo Athletica pants have 7-9 pockets, so you can easily say goodbye to your purse!
- Belly Band/Corset – There are many models of a belly band/corset type holster. These wrap around your waist and keep your gun and extra mags, etc close on your midsection.
- Concealed carry shorts/underwear – Think spanx, with pockets. Pockets for guns and valuables. These are great for under a dress with a thigh carry holster or under workout shorts with a holster for appendix carry or on the small of your back. These are versatile and can be worn with many types of clothing.
- Flash Bang Holster – this is a small holster made for a compact sized firearm that hooks to the center of your bra. This is great for something like a v-neck dress with a small firearm. I wouldn’t put too much weight on it as it’ll pull your bra down, and mommas, we don’t need any help with that – gravity and motherhood has that covered!
- Concealed Carry Purse/Bag – in my mind, this is NOT an option as a mom. My kids are constantly looking for a snack/pen/toy/snack in my purse – especially if we are in a situation where I need them to sit and be quiet for a while. I also have been known to forget things that aren’t attached to my body – and what a nightmare that would be – to forget my purse with my firearm in it somewhere! Purses are easily stolen, and if a thief grabs your bag, just let it go – grab your kiddos and say goodbye to your purse, all that stuff can be replaced. Plus – how many of you have gotten used to the constant touching of children? Would you even notice if you were being pick pocketed? I would think it was my kid pulling at me again! So, a BIG NO to purse carry for me!
The next challenge to consider while carrying as a mom is tiny humans.
To tell them, or not to tell them? That is really going to be a case by case scenario. Do you have a 3-year-old who repeats everything? Do you have a 17-year-old who is not a stranger to firearms? What firearm safety have you discussed at home? Are they mature enough to be aware in an emergency situation? Like most things with kids in this world, you are going to need to feel out your situation and make those decisions.
My children are young, but they know the 4 rules of firearm safety. They know to not touch a firearm and to tell an adult if they see one unattended. They know that we don’t openly talk about our guns to strangers. They know that there are bad people in the world. They know that Mommy and Daddy’s job is to protect them. And that’s the extent of it. Firearms are a part of our life and don’t carry shock value. That being said, I don’t feel comfortable saying “I’m carrying my firearm to the zoo in case I need to protect you.”
I don’t outright tell them when I have it, but I don’t lie and say that I don’t. I have hugged them with it and I’m sure they have felt it – but have never said anything.
So, it’s either not a big deal to them, or they didn’t notice – and I’m OK with both of those. I’m sure they wouldn’t be surprised to know that I have one if they did figure it out, but I still don’t make a big deal out of it, because I don’t want them to make a big deal out of it.
So now that you know a few different options and some things to consider while carrying with kids, how do you know what is best for you?
Practice, practice and more practice. Having multiple options is a must! It’s hardest to conceal in the summer, so being aware of what clothes you will be wearing will help you decide how to carry.
I know what you’re thinking. How do I practice concealed carry without actually going out carrying?
- Choose the right firearm for you. This is so important! I have a couple that I love shooting. I love taking my Sig Sauer P320 to the range and blowing through boxes of ammo. It’s a great gun! It’s also way too big for me to carry concealed without a big bulky sweatshirt, a sturdy pair of jeans and a big belt. That is not something I typically wear, so that’s the not gun I carry concealed. I love something quite smaller, like my Glock 42 or a Glock 43, 43x or 48. All are much more narrow and easier for me to conceal. A revolver like a Smith and Wesson 638 with a clip on the frame instead of a bulky holster might be the right fit for you. So, how do you pick the right gun for concealed carry?
- Get your hands on as many guns as you can. Ask your friends if you can hold theirs, go to a gun show and touch as many different guns as you can.
- Find one that you love the feel of. Is it comfortable? Does it fit in your hand? Can you operate it (the slide, the mag release, etc.)
- If you still aren’t sure, go to a range and rent one, or a bunch! Most ranges rent the most popular guns for a small fee. Or, find a friend with the one you think you want and ask to go shooting (bring your own ammo please.)
- When shopping, talk to the staff and tell them why you are buying this gun. If they have a female on staff, ask her all your questions! (Eight’s Armory is woman-owned, and better yet, MOM owned!)
- Practice around the house, with your kids
- When you get a new holster, start by wearing that around the house. See where it feels comfortable. See where the kids don’t yank it down every time they reach up for you. See how if feels with different outfits.
- Once you’re comfortable with just the holster – add your unloaded firearm to it. Again, wear it around the house. See what works. Look at yourself in the mirror with it, is it visible? Is it comfortable, but sitting in the same spot where your kids grab you all the time? Make adjustments as necessary.
- So now you know where it’s comfortable to carry. Great! In an emergency, can you draw from that position? Is it cumbersome to get to? How will you draw? And how will you shoot if you need to? DRY FIRE!! (Obviously, this is a great activity for during nap time or after bedtime)
- Evaluate your outfits to carry in. I never wanted to do this when I first started carrying. I just wanted to wear the clothes I wanted to wear. I was stupidly stubborn about it and wouldn’t carry because of it. Then one day, I was at a gas station in an unfamiliar area with some suspicious looking characters lurking and my kids in the car, and I kicked myself for feeling that way. Now I dress with carrying in mind.
- Try different outfits. Look in the mirror, spin around and see what works. Then bend over, reach up, sit down, stand up. Do it again. How does your outfit do with concealing in all different positions? Are you standing up awkward because you are hiding something or do you look natural?
- Have a couple of go-to outfits in mind in case you are in a hurry to leave. (GIRL, I know you have to get everyone else ready too and don’t always have much time to spend on yourself.)
- Think about your outfit long term. Are those the jeans that look good at the start of the day, but droop halfway through? Is that the flowy shirt that looks great to start, but by the end of the day the static cling is crazy? Can you solve these problems with a belt or by carrying static guard in your purse? (I have a small can of static guard in my purse just for this reason!)
- Know the laws in your area, know where you can and can’t carry. Know where is legally off limits (like schools!) and what businesses do not support our 2nd amendment rights.
- Now that you know what outfits to wear and how it feels comfortable to carry – get your butt to the range and practice, practice, practice. Better yet, take a class with a reputable company in your area. (If you are in the Rochester Area, check out US2A Training Group, and A Girl and A Gun Rochester!) Take classes, find other moms who carry and ASK QUESTIONS! – do not feel stupid, you don’t know what you don’t know!
So, as with most things in parenting, there are a lot of options and a lot of decisions that go into concealed carry as a mom.
Sort through what’s important and figure it out. Because when it comes down to it, we are the first line of defense. I’d rather have my firearm and not need it than need it and not have it. This is a crazy world we live in, be prepared as their little lives depend on it, because of one day, they just might.