Most of us enjoy spending time with our families and this includes being out in public at various events. How do you manage your family members during a critical incident.
The other night we ran a Professional Development session designed to expose weaknesses in your battery of skills. One skill often overlooked is engaging targets one handed. When we talk about one handed shooting most will nod their head, but how many actually put effort into practicing this perishable skill. I have blogged about strong hand only shooting in the past, so rather than spend the entire blog revisiting the subject, check out the link. What I will say is most do not practice this skill, not even a little. If I were to give you 100 rounds of ammunition to practice how many rounds would be fired one handed. A lot comment 25 or more rounds to which I raise the BS flag. A more realistic number is 5 or less. That’s right, 5 or fewer rounds fired one handed. You don’t have to like it, but it’s the reality.
Managing the Kill Zone
Once you have worked on developing and maintaining this skill it allows you to address the challenges of managing family members in a critical incident. Top on the list is are you the subject of the attack, are you inside the kill zone or are you close to the kill zone. I define the kill zone as an area the attacker can shoot you with indiscriminate fire should they choose to engage. Next, you have to consider the age and mobility of your family members. Young and elderly require additional considerations. Let’s start with family members old enough to understand and mobile enough to be an asset. If you elect to draw your gun to engage the attacker consider the backstop. Not only should you consider your backstop, but the attackers as well. Are you placing your family in danger with them being behind you versus you breaking off the line of attack aggressively to create dead space. Should they miss with errant rounds they do not place your family in greater danger.
Asking For Too Much
Should you have young children the challenge is can you trust them to hold onto your belt. To not let go for any reason other than to break contact and get to cover. Remember they are children. Even if you discuss this subject and practice things can be different on game day. However, the advantage is having both hands to deliver effective fire, the disadvantaged is losing control of your family members. Elderly family members may move slower or be confined to walkers or wheelchairs; which require a different approach all together. You may have use a free hand to help steady the quicken pace you need to move in order to clear the kill zone. For toddlers and babies it creates a whole different basket of challenges.
A justification for one handed practice is being injured and forced to shoot one handed. This is not always the case, you may be choose to shoot one handed because you must handle precious cargo. If you carry small children the good news is you have complete control and are not slowed down by their size. You can move quickly to exit the kill zone and get to cover or an escape. The downside is should you draw your gun to engage an attacker you will be shooting one handed. Without thinking most parents will shield their loved ones of any age as part of an innate instinct to protect them. Use this to your advantage by rotating your hip to use your body to provide some protection. If the children are too big to carry or you have more than one then affixing them to your body by using a belt may be your best option.
The Good Ole Wrist Lock
Should they be old enough to move quickly, but still not trustworthy enough to move alone then you will be controlling them with your weak arm. Of all the techniques I have used, the best has been to secure their arm above the wrist joint using a “c-clamp”. Wrapping your hand around and making contact with your thumb. Then pulling them tight against your body, placing them behind you in an effort to shield them. This technique allows you to ebb and flow with the situation and terrain. Should you need to move quickly you can pull them to the side to allow a full gait. Should you need to keep them close, pulling them literally up against you is an option.
We hate the idea our family being in danger. Worse is not having a plan, especially in how you will deal with young or elderly family members.