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Posted on March 25, 2019 by in Training



Melody Lauer is a petite mother of three children with all the instincts of a mother grizzly bear. Like many concerned parents, she carries a concealed handgun so that she can defend herself and her family if the need arises.

What separates Melody from other parents, whether mothers or fathers, is the fact that she is a leading authority on teaching other parents who are accompanied by their children how to more safely and effectively defend against a violent criminal action. Melody is director of training for Citizens Defense Research, an organization that shares information related to self-defense and the effective use of firearms.


Her credentials are substantial. She is a certified Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and NRA Handgun Instructor, as well as an Emergency Medical Technician. Melody has completed classes taught by Insights Training Center, Inc., Suarez International, Tactical Defense Institute, FPF Training, Shivworks, Scott Jedlinski, and Sentinel Concepts.

Melody’s flagship course is aptly entitled “The Armed Parent”, and she most graciously agreed to share with me some of the primary strategies, principles, and tactics that she teaches in the same. First and foremost, always secure all firearms no matter where so that children are unable to access them. Training and obedience are not enough, firearms must be secured.


Protecting children effectively requires a plan. The plan can and will change based upon which children are with us and their ages. Typical square-range training is predicated on the assumption that we will be alone when attacked. Very seldom does training revolve around having our own children present. Videos exist of parents drawing pistols over their own children’s heads, and in some instances even shooting. Parents get sucked into the moment and default to their training (or lack thereof) and may even ignore the fact that their children are present and in the line of fire.

She cited examples where a parent literally tripped over their own children or clutched them to their chest so that they were directly in the line of fire during a shooting. Melody stated emphatically that once we start preparing, we can start planning and then practice executing that plan. While our plan may not be perfect for the circumstances, it is typically easier to adjust a plan than it is develop one under stress when lives are at stake. Older children can be trained to assist (for instance the older child can pick up the younger child and leave the scene if advised by the armed parent). The spouse can also be trained to grab the children and leave the immediate scene if advised by the armed parent.

Plans need to evolve as children mature or new ones join the family. One suggestion that I have is to advise family members that if you tell them to take a specific action such as leaving immediately, running, or picking up a child and moving to cover to not question you but act. Questions can be answered later.

Melody described an example where an off-duty police officer dealt with three armed robbers while holding a six-month old baby. In this instance the officer shielded the child to the extent possible under the circumstances, handed the child off to his spouse during a momentary pause in the action, then eventually ending up engaging the robbers again. Education, skills, planning, and practice are the keys to success.

Melody can be contacted at For concealed carriers who believe that being better prepared to more safely and effectively defend their children if accosted by a potentially violent criminal is worth the time and expense, then a viable option is to complete her two-day The Armed Parent class. The classes are held at various locations, and motivated concealed carriers have the option of hosting this class at a range close to them.

Melody is an accomplished firearms instructor in her own right. Students who attend the class will likely not only see an improvement in their ability to more effectively manage the safety of their family but also in their ability to draw, manipulate, and quickly shoot their handgun with greater accuracy. Grandparents who think as highly of their grandchildren as I do would also be well-served to attend.


One of my instructors once said that it is difficult to go with the body where the mind has not been. This is most applicable to this topic, as certain elements of proper family security can be counter-intuitive.


Steve Moses

Steve is a long-time defensive weapons and instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (