Citizens Defense Research’s The Armed Parent/Guardian AAR


So my friend John Johnston of Ballistic Radio called me out on a recent Primary and Secondary modcast to check out his class Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.  Since the class was only about 90 minutes away and hosted by the Sentinel of Freedom John Murphy at FPF Training, in Culpeper, Virginia, how could I resist? Later I was grateful to find out that Melody Lauer would be there and bring some sophistication to even out this cocktail of knuckle draggers. Together this duo forms Citizens Defense Research. I was, to say the least, intrigued.

Before we begin let me lay out my background to see if me opinions are relevant to you. Lifelong martial artist (TKD, Muay Thai, BJJ), no LEO or military experience (save being an Air Force brat), NRA pistol instructor (who isn’t?). I have received previous training from George Wehby of BlackBelt Tactical, Matt Jacques of Victory First, John Murphy of FPF Training, Chris Sizelove of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Aaron Brumley of Solo Defense, Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, Pat Goodale and Wayne Fisher of PFT Training, Ernest Langdon of Langdon Tactical and private training with Al DeLeon of the State Dept’s MSD unit.

I shoot anywhere from 200 to 400 rounds a week. I currently have an A classification in USPSA. I train BJJ 2 to 3 times a week. I am the 15th recipient of the F.A.S.T Drill coin. But who cares about that…on to the class.

Honestly, if I didn’t know John, I would not have gone to this class. I don’t have kids. My wife is a machine and her SA is off the charts. Alas, a chance to pew and meet a challenge is never turned down. I still was only expecting a 6 out of 10 on the learn something or fun chart. Read on to see if I was wrong or not.



Training Day 1 started like most classes with a classroom intro/lecture/discussion. The makeup of students was interesting however. It was the first class I attended where the attendance was 50% female. Hmmmm…..

After the intros we went into the lecture period. The lecture laid the groundwork for the rest of the class’ skill building. The incident videos were unique and specific to skills and drills learned later in the class. The lectures context confirmed and resonated with the students of why they and all parents/guardians should be there. Still though…I don’t have kids and my wife is a hellcat…I just hope I am on relay one…..

After lunch, it was time to shoot. This was really an evaluation period of the current skill level of the class. It went over basic draw, two handed, SHO and WHO shooting….but on two inch circles. OK this is getting spicy.

It then progressed to target transitions. It always amazes me how poorly some people try to teach this skill. Rest assured it was taught correctly….and still using two inch dots!

The day wrapped up with the class standard. The standard is exactly the one uses by a large federal agency. Unfortunately some people fell apart when time pressure was added. Let’s see if John and Melody can remedy this by the end of TD2.


 So TD2 is where you start to see the uniqueness of John and Melody’s instruction. The day is built around four core skills. How to and when to shoot while holding your child. How to and when to let go of your child to shoot. How to move a companion regardless of size. How to and when to move doing these things.

I will not elaborate on these methods because they are unique to this instruction and to try and explain would not do it justice. Suffice it to say that I was impressed with the techniques. They were efficient, logical, and taught well. Additionally one of the techniques was professed to be derived from Jiu-Jitsu. Often such a claim is wholly incorrect and makes me want to choke the heretic out. I, however, was pleasantly surprised that the technique was indeed fundamentally sound and vetted by Paul Sharp. Well played John and Melody, well played.

Probably the most fun part of the class was the movement drills. So I am not a “get off the X” kind of guy. That’s just me. You do you. However, the context of this drill, with a small child or loved one, explained why moving offline from their location made sense. Huh….context changes things….who would have thunk it.

Another item of note was the demonstration of the concept “Sooner Not Faster”. John’s demonstration to explain the concept was probably the best I have ever seen.

The day ended with the same large agency standard, but this time incorporating the skills we used and mimicking holding a small child. Much to my surprise everyone did much MUCH better.

The day ended with an informal discussion of feedback from the students for the instructors and the instructors for the students. Lessons were learned. Boundaries were pushed. People were made stronger.

Significant Take-Aways

First of all, I had a blast. Overall I rate the class a 9.5 out of 10. Why not a 10 out of 10? I had to pick up brass. Seriously though, my expectations for learning and fun were far exceeded.

Finally, I always hear guys asking, “What can I do to get my wife interested in training?” The answer is this class! It will resonate to their inner momma bear. You will learn together about the roles you each can and will play in a hostile situation. You will become a team.

John and Melody plan on teaching this class nationwide. The next opportunity is at Aliiance Police Training Center in Alliance, Ohio on April 1st and 2nd. Do your family a favor and take this class. If you can’t afford the full class, I believe Citizens Defense Research plans on breaking up the full class into workshops. Another reason why you don’t have a reason to not learn more about how to be a better armed parent or guardian.


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