Baby Totin’ Busy Hand Drills

While the probability of us encountering a situation where we need to get our gun out WHILE we’re carrying our children is extremely low, it is worth thinking about how our gun handling would need to change and what we should practice. Since my son is too young to follow directions to run and hide and can’t understand how to use code words to enact a plan, I have to have repetitions of gun manipulations while handling him. This post isn’t about tactics, but just the mechanics of getting a gun into play while toting a small child.  I’ll lay out several practice methods and some props that will help you get more proficient.

As with all things, in order to have clarity in our practice we need to define our mission. When out with my son (no wife) I have defined mine as “protect my child at all costs, and escape with my own life if possible”. In my mission statement, I have placed his safety above mine. This will drive my tactics and strategy. The focus of this blog is how to complete that mission assuming I have no option for positioning, hiding him in a place of cover, passing the child to my wife, moving away from him to draw the action to myself, retreat, escape, compliance, etc.

A situation where this might be the case is in a parking deck. Imagine you’re walking with your child in your arm (you carry them in your non-shooting arm, right?), you don’t periodically break your focus on them to look away and scan around the deck, and you are confronted with an unknown contact (term from Craig Douglas, Shivworks). A situation unfolds that requires the immediate deployment of your gun.

One Hand Shooting: This can be worked dry or live. Practice clearing your cover garment, establishing a strong full firing grip, and executing a perfect draw stroke to full extension with your dominant hand only. Consider your muzzle awareness. Is your current one hand draw stroke oriented towards the target during the full presentation? Are you muzzling inboard at any point and possibly covering where you’d be carrying your baby? Your mechanics need to be clean and efficient. One handed shooting has applications outside of this scenario, and therefor should be a staple of your training.

Busy Hands Drills: This can be worked either dry or live. Find a bag of potatoes or kitty litter and keep it in your off hand while you work your one handed draw stroke and trigger press. You will be surprised how having weight in your offhand will throw you off of your game. Your draw stroke will feel awkward and might get fouled by the mass on your chest. I’ll get some photos from the range of some drills using a cat litter prop. I find it best to do a ‘rip’ and get your shirt high and out of the way, and then pin it in place with your shooting arm elbow. Practice blading your torso fully away, using yourself as a meat-wall between you and the bad guy. Make yourself the FBI ballistic gelatin  maximum depth of penetration. You can do this by taking a drop step with off side leg, or by stepping aggressively forward with your shooting side leg. Practice movement in your dry practice. Practice crouching, lying, and otherwise conforming to cover with an emphasis on protecting your ‘prop’. If you’re doing dry work (a blue gun or a dummy barrel is preferred here, as it keeps the wife from having a stroke), pick up your kid and move around with them and practice. A squirming tot is the best prop for this.


One Hand Malfunction Clearance and reloads: If the chances of having to get your gun out with your baby in your arms are low, the chances of your gun having a malfunction at the same time are simply astronomical. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a useful skill to get some meaningful reps of. It has saved the ones who practice it. Practice clearing type 1, 2, and 3 malfunctions one handed. Your carry gun has a ledge on the rear sight to facilitate one handed manipulations, right? Can you rip out the magazine one handed? Ever thought about it? Practice your one handed reloads. You just never know.

About 40% of my shooting and dry-fire these days is one handed. As I see it, there’s a chance I might have to do it with my boy in my arms. There’s also a chance that I’ll be all alone, but in my haste to start shooting, I’ll just use one hand. I’ve seen it many times in force on force, as well as in CCTV camera footage. Like this guy: Shooting in Internet Cafe. Though I hope my technique will look better on the closed circuit cameras and I’ll get a better hit ratio…

Get some practice, and then give your family a hug. It’s for them, after all.

33 thoughts on “Baby Totin’ Busy Hand Drills

  1. I was wondering if you wear your baby in a baby carrier? My wife and I carry our twins in “back pack” style carriers. (Mine is a Boba brand in case you wanted to look it up and see how it works). I carry my LC9 at about the 4:30 position (right over my wallet) and the waist strap gets in the way of my draw. It is either above my pistol and causes extreme printing or its over it and blocks me from accessing it. Didnt know if you have any thoughts on this. I just found your blog and enjoyed the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How old is your baby? I would consider carrying in the ‘appendix position’ (1 oclock if belt buckle is 12). Another option is a fanny pack ( I know this is lame), or something like a hill people gear snubby pack.

      You can have it high and on the chest allowing for an out of the way carry that will let you get into action quickly. I assume you have a little baby. Soon enough, you’ll just be riding them on the hip, and the 4 oclock carry will be less problematic. I love my HPG runners bag, btw. Great for hikes, jogs, whatever. Let me know what you come up with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve had to switch from my normal 2:00 carry to 4:00, because of nursing baby lying right across the gun. I find 4:00 comfortable now that I’ve gotten used to it, but it took some time. I use a sling or Moby (front carry) with no real problems, just adjust the fit around both baby and pistol. I also have older kids who will tell me if I’m printing, and help adjust a t-shirt to “bunch” over where it needs to cover. I love the crossbreed hybrid IWB holster, because it slips over the belt with gun already in it, and I can easily unclip it & move it if needed – you could wear it at your usual 4:30 until you strap the baby on, shift it over while you wear baby, then put it back when they’re down.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhha! Thanks for the explanation. Women and ‘on body’ carry is a mystery to me. Body shape and clothing selection for women make it a very personal decision indeed. I appreciate your reply.


  2. Pingback: Mundane Movements: Parking Lots, Part 2: Exiting the Store, Loading your vehicle, and Going Home | Growing Up Guns

  3. Its best to grab shirt and peel it behind the grip in-between the grip and your body either left or right depending on either how you carry or wether weapon hand or reaction hand draw. It will help during two hand draws, one handed draws and it will avoid problems of the shirt falling back down especially if your holding your kid.


    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll work that Chris! My only concern is that with the shirt jammed behind the grip of the gun, I might come out of the holster with a pistol wrapped in shirt material. I’ll do some reps and check both my times, and my success rate. I respect your opinion immensely, thank you for taking the time to comment. Cheers!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: What if you’re armed and carrying a minion? – Guns Ammo and Tactical Gear Blog

  5. Thought from a mom:
    I’m assuming that you practice at least some of the time actually with Baby on your hip. Try teaching him that when the gun comes out he should cover his ears, or at least the ear closest to the gun (if you’d rather also teach him to hang on) and to turn his head away. He probably actually will do it in an emergency situation if you practice enough. I would agree that protecting Baby’s ears should be waaaay down on this list, I still think it should be on the list.
    ~ Christine

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand your position. I’m concerned with this too, trust me. I consider this data. I encourage you to read my post about “denying access by unauthorized persons”. I know unsecured guns are an issue so I deal with it. The increase in gun ownership is part of the reason I started this blog. Lots of people haven’t made the necessary precautions to own guns AND figured out how to secure them from unauthorized persons (kids). I also want to protect my children from violent crime, so guns are apart of my life. I really understand your feelings, and I understand your concern, but I ask you to read a little more before you assume I’m endangering anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s the article I mentioned. Securing Your Guns from Unauthorized Access | Growing Up Guns Like I said, I understand your concern. That said, guns aren’t going to disappear just because you wish they would. Education of both parents and children (when appropriate) is the best way to protect them. I feel it’s more prudent to gun proof my child than child proof the guns. You might not have firearms in your home, but your child will invariably come in contact with a gun when you’re not around. Would you rather they respect the firearm as a dangerous tool, or think they’re getting away with something and ‘play’ with it. This is where the accidents happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, I am a tad confused by the 2 negative posts/comments made by both “dd” and “Jesse Larner” neither of which, I can see have any blogs to offer? seems like trolls like this, have nothing better to do with their time than to go to look for things that *1) they have absolutely no clue about or, *2) find subjects they simply don’t agree with and have no real life relationships, so the feel the need to “lash out”..(aka: armchair warriors) and leave insulting/unfounded comments on this subject..

    I am a Mother of 3 beautiful daughters, all now fully grown, and all of which grew up with me ( the protector of the family) and now they each choose to protect themselves, and their loved ones with their own firearms.. “dd” ‘s grammatically incorrect, and illiterate comment doesn’t even warrant my reply, other than .

    Jesse Larner” went to the trouble to add a link with “the scientific facts” about “having a firearm in the (in the ….what??? – I THINK he meant to say “in the home”..anyway,… I digress) Mr. Larner states “the scientific facts” about “having a firearm in the…INCREASES rather than decreases one’s risk of violent death” (Mr. Larner actually added a live link to an article stating this scientific fact…) I beg to differ, BUT I agree that there is a chance that unsecured guns CAN BE an issue ( of COURSE they can be!)
    Perhaps with those in uneducated households? but I sincerely believe that the vast majority of gun owners who own their weapons for the right reasons in America are RESPONSIBLE, and that they DO indeed, EDUCATE their household, as well as take extraordinary precautionary measures to prevent any mishaps. SAFETY FIRST is a creed that my brothers in arms ALL practice, outside of that, I am not at liberty to talk about meth heads, or thugs that carry weapons, but THOSE aren’t the people defensivedaddy is referring to..(stay on track people)

    The increase in gun ownership is a much needed happening in the United States. And, I do agree with defensivedaddy..YES! unfortunately, many people have NOT taken the necessary precautions to own guns, nor, have they had the common sense to figure out how to secure their weapons from “unauthorized persons” or their kids. However, this is where the education, and training comes in. Kids being raised in households with parents like myself, and defensivedaddy that are there, and actively participating in their family’s protection, this becomes far less of a risk..

    Families that train together to better protect their loved ones from violent crimes, are to be commended, and supported by us ( the neighbors) for a better America. Guns are a very definitive part of my life, due to my career, but ..when not at work, you better believe that mindset also carries into my personal life, into ALL aspects of my life no matter where I am. It also carries through to the lives of my loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Knowledge is truly power..

    It’s this type of “head in the sand” mentality that really concerns me.. Ignorance IS bliss, so before the “nay sayers” start ragging out on a man that sincerely wants to “serve and protect” the overall well being and safety of his loved ones, perhaps you both could take a moment to educate yourselves?, and also consider widening your narrow minded views..which still baffles me? as one would ASSUME that you would be doing this, by simply reading this blog?. But to come out on here, hiding under initials “dd” and to make such insulting, judgmental, and non educated comments, is far beyond me.

    Perhaps you should find a more suitable and “desirable” blog that better suits YOUR personal head in the sand, liberal views and interests.. just a thought..

    Clearly, defensivedaddy just wants to share some incredible helpful knowledge to like minded people, and to new parents and families that are looking to better themselves by becoming more self sufficient in the area of personal safety, and most importantly he is protecting what is his, I COMMEND him, and all the information her shares. We are all in this together, so, perhaps you should open your minds, shut your mouth’s and apologize for being rude. If you don’t like the content, don’t read it, certainly don’t insult the writer/educator and his readers. that’s just plain rude and classless. Maybe you people should consider looking into bettering YOUR selves, and your family’s overall well being and outlook on protection and safety.. . I also ask you to educate yourselves a bit further before you jump to the conclusion that parents/spouses who choose to protect their loved ones are endangering anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Try out the one-handed technique that our department firearms instructors teach. For a close range encounter (under 10 feet) instead of bringing the gun up to a normal vertical position, try canting it slightly toward your weak side. This may help with locking up the muscles in the chest and shoulder to provide a stronger shooting stance. For a right-hander, this means tilting the gun slightly to the left, maybe 45 degrees. NOT gangsta style of 90 degrees. Try it and see if it works for you. It only costs you a bag of kitty litter and some ammo.


    • What’s funny is this is how I was taught by Tactical Response. It’s more akin to throwing a punch, with the hand canted slightly. It definitely feels more natural to do this. I only recently started rolling the gun fully vertically in the strong hand. The reason for this is because I was reading some bio-mechanics about creating stability in the shoulder (as it applied to weight lifting). The best way to do this is the fully externally rotate the shoulder until it stops. This winds up all of the tissue around the upper arm, essentially tying the shoulder into the arm. It also happens to be a more traditional way to shoot one handed (as you know). I haven’t made my mind up on my favorite method. Thanks for bringing up that method though, as I obviously demonstrated a vertical hold.


      • I don’t think canting the gun will help stabilize the muscles when using such a heavily bladed posture. That technique is designed for stabilizing the muscles when your chest is square to the target.


  8. Um. excuse my ignorance but I’m from Australia where, apart from law enforcement, there are very few hand guns because, well, we think we live in a civilised county and not in the early 1800’s wild west. At what point do you turn off the safety? or are you walking around with a loaded weapon pointed at your man jewels, the safety off and a toddler in your arms. You obviously don’t care for your testicles’ or your child’s existence.


  9. @Col. are you SERIOUS? YES, to be clear, your POST IS beyond IGNORANT…what a “typical” uninformed remark! I shouldnt even justify it with a response, but you need to pull your head out of the sand. I’m an American who currently LIVES here In AU, married to an Aussie (who also lived in America), and also carried EVERY day when Stateside. It is our right to bear arms in the US, and one we both take seriously. I think its pathetic for the mentality that THIS AU government and society has against carrying. AU as a country, has a LOT crime, and “uncivilized” people all over, just like the US. You forget ypur patriotic roots,Sir. For you to come on an American persons blog, and randomly post such (clearly) ignorant statements, as you have, is appalling, ESPECIALLY when your country bans us all from bearing arms to protect ourselves and our families!

    FYI, for some common firearm knowledge… The “safety” mechanism on a weapon (that you refer to) has absolutely no bearing on tacticaldaddys baby OR his family jewels, safety. Of course, someone not having any weapon handling experience may not know this, (obviously) hence the ignorance.

    A gun just “going off” while properly holstered, regardless if the safety is on or off is impossible. As is the endangerment of his baby or his testicles for that matter. Refer to the 4 Firearm safety rules. They are Universal, and when followed to the letter, these things dont occur.

    I take deep offence when someone who has ZERO knowledge, skills, OR experience comments on a subject they have NO business speaking on, so, your ignorance is NOT pardoned,( by me), and you might comsider knowing facts before you post your random opinion on a person who shares knowledge for LIKE minded people, and for ones who come here to LEARN, and better themselves.


  10. Pingback: Interview about LimaTunes’ Media Coverage for | Growing Up Guns

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s