Concealed Carry permit holders seem to be the only people unsurprised by the rapid and explosive growth of the market. Not only has the number of applicants continued to grow exponentially, but the industry has also spawned a growing number of related products, ranging from holsters to dedicated magazines such as the United States Concealed Carry Association publications.
Yet one niche market that has been largely ignored by mainstream media is the “packing parent.” Very little has been written on how to carry a tyke while carrying a handgun at the same time.
While there’s some controversy regarding whether carrying a gun around small children makes one a more or less responsible parent, most concealed carry permit holders agree that having children increases the need for being armed. Marko Kloos discusses the rationale in his article “The Packing Parent: The Fine Points of Carrying a Gun While Toting a Toddler” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“Not only are you entrusted with the protection of more lives than your own, but you’re also in a position that [doesn’t usually] allow you to flee from danger easily. When you have small children in your charge, your handgun is no longer a self-defense tool, but a family-defense device.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Maneuvering children through a day of errands, shopping, and ice cream is a herculean task on its own. Trying to keep a firearm hidden beneath your clothes or out of sight while emptying your purse looking for lip balm or napkins only adds to the misery.
As if that weren’t enough, most parents carry their toddler on the strong side, resting the child on their hip in the exact spot where their handgun would normally rest snugly in its holster. Some even use slings or harness-type products that are great for carrying the little ones, but unfortunately limit access to the belt or front pockets. Carrying a child on the strong side also increases the risk of weapon exposure, which has a high degree of causing a major scene in places like playgrounds, picnics, or public libraries.
For those reasons, it’s vitally important that a parent toting both a child and a gun be extremely vigilant about concealment, but retain easy access to said gun at the same time. Fortunately, there are two options that will allow one to safely carry both.
The fanny pack’s day as an acceptable fashion accessory is long past, but if you’re carrying a kid on your hip all day, nobody is going to raise any eyebrows at your fanny pack. You can easily conceal a mid-sized pistol in there along with a wallet and keys as well as have easy access to your firearm in the event of an incident at the same time.
Shoulder holsters are another carry option for parents with small children. A shoulder holster on the weak side offers the advantage of easy access for draw while at the same time keeping the strong side hip free for tiny hitchhikers. Unfortunately, the shoulder holster cannot be worn in the open in most states, so it’s likely not a viable option during the summer.
Being a parent means being a jack of all trades, including having the ability to protect someone who cannot protect themselves. Finding a way to carry a child and gun safely increases the odds of everyone surviving an attack, which is the philosophy of the concealed carry movement in a nutshell.
Any law enforcement officer worth their salt knows better than to go on patrol carrying nothing more than a single pistol, although it may sometimes appear that way to the casual observer. However, cops know that keeping back-up weapons concealed gives them the element of surprise during any confrontation.
While modern day devices such as tasers and pepper spray can be very effective in subduing an attacker, there are still a lot of police officers who cut their teeth on old-school persuasion techniques through the use of batons, nightsticks, blackjacks, and a handy little weapon called the “sap.”
The Sap was developed as a less lethal version of the popular blackjack. It’s a small club that was essentially a lead weight wrapped in leather and attached to a shaft with a spring coil. The Sap on the other hand, has a flat profile compared to the tube-shaped blackjack and spreads the force of impact over a broader area, thereby lessening the lethal potential — especially with blows to the head.
As effective as it was, the Sap slowly disappeared from law enforcement’s approved list. Author Scott W. Wagner explains why this happened in his article “Old School Intermediate Force — Nevada Gunleather Zap” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“It’s simple: even with the flat surface of the Sap, a strike to the head could be lethal. Fine, but a shot to the head with a three-cell aluminum flashlight or a baton can do the same. Apparently, that scared many police administrations of the 1980’s.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
But in today’s society, where concealed carry is commonplace and “stand your ground” is a legal defense in many states, the Sap has seen a resurgence in popularity. Nevada Gunleather has taken advantage of market conditions and introduced its version of the Sap to the 21st century, calling it the “Zap.”
The Zap is crafted with stitched leather that covers a lead core in the rounded end and steel spring handle. A leather wrist strap is attached that adds additional torque when used correctly.
The Zap and the Sap operate in a nearly identical fashion. When the wrist is snapped, the backward action stores the energy in the spring, which is then released onto the subject when struck with the Zap. Simple, yet extremely effective.
Nevada Gunleather’s Zap is an ideal secondary defense weapon. It isn’t dependent on the elements like a taser or pepper spray, requires no maintenance like a knife, and it never needs to be reloaded. The Zap is also easily carried in a pocket, purse, or vehicle. Nevada Gunleather even offers a holster for the truncheon. It is available in either Russet Brown or Black and retails at $39.95
TUFF Products is a well-known brand to the concealed carry community. The company was founded more than 10 years ago and quickly earned a reputation for their ability to rapidly produce custom-fit holsters for newly released firearms.
Over the years, they have expanded their expertise to include items such as belts, magazine pouches, backpacks, and now cell phone cases. TUFF Products has a patent pending on the 8224 TUFF iTac Tactical AR-Phone Holster.
The iTac Phone Holster is made with ballistic nylon — the same durable material TUFF Products uses to fabricate their popular concealed carry holsters. Designed to hold an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, the case can also be used to store an extra AR-15 magazine.
PALS Webbing on the front allows for the sturdy attachment of small accessories such as a tactical light or knife. The iTac Phone Holster also features a bungee design that gives customers a customization option, as described by author Scott W. Wagner in his article “Two New Items from TUFF Products” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“A Laced Bungee system that allows the user to tailor the holster to their particular phone and protective case. Note that the TUFF iTac is not a substitute for a protective case on the phone itself. The Laced Bungee system allows you to compensate for the protective phone case that you selected.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
A heavy duty metal clip keeps the iTac holster in place and tilts it at just the right angle when driving to avoid any discomfort for the wearer. The same material used inside of TUFF Product holsters also helps keep your phone scratch free, clean, and firmly in place even when inverted. The MSRP on the iTac Phone Holster is a reasonable $25.
TUFF Products also recently updated their practical Super Tac Pocket Holster, designed to secure a small pistol carried in the pocket. The new 5079 Super Tac is similar to the Pocket Roo, but without the extra magazine pouch.
The main change on the Super Tac is the exterior material which now features TUFF Products’ Grip Laminate instead of the original pebble finish. The “laminate” is actually a series of small cuts that give a checkered appearance, but actually provide a tacky feeling surface with many extruding points that firmly hold the Super Tac in place.
As with the iTac Phone Holster, the TUFF Products’ Super Tac Pocket Holster is reasonably priced with an MSRP of $25.