Concealed Carry for the Disabled

Concealed Carry for the Disabled

This is a tough one to write about. I’m not disabled in any way, nor have I ever been. In order to get the information I needed for this article, I had to talk to some CCW folks who are. They prefer to remain anonymous, but I would like to acknowledge their contributions.

The first thing that became apparent to me is that not every disabled person is disabled in the same way. The variation in what people can do really dictates that disabled CCW find their own approaches to it. A prime example I ran into came while talking to two CCW folks who were wheelchair bound. One was in a chair as a result of an accident which robbed her of the use of her legs while leaving her upper body strong and healthy. The other was in a wheelchair as a result of a chronic illness; he has reduced strength and mobility in his entire body. This obviously changes how they can carry. Whereas someone with full control and strength in their upper body might be able to use whatever firearm their non-disabled equivalent would choose. Someone with a wide range of disabilities may have to adjust their approach: a weapon with lighter recoil and a more ergonomic grip, for instance. Some level of experimentation is going to be required.

The carry mechanics of CCW are likely going to be very different. Using wheelchair carry as an example—while reminding ourselves that there are so many different kinds of disabilities—holster choice is going to be very different. A IWB holster designed for 5 o’clock carry isn’t likely to work well for someone in a chair. They might be better off with a shoulder rig of some sort. Likewise, someone reliant on a cane or walker may have to carry on the front of their body. If at all possible, I do not recommend mounting the holster to the chair/walker/whatever. The basic rule of keeping it on your person if possible stands—see our articles about purse carry and the like.

Then we come to training, and this is where things get complicated. The initial trips to the range will require some additional learning curves for the disabled shooter. While working on the fundamentals, they’ll also be evaluating individual weapons to see if they fit their needs: Can I handle the recoil? Can I grip it comfortably and securely? Is the weight too much for me? Can I reach the safety? Can I reload it easily? Are the sights big enough for me to see?. If all of these questions, and more, check out, you may have found your carry piece.

Tactical or practical CCW training is going to take a different tone as well. Many people with disabilities have much less body mobility than their average counterpart. This shapes every aspect of tactical and self defense training, meaning that disabled folks will need to adapt techniques to their needs and abilities. This isn’t an impassible barrier in many cases—with a little creativity you’ll be able to find the solutions that work for you. No one is defined by their disability, no matter what it is.

This article showed me yet again that we have entire communities of differently-abled people, living full lives in ways we often never see. Taking some time to learn more about their lives, their needs—and maybe getting them involved in shooting and CCW—is well worth the effort.

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  • JIMFREEDOM

    I WAS AN NRA PISTOL SAFETY INSTRUCTOR & BEING SUCH I WAS CONTACTED BY THOSE WHO WERE 1ST TIME SHOOTERS WHO WERE DISABLED & FEELING THE NEED TO BE BETTER ABLED TO DEFEND THEMSELVES & THERE LOVED ONES. SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEEDED TO DO WAS TO SHOW THEM A WAY THAT WAS UNKNOWN TO THEM BEING 1ST TIMERS, BUT THE FUNDAMENTALS STILL ALWAYS APPLY!

    • G50AE

      Please disengage the “CAPS LOCK” key on your keyboard.

  • Brbconsult

    Being a wheelchair user for many years, I was presented with the problem of (not having) good concealment and quick access to my weapon. I have tried various types of holsters until I found the perfect one that provides the best (of both worlds) concealment and quick access to my weapon. In my situation I found a cross draw/driving holster from Fist Holsters to be ideal.

  • billjohnso20

    I am disabled due to as Harley accident back in 1993. The accident left me with compression fractures down my spinal column and rendered my left arm paralyzed with very limited function in the hand. Thankfully, it is enough to grip a semi-auto so I can rack the slide with my right hand. For years I only carried revolvers believing I would never be able to carry a semi-auto. I finally decided to try about a decade ago and I have carried a semi-auto 99% of the time since then.

    I am able to carry strong-side at 4-5 o’clock. I prefer OWB but I also have tuckable hybrids I can use when deep concealment is needed. I always have a small .380 in my back pocket as a back up. Even though the chances of me finding myself in a firefight are slim, I have the .380 there as a New York reload because it takes me a little longer to reload than it does others. However, I have trained as much as I can and always carry at least 3 loaded spare mags for the two guns I carry.

    Of course, the number one move I use for self-defense is to limit the chances of running into someone that might choose me as a target. I try to limit my movement to low crime areas. I realize that that alone is not enough which is why I carry two guns ALL of the time. But my dad taught me two things that have helped me more than anything else. He always said, “There is nothing good a person can get into after midnight,” and, “Stay away from areas where people get into trouble.”

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