Concealed Carry for the Disabled

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.

No Code Needed
S&W M&P Shield M2.0 EDC Kit

S&W M&P Shield M2.0 EDC Kit

This is a neat kit where you get a S&W M&P9 Shield M2.0 along with an M&P Oasis knife and a Delta Force CS-10 Flashlight. Also, S&W is currently having a $50 rebate which brings the price down to $299.99. Not a bad deal.

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Michael Jenkins is a writer and editor based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a lifelong reader, gardener, shooter, and musician. You can reach him at
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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.


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.”

Joey Fletcher

Been in a wheelchair for close to 20 years now and about to turn 43. A progression of medical issues I was born with and some other developing medical issues as the years progressed landed me in mine. The strength in my legs is gone so no more walking. A condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis has also caused me to lose complete mobility in my neck so I can’t turn my head at all. It’s also caused me to develop frozen shoulder syndrome keeping me from raising my arms/hands very high or even reach all the way around me. It prevents a shoulder strap carry for me. I’ve had to go with an IWB cross-draw holster because I can’t reach my left shoulder area with my right hand for a shoulder-carry. I can’t even reach behind my back due to the frozen shoulders. It does pose a risk for me to even defend myself properly. With AS keeping me from turning my head, if I hear commotion to my side or I fear someone to the side of me or behind me is putting me at risk, I have to quickly cross-draw, use a combination of my left hand and feet to turn quickly enough to aim. Because of my severe limitations, I practice dry shooting all the time at home since the only range that’s wheelchair accessible is kinda far to travel to multiple times a week. I’d love to try out some better handguns as I currently use a SR22 due to little to no recoil. I fear huge recoil may send a jolt up my arm to my spine and neck causing a fracture. I’m concerned the SR22 won’t successfully defend due to the size of the ammunition. When getting my CCDW license, my instructor at the range told me if it was her using a SR22 and had to use to defense, she’d empty the whole magazine. It makes me feel concerned the SR22 won’t stop someone. I am looking to go a step or 2 up, one that would at least injure them enough to stop coming after 1 or 2 shots but the recoil of such a handgun also concerns me that I could risk injuring my neck if something had a hard enough kick. Not sure what to do, but I know as wheelchair user, it’s hard to find what works for you.


Hey Joey frozen shoulder as well and muscle weaknees. I would look into the M&p 380ez pistol light recoil. Easy to rake the slide and reload. Total weight 18 oz. Can be put into a front pouch around your stomach area good luck sir

CJohn Stanchina

I am 51 years old and this past January 9, my spinal cord injury became old enough to drink. It occurred as a result of a skiing accident. It is a complete, low thoracic SCI, meaning that I have complete function north of the injury (torso, arms & hands), and zero function south of the injury (legs).

I have been carrying for 8.5 years. I carry a S&W M&P 40C, IWB at about 3 o’clock, and I have been fortunate enough not to experience any access issues at any of the many ranges I have visited.

I think the biggest issue for PWDs (persons with disabilities), paraplegics and quadriplegics in particular, is situational awareness and risk avoidance — it speaks to the tactical considerations touched on in the article above. For me, there is no “move and shoot.” My choice is move or shoot. Furthermore, when it comes to the issue of fight or flight, I’m inclined to choose fight, as the last thing I want to do is turn my back on a potential lethal threat, particularly considering the strong likelihood of my being unable to outrun the threat.

As a consequence, it is all the more important for me to avoid the possibility of a use of force incident altogether. As they say, the best way to win a gunfight is not to get into one. I am thrilled that other members of the disability community have embraced the CCW lifestyle, as I believe we are naturally more likely to be viewed as potential easy targets. But just by embracing the principles of responsible carry (situational awareness and risk avoidance), we take the biggest steps toward of enhancing the safety of ourselves and those we love.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my perspective. And if you’re looking for ways to show your support for the Second Amendment, please check out my website at