Concealed Carry with Physical Disabilities - Considerations to take into account
Having a handicap is difficult. Many people are born with a disability and know no other way of life. When you acquire a debilitating handicap later in life arthritis for example it’s usually pretty difficult to get used to. You need to change the way you do almost everything you are accustomed to doing. Your way of life changes.
In fact, you may need greater protection because some sick minded individual may see you as being weaker and therefore an easy target.
Choosing the right handgun for your needs
When you are choosing a weapon, it’s going to take a little more shopping around. An arthritis sufferer will not have the hand and grip strength they once had. This alone can be a huge obstacle to overcome.
Not having the grip you once had will limit the ability to pill a stiffer trigger, rack the slide or be able to control the handgun while shooting consecutive rounds.
If you have a hard time holding a 1911, you should look for something else. A .22 is one option. The Walther P22 is a lightweight semi-automatic pistol with an easy to maneuver slide. A .22 might not be your first choice because of the lack of stopping power. However, carrying a gun you can handle and easily use will be better protection than a gun you can’t pull the trigger on.
A 380 or smooth firing 9mm might also work for you. These smaller calibers might not have as strong of a recoil allowing you to train more and handle the gun in a stressful scenario.
You will still need to rack the slide to load a round into the chamber though. Another very real possibility is you’ll need to clear the chamber if you have a jam or misfeed. This can be a difficult hurdle. What can you do about that?
Products are available to help anyone with less hand or upper body strength. With a quick search on the interwebs, you can find items to help you rack your slide without having to actually grip the slide. Some options hold the front of the slide and let you push the gun against a hard surface while others are semi-permanently attached to the rear of the slide and give you a handle or other method to pull back the slide.
If you can maneuver the trigger just fine, another venue to look into might be a revolver. Depending on the caliber, revolvers are not any heavier or thicker than many if the common compact semi-automatic pistols. If you were to use something like the Smith & Wesson Model 442 is a hammerless revolver, you would have a hammerless .38 S&W Special +P revolver that weighs less than a Glock 19.
Having a hammerless revolver means all you need to do to fire is make sure the safety is off, then pull the trigger. The Model 442 is calibered in a .38 S&W Special +P so it will have more stopping power than a .22 or 380 and be a bit easier on your hands. You won’t need to maneuver the slide to put a round into the chamber or to clear a misfeed. A revolver is also easier to load than many of the semi-automatic pistol magazines.
Those of you with other handicaps may need to do further research into modified weapons and carry methods. A man in a wheelchair isn’t likely to concealed carry in the 5 o’clock carry position. He would need something a bit more accessible to him in a hurry.
Alternative weapons might also work better for some types of handicaps.
A customer at a store I worked at years ago in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. He carried a 2 shot taser with extra cartridges right on the inside arm of his chair.
The taser offered him 2+ shots at the assailant plus be able to use the the internal contacts as a stun gun if he misses twice and doesn’t have time to reload or gets knocked out of his chair and can’t get to his reload cartridge. This was his ideal solution at the time because there was no option for concealed carrying guns in Wisconsin.
Take a trip to a few gun shops. Actually get out and get a feel for the employees and get a gun in your hand. I would recommend smaller local stores because they might have a gunsmith or more customizing knowledge than a big box outdoors store.
Overcoming any limitation takes research and some trial and error. Those of you with a disability limiting what you can handle for a self defense or recreational shooting gun is no different. You might need to put in some extra time and spend a little more money, but there is no reason not to make the effort if you enjoy shooting or want to protect yourself and your family.
What have you done to overcome your limitations to keep shooting or carrying a self defense weapon?