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Howdy all. I'm looking to start carrying a concealed weapon sometime in the future and I need some advice. As you can see by my username, I have spina bifida. I am confined to a wheelchair. I have full use of my arms and everything else above my knees. I just can't walk. I would like to know your opinion on CCW holsters for a guy in a wheelchair. I'm in a manually (arm) powered Quickie wheelchair. I will be carrying a semiauto handgun of some sort. Responses from people in wheelchairs or who know CCW holders that are in a wheelchair are preferred, but all advice is welcome.
 

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Rolling Armor

Hello SB!

I've been a paraplegic since 1980. L1/T12. I too have full upper body use. I don't have a CCW at this time but when I was looking into it I was leaning towards a Belly Band or a cross-draw. I was only considering a 5-shot .38 snubbie at the time. I have a couple full size guns but have not done any experimenting yet.

Unfortunately I'm overweight enough that I could probably hide it anywhere.

Of course winter time (here on the East coast) is easy, I could hide a carbine under my coat. I carry a backpack on my wheelchair all the time but it does no good to carry a gun if you have to go looking for it. Besides with transfers and even if you fall/get knocked out of your chair, you have to have the gun on you within reach at ALL times.

I would not discount a small revolver being in a wheelchair. If someone is literally on top of you you can always shove a revolver in their ribs and squeeze away.

Let me know what you come up with

Ed
 

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Ed is more qualified than I, but the choices are very similar to those someone who spends lots of time in a car might deal with. Hip holsters are good only if you don't need the gun in the car. I have seen several designs of crossdraw that might be comfortable. Try http://www.mitchrosen.com. I believe he has one.
 

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If Kydex is your thing, Fobus makes a "Roto" something type holster than can be roatated 360 degrees on its belt plate, and locked into any angle you want. It's a paddle style, and could be easily used as a cross draw.

I'd go with Charlie's recomendation, though. IMHO, Mitch Rosen makes the very best practical concealment gear for practical defensive firearms. The CCR (Counter Carjacking Rig) comes to mind, but I believe he also has one called the "Tito Special" which is a crossdraw. They are expensive, and you have to wait a while to get one, but the price and wait are worth it. I've been wearing my Colt 1991A1 full size in a Rosen ARG holster and his SOS mag/flashlight carrier on one of his 1.25" belts for nearly 10 years, and everything still fits snug. It's comfortable enough that I can fall asleep fully rigged. I have worn it for as much as 16 hours a day. At this point in time, the only thing wrong with it is cosmetic; it could stand an application of some good polish and a good buffing.
 

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Fanny Pack

Hola SB,

A fanny pack is another option that you may want to consider. They look fairly innocent if don't get it in tactical black and you would have the gun basically sitting on you lap always within your reach. The type with the quick access pull strings provide fairly fast access to your PDW.

Good luck!
 

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i spent three months in a wheelchair due to an injury and surgury. i can easily identify with your problem. the wheelchair's armrests make belt holsters, especially strong side, difficult to draw from. this is especially so if you are a large person and have little moving around room. a good shoulder holster is ideal. the handgun is easily drawn and the backup ammo can be easily carried on the off side. the spare magazines also add balance. even in summer, a lightweight cover garment like a vest works well.

i feel the fobus roto holster is a poor choice. it is way too thick and it is difficult to conceal. this is the voice of experience. i like fobus holsters, but not the roto.

concealed carry is important for handicapped. you are looked upon as easy prey due to your condition.
 

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I'm not wheelchair bound so my comments are based on my experience carrying and driving long periods.

When in Germany, I spent as much as 18 hours a day in a CUTV and a hip holster was usless. What I used was a shoulder holster - not one of my favorite carry modes, but the best I've found for drawing while seated.
 

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Shoulder rigs are undoubtedly the most confortable and practical setups for... two, maybe three seasons. Today here in DE (Spina Bifida where are you located) it is in the mid 80's with high humidity and it's only the middle of May. So for a good five months of the year, it's not practical to wear vests or jackets, etc.

Ed
 

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Ahh Minnesota, seven months of winter and three months of bad sleding!

You'll do fine with some sort of over-clothing (i.e., jacket, vest, coat).


Ed

P.S. Wheelchairs are a B***h in the snow aren't they?
 

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:roll: OK, I don’t normally talk about this; but, I guess I get to be, something of, an expert on this particular topic. A number of years ago I had a serious accident, followed by two botched surgeries; and, my ability to walk was in question for 5 or 6 years, thereafter. I spent much of this time in a wheelchair; and, while so confined, I found it necessary to carry a handgun.

Having played this game, 'for keeps’ I can tell you this: The advice you’ve been given to carry a revolver is sound. You can use a revolver at contact distance without fear of going out-of-battery. Personally I used one of Matt Del Fatti’s, all leather, ‘inside-the-waistband’ holsters. I found this holster to be very comfortable; however, I should add that, because of injuries to my neck, my wheelchair was a Jazzy; ‘Power Chair’ and the seat was well-padded; it did not sag like so many standard, ‘sling-seat’ chairs do.

If you feel the need to go armed I will say this to you: Always – and I do mean always – keep the weapon with you. Handicapped people are often targeted as; ‘easy prey’ and, when you’re confined to a wheelchair, you can’t always be sure that all your doors and windows are locked. That gun isn’t going to do you any good if it’s across the room when that, ‘boogie man’ suddenly appears. Bright and early one lazy Sunday morning I got caught this way; and, if it weren’t for my Pit Bulls, I might not be writing this, now, because my guns were, all, upstairs where they couldn’t do me any good.

I used to take this gun to bed with me, too. You should be aware that it’s a lot safer to keep a fully loaded revolver with a 12# trigger under a pillow than many automatics; and, importantly, it’s also much faster to bring a, ‘charged’ revolver into action if you should, suddenly, have to. There is no safety, (ies) no racking the slide, and no 5# trigger to have to deal with; and, while you’re in bed, you can leave the cylinder under the hammer as well as the next cylinder up - empty.

Most of the time, all, you have to be is READY; and being ready has more to do with Boyd’s OODA loop and Cooper’s awareness color code than how many guns or bullets you happen to be carrying. Any, ‘horse’s ass’ can turn himself into an arsenal – so what! When your legs don’t work, you need to remember that your MIND is, still, your most dangerous weapon. Here’s 3 rules worth remembering: (1.) Trust your instincts. (2.) Even in a wheelchair, always, maximize your use of cover. Any obstacle you are able to place between yourself, and your opponent will work to your advantage. (3.) If contact is inevitable, always, force the problem to come to you. NEVER go to investigate! (4.) Bring him in, mark your target; and don’t forget that a healthy opponent remains a dangerous adversary who may, easily, overpower you.

By the way in addition to that gun YOU SHOULD, ALWAYS, CARRY A CELL PHONE! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
SpecialEd said:
Ahh Minnesota, seven months of winter and three months of bad sleding!

You'll do fine with some sort of over-clothing (i.e., jacket, vest, coat).

Ed

P.S. Wheelchairs are a B***h in the snow aren't they?
Yeah they sure are. Espcially if the snowplow leaves a nice pile of snow built up in front of the ramp to the bank and the bank tells me clearing the ramp off isn't their responsibility. Oh well, hazards of living in the frozen north. Though I still have lots of friends up there and that's why I want to get back.
 

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Hi spina bifida,

If you have no difficulty leaning forward you may want to consider an ankle holster in addition to a crossdraw or fanny pack. It offers another option for concealment when dressed light in warm weather and leaves nothing showing on the parts of the body most people are looking at. Your face and upper body. Additionally it is very easy to present from while in a seated position.

Of course an ankle holster would require selecting an appropriate sized firearm to make it comfortable and workable. Along the order of a J frame revolver or MK/PM sized Kahr? Just thoughts!

I've never spent time in a wheelchair so I'm not speaking with any personal experience in that regard. But our son, David, was wheelchair bound from age nine, (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy). Have a lot of experience assisting someone in a chair, power and manual, lifts and all the related equipment.

Good luck with finding a solution that works for your needs.

Dave
 

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Fanny Pack Contents

If you choose to use a Fanny Pack (or even a vest) here are some ideas:

Most of the bags/vests designed for shooters have some extra pockets to put "innocent" gear in. Helps break up the outline of the gun, and gives a "reason" for wearing it. Then, you can open it, root around, and pull out something "useful". It will help alleviate bystanders' and bad guys' suspicions as to what you are actually carrying.

You might think about using one or more of these items: Sunglasses, gloves, pen/pencil, notebook, Cell Phone, Palm-Pilot or other PDA, flashlight, Chap Stick, key chain, etc. Anything actually useful to have for non-defense reasons, as long as it doesn't obstruct the draw.

About the gun. I'd probably go for a small 380 as being more concealable than most revolvers. However you can get the S&W J-frame revolvers in 357Mag. (Don't get a .38 revolver - get a 357 and shoot 38 or 38+P, if you don't like 357) My guess is that your hands and arms are pretty strong, and that the recoil won't be any problem for you. Think about one of the concealed hammer models as being less likely to snag on the draw. I like the 3" barrels, seem to point better for me, but I haven't seen any with concealed hammers.

Also, carry at least one speed loader with reloads. And practice speed loading. 10 dummy rounds are a pretty good way to practice safely -- but may be hard to retrieve when you eject the first five to make room for the next set. You can get inepensive solid plastic practice rounds, or "black rounds" from Brownells, much cheaper than the red/clear ones with the spring loaded "primers".

Another (but expensive) idea is to get laser grips for the gun. That way you don't have to bring the gun sights up to your line of sight. Also, it is pretty intimidating to realize that someone has a laser pointing at you. Might save you from having to pull that trigger.

If you wear gloves when you are cruising along, practice drawing & firing with gloves on and off. When the Condition turns Red, you don't want to have to put gloves on, or take them off. If you have any time at all, go for cover, not concealment.

If there is any way you can get to Gunstock 04, you will find a _lot_ of folks ready to assist.
 

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I agree with the choice of a small revolver as they virtually disappear in pockets, clothing, etc. They are also good for up-close and personal which is likely to be the case in a w/c. You can shoot it from inside a pocket or stuck right in the bg's ribs without worry of a jam. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable with a 5-shot .38sp +P either.

On the other hand, an ankle holster is a bad idea. At least it wouldn't work for me unless it was backup to my backup gun. Completely a last resort for when speed is no longer a concern. It is too awkward and difficult to get to your ankle in a w/c without first lifting your leg up on to the opposite knee.

Ed
 
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