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Old 11-02-2010, 06:20 AM   #1
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Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Until I recently lost (temporarily, I hope) the use of my legs, I never gave much thought as to how I would carry or deploy a handgun for self defense. When I first was "issued" a wheelchair, I didn'y carry a gun at all. I was too busy trying to learn how to transfer from bed to chair to car, etc., and just how to steer the damned thing. Soon enough though, I began to realize how abnormally vulnerable I felt! And not just from being unarmed. Just adjusting to my new mode of transportation was making me re-examine the way I moved in any public setting. Just getting onto an elevator or entering a room through a closed door presented a whole new set of challenges. I soon decided to go armed among my fellow citizens again. Not as simple as I thought it might be.

My mode of dress has changed due to my injuries...usually sweats of lounging pajama bottoms and pullover shirts. Nothing with belt loops to which one could secure a holster. Pocket carry came to mind, but after trying it a few times I realized that reaching into a pants pocket while sitting down with two immobile legs ain't quick or easy.

What weapon to carry? I prefer my 1911, but used my Model 49 because of the size and pocket carry requirement. When I decided against pocket carry, I rethought the 1911. The only way I could see to carry was in the chair itself, concealed by a lap blanket. This, of course, has it's own set of problems, not the least of which is what to do with the weapon as I mount and dismount my chair to and from a vehicle. Discreet use of aforesaid lap blanket works okay for that. Since I was carrying sans holster I decided against cokcel and locked.

I know that shoulder holster is an answer many of you are shouting out, but I ain't got one, never liked them, and right now, don't want to spend $150 or more on a quality rig.



More to come...
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:32 AM   #2
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Damn...

Here I go talking about something of which I know nothing but it seems to me I have seen chairs with pockets on the inside of the arm rests but what about a fanny pack?
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:37 AM   #3
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Belly band, perhaps adjusted so it carries the gun in a crossdraw or semi-crossdraw position?
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

And then there's this:

http://gunholsters.com/blog/the-holster-shirt/

Worth scrolling to the bottom of the page, even if you don't think it's for you.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

I can relate, I spent a couple of months on 2 separate occasions during 2009 dressed about the same way because of abdominal surgery. Causes you to revise your opinions on suspenders when you finally do get around to "real pants". Perhaps a hoodie and put the weapon in the hand tunnel? I do have a couple of jackets with Chief Special size inside chest pockets that came in real handy. Both are fairly heavy though.

I think it's 5.11, although there are probably others, who makes a holster with velcro pile on the outside and includes several hook patches for attachment where needed. I got ahold of one with a view toward creating a chest holster under my bib overalls, never got around to it. Bib overall wearers are an untapped market for those here who might be in the holster making trade/hobby. If you don't mind open carry, the tool pockets on the legs make neat thigh holsters
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Another option might be a "chest" or GI "tanker" type holster. A genuine GI leather one might be unwieldly under a shirt, but I've seen very cheap copies made in canvas and nylon. Even own a couple such, and they're very comfortable and convenient. I have my "house" 1911 in one, in fact--if I need to grab it, I can throw the whole mess over my arm very quickly.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:48 PM   #7
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

It was before my stroke so my memory is fuzzy but there was someone that I believe if I recall that Mas Ayoob did some study on this.

If it was not him please forgive me.

I remember the articles about defense from a wheelchair, using a cane for a weapon and the Author also went to the extreme of having his legs numbed to devise a method for protection from the wheelchair.

I had my wife with her gun for protection but when she wasn't around I felt vulnerable so I had a cheap plastic holster attatched to the armrest between it and my leg and kept it covered by a blanket or a towel.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:46 AM   #8
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

KG, that's pretty close to the set up I'm using right now.

I think I remember an article about self-defense from a wheelchair, although it's awfully foggy in what remains of my memory.

As for my current situation, I spent about 7 hours out and about with the wife yesterday. I was carrying my Model 29-2 in a holster wedge between the seat and arm guard and covered by a blanket. No major problems.

Yeah, a 29 is waaay pushing it, but I did want to see just where I could go and still be viable insofar as deployment and use.

One of our range sergeants asked me out to the range this morning (Wednesday, Nov 3rd) to shoot a qual course with some newbies. If it ain't raining, I'll be there, (I'm dedicated, not stupid!)
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:38 AM   #9
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

IrishCop:

(PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WAS DRAFTED BEFORE THE POSTING FROM YOU AT 0646HRS THIS DATE; I WASN’T ABLE TO SEND IT UNTIL NOW.)

You don’t know me and I might be a bit blunt or careless in my words here so please forgive me for anything I say that might sound offensive. I don’t mean it to be. I’m just trying to help.

You indicate that it took you a while to learn how to maneuver the chair. That’s not only understandable but also implies to me that it is not a motorized device but a self-powered one. That means you have upper body, arm and hand considerations. [Not necessarily part of the topic here but are you wearing gloves? If you aren’t now, you might find yourself considering them in the future. Wearing them and both drawing a gun (regardless of the holster) and firing one is something else you will need to think about as you go forward.]

You also don’t indicate the cause of your being in the chair and whether or not it has any affect on the rest of your body. Furthermore, you don’t indicate how you are built or how you “fit” in, or relate dimensionally to, the chair (primarily the width but also your waist/torso height as related to the armrests). All of these points can determine what would be a starting point for you in your search for a way to carry.

I am not asking you to reveal any of these things here so I will base my suggestions on a number of possibilities involving them. I will also limit my suggestions to the two guns you mentioned (although I would think that you might be better served by something else, as you will see later).

Again, I apologize for my being brusque.

First, I think that you were right in ruling out Pocket Carry; at least in the traditional sense. To be blunt, you’d never be able to produce the gun successfully under stress (within the time frames required) in the seated position you are in. Forget anything involving a pants pocket holster.

Second, you should “re-rethink” the 1911. As I have written elsewhere on this forum, I am a big bore fan and a fan of that platform. But not only is it big gun that I l believe would be hard to conceal in this situation, but it might also be hard to shoot. I don’t know, but I am assuming if you are a regular here (the site shows 280 postings making me think that), then you know how to shoot. However just like getting thru those doorways that you mentioned (and that you were always good at before), there can be serious issues when trying to fire a semi-auto (any semi-auto) from the sometimes contorted positions one can find themselves in while seated.

This shows up most often in advanced classes where seated drills are more common and in programs dealing with shooting from the inside of vehicles. Standing drills almost always allow us the ability to turn to deal with the threat. So no matter what direction it comes from, we can somehow bring ourselves to bear directly upon it. However, people strapped into their car seats or seated at tables from which they cannot rise up learn the differences and difficulties quickly and you have probably already seen something of the same when somebody outside your field of view merely addresses you and you can’t turn yourself readily to address them the way you have in your whole life up until now.

People in those classes, sometimes find that their semi-autos can malfunction. There can be a lot of reasons for this but generally, it is because the gun is not supported as strongly in these odd, upper body, arm and hand contortions than it is when one is holding it solidly and shooting straight ahead. You can’t risk this happening to you. Again, I’m not saying you aren’t a good shot but those people in advanced classes were good too.
So I suggest that you stick with the revolver.

Next, I would look at positioning: overall positioning; not just where on the body you might think is best to carry the gun. I don’t know how you fit in that chair and, again, I am not asking you to tell me. I am, however, asking you to be objective in looking at this physical relationship yourself. Even if you are of average build, depending on the size of the chair but mainly on the design of the chair (its side panels/armrests), anything carried on the strong side of the body is going to be difficult to reach and produce. If you are of average size, it will be problematic and if you are large in relation to the chair (width), it might reach a point (as the gap between you and the upright narrows) that it will become impossible to produce the weapon.

Let me jump for a moment to something else. Comfort. Remember, even if you think that you have the room to reach between your body and the upright to access the gun, you need to make sure that anything you carry there is comfortable to carry there. And you need to look at this from at least two directions. Things like Behind-the-Hip carry are not only going to be hard (if not impossible) to access but the gun pressing into you back there (because of the both the seatback and maybe the armrest upright) and (depending on the holster) the seat bottom itself pushing upward on a longer gun (that 1911 again) will be no fun either. Neither will be anything carried off the body and in between the body and the armrest upright if it is constantly pressing into you for long periods of time.

Again, I am not asking you to tell me why you are in the chair nor I am asking you if you have any “feelings” in your legs (or buttocks or side/lower back). But if you do, anything pressing into them like this will first drive you crazy and second become painful. And, without being harsh or reminding, it’s not like before when you could stand up or easily shift your body position to relieve it for a few minutes and start over. Even if you have no topical sensation in your legs (buttocks or side/lower back), having something pressing or worse yet, rubbing, into them can (as you probably know by now) cause all kinds of issues with the skin.

So if you think that any of what I’ve said so far has merit, let’s look at where you might be able to carry it.

I think that a crossbody position could make sense but I would tend to advise against a Shoulder Rig for you will always need some sort of covering garment and because of your situation, I don’t think that will be easy to achieve. First of all, as you change environments, you might want to take that outer layer off, and you can’t. That mind not sound like much when talking about it but in real life, it will grow old fast.

Then, considering the confining width of the chair (and its armrests), I think that you could have some difficulty with any kind of closed front garment (like your sweatshirt) that would normally be lifted up and out of the way to produce the gun. And an open front garment (like a jacket, vest or sport coat) could be problematic, for in many cases, depending on its length, it cannot “hang” like it does when a person is standing. This is because when you are sitting in a chair, the bottom of it can come in contact with your legs or in contact with the chair (especially the armrest uprights) and it cannot slide out and off to the side, causing the garment to “pooch” forward (a technical term). As a result, it becomes way too easy for somebody to “look in” (the forced open garment) and see the gun.

There is also an issue with something worn under the arm (even in the type of gun-carrying shirts mentioned in this thread) in that your arms aren’t necessarily going to be as “free” and generally away from the body as they might be on someone who is not sitting down all the time (and generally don’t have the armrests and their uprights to deal with when they do). They also don’t have to move their arms in the manner you must in order to wheel yourself around.

When not moving, you could have problems with the gun interfering with the armrest when you drape your arms outside the chair and you could have problems of compressing the gun against you when you fold your arms across your chest or merely bring them inboard the confining width set by the armrest uprights. Again, a lot of this has to do with how you are built and how you relate to the size and design of the chair but it could be an issue.

Depending on the type and size of the chair you do have (and again, how you fit/sit within it), your arms might form more of an inverted “L” and create some clearance when you reach, grab and drive the handrims (I assume that you have neither a one-arm drive nor a lever-drive chair), but once more, I think there is the possibility for interference between the gun and the armrests and a tendency to drag the arm back and forth across a gun carried in this location when powering yourself around.

Additionally, with all the movement in the chest, shoulders and back (in addition to the arms and hands – you have probably discovered some muscles you forgot you had), getting a harness to work with you in a comfortable manner could take a lot of time and experimentation; and a lot of it at a cost but without great success.

The thread-mentioned chest holster might minimize some of that but concealing it on an every-time-you-are-out-and-about manner would be even worse (generally a lot worse) than for those holsters and methods already described. So let’s not consider Shoulder Holsters at this point in your search.

But before I continue on with the across-the-body location concepts, let’s take a look at Fanny Packs and that Hoodie Handwarmer Tunnel concept that were mentioned in the thread. I am convinced that for general uses, fanny packs have become passé. People see them and just assume that it contains a firearm. In your case though, maybe not. People know that you can’t carry a wallet, keys, cash, and things like knives like most folks so in your case, a small pack would be something not necessarily screaming out “gun in here”.

However, you have to look at a number of things. Where do you position it? Across your abdomen? First, you have to consider your build and any other issues you might be having. Even if you are thin or of average build carry it upfront like this makes it very obvious (as a storage pod for valuables, not necessarily a gun carrying device); not really a good thing. If you have something of a belly, this condition will intensify. And it could grow uncomfortable and maybe even clumsy. Finally, if you are having any medical problems in this area, you might not be able to even use this location (or method).

But if you move it to the side (either side) you will need room for it in regard to the armrest uprights and once more, that could be a problem with the bulk that many such bags posses. And again, on the strong side, you also need the room for your hand, arm and shoulder to be able to reach down into it to draw the firearm. Additionally, you need to make sure that the thing isn’t getting in your way when you arms are not outside the body of the chair powering or steering yourself around. You might find it interfering with your elbow or forearm a good deal of the time. Again, something that will annoy you in no time flat. (NOTE: You not only need the room for your hand and arm to reach into the bag but independent of the how you fit in the chair, you also need the personal range of motion to do so within the cramped/confined space created by the strong side carry location itself. Make sure you have that too.)

Sidebar: I hate to keep reminding you but you just don’t have the options available to you (that conventionally mobile people do) to adjust to things that we hang on our bodies. People learn how to walk with ankle holsters without bumping into them. People wear a fanny pack either in a location where there is no interference to start with or they learn how to swing their arms and not drag across it. Stop and think where your arms are when you are not moving. How many options do you have?

Finally, when it comes to fanny packs, how does it operate? You can’t just wedge it between you and the chair and rip open or unzip the front panel types for not only does this take room to accomplish that you might not have but generally the bag has to be anchored down; usually around you. You might be able to strap it around the armrest upright but not only will you have to be careful to keep any extra belting from flopping around near the spokes but once more such a location limits the position of the inboard carried bag to a place between the side of the chair to which it is looped and you; perhaps causing the comfort and annoyance issues we’ve already discussed. So with most any true Fanny Pack (there is an option I will discuss later) you have problems of location, operation and comfort. As I tell the people in my programs, there are always difficulties and concessions in this business of holster selection: you don’t get something for nothing. But for now, maybe you should bypass conventional Fanny Packs.

Regardless of the “gangsta” connotations, I do like the Hoodie Handwarmer Tunnel idea that “William R. Moore” suggested. As he mentioned, numerous companies make hook or loop covered holsters that are designed to be secured against mating loop or hook covered surfaces. It wouldn’t be hard to go to a craft store or industrial supply house and get the matching material to apply to the tunnel and position both it and the holster correctly. (NOTE: There is more to it than just buying any old hook or loop and sticking it together for this stuff is sold by type or number depending on application but it’s not a big deal to do right.)

I would, however, recommend sewing and not relying on adhesives to attach it to the fabric. And I would look at the potential for any excessively exposed “hook” surfaces for except for the molded type hooks (not impossible to find but still not that common); the conventional ones can be quite abrasive; leading to both skinned knuckles and a prematurely worn garment.

Just make sure that you select a holster that works with a shrouded hammer, will allow you access to the gun and will allow for the revolver’s removal in such a confined space.

One thing that I’ve seen done is the use of a Pocket Holster in such non-pants “pockets” and this is what I was alluding to earlier in regard to this design. People routinely use them in jacket and coat pockets so I don’t see why (with the right model – perhaps a lightweight synthetic fabric holster to limit weight and bulk) such a thing, if properly designed, wouldn’t work for you here. I’ve even seen such holsters modified so that they can be hook-and-looped in place for these applications (as such pockets are generally bigger than most pants offer). But while I think that is an interesting idea, I can’t, for personal liability reasons (here mine and not yours) recommend such modifications and I hope you understand.

But once again, there are drawbacks in carrying a gun in this manner/location. Even going under the assumption that you are conventionally shaped (and don’t have a large belly or other medical condition, which could cause all kinds of problems with carrying in this way and location), your Model 49, while ideally shaped for pocket carry is a heavy gun and it could grow annoying if positioned here for long periods of time. That must be considered and is one of the reasons I tend to recommend alloy guns for daily carry. If you can afford a new gun, I’d look at an alloy, internal hammer gun, rather than a steel, shrouded hammer one. You can’t reduce the bulk with such a gun but you can (significantly) reduce the weight and by going to an enclosed frame, you can minimize (not eliminate) the issue of contaminates from the pocket getting into the gun.

The other thing is the draw. Again (once more, I must be blunt), you are not standing. You have to look at the length of the sweatshirt so the gun is positioned where you want it. Is the tunnel high enough that the gun rides across your abdomen? Or is it so low that the gun (tunnel) lies across your lap? You have to decide what works for you in terms to every-hour-you-carry comfort. And then you have to look at that location and once again decide if you can draw from it. You have to have horizontal/lateral movement in order to remove the gun from the tunnel so again you have to look at the armrest and its upright and make sure that it either doesn’t get in the way of your arm/elbow or that you can work within the limited boundary it sets. You have to be very objective here.

Along these same lines would be the use of a comfortable Belly Band. First, you would have to find one that fits you, is comfortable, and doesn’t irritate your skin. Then depending on how high along the body you wear the rig (not all “belly” bands are worn on the “belly”), you might have to find one that perhaps carries the gun more forward on the chest or abdomen rather than under or near the arm. It also needs to accommodate the gun you choose. The 1911 would probably be out of the picture here due to its size and I think that once again, the Model 49 would be a heavy gun for this kind of carry. But that would be your call. As to the covering garment, if it is only the sweatshirt you are wearing and if you are careful as to its length (too long a shirt while seated can be a problem) and if the gun is carried in a crossbody manner, you should be able to lift the garment up and clear the gun with the weak hand and draw the weapon with the strong one within the space you have. However, you still need to both verify and practice that (more on the ‘practicing” part later) to make sure that it works for you.

The issue here is that wearing something over the sweatshirt will more than likely hamper (or maybe as much as render it impossible) to lift the shirt and draw the gun. So maybe then, you start wearing button front shirts so that somehow (there are more than several methods) you can reach inside and draw the weapon with a jacket or something else in place over it. I assume you are male so I hope that you are right-handed for the way the placket on men’s garments are sewn, if you plan to just slip your hand inside (thorough a previously undone button or perhaps by separating a hidden hook-and-loop closure) and not somehow tear the shirt open (snaps/hook-and-loop again) and you are left handed, it won’t work. At least not without a lot of effort.

There’s a lot going on here and this is assuming that you are built “right” to wear a Belly Band in the first place and that you can find one that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time with a sharp cornered revolver (the cylinder can be quite annoying). Plus the drawing techniques are going to be quite different from the ones you are used to and if you use the slip-the-hand-thru-the-placket technique, there could be further problems if you start wearing gloves. So maybe you should look for something simpler.

If it were me and that Hoodie Handwarmer Tunnel doesn’t work for you for any of the reasons given (and I’d at least give it a try with a soft-bodied synthetic Pocket Holster of the type originally offered by Uncle Mike’s and BLACKHAWK! or maybe one of the those with a tackier outer surface as now seen from Tuff Products or DeSantis) or if a very small Fanny Pack can’t be worn around your waist [so that it will: a) stay with you when you get out of the chair; and b) be better supported so that he bag can be opened as it was originally designed] and work for you either (and I am still very reluctant about them for so many of them open in a manner not compatible with sitting), then think about this.

Uncle Mike’s, BLACKHAWK!, DeSantis, and now a few others make a small zippered pouch that looks like a little camera case or something you’d put a pair of binoculars in. It’s about the size of a very small day planner. Except that it is zippered only along one side (the top) and instead of a single compartment, it has two inside. One that can’t be seen even when the bag is wide open for it is closed off by a matching false rear wall that is hook-and-loop secured.

Normally the pouch is worn on the user’s belt to which it is attached (at least in the case of the Uncle Mike’s and BLACKHAWK! models) by two injection molded belt loops. I would suggest that you have somebody find you a used, heavyweight 2” nylon duty belt out of a junk bin at some local gun shop. Cut a section maybe two inches longer than the pouch. You’ll probably need to experiment a bit in this respect. Then go to a real shoe (or leather repair (or maybe tack) shop and have the guy rivet one end to synthetic fabric that makes up the “weakside” sidewall of your chair. But have him use two snaps (vertically, top and bottom; not horizontally, one after the other) to secure the other end; probably the end toward the front of the chair so it is easier to access.

And while I don’t like them for some applications, I think directional or so-called “one-way” snaps might work best here. That way if somebody yanks on the pouch (or if, under stress, you pull too hard on the back wall to open it) the snaps shouldn’t come undone but you should still be able to easily grasp the tip of the exposed belt segment and peel them open so that you (or a designee) can take the bag with you when you are transferred from the chair. I would position the bag as high on the upright as possible that way it won’t interfere with your leg. Of course, you need to make sure that it isn’t so high that the width of the armrest impedes access or that it bothers your arm or elbow but its really flat profile should limit that body-interference issue.

(NOTE: If you are concerned over the fabric/synthetic material that often makes up the sidewalls of these chairs, have the guy grommet the holes first to prevent them from tearing at this point. If you have a metal or plastic walls, then you merely have to drill thorough them to locate the rivets and the snap studs or posts.)

I know that this option is more work than just buying something and wearing it but I think that it could very well meet your needs and not offer anybody a clue as to what was going on. In fact, you could actually leave the bag open (unzipped) with your cell phone or a maybe a pair of glasses or a small notebook in the open front pouch and even people giving it a second look won’t know what’s going on.

You could also consider this top-loader pouch in place of the conventional Fanny Pack we’ve been discussing on the body and not fixed to the chair as it’s extremely small size and the fact that you don’t have to do any major unzipping (clumsy) or tearing away (awkward while sitting) or breaking downward (all but impossible when sitting) could make it a much better choice. Again, you must have the body shape for it, as I would recommend carrying it at, or at least toward the front on the weakside (if not in the front altogether) and here you would need a belt. For that purpose, I would recommend a soft fabric one for comfort but one that is still strong enough for this purpose. The good thing is that as there is no great effort needed to expose the back wall, the pouch (and therefore the belt) does not see a great forward or downward load during the drawstroke.

Finally, if all that wasn’t enough, you’ve got to practice. Not only to become proficient with whatever holster you employ (and again if you have the room to access and draw the weapon in an unencumbered manner, I’d really try out that Pocket Holster in the Hoodie Handwarmer Tunnel concept with your Model 49) but also to make sure that you are proficient in shooting the gun from a seated position. It’s not always as easy as it looks; especially in regard to the targets off to your side (both sides) that I opened this whole discussion with. Those contortions might be problematic at first or, if they prove to be insurmountable, they might also show you (well ahead of any life-threatening encounter) just what your limits are in that regard.

You also have to learn how shoot upward into threats that are standing around you. Something else that even if you are a seasoned shooter, you might not be practiced in doing.

And if you start wearing gloves as related to powering the chair, you need to practice both the draw and the firing of the handgun with them for they could bring about surprising results in both regards. And just as in those contortions mentioned above, you want to be “surprised” by such things well before you ever have to produce the gun in response to a deadly force threat.

Hope this helps and I hope you don’t mind wading through the logic behind my recommendations. I thought that would help; especially as I don’t get here all that often and I didn’t know when I would be able to respond to any questions.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:13 AM   #10
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

very good post P. Marlowe

He was in a car accident as told upon his return here viewtopic.php?f=2&t=62043&p=3413475#p3413475


The one problem I had with how and what position I carried was sweeping my body with a loaded pistol. When I tried positioning the holster between my right leg and the arm rest with the pistol butt to the rear I swept my knee and upper leg and it was hard to get a good fast grip.

I tried butt forward and found I swept my pelvic region and both legs.

Hoodie or Belly Band still wound up pointing the gun at one body part or another.

I carried my hammerless J frame in a holster butt forward between my left leg and the armrest. I found I could lift the blanket up and to the right with my left hand and draw the pistol with my right hand without sweeping any body parts.

The main drawback I found was if the threat was to your right it was easy for them to block your draw.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:35 PM   #11
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

OMG... I feel like a total dipshit because I missed the original post and was wondering why the chair.

I had a knee replaced a couple of years ago and thought that was tough... I can't imagine what yours must be like.

If you haven't already guessed Marlowe is the real deal and has been there done that and all the other stuff. He also is a pretty good thinker and must type fast as hell for a post like that. Heck it takes me days to do a 2000 word article.

our wonderful software edited my original and inserted "excrement". Somehow that doesn't have the impact of dip****
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:05 PM   #12
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

What's objectionable about "dipstick"? I was teasing Mas about an "LFI wheelchair" a couple of years ago. There might actually be a market. BTW, I don't know about a magazine article, but there was quite a bit about wheelchair tactics in The Truth About Self Protection. However, the guy mentioned there had enormous upper body strength and advanced martial arts training. Something not all of us have anymore, if we ever did.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:08 PM   #13
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

First of all, Mr. Marlowe, I think you will find that most of us on this forum are not easily offended by bluntness, at least not by accurate bluntness. I really appreciate the time and effort you took in examining my situation and the recommendations that you made and WHY you made them.

To answer some of your questions:

1. I am on the round side. I live in North Alabama. Ever had the food down here?
I have lost almost 40 lbs in two months of hospitalization and bedrest so I am hoping that will be a true lifestyle change. I have successfully given up a two pack a day 40 year habit since this happened. So who knows.

2. Upper body is working fine, and physical therapy is concentrating on strength training right now because the ortho's won't allow weight on either leg.

3. My left leg and hip are mostly numb, but I have some movement in them. The right leg is alive and about 40% stronger than the left right now. I carried the Model 29 on the left side of the chair, butt forward and had no problem reaching it with either hand.

I've come to a lot of the same conclusions as you. I will stick with the revolver as a primary carry weapon for a while. I have a LOT of new skills to master, with and without handguns. I live in the country and shoot in my backyard, so hopefully I'll have some progress reports before too long. All of your observations were spot on as far as I have experienced personally.

And Charlie, you're a wingnut, not a dip****!
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:37 PM   #14
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

I went through this mentally several years ago when a friend and mentor was in a wheelchair, while attempting to recover from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation for lung cancer. He ruled out some of my suggestions, stating that the arms of the wheelchair would obstruct the draw strokes - and it sounded as though he had already tried them. I can't speak from experience but I think it may be worth trying a thigh holster, as in the type that is normally worn on the outside of the gun-side leg, partially suspended by a belt, rather than the ones that look like kinky bedroom accessories. If there is a way to position such a holster in your lap or on the inner aspect of the non-gun-side leg and weather conditions allow you either to drape a blanket over your legs or to place a folded blanket or garment over your lap, you may be able to perform a decent draw and still maintain a semblance of discretion about what you're carrying.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:58 AM   #15
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

kg5388:

Thank you for the link.

First, I will assume that you are right handed.

Your problem with getting “a good fast grip” when you positioned the holster between your right leg and the arm rest with the pistol butt to the rear was one of the things I was alluding to in my text. It’s a cramped position to work from and it can affect many things about the draw including the initial purchase.

As to sweeping your “knee and upper leg”, I am not surprised.

When I was teaching full time, I had the good fortune to teach primarily instructors and advanced shooters from departments and agencies all across the country. I could take 15 guys, have them unload and holster their guns (in their typically strong side, behind-the-hip concealment holsters) for the first run, have them sit upright on a standard folding or lunch room chair, allow them to put their legs in any position they wanted or felt comfortable with (in front, tucked under, etc.), remind them about the muzzle track issue, and then have them draw and address the target no more than 5yds away, with one man on the line at a time and the other 14 upfront and watching, and I will tell you that even the guys at the end of the line (who saw what the first guys were doing wrong) would often still make the same “mistakes” as those at the front.

I would think that generally, this was because they were doing the same thing seated that they would have done standing: swinging the gun up to their line of sight and/or bringing it to body center. The issue is that the zillions of times they did it standing (or even kneeling), their upper legs and knee joints weren’t sticking out at a 90º angle in front of them. Now that they were in this new position, the same muzzle movements that were always part of the draw caused them to track some part of their thigh and knee joint. It was so ingrained in these guys who shot a lot, that even when reminded by me about it and having just witnessed somebody else make the same error, they generally still made the same mistake when I gave them the command to address the target.

As to your strong-side, butt forward approach, the old twist draw technique has the same issues. When standing, the muzzle passes alongside the body but when seated, the tendency is to cross the hip joint (because it starts out there) as well as the upper leg and knee.

Generally, I am a big fan of Appendix Carry Holsters but I usually recommend them along with a number of “considerations” including the fact that even if the user is thin, when he or she is seated, the muzzle of the carried gun points directly into the hip joint or the groin.

When seated, Belly Bands can (not always) do the same thing (regarding other parts of the body) depending on a number of factors. And the Hoodie Handwarmer Tunnel approach can sometimes do this too but using a holster to position the bore line across the body but not into it can minimize some of this; although here too, there are a lot of variables that need to be addressed and one must also watch what the non-dominant hand is doing as the draw is begun.

I didn’t go into a great of detail about these points in my original posting (nor will I here) because I was recommending against strong side carry for this application and this is a publicly-accessible forum. Something else not stated are my additional feelings that perhaps a double action revolver is a more forgiving device and therefore is possibly more applicable for such purposes.

It was interesting to learn that your experimenting brought you to the same across-the-body concept that I think makes sense as a good starting point for this situation. As long as the user has the personal range of motion to access the firearm, I think it is a good place to begin.

As to someone standing to your right blocking the draw, that, like several of the points here, goes back to my “difficulties and concessions / you don’t get something for nothing” remark in my original post in that it is just something you have to consider and balance against the rest before deciding if such a position is right for you and your needs. But to be honest (and somewhat frank again), just by sitting in a chair like this, an attacker stands a good chance of affecting, impeding or stopping the draw (or deflecting the presentation) regardless of where (and how) you carry the gun. It’s just mechanics and a fact of life. Not much can be done about it other than recognize the fact that it could happen and try to work around it.

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Charlie:

Thank you for the kind words. Hope things have been good with you. As to the typing, I have an old friend from back in the Midwest who is relatively well read nationally (completely outside this business; he is, dare I say it here, a liberal) who types like we talk. His speed matches the flow of the words in his head and he types out his blog (among other things) like he was carrying out a conversation with you over the phone. I’ve envied him that since I first met him thirty years ago. Such are the ways of old time newspapermen who learned how to type things correctly the first time around on machines and not word processors. (Perhaps a topic for another day in another section of this site.)

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William R. Moore:

That upper body business you mention and the range-of-motion issues I merely alluded to are a big deal. Ray Chapman was big on having a “solid shooting platform” and was always checking our stance and telling us (even when we were moving and shooting) to “shoot from a position of strength”. It does make a difference but I think that we have to look at techniques that work for everybody; including those people who don’t have the strength to muster or who are in positions where they can’t employ whatever strength they do have.

This is one of the reasons that in my live fire classes, regardless of what the drill is, I tell my students (who, as I said earlier, are generally instructors and advanced shooters) to vary their stance, arm and hand positions before they start for in real life there is a very good chance that no matter how “aware” they try to be, they might get caught off-guard. And by encouraging them to await the command in something other than a “ready and waiting” position (facing the target, feet and hips set, hands prepped to grip and drive the gun), I think we are better if we prepare them for the day they’ve got a notepad in one hand, a pen in the other, they’re leaning over to get a better look at something, and a threat comes toward them from the side. Not quite what I would call a “Position of Strength”.

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IrishCop:

I am glad that you found my remarks in sync with your experiences. I hope that somewhere within them, there is something that will be of value to you. The one thing I can’t emphasize enough is practice (to learn what it takes to fight from your new surroundings) and it sounds like you’ve got a great handle on that. Too many people (not so much on this site however), seem to think that we’re born with all of this stuff or that it all carries over somehow. While one skill or experience might lend itself to another (and make new ones easier to understand and ultimately “learn”), unless you’ve actually practiced something (generally a lot but that varies a good deal from person to person), success in performing it doesn’t always happen the first time around.

Again, I am not asking you to tell me what you’re doing but I hope that you are using a holster of some sort for your 29 and that is somehow tethered to the chair. Otherwise, you run the risk of sooner or later, having it either move out of position (best case) or actually fall from the chair (worst case). As you have probably already learned, most chairs are metal framed with little or no thought to shock absorption anywhere in their construction (yes they have rubber tires and fabric seats but the general construction is primarily rigid) and that the vibrations generated by every bump, ridge, hole and crack in the ground you roll over are transmitted to the chair as a whole. Without a holster, those little shocks could add up and a smack into a curb or something major could pitch the gun overboard. Just something to think about but you probably already are.

Finally, I touched on the subject of gloves several times in my post. If you are using them to help you with the chair (or if you move to them in the future), there are a lot of parallels between them and some of the shooting gloves on the market and those designs that might make sense for wheelchair applications. Depending on how you engage the handrim (and that can vary depending on what you’re doing), the foam or gel padding in either web or the heel of the hand in some shooting gloves might soften the impact of the metal rim into those areas; especially if rapid movement is involved or if the open hand is jammed against (almost smacked into) the rim.

Finally, and on a lighter note (figuratively, not literally), I have had the food down there. I used to do business with a company in Conyers in the early 70’s. I’ve been to Atlanta off and on since the late 70’s. A close friend from college once ran half of huge paper products processing plant in Albany (further to the south). I have two good friends from Law Enforcing who used to work in Atlanta and DeKalb County a long time ago (who I might PM you about). I trained the Georgia State Patrol firearms instructors in a particular matter back in the late 80’s and I have had the good fortune to have been asked to lecture for GALEFI several times over the years at their meetings in Forsyth (you would think that they would have caught on the first time!).

If there is anything you think that I can ever do for you, please let me know.

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spwenger

I must tell you that while I am normally far more in favor of body-borne holsters than off-body carry methods because of the control over the weapon they offer (and it makes it much harder to leave the gun behind in the course of one’s daily travels), I don’t know if a leg mount is the way to go here. Not only does it require the use of a blanket (something common to some but not always practical or even desirable to others) but there could be difficulties with it during times of transfer in and out of the chair (or if taken on and off, it is just one more thing that needs to be done) and there can be even more of an issue in the case of a fall from the chair or during a transfer.

That said, if it is thought to be a desirable approach (and for some folks it might be ideal) there are a couple of things to look at. First, if it is a true “thigh” or “tactical” holster, the belt attachment must be flexible enough to allow for full time 90º positioning. Most “nylon” designs are flexible enough for average movement because of the material from which they are made and their forgiving belt loop diameters. Things “give” more than they articulate.

At one time Uncle Mike’s made a truly “articulating” design that actually swiveled when you walked. It was pretty cool (almost Robo-coppish) but it was a non-cataloged item that was sold (Primarily? Exclusively?) into the foreign market that had asked for it. However, there might still be a few of them floating around somewhere here in the US.

More importantly, both Uncle Mike’s and BLACKHAWK! have designed rotating (and locking) belt loops for some of their holsters. They (especially the BLACKHAWK! version because of the way it indexes and locks into a wider variety of positions) might have value here for one could take a conventional holster body that was mounted on the upper portion of the non-dominant side leg and rotate it into an angle so that the butt of the gun would better match the angle of the hand when it came across the body to grab it.

I don’t know how available either model is at the moment but they too might be helpful to the concept you are proposing.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:27 PM   #16
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Didn't a couple of leathersmiths make something called a "driver's holster"? As I remember it, these were severely raked crossdraw holsters intended to used from a seated position. In some ways, it was kind of like the IPSC holsters popular in the early 1980s, but positioned further across the belly to the weak side.

(Trivia: Some folks had suggested a "nipple rule" where competition holsters could not be positioned between the nipples. Then someone pointed out that some gamesmen might then have plastic surgery to relocate their nipples!)
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:48 PM   #17
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Watters
Didn't a couple of leathersmiths make something called a "driver's holster"? As I remember it, these were severely raked crossdraw holsters intended to used from a seated position. In some ways, it was kind of like the IPSC holsters popular in the early 1980s, but positioned further across the belly to the weak side.
One who still offers something like that is Ken Null - see his VAM. I believe that the primary problem with trying to use that concept in a wheelchair is interference with the draw stroke by the chair's arms, much like with a fanny pack. Then, arguably, there are the objections stated above - in response to my earlier posting - to having to use a blanket or garment folded in the lap in order to remain discreet.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:10 PM   #18
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Well, I posted a reply last night but something happened


I helped a friend who had diabetes take one of his legs and his off foot, and he was in a chair for a long time. We were able to fasten a holster to the outside of his chair, where the side panel of the arm rest assembly is located. over that, we fastened another layer of material that mimicked his upholstered armrest. It simply looked like part of the chair. When he was moving, it was as simple as him sliding his hand off the drive ring and onto his weapon in a split second. the doing is easy, its the thought process that can be difficult
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:52 PM   #19
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Quote:
Originally Posted by spwenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Watters
Didn't a couple of leathersmiths make something called a "driver's holster"? As I remember it, these were severely raked crossdraw holsters intended to used from a seated position. In some ways, it was kind of like the IPSC holsters popular in the early 1980s, but positioned further across the belly to the weak side.
One who still offers something like that is Ken Null - see his VAM. I believe that the primary problem with trying to use that concept in a wheelchair is interference with the draw stroke by the chair's arms, much like with a fanny pack. Then, arguably, there are the objections stated above - in response to my earlier posting - to having to use a blanket or garment folded in the lap in order to remain discreet.
The answer to the restricted draw stroke could be to cut down the front almost like a competition holster.
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:59 AM   #20
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Re: Handicapped Tactics...What I Never Thought Of Before

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Watters
The answer to the restricted draw stroke could be to cut down the front almost like a competition holster.
Agreed but you would likely either need some sort of thumb-break on a leather holster or some judicious boning on a Kydex holster once you did that. Either way, it sounds like custom work.
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