Paraplegia and Conceal and Carry

So I’ve been a paraplegic for 22 years as of May 2012.  I’ve had my MN CCW for 8 years now as well.  I went through a lot of holsters over the years and I haven’t found “The” perfect one yet.

1) I do not want to carry the gun on my chair. While the wheelchair is considered a part of my person while I am sitting in it it is NOT considered a part of me when I am not sitting in it. I want my gun on me.  I’ve seen some good frame attached holster mounts and I think they would be great for the range and stuff.  Might be OK for daily carry, but I’m not sold on how they look or how they would impact my daily life yet.

2) Belly bands are terrible for me because I sit all the time and it prevents me from bending over to pick stuff up off the floor. They tend to ride up a lot and pressure sores would develop I think.

3) Behind the back and other waist/belt holsters are not a good option because they cause pressure sores and generally get in the way.  Can’t reach back there very well anyway.

4) I use an ankle holster if I feel like carrying my Ruger LCP and that works ok. Not the fastest access, but doable.  As long as the gun is light it doesn’t interfere with moving and transferring either.  But, you need make sure the gun is SOLID and secure or else it may fall out.

5) I’ve had luck wearing a fanny pack designed for gun concealment but it gets in the way when I need to bend over and prevents me from getting nice and close to tables and desks. It is doable and not too irritating, but not perfect.  I haven’t used this style in a while.

6) When I carry my Springfield EMP 1911 I normally use a shoulder holster. The shoulder holster does not get in the way of transfers and does not catch on anything. It actually holds my pants up really well, which is great because belts suck. I do wear a t-shirt under the rig and a button down shirt over to conceal it … so summers are a challenge.

I can use the shoulder rig with my Ruger LCP as well and that’s easier because it’s a smaller and lighter gun. But, I normally use the ankle holster with the LCP as a break from wearing 2 shirts.  The only real downside to the shoulder rig is too many layers of clothing in warm weather.  Otherwise I love the fact that it holds my pants up really nice.

The following I have not tried yet but am considering

1) A 5.11 thigh rig on my thigh, or inner calf, with a pouch for pistol concealment.
2) Something like a Grab-It Pack Gadget Holster
3) Something like the Osprey Resource Warp Shoulder Bag

My concerns with the loose fitting shoulder bags is them getting in the way of transfers and  pushing the chair in general.  My concerns with the thigh rig is it preventing me from getting under tables and desks.  Using the thigh rig on my inner calf may be a good option but I’m not ready to spend that cash at the moment.

4)  Some sort of modified chest rig.  Hmmm … thinking about this one.

It might work well if I took a shoulder satchel type holster (like #3 above) and modify it for my needs.  Rig it to carry more forward, in front of me, rather than at my side and then have a paracord anchor  of some kind to keep it from ‘flopping’ around too much.  There are chest holster rigs out there but those are made to strap on around the back and shoulders and are a bit too much for daily use.  I don’t want to actually LOOK like a marine going on patrol.

Other “storage” I use on my manual daily chair

I do use a 5.11 thigh platform on the back of my chair for attaching stuff to: A pack for my wallet and checkbook and stuff, a nice flashlight, a pocket watch on a retractable cord, and  my utility fixed blade knife. I LOVE MOLLE!

I also had some frame covers made, that copy the MOLLE concept, for the front frame tubes.  I love these, they protect the chair, they protect things I bump up against with my chair (namely my vehicle) and I can attach things to it easily.  I keep a MOLLE attached cop night stick ‘holster’ to the right side and then I have a retractable heavy duty string, similar to a retractable clothes line, with a carribiner on the end attached inside my vehicle.   That way I can hook on to the ‘holster’ ring and  keep my chair from rolling away on a hill or in the wind.  It’s saved me numerous times.

Then, I have a 5.11 bag I keep under the front of the chair right behind the strap that prevents my legs from folding under the chair.  I have 2 side release buckles permanently  attached to the seat pan of the chair and I use those to hang the bag from.  Makes for easy removal because I keep medical supplies in it and my tools for fixing flats and stuff.  I keep my cell phone holster attached this as well.  It works well, no lost phones in the last 10 years.

All in all my chair storage adds about 10 pounds to my chair but it’s worth it.  I have all my stuff with me and don’t need to worry about things falling out of my pockets or forgetting my wallet or anything.  Oh yeah, I keep one of my garage door remotes on the front lower bag too.  It’s tied in place so it won’t fall off and I doubt anyone could remove it easily.


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