Disabled Shooting

disabled shooting

Even with shaky hands from Parkinson’s, by driving the gun out to full extension, shooter gets good kinesthetic alignment. This limits the shaking in his shooting hand. Photo: author

A family friend recently asked if I could help him with a shooting issue he was having. I had known for quite a while that his health had been poor and he had been in and out of the hospital. Though I didn’t know the details, I could tell this was something that had really been bothering him and that he was reaching out to me as a last resort. He explained that for the past few years he had been suffering from a degenerative neuromuscular disease. As it had progressed, it had all but prevented him from being able to fire his defensive firearm. He was unable to pull the trigger without using two fingers (and even that was a struggle). Even loading magazines was too difficult. This new disability had left him feeling helpless and dependent on others for his and his family’s safety.

Disabled Shooting Challenges

I thought about his situation and how I would feel if I were in his shoes. This man is a Vietnam veteran who has been a responsible firearms owner all his life, has trained and practiced his skills so he could protect his family from those who might want to harm them. Now he is faced with a disease that’s preventing him from doing all that. I felt the need to help him but didn’t know where to begin. I told him to give me a few days, and I left him with this: “I won’t give up on you if you don’t give up on yourself.” I immediately contacted a former student who is an orthopedic surgeon at a medical center in southern Indiana. He generously gave me some time out of his busy schedule to run through an in-depth explanation of the issues with this particular type of degenerative neuromuscular disease. After a little more research and information gathering, it was determined that my friend’s finger and hand muscles are fatiguing rapidly and preventing him from pulling the long, heavy trigger on his existing firearm.
custom gunsmithing for disabled shooting

Sometimes trigger work by a professional gunsmith is required to make a firearm work for you.
Photo: author

Mechanical Solutions

I spoke to a few gunsmiths and found that the particular handgun my friend was using has a trigger that progressively stacked weight until the gun went bang. This particular gun reached a little over 12 pounds before it fired. Unfortunately, there are no viable aftermarket triggers for this gun. So I began researching other possible solutions. What I realized is, if I can stack the trigger heavier on the front end and lighter after that, it might allow his finger to avoid fatigue during the trigger stroke. After speaking to a few people about the range of adjustability in different guns, it was clear that a revolver was going to be the best solution for this situation. Not only would it solve the trigger issue, it also solved his problem of not being able to reload his own magazines. My super-talented gunsmith, Jordan Jackson at Black Bullet Firearms, was able to do exactly what needed to be done with an S&W Model 442 revolver he had available. He did an excellent job on the gun and smoothed it out to where it stacked at the beginning and lightened up at the end. Due to donations from some very generous friends and family, we were able to gift the gun to this gentleman, ship it to his local FFL, and pay for the transfer. When I returned from the NRA Annual Meetings, this card had been delivered to me. It says:
thank-you-cardPhoto: author

Training Solutions

Friends, I am afraid many defensive firearms instructors have failed our elderly and disabled friends. These potential students are not going to take a class where they have to do an archaic FBI qualification course that requires people to shoot from kneeling at 25 yards. Many of these people would be hard pressed to get to a kneeling position. And if they got there, getting up would be a real issue. As instructors, we need to get them prepared to defend themselves within the constraints of their abilities. Everyone doesn’t need to be trained to the standard of our FBI Special Agents. Do we get that? We don’t need to be putting shot timers on Grandma and telling her she has to kneel and shoot at less-plausible distances in 15 seconds. And we fail her if she does it in 16 seconds? That’s just absurd!
disabled shooting stance

Author demonstrates how to drive gun out to full extension. Photo: author

It is now abundantly clear to me that we are failing a large portion of our demographic. The baby boomers are getting older. Men and women are coming back from a decade of war. We have obesity problems among a large percentage of our population. Do those people not deserve to be taught to defend themselves to the best of their abilities? Think about that. Yet the training industry as a whole seems to target 20- to 40-year olds, with tacticool rolling in the mud, high speed/low drag, FBI Special Agent training. Disabled shooting is not an oxymoron.If you are among that group of people, like me, who have the knees and back of an 80-year-old at the age of 37, you are not alone. You don’t have to feel vulnerable. Reach out to those instructors who get it! If I can help you, please feel free to e-mail me at jgideon@nosofttargets.com. Just because you are disabled doesn’t mean you have to be helpless. You can also find qualified instructors who want to help right here on the Personal Defense Network.
Discussion
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96 Responses to “Disabled Shooting”
  1. Bart Wagoner

    I was fortunate enough to have taken some of the training from this author. In the class I attended was an elderly woman who had recently lost her husband. She wanted to be able to protect herself and had reached out to Joshua for some training. I watched that day as he worked with her. By the end of that class she had the skills and confidence she needed to be able to do so. If you need firearms training, I highly recommend you reach out to jgideon@nosofttargets.com

    This article also mentions my friends at Black Bullet Guns. I am not surprised in the least to hear that they were involved in helping to provide this Vietnam Vet with a handgun that worked for his special needs. If you need a gunsmith, or are in the market for a new gun, give these guys a look. Their service is better than any I’ve ever dealt with at http://www.blackbulletguns.com

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Thank you for the kind comments. It was a pleasure having you and your son in class!

      Reply
  2. Ken Morrison

    Your article is spot on. I imagine it would be surprising to learn the number of people who are not able to go through a standard regimen of training due to health and physical reasons. You are addressing a niche that no doubt will require lots of learning for instructors as well as for students. Thanks for a well-written article.

    Reply
  3. John ShootBetter

    This is a great article. Guns can be great self-defense tools for elderly or disabled people–really, how else are they going to defend themselves? But there are definite challenges for those folks.

    Reply
  4. John Scott Maloney

    I’ve been working on my own issues for many years. I’d be delighted to jump in where I can, and contribute in any way. Thank You, for recognizing the “black hole” that most of us will find ourselves in, but too proud to do anything about! God Bless!

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Thank you for the comments! The best way to contribute is to let others know that you have struggled with the same issues and they are not alone. Then encourage them to seek out instructors that are capable of teaching them. We are out there and excited to teach them!

      Reply
  5. John Ruane

    I enjoyed your article, and at the age of 76 rapidly approaching my 77th, I am attempting to master the handgun after many years of rifle and shotgun hunting and shooting. I have a concealed carry license (IL,FL, & Utah) and would be very interested in locating a concealed carry instructor who’s attention would be on working with disabled and elderly individuals to improve their ability to defend themselves with a handgun.

    Reply
  6. Gregory Weldon

    After coming out of the hospital from Vietnam I had to learn to walk all over again and I made a fairly full recovery but when I hit 50 in everything came crashing down. 15 years later I have to rely on my wheelchair to get around and because my back is in such bad shape it’s very difficult to carry concealed. I have a glock 22 that I really love but it’s very hard to figure a way to hide it and still be able to access it quickly. I drop things a lot and have very little feeling in my hands but I’m a great shot. I’ve been attacked 2 different occasions and because I didn’t carry my Glock I was defenceless. Any ideas, by the way I loved your article. I find most people shy away from you when your in a wheelchair.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      There are a few carry options I like for people in wheelchairs. The one thing I caution is to not be tempted to carry off body. You want to have that firearm on you even if the bad guy dumps you out of your wheelchair. My absolute favorite is a belly band like the one Crossbreed sells (http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/HotcakesStore/ProductViewer/tabid/113/slug/Modular-Belly-Bands/Default.aspx). You can adjust it so it rides a bit higher and is more comfortable for a long day of wearing your firearm. Because it has the Kydex shell, you can easily re-holster it. Because it can be moved around, you can carry it on the strong side or even, dare I say, cross-draw. Another option is a fanny pack that has a concealed holster option. Now I will caution with that option that you make sure the holster covers the trigger properly. Most have velcro holsters, so you could always use the kydex shell in the Crossbreed belly band in place of the soft shell in most concealed carry fanny packs. Check those options out and shoot me an e-mail to let me know how they work out for you!

      P.S. Thank you for your Service!

      Reply
  7. Victor Landry

    Handicapped by two strokes, I would like to see a CD aimed at the different types of handicaps and the ways to enhance firearm skills. I realize there are a myriad of types of handicaps but the problem could be addressed by a multiple CD set covering the most frequent types.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      A video is not a bad idea. I will mention that although a video like the ones on PDN are great, it is many times better to have an instructor that can help diagnose and fix the things you don’t see yourself doing. I do love videos to reinforce the training I’ve received and keep that information fresh in my mind. Great idea and I will pass that along!

      Reply
  8. Dr Bill Chachkes

    Thank you Mr Gideon for writing about this topic! I am a Disabled Army Vet(1979-91-Army Special operations command-Aviation-160th SOAR from 1/82 6/91 when I got out). I have a back that was broken in 7 places, took an AK74 round in my upper back, and broke my ankle in 5 places, which was reconstructed. I actually got to stay in after that( I went to the 160ths reserve component as an instructor)
    Because of my back injury, diabetes, and Kidney failure I have various issues with feeling, and balance. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and a great Bulldogge.
    I have been doing well enough to keep shooting, and my wife and I compete in 22 challenge, and Steel challenge center fire.
    My wife has arthritis and carpal tunnel, and shoots an EAA Witness Pavona 9, and I have a great Gunsmith who made me a modified recoil spring for my Beretta M9, my Colt Commander, and my Ruger LC9S and SR9 & 9C.
    What training drills do you suggest for Disabled persons?
    Thanks again.

    Dr Bill Chachkes-Firearms Chat Podcast Producer/Lead host
    CWO-4 US Army Aviation Branch/Special Operations Command 1979-1991 Ret./Med.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      First, thank you for your service and sacrifices. As far as drills for disabled persons, I believe many of the same command based drills that are used in the Combat Focused Shooting Program are great drills for anyone (especially the disabled). A simple balance of speed and precision drill from concealment is a great place to start. The balance of speed and precision drill is great because it can be used as a training tool when simulating being dumped from a wheelchair or shooting one handed while using a cane for support. The key is using principles of intuitive sighted fire and kinesthetic alignment to help compensate for some of the issues those with arthritis, aging eyes, and mobility have. It is important to get the assistance of a good instructor who can show you the most efficient way to do the drills and help you find efficient compromises (if any are needed). Rob has a good video on this here: http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/video/training-versus-practice-011542/ Once you know the drills and know how to do them, then practice, practice, practice!

      Reply
  9. rich peters

    I think I’ve pretty well got the kinds of arthritic disabilities that handicap my shooting: (first) the hands — arthritis in the web between thumb and finger, pinched nerve that numbs my “pinching” of thumb to forefinger, and finally, the carpal tunnel syndrome that negates how well I can pull the trigger. (second) my wrists are too weak to control a lot of recoil. (third) arthritic shoulders so I don’t have flexibility in my draw motions. (fourth) knees and hips and feet make it impossible to do the quick “tactical” footwork advertised in all the drills. Basically — I’m a mess!
    Yes, I support any kind of training directed SPECIFICALLY to the handicapped and elderly. I would also like to know where I can find a single action, quadruple safety, 1 lb trigger pull, .38 or .380 ammo (or better), and draws thru a holdout that snaps it directly into my hand, thus avoiding concealment, tactical kneeling, and contortioning to my side. Think, and shoot!!!! I also want to know where I can buy a bridge into Brooklyn.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Thank you for your comments! What I have found is most of the people I have encountered with disabilities have underestimated what they can do. When working with them one-on-one they are typically surprised that they can still get combat accurate hits at plausible distances with just a few changes to their technique and a little out of the box thinking sometimes. The training is a bit hard to find, but there are good instructors out there with this skill that are excited to help!

      Reply
  10. David Reinhart

    Finally, somebody who gets it. I read SMG Kyle Lamb’s shooting drill articles and say to myself “These drills will kill me before an intruder can”. I suffer from peripheral neuropathy and back problems. Two rounds of trap almost leave me in traction.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      I really hate that it is rare for someone to get this. It shouldn’t be that way. But I am glad people are starting to see this need! I have worked with several people with peripheral neuropathy issues. One lady had severe numbness in her shooting hand but we were still able to get her shooting combat accurate at plausible distances. She was so tickled, I’ll never forget that. Thank you so much for the comments!

      Reply
  11. Mary

    I think it’s a great idea. Please locate a disabled weapons trainer and someone who can help with the trigger pull weighting a pistol of any make. I am disabled and have a very low ability to cock my pistol or pull the trigger. I wind up with a huge jerk factor. Any help you can lend would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. When I got my pistol I could hit the bullseye. Though I would never be able to hit my knees anymore. Oh, I live in NE Texas, near Greenville, Texas. Where I am might help. LOL. I really appreciate this article and the comments after.

    Reply
    • Tim

      Hi Mary,

      I live in Plano, which isn’t that far from Greenville, TX. I am 31 years old and I’ve have a disability since birth. I totally get what you’re saying. I believe there’s an attachment you can buy to cock your firearm. If you find a trainer, please let me know.

      Reply
      • Joshua Gideon

        Tim, check out Aaron Israel at the link above. He is one of the best instructors in your area. I spoke with him last night about this very topic.
        Just be careful with some of the gadgets that are supposed to help you. Some of the issues that the gadgets attempt to fix can be solved with proper technique. Also, some of the gadgets can be harder to use too. What I have found in many cases is once the student learns an efficient technique that works with their disability, many of the gadgets are no longer needed. Software first, then hardware.

        Reply
  12. Larry

    Thanks for a good article that highlights the disabled and our difficulties with carrying and shooting . I’ve had 18 spine surgeries over years leaving me with limited mobility like many others . I conceal carry a Walther PPK/s in 380. I’ve found that the key for elderly and disabled individuals is to match the individual with a pistol they can comfortably carry and shoot . I’m a firm believer that if one carrys you need to regularly practice . So a key for myself was to choose a pistol I can shoot often without causing extra pain or injury to my back . I’d encourage elderly and disabled shooters to find a way to try a number of different pistols to find what will fit them and their abilities , just like you did for your friend in the article . Thanks for bringing our needs to the public awareness .

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Selecting a gun that fits well to the hand and does not have excessive recoil is an important part. I’ve also found that some target shooting based techniques can cause unnecessary pain as well. Putting both technique and a gun that fits well with manageable recoil is a huge piece of the puzzle. Thank you for your comments!

      Reply
    • Jim

      Joshua,
      Thank you for your valuable article and for helping those who need some creative problem solving to stay in the game. I am an NRA certified instructor and have helped many people who are older or have physical limitations but want to be able to enjoy shooting sports or be prepared to protect themselves with a firearm if need be. I’ve been told that my patience and understanding have made learning enjoyable and rewarding. It is probably most rewarding for me as I love to help empower others to go for it. Not all of us are 20 somethings at our prime anymore and having battled a very painful neurological condition for years I have great empathy for others. Any instructor who passes on helping those who are not able to roll in the mud is losing out on a very mutually rewarding opportunity. Many students have incredible life experience from serving their country as part of our great military or as responsible and productive citizens (not mutually exclusive) and I always feel honored to be able to help teach techniques. I have wanted to formalize what I am doing into a dedicated class to encourage more responsible civilians who want to learn but feel intimidated by the idea to come on out and go for it. I always like to bring a number of handguns so that students can try on not only calibers but different firearms as we know they all are unique. I would love to email ideas back and forth if you are interested. Thanks again for your help and advice.

      PS my day job is being a forensic scientist which is almost as fun as a day at the range. (No bodies for me thankfully.)

      Reply
  13. Russell

    I got to hand it to you for not giving up on him. Alot of instructors would’ve just told him to stop carrying thst gun if you can’t shoot it anymore. But you helped him get a gun that ge can still usr. Good job if you ever run for office you’ll get my vote.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Thank you! You are right, many instructors would have told him to stop carrying a gun. Sadly many instructors out there are too focused on making a quick easy dollar than helping students. Dealing with the aging and disabled isn’t easy. It’s hard work. We need more instructors that care about their students and are motivated by students who can walk (or roll) away from their classes with the skills they need to win a fight. There is nothing more satisfying to me as an instructor to watch someone who had given up do things they didn’t think they could do.

      P.S. Oh, wow, I don’t think the world is ready for me being in any office! But thanks for the confidence! I’d love to have you in a class instead!

      Reply
  14. David Kuamoo

    It’s about time someone actually realized that some shooting instructors are failing the very students who need the training and personal instruction. The elderly are the most prayed upon by society’s criminal element and some instructors blow them off of give them bull instead of doing what they should be doing, which is giving the help and good instruction they need that is geared to their age and physical needs. I’m now retired from law enforcement, but I have seen my share of so called shooting instructors who don’t seem to know how to be good instructors to all their students, young and old.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Thank you for your comments and thank you for your law enforcement service. Your comments are spot on! I am still amazed that others don’t see the same thing we see. It seems so clear. I am afraid many instructors do see it, but only want to teach high speed tactical classes to young twenty somethings. To them, it’s not as cool to teach the aging and disabled. It’s a shame. To me, a good instructor is a teacher that has the knowledge to find the capability of their students and the experience to guide them to the next level. Regardless of their age and limitations. Seek out those good instructors and reward them with taking one of their classes. Thank you again for your comments!

      Reply
  15. Dan Archuleta

    Thank you so much for the enlightenment on hand gun defense for those of us who have either temporary or life long disabilities. I am 78 years of age, a veteran of the US Army, and have been in good shape most all of my life until recently. I am recovering from a somewhat major operation of my knee and have found that my motor muscular systems have been negatively effected negatively. I have felt extremely vulnerable since this occurrence and have experienced trouble handling my firearm safely and efficiently. I am now able to drive locally but have felt very uneasy when struggling to get into and out of the car with the help of my cane. In short terms; I feel like a sitting duck on the opening of duck season. Any training that I can garner will help immensely. I will continue to watch for future training sessions on this subject matter in order that I feel more confident and ready to defend myself if / when necessary.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Thank you for your service Dan! It is so hard for those who have been in good shape to go from feeling confident to feeling vulnerable due to injuries, surgery, or parts just wearing out. Typically it’s something out of their control that puts them in the place where they lose confidence in their ability to defend themselves. That can be extremely frustrating. As an instructor, it’s our job to help you get that confidence back by teaching you efficient techniques that work with your specific limitations. I’m sure there will be more information on this topic in the future.

      Reply
  16. Rich Brady

    I am 56 years old retired law enforcement, need your input on shooting, Do you have any ideas too shoot better without wearing eyeglasses. As i age my eyes are not getting better, i have problems shooting from the 15 yard line, any suggestions i would greatly appreciate. Thank you….

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Rich, thanks for the question! The first step (software) is to learn Intuitive Sighted Fire. This will put as many cards in your favor as possible. This method is ideal for those with aging eyes. We also have to ensure that we are on the same page when it comes to what accuracy means to us if we are forced to stop someone with our firearm. Accuracy is a yes or no proposition. Your accuracy goal is making hits the size of a paper plate in high center chest. If you are doing that, you are accurate for the purpose of using a firearm for self defense. From there we can talk about the hardware side. On this side, I recommend a highly visible (Green, Yellow, or Lime colored) front sight with a wide blacked out rear sight. Rob does an excellent job explaining why in this video: http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/video/handgun-training-pistol-sight-design-breakdown-005437/ At some point (varies from person to person) you are going to get to a distance where vision correction is necessary. For me at 37 years old with poor vision, it’s about that 15 yard mark. I am accurate up to that point without vision correction (in my case contacts), but after that, I must use the hardware available to me to compensate. I view contacts the same as good sights on my firearm. I hope this helps and thank you for your question!

      Reply
  17. dc

    I’m glad that you are doing something for us disabled. I have been disabled since 1968 tho I am not complaining. I have noticed that I am getting a little slower but so far I can still shoot my glock 43 with no problem. Luckily I didn’t have to do the kneeling part of the firing to get my CCW. As more and more of us get older our numbers are going to grow and we still want to be able to protect ourselves and family so these programs you make help us. Thank You.

    Reply
  18. Albert

    I am a 76 year old retired member of the NY City Transit Police department that retired with a line of duty spinal injury well after three spinal surgeries there is a problem with development of Artritis and there in lies my problem of qualifying for my HR218 carry permit the arthritis in my hands makes it difficult to properly handle my weapons and loafing my weapons to qualify in a rapid or time challenge shoot is there or are there any qualified instructors that I may contact.
    Thank you
    Al P

    Reply
  19. Bill Byrd

    Kudos for addressing this. I had recently messaged Grant Cunningham about that very issue. I’m a recently retired Army officer with combat arms background rated 100% disabled by the VA. I’m still able to do most things well enough, but running away from a threat is no longer an option. Heck, walking away won’t even work if the threat is mobile. Far more emphasis needs to be put on self defense options for the disabled and it would be directly applicable to the fit as they can become (temporarily) disabled in an instant. Weapons, tactics, and legal issues specific to the disabled defense posture should all be addressed by trainers. There’s a virtually untapped well of opportunity here.

    Reply
  20. Gordon Gaines

    Your description of your self is my problem also. Arthritic knees and a bad lower back, Siatica. When I was younger I had some training like you describe but there’s no way I could do it now.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      There are a few of us that have realized this and are putting together classes catered to those with issues like this. Thank you for your comments!

      Reply
  21. Michael R Brannick

    In 1994 I had a brain hemorrhage that left me hemiplegic which, in my case, means my left side is paralyzed and numb. My right side is normal. I, obviously, have to shoot one-handed and loading a magazine is problematic, at best. I just shot the Texas Licence to Carry proficiency test with my Dan Wesson Model 15-2 357 Magnum revolver with a 4″ barrel and a medium sleeve. I was one point below the perfect score achievable, so you can see I know how to shoot. Oh, I was also using a brand new stance. Instead of the classic marksman stance I used an isosceles triangle stance without a support hand. Because my Dan Wesson is a bit heavy and bulky for concealed carry my plan for concealed carry, once my license arrives, is to carry a much smaller, slimmer S&W M&P Shield 9 mm. Since I’ll be carrying a second loaded magazine, this will give me more rounds than the revolver, too. Though tactical reloads will be a bit slow. Any advice on training, magazine reloading one-handed, or any other appropriate subject will be graciously accepted. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Michael, great question! There is a great article written by Michael Seeklander right here on PDN that talks about one handed reloads. I’ll post the link below. Your choice of the M&P Shield is a great one for one handed shooters since you have the option of using the I.C.E. Claw Rear sight from Ameriglo. (The model number of the shield is SW-450R) I use the same rear sight on my Shield specifically for the flexibility of better one handed manipulation. On mine, I pair the I.C.E. Claw rear sight with the Ameriglo Lime Square front sight (SW-212-GR-Q). You can purchase the sight on the Ameriglo website (http://www.ameriglo.com) Thanks again for your question!
      http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/article/survival-shooting-techniques-why-train-with-one-hand/

      Reply
  22. Bruce Bean

    Thanks for realizing and acknowledging the needs of seniors. The added benefit for trainers: us old folks have managed to accumulate enough money to be able to afford your services.

    Reply
  23. Tom

    Outstanding!!! I’m in the same boat as you. Thank you for you insights, great article.

    Reply
  24. Gary

    As a N.R.A. Instructor, I’ve trained people in wheelchairs, using walkers. My greatest challenge is giving a class to an almost blind friend.

    Reply
    • Bob Bongiovanni

      Bob has gone totally blind. He was shooting with an adaptive sports program in New Hampshire, however the program was cancelled.He would love to take a class. Also needs instruction in the use of a “Scatt” system, (which produces audbile tones) as the learning curve for the device proved too steep for beginners like us. Thanks for any ino. Barb Bongiovanni for Bob Bongiovanni. PS-We’re in Maine.

      Reply
  25. Timothy C Taylor

    I am an amputee and a shooter. I’ve designed, manufacture, and sell a magazine loader which allows me to load my own magazines without help.
    If you have interest I can email a link to a short YouTube video.
    Thanks in advance.
    Tim Taylor

    Reply
  26. Jonathan

    This is the first article I read as a new member. I myself am disabled to the point of having great difficulty in handling,load,cleaning,etc of my firearms. It made me very proud to have joined when I read about what you and others have done to help this man regain the ability to defend himself and his family! So,Thank you..I am glad to be here..Jon Lutes (Ninetoes)

    Reply
    • Joshua Gideon

      Welcome Jonathan! So glad to have you here! I think the key is to look beyond disabilities and find what we can do. As Grant Cunningham (Host of PDN Training Talk) says, “Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.” Thanks again for joining and especially for the feedback!

      Reply
  27. Ronald Little

    Do you have Rifle Shooting in West Sussex for the Disabled wth Pelletts ?

    Reply
  28. Vic vapor

    while a very good article,
    your thread responses is where
    you really shined nicely, J.G..!!

    As more and more feedback
    about what the self defense public needs,
    there should be increased offerings
    by the instruction side to help
    on a more individualized basis… hint hint PDN.
    🙂

    Reply
  29. thomas

    thank you sooo much for this article. i am in the exact same position.

    most all, including PDN, teach movement, running thru kill houses and generally jumping around. that leaves my demographic out in the cold. wish to see more instructors in wheelchairs!

    Reply
  30. Michael neal

    I became disabled many years ago and lost my guns pay for debt from Medical bills and
    Now live in a bad area and can’t afford to pay for a new gun do you have any idea how to defend myself? The best way to contact me is by phone 530-646-5638

    Reply
  31. James Windwalker

    This discussion has helped me greatly. I have peripheral neurapathy as was concerned I do not use my 9 mm XD any longer. it just became to difficult to use. i not restrict myself to a smaller Walther P22 and my Taurus 38 and its fine. y lever action rifles are no problem. But as this illness progresses i will have to adapt even more until I can no longer shoot.

    Reply
  32. Ganice Cook

    I just read your article on “Disabled Shooting” . Do you know any instructors in Phoenix area ?

    Reply
  33. pawneebill

    I feel his pain. My duty weapon was a Beretta 92F then a Glock 22. Now I’m 70 and both shoulders, knees and back are bad. I’ve trimmed down to a Glock 23 and a Glock 30sf. My daily carry is an 8 shot Ruger LCR 22, 8 shot. I no longer run to the fray, I make noise and fire a few getting away from the danger. Good article.

    Reply
  34. Jim Schutt

    Great article, I have had back surgery. I have to use a bar height stool to shoot, I would love to have some information on seated shooting.
    O
    At 68, modifying stances and less mobility should have more articles and discussions. Thanks

    Reply
  35. James Higginbotham

    that was very nice for these folks to help this Vet out with his trigger problem. i am a Marine Vet but thank God i can still shoot. can’t scoot like i used to, but shooting help for the disabled is VERY important.

    Reply
  36. William Purdie

    I couldn’t agree more. My wife had a stroke at 36 (2 years ago) and lost use of her left arm. She had never fired a gun until after her stroke. We recently attended a concealed carry course. Not only did she impress me, she impressed all 3 instructors. Yes, she was bullheaded at times but I continued to work with her helping her to adapt on loading and firing a handgun. Just bought her first 9mm and she is anxious to take it to the range.
    I think I created a monster.

    Reply
  37. Gary Tuckey

    Bravo!!!!! Thank you for everything you’ve done; but thank you also for opening our eyes to the needs of our disabled fellow shooters! You are so spot on! With trainers like you, the disabled will not be easy prey to an attacker!

    Reply
  38. Larry E Cummings

    Great discussion and we need more of this . I’m fully disabled after breaking my back 10 years ago . I have a CHL and I practice often . Because I’m disabled my handgun is the only way I can protect my wife and myself .

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  39. Steve

    This gets me so often! I have great difficulty in may ways dealing with birth defects plus being far less than two handed. Add for the last 15 years with neurological problems that just make things more dangerous and difficult to handle any gun. As such I refuse to have a hand gun without an external select safety and therefore must also restrict my choices to very few guns. Problems racking and gripping with my only good hand which has much harder and thicker muscles than average which effects aim. Virtually no second hand to brace with. In addition with Stiff Person’s Disease where I carry along and with lack of reach and use of the bad hand only allow me to effectively carry appendix. Yet with all these problems and years of study and practice these problems have been overcome. However when I say what works for me so many say; you’re gonna die if you try to draw and shoot. They just can’t except “one size doesn’t fit all”. I have the safety to get the gun holstered, then switch it off while holstered and the safety has never changed. I can draw to fire on aim in no more than 3/4 second. Not bad at all! I am accurate. I draw many times a day and am always armed even at home, mobility problems require this. – I’ve been the victim. – Most everything other than what I have does not work for me. I am very small yet manage to carry defense spray because so many times drawing a gun would not be reasonable. I have one knife that fits the bad hand and one for the good hand, both draw as fast as the gun. AND I WALK WITH ONE AND TWO CANES besides use a power chair and shopping scooters. Decades of study. trial and error.

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  40. Russell House

    Hard to operate semi-auto bra wheel guns which should we try to put our time and money into the high capisity semi-autos or the limited wheel guns and what cal. Is best to chase

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  41. lamont

    A personal hand written card. The hand used a fountain pen od some writing instrument. I could be wrong. With an instrument that has a textured tip or flexable massed produced utinsile

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  42. rt66paul

    I used to drink and did not feel that I had any business around firearms. Well after I was disabled, I quit drinking and then got into firearms. I feel that as I am older and my wife, family and grandchildren, may need protection even more than before. I do not want to be a target, I have researched on my own about firearms, but even .380 and Mak are a pain in my arthritic wrists. I can not get down on either of my knees and prone means I may take a while to get back up. A person has to realize thier limitations and figure out the best way for themselves. We all need practice and if we are ever a “shall issue” county, I will discuss with a trainer. At this point in life, I can have these loaded and ready on my own property, or at the range. Carrying is a no-no, so I will not unless we have a riot or breakdown of society.

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  43. Dean Sharper

    Thank you their are a lot people like me that are disabled and would love some training.

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  44. Randall Bergerud

    I too[,am disabled. i have diabetes,and have had a stroke,i can only walk with help and a cane.Can you help me?I live in the Philippines.

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  45. RandallR Bergerud

    I too am also disabled.I am 64 years old,have diabetes,have had a stroke,and can only walk with help and a cane.My wife own’s a 14 shot .45.I live in the Philippines.I am an American citizen.

    Reply
  46. Richard Duree

    Thank you for this. I am 78 years old and in pretty good physical condition, but I am, and have been all my life, visually impaired. I have had instructors black out the white dots on my pistol’s sights, making them invisible against a black target. None have ever made any effort to suggest sights that are easier for me to see. I cannot be alone in this. I hope your article will alert instructors to this issue.

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  47. Jerry McMains

    As a thirty year NRA certified instructor, I have always reached out to women, disabled, and older students. I felt it was my job to educate anyone that wanted to protect themselves and their family! I have never had to fail anyone of the folks I mentioned.
    God bless you for this article.
    JWMcM

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  48. James Procyk

    Refreshing to see someone address limited abilities techniques and solutions. It would be nice to see this also addressed in gun reviews to help identify potential firearms that may be suitable. I have learned any 20 something and many professional shooters reviews that mention stuff like manageable recoil means my old arthritic shoulders will not like that firearm. I am not shooting a self defense pistol at 25 or 50 yard targets, more like 5 to 15 which is everywhere inside the house. My 40 cal was traded when I almost lost control of the recoil, not interested in 10mm or any magnum rounds. My range of consideration is 22, 380, 9mm, and surprisingly still can handle some 45 since it recoils more a hard push than slam. Except for 22 target pistol, larger caliber are in larger gun to mitigate recoil. I also learned that when aim wanders due to less than steady muscle, you can “lead” the bullseye and fire when you cross it, like hitting a moving target even though the mover is reverse. If compact 9 becomes too hard for home defense, I may graduate to a pistol caliber carbine for point shoot and low recoil. Thank you for addressing the self defense needs of the most vulnerable.

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  49. Donald Bohannan

    A stroke slowed me down. I lost my right (dominate) side. I have tried the NRA but instructors are hard to find. Newcastle, Oklahoma.

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  50. Lyle Mains

    I live in Tyler,TX. I am a retired 67sinmgle gentleman, that because of health, it’s very hard to walk long distances, and have some limited fine motor skills in my thumbs. I am in the process of purchasing a 38 special revolver, and want to get my CCL. I live on a very small monthly income, so any help in obtaining the training, and Lic, would be of great help.

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  51. Karel Teck

    Man thans from Europe forum your inspringen article.
    As YouTube Will knowhow gun las arena mocht morele severe than in the Us. Button a bullet Firefox by a as puck as possible trainend person is even deadly as a bullet fired by a non disabled person.

    Reply
  52. MAJ. Chuck Smick

    I am disabled myself due to my military service. It is a challenge to do some drills, although I completed the MAG 40 Course and continue to train to the best of my ability. MAJ Chuck Smick, IN, ABN, USAR

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  53. Michael R Brannick

    I’m disabled due to a brain hemorrhage I had in 1994. I am hemiplegic which, in my case, means my left side is paralyzed and numb. I shoot well one handed, but loading magazines and doing combat reloads and that sort of thing are problematic. Any tips on devices to help me load magazines and change them during firing, range or gun fight, would be appreciated.

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  54. Clarisa C.

    Ticket I have a brother who now suffering from left-side stroke years ago but would love to defend self with his .45 handgun if not with his disability. Any suggestions/recommendations for him?

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  55. Steve Sanders

    I have a brother who is a quadrapaligic and wants to shoot a pistol. We have mounts for his shotgun and crossbow but not sure where to start for pistols. Any ideas?

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  56. tom gschwind

    article on target. also have issues w/arthritic and nerve problems in hands. as an armourer the trigger work done on the 442 is the corret solution. if no gunsmith is available the rug lcr has the same trigger feel as the custom 442

    Reply