What is the best gun for a wheelchair using woman?

Veronicad1 is a disabled woman is living in a very precarious situation.

I’m a disabled woman buying my first hand gun on the advice of the local police. Really. I’ve a lot of guys showing up at my door trying to break in, had an attempted sexual assault and I live in the country! A friend told me to get a Ruger P97DC that the kick on it wasn’t that bad and it was a good grip for a woman, that I could have a couple of clips with different types of shot in them, etc. I do have some rather large snakes too and I’m not as fast with a machete as I used to be.

The point being after this morning’s latest crazy showed up on my door verbally assaulting me in my own home for G*d only knows what reason he imagined I needed it for and I set of the alarm, it took police 45 minutes to get here. So had my bluff not worked I wouldn’t be typing this right now. The officer (who is originally from Miami) told me to get a gun, shotgun, hand gun – what ever. That’s the second local police officer to tell me to get a gun in a week. The alarm only does so much. I’m crying as I type this because I can’t feel safe in my own home. Yet I’m not that good with a hard kick and all that is damaged in my body. IE – a hard kick being fired from a wheel chair – unless I take the extra 2 seconds to lock my brakes which could mean my life firing from a wheel chair could be comical but deadly for me. A 22 would just piss them off. I need something to defend my life with (and I hate saying that too). I live alone, I have no one here to help me save my old Doberman. I need something that is ‘lady friendly’ (Forgive me ladies who can handle a hogleg). Is this a good gun for that and is it just the continuation of the P97DC?

I have never thought about the effects of firing a gun from a wheel chair and the challenges it poses to someone who may need to use a gun in a situation where seconds can be the difference between life and death.

Veronicad1, my advice would be to visit the closest range and hire a variety of different guns. Go with a friend who can stand behind you holding your wheel chair. The two of you can then gauge what the effect of the recoil would be on an un-braked chair. This blog is not the place for legal advice and I suggest you get advice as to your state laws on self-defense with a gun and at what point a firearm can and cannot be used.

Anyone else able to offer advice?

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • bullzebub

    it might be an idea to rig up a brake too. something that locks both wheels with a lever. shouldnt be that hard 🙂

    • lifeordeath

      I’m in a wheelchair myself. I’m in a wheelchair myself I’m a parapelgic. The size off the grid would be the only issue I could see for you, but the Kel-Tev PMR30

  • Matt

    I carried a P97DC for years as an MP and still enjoy shooting it. Sadly this sounds like a situation where a side arm is only a stopgap measure. If Police are recommending you buy a gun and unprovoked attacks are frequent, the area in which you live has become too dangerous for a single handicapped woman to live in. You can shoot a meth head per week and they will never stop coming looking for things to steal and people to rob. A soldier uses his weapon to fend off continuous assault but he is rarely less than squad strength of numbers. A gun is hard pressed to make up the vulnerability of being one trigger finger in a location where law enforcement is 45 minutes away. A high capacity 9mm is really the best choice here but like you said be aware of the laws of self defense.

  • MNStan

    We have a man in a wheelchair that comes to our range quite often, even shoots skeet and trap. If you do try some guns at the range try shooting with the wheels at an angle to the direction of fire and recoil, say 30-45 degrees. This will allow you to shoot with out turning the chair into a uncontrolled rolling object. With different techniques you may even be able to use the wheelchair to soak up some of the recoil.

  • Solomon

    Two things. First- find a place where she can be a bit safer. It sounds like she’s in a living hell. Second, the recoil from a weapon that’s a 9mm or smaller shouldn’t exactly affect her wheelchair. Newton’s law still applies (for every reaction there is an opposite reaction) but unless she’s extremely small framed it should be negligible. Next thing is the actual weapon itself. I can’t speak against the P97DC except that its a fairly large frame weapon and keeping it with her at all times might be a problem (in the conditions she’s talking about I would have it with me even to use the bathroom) so with that in mind I recommend a Glock 26 or at most G19.

    But Matt hit it on the head. Time to find a new home. And to let your local newspaper in on the issue. If you have a community with even a few good citizens then their voices will add to your own and get the police to maybe step up patrols in your area.

  • Fred

    It’s definitely a difficult problem. The long response time for LE dictates a hi-cap mag, but then I noticed the comment about snakes, and that’s where a good revolver with a shotshell is great. Unfortunately hi-cap semi’s don’t cycle shotshells for poop, and revolvers are most definitely not high capacity.
    Now I’ll be thinking about this all day tomorrow instead of my classes… oh well.

  • wendell chenault

    Man I hate to hear of things like this BUT I think everyone so far has given good advice. Not knowing the extent of your physical well being, this is what I was thinking. A shotgun may be too big and bulky for you to handle. A 45 cal. like the P97DC may have too much recoil (kick) for you to handle, but if you could handle the recoil what about a Judge handgun. It shoots a .45 cal bullet and a .410 shotgun shell. My friends have these guns and with the .410 shell it doesn’t seem to kick quite as much as the .45 bullet plus you cover more area in case your aim is not true. Add a laser sight if you can afford it and that alone will make someone think twice when they see that little red dot on their chest. I was also thinking about you adding some signs to the front of your house stating your house is protected by Smith and Wesson, but that would maybe make them come in armed and ready for you. The best thing I think would be for you to, if possible, get out of that area. If you stay, like Steve said get someone to go out to the range with you and you try out some guns. A SR9 is a great gun and has the ability to put someone down but if you think it is not enough, shoot a hollow point bullet in it for better results.

    Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

    May God keep you safe in this trying time.

  • Joe Hooker

    I’ve been a wheelchair user for over 20 years and have a CCW (and jeez, guys, I’m not a big one for political correctness but “wheelchair ridden” really grates!).

    I carry a Glock 36 in 45ACP (and sometimes a Taurus Millinieum 9mm), go the range once a week and have no particular problem with recoil. I suppose it could be a problem if you fired a 12 gauge on a very smooth surface. Someone’s already mentioned one solution — fire slightly off-axis to the wheels. I use a Fobus ankle holster and it works very well for me — you need to keep the gun on you if case some dirtbag knocks you out of your chair. And it only takes a moment to lock one of the wheels.

    I would definitely recommend 1) carrying a weapon (legally, of course) and 2) avoiding mouse guns i.e. using one with a caliber that starts with a “4” if you’re in a wheelchair.

    • Joe, sorry about that. I was unaware it was an offensive term. I have changed the title.

  • wendell chenault

    Solomon, Good advise on the gun selection. I just bought a G19. A little smaller than the SR9, lighter but has more of a grip on it that may help her control the gun better than what is on the G26.

    Like I said Ms. Veronicadi, keep in touch! It seems you have alot of concerned folks all around the nation that care about you and your well being. Good luck!

  • Freiheit

    Proper instruction and practice.

    Finding a good instructor and time and the range will make you accurate and confident enough to shoot. It makes it a means of self defence and a great hobby.

    Also, get a gun as part of a comprehensive security plan. The police are slow. It’s time to go make friends with your neighbors.

    A neighbor coming from a few miles out may be more helpful than a cop. They may be able to hear the alarm. If you’re being harassed they could be next, its a good idea to at least inform them of the trouble.

    Find out why you’re a target. Are there valuables? Do you display a lot of wealth? Some misunderstandings? Another half of the story?

    A gun is an important tool, but its only part of a whole set of things to do.

  • Solomon

    oooh the 45 cal vs. 9mm debate. Guys, don’t you think that for an older lady a 9mm might be preferable to a 45? Mr. Hooker is dealing with the issue first hand but he sounds like an experienced shooter, and more importantly practices his craft regularly. I just get the impression that this lady might not have that ability hence the need for a easier kicking, high capacity weapon. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire of this discussion but does she have to worry about multiple attackers? That would mean that she should either have a gun with 15 or more rounds and even additional magazines. The problem seems to multiply the more I think about it. Is their anyway she could record one of these attacks? Even a webcam can be used as a makeshift security camera. Does her budget allow for the purchase of a large dog? She says that her door has been kicked in. Is there a way to upgrade it in addition to the other recommendations? Is she able to afford to move or is she stuck there? Lots of questions.

  • Dom

    She presents a tough problem – doesn’t want a big gun and doesn’t want recoil. Ideally I guess you’d want like an overbuilt 9mm or even .380. The P97DC is appealing in that as .45s go it’s pretty recoil-soaking large, but probably too much so.

    I realize recoil is a problem but figuring you won’t need to practice with it too much, could you handle one of these in an emergency: http://www.stoegerindustries.com/firearms/stoeger_double_defense.php

    Whatever you do, shop around for a good holster that will work with you in that chair all day – most holsters are designed for people who are standing. Also, a younger, more aggressive dog might help. And please get the hell out of dodge.

    I wonder if hellinahandbasket will weigh in on this post? This is pretty much his bailiwick.

  • gunner

    this seems like a good time for that “women and guns” forum url you asked for:


    there’s a good bunch of guys and girls there who will do their best to help, as the gentlemen here are doing, and the ladies at w&g don’t mind well mannered gentlemen joining the conversation.

  • AB

    I’ve been personally recommending the Berreta Storm line to ladies as it is a smaller framed weapon, fairly resistant to ugly handling, and is small enough to be easily concealed in a variety of purses or inside a jacket. 9mm and .40cal available.

    If you’d like a bedroom gun as it were, a Super Shorty would be quite handy. It only carries 2+1, but just the sound of a cocking shotgun can scare the piss out of most home intruders.

    Stan has the right idea, you want to just off-axis the wheelchair and the wheel friction will eat most of the recoil.

    Matt has most definitly hit the nail on the head, this woman should really look for a new home. Barring that, I’d post no-tresspassing/enter-and-die signs 100 yards away from the house and explain to the local cops that due to their horrid response time, unfortunate accidents can and will occur.

  • gunner

    …and veronica,
    as steve and the guys above make plain, you’re most welcome here too my suggestion to join “women and guns” is only to give you more possible sources of info/help, and some more new friends.

    • gunner, that is a very active forum. Looks like a good site for any women who enjoy shooting or are into self-defense.

  • MNStan

    Gunner, i lost my bookmarks with a new computer, thanks for bring me back to women and guns. Be VERY respectful there if you visit gentlemen and BE gentlemen. Some of the finest, but mostly married, female shooters i have ever met.

  • Veronica,
    The P97DC is an excellent choice.Ensure that it comes with 2 extra mags or buy a couple of them.I had one and it kicks easy,with the old Army standard 230 grain full metal jacket.
    That is the plain-Jane load and it works very well.I carried it openly at times,and I felt no fear of anything.It is a fast firing gun with an easy way in the hand.
    Do not worry if the grip feels too-big or fat;that only serves to soak up the kick.It has a plastic grip and frame and it is very hard to hurt;it is very durable and dependable.
    I loved mine and I gave it to an old girlfriend for self-defense.

    BTW:Here is a trick to load and cock the gun if you have trouble with pulling the slide.(Keep in mind that you can push the slide as well as pull it.)
    Walk over to your kitchen counter and lay the front of the slide against it.Keep it straight up and down if you can and push down on.
    (Do not push the barrel along with the slide,just push against the slide.)
    Keep you finger off the trigger when you do that,or you will blow a hole through your counter top.
    Once you have your chamber loaded,just de-cock the gun with the decocking lever.That is what the DC stands for in the name;de-cocker.
    In closing,that can be practiced with an un-loaded gun for safety’s sake.
    You can dry fire it to your hearts content too,it won’t hurt the gun.

  • Richard

    James Rummel at Hellinahandbasket.net is a self-defense instructor in Ohio who advises many clients who are in situations similar to this lady. Perhaps she should consult James for advice.

    I’ll take this opportunity to say I’m a big fan of James’ blog. He has a great sense of humor and an eye for the ironic moments of life in the 21st century.

  • Russ

    I’ve got a P97DC and it’s one of my favorite guns and for me is very easy to shoot accurately. However it is an autoloader and new shooters often have trouble with them at first so my recommendation is a revolver.

    My first handgun was an S&W 686+ w/ 6″ barrel. The first few practice session can be with 38spl and/or +P then graduate to .357. It doesn’t start with a 4 but .357mag is no mousegun.

    A shotgun may be even better.

  • wendell chenault

    Ms Veronicad1,

    If you don’t mind and I hope I am not offending you which I don’t want to but could you tell us your age and handicap along with do you have a dog, how far away is your neighbors house, state you live in, things like that which may help us understand better your status.

    Also on the nrastore .com I saw a holster that fit on a bed matress. Could that be used on a wheelchair???

  • Looks like the folks have cover the gun aspect. How about a dog that can be trained to bark in addition to a firearm?

  • gunner

    happy to help, just remember, the girls like cookies, see you there.

  • Solomon

    A quick google search found this…


    hope it helps

  • Jeff M

    Hi Veronicad1,

    I’d get a m11 submachine gun. It’s the size of a pistol, it holds 32 rounds of .380 and will fire them all into someone within about a second. The .380’s recoil should be manageable in controlled bursts, and with a little practice you’ll feel much more confident shooting “sweeps” at someone instead of single shots.

    You won’t get one from a gun shop unless you’re lucky, you can buy one online though for around $3500. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot too.

    Other than that, don’t bother with a pea shooter. Get the most powerful handgun you can. A glock model 20 fires 15 rounds of the most powerful (and still practical) autoloader round you can get. The recoil is not that bad, it will start to wear your hand down after 40 or 50 shots but that’s not the point, the point is to kill someone, nevermind a tingly sensation in your palm.


  • I would go with a snubby, (Snub nose revolver) it is compact easily hidden, at the distances she will be shooting, it is more than enough. She can one or two hand the gun. Leave it under her thigh, or put some type of bag on the side of the wheel chair, that she can reach into and get the gun out. She does not need to be screwing with safeties, or worrying about magazines etc, It is a pull point and shoot. If someone gets on top of her, or tries to pull her from the chair, she does not have to worry about an auto getting pushed out of battery, she can jam it in the bag guys guts and start pulling the trigger.

  • Whatever

    If someone was a bit frail I would direct them towards a smaller framed revolver in something like the 327 Federal. It’s better to get a good center-of-mass hit on an assailant with a lower powered round than a bad hit or a miss with a higher powered round.

    What about a 410 pump shotgun? The sound of a pump action shotgun is intimidating and a 410 can be lethal if loaded with the proper ammo. Federal makes a load with four pellets of 000 buckshot at 1200 fps. That would ruin anyone’s day.

  • I’ve had some experience when it comes to helping people who use wheelchairs. Even so, I’ve never noticed that the chair would start rolling when a handgun was fired. Not even if a .357 Magnum was the choice for self defense.

    So far as any advice is concerned, Steve has already stolen my thunder. She really should go to the range and try out a selection of firearms until she finds the one that suits her the best.

    Lots of good advice in the comments, guys! Although I would caution against getting too specific so far as make/model/manufacturer of guns are concerned as it can be very confusing to someone just being introduced to the shooting sports.

    In fact, I’m sort of surprised that the author of the text quoted above seems to know so much about firearms if they don’t have any hands on experience with them. (“A 22 would just piss them off.”–“…just the continuation of the P97DC?”) Sounds lik they have had some time at the range in the past.

  • gunner

    though i prefer large caliber semi-autos my self that suggestion of a snub nose revolver in .327 federal makes sense. minimal recoil compared to larger calibers and more energy delivered than the regular run of .32 caliber guns, certainly more than a .22 rimfire. sounds like worth looking into for veronica’s purposes, which are after all the subject of this thread, and she’s the gal that will pay her money for the gun.

  • DOH!

    I see now that Joe Hooker left a comment on 14 Sep 2009 at 2:10.

    We should all just listen to Joe.

  • gunner

    good thought james, joe has been there, done that, though i don’t know if he got the t-shirt.

  • Freiheit

    I have to post this again for emphasis, I know we’re all gun nuts but theres more to this than selecting a firearm.

    This is a harrasment/security issue. The questioner should get an appropriate pistol and holster, but there should also be a bit more of a comprehensive plan:
    – display of wealth – don’t make it look like there are things worth stealing in and around the home
    – neighbors – if the police are 45 minutes away, its time to make friends with the neighbors. Take your pick for a reason, closer help, meet new people, whatever. If there’s trouble in the area it will affect them too.
    – alarm system – done
    – training – getting a pistol is easy, learning to shoot well may not be. Find a good instructor, you don’t have time to self-teach.
    – practice – just like a non-wheelchair user, it takes practice to draw, take aim, and fire

  • alex

    well I just bought a Taurus Millennium pro 9mm, its a great gun and the recoil is very low. it has a 12+1 capacity and not all the expensive.

  • It looks like there are a lot of great suggestions here for her. I’d add that it may help her even more to assist her in finding a local range that is wheelchair accessible and has a variety of pistols for rent.

  • SpudGun

    If the options of moving to a better area or getting a dog aren’t viable, then I’m going to echo the advice for a short barrelled revolver, especially if the lady in question doesn’t have a lot of experience with firearms.

    I know very little about the .327 except from what I’ve read in gun magazines and I always take a massive dollop of salt whenever I read those. So my advice would be to get a .38 Special.

    Smith and Wesson make some fine snub noses, are readily available and are decently priced. There is also a plethora of ammunition available to suit all types and situations.

    Let’s hope she never has the need to use it in anger.

  • Clint

    .327 federal? 410 Shotgun?

    Geez guys, just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean we should all default to the lowest power level.

    You will be surprised at how well many women can handle 45’s with a little encouragement. Ms. Veronicad1, if you want a 45 get a 45. (Note: glocks have thick handles which many women find difficult to grip properly.)

    The front sight, rear sight and wrist bones all should line up in a proper grasp while allowing your finger to reach the trigger face. If you can do that with a gun, then you can shoot it well

    Oh, and about the exotics, the sub machine gun and the Super shorty, those are big money and and a couple of MONTHS worth of FEDERAL PAPERWORK. I think a more practical solution that can be bought in the next week or two is in order.

  • James has just written a post about handgun holsters for wheelchairs:


  • Solomon


    might have been overlooked in the crush but these guys build an attachment system that seems ideal…especially for around the house.

  • zminer

    I agree with everyone who is looking at firearm selection as part of a larger problem which is that this woman is being victimized repeatedly, for whatever reason. Pretty much nobody wants to have to pull a gun and shoot someone, so her having this firearm is really the last line of defense in my mind.

    Some good suggestions are here already, along with a few of my own. In no particular order:

    1. Another dog, one which is spry enough to defend you in the case of a home invasion

    2. Exterior, motion-activated lighting. Sometimes people won’t engage in a crime if they think someone might see them.

    3. Exterior cameras to capture images of the people who are doing this.

    4. Exterior signs warning of the security system, dog, cameras, etc.

    5. Related to #3, consider who these people are and why they are victimizing you. Is it the same group of friends who knows that you’re alone and in a wheelchair? Or is it random people? Your defense against them is different depending on the answer to that question.

    6. If you live down a long driveway or access road, consider getting a gate with an alarm on it which will let you know when someone’s coming. And if you just have a regular driveway, consider getting a “driveway doorbell” which alerts you in the house that someone is driving up.

    7. Install an intercom system so that nobody – mailman, UPS, repairman, etc. – has any reason to be in your house before you’ve confirmed who they are and why they’re there. The easiest way to keep people from victimizing you is to make sure they don’t get into your house in the first place.

    8. Have you considered bars on the windows? It would suck to have to do that, but when it comes down to it, feeling safe might be worth the hassle and expense of installing some hardware.

    9. As many others said, neighbors are a key component of safety. Does anyone know of some way to rig up an “alarm button” which would trigger an alert in a neighbor’s house that Veronica needs help? If nothing else, you could each buy a prepaid cell phone that is ONLY for emergencies, ask the neighbor to leave it permanently plugged in and set to the loudest ring, and program all the speed dials on your end to that one number. You can do a one-button speed dial with the emergency phone while you’re talking to 9-1-1 on your main phone. The neighbor will know that the ring means trouble, and s/he won’t even have to talk to you on the phone – s/he’ll jump in the car and head over, preferably armed.

    Without knowing any more about the layout of your house, and your general area, it’s difficult to give more specific suggestions than this. You’ve taken the first step, though, which is to refuse to be victimized any longer. Get a gun and practice using it, but be sure that its only one part of your larger strategy of avoiding harm.

    Good luck.

  • Mu

    I’d suggest a good old fashioned Walter PP or PPK in 32 ACP. Can be carried like a revolver and fired DA, but with the quicker reload capability of an automatic. It’s not like she needs getting attacked by body armor wearing thugs to require high-cap 9mm+P for prolonged shoot-outs.
    As a friendly cop once told me, it’s always good to use the DA shot for the warning shot. But also that bullets weren’t numbered, so you couldn’t tell if the first or second shot was stuck in the ceiling.

  • CMathews

    I was in a wheelchair after a knee surgery in highschool. Had a disgruntled ex of my then girlfriend come after me at a football game. Luckily I hobbled my way up on my good leg before he sucker punched me. After that it was all over for him. I had alot of buddies on the football team that saw to it that he would have trouble eating his next meal.

    It takes a special kind of idiot to come after someone in a wheelchair. The kind of idiot that deserves what’s coming to them.

  • J.A. James

    If you are near the US States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona or New Mexico get with me off list and I will try to get you in touch with instructors and trainers who work specifically with people with mobility constraints.
    Send a post to Steve, this blog’s moderator, asking to take me up on my offer and he has complete permission to share my regular contact email with you.

    Also, if you are within what you consider to be a reasonable distance of southwestern Idaho, you are welcome to stay in the empty apartment in the basement of my house. It has a direct exit onto the driveway and from there directly to streets & sidewalks. We can work something out in terms of costs and rent while you’re getting your defensive gear, learning to use it, getting your hope upgraded as much as possible and all of the other little things that are involved in living under siege.

    Take care.

    • dave

      i live in minneapolis mn and am a 38 yr old man with a disablity called spina bifida and i use a manual wheelchair to get around and i have a ccw permit i own a s&w p250 in 40 cal and a springfield xdm 3.8 inch in 9mm and i use them for home defense and self defense when i am out the one issue i needd help with is if i ever get in a situation where i need to shoot and move at the same time how whould i do that as well as when your in a wheelchair what is the best way to carry or carry concealed cause my issue is my guns when there on my hip runb on my wheels and it doesnt matter if its inside the wasteband or outside and i very rarely where anything over my shirt so shoulder holsters would show most of the time and so that wont work if i wastrying to conceal carry and i own a ccw fanny pack and i like it but its falling apart and it was 40.00s and custom made and where can i get training on being in a wheelchair and learning self defense cause most of the stuff up here is for abled bodied people and how would i start a class for disabled up here to help othere people like me in other situations

      • wendell chenault

        Dave, Sorry I personally cannot help you with how you should carry other than telling you to read what was posted on this topic back in 09, which I am sure that you already have. I can tell you as far as an instructor or becoming one, you may have stumbled onto something here. On USAcarry.com the edition that I got as an email just the other day on 2-13-12 had a top topic of “How to Become a Firearms Instructor.” You may could go to that site and find out some more information on that subject and find out where I am sure there are more people or maybe a instructor in your area that can help you out more. Also, one of the tv shows it was either “Personal Defense” or “Best Defense” which comes on Weds here in my area on I think the Outdoor Channel, had a segment on handicap and disabled people. Now that I am thinking about it the instructor on there had lost both legs in a battle in I think Iran. Anyway it was on a month or 2 ago. If you can go to the archives on that show maybe it would be of some help. I still have several on DVR so maybe I haven’t erased it yet. If I see it I will let you know.

        Anyway good luck in your search and please let me know on here what you find out in case I run into another person needing help that is in your same situation.

        Wendell Chenault

  • Jeff M

    Yes the SMG requires several months of paperwork, but it is the best option. I’d say something smaller for someone who needs to conceal it in their pants or who has a very small chance of ever actually firing a gun in anger at someone, but it sounds like she has a very real threat and has a good sack to hide a gun in.

    You could pull that thing out of a bag and lay waste to any number of opponents in short order. Isn’t that what you really want? 🙂

  • gary

    I have been in a wheelchair for about 6 years. I can still hunt and shoot although skeet shooting is more difficult. I carry a S&W J frame 357 in a custom vest all day every day. Go to a gun range and find something that you like to shoot, get some training and find a comfortable way to carry all the time.

  • jdun1911

    I’ll try to be quick and to the point.

    This will be your first firearm I assumed.

    While I like Glock I don’t think it will be in your best interest right now. Maybe in the future but not now. I think the best choice is a a double action revolver in .357.

    I also highly recommend that it has a lanyard loop hole. So if you dropped the firearms it can be easily retrieve.


    I also suggest that you mount the weapon as close to you as possible. Within hand reach at all time in any situtration. You don’t want a child thinking it is a toy and suddenly garbing the firearm. Unable to prevent it because the gun was out of reach.

    Go to the gun range. They have a lot of different type of firearms for you to rent and test out.

  • jdun1911

    I forgot to mention that the firearm should be loaded at all time otherwise it just an expensive rock.

  • viper5552

    in addition to the small handguns you may want to consider a carbine like the Cx4 storm for home defense to a longer range, and higher capacity magazine option

  • gunner

    about the lighter gun/smaller caliber suggestions, we don’t know yet what the lady’s strengths and limitations are. if she has good upper body strength, arms, hands and shoulders, then her choices are broader, if its a condition affecting her whole body then that should be taken into account. as for “full-auto”, given the expense of purchase price, scarcity of guns and paperwork/transfer tax, that’s not on for most folks much less a disabled person possibly on a limited income. i do know a number of women who own and enjoy shooting the “big guns”, .357 and .44 magnum and .45 acp, veronica might become one of those shooters, but right now she’s just beginning to find her way. let’s not scare her off.

  • Joe Hooker

    Thanks, Steve. Wheelchairs are a matter of perspective. If you’re able bodied you think “man, sure glad I’m not in one of those things.” But, if your legs don’t work any more it’s your freedom machine to get around in.

    I’d second the idea to go to the range and try out different guns before buying. Many police depts. have adopted guns in .40 S&W because of the increasing number of female officers. It has less blast & recoil than 45 ACP but just about the same power. Would much rather have it than 9mm. Most women have smaller hands than men and this may be a factor as well. Try first, buy later.

    One other suggestion if you’re a wheelchair user is to keep the gun on you if possible. I use an ankle holster. If you attach it to the chair and you get knocked out of it, you’re disarmed.

  • Veronica,
    I need to amend my advice.Since you are wheelchair bound and cannot walk,practice cocking and loading the P-97 using your wheels.
    Place the slide against one of your wheels,on the rubber.Use both hands if you need to,do what works for you;find what works for you.

    Remember that this aspect of my advice may be un-needed.My old girlfriend can hand-cock her P-97 and you may be able to as well.
    The P97 will drop down beside you in your chair and stay there pretty well.Just make sure that it is in a holster;for your safety and to avoid wear.

    I do not advise against the P-97 for anyone;it is an excellent gun in a general sense.It would serve your purposes very well.You can feel very confident that it will save you if it is ever needed.

  • The first thing I would advise our prospective gun owner to do is to get her hands on the first semi-automatic pistol in reach and see if she can even cycle the action. She states that she has numerous health issues, and I know of many relatively healthy women who lack the hand strength to cycle the action without excessive effort. If she cannot cycle the action, debating which kind of pistol is moot point.

    I suspect that a steel medium-frame 6-shot revolver in .38 Special with a 3″ heavy or 4″ standard barrel is probably her best option. They are more reliable than semi-autos, the manual of arms is easier to master, and many find it easier to shoot accurately. A steel frame has more weight and has less recoil than an aluminum frame, and a longer-than-snubby barrel has better intrinsic accuracy.

    I’d also think that she can probably find a gently-used revolver for substantially less than a new semi-auto, which could translate into more $$$ for range time… or hiring a relator.

  • Steve,

    My wife is small made and not very strong because of a childhood accident that broke both her hands below the shoulders. I think she may have very similar problems to Veronica because of this. We have a Colt 38 Diamondback revolver at home in case she needs it. The recoil is easily bearable for her (and I think it would be for Veronica too) and the power is more than adequate as far as the short ranges of the typical home are concerned. For someone who may not be very interested in guns beyond occasionally shooting them in order to get some practice, I personally think that revolvers are better than autopistols because of their simplicity of design, ease of maintenance and use, and the ability to carry them safely with all chambers loaded compared to keeping automatics safe with a round in the chamber. (Yes, some are going to laugh at me for saying this, but then, I have the ready excuse that when I was a boy, Moses wore shorts!)

    Unfortunately, the Diamondback and other Colt revolvers are no longer made but Smith and Wesson has some nice 38 Specials and there are several companies like Glaser who make good defensive ammunition for the scenario that she speaks about. I hope that she finds something that she likes soon and is safe. Please do post what she decides on as it would be helpful to many people coming from an actual user as compared to a theoretical execise by well meaning people who can only speculate but not relate beyiond a point to someone like Veronica or my wife.

  • EzGoingKev

    I was told by a gun dealer years ago that he sold a lot of the SPAS-12 shotguns to people in wheelchairs.

    This was about 20 years ago so please forgive me if I am wrong but I remember him saying that it was the folding stock (that was not as common as today), the fact that it was an auto that could go pump to clear a malfunction, and that their recoil was not as bad as other 12 gauge shotguns.

    For a pistol, I would think either a Glock 17/19 or an XD in 9mm. I think the combination of high capacity with the mild recoil would be the best bet over a larger round that would be harder for anyone to control.

  • My mother doesn’t weigh 110, but has no problem shooting a .45 Blackhawk. She uses a Single Six to get more trigger time in at the range, but loves the big bore. She is staying away from magnums. Her problem with autos was finding one that she could rack with her arthritic hands and one disabled finger, so she is using revolvers. Handle as many different pistols as you can, shoot at a range with helpful people. A .45 in a steel frame gun is something a small person can handle. Buy a similar .22 to get in lots of inexpensive practice, and to have fun at the range.

  • Mel

    I used to live someplace I couldn’t see my neighbours, and occasionally people. usually men, would come out of the woods. I am disabled and use a wheelchair, and have some experience with shooting. My first line of defense was my dogs. I had one that was loud and fierce, and one that was big and scary looking. Neither of my dogs were pure-bred, just rescued animals with the right sort of temperament. I had a shotgun in the house, but carried only a very small gun. I understand lots of people think big bullet better than small bullet, big gun better than small gun, but the thing is I never actually had to shoot a gun. Generally shouting (over the dogs’ barking) ‘I have a gun!’ was enough and they would go.

    There are reasons other than the wheelchair why recoil can be an issue. In my case I have neurological problems and have difficulty hanging on to the gun. The larger the recoil, the more likely I won’t be able to hold onto it. Another reason might be brittle bones, where the smallest possible recoil can still be a problem.

    Posting warning signs is great, it really does deter a lot of idle trouble. The dogs generally kept all other trouble away. One of the best things a lady can cultivate is a reputation for being too much trouble to bother with. I think that is worth as much as, if not more than, the gun.

    All that being said, I am all for getting the biggest gun you can reasonably handle – and yes, try them out for yourself if at all possible. But realistically, the odds of your actually having to shoot someone are low, no matter where you live. Best to be prepared of course, but take the steps necessary to make yourself an unattractive target, and they will almost certainly go bother someone else.

    It’s worth noting that there are more and more homeless people showing up at people’s homes looking for food. This is not an isolated problem. It’s not just about (or happening in) bad neighbourhoods. I have a friend, also a rural-living disabled woman, who lately finds people in her house every week at least.

    I know that this is a firearms blog and I’m not talking about firearms, but self-defense (as others have noted) is so much more than a gun, and having been in a similar situation, I felt a need to put my 2c in.

    • Mel, thanks for your comments. You comment was perfectly on-topic for this blog. Thank you.

  • With all due respect, the thinking that dogs could do what a gun could, is absolutely insensible. A reasonably fit man with a largish knife can turn any dog ever born into a Korean dinner. And, announcing that you have a gun is even more foolish because it alerts whoever is out to get you, to the fact that you’re armed. Why would you make an attacker more prepared to get you if that is his intention? If someone is in real danger, then a gun that that person can use needs to be the first line of defense. A dog could probably alert the owner to someone’s presence, but not much more than that. If someone finds even a 38 SPecial difficult to shoot, then a 22 lr revolver is fine. It will keep a man with a knife away from you if you shoot him enough times. A dog won’t.

  • Mehul,

    Do you base what you say on fact or is this just your opinion?

  • R. Mc Dowell

    Well this is interesting. I’m 66 and 5’2″ and slim. We have a small dog and pit bulls get loose here at times. We had one kill a small dog that was being walked so I carry a NAA .22 magnum revolver that drops right into my pocket.

    If I was in a wheelchair, I don’t want the chance of a automatic jamming on me so I would probably have a .32 magnum Taurus Ultra Lite revolver with a couple of loaded “speed loaders” on me. Then carry the NAA .22 magnum as a hidden backup. To finish, also have a 4″ dagger knife hidden somewhere on your chair or body. I’d make sure the word got around that you could handle yourself and maybe these problems would stop. Anyway, good luck!

  • Heath,

    I have had to tackle a loose pit bull which came at my 13 year old terrier while I was walking him and I had to use a few well placed kicks with the metal tipped shoes that I was wearing on that day to do the job. Had I been wearing sneakers, my dog wqould probably have been badly injured and I bitten badly. I live in one of two states that don’t permit concealed carry. Someone who is fit and has a knife can easily take care of any bigger breed – knives are also quiet, by the way, and give little audible warning when used by someone who knows how to.

    Invariably, advice about having dogs and not using guns or about cocking a revolver / drawing back on a slide if you have an autopistol to make a sound, comes from anti gun groups in the USA. This is complete nonsense. If an attacker knows that you are in a wheelchair, he has an advantage on you. If you indicate your position by making a noise, then you are being patently stupid in revealing your position. If you are attacked it is a bullet / several bullets that will stop your attacker – not a stray that you pick up from your neighborhood shelter or any noise that you make. To suggest otherwise to a lady who is wheelchair bound and has a genuine need to defend herself is morally indefensible as her life is being put in danger because of a ridiculous suggestion.

  • Adam

    There was a gentleman at a handgun class I took who, as a result of a spinal injury, couldn’t handle the recoil of a 9 Luger or a .380.

    He instead carries a FN Five-Seven. It might be a gun to consider if recoil is an issue.
    It’s a large frame gun, but it’s remarkably light-weight. Standard capacity is 20+1.

  • Steve, have you heard from the woman to see what she decided?

    • Heath, I emailed her but did not hear back, which is disappointing after all these people offered advice.

  • wendell chenault

    I have been watching too and wondering what she was to do. There has been alot of good advice for many different levels of disabilities.

    • I am sure she read it, maybe she just didn’t want to respond to a random guy over email. Anyhow the advice is all indexed on google for people in a similar situation to find,

  • Jason

    FN 5.7. Enough said.