Self-Defense Tips for People Who Are Medically Fragile or Disabled


Age, illness and injury are all factors that can significantly limit the options one has when it comes to defending oneself. However, even with certain physical disadvantages, such as limited range of motion, there are still ways to defend yourself in the event of a violent encounter.

Remember when you were young and created a “Plan A” for your life, with a backup “Plan B” if the first plan didn’t work out? A similar approach can be taken for self-defense. As Bruce Eimer shared with Concealed Carry Magazine readers in the summer of 2012, a “layered” approach to self-defense involves having a Plan A in place, with Plans B and C to turn to if Plan A doesn’t work out. He also says it’s “essential to have a last resort immediately accessible and ready to use as an immediate response option if you have an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm.”

To create your plans of action, Eimer suggests remembering the following tips for handling conflicts that cannot be avoided:

  • Minimize Risk – Use common sense and avoid areas that you feel would put you in harm’s way.
  • Have a Cell Phone Handy – Always carry a cell phone with 911 programmed into a speed dial button.
  • Know & Rehearse Assertive Verbal Commands – Practice “saying what you want people to do in a commanding voice.” Short phrases like “Leave me alone!,” “Leave now!,” and “Back off! Stay away from me!” are phrases to use that can help discourage a threatening person from assaulting you.
  • Use Assistive Devices to Your Advantage – Canes, walking sticks and other assistive devices can be used in a moment’s notice as a mechanism of self-defense. However, it is highly advisable that you seek the assistance of a qualified defensive tactics instructor that can provide guidance based on your individual needs.
  • Seek Assistance in Choosing Concealed Carry Gear – Those who are medically fragile or physically disabled should seek out help from a qualified firearms instructor when choosing a handgun and how to operate it best with their abilities. This should include holding and aiming the gun; operating the trigger and other mechanisms in order to check the gun’s status; loading, unloading, and cleaning it; and effectively carrying the concealed gun.

If you or a loved one suffers a chronic illness or has a disability that weakens your ability to defend yourself, preparation is the key to knowing what the body is capable of doing. For more tips like this, subscribe to Concealed Carry Magazine today or become a member of the USCCA to check out all past issues, including the article “Rules of Engagement for the Medically Fragile” from our July 2012 issue.

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