You’ve probably heard the stereotypes: the sweet little old lady down the block who enjoys her early bird discount dinners, or the older gentleman next door who offers nuggets of wisdom before telling those darn kids to get off his lawn.
Stereotypes aside though, we all have loved ones in our life who fall into that 65+ “senior” age range. Some of you reading this might even be seniors yourselves.
Despite being beloved members of the community, older adults are also disproportionately victimized when it comes to crime and abuse due to the fact that they seem like “easy targets.” One in five personal crimes against seniors involves some kind of theft, and seniors are reportedly more likely to be victims of property crimes like burglary and vehicle thefts. Furthermore, over 14% of seniors have experienced physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
These statistics show that it’s more important than ever to engage in defensive living tactics to protect yourself or your loved ones who are entering their golden years. Today we’re here to help you out with some self-defense and concealed carry tips for seniors.
Let’s face the facts: as we get older, we start to face some physical challenges or limitations that we might not have experienced as a younger individual. We can’t necessarily turn back the clock, but being aware of these limitations is the first step in knowing how to best navigate around them in a defensive use-of-force situation.
While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some common challenges that come with age:
- Bone and muscle stiffness
- Joint issues, such as arthritis
- Limited range of motion
- Weight gain
- Postural imbalance
- Slowed reaction times
- Diminished eyesight or hearing
- Chronic pain in back, hips, knees, etc.
Navigating Common Challenges as a Senior Carrier
So now you’re aware of what might be impacting your defensive skills. But how do you manage these issues as a concealed carrier?
Find equipment that works for you.
This is a note that we could give anyone, no matter their age, because finding a firearm and a carry method that you’re comfortable with is a key component of carrying. It may take some time, but finding what’s right for you can make a huge difference in your confidence and ability if the time comes to put your skills to the test.
For example, if you struggle with limited range of motion, it may be difficult to carry a shoulder holster, even if it’s something you’ve done in the past. Instead, utilize a belly band or a holster on your hip.
Factors to consider when shopping for your firearm:
- Ease of trigger pull – Waning strength, stiffness, and arthritis can all impact the ability to pull a trigger or rack a slide. Look for a firearm that allows you to comfortably hold it and squeeze the trigger without too much difficulty. If you’d like, you can even go so far as to have a gunsmith customize the trigger to make operation a bit more manageable.
- Grip strength and comfortability – If you are not comfortable with the weight and grip of your firearm, you are less likely to want to practice with it, leading to less preparedness overall. Instead, look for lightweight firearms and consider using a rubber grip, which will offer more comfort.
- Recoil – No matter what type of firearm you have, the laws of physics will come into play to give you some kind of recoil. Look for a firearm that will allow you to shoot repeatedly without heavy recoil that could cause pain.
- Accuracy – Vision and mobility issues can both affect firing accuracy, so if these are concerns for you, consider utilizing laser or high-visibility sights for extra assistance.
What if you’re not necessarily comfortable with carrying a firearm but would like to have some kind of protection? Consider using a non-lethal, intermediate use of force weapon like pepper spray or a taser/stun gun (check your local laws surrounding these items beforehand though!). As a last resort in an emergency, commonly carried items like a purse or cane could also be used to ward off attackers.
Additional Advice for Seniors
Senior citizens are typically seen as more trusting. While it’s completely fine to see the good in people, it’s also important to exercise caution as a senior to avoid becoming a target. First and foremost, don’t give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. In the digital age, this applies to strangers in person, over the phone, and online, so stay vigilant when interacting with unfamiliar people, regardless of the medium.
Regardless of your age, consistently training to live defensively is also critical to protecting yourself and your loved ones. To learn more about defensive living, check out the Concealed Coalition Membership. We offer a wide array of courses with topics ranging from situational awareness to pepper spray use, all of which can be completed with ease from the comfort of your own home.