View Full Version : Handgun for Mom

11-26-2012, 7:34 PM
So, my older brother and I were having a discussion on what our mother should get to better protect herself when she is living alone. She has the big dog and alarm covered, but she also expressed the desire to own, and be proficient with a home defense weapon. After some back and forth, my brother decided that it would be better for her to have a snub-nose revolver of some sort. I disagreed, mainly because I'm not sure my mother has the hand strength to pull the trigger smoothly enough to shoot it well. Beside that, since she isn't going to be carrying, a full size revolver/pistol would be a little better if it fit her hands better.

She visited me recently, and I went through some of my HD pistols, and I let her handle my SP101(2"), my Bersa 380, and my M&P(small backstrap). Without having any firing experience, she liked the feel of the M&P the best, but she doesn't have the hand strength to cycle the slide(which kinda backed up my concerns with trigger control with a DA revolver, but triggers are lighter than recoil springs).

So, what I'm going to do is take her to the range, and let her try them all out, and maybe rent a few to give her more options. I also suggested that she take a handgun course to better familiarize herself with basic handgun safety, and manipulation. I don't want her to rush to buy, or give her one of mine, unless I know it can be a viable tool. Does that sound right?

Anyway, we will see. I'll keep the community(CGN) posted on what we come up with. I'm just glad my mother is taking her protection in her own hands, and knows that she cannot rely on just the police, although the big dog and alarm have worked well thus-far. Before the big dog/alarm, and even before I became a firearm owner, I caught a crackhead that broke in her house(while I still lived there). He didn't make it out so well, and because of that incident, the neighborhood has left her home alone since then, but now we have "other concerns".

If you guys/gals have any ideas, please feel free to share. The only option that isn't on the table is me moving back in...and that is a good thing.

BTW, I did also think about a 20ga pump, but IDK if she would be comfortable with that...we'll see.

11-26-2012, 7:41 PM
What about a shotgun? Best for HD instead of a handgun. Try a lower gauge.

11-26-2012, 7:49 PM
What about a shotgun? Best for HD instead of a handgun. Try a lower gauge.

See the last line in my post...I did edit after making the OP, but yeah, it's a thought...

11-26-2012, 7:59 PM
See the last line in my post...I did edit after making the OP, but yeah, it's a thought...

Didn't read the edit lol.
What about a 380 acp small framed auto pistol.

11-26-2012, 8:01 PM
I'm thinking that if your mom is having issues with finger strength for a DA pull, she may also have trouble with a shotgun or other larger framed and heavier semi-autos. But, the best thing for you to do is to get her comfortable with a firearm FIRST. Don't let her dive headlong into a HD pistol/shotgun etc without first knowing and understanding safety with a firearm. The responsibility of having a HD weapon is a huge responsibility. Besides, you don't want to drop by your mom's house only to be staring down the barrel of the pistol you helped her buy!

So, a couple of brief suggestions:
1) First steps pistol class by an NRA qualified instructor. This will get her mindset with the safety discipline of owning a pistol. This will also get her used to handling a firearm around an instructor and get used to the bangs!
2) If she doesn't like any of your guns, rent. Rent A LOT! This will cost a bit, but will ensure that she has confidence in using and handling the pistol AND that she is proficient in shooting it. Holding a gun in the hand is TOTALLY different from being able to shoot well with it. There is good weight and bad weight with guns. A small, lightweight pistol might not be the best thing for her to shoot.
3) In home safety. Not sure of her situation, but will she be watching any young ones? Younger children, grand/great-grandchildren etc? Babysitting or watching neighbor kids? If there is ANY chance of this possibility, she MUST take this responsibility VERY, VERY seriously. She needs to be able to CONSTANTLY keep her vigilance with having the pistol 100% SAFE inside the house.
4) Pistol shooting is a skill. Like any skill, it must be kept up. Keep a date to take her to a range every so often so that she can continue to feel comfortable with shooting it AND being safe (muzzle control, trigger finger safety, etc).

And, finally for the fun part. Watch youtube! Have her watch some of Hickok45's beginner FAQ videos. He approaches pistols and shooting from a VERY comfortable point of view. He's very educational, very relaxed and a heck of a good shot!!!

Here is a good primer for taking specifically ladies, but it applies to just about anyone, to the range for their first trip.

Hope that helps! Hope she finds something that she is comfortable with and that she enjoys shooting. Most of all, I hope she never has to pull the pistol in self defense. Ever.

Happy shooting, teaching and be safe!

11-27-2012, 6:20 PM
^^^ some good suggestions by XDJYo

11-27-2012, 6:32 PM
My Mom has two pistols, a Bersa Thunder 380 and an M&P in 9mm. Took her some time to get the skills for racking the slide quickly, but they are loaded and she is an excellent shot.

My best advice is to get something that she is comfortable holding and shooting. Means visit a range, have her hold some firearms, and rent a few that fit her hands and move forward from there when you find one that works for her. Then practice practice practice.

Grandma came over to visit with her once, decided they wanted to play with my 1911 and took turns racking the slide and feeling the trigger pull and balance of the pistol. Was pretty awesome to see the family brought together over firearms. :-)

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11-27-2012, 7:24 PM
When dealing with someone with weaker hand strength, teach them to grasp the slide and hold it in place and then push the frame forward (keeping the finger off the trigger!). It will make a difference. There are various slide racker type devices available for some guns.

11-27-2012, 7:38 PM
It has to be something she likes to shoot, because if she doesn't on her own go out and practice regularly then it won't be all that useful anyway when she needs it.

If she doesn't seem to have the hand strength to rack the slide on your M&P she may just be doing the wrong technique. With her off hand's palm toward the front of the gun she can just push with both hands instead of pulling back with her off hand. Might help her.

11-27-2012, 7:55 PM
How about a .22lr snubbie (Ruger LCR22 - http://www.ruger.com/products/lcr/models.html), or, if she can't manage the trigger pull then a snubbie with a hammer?

11-27-2012, 8:56 PM
took my parents to the local gun shop here and my mother seemed to like the M&P 9c

11-27-2012, 10:47 PM
When dealing with someone with weaker hand strength, teach them to grasp the slide and hold it in place and then push the frame forward (keeping the finger off the trigger!). It will make a difference. There are various slide racker type devices available for some guns.

+1 , It sounds kind of silly but it really does make a big difference. MY mom has hand strength issues too and couldn't rack my dads .45 I had her hold the slide and push the gun/frame forward and she was shocked that she coud do it. but it is still too much gun for her to fire comfortabley.

Her favorite gun to shoot is my Ruger bearcat. Second favorite her single six.

11-27-2012, 10:56 PM
If going shotgun I'd consider a 20 gauge double barreled shotgun if a pump isn't going to work out.

Otherwise a 4" revolver in .38 loaded with the right ammo should be sufficient.

11-27-2012, 11:11 PM
OP: my mom went through the same process and has the hand strength/slide-racking issues that were described as well. Rent, rent, rent; try as wide a variety as possible to find what she is comfortable with. My mom has a M&P9C and loves it. To get around the slide racking issue, a round is in the chamber but the mag isn't fully inserted and the mag disconnect doesn't allow it to be fired unless mag is seated fully; 1) this addresses her safety concerns about being startled by the bump in the night and accidentally ND'ing and 2) negates the slide issue as all she has to do is seat the mag and she's ready. Also, hers has the Apex DCAEK and it's a sweet shooting little pistol.

11-27-2012, 11:17 PM
Hardwarejunkie and Stix213 are right about the technique of holding the slide and pushing the frame. My mom had major concerns about racking a slide and was leaning towards a revolver until she shot a few, but one of the range employees that was showing her various makes/models showed her that technique and she has no problems now.