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  #1  
Old 02-08-2011, 3:05 PM
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Default Best handgun for arthritis

I know a girl who wants a handgun for self-defense. She has arthritis in her hands. We had her shoot an airweight S&W .38 and the recoil hurt her hands. She could pull the trigger and the hammer back okay. Another .38 revolver's trigger was too hard to pull. She tried multiple semi-autos and can't pull the slide back. So, she probably needs a .22 LR or Magnum revolver. Any recommendations? The lighter the trigger pull the better. And also, do you know if local dealers have your recommendation in stock? We didn't find anything at Discount Gun in Santee.
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Old 02-08-2011, 3:09 PM
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a .22 is semi auto or revolver is her best bet.
i personally would recommend the MK3 or 22/45 if she can pull the slides back. (turners have a steady supply of .22s)

magnum is not a good idea. most magnum is DA/SA and the DA trigger is usually no less than 8lbs. plus, the recoil from a light magnum will not be manageable, while a heavy magnum will be to heavy which is also not manageable.
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Old 02-08-2011, 3:10 PM
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yep, i would agree with a .22 as long as she is able to place her shots were she wants she should be okay....
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Old 02-08-2011, 3:14 PM
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22 Semi Auto and don't be afraid to ask a gun shop with a good smith to try and make the trigger pull a little lighter for her. The 4 inch S&W, Ruger, and depending on her hand size maybe even a 1911 version 22....the later is an easier trigger manipulation for her.
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2011, 3:15 PM
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Yeah, she can't pull slides back. So it has to be a revolver.
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Old 02-08-2011, 3:25 PM
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S&W 617 in .22 is a double action revolver and has a 10 round capacity
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Old 02-08-2011, 3:27 PM
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If you can find a Beretta 21A Bobcat (22LR), a 3032 Tomcat (32ACP), or a Model 86 (380ACP). Those would be a good semi-auto choice for her. They all have a tip-up barrel, so no working of the slide to chamber a round. Just flip a lever and the barrel pops up. I believe the Tomcat is the only one still on the roster but you still occasionally run into the other two on the used market.

I know some people that have arthritis or weak hands and that's what they use.
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2011, 3:31 PM
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She tried one of those flip-up ones, she could get it open but had to use two fingers to push it. It could work, but she prefers the revolvers. The 617 looks pretty good. I read online that it's trigger pull is a little strong, but she did pull the trigger on an airweight .38.
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Old 02-08-2011, 3:40 PM
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I would not recommend .22 for defense.

I think something like this: http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/70265

Running some .38 +P JHP will be managable with this revolver's weight.

The SP101 is smaller and about 9 oz lighter, more concealable, but the recoil will be a little more stout, much less than an Airweight, but still more than the GP100.
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Old 02-08-2011, 4:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankm View Post
She tried one of those flip-up ones, she could get it open but had to use two fingers to push it. It could work, but she prefers the revolvers. The 617 looks pretty good. I read online that it's trigger pull is a little strong, but she did pull the trigger on an airweight .38.
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...layErrorView_Y

how about this one, the S&W Model 625 JM.

45 ACP 6 rounds so she will have plenty of stopping power over the .38 yet w/o the 357 recoil.

it weights of 40 oz is good for recoil absorption, and the 4" barrel wont give the nasty muzzle flip of the snub noise.

the performance center trigger means that the DA/SA will be butter smooth and light

the 979 price tag is the only down side. but IMO this is actually cheap for a quality revolver that fits all her needs.

BTW any hammerless DAO revolver will have 10lb DA trigger pull. being sub 20 oz also dont really help with recoil management. if she can hold up a heavier gun w/ longer barrel w/o issues, i would recommend her to try something heavier for HD. if she need a carry piece for personal defense, then a pocket gun w/ a trigger job is the only way to go. on the other hand, i would highly recommend her to also get a pouch for the gun to prevent AD.

Last edited by wu_dot_com; 02-08-2011 at 4:18 PM..
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2011, 4:49 PM
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Have her try .38spl wadcutters too, preferably not in an airweight.
Also, like said above, a 45acp revolver.
Another one would be .32 long, can be shot out of a 32 h&r like a S&W431 or 432, or a Charter
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Old 02-08-2011, 5:09 PM
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My dad has severe arthritis. He's had two knuckles replaced. His biggest problem is racking the slide. The best gun for him is a 1911. He can handle shooting it just fine as well as rack the slide. Could not pull the trigger on any revolver. He's also fine with Glocks.

Have her try a Glock 19 or Ruger LCR. The LCR trigger is very nice and easy. I've never shot one, though. Just pulled the trigger. The Glock 19 is pretty easy to shoot.
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  #13  
Old 02-08-2011, 5:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankm View Post
She tried one of those flip-up ones, she could get it open but had to use two fingers to push it. It could work, but she prefers the revolvers. The 617 looks pretty good. I read online that it's trigger pull is a little strong, but she did pull the trigger on an airweight .38.
If she can pull the DA trigger on an airweight (>=12#) the she can probably handle the DA on the K and L frames which generally run <12#. Make sure she can work the cylinder release too. For some reason that seems harder for beginners than the trigger. There is a technique that makes it nearly effortless for right handers and almost so for lefties.

Can she handle the 38 recoil in a larger frame?
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2011, 5:36 PM
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See if you can get her to try pulling back the slide on a Ruger P95. They have a relatively light recoil spring as the slide weight is well balanced. The gripping surfaces are also well sized and shaped. When I was in the retail gun business that was always where we ended up with situations like yours. Rimfire revolvers tend to have even heavier trigger pulls as the hammer spring has to be heavy enough to deal with the rimfire priming. This is even more so in the 22 mag revolvers. If you lighten the hammer spring you can experience light strikes and low reliability. The Ruger P95 platform has low slide effort and low recoil impulses plus a decently shaped grip.
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Old 02-08-2011, 5:36 PM
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I don't understand why an an airweight hurting her hand means she can't find another 38 revo.

Anyway, in the same line as the 45acp revo, how about a 9mm revo? Gotta find one though.
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Old 02-08-2011, 5:39 PM
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I don't know how to edit a post from my phone, so I'm posting again.

I remember a beretta 92fs has a very easy racking slide. Can anyone else confirm?
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:09 PM
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Work with her; not against her. Weight is only part of the equation.

My mother has arthritis in her hands. She can pull the DA trigger on my L-frames with no problem. I've done some minor action work so them so the triggers are smoother and about two to three pounds lighter than stock. She can pull the stock DA trigger on a PPK/S with a little difficulty. The DA trigger on a P95 is impossible for her. Racking the slide on every autoloader she has tried causes pain in her fingers and hands. Even the mystical, magical Glock fell flat when faced with an 80 year old women with arthritic hands. Easy for her to shoot but impossible for her to rack.

The easiest gun for her to use was a Ruger Blackhawk. Crank the hammer back with her right hand (she is left handed) trigger pull of about 3.5# and six shots in a one inch circle at 25 feet.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarville View Post
Crank the hammer back with her right hand (she is left handed) trigger pull of about 3.5# and six shots in a one inch circle at 25 feet.
That's good shootin'! Bravo for her!!
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  #19  
Old 02-08-2011, 7:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cineski View Post
Have her try a Glock 19 or Ruger LCR. The LCR trigger is very nice and easy. I've never shot one, though. Just pulled the trigger. The Glock 19 is pretty easy to shoot.
She's not going to be able to operate the slide on the G19.

The LCR kicks like a mule, even without +P loads. My wife hated hers and we sold it to a friend. It is simply too light for a .38.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvrick View Post
I don't know how to edit a post from my phone, so I'm posting again.

I remember a beretta 92fs has a very easy racking slide. Can anyone else confirm?
yes, matter of fact, the trigger pull can be lighten in both DA/SA fairly easily too w/o having AD issue.

if you cock the hammer, the slide racking is even easier since it dont have to fight the hammer spring.

i have my running about 6 lbs DA and sub 3lbs SA right now. all it needs is to change a few springs, and modify the sear spring.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:27 PM
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It's possible she can try a heavier .38. Her arthritis is real bad. Her wrists don't really flex well and her fingers are really screwed up. Sounds like the .22 Magnum is out. Looks like it the choice could possibly be a heavier .38, a .32 or a .22 LR revolver, especially one of the ones suggested above.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:31 PM
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you can also teach her how to rack with one hand. put the rear sight against a ledge and press the gun down to rack it. be sure to mod the sights so you don't break anything.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankm View Post
It's possible she can try a heavier .38. Her arthritis is real bad. Her wrists don't really flex well and her fingers are really screwed up. Sounds like the .22 Magnum is out. Looks like it the choice could possibly be a heavier .38, a .32 or a .22 LR revolver, especially one of the ones suggested above.
try to stay center fire if the gun's sole intended purpose is for self defense. .22 LR is less reliable and you are more prone to duds than most center fire rounds. even though a revolver are not subject to FTF or FTE issues. its still good to have all 6 rounds ready to go when you need it.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:41 PM
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Based on this thread, I feel the .32 will have less recoil than the .38 and a lighter trigger pull than the .22.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:41 PM
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also, even if the gun is not in stock at the dealer, search the gun you want on gun genie and have it ship to your FFL. its better to get a gun that fits rather than just settle on what they have in stores. just make sure its on DOJ list before you talk to your FFL.
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Old 02-08-2011, 7:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankm View Post
Based on this thread, I feel the .32 will have less recoil than the .38 and a lighter trigger pull than the .22.
if the choice is between .32 and .38, i would pic .38. this is because .38 is easier to source than .32. with a heavier gun, the recoil of .38 is easily manageable. IMO its not worth the little recoil advantage to pick .32 over .38
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlacerTactical View Post
Have her try .38spl wadcutters too, preferably not in an airweight.
Also, like said above, a 45acp revolver.
Another one would be .32 long, can be shot out of a 32 h&r like a S&W431 or 432, or a Charter
This. A heavier gun will not recoil as much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvrick View Post
I remember a beretta 92fs has a very easy racking slide. Can anyone else confirm?
Indeed. If there's any semiauto whose slide she can rack, it'll definitely be the Beretta 92.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:52 PM
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Just jumping in late here to concur with a lot of the posters - don't assume a smaller caliber is better, especially since a smaller caliber is often in a smaller, lighter gun and that means more recoil.

There are a lot of easier-to-rack semi-autos but we'll put that one aside. Usually the action can be lightened on a revolver, especially common makes, for $80-100 or so.

I would think a short/mid-barrel, fully lugged, ported revolver in all steel would be ideal, but it has to be something she can test everything on, and hold it for a while to make sure it isn't too heavy. If weight isn't the problem, then heavier is better for controlling recoil. I have to say the airweight was a bad first choice for arthritis.

People tend to assume smaller / lighter is better for small people or people with a disability, it ain't necessarily so. I've often found the opposite.

If a heavy 38 works well, take a look at 45 revolvers - there is a greater variety of ammunition available, including some decent low-velocity loads.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankm View Post
We had her shoot an airweight S&W .38 and the recoil hurt her hands.
I cringe every time i read a statement like that. An airweight revolver is one of the worst handgun for a novice shooter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankm View Post
So, she probably needs a .22 LR or Magnum revolver. Any recommendations?
I really cringe when i read this statement. A .22 is a lousy defense round. Sure plenty of people have been killed by a .22 LR but it's a very lousy stopper.

If she can cock the hammer (bad idea in a tense situation) or shoot it DA she can handle a mid size .38 (or a .357 loaded with .38's). Something like a K frame S&W or Ruger would work really good. Or maybe something like a Ruger SP101. Especially if it's had an action job.

Also don't rule out a used gun. The money saved could be put towards an action job.

Here's a really good article on checking out used handguns.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=1430
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Old 02-09-2011, 7:01 AM
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There are lighter aftermarket recoil springs you can get for the G19.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cokebottle View Post
She's not going to be able to operate the slide on the G19.

The LCR kicks like a mule, even without +P loads. My wife hated hers and we sold it to a friend. It is simply too light for a .38.
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Old 02-09-2011, 7:09 AM
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Ruger Mark II, minimal slide manipulation. Have her rent and try it out: a good factor to consider is ammunition capacity when comparing wheel guns versus semi-automatics.
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Old 02-09-2011, 7:59 AM
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From what you describe, she needs to stick with revolver. She should still be able to cock the hammer back (not nearly as hard as racking a slide), then easy pull on the trigger.

Sounds like a Ruger SP101 or GP100 loaded with .38's will do the trick.
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Old 02-09-2011, 8:22 AM
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My wife has problems with her hands also like arthritis. Due to a growth in her spine messed up her nerves and has no muscles in her hands . She had a lot of trouble and had to put a lot of effort to rack my 1911s and the only way she could was unsafe. She was able to rack and shoot my Walther P5. I started shooting with that back when I was 7 or 8. Easy rack and shoot. Take her to the store ,make it fun day , and dont discourage her, have her handle some guns.
Im also thinking about having her to shoot my AR. Shes able to rack it with a big latch BCM handle . The strap will help and featureless so she wont need to reload hopefully. 30rd mag compared to 3-10 rd mags.
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Old 02-09-2011, 8:41 AM
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I'll have her try some of the heavier .38's. If that don't cut it, I'll review the 32 and 22 options. Thanks guys!
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Old 02-09-2011, 9:26 AM
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I called the American Shooting Center and they told me .32's are no longer made. I'm also wondering if getting ammo is a problem.
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Old 02-09-2011, 9:30 AM
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The models I listed as well as the 32 long ammo is in stock at my distributor. Have her try the 38spl wadcutter ammo though.
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Old 02-09-2011, 9:34 AM
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Taurus 905 revolver in a 9mm would be a good option too. It is off the roster but could be purchased through ppt or single shot exemption.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:16 AM
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i suggest the best gun she can shoot with and an annual supply of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, such as Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra to make shooting much more comfortable.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnj View Post
That's good shootin'! Bravo for her!!
Surprised the heck out of me! I figured she wouldn't even want to shoot the Blackhawk -- I alost didn't bring it that day -- but she asked to try it and did really well.

Re eh OP. Arthritis can be tricky to work around. Something that seems trivial to one of the unafflcted can cause crippling pain to the sufferer. Is there a way she can try a decent example of the guns she might be able to use? I see you're in San Diego so I guess there is not much point in offering to let her try any of my revolvers.
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Last edited by scarville; 02-09-2011 at 11:35 AM.. Reason: Stupid spelilng erorr :)
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:25 PM
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frankm frankm is offline
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Thanks for the offer. We're going to check the rentals at all the ranges.
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