What Handgun for arthritic hands?


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doubleg
April 28, 2007, 04:52 PM
My mother is very interested in getting her carry permit but she is having trouble finding a gun thats easy for her to use. She tryed a revolver out and it was very uncomfortable for her. She even asked about a derringer :D. So what guns do you people at the high road suggest.

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Car Knocker
April 28, 2007, 05:12 PM
Might give a look at the small-caliber Berretta autos with a tip-up barrel - no slide to rack - not much recoil - reasonably comfortable grip - lightweight.

Practical and Simple .
User-friendly design is common to all Beretta small frames. The exclusive tip-up barrel allows the user to easily load a round directly into the chamber. It also assists in the safe clearing of the pistol by allowing a live round to be easily removed from the chamber and the bore quickly checked. Jamming and stovepiping problems are virtually eliminated by the open slide design shared by all small frame Berettas.

http://www.berettausa.com/product/product_pistols_main.htm

Geronimo45
April 28, 2007, 05:37 PM
Is the problem with the recoil or with the trigger pull? Airweight snubby revolvers are notoriously painful to shoot.

doubleg
April 28, 2007, 05:40 PM
The biggest problem is the grip. Her fingers are going haywire and its hard to get a solid grip on a gun;

Geronimo45
April 28, 2007, 06:13 PM
Hmm... not sure what the solution to that would be, in that case. Try an autoloader or to, see if they fit... if you can, see if you could let her try one of the old steel .25s - a Baby Browning, for instance. It's got a small grip, it's single action (lighter trigger pull), and a pretty low recoil from what I've heard. One of them might just do the trick.

Nomad, 2nd
April 28, 2007, 06:41 PM
Custom/Semicustom grips...

do a google search and start looking.

ArchAngelCD
April 28, 2007, 06:43 PM
doubleg,
Like Geronimo45 asked, is it the recoil that's hurting your Mom's hand? If it is I would suggest a Stainless J frame and standard pressure .38 Special ammo. The added weight and standard .38 round will combine to make shooting the revolver much more comfortable. Also, if you add a set of Pachmayr Compac grips you will absorb even more of the felt recoil. http://www.pachmayr.com/pachmayr/index.htm

If weight isnít a problem you might even consider a Snub Nose K frame. With standard pressure .38 Special ammo I doubt she will be uncomfortable at all.

Good luck finding something your mom can shoot without too much discomfort.

LHB1
April 28, 2007, 07:30 PM
Quote: "The biggest problem is the grip. Her fingers are going haywire and its hard to get a solid grip on a gun;"

Besides gripping the gun, she must be able to load and fire it. Can you take her to a gun store and let her try to hold and operate several guns? That way she can tell you first hand which ones she can hold/operate and which ones she can't. This might give you a clue as to direction or type of firearms to look into further. Small double action revolvers can have very heavy trigger pulls which she may not be able to fire. She likewise may have trouble with complexity or slide resistance in loading semi-automatic pistols. Handling actual recoil is the third possible problem. Actually trying various guns (renting and firing) may be the only way to know for sure if she can grip it adequately, operate the mechanism, and fire it. I hope you and she can find the perfect gun for her. Good luck!

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

PinnedAndRecessed
April 28, 2007, 10:46 PM
Her fingers are going haywire and its hard to get a solid grip on a gun;


That's pretty vague. Is that a medical description?

Now, if you're talking about rheumatoid arthritis, and her fingers are literally deformed, then, depending upon how far the condition has progressed, she might not be able to do what she wants.

The only way to find out is to take her to a gun shop with a range, that also rents handguns.

FXWG
April 28, 2007, 11:38 PM
Along with the Beretta suggested earlier,Taurus makes a copy of it...
http://www.taurususa.com/products/product-details.cfm?id=87&category=Pistol
It shoots well for what it is.

browningguy
April 29, 2007, 12:19 AM
I'd look for a Bereta 86 .380 with the tip up barrel. I don't think they import them now but they are available used. It's nearly full size, but loads by tipping the barrel so no racking the slide needed. It'a also a more reasonable self defense caliber than the .25. Although I do have a Beretta 21 tip up in .25 ACP for a pocket gun.

TonyB
April 29, 2007, 09:30 AM
I'll start be saying that I have arthritis in my hands too.My strong hand(left)has the "haywire" fingers too.I can't grip the "proper"way w/ autos,because my trigger finger has gotten shorter over the years.I shoot alot and have learned to compensate ,but the're are still some gun designs I just can't manipulate.Revolvers may not work for her,but maybe a mini glock will.If shecan rack the slide.It may take trial and error,because arthritis effects different people in different ways.I know Houge grips mae a huge different for me.Which ever gun she gets,if and when she gets trainnning,make sure it's a person who takes into account her limitations.Not everyone can do the same things,but with practice,we can get quite good .
Tell her not to feel bad if she can only end up w/ a small caliber..it's better than no gun.Tell her to practice enough to become efficient w/in her limits.And not to go for long practice sessions,but many short ones.

1911 guy
April 30, 2007, 06:39 PM
Try to avoid the blowback operated autoloaders if you can. They are notoriously tightly sprung (very hard to rack slide) and with new designs, offer no size advantage over a tilt breech 9mm.

If she can handle the trigger on a DA revolver, look into one with aftermarket grips. Avoid the 2" snubbies unless your Mom is an accomplished shooter. The short sight radius coupled with DA trigger pull makes them very difficult to shoot well.

Have your Mom check out Pax's website www.corneredcat.com
Check it out for yourself, too, before you take her shoppong.

kellyj00
April 30, 2007, 07:11 PM
1911. You can do all kinds of interesting things to the grips on those.

CWL
April 30, 2007, 07:23 PM
It's not just being able to work the slide; arthritic hands have to be able to work safety, mag release, as well as be able to load loose bullets into a magazine. (will it be easy loading .380 or .32 ACP bullets into a mag?) Then there is disassemly/assembly for cleaning purposes. Think about ownership, not just getting that first shot-off.

I think a smaller caliber revolver would make more sense. A lot easier to take care-of as well as load.

pax
April 30, 2007, 08:37 PM
If she is able to work the slide, I know several older, arthritic women who really love their Browning Hi Powers.

Failing that, the Berettas with tip-up barrels are your best bet for semi autos, although they've got a complicated manual of arms & if she's easily befuddled by mechanical things you'll have to scratch that off the list.

She does not have to be able to load a magazine, as long as she has people who love her and are willing to do it for her. Ditto cleaning chores. Of course there are the magazine loading tools which really do help, and which she should have in any case, and you can always load up a pile of magazines for her whenever you visit.

In a revolver, do not get an airweight ANYTHING for someone who's arthritic! Please, for the love of all that is holy ... ;)

Make sure your mom understands that a heavier gun is better for her hands, even if it is difficult to hold up for long or annoying to carry. Get her something all-steel, and put some super-cushy rubber grips on it (paying attention to gun fit, of course -- she has to be able to reach the trigger). Encourage her to practice in DA mode as much as she is able, but show her how to work it in SA mode too. Make sure she learns how to safely lower the hammer after cocking it.

If you and/or she has a little money to spare, you may want to consider purchasing two revolvers -- a lighter gun to carry, and a steel gun for practice -- that are otherwise identical. But make sure she understands that she will still need to send a certain minimum number of rounds through the carry gun before she trusts it; and make sure she understands that regular practice is a non-negotiable for responsible firearms carry. (Practice doesn't have to be extensive, but it does have to be regular.)

Hope that helps. Good luck in your quest.

pax

Cosmoline
April 30, 2007, 08:49 PM
Might give a look at the small-caliber Berretta autos with a tip-up barrel - no slide to rack - not much recoil - reasonably comfortable grip

I disagree. If she has a hard time gripping, that wee little Berretta's grip, along with its notorious tendency to bite the hand that feeds it, is not going to be too good. Not to mention trying to cock and reload the littl thing. It hurts *MY* hands to try to load those tiny magazines. The whole pistol hurts my hands, more than any magnum.

I'd suggest a Hogue monogrip on an old steel J or K frame .38 special with a 3" to 4" barrel. That's about as comfortable as it gets for my own small and battered hands. The grip has a nice cushion to it and is form fitted. The pull is smooth on older Smiths, and the weight more than enough to soak up recoil. Reloading is simple and the bullets not too small. That is assuming her hands are so far gone that she can't deal with the few lbs of trigger pull.

springmom
May 1, 2007, 12:53 AM
I have arthritis in my hands too. I would stay away from the 1911's and BHP not because they're bad guns (I love mine) but because they are a PAIN IN THE NECK to take apart and put back together when your hands hurt! I hate having to ask my husband to reassemble my Browning, but I do, more times than not.

I would go with a steel-frame revolver. No problems loading, no problems cleaning, no problems racking, and you can find a set of grips that will probably work. But as I always say to husbands who ask this, she's going to have to go along and find THE revolver that fits her hands. Given that recoil isn't the issue, a good long shopping trip ought to uncover a few that will work.

If it's a little J-frame snubbie that works, she ought to start out with standard .38spl ammunition, rather than jumping into the +P stuff. I spent a good part of the afternoon out today working on my mission to conquer the double action trigger (so far the DA trigger wins, hands down, sigh) and the Gold Dots I put through it were a whole lot less pleasant than the S&B wadcutters I did most of the practice with.

My personal favorite revolver at this point is a S&W model 66-3 in .357 that we picked up at a gun show in January. I'm much more accurate with it than with the snubbie, even DA (although the DA trigger wins there too, but not by so much). The recoil is negligible with .38's and we got grips that fit my hand just perfectly.

I'm love my semiautos, but for ease of handling with arthritis and problem "haywire fingers", the revolver's better.

Springmom

sm
May 1, 2007, 01:17 AM
Good information shared.



PM sent to doubleg,
Reply PM to Geronimo45

Replies sent to the other 7 folks that contacted me as well.
Sorry, not going public, going to stick with private means on this and other stuff from now on.

GEM
May 1, 2007, 12:10 PM
Not a carry gun, but Ayoob wrote about teaching a similar person to use a single action revolver for a home gun. On the theory that this gun was better than none. One could get a 22 LR or 32 HR magnum SAA type.

I imagine that if this was to be carried in a car, that would work also.

The NAA Black Widows might fit into this category - bigger grip.

Note, I'm fully aware of the problem of single action for self defense - this is a special case argument.

About the Taurus 22 LR - I had terrible luck with mine. If you get one, really make sure it works. Mine would jam on every mag. The 25 ACP might be better but it would have to be truly wrung out.

slow944
May 1, 2007, 12:45 PM
SpringMom I know what you mean about the M66-3. I just picked up a M66-2 and the DA trigger is pretty smooth, but the SA is like a light breeze. I just squeeze my hand and it goes off. Plus the 4"bbl really helps to stablize the gun when target shooting. I also took of the wood grips and put on some Hogue combat grips that fit my hand much better giving me better control.

Lonestar49
May 1, 2007, 08:18 PM
...

I would think that the best choice would be some kind of DA/SA pistol.

Thinking on both, the effects of racking a slide on a semi auto, and trying to load double stack magazines, or even single stack magazines for that matter.

Loading a revolver with either pre-loaded cylinders, or one at a time in the same cylinder, is no effort on the hands or fingers, nor the little finer muscle motor skills needed for semi auto's magazine springs, that depend on strength, thru resistance.


Let us know what you end up with,


Enjoy,



LS

GEM
May 2, 2007, 01:12 PM
If one chose a SA/DA like a SW Model 60, I also read and now remembered a suggestion that it be loaded with a low recoil round like a wadcutter. True, this violates all the stopping power - one stop shot mantras but with such a load, the person might practice a tad and the vast majority of BGs hit with a couple of these would be deterred. Of course, the drug crazed giant biker - blah, blah - just passing on something I read.

W Turner
May 2, 2007, 01:50 PM
I think she should strongly consider a single action revolver in either .357 (loaded with .38's or maybe +P's) or .32 HR mag.

- May only be six shots, but cocking the hammer is a gross motor skill that doesn't require much dexterity if she is able to practice using her off hand to cock it similar to fanning it.

-.38 spl or .32 mag have adequate stopping power while still having mild recoil in an all steel gun

-reliable and simple to operate

-numerous grip options including custom grips to work with her disability

-trigger pull is a non issue and there is no slide to operate

Second to this I would look at the same thing in a DA revolver. She can still practice shooting it single action if necessary.

W

shooter58
May 2, 2007, 02:54 PM
My wife has arthritic hands. The solution we found for her was an older S&W Model 10 with a 3" barrel and a round grip. We put Pachmayer combat compact grips on it and had the trigger action slicked up. It shoots like a dream and she can dot your eye with it.

Ship A'Hoy
May 4, 2007, 03:25 PM
Finally a firearms question I'm an expert on. I have rheumatoid arthritis and am rated at 50% disability because of it. It is in every joint of my body. I used to shoot double stacks but even a 9mm double stack hurt more than a single stack 45ACP. So my solution is to stay with single stack handguns. The one I shoot best is a SIG P239 in 40S&W.

Cosmoline
May 4, 2007, 04:43 PM
The single stack semi is a good idea. I've found the old P225 single stack to be uncommonly easy on my hands.

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