HD gun for older woman


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HSBB
February 9, 2010, 06:46 PM
Been shopping around for a handgun for my mother-in-law.

Here's the scenario: Single woman in her late 60s looking for a gun primarily to protect an isolated vacation home. I feel safe to say that she is not interested in CCW.

More than likely she will not train with it either. It will sit around and primarily function as a talisman, making her feel safer. (I know, FAR from ideal...)

She has little or no experience shooting, but long ago when her husband was alive there was a snubby in the house. It's now long gone.

She will not want to spend a lot.

Given these parameters, I'm thinking a 4" .38, most likely a LEO trade-in K frame (eg. Models 10/15/64) or Service Six.

Thoughts?

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atblis
February 9, 2010, 06:59 PM
Yep, those pistols you listed would be perfect.

357 Magnum would be just fine too. Can always shoot 38 +P out of it.

Take her shooting and let her decide.

Deltaboy
February 9, 2010, 07:06 PM
A used 327 mag would fit the bill.

19-3Ben
February 9, 2010, 07:17 PM
Yup. You've already got the right idea.

paradox998
February 9, 2010, 07:21 PM
I would second the K-frame. A 357 might have a bit too much kick and be a bit intimidating for her.

HSBB
February 9, 2010, 07:30 PM
A used 327 mag would fit the bill.

Thanks, but I agree with paradox998. I'm thinking .327/.357 would have way too much giddyup for her!

From http://www.gunsandammo.com/content/ruger-sp101327-magnum?page=2
Now, there will be some who will use their experience with earlier .32s and declare it "a fine round for the ladies and for new shooters." Excuse me, but weren't you paying attention to the "115 at 1,316" part? The SP101 kicks, and it kicks pretty briskly. The .327 Federal Magnum, with the factory full-power loads, is not a ladies' or beginner's load. You want the performance, you have to pay the price. If you want more than the .327 delivers, you have to go to the .357 Magnum, and having done so you will pay mightily for it. An SP101 in .357 delivers a 125-grain JHP at more than 1,300 fps, but you get only five shots and muzzle blast and recoil that could make a brass monkey flinch.

atblis
February 9, 2010, 07:33 PM
Uh, you guys do realize that 38 special works quite nicely in a 357 Magnum gun?

W.E.G.
February 9, 2010, 07:37 PM
This question is asked all the time.

Consensus is a medium frame, steel-frame, revolver loaded with .38 Special.

Some disagreement over whether snub or four-inch.

Highly recommend:
http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/smith-wesson/revolver/p/smith-wesson-model-64-38spl-4in-stainless%2C-square-butt-w-bobbed-hammer-very-good-condition/cPath/16_211_431/products_id/3103

$25 transfer at http://www.novaarmament.com/ in Herndon.

HSBB
February 9, 2010, 07:39 PM
Uh, you guys do realize that 38 special works quite nicely in a 357 Magnum gun?

I do. The only advantage I see in buying a .357 to shoot .38 is if the gun is substantially heavier, thereby absorbing more recoil. The LEO guns all have the heavy barrel and, more importantly, come in around $275. All things considered, I'm not convinced it's worth it going to the .357.

paradox998
February 9, 2010, 07:41 PM
Yes, but there are nice S&W 38 specials on the market used, that would be fine for her purposes. I have a k frame 38 spl, and it is my favorite revolver. Old, beat-up, but accurate, and reliable.

19-3Ben
February 9, 2010, 07:44 PM
Actually, come to think of it, if she's never going to carry it, and it's just for HD, might a shotgun be a better alternative? Can be had for cheaper than the revolver, less paperwork when buying, easier to point/aim for someone who is not going to train much, more stopping power, and if she is the type who is going to hole up in the bedroom in the event of a "bump in the night" the maneuverability of a handgun is really no advantage at all.

HSBB
February 9, 2010, 07:44 PM
This question is asked all the time.


Really??! I did a search for "grandma gun" and found NOTHING! :D

Seriously, thanks for the link. Those JG 15s/64s were already high on the list!

Isher
February 9, 2010, 07:46 PM
Rule #1: Let her shoot it and choose it.

That being said, my wife, who is well on

The North side of sixty, purely shoots the piss

Out of a CZ P-01 loaded with 124gr JHP's.

Its why I had to get a second one..........


isher

shockwave
February 9, 2010, 07:50 PM
I'm thinking a low-power rifle. A plinking gun.

If she's worried about an odd sound or a bump in the night, it's going to let her fire .22LR easy and will dissuade varmints of many varieties, including the 2-legged kind. The size and heft should reassure her, while taming the caliber and not being too much. It should look like business. Maybe the Henry Repeater (http://www.henryrepeating.com/h001y_leveryouth.cfm)?

Remember, most of us are looking for a solution that will pick someone up and throw 'em away. I don't think that's the need here.

HSBB
February 9, 2010, 07:50 PM
Actually, come to think of it, if she's never going to carry it, and it's just for HD, might a shotgun be a better alternative? Can be had for cheaper than the revolver, less paperwork when buying, easier to point/aim for someone who is not going to train much, more stopping power, and if she is the type who is going to hole up in the bedroom in the event of a "bump in the night" the maneuverability of a handgun is really no advantage at all.
Good thoughts, Ben, but I'm pretty sure she'd be much more intimidated by a long gun. I need to ask her.

I guess I'm in Kathy Jackson's camp on this one! :D
http://www.corneredcat.com/FirstGun/handgun.aspx

Deanimator
February 9, 2010, 07:52 PM
Given these parameters, I'm thinking a 4" .38, most likely a LEO trade-in K frame (eg. Models 10/15/64) or Service Six.
That's exactly what I would recommend.

Something with adjustable sights is good because you can help her zero it for the ammunition she's using. For a beginner, different points of aim and impact can be very frustrating.

19-3Ben
February 9, 2010, 07:56 PM
Shockwave may be on to something. Something like a Ruger 10/22 might even be good. Think about it. She can just pull the trigger and let the rifle do the rest. Doesn't need to do any manipulations at all.

I can see what you mean about a handgun being less intimidating which is why I had suggested it initially. Either way, I think she's lucky to have you helping her out.

Al LaVodka
February 9, 2010, 10:37 PM
Hand strength could be an issue. A decent used .38 K-Frame is an OK idea but they are heavy. A square-butt-gripped J-frame might be better. A .32 might be even better than that.

A removeable mag 16" .22 semi-auto -- not the worst idea. I got an ex-girlfriend, "an older woman" LOL, the best Valentine's Day gift ever -- a-harder-to-find OEM nickel 10-rnd. mag for her semi-auto "black" Marlin .22. Now she's got two, a coupla boxes of High Velocity ammo, and she's ready to defend the homestead all by herself.

Al

GigaBuist
February 9, 2010, 10:43 PM
Good thoughts, Ben, but I'm pretty sure she'd be much more intimidated by a long gun. I need to ask her.

In my experience people are less intimated by long guns than they are handguns. Shotguns are good but pistol caliber carbines are another option. Hardly any recoil and much easier to aim.

LeontheProfessional
February 9, 2010, 10:48 PM
+1 on the 10/22 of maybe even a Browning Buckmark.

W.E.G.
February 9, 2010, 10:57 PM
Really??! I did a search for "grandma gun" and found NOTHING!

Your Google-Fu is weak.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--K3X6rptE4

Fremmer
February 10, 2010, 12:10 AM
More than likely she will not train with it either. It will sit around and primarily function as a talisman, making her feel safer. (I know, FAR from ideal...)

She has little or no experience shooting

A .22 LR revolver.

Al LaVodka
February 10, 2010, 08:13 AM
I disagree w/a .22 LR revolver. A revolver is better'n a semi-auto pistol. But if she can shoot a revolver don't bother w/a .22. They are better'n nuthin' but too weak. Get at LEAST a .32 (i.e. a J-Frame sized 6-shot) which is generally consdered to be the smallest caliber acceptable to stop an attacker. At least the .22 LR from a RIFLE is about the same power as a .32. And quieter!
Al

BMF500
February 10, 2010, 08:22 AM
Is she dead set on a hand gun? A 20ga w/ buskshot sounds like a better option. Whole lot better odds for pray and spray.

Fremmer
February 10, 2010, 09:19 AM
Just suggested a .22 revolver because grandma will probably never practice with or even touch the gun. Whatever she gets, it's gonna sit in a drawer for years without being touched or maintained. Which is why I'd prefer a revolver. Simple and easy to use. Simply point and pull the trigger, no safety to worry about. The .22LR is a very small caliber, but it will actually hurt someone. And grandma might actually hit what she's aiming at if she ever has to use it. JMHO.

Edited to add: you guys are actually advocating a shotgun for someone who doesn't shoot guns, and who is never going to practice with the gun? All that recoil and noise are gonna make her flinch like crazy if she ever has to use it.

cisco11
February 10, 2010, 09:29 AM
Taurus judge.

HSBB
February 10, 2010, 05:46 PM
Your Google-Fu is weak.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--K3X6rptE4
I only searched THR, but THAT was awesome! "Shoot him in the toodles"!! :D

gym
February 10, 2010, 07:25 PM
60's still young son, get her a nice AK.

harmon rabb
February 10, 2010, 07:46 PM
a physically large 38spl or 357 loaded with 38spl+p. 38spl has almost no felt recoil out of my gp-100.

Chip1wa
February 10, 2010, 09:01 PM
My Mom is 63 or 64 and is a crack shot with her trusty Glock 26 with a Crimson Trace loaded with Gold Dot 124gr +P's.

She can empty a full mag at the 20 foot mark at the local range all tight COM and Head shots in about 4 seconds-not bad for a little practice.

She also had mildly arthritic hands and doesn't have any issues loading the mag, racking the slide, or releasing the slide.

Glocks are very simple to operate.

Dirty

MikePGS
February 10, 2010, 09:13 PM
The K-Frame is definitely the way to go. My Grandma is 69 and comfortably shoots a 9mm. However, she has been shooting guns all of her life, ever since she was a .45lc wielding girl in rural South Carolina.

Zundfolge
February 10, 2010, 09:16 PM
W.E.G. posted the ideal candidate; http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/smith-wesson/revolver/p/smith-wesson-model-64-38spl-4in-stainless%2C-square-butt-w-bobbed-hammer-very-good-condition/cPath/16_211_431/products_id/3103

http://www.jgsales.com/images/2%20SW%2064%2038spl%204in%20SS%20DAO%20VG%20BobHam%202501367.jpg

Ideally one with a set of Magnas on it.

Inexpensive, heavy enough to absorb the recoil of a .38 nicely, light enough for an older woman (with assumed weak hands) to point with confidence, and the bobbed hammer will dissuade her from trying to cock the thing "for effect".

wrs840
February 10, 2010, 09:19 PM
Another vote for a Police-trade S&W Model 64. I'm not so sure I'd settle for a bobbed DAO though...

Les

HSBB
February 11, 2010, 09:32 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I appreciate both the folks who think I'm on the right track AND the alternative suggestions!

wrs840
February 11, 2010, 10:13 AM
I've found these folks to be very pleasant to deal with:

http://www.chestnutridge.com/products/firearms.asp

They don't gouge you on the shipping either... $10, USPS insured.

Les

woad_yurt
February 11, 2010, 10:16 AM
A .38 K-frame is perfect.

stickhauler
February 13, 2010, 02:55 AM
Depends on what her limitations are. My wife is 70, has had shoulder operations on both shoulders from rotator cuff problems. She can't rack the slide on a semi-auto, no matter what way I've tried to teach her to do it. She'd never fired a shot in her life until age 70 either, and decided she wanted a loaded gun available when I was away from home. Her home defense gun is an old Ruger Service Six in .38, and my advice is NOT to be in front of her when she's got it loaded and fears an attack, unless you have a desire to die of lead poisoning and severe ventilation. She's dead on at 10 feet, and has been from her first shot.

dbarale
February 13, 2010, 06:08 AM
Just suggested a .22 revolver because grandma will probably never practice with or even touch the gun. Whatever she gets, it's gonna sit in a drawer for years without being touched or maintained. Which is why I'd prefer a revolver. Simple and easy to use. Simply point and pull the trigger, no safety to worry about. The .22LR is a very small caliber, but it will actually hurt someone. And grandma might actually hit what she's aiming at if she ever has to use it. JMHO.

The problem is that a .22 revolver will typically have a heavier trigger pull than a centerfire due to the force required to set off a rimfire primer reliably.
A .38 K loaded with wadcutters has very little recoil yet it is a viable defense load, even though it will be argued.
If you get her a round butt K you may want to try the hogue bantam grips, for some reason they seem to fit the average female hand really well.

content
February 13, 2010, 06:45 AM
Hello friends and neighbors // A .357 frame shooting .38 even +P is great

DA only is safer
SS if it will sit for long periods
The longer 4" or 6" barrels have greater take away potential. As in the assailant taking the handgun away from an older woman.

Maybe a SS S&W model 640 in .357 with a 2 1/8" barrel and get her the pink grips with finger grooves. Only 5 shots but easy to pull out of a drawer and hard to take away.

I think the better SS 686 LEO deals are great too, just giving you another option.

When my friend made this choice she purchased the model 60 in .357. The idea was to practice and get comfortable with the handgun using .38 and move up to .357.

Hope she finds the right one for her.

Zach S
February 13, 2010, 09:10 AM
Hi-Point Carbine. Low recoil, easy to shoot, easy to reload, cheap buy and feed.

Buy one, and offer to take her to the range with a box of shells. Based on my experience, I'd bet that she'll be a lot more accurate with a PCC than a pistol, and I'm not a bettin' man.

LouisianaMan
February 13, 2010, 10:40 AM
Generally, I think OP is on the right track: 4" K-frame .38 SPL. Great combo of size, power, controllability, ease of use, and availability of ammo.

However, I strongly agree with the advice to get one that fits her hands! My wife is a decent shot, but has small hands and can't manage a K-frame or Ruger Service-Six well at all. Totally different story with J-frame, Colt D-frame, or SP101.

Since she hasn't shot much, stick with wadcutters if you choose a .38. +P will likely intimidate her & make her afraid of the gun. Along those lines, STAY AWAY from lightweights/airweights. Felt recoil may ruin her for shooting. Ditto for shotguns with buckshot--a great combo for most who are posting here, but generally lousy for women who shoot very little, don't like guns, small/weak/old, etc.

Strongly consider a good used .32 S&W Long in J frame if she is small/weak/afraid of guns. Far less kick & report than even mild .38s, but .32 wadcutters are far more effective than .22s. Also, as someone pointed out, trigger pull on .22s is typically far harder.

Also, based on your description, autos are out, as are semi-auto, pump & lever rifles. Yes, guys, I have owned and like all of them, but I've also seen how my wife & daughters wind up confused on safeties, unloading tubular magazines, safely unloading cocked weapons, etc. If they train repetitively on one gun, they get pretty good, but introducing them to various guns over the years has simply confused them. They're NOT "dumb," they just aren't into shooting as a hobby (despite my efforts :-) and shoot rarely. Nonetheless, they can put a hand-sized group on a 5-7 yd target with centerfire handguns that fit their hands.

Good luck, and kudos for helping her out.

HSBB
February 13, 2010, 03:10 PM
Thanks again, all. Great posts CONTINUE to roll in!

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