Help for My Old Man


Loyalist Dave
September 17, 2010, 03:14 PM
Ladies and Gents,

My dad wants to get a CC permit..., so he's done the paperwork and he is waiting for the return, and now he wants to get a CCW handgun. The gun I got him for a house handgun, is a 3" S&W Model 13 with .158 grain JHP +P ammo, but it isn't what he wants to carry off property.

So he says he wants a small .380..., like a Colt Mustang, or something that size. I don't think he has the time to go to the range to really learn how to react to the occasional auto-loader malfunction. Due to some hand-strength and arthritis issues, I'm not sure some of the smaller semi's would work for him, and I am still leaning toward some sort of revolver for him. I'd rather he have a reliable five or six shots for his physical limits.

Any suggestions or am I old fashioned?


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September 17, 2010, 04:05 PM
The problem with the small .380s would be the limited area to grip the slide and the stiff springs on a blowback pistol.

What about a snubby .38? Something either really lite weight like an LCR or (because of the arthritis to tame recoil) something all steel like a 2.25" SP101?

September 17, 2010, 04:09 PM
Any suggestions or am I old fashioned?

I think you're probably on the right track, but if he wants a small 380 why not make time for him to try one? He may end up handling it nicely, you never know.

September 17, 2010, 05:39 PM
I would suggest a Glock 26 for simplicity, reliability, concealability, capacity, ease of maintenance and ease of manipulation, the slide is larger and more easily manipulated as opposed to that of a small .380.

Plus, the 9mm has considerably more stopping power than a .380 but at the same time is just as or if not more manageable if you consider that a .380 will be more snappy in recoil due to its smaller size.

If you're old man absolutely detest's the Glock and the 9mm load, I would next recommend a Berretta 84fs .380, but I would strongly advocate for the Glock as it is a perfect solution for yours and his dilemma.

September 17, 2010, 05:53 PM
BTW, not even just saying that the Glock 26 9mm would be a better alternative to a small .380, I'm saying its a good solution for any CCW needs, and that you'd be hard pressed to find a better alternative.

Not to say others are garbage or anything, just that the Glock seems like it is befitting to this particular situation.

Good luck

Jim Watson
September 17, 2010, 06:12 PM
Do you have any friends with guns or a rental range?

Just like we say about the women, let him try some different guns out before making an expensive choice.

I like the Kahrs, myself, but a Glock is fine, or a S&W Plastic M&P Compact. Felt recoil of a locked breech 9mm is less than a blowback .380.

September 17, 2010, 06:45 PM
Something else to look at possible would be a SIG P239 in 9mm. It's perhaps larger in length then you were thinking, but it is fairly thin, has enough slide to get a good grip on, and has enough mass that at least in 9mm, it should not be too punishing on arthritic hands.

Really though, your Dad would need to get out and try several options to see just what he's comfortable with. When I think of the recoil impulse (for lack of a better word), I think if I had arthritis, I'd prefer a medium size 9mm over any .380. The .380acp can have some pretty harsh snap to the recoil in a blowback, while a 9mm the size of a P239 or CZ P-01 or PCR (just as examples, there are lots of choices in the general size range) will actually have a softer feeling recoil without the quick snap of the .380.

September 17, 2010, 11:47 PM
Glock 26. Better round than the .380. and you won't have to worry about :

I don't think he has the time to go to the range to really learn how to react to the occasional auto-loader malfunction.

He should still practice stoppage drills, but by and large, it ain't going to happen.

Just my never to be humble opinions, others will have different views...

Wade Wilson
September 19, 2010, 12:33 AM
If you're interested in a colt mustang maybe try out the sig p238? Seems like some of the older gentlemen enjoy the 1911 platform. It seems like some of the early model p238s were hit and miss though. I don't think an older man with those sort of medical conditions would enjoy operating a LCP, its just a small gun with a lot of kick. Try the LCR if you are interested in a nice pocket carry 5 shots .38spl.

September 19, 2010, 01:06 AM
The gun I got him for a house handgun,

I suggest you let him choose. He is a big boy and can make up his mind. Or you want to pick his retirement home also like the Clint Eastwood movie .
Sig and Mustang have very soft recoil easy to rack slides ,and better triggers, than these DA type autos.
I am 64 and I will carry what I dang well please. need no input from my 5 kids.

He going to carry and shoot it not you.

September 19, 2010, 12:55 PM
My wife also has problems with arthritis and can't pull the slide on a large auto. So we went shopping at a gun show and wound up with a Colt Combat Commander for her. The slide is easier to pull back than say a Walther PP which she already owned.

September 19, 2010, 01:11 PM
I'm with Medal guy; Colt Combat Commander.

Another aspect to consider on the .380 is ammo. expense, if you think he might enjoy range time every now and again.

September 19, 2010, 02:14 PM
I highly recommend that you take your dad to a range with many rental guns and have him try them for feel in hand then range fire for accuracy and recoil impressions.

I have always told people the best gun is the gun you feel comfortable in your hand and can shoot the most accurate shot groups fast, REGARDLESS of brand name/model or price.

Then afterwards, you guys can talk it over a nice lunch.

With arthritis and other joint pain issues that may be factored in, he will be the final judge, not the technical specs we drool over.

I did the same with my dad when he asked for a HD semi-auto for their retirement property (he has been a 357 Mag person all his life). After some extensive handling/range testing with my mouth taped shut, he selected S&W M&P40. Since I am a Glock fan, I asked him what made him select the M&P40 over others (like G22). He said that most of the semi-auto pistols shot well for him (Glocks, XD, M&P, Sig, etc) but the M&P fit his hands better, hurt his hands/arms the least and all the controls were easier to reach for his fingers.

September 19, 2010, 02:25 PM
I'm 65,I carry a SP101 but the gun is too heavy, I'm thinking about going back to my S&W MD36 Chiefs Special, and later maybe getting a LCR. 13 oz sounds good, I don't mind recoil.

September 20, 2010, 08:15 AM
If you can find one to try, he might well like the E.German or Bulgarian Makarov. All steel, thin, double/single trigger, and best of all fires every time. About the easiest auto I've ever had to field strip for cleaning. The 9x 18 cartridge is between a 380 and 9mm and packs a good punch. I'm now 76 and carried one for a couple years before I graduated to a 45acp.

September 20, 2010, 08:57 AM
So he says he wants a small .380..., like a Colt Mustang, or something that size. I don't think he has the time to go to the range to really learn how to react to the occasional auto-loader malfunction.
With practice he could probably learn to manipulate the slide using the overhand grasp method.
There's no way of knowing until he tries.

Just a thought...
A striker fired pistol might be easier to work the slide on since there's no hammer spring to add more resistance.

Due to some hand-strength and arthritis issues, I'm not sure some of the smaller semi's would work for him, and I am still leaning toward some sort of revolver for him.
If he has hand-strength and arthritis issues then a small revolver might be the worse choice for him.
Lots of folks with weak hands and weak fingers have a real hard time shooting revolvers accurately due to the heavy revolver double-action trigger (typically well over 10 pounds).
They usually resort to thumb-cocking and slow single-action shooting....which is better than nothing, but certainly not the preferred method for a self-defense situation.

And the recoil from a light-weight snub-nose revolver can be brutal even for those who don't have arthritis.

September 22, 2010, 02:12 PM
If your dad is serious about getting his permit and carrying a handgun for personal protection, and it seems that he is, convince him that he needs to spend some time (not even a lot of time) at the range. Then take him there and let him try from, say, three to five handguns: a revolver, as per your recommendation, and some .380 ACP pistols: the new Ruger, a Walther PPK/S, a Bersa, perhaps. From those, he can pick the one that best suits his hand and eye.

Big Bill
September 22, 2010, 02:19 PM
Check out a Bersa Thunder 380. It might be just what the doctor ordered. Or, the Ruger LCR might be just right.

September 22, 2010, 02:30 PM
I prefer the a 38 cal, but the problem is that too many people buy guns and don't carry them. Let him pick what he'll carry. A 380 is better than a 32 or a 22, but a 22 is better than no gun. I have a brother that carries a 32 auto, but he's never without it, that is what counts. I carry two a 357Mag and a Derringer with a 410 buckshot and a 45 long colt.

September 22, 2010, 02:46 PM
Bersa Thunder, ppk, Sig 230/232, all are good, small 380 pistols, if slide function is a concern, you might look at the Walther PK380. It isnt that much larger than the others mentioned, but is easier to cycle the slide than the majority of the smaller autos.

September 23, 2010, 03:58 PM
Seems like the only good advice has been to get him to a range or find some buddies with a few different options. I have a friend who's carried a .38 snubby for years, most of which I never would have guessed it was there. It's weighed as much as any steel-framed compact auto. Then my brother has a Sig 239 .40SW and a Bersa .380. He stopped carrying the Sig when he got the Bersa just because the Sig was too heavy and he was more accurate with the Bersa, which I agreed. I carry a Kel-Tec P11, haven't had any problems, don't shoot too many rounds out of it, and love that it barely weighs a thing while holding 11 rounds. Which reminds me, I need to go out and shoot it soon.

I've been trying to find something for the wife and a few purchases have ended up trading fodder when I get them home after we purchase something she hasn't shot and finds out she doesn't like them when we get around to shooting them. Putting down $50 at the range to try out a few models will likely save me some cash in the end since I haven't been able to get quite what I've paid for in trade (which is to be assumed unless you buy used). The local range even lets you apply your gun rental fee towards the purchase of a firearm from them.

Big Bill
September 23, 2010, 05:44 PM
BTW, I've got some great deals at Impact guns. Check them out at this link:

September 24, 2010, 04:36 AM
As has already been said, let him try a few things out and find which is right for him. That said, I think the Bersa 380 is a great starting point - it's not TOO small, it's well balanced, it's light enough to carry but heavy enough not snap, it's accurate, it has a lighter DA pull than a revolver and a nice 4lb SA pull, and it's cheap.

My only reservation is that it can take an act of Congress to rack the slide, but mine's new so who knows what it'll feel like after a few hundred rounds and a good oiling.

Oh, and as far as .380 ammo prices, the difference between .380 and 9mm is 6-10 cents per round. That may be a big deal if you buy by the case, but for a straight carry gun (I get the feeling he's not taking up shooting as a full-time hobby) he may never buy more than one box of 20 Cor-Bon DPX and 4-5 50-round boxes of FMJs.

Jed Carter
September 24, 2010, 04:54 AM
Have him try before he buys, it is possible with some pistols he may not be even able to pull the trigger let alone operate the slide. SIG P238 has an 8 pound trigger, no problem for normal hand strength, but the elderly quite often have diminished capacities in this area. I vote revolver or no CCW.

September 24, 2010, 10:22 AM
Why not a Beretta .380 with a tip-up barrel? Then he needn't pull a slide back at all.

Loyalist Dave
October 15, 2010, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the help folks. Those were great ideas. He told me at his 80th birthday party last week that a late friend has willed him a Colt Detective Special, so he's decided he will carry that. So much for worrying about what he should use.


October 15, 2010, 08:44 AM
Excellent choice, fine weapon.

October 15, 2010, 08:50 AM
You can still talk about a good holster, good carry ammo, and even a trigger job. :D

Good for him ... I could only wish that my "favorite uncles" with safe full of firearms would think of their "favorite nephew" at the end of their life ... :rolleyes:

October 15, 2010, 08:58 AM
Show him the price and availability of .380 ammo. He will keep the .38 :D

December 22, 2010, 02:06 AM
I would recommend a Glock 19 for your father. It will never jam, he will have 10 rounds, if he can handle a 45 cal the Glock 21 may be better if he is really at risk, 1 shot and they will be on their back.

This reminds me of a really funny story, I talked my wife, who hates guns, into getting her CC permit and I went to class with her to help her pass the range test, she barely made it with my Glock 19., anyway as we were entering the indoor shooting range I notice an elderly lady coming in the door with a walker, a closer look at her walker and she had a Kimber 45 cal with a custom holster as well as mag holders attached to her walker. I later watched her shoot and she was very good, I love it!! Only in Arizona.

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