Elderly and the LC9


May 14, 2012, 01:56 PM
This weekend I was at the in laws house for mothers day and doing some shooting in the backyard. At some point, my wife and her grandmother come down the hill and announce that "Memaw needs to learn how to shoot a gun". Apparently, her "companion" bought her a LC9 for home defense so she needed a crash course. I pulled out the P239 and spent some time go over basic gun safety, proper grip, ect. After she seemed comfortable, I loaded one round in the mag let her try it out. The gun nearly flew out of her hands and she handed it back, saying the recoil was way too much for her bad wrist and hands.

Now, she clearly needs more training and practice but I don't think it will get any better with the LC9. She even found my New Vaquero loaded with very soft wad cutters to be heavy in the recoil department.

I have not shot the LC9 yet but I'm almost certain she won't be able to handle it. Her companion also bought himself a Judge on the same day, he said she could take the judge and he would take the LC9. This really isn't a solution as she could barely pull the trigger on a well worn J and K frame and even remarked that the Vaquero trigger was stiff.

Next week she is bringing both guns down and I plan on working with her for the day. I really hope she shoots one of them well but I'm seriously doubting it. Any suggestions anyone would can offer to help me with my brief training class I plan on giving her? I've taught quite a few friends/GF's to shoot in the past but never an elderly woman.

*Right now, these two guns are the only options. If she can't work with them, then we will start to consider getting her a new one.*

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May 14, 2012, 03:46 PM
Mace. I would be worried that in spite of his good intentions her friend may be doing more harm than good. If she is unfamiliar with firearms and advancing in years I would be afraid of someone taking the weapon from her.

As we get older we become weaker and begin to suffer from arthritis. Our reflexes begin to slow. For someone who has been around guns a long time adjustments can be made. I'm not sure it's a good time to be just starting out.

Not sure if another gun will work. It might so long as you don't have to go to a small caliber that wouldn't be effective for self defense.

Try something that is known as a soft shooter. The P238 come to mind.

May 14, 2012, 04:24 PM
An 18 oz LC9 9mm, or a 15 oz P238 .380 cannot be considered a "Soft Shooter" in any sense of the word.

Gun weight mitigates recoil.

If you want less recoil, you have to go down in caliber with a light gun, or up in gun weight with larger calibers.

Both guns mentioned have about as sharp a recoil as anyone can comfortably shoot without getting their hand spanked. Not to mention small grips that make it worse.


May 14, 2012, 05:19 PM
..or up in gun weight with larger calibers.

Up in gun weight in smaller calibers accomplishes the goal of recoil-redution, too. My Bersa Thunder would be an example; feels like a .22LR compared to my Kel-Tec PF9 (and the Bersa is a blowback to boot.)

May 14, 2012, 05:32 PM
That LC9 needs to be sold/traded immediately. If she can't handle the recoil of a P239 which isn't a wrist breaker for me even in .40S&W (I'm assuming yours is a 9mm) then I don't see her handling the recoil of a smaller/lighter 9mm like the LC9. With the guns you have now I don't see you accomplishing anything other than making an old ladies hands/wrists hurt.

I'd rather my mother/grandmother have a .22LR pistol I know they can shoot then a 9mm that they're afraid to even pick up.

May 14, 2012, 05:47 PM
This is one of those rare cases I would recommend a .22 auto handgun. I think a revolver would be too much for her in double action. I'm not up to snuff with auto's chambered in .22, but I'm sure there is something out there that would suit her.

Carl Levitian
May 14, 2012, 07:42 PM
Our aunt Jane is 86 and is able to shoot an old Ruger standard model just fine.

May 14, 2012, 08:10 PM
Thanks for the replies, fellas. As I said in my OP, I have no faith in either the LC9 or the Judge working out for her. Like others said, a .22 would probably be the best option. Some people can start off on a .38 or .9mm and learn to shoot just fine, but for a woman of her age and temperament (very jumpy lady) loud noise and a slap on the hand won't work.

May 14, 2012, 08:45 PM
Ruger lcr 22 revolver would be better.

Texan Scott
May 14, 2012, 09:50 PM
S&W makes a J-frame hammerless 7-shot .22 mag. It's dirt simple, and (possibly with a trigger job if she has hand weakness in addition to pain) might be a good option.

May 14, 2012, 10:19 PM
Ruger lcr 22 revolver would be better.
I agree, I have one and recoil is soft and the trigger is smooth. 8 rounds of 22lr in a small package.

I don't care for the .22mag personaly but if you can find a small .22mag revolver with a good trigger that may be even a better option.

May 15, 2012, 12:16 AM
Yeah a. 22 lr might be the way to go.

Shadow 7D
May 15, 2012, 12:52 AM
For those who have difficulty with pistol recoil

why not a CARBINE
small enough to be handy, light recoil etc.

Here is a revolver that may better suit her
it fires from the lower cylinder position, which is lower bore axis and with powderpuff .38's it should be tame
and do you really need more at social range?

May 15, 2012, 01:38 AM
My " MeMa " wanted to learn to shoot a pistol for self protection on the farm. She has pretty bad arthritis and weighs 95 pounds soaking wet. I got her a Marlin Model 60, holds 14 rounds of stingers, no or very little recoil, lightweight very slim and fast handling. She is pretty good shot with it.

May 15, 2012, 02:01 AM
How about a .410 pump shotgun loaded with buckshot? 5 000 pellets out to put a hurt on someone. If not that then a .22 rifle loaded might be the best option or a .22 mag revolver. Good luck!

May 15, 2012, 06:26 AM
Thanks again, guys.

My wife does have a really old single shot .410 shotgun that lives at her grandfathers farm (not the same side of the family as memaw) but it is just a single shot. I like the idea of a carbine, maybe that's something we will look into. My wife has been on the quest for a CCW for sometime, maybe she will like the LC9 and all this will work out for everyone.

May 15, 2012, 07:30 AM
Apparently, her "companion" bought her a LC9 for home defense

HHHMMMM, That seems to be the root cause. Maybe Mr "companion" needs some "education". He aint family so no need to be polite. Just saying. His judgement is suspect at best. Maybe he can return the LC9 and get a LCR in 22.

Wtatever the outcome you are a good grandson looking out for Memaw.

Just my biased .02 as you can see.

May 15, 2012, 07:44 AM

I'd take a serious look at the Walther PPK or the half price duplicate in the Bersa Thunderer. It's heavy frame and .380 caliber make for very little recoil and would be a good choice.:cool:


May 15, 2012, 08:48 AM

I'm 69 and I love my LC9, but I can easily understand why a person with wrist issues (or other physical limitations) would not be well served with any 9MM pistol I've ever shot.

I will say I have read many times that the Bersa Thunder in 380 cal. is a favorite of the ladies as apparently it is a "soft shooter". I had the same pistol in 22ca. (Firestorm FS22) and it felt perfect in the hand (and I have small hands).

Any pistol/revolver used for self defense and personal protection for someone as the lady in question is going to be a "last resort", "point and shoot" type deal, and I think the Bersa Thunder 380 might be something she could handle.

There are plenty of choices, just hope someone will take the time and patience to help her find the right choice.. My wife is 68 and has her own guns but she prefers to carry her million volt stun gun when she is out rather than a firearm.

I think under some conditions a quality stun gun would be a better choice for someone with limited firearms experience, or physical limitations than a firearm.

Just making conversation, no offense to those who might disagree.


May 15, 2012, 09:28 PM
HHHMMMM, That seems to be the root cause. Maybe Mr "companion" needs some "education". He aint family so no need to be polite. Just saying. His judgement is suspect at best. Maybe he can return the LC9 and get a LCR in 22.

Wtatever the outcome you are a good grandson looking out for Memaw.

Just my biased .02 as you can see.

Thank you biker! My thoughts exactly. It's actually my wife's grandma but she felt the same way.

May 16, 2012, 12:07 AM
Perhaps someone already mentioned this, but if not, you may want to look also at at a Beretta 21, either .22 or .25.

DA/SA, safety on with hammer cocked or down. Light weight, but still low recoil cartridges, mine have been reliable.

Best of all a tip up barrel so the slide need never be retracted by weaker older hands. If she can pull a DA auto trigger she's good to go, fluff and buff by a competent gunsmith will smooth / lighten things considerably which helps a lot too.

May 16, 2012, 02:38 AM
Bersa Thunder, Browning BDA, Beretta 84f are basically the same gun as far as design, weight,capacity and recoil. I have the BDA and the recoil is very mild. Kids love shooting this accurate little gun. The Bersa is the least expensive of the three so I would say try to find one of those.

May 16, 2012, 04:08 PM
That Bersa Thunder is also available in .32 ACP. IIRC, that fits in between the .22 LR and .380 in energy. It's not that big a step up, I guess, but you can get fancy ammo like Powerball. Whee!

Probably the biggest advantage of the .32 is that if she ever did want to point it at someone, the area of the open bore of a .32 is almost twice that of a .22. It's going to be obvious that it's NOT a .22, and look a lot more impressive. Since her shot placement probably won't be very good with any gun, the threat performance may be more important than the ballistic performance.

Since she'll probably never have to use it, the biggest effect will likely be whether it makes her feel safer when home alone. That will work with anything she's willing to shoot at all, if you don't cast doubt on its effectiveness.

Jim NE
May 16, 2012, 04:30 PM
My dad's 91, and last year, before he moved into an apartment, he was worried about security. Only handgun he had was a Highway Patrolman, but it was actually too heavy for him to even hold, given his reduced arm strength.

Heavy guns help limit recoil, which is good for the elderly, but when handguns get TOO heavy and the shooter gets TOO old, it's not so great. I almost thought one of those small Tauruses in .327 Fed might be a good choice. Something to think about.

Light trigger pull is something else to be considered.

He doesn't need, or want, a gun where he is now, so he gave me his HP.

May 17, 2012, 06:19 AM
If a pistol is difficult for her, try a Ruger 10-22 with a 25-rd. magazine full of CCI Velocitors. Easy to shoot & very effective. If length is a problem, try the Charger variant.

May 17, 2012, 12:16 PM
I second the opinion for a good full-size .22LR semi-auto handgun.
I've been told by people who have had guns pointed at them that the bore of any gun looks HUGE when you're looking down it.
Load it with good quality high-velocity solids.

May 27, 2012, 10:37 AM
Yeah, lc9 sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. Even if you you ignore the relatively punishing recoil, the crappy trigger means you'll want A LOT of practice getting used to it. I've taken 300 pound 6'6"+ shooters to the range that hated the lc9 and were constantly working on accuracy but were excellent with my m&p full size.

I own a lcr 22 and its an absolute kitten. Definitely recommend that, or AT THE VERY MOST the slightly heavier lcr 357 shooting nothing but neutered 38spl loads. Still far less recoil than the lc9, more comfortably shot (rubberized grips are way better than the pencil thin lc9 backstrap) and a way better trigger.

May 27, 2012, 12:56 PM

Well, I'll play the "Devil's Advocate" here I guess, but in my experience my Ruger LC9 has been absolute excellent.

First I don't expect the LC9 to be a "target pistol", so I practice from 7 yards or less, and from that distance I have absolutely no problem keeping 'em all in the center mass of man sized target.

I keep reading how crappy the trigger on the LC9 is, but FOR ME, it's just fine. I like a heavy trigger pull for a pistol used as my self defense choice and carried in an iwb holster. The heavier trigger reduces the chances I'll shoot myself in the butt in a crisis when adrenalin would be raging but is not so heavy I can't be accurate with it using just a point and shoot style..

The 9MM pistol I carried iwb before I got my LC9 was a very nice HK P2000sk (V3), but the Ruger LC9 is smaller, slimmer, easier to carry concealed, and I prefer it to the sk now.

Pretty soon I will have my Boberg XR9-S, so I'll have another 9MM pistol to consider for concealed carry self defense.. Even if I decide to replace the LC9 with the Boberg (the Boberg is smaller) I won't sell it, it's just too good a pistol, in my estimation.

I think the Ruger LCP in 380cal. is excellent, and the performance and characteristics of it's big brother LC9 is excellent as well..

And, at almost 70 years old I don't find the heavy trigger of the LC9, or recoil to be a problem at all.

No offense, just making conversation.


May 27, 2012, 01:41 PM
pepper spray and a hammer might work better!

Lex Luthier
May 27, 2012, 02:07 PM
My wife thought she would like the LC9 and after about fifty rounds through it, has decided it kicks too much. I encouraged her to try a good quality .380 this time around.

Smaller hands, smaller skeleton and muscles probably mean smaller caliber.

June 1, 2012, 09:20 AM
I forgot all about this thread!

Thanks to everyone for the tips, they are all very helpful. I'm off Mayan Rivera this weekend and all next week but I will be shooting with her the weekend I'm back in county. I'll update everyone on how much she hates the LC9 and what she decides to do.

Thanks again

June 1, 2012, 10:10 AM
I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but one possibility is going with something like the bersa thunder 380.... their concealed carry model is almost exactly the same size and weight as the LC9, but shoots a weaker round and has less recoil. I know everyone hates weak rounds and needs a .454 casull or bigger to stop a crazed felon, but a .380 that she can actually shoot and enjoys practicing with will be a lot more useful than a 9mm she hates IMHO.

June 1, 2012, 10:57 AM
20 gauge with #4 buckshot at room distance is devastating with fairly lite recoil IMHO

June 1, 2012, 11:11 AM
I would consider a Sig P238 in .380. My wife has found this weapon to be a soft shooter, and the biggest part... she is able to rack the slide. I breifly considered a tip up barrel model when we came across the P238. A autoloader is useless if she doesn't have the hand strength to operate the slide in case of a malfunction or even simple unloading.

Besides, everyone knows that Granny carries a double barrel!

June 1, 2012, 11:12 AM
When my wife got her CCW permit last fall we got her an LC9. She likes the size and the recoil doesn't bother her. She doesn't like to carry with a round in the chamber, but she can't rack the slide back, its too stiff. She gave me the LC9 back and took one of my wheel guns, a stainless Colt Comando in .38 spl. It's bigger and heavier for her purse or glove box, but she can shoot it all day, and hit what she shoots at. So now I have been known to leave my .357 at home and carry the LC9 in a Nemesis pocket holster. It's a win-win, I guess.

June 1, 2012, 12:25 PM
If i were in that situation I'd trade the lc9 in for some 22. That trigger on the lc9 won't help her at all. Even if she was able to control recoil from it, she'd have to practice quite a bit with that loooong heavy DAO trigger and is practicing alot really what she's goin to do? Just a thought.

June 1, 2012, 04:05 PM
A lot of people who haven't thought about how recoil works think bigger gun = more recoil. I think it comes from the general trend of bigger guns to carry more powerful cartridges. I was watching an episode of NCIS:LA where two agents went undercover as husband/wife to a range, and she looks at the medium-frame 6-shooter and says "that looks a bit much" so the RO hands her a snub-nose instead. Sigh.

As to your meemaw, try a duty pistol in 9mm, it might work better. A CZ-75 might be a nice thing to try, I know my Mom liked it a lot better than my XDm .40.

June 2, 2012, 09:04 AM
Can she rack the slide? If not the rest doesn't really matter unless someone else is going to chamber the first round then leave it at the ready for her.

If I had a grandma anymore I'd probably be leaning to a DA .22 revolver or a .22 caliber autoloading rifle next to her bed. I prefer the Marlin 60 but there are other quality choices.

June 18, 2012, 07:21 AM
Well, she got a chance to fire the LC9 and she hated it. Shocker!. She could rack the slide (after I taught her the push and pull method) and had no problem with the trigger. It was the recoil that she hated and only fired 2 shots. However, she did like shooting the S&W 422 and insist on having one or something similar. Hopefully shooting the .22 will help her build the confidence to move up to a better (for sd) caliber. Thanks for all the tips and suggestions.

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