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What Handgun for arthritic hands?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by doubleg, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. doubleg

    doubleg Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    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.

  3. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Well-Known Member

    Is the problem with the recoil or with the trigger pull? Airweight snubby revolvers are notoriously painful to shoot.
  4. doubleg

    doubleg Well-Known Member

    The biggest problem is the grip. Her fingers are going haywire and its hard to get a solid grip on a gun;
  5. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Well-Known Member

    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.

    BADUNAME13 Well-Known Member

    Custom/Semicustom grips...

    do a google search and start looking.
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    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 isn’t 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.
  8. LHB1

    LHB1 Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. 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.
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
  10. FXWG

    FXWG Well-Known Member

  11. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. TonyB

    TonyB Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Well-Known Member

    Try to avoid blowback autoloaders.

    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.
  14. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Well-Known Member

    1911. You can do all kinds of interesting things to the grips on those.
  15. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. pax

    pax Well-Known Member

    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.

  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. springmom

    springmom Well-Known Member

    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.

  19. sm

    sm member

    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.
  20. GEM

    GEM Well-Known Member

    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.

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