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Need Help: Gun for Wife

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by David4516, Jul 15, 2013.

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  1. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    My wife has been shopping for a pistol and is having difficulty finding one that she likes that is comfortable and fits her well. It would be mainly used for defense, both at home and possibly as a concealed carry gun.

    She has two things that are not helping matters. First, she has small hands, with shorter fingers. On many handguns, she can't reach the trigger without twisting the gun in her hands. The second issue is that she has fibromyalgia, with makes her more sensitive to recoil, and she also has a tough time racking the slide on many semi-autos

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia

    Currently she has 3 handguns, a Beretta 950 Jetfire and Colt 1908 Vest Pocket, both in .25 ACP, and she's got a Taurus 85 revolver in .38 Special. She likes them all but has the most difficulty with the Taurus, mainly because of the long double-action trigger pull. Probably the one that fits her best is the Colt, but I'm not even sure how safe they are to carry with a round in the chamber?

    We've found that larger semi-autos, especially blow back types (vs locked breech), have very stiff recoil springs. She shoots them well but needs help to chamber the first round. On larger frame double action revolvers, she can't reach the trigger at all.

    So we might be looking for something that doesn't exist. Does anyone know of a pistol that has an easy-to-reach trigger, that is light (preferably single action), and if it's a semi-auto, has a soft recoil spring that is easy to manipulate?

    So far the closest thing we've found was the Kahr PM9, it fit her had almost perfectly, but she still couldn't work the slide.

    Another possibility might be to somehow modify her current .38 revolver to make the trigger easier to reach. Not sure how one might do that? Different grips?

    Worse case scenario, she sticks with a .25 ACP that she is comfortable with, but we'd like to go with something that shoots are larger caliber bullet if we can find one. Even a .32 would be a step up, .380 ACP or 9mm Luger would be great, as would .38 special or even .32 H&R

    Any info and / or advice you guys could provide would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cryogaijin

    Cryogaijin Member

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    Take a look at the Walther pp 380. It has a narrow, single stack grip, and the rear sight can be used to assist racking the slide.

    I do not own one, personally, but I've handled one a couple times, and from my limited expirience it sounds like it would be decent for her needs.
     
  3. GLI45

    GLI45 Member

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    Had similar issues trying to find a carry gun for my wife. We went through about half a dozen .380s and small 9mm pistols. (Kahr, CZ, Taurus,etc.) The two biggest issues were finding a slide she could comfortably rack and finding something that had recoil she could manage. Then we tried a Sig P238 and she loved it. Easy to rack, soft recoil for a small .380 (some can be very sharp), excellent Sig sights (uncommon on pocket size guns), light weight, and a very good trigger. The pistol is set up like a sub compact 1911 (but it's not a 1911) in that it's functionality, controls, and ergonomics are very similar. Really terrific small pistol. They can be tough to find, but worth the effort.
     
  4. Cryogaijin

    Cryogaijin Member

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    As a note, a decent gunsmith could also put a hook on the back of the slide that helps with racking the slide.
     
  5. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    Did some searching on google and turned up a similar topic on another site:

    http://www.handgunforum.net/general-semi-auto/28044-semi-easiest-slide.html

    This statement is an exact description of our problems with the revolver:

    So not sure if this helps but I think it articulates the issue better than I did in my original post.

    GLI45, the SIG looks like a possibility, thanks for the suggestion...
     
  6. jbj

    jbj Member

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    The Kel-teks in their various forms might work. The little 32 seemed to do well. And the new Kahr 380. I held one the other day and don't remember the slide being much to operate.

    You might try a different technique for racking the slide also. Instead of slingshotting it, have her hold the gun steady and push the grip forward. I've had some success helping people with small hands/low hand strength.
     
  7. Cryogaijin

    Cryogaijin Member

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  8. smalls

    smalls Member

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    The recoil may be a bit stout due to the size, but a Sig 938 might be an option. SAO, so the trigger is short and light.

    Edit, GLI beat me to it, sorta.
     
  9. Tomac

    Tomac Member

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    SIG P238 in .380. My wife had similar problems after her kidney cancer. The SIG is SA, slide is very easy to rack, recoil is minimal (especially after adding Hogue rubber grips) and w/FMJ you get sufficient penetration. If you feel the thumb safety is a bit small, you can have a good 'smith extend it a bit like we did.
    HTH...
    Tomac
     
  10. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    My wife had a tough time racking the slide on the Browning HiPower she learned on until she got a tip, put the weak hand on top of the slide and while pushing the grip, just shrug her shoulders. Made it really easy for her.

    She's petite and has small hands with short fingers, so finding a handgun that fit her comfortably was a challenge. One thing that's worked well for her is a Gen4 Glock. Since it's her range/HD gun, she opted for the 17. Those 6mm or so difference between the Gen3 and Gen4 makes all the difference for her. I'll probably end up getting her a Gen4 26 at some point. She also has a S&W Model 36 with Pachmeyer grips on it and can take my Colt Mustang if she wants to carry.

    A friend of mine's wife struggles with racking a slide, and that Walther PP380 mentioned above works for her.
     
  11. Jsg81

    Jsg81 Member

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    How about the Berreta .32? Bigger than the .25, has the tip up barrel for loading, and can be carried cocked and locked.

    It wouldn't be my first choice but my wife hates the recoil of anything larger than a .22.
     
  12. tuj

    tuj Member

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    racking the slide is more about technique than pure strength. Have hear try the 'over-the-top' method with your hands are opposed to each other and you can push your arms together to rack the slide.
     
  13. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    My 5'1" petite wife also chose a Glock for her gun.(19) After renting about every small gun out there, she finally came to the conclusion that mouse guns suck. She chose the 19 for the ease of use, lack of perceived recoil and rackability (is that a word?)
     
  14. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    Another one that looks interesting to me is the Walter PK380. I always thought it was as straight blowback design, but according to Wikipedia is it not?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walther_PK380

    It says that the safety does not de-cock the hammer, but they say it's a double action / single action pistol? How would one fire it in double-action mode if you can't de-cock it? Weird...

    One other thing I should mention about my wife, we do have one other pistol that she shoots well. It's a Star "Model A" 9mm Largo. It seems to fit her OK because it's smaller/thinner than other 1911 style pistols and she likes the single action trigger. It has a very well worn in recoil spring that is easy for her to rack the slide. The recoil is prertty mild too as it's a full size, all steel gun, and also because we only shoot my handloads with this gun. I have them loaded to .38 ACP (not .380 ACP, .38 ACP) levels (largely because I don't want to beat up my old gun). I have heard of people loading these like .38 Super but I don't know that I feel comfortable doing that.

    I am not sure how safe the Star is (no grip safety like other 1911s, and I don't think it's drop safe either). So I am wondering if another scaled down 1911 might be good? Something like an Springfeild Armory EMP?

    ddbambam, I like your idea about the pop-up barreled .380, I think it was called the "Cheetah". She already likes the pop-up .25 pistols (and so do I, love the model 950), so a scaled up one might not be a bad idea. Only problem I see with this is finding one, I think Beretta stopped making the Cheetah a long time ago, I haven't seen one in a while now. Also, I think all the Beretta pop-ups (aside form the 25s) are double action? Single action might be better...
     
  15. antiquus

    antiquus Member

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    My arthritic wife ended up with my LCR loaded with standard .38 spl rounds. The LCR's trigger is average length of pull for DA revolver, but hugely different in effort and breaks nicely.

    All my daughters who carry and my wife use revolvers, by their choice.
     
  16. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    There are weapons available for folks with small hands . Male and female.
    I`d give google a try . Ask your question. Hand guns for women. see what you come up with. That is if you haven`t already.
     
  17. MattShlock

    MattShlock Member

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    S&W J-Frame with round grip in .38. Got the money, Lady Smith .357 -- shoot .38's. NON AIRWEIGHT!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  18. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    Beretta Tomcat is the .32 with the tip up barrel.
    You might also look into putting a different grip on that Taurus M85, something smaller which might make it more comfortable and give her a little more leverage with the pull. She can always train to cock the hammer and fire single action; not perfect but it's a solution.

    Then again, if it's just for home defense I'm a fan of the .410 shotgun, youth-sized. It will have more punch than anything else you've mentioned, easy to point, easy to manipulate. Whatever you choose good luck to the both of you.
     
  19. jasonsch

    jasonsch Member

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    I fear answering this question... But this is The High Road, so you guys have to be nice!! My wife is 4ft 10in and weighs 120 lbs. She has very small hands. This is where it gets scary... For her birthday I recently bought her a (gulp!!) Jimenez JA-22. I also got her a Hogue grip (yes, it's pink!!) to go with it.
    This was her first pistol and it seems to work very well for her! She has no problem racking it and the Hogue grip helps her to keep a hold of it. It fits her small hands very well and she has no problem shooting it. In fact, I'm quite surprised at what a good shot she is! She really likes it and so far, as long as we use good high-velocity ammo, it functions fine.
    Jimenez makes a .25 that's the same size as the .22. They also have the .32 and .380 that are a little bigger, but I haven't had any experience with them.
    Just thought I'd tell you what works for my wife. :)
     
  20. antiquus

    antiquus Member

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    The .22 is the one case where no auto makes sense, as it's not a matter of if but rather when you will run into a misfire. Hopefully not when she needs it. I really suggest a revolver for .22 SD carry. It's easy to find a 7 or 8 shot model.
     
  21. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    gun for wife=great trade
     
  22. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    If you look at the forum sticky....
     
  23. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    Good news: after some experimenting I think we've come up with a slide racking technique that works well for my wife. Got the idea from watching this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m8ioBKQkxk

    Basically instead of pointing the pistol in front of her and pulling the slide toward her body, she points the pistol to her left and pulls the slide to her right. This uses a different set of muscles and using this method she was even able to work the slide on a Makarov (which seems to have a stronger spring than alot of other semi-autos). After a few times with the Mak she said that it was starting to get uncomfortable, but I would think that with a non blow-back pistol it would be much easier. This is very encouraging.

    We've tried other methods in the past, including the "punching" technique, but with no success.

    I am wondering if she'd be able to rack the slide on that Kahr PM9 now, since that seemed to fit her hands very well. Might have to visit the LGS soon and find out...

    We thought the same thing, bought her a Mossberg 505 in .410 a while ago back, but have had nothing but trouble with it. It likes to "drop" shells from the tube when you pump the action. I wish Remington made the 870 express youth model in a .410, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
     
  24. jasonsch

    jasonsch Member

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    I gotta say I am Impressed!! Mention Jimenez anywhere else and a guy almost gets run off the information super-highway!! Above was the worst thing anyone had to say! I appreciate your civility - Great forum!
    David4516 - I hope you find a gun that works for your wife - Good Luck!!
     
  25. smalls

    smalls Member

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    Normally, I'd agree. But I think he's just looking for suggestions to have his wife check out that meet a certain criteria. It never hurts to ask "hey, my wife has this problem, and can't do this, is their a handgun that might be a little easier to rack, shoot, etc. that she should check out".

    And then take that new information with her while gun shopping.
     
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