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Old April 4, 2013, 07:12 PM   #1
chris in va
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Friend is considering SD/HD handgun

She's almost 60 and has decided to have a look at a handgun after my GF and I took her to the range.

By no means will I push her toward any particular pistol, and suggested she read The Cornered Cat. At some point we'll take her to the range and have her rent a few to see what works or doesn't but I wanted to get everyone's input on possible platforms so we're not there for hours trying guns that have features that make things too complicated.

She's rather petite and had difficulty holding up my Henry Lever action 22. Better luck with the CZ Kadet on my P01. Her technique needs a lot of work though and I fully intend to help her with this.

So what suggestions for something simple to operate, medium/light recoil and compact enough to carry? She liked my Kahr K9 but had trouble racking the slide which frankly is rather stout even for me.

BTW she wants to get her CCW permit soon.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:40 PM   #2
Carmady
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Snub nose .38 Special.
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Old April 4, 2013, 08:19 PM   #3
gundog5
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I bought my mother a snub nosed 38 a few years ago (small woman) and she kept it for years but it was to much gun for her and she didn't like shooting it due to the recoil. If I had to do it again I would have gotten her (I think it is called the Berreta tom cat) the little berreta that the barrel pops up to load in the first round or you can use the slide to chamber the first round. As my mother got older she couldn't pull the trigger or cock the hammer on the 38.
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Old April 4, 2013, 08:19 PM   #4
lowercase
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Quote:
Snub nose .38 Special.
I second that suggestion.

I'd recommend a S&W Model 10 snub because it isn't too big, but has enough weight to make it a very gentle shooter.

My old man couldn't rack the slide on my Makarov pistol due to arthritis, but he shot my K-Frame .38s just fine when I took him to the local range.

Oops, I just noticed that she is looking at a gun she can carry. A Model 10 could be a purse gun, but she'd have to try one out to make sure it wan't too big for her.

Here's my Model 10-5.


Last edited by lowercase; April 4, 2013 at 08:27 PM.
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Old April 4, 2013, 08:30 PM   #5
Venom1956
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i'd think a double action pull on a revolver could be alot for some older people. Maybe after some work it would be lighter but factory?
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Old April 4, 2013, 08:49 PM   #6
lowercase
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i'd think a double action pull on a revolver could be alot for some older people. Maybe after some work it would be lighter but factory?
I think it would have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

For example, I showed my 65-year-old mother how to use the same revolver in my pic above for HD. I put snap caps in it and made her dry fire a bunch of times it so she would be more comfortable in knowing how the trigger on that gun felt. She did fine with it, and she's not in the greatest of health. She really liked the idea of that snub as a home defense weapon.
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Old April 4, 2013, 09:00 PM   #7
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Asking the internet to pick a gun for someone is always a bad idea. You're better off putting pictures of guns on a wall and throwing a dart.
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Old April 4, 2013, 09:23 PM   #8
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Home Defense

S&W 500!!
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Old April 4, 2013, 09:27 PM   #9
lowercase
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Quote:
Asking the internet to pick a gun for someone is always a bad idea. You're better off putting pictures of guns on a wall and throwing a dart.
Yeah, but what kind of dart?

I recommend one like this:



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Old April 4, 2013, 09:43 PM   #10
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IMHO a 4" barrel is a better choice, a little more beginner friendly.
Consider a Ruger, a Security Six. Much easier to lighten the trigger pull with an aftermarket spring-it was a drop in part for me-while retaining 100% reliability. Comfortable grips are a MUST.
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Old April 4, 2013, 09:53 PM   #11
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I suggest one of two options.

A airweight Centennial J frame in .327 (and maybe just use .32 H&R magnums) and have a gunsmith give it a slick DAO action. I think the Ruger LCR comes in .327, right? That is another option if a snub revolver is desired.

OR

A TCP/LCP/Tomcat .32/.380 auto. The Beretta Tomcat .32 as it has a very easy tip up barrel to load the first round (no jacking of the slide needed.)

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Old April 4, 2013, 10:07 PM   #12
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I would not suggest a j-frame sized revolver for someone that in inexperienced with firearms. They are hard to control vs. something like a k frame.

I also wouldn't suggest some blow back autos unless the person can show me that they can easily pull the slide back (blow backs tend to have stiff recoil springs) and are comfortable firing them.

My wife has a much easier time with a Glock 19 than a CZ82. She shoots the CZ great, it is just harder for her to load.
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Old April 4, 2013, 11:42 PM   #13
chris in va
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Thanks for the suggestions. Again, I'm not even remotely picking a gun for her, just looking for a place to start.

We had an old J-frame, my GF hated it. Stiff recoil and not easy to shoot accurately. Three cylinders and she was done.

The nice thing is I'll be making some powderpuff practice reloads so whatever she does get, it won't beat up her size zero hands.
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Old April 5, 2013, 12:21 AM   #14
JimmyR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf Smith
I suggest one of two options.

A airweight Centennial J frame in .327 (and maybe just use .32 H&R magnums) and have a gunsmith give it a slick DAO action. I think the Ruger LCR comes in .327, right? That is another option if a snub revolver is desired.

OR

A TCP/LCP/Tomcat .32/.380 auto. The Beretta Tomcat .32 as it has a very easy tip up barrel to load the first round (no jacking of the slide needed.)

Deaf
While I think the 32 ACP is an underpowered round for SD or HD, I think the Tomcat is an innovative design that makes it very easy for folks who have difficulty racking a slide to chamber a round. I carry one as a CC/BU piece, and trust it with quality ammo.
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Old April 5, 2013, 02:19 AM   #15
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Lowercase, is that an assault dart?? Looks mighty suspicious.
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Old April 5, 2013, 02:31 AM   #16
lowercase
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Lowercase, is that an assault dart?? Looks mighty suspicious.
Yes, and I think it has already been banned in order to stop random dart violence.
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Old April 5, 2013, 04:05 AM   #17
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I know where you can get a speed strip for extra tips.
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Old April 5, 2013, 06:56 AM   #18
loltraktor1918
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What about the CZ P01? I sold mine, but not because of the gun itself. I sold as I decided to stick with my Glock. However, I did find it easier to shoot and it was also more than $100 cheaper than the Glock 17.
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Old April 5, 2013, 07:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
The nice thing is I'll be making some powderpuff practice reloads so whatever she does get, it won't beat up her size zero hands.
Recoil sensitivity isn't really related to the size of one's hands, based on my own observations. I was at the range with a cute, petite 20-something girl from Great Britain a few lanes down from me. She couldn't have been more than 5'2" and 100 lbs. She was shooting various handguns with a friend (a US resident) and she was jumping up and down giggling with joy after firing .44 Magnum through his Ruger Redhawk. I think she went through a whole 50 round box of that high kicking WWB mag ammo with narry a complaint (darn good shot too).

OTH, my dad (6'5" and 230 lbs) couldn't stand the recoil of my .38 642 the first time he fired it (he has since changed is hand grip, and now owns a loves a 442 of his own).

As for trying guns, just be sure to differentiate the guns as much as possible, starting at generally the lowest recoil and work your way up, using a mix of revolvers an autos. I agree, it isn't realistic to try everything, but at least that would give you some good data points to narrow in on something specific.

My mother, who as pretty bad arthritis in her hands, settled on a .22 Hi Standard Supermatic Citation for home protection. The arthritis makes it painful to shoot anything else with any regularity, though she can manage a 4" steel .38 shooting light wadcutters for a few cylinders full. She is thinking about getting her carry permit, and she is considering a Ruger SR-22 for carry. Lightweight, easy to retract the slide and very little recoil, it is probably the best choice for her. Either that or the Ruger LCR-22.

Though I don't carry a .22, and never would, for some it really is the best choice because it won't hurt to practice and become proficient. To me, that beats the .45 you left at home because it is too big, or the flyweight .357 that you DO carry but never shoot because it hurts too much.
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Old April 5, 2013, 07:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf Smith
A airweight Centennial J frame in .327 (and maybe just use .32 H&R magnums) and have a gunsmith give it a slick DAO action. I think the Ruger LCR comes in .327, right?
Neither Ruger nor S&W has offered a lightweight alloy- or polymer-frame compact revolver in .327 Federal Magnum. Both gunmakers' offerings in this caliber have been limited to steel frames.

S&W previously offered a number of Airweight (AL alloy, steel cylinder) and AirLite (SC/AL alloy, Ti cylinder) revolvers in .32 H&R Mag, but all are now discontinued and none sold well, which has resulted in high resale prices due to collector interest.

OTOH Ruger has offered the SP101 in .327Mag, which IMHO would make a very good choice for this mission, as it is almost as heavy as a S&W K frame and therefore easier to control. Contrary to 'net hype, .327Mag is NOT a low-recoil pussycat like other common .32-caliber handgun cartridges; recoil impulse splits the difference between .38Spl+P and .357Mag, and the cartridge operates at pressures in excess of .357, so muzzle flash and blast are considerable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf Smith
The Beretta Tomcat .32 as it has a very easy tip up barrel to load the first round (no jacking of the slide needed.)
Agreed, but the OP should be cautioned that older Tomcats without the Inox stainless finish had some well-documented durability problems. If shopping for a Tomcat, stick with a newer one or at least a used Inox example. Also, IIRC the Tomcat manual advises against using some of the hotter .32ACP loads on the market, and I would recommend heeding the manual's advice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs12345
I would not suggest a j-frame sized revolver for someone that in inexperienced with firearms. They are hard to control vs. something like a k frame... I also wouldn't suggest some blow back autos unless the person can show me that they can easily pull the slide back (blow backs tend to have stiff recoil springs) and are comfortable firing them.
Agreed on both counts.
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Old April 5, 2013, 01:17 PM   #21
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Forum posts, real world issues...

Please read over a few of the recent forum posts re; selecting a new firearm for defense/CC.
1st, I'd suggest taking your friend to a gun range & have her shoot-handle different weapons. Guns she may want to buy or really carry; a snub .38spl revolver(K or J frame size), a .22LR revolver or semi auto pistol, a compact or sub-compact 9x19mm(9mm Luger).
She may have problems with aiming/marksmanship or it may be hard for her to operate a semi-auto pistol.
ANY firearm she may buy or get should be fully able to field-strip, load-unload, clean, hold, etc.
If she(not you or a gun shop sales clerk) can't do these basic functions then do not have her buy the firearm.
She should also learn the gun/use of force laws and understand that firearms are for lethal force. Guns are not toys, fashion statements, props or bluffs.

If she can not honestly hold a person at gun-point or be ready to use lethal force in a real, high stress event, then she should not get a firearm.
Have her get the proper gun care & cleaning products too.
For defense or carry, have her use only factory made, high quality ammunition no reloads or hand-loads.

CF
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Old April 5, 2013, 07:46 PM   #22
BigD_in_FL
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I own a snub 38 and that is the LAST gun I would recommend for someone new and a little weak - the triggers are long and hard, the recoil can be brutal to folks with hand issues

For lower recoil look at the Bersa 380, the Glock 26 or similar guns with easy to rack slides and lighter triggers
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Old April 7, 2013, 12:09 PM   #23
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Snub nosed .327 Federal Mag. This gun can fire the extremely mild 32 S&W, the .32 S&W Long, the .32 H&R Magnum and the .327 Federal Magnum. Some people even claim it can fire the even milder .32 ACP, but I haven't tried that. Full strength .327 Fed Mag rounds produce an awesome amount of recoil and noise, but low recoil SD loads are available for it, as are SD loads in .32 H&R Magnum.

The Taurus Model 327 holds 6 rounds where most .38s hold only 5. If she can stand the longer 3" barrel, the Ruger SP101 might be better for her and Ruger may eventually produce more of these with a 2" barrel. The S&W Model 632 is another option, but $$$.
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Old April 7, 2013, 12:20 PM   #24
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Agree totally with BigDinFL ... a snubby is a gun that takes constant practice for accuracy; I own one and don't shoot it nearly enough to consider it for EDC .. my wife hates my j-frame and won't shoot it -- and she is no delicate flower ...

Much better IMHO is a small to medium semi, like a Glock or Springfield -- 9mm, weight 20-25 oz, recoil-absorbing slide, ease of reloading and much easier to shoot accurately. Also, if they're not going to practice, at least provide a lot of rounds; five shots from a hard-to-shoot revolver vs. 10-15 from an easy shooting semi, seems like a no-brainer ...
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Old April 7, 2013, 12:42 PM   #25
Cesure
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Quote:
Agree totally with BigDinFL ... a snubby is a gun that takes constant practice for accuracy; I own one and don't shoot it nearly enough to consider it for EDC .. my wife hates my j-frame and won't shoot it -- and she is no delicate flower ...
If you had said a .38 snubby, I could agree with you. but having shot the .327 snubby with many of its low recoil options, I think it is better and has significantly less recoil than a semi-auto in 9mm or .380 ACP (which I have for comparison). It is easier to operate and until quick reloading becomes the deciding factor, has a clear edge over semi-autos for a person with weak hands. As far as accuracy, an apples-to-apples comparison of short barreled revolvers vs. short barreled semi-autos equipped with similar (fixed) sights, once recoil is removed from the equation, doesn't seem to favor either.
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