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Old April 20, 2012, 09:22 PM   #1
TXAZ
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84 year old Dad wants me to get him a gun

My dad thinks he wants a small pistol. He lives in a large Texas city and becoming more concerned with crime. He used to be a pretty good shot in 1960 and he still gets around reasonably. I'm not too worried about the cost (and this won't be a straw Purchase...I'll find it and take him to the LGS).
we took him to shoot 2 years ago and he was fine. He is not frail but a 16 year old could easily overpower him.

Have any of you found a easy to use pistol (semi or revolver) that might be appropriate for my Dad? Or do you know the right questions to ask? I'm not sure I'm all that objective in this one.
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Old April 20, 2012, 09:26 PM   #2
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I talked to a guy once he carrys a NAA 22 revolver, hes about 75 or so. Carry hammer down on empty chamber so only 4 shots.. Carry extra in a pouch of some sort.
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Old April 20, 2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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How's his manual dexterity, and hand strength? - those are likely to be the limiting factors in what he can handle effectively.

You could scout around for a range w/ a decent selection of rentals and go from there.
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Old April 20, 2012, 10:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
I talked to a guy once he carrys a NAA 22 revolver, hes about 75 or so. Carry hammer down on empty chamber so only 4 shots..
Thats silly My NAA has notch between cyl to lower hammer in This allows fully loaded and safe .

I would look to a revolver For home a used S&W model 10 4inch barell Then use wadcutter ammo . This target ammo and soft recoil but the wadcutter does good job. Before HP ammo many of us carried 148 gr wadcutters in our snubs.

I had a friend in his 80's he carried a Colt Jr in 25 auto every where he went.
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Old April 20, 2012, 10:33 PM   #5
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I agree with michael t; Something like a Smith & Wesson Model 10 would be an ideal gun for your dad. It's what I gave my father when he was in his 80s.

Just remember: As we get older, muscle mass declines and we lose a lot of strength, so make sure whatever you get can be operated safely by your father.

Also, purchasing a gun for your father is not a straw purchase if you are buying it as a gift, unless, of course, for some reason he is a "prohibited person."
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Old April 20, 2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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Does he still drive? I would say if he can still pass the requirements for a drivers license, then he might be OK. I am not sure of your State's driving test for older folks.

I would be most worried about his mental judgement, reasonable reaction time/reflexes and eye sight. If you are comfortable there, then OK. If you are not good with those, then he should not be driving or have a gun. It would be time for him to live with a family member or in an assisted living facility.

We owe a lot to him and his generation, but we also need to realize when to start making the payments to care for them.

From the little information you have provided, it is hard to offer sage advice.
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Old April 20, 2012, 11:40 PM   #7
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So take him to the gunshop and help him pick one out. I got my dad a Glock 19 when he was 87. I took him to the range to practice shooting it a few times also. He has not gone to the range in 3 years, but he is still a member of the gun club and occasionally goes to a meeting. He still drives, and he has a pistol that he knows how to use and it makes him feel secure in his home. Help your dad out. As far as pistol, or revolver ? I would have prefered he had a revolver, as an accidental discharge is more unlikely is my opinion. The pistol has a lighter trigger pull that the revolver (a S&W 686 with .38 Spl loads). Bottom line though was I let my dad decide what he wanted and felt comfortable with. If he had changed his mind after the range trip that would have been okay. Here in California he still has a current CCW. Who am I to short sheet him ?
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Old April 20, 2012, 11:48 PM   #8
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You have not stated whether he wants this handgun just for home defense (no carry permit required) or if he intends to carry it when out in public. The size and weight would be a much more important factor if he intends to carry.
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Old April 21, 2012, 06:47 AM   #9
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Thanks good input and questions, some more answers.

He drives
Home defense, primarily at night
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Old April 21, 2012, 07:24 AM   #10
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I agree with Hook686, spend some time with him at the gunshop. And then go shoot it together.

Someday you'll probably get the gun and you'll have a pleasant memory of your father. I lost my dad in 2005 and I wish I had done a few more things with him when I had the chance.
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Old April 21, 2012, 10:54 AM   #11
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My dad is too infirm these days to shoot anything more than a .22. At 91 years, he just can't handle recoil. The only gun I have he could successfully handle other than a .22 is the FNH 5.7. This pistol is very easy to operate; the mags load easily, the slide racks easily, the contols are simple. Most of all the recoil is soft yet the round considerably more lethal than a .22lr. It's a bit big to conceal, but as a HD gun, the 5.7 is a great choice for the elderly, arthritic or infirm.
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Old April 21, 2012, 11:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
TXAZ
84 year old Dad wants me to get him a gun
My dad thinks he wants a small pistol. He lives in a large Texas city and becoming more concerned with crime. He used to be a pretty good shot in 1960 and he still gets around reasonably. I'm not too worried about the cost (and this won't be a straw Purchase...I'll find it and take him to the LGS).
we took him to shoot 2 years ago and he was fine. He is not frail but a 16 year old could easily overpower him.

Have any of you found a easy to use pistol (semi or revolver) that might be appropriate for my Dad? Or do you know the right questions to ask? I'm not sure I'm all that objective in this one.
Whatever you get for him, your father should be the one picking it out. If he drives, it sounds like he still got it. So, some other questions to ask...
- Does he have any type of arthritis?
- How is his physical strength?

BTW, regardless of what some here might recommend there are definitely some bad choices for older people. Here are just some considerations - not saying they're bad choices for everyone but for most old folks in their 80's:

- NAA Mini - yeah, single action tiny bugger that requires small nimble hands/fingers to cock & shoot.

- 12 ga shotgun - always recommended by the experts because of all the myths surrounding it. It isn't the end all of home defense. It's heavy and unwieldy inside a house unless your dad is planning on carrying it on him and barricading himself at the first sound of a weird noise.

Have your dad carry on him in and around his home if possible. He will always have his weapon with him. Look into revolvers with lighter/smooth triggers whether they be new or used. A 22LR snub revolver that your dad can shoot easily is better than the 45ACP that he can't rack or shoot.
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Old April 21, 2012, 11:59 AM   #13
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I believe any good reliable handgun is a LOT better than no gun if he needs one in a hurry outside the home. Even a 22 is WAY better than his bare hands.
So it's a matter of what kind of handgun he can manage and what he WILL carry on his person. It the gun is too big or too heavy he will leave it at home or in the car.

If he is not going to carry the gun on his person then he should not get a handgun at all. Get a carbine of some sort. Or if recoil is not a problem, get a shotgun.
AK 47s are very useful. Heck, even 8 year old Vietnamese girls could handle them well. They are super reliable and not too pricey.
ALWAYS use a long arm if you can. Handguns are the best weapon for anyone to buy if they intend to be armed and STAY armed all the time, because you can't schedule a life threatening emergency.
But if carry is not going to taken seriously I say again, get a rifle, carbine or shotgun.
Facing an old man with a cool head in a life and death fight; if that man was even armed with a Ruger 10/22 would not be a good plan for any young punk.
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Old April 21, 2012, 12:09 PM   #14
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I don't think shelf life has much to do with what works and what don't.

The strength to load a magazine, work the slide, clear an obstruction, the ability to idenity a threat, accessability, and willingness, are players in the decisions to be made.

Apparently he is up to it emotionally. Only you and he can resolve any other physical or occupational stumbling bumps in the road.

If you two go out for a shooting outing, please, try not to preach or 'talk down' to the student. That is a slippery slope and can well turn counter-productive.

Have fun.

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Old April 21, 2012, 12:58 PM   #15
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http://www.corneredcat.com/Contents/

That's a good web site for helping folks pick out guns and lots of other things.
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Old April 21, 2012, 01:08 PM   #16
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As has been said, a S&W Model 10 with 4" barrell in .38 Special would be ideal. If he has problems with the double action pull then get a Wolff reduced power spring kit and install it for him.
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Old April 21, 2012, 04:24 PM   #17
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I'm 84 and carry a Kahr PM9. I also have 10 other handguns of various size and caliber...
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Old April 21, 2012, 05:03 PM   #18
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PM sent...
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Old April 21, 2012, 05:05 PM   #19
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Take him shooting yourself, before you agree to help him. Then you can assess his ability to safely handle a firearm. If he's fine....go for it. He's a free American!
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Old April 21, 2012, 08:15 PM   #20
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If he wants to wear one around the house, a Ruger LCR in .38 special has a great trigger. Being a snubbie, it is not as inherently as accurate as a 4" but it sure shoots nice.
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Old April 21, 2012, 08:39 PM   #21
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Yep, I think the model 10 with wadcutters.
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Old April 21, 2012, 08:43 PM   #22
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Buzzcock #15 and twobit #20 said what I had composed.

But that was before I read your post that specified the home defense was the primary objective.

But first, I was going to ask what (action type, caliber) he used to shoot, what prompted him to shoot (work? self-protection, hobby?) and what prompted him to give it up. That information would influence my answers.

(Before concealed carry was ruled out)
Ruger has a 22 rimfire version of the LCR now. 22 Rimfire is not a particularly good self-defense round, but is cheap to practice with and, let's face it, self-defense shootings most of the time do not require all that much power. Bad guys, if they get challenged by an armed and resistive victim usually disengage after the first shot. I have been thinking about getting one of each caliber. 22 for practice and 38 (or 357) for carry. The LCR .357 is just so much lighter than my SP101s.

You are a good son. If you will be instructing your Father, getting him something with which you are unfamiliar might not be a good idea.

Short-barreld shotgun. If 12 gauge is too heavy, 16 or 20 gauge. A long gun and a cell phone are great for a stationary home defense plan. A 4" to 6" barreled 44 Special or 45 ACP or 45 Colt revolver can hardly be beat as a "nightstand handgun" Large, slow bullets do well on flesh and tend not to go through too many neighbors' walls. 5.5" Ruger Redhawk 44 magnum loaded with 44 Specials is nice. Smith & Wesson 6" Model 29 loaded with 44 Specials or a Model 25. If he favors semi-autos, the Taurus PT145 I own has proved reliable, accurate and easy to use. Springfield's XD, Smith's M&P and the Glocks have good reputations, but I have only ever shot the Springfield that belongs to my friend. And, of course, the venerable 1911 design available from Colt, Springfield, Smith, Dan Wesson, Kimber, et al.

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Old April 21, 2012, 09:27 PM   #23
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I also thought a .22 revolver would be good for the situation you describe. I got my grandmother a Taurus .22 snub she loves it, practices with with standard velocity, loads it with stingers for defense. Sounds like a cannon with the stingers in it.
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Old April 21, 2012, 11:10 PM   #24
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I suggest you consider the Walther PPS 9mm. It's very easy to shoot and a truly great gun. It has very soft recoil and the best trigger on any striker-fired gun.
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Old April 22, 2012, 02:39 AM   #25
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I think any good revolver in a 38spl is a good choice My pops is the same age I think a revolver keeps it simple for a senior. He lives alone in farm country and keeps a revolver as a night stand gun and a Win 1894 30-30 as a backup.
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