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Old March 13, 2013, 08:35 PM   #1
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Home/Car gun for older arthritic coworker

My co-worker's husband has purchased her a revolver in 22 LR (caliber not up for debate), but she said she has trouble cocking the hammer. She expressed interest in a semi-auto, but is concerned about the force required to work the slide. This is not a CCW. What 22 LR handguns (of any style) have you encountered that were reliable enough for self-defense but easy enough to operate with arthritic hands?
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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Just off the top of my head, the Beretta 21 has a tip-up barrel that allows loading the chamber without having to rack the slide at all. And it's double-action, so she wouldn't have to manually cock the hammer either.
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:39 PM   #3
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If she were to get a 1911 in .22LR, there are replacement rear sights that have a leg sticking out one side to assist in racking the slide. I believe it'll have to be a slide with a stock (GI) rear sight dovetail, though.

That said, the force required to rack the slide of a .22 isn't very much.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:09 PM   #4
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The GOLD STANDARD of the semi-auto .22 pistol world.... The Ruger MK series!
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Old March 14, 2013, 10:29 AM   #5
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My M&P 22 is very easy to rack the slide. Not sure how it would be for an arthritic hand but worth a try if she can look at one at a gun store.
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Old March 14, 2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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I have a sig sauer 1911-22 and it is very easy to rack the slide. In fact if I use it first fun on a shoot my 1911-45 is feels like it is almost stuck. The M&P .22 is also a great one...I use mine for cheap practice (I compete with a M&P pro) both should be easy to manipulate.
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Old March 14, 2013, 04:00 PM   #7
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Operating the slide on a Ruger MK series can be done by virtually anyone. The "ears" on the bolt are easy to grasp, and the spring resistance is minimal.
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Old March 19, 2013, 11:06 AM   #8
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I shot a friend's Ruger SR9C a while back, and that has to be one of the softest-shooting centerfires I've ever laid hands on! Slide was very easy to manipulate, too.

EDIT: Sorry, didn't see the caliber restriction! +1 on the Ruger MkII/III. get the cheapie model w/fixed sights & tapered barrel, and don't look back!
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Old March 19, 2013, 11:52 AM   #9
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Tilt barrel Beretta 21, or Taurus PT-22. I have the polymer framed PT-22Poly and it is a delight to shoot. It has been 100 percent reliable with quality ammo like CCI MiniMag. I don't use it for CCW, but if I were limited to a rimfire it would be my first choice. That being said, if the arthritic condition of the person mentioned in the OP makes it too hard to cock the hammer of a revolver I don't know if the relatively hard DAO trigger pull of the PT-22 would be right for her either.
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Old March 19, 2013, 12:14 PM   #10
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Honestly, I'd say 0.
If the person can't safely load, unload and/or fire a handgun then they SHOULD NOT carry it.
Firearms are nothing to mess around with. Stress, injury, illness, emotion, etc are all a part of a critical incident.
Author, legal use of force expert & tactics trainer Massad Ayoob wrote a gun press article about different firearms/methods for disabled or injured adults.
It's worth a read if you can find it online.
There are .22LR & .25acp type pocket models with "tip up" barrels & magazines.

My concern is that the gun owner/license holder won't be able to fire the gun or retain it in a struggle.
A Taser or EDW may be better than a firearm for this person, IMO.

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Old March 19, 2013, 06:14 PM   #11
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If the gun won't be used as a CCW, then there's no good reason to go with a small gun. A larger handgun will almost always be easier to shoot, higher capacity, easier to manipulate the controls on, and/or have a better trigger.

With a .22, I tend to lean heavily towards a revolver due to the unreliability of .22LR ammunition. While I rarely have misfires with centerfire ammunition (and the vast majority were either with old, improperly stored ammo or a problematic gun), I've seen enough misfires with rimfire ammo to make me distrustful of it. In a semi-automatic, your co-worker would have to cycle the bolt/slide to clear a misfire and that already seems to be problematic for her when not under stress much less when she's in a life-or-death situation. The S&W 617 would be a good model to look at because it will have a better trigger than most small revolvers and has a 10-shot cylinder. Also, while small guns usually aren't good choices for non-CCW applications, the Ruger LCR in .22 long rifle might be worth looking at due to its 8-shot cylinder and uncannily good DA trigger for a revolver of that size.

If she insists on a semi-auto, look at something full-sized and of known good quality. The Ruger Mk. III or 22/45 comes immediately to mind as does the Browning Buckmark. A CZ-75 with a Kadet Conversion Kit is also highly thought of and would allow her to easily transition to a more substantial centerfire cartridge if she eventually feels comfortable doing so. The S&W M&P 22 and Ruger SR22 also look promising, but I've not heard enough about them one way or the other to recommend them for self-defense.

Whatever gun she chooses, it is imperative that she load it with premium ammunition. While choosing bargain basement ammo for SD in any caliber is rarely wise, it would be downright foolish to load your self-defense gun with Remington Golden Bullets or Thunderbolts (sometimes called thunder-duds). I, personally, have had good luck with CCI Velocitor and Eley in that neither has ever given me a misfire, but whatever ammunition she chooses should be thoroughly tested before being relied upon.
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Old March 19, 2013, 06:20 PM   #12
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Might I suggest a visit to The Cornered Cat? I believe it has a specific article entitled "Rack the Slide."
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Old March 19, 2013, 09:36 PM   #13
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Since the 22 is not up for debate, I'll also say the Ruger MKII series. My bull barrel is very accurate and easy on the hands.
Otherwise, I also agree about the taser
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Old March 19, 2013, 11:44 PM   #14
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I shot a friend's Ruger SR9C a while back, and that has to be one of the softest-shooting centerfires I've ever laid hands on! Slide was very easy to manipulate, too.
No way! The SR9C, and I have owned one, has a dual recoil spring. It makes the slide very hard to manipulate and requires an overhand method to rack the slide.

In my opinion, if she cant thumb a hammer back on a revolver she will have trouble manipulating just about any slide. She can try a lighter mainspring on the revolver which should lighten up the hammer on it, or she can always just use the double action trigger on the gun as apposed to cocking the hammer back.
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Old March 20, 2013, 01:32 PM   #15
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Honestly, I'd say 0.
If the person can't safely load, unload and/or fire a handgun then they SHOULD NOT carry it.
I'm in this camp. It's a fact of life, some folk just can't or shouldn't own/use a gun. By the sounds of it even if she could find one she can operate she's a couple hundred hours short on experience before she's anywhere close to thinkin about using it for SD/HD. Recommend some good pepper spray.

Last edited by L_Killkenny; March 20, 2013 at 04:16 PM.
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Old March 20, 2013, 02:19 PM   #16
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L's post; US law enforcement stats...

Thanks for the post L.
I'd add that recent US stats show that nearly 15% of all sworn LE officers killed in the line of duty are killed with their OWN sidearms.

A disabled or injured person is way more likely to be involved in a weapon retention or gun grab event. Carrying a loaded weapon requires skill training and being able to handle a high stress violent event.

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Old March 20, 2013, 04:14 PM   #17
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The OP stated that it is not going to be used as a CCW weapon. He is looking for suggestions for a gun that a person with arthritic hands can use. To state a .22 LR That has an easy not too heavy trigger, a slide that can be worked by an elderly woman with arthritic hands, and is as reliable as they come. It is for HD most as was stated.

I can say my grandma used a Ruger MKII. She had arthritus, and osteoperosis. Meaning brittle bones. More recoil than the .22 LR ran the risk of breaking her hand. Grampa welded a ring that looked like the back of a pair of brass knuckles on the ears of the slide so she could rack it with ease in the case of a dud round, or jam. The trigger was easy enough for her to work.
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Old March 20, 2013, 04:22 PM   #18
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The OP stated that it is not going to be used as a CCW weapon. He is looking for suggestions for a gun that a person with arthritic hands can use.
Sorry to say arthritis sucks and I feel for this person. I've seen it before. I wasn't addressing the issue from the point of CCW and it's neither here nor there. From all aspects of ability (physical limitations) and experience this person needs to look elsewhere for SD. Answer is still zero.
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Old March 20, 2013, 04:41 PM   #19
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Beretta 70

Beretta 70 series are considered one if not the least finicky 22lr pistols ever made, also more compact and lighter than the ruger

a bit more difficult to find but should be similarly priced vs mk2 ruger

Last edited by TxFlyFish; March 20, 2013 at 04:46 PM.
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Old March 20, 2013, 05:42 PM   #20
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I once helped my very arthritic aunt choose a defense fire arm after her husband died. I brought a wide selection of firearms, she brought her husbands 2 guns - a s&w 10 and a ruger single six convertible. She couldn't handle the Berretta 22 or 84, but she could pull that big lever on the SS. With the 22 mag cylinder in, it would be OK for defence. All her shots were on the B5 target. Just sayin.
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Old March 20, 2013, 06:13 PM   #21
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One of the Browning Buckmark series would be my choice in a semi-auto on a budget.

But you might also look at some of the older guns the Colt Woodsman or some of the High Standards.....there are a lot of them around at the gunshows now.

But if she can't cock a hammer on a revolver...I don't how she can manipulate the slide on any semi-auto.
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Old March 20, 2013, 06:43 PM   #22
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I'll second the LCR.....and I'll also recommend trying one in .22Magnum. With the .22lr shortage, your neighbor might have an easier time finding quality .22Mag ammo.
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Old March 20, 2013, 06:56 PM   #23
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I'd suggest she try the ruger SR22 out. I looked at one a buddy of mine bought recently and found it to be very slick.

I love my browning buckmark but would skip it under this criteria. Its a very easy slide to rack until you have a dud and are working against the striker. At that point the resistance is much higher, and there isn't alot of slide to get a hold of. I have seen several people in good physical condition struggle with it.
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Old March 20, 2013, 07:01 PM   #24
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The idea of welding or screwing an extension to the slide is a good one, and there are other such solutions. I do see the point others have made about retention and use, but I don't think it is acceptable to say that just because a person is elderly or has a hard time handling a gun he or she should not have one. I think that is a personal choice, just like owning a gun in the first place. Many people with handicaps more severe than arthritis can and do handle guns, drive cars, and operate other mechanical devices every day.

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Old March 20, 2013, 07:22 PM   #25
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You can rack the slide using one hand on numerous 22 models. Practice w/ snap caps on anything from the pants, wall, couch, etc. Remember the reliability of many new small caliber guns are iffy these days and many gun manufacturers are way behind. Might be better off buying a used one that you can shoot a 1000 rounds thru without FT-what-evers. Don't forget about limp-wrist issues.
If the gun is for just keeping in the house...the M&P22LR has a very large safety. You can rack it and leave the safety on. Teach the person to never let the mag go dry and reload w/ a fresh full mag. That is, assuming they can work the mag release.
Use gun grease (not oil) on the slide metal/metal parts w/ very thin film so you don't end up w/ a pool of gun oil that gravity loves to entice.
I use CLP on the other parts and blow off w/ a compressor and wipe as dry as I can w/ those blue paper auto shop towels.

Last edited by bt380; March 20, 2013 at 08:19 PM.
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