Best handgun for woman with arthritic hands

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    Senior Member CAN KILL YOU WITH JUST HIS FINGER SeahawkDriver-R's Avatar
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    Best handgun for woman with arthritic hands

    So yeah.... my MOM finally came around. After flat-out saying she'd never own a gun in her life, she has wholeheartedly admitted that she needs a gun for protection. I guess its a combination of wisdom with age, and the increasingly dangerous world we live in.

    The problem is, she's in her early 60's and has arthritis.

    Like most people, I recommend DA/SA revolvers for any novice shooter. Automatics are just too complicated for anyone to successfully manipulate in a stress situation without proper training and practice. Old people that are new to guns usually can't see much without their glasses, and have a hard time manipulating slide releases, take-down levers, loading heavy-sprung mags, and forgetting to turn the safety off....And that's just at the range; you can imagine a mugger or home invader situation.

    A revolver is undoubtedly the way to go if you want a simple point-squeeze-bang system. But, arthritis does not tolerate any sort of recoil well, even what you and I might consider light loads. A snub .380, even with 125 grains, is probably too much for someone with arthritic hands.

    So i'm stuck going with "this gun is better than no gun". .380 and .25 ACP are all out because they are almost all semi-automatics, and we've ruled those out completely. Now I'm left with .32 mag, .22 mag, and .22lr.

    .32 is harder to find, and REALLY narrows the choices. .22lr is much more common but is at the absolute BOTTOM of the stopping power discussion. So my number-one contender right now is a revolver in .22mag.

    Smith & Wesson makes a really nice 7-shot snubnose J-frame in .22 mag called the 351PD. The ONLY thing stopping me from chosing this gun is the trigger pull. A rimfire .22 mag has like an 8-lb pull, which again, for arthritis is not ideal. It might break in a little with use, or I could get a trigger job done on it to lighten it up a little. I'm afraid that doing that might reduce reliability on the rimfire round though.

    Can anyone reccomend an alternative?

    BTW.. the .351PD is one FINE LOOKING GUN, i think I might get one for myself.


    Last edited by SeahawkDriver-R; 11-02-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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    I think you're definitely on the right track with DA/SA revolver. You may want to also consider the Ruger SP101 in .22lr. Like you said, .22lr is not ideal, but eight rounds of .22lr is wildly better than nothing. I really like S&W revolvers, I am not a fan of the trigger lock. It just seems to be a potential failure point. Either way, a competent gunsmith could probably ease that DA pull.
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    What about .327 Mag? I don't know much of anything about it, but it's something to consider if you want the reliability of a center fire cartridge but maybe in something you can get light recoiling loads in.

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    5-7 maybe it's really light so it doesn't tire out the arms.

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    Racking the slide would be the main problem with any semiauto handgun for anyone with arthritis.
    So far I have only found one semiauto handgun that an arthritic person can use and its the Walther PK380.
    Slide is very easy to rack and mag release is not painful either.

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    Re: Best handgun for woman with arthritic hands

    My recommendation would that she go with the 5-7. Take her to the range with it, loaded up for her, manipulate the weapon for her, and just let her pull the trigger. When she is at home, she would keep it loaded, a round chambered, safety off. The recoil will be absolutely nothing for her, and if she fires slowly, it will be exactly the same as 5 individual revolvers. I don't mean 1 revolver re loaded 5 Times, I mean 5 different revolvers that are already loaded. That is 30 rounds of rock and roll, in a super light weight, Superlite recoiling weapon, with a round at least as effective as a 9 mm. It's the best way to go period.

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    The thing about the 5-7 is, what if it jams? I love my 5-7, and have never had problems with it...but, limp wrist or accidentally ride the slide with your off-hand...and you have situation. That is why I'm such a revolver advocate for the "on the night stand" novice.
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    “All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.” - Richard Adams, Watership Down

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    Re: Best handgun for woman with arthritic hands

    5-7 jam? What universe are you from? Loljk

    If you clean and lube it properly, and use quality ammunition, there's no reason out should jam. Besides, I've seen revolvers malfunction too.

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    I'm a physical therapist here in Miami, I work with a lot of osteo arthritis as well as arthritic deformities. My short 2 cents. 22 caliber hammer less revolver. Take it to a qualified gunsmith and try to get the trigger pull somewhere 3-4 lbs.

    arthritis is inflamed by joint compression and pain/ edema result. She will need to be able to hold it, stead it, reader it ready to fire, pull the trigger in a controlled manner and finally have to deal with recoil. Most arthritis is in the thumb so pinch patterns are affected, and often times there is a lateral drift to the ulnar side of the hand resulting in altered grasp pattern.. So have her try to grap and steady it, point it and pull a trigger to see if she can manage simple biomechanics of the firearm.. If she cannot there is no point, if she can great, if she struggles evaluate where and why and adapt.

    so why hammer less, minimize thumb, revolver-avoid the grasp and pinch patters with pulling a slide, /2 caliber to manage recoil, and she can have assistance with a speed reloaded to minimize fine motor controll movements with reloading and unloading gun. Only issue still standing is ability to support gun/point/ and pull trigger. Most likely biggest issue is trigger pull all things considered.

    If necessary take her to an outpatient clinic and have the occupational therapist measure her pinch ad grasp pattern strength or "pull" in conjunction to her subjective " how does this feel on your joint- while going thru All movements" to get a target pull to set trigger at. Good luck

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    Re: Best handgun for woman with arthritic hands

    The issue I'm having is that I've heard stories where people have used 22s in sd, and the bad guy and the good guys, both using 22 lr, pumped 10-20 non-serious pencil holes into eachother. In one instance, each of the 4 people involved got 5-15 rounds in them a piece, and the only fatality was 10 minutes later when one of the bad guys accidentally ran over the other one as they tried to escape. The 22 lr through a pistol, especially a revolver with that air gap, is remarkably inadequate against a human target. A 5.7, really not that hard to manipulate, hardly ever malfunctions, and would have many times more rounds than any revolver, so she likely wouldn't need to reload it in a real fight anyway.

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