Handguns for People With Physical Disabilities

This is a discussion on Handguns for People With Physical Disabilities within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; That was the best thread title I could come up with. I have insomnia, my work is done, and my mind is wandering. I've mentioned ...

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Thread: Handguns for People With Physical Disabilities

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Handguns for People With Physical Disabilities

    That was the best thread title I could come up with. I have insomnia, my work is done, and my mind is wandering.

    I've mentioned before my parents are getting older and can almost order off of the Senior Citizen breakfast menu. A consequence of this is that my mother has a nasty case of arthritis. But believe it or not before her fingers got to the point she has trouble sometimes she was a pretty decent shot. But her medical condition is a physical disability and it makes using a handgun quite difficult. Dad and I have talked about this and have come to an agreement.

    My father is like many of you guys and prefers a double stack semiautomatic. He thinks I'm crazy. The trouble though is that my mom simply can't feed a catridge into a spring loaded magazine, and working the controls even two handed simply adds a level of stress that doesn't need to be there. It's true the trigger is lighter but that doesn't do us any good if she can't rack the slide or flip off the safety. A rap tap bang? You can forget it. Not physically possible.

    Our solution was to get some .38 Special catridges for his .357 Rossi. The only apparent problem is not the trigger, which is a surprise, it's the cylinder release, but it's workable for her. The perks far outweigh that one drawback. She can simply drop catridges in with ease, and closing a cylinder is a less refined motion than loading a magazine. She also finds the hammer on the revolver, with its slightly different shape and more aggressive surface, to be easier to cock. That's important considering a single action shot is a lot easier to pull off. The .38 out of a 4" barrel is tolerable recoil, so I guess it works well enough. She finds it acceptable and that's what really counts.

    My thinking is that the only way to improve on this would be a Smith and Wesson model 10. A dedicated .38 wouldn't be as heavy in the hand as a .357 and the cylinder release is smoother on a Smith and Wesson. A good trigger job could take care of the rest if necessary.

    I then began to think and realize others may have similar problems. I think the key to addressing this situation is to get that person's input on what they're comfortable with because they're the ones with the disability, and then you have to make some preparations.

    Has anyone else ever had a problem like this?

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  3. #2
    Former Member Array The Tourist's Avatar
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    Euc,

    Yes, a slicked up revolver is the best solution. You should contact someone like Terry Tussey who has seen every solution, and invented most of them.

    But to be fair, I have seen a wooden 'block' with the inlet of the muzzle of an automatic pistol. The block is bolted down to a flat service. A one-handed person simply pushes the muzzle down into the block, and the pistol cycles.

    Be careful of lightening the springs too much; the hammer still has to whack the primer.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    I agree that the revolver sounds like the better solution for your problem. You might consider a Model 65 Ladysmith. I know it's a 3" barrel instead of 4", but the weight and frame are the same as the Model 10, it's stainless instead of carbon steel, and it comes with a smooth, light trigger. I wonder if a J-frame would be easier for her to grip? I guess you'd be trading grip for mass and increasing felt recoil.

    If you are still wanting to consider a semi-auto, a speedloader would eliminate the problem with loading the magazine. You let the leverage of the mechanism do the work, and it becomes almost effortless. A SIG with a DAK trigger, or a Glock would eliminate the safety/decocker issues. You are still left with needing to be able to rack the slide, somehow, whether by hand or by jig, and I don't see how you get around that. And she would still have to be able to manipulate the slide release.
    - Tom
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  5. #4
    Member Array TonySoprano's Avatar
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    My wife can't work any autoloader. So I worked with her and ended up losing my Model 60 snub to her. She practiced with 38 wadcutter and then shot 20 CCI 135 Gold Dots +P and she has no problems. I also found that S&W has a J frame 32 H&R Mag snub out and she really liked it and will end up getting her that by the summer. You might want to look at that. just my .02

  6. #5
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    perhaps smaller grips might make firing DA mode and cocking /controlling the gun easier?

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    Member Array preacherman's Avatar
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    I've been involved in training disabled and/or handicapped shooters for a long time. I posted this thread on The High Road some time back - it may contain information that would be of use to you. Hope it helps.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Sounds like a Wheelie would be best but also wouldnt gice up on a small 9 like the xd subcompact if the mags are kept loaded other than range time where she could use a HKS loader i dont see a problem there ... Changing mags from slide lock even with hand problems should be easy slingshooting the slide take minmual effort to retact it the 1/8 inch of so ..


    The first loading would be the problem of racking it to load first cartridge .. Course if its self defense pistol its probley gonna have one in the chamber anyways.. in a emergency i guess you could use any edge to rack it.


    My dad likes my sub compact xd and he cand use it even with serve carpal(sp) tunnerl which leaves him with almost no feeling in his hands..


    Also what about a ruger for cylinder release i find the push in style works well for most ladys ive shot with

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    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    I hadn't thought about the importance of a laser sight for people with more severe problems.

    I have to admit I feel like an ass after reading that. Just the other day I told someone I'll never own a laser sight because if you can't hit the target without some bull sh#t gadget...

    The thought never occured to me that it may be the only way someone could safely use a handgun.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array rfurtkamp's Avatar
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    Don't overlook one of the tip-up barrel Berettas. I'm not partial to the .32 as my first choice in caliber, but well, when you're restricted by other considerations, choice is the first thing that goes out the window.

    There's no slide to rack per se - you flip a lever and the barrel (and shell) opens up. You drop a shell in (or watch one go flying). Magazine changes are as normal.

    Trigger on DA is long and stacked. It DOES have a safety, so it can be carried cocked and locked in SA.

    Retail around $225 used.
    Driver carries less than $45 worth of remorse.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array older gunner's Avatar
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    i've had to face the problem with my wife. she can drive but has to use an electric scooter because walking more than a few feet is not an option. the scooter rides on a carrier on the back of the car. i'm sure you've seen them. anyway, she can get the scooter and do her shopping, errands, etc. however, as i've told her for a while now, she might as well have a sign on her that says, "VICTIM!" she's certainly a target. she picked out a sig 232 in .380 because she could pull the trigger in double action for the first round and then could easily follow up with the next seven. she had a hard time with all of the revolvers, even having a hard time cocking the hammer for a single action pull, if time allowed. so we took the sig, it's loaded with mag safe at 300 ft-lbs at the muzzle and she can put them all in the torso. she carries a fanny pack which sits well in her lap and she can even use the scooter steering handle as a rest if needed. we both feel a lot better now that she has this protection.

  12. #11
    Member Array TAPS CCW's Avatar
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    Beretta makes a tip up barrel in a 380 also, I believe its a model 86 Cheetah, single stack. I've had students with similar disabilities and this gun works for them. As for the laser, for years I thought they were just a toy. Now I believe if you use them in addition to using sights they're great. Use the sights whenever you can. Use the laser in unorthodox shooting positions. Check out the new green lasers offered. WOW!
    T.A.P.S.
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