This is a discussion on Semiauto for women within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by friesepferd being a female, and knowing a lot of female shooters, i would say this: she is strong enough to rack the ...
My wife has her CCW and claimed a Kahr CW9 for her everyday carry, and loves it. For under $400 and in 9x19 you can't beat it.
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My wife had difficulty in racking the slide of a KelTec...that is, until I demonstrated the correct technique...it's not a 'strength' thing.
It's more of a coordinated effort using both hands (and elbows) than it is brute force...once she discovered the method, she was easily able to rack and load...
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Last edited by RETSUPT99; February 25th, 2008 at 09:29 PM.
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Have to agree with others here. My G/F is all of 115 lb. and can rack any semi she has tried so far. But she has practiced and learned how to use a semi correctly.
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I really don't want to beat a dead horse, but it isn't always a matter of just using the correct technique. The OP mentions that his wife is "pretty fit but petite" so maybe in her case, it would only be a matter of learning to utilize the correct method. However, there are situations where no amount of training will compensate for what mother nature has dealt us. My wife fell down a flight of stairs years ago and fractured her elbow. She has never regained full strength or extension in that arm. Add onto that that even though she is only 54, she has arthritis bad enough that I watch her struggle just to get out of bed some mornings. I wanted her to have a handgun that not only could she use now but would be able to use 5 years from now. I only bring this up to possibly prevent someone else from making a $700.00 mistake like I did with her first pistol. Some pistols have slides that are not very tall and don't offer much of a profile to grab onto to work the action. Such was the case with the Beretta 85 that my wife fell in love with and I bought for her. No matter how much we tried, she didn't have the strength to rack the slide safely. This led me to look for the Beretta 86 which she has been using since I found one and now, she'll have the PPS. The whole point to this is don't automatically assume that any person can operate any slide. If you think her problem can be corrected by training, then let her practice using a handgun you already own that way if she simply can't master it, you're not stuck with something you don't need (unless you really wouldn't mind having it for yourself anyway).
Best of luck.
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One other thing to consider, besides letting the lady try a number of firearms and her learning the correct technique. My wife carries a Kahr CW9 and now she has learned how to rack almost any semi, but she cannot pull the trigger on the average revolver more than two or possibly three times. I don't know whether the problem is hand size or angle or what, but the DA on the Kahr and on the Glock she used to have never has caused her trouble.
When she fires a revolver it is almost always in single action mode. She does practice firing them double action, but usually only one or two times in a session. So she won't fire the Bulldog which is DAO, but after firing one round of .44 Special through it she refused to fire it again anyway. She has fired her brother's S&W 29 with the 4" barrel using both .44 Spec. and .44 Mag. The Bulldog requires a bit more wrist strength and enough practice to learn the exact position to put the hands in. I did tell her that should the need arise adrenaline would solve both the DA trigger pull and the wrist problem.
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I am a very small myself I am 5 5" and weigh 105 lbs. I also have 2 thumbs that do not bend at all. That being said, I did go through that oh no moment thinking that the only gun I was ever going to be able to use was a revolver. However, a very nice man showed me how to rack a slide properly after working at them for a bit until I got the feel of it. From there I went all over looking at guns and racking the slides, feeling them, shooting them until I found what is my new best friend my S&W CS40. Which in turn shocked hubby. Where he a man with bigger stronger hands perfers 9mm smaller guns. Just remember to encourage her and don't let her get down sometimes it just takes a little work. It is SO worth it in the end.
Good luck with your search she will know when she tries the right one
Wow, lots of great advice and info, thanks everyone. That "corneredcat" site has lots of good stuff also.
Heres my 2 cents. Buy her a tennis ball and have her work her hands and forearms out with while she is idle. It will help to properly operate that weapon and with the added grip strength she will have more control which = better accuracy.
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It took a little bit of time and a lot of window shopping but my wife has settled on the Kel-Tec P3at. Once she found a way for her to comfortably rack the slid she can do any gun. She is not comfortable with a wheel gun but loves semi's.
Her second chice is the Glock 27 but wanted something thinner and smaller, she just loves the P3at.
And it has resulted in her carrying much more and loving range time.
The only bad thing is that the window shopping has cost us a bunch because I can't just say no to all the lonely looking guns in the cases.
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