Check this web site out for some tips... My wife has the same problem.
Cornered Cat - Rack the Slide
This is a discussion on Difficulty racking the slide within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ditto what KenpoTex and others have already stated. If all of that fails then you'll need to move her to a lighter Low Recoil load ...
Ditto what KenpoTex and others have already stated.
If all of that fails then you'll need to move her to a lighter Low Recoil load and switch out the recoil spring to a lighter spring weight.
It's not really a tragedy but, you'll need to carefully check the pistol for functional reliability and make certain that it's tuned for that cartridge.
Ahhh, what an awful dream. Ones and zeros everywhere... and I thought I saw a two.
Yeah, watch out for the Kahr, they're great guns but they ARE stiff. When my wife expressed an interest in carrying & shooting, I sold the CW9 so we could shop for something that worked better for her. My wife has occasional hand-strength issues due to her medical condition, so I took her to a big gun store with a wide selection, and she went through handling about a dozen models and racking the slide on each. Weight was also a concern for her. She wound up preferring the Glocks (19 and 26) and I bought the 26 with pinkie extensions. She handles it quite well.
Kimber Pro CDP II • Colt Combat Commander • Glock 26 GNS • Ruger Mark III 22/45 • Kahr CW9 (sold)
Sorry, got to say it. J-Frame!
I have RA (Arthritis) and now have problems in racking slides. It is one of the reasons my very nice little Glock 23 sits in the gun safe. I don't want "maybe I can do it" in an emergency! Had to switch from Glocks and 1911s to S&W revolvers! BTW, with RA it isn't a strength issue, it is a pain issue. As far as "You won't feel pain in a real showdown" I don't know for sure, I haven't been in a real showdown since I developed the arthritis. Better sure than sorry. Since I only have 5 shots and a shorter barrel, I practice a whole lot more. I bought a S&W 317 (.22 J Frame) and shoot daily. Once every two weeks I endure the pain and fire 640 with carry ammo.
Good luck with the muscle building exercises. With a young person, they will probably suffice.
Retired Marine, Retired School Teacher, Independent voter, Goldwater Conservative.
My wife had problems until I finally got her to use the push/pull technique.I used the same technique to teach her to draw a bow too. Works well for people of smaller stature and limited arm/hand strength.
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"Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
---Carry options: G26/MTAC, PF9/MiniTuck, PPK/Pocket, USP40/OWB---
---NOTE: I am not an expert. If I ever start acting like a know-it-all, please call me on it immediately. ---
That is a problem with some people and the Walther PPK/PPKS. My Wife has a ton of trouble with the slide.
It's not so much arm strength - with her it's a lack of finger and grip strength.
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You might not like the price but an HK P7M8 is a "squeeze-cocker" 9mm that is an excellent carry gun. No racking the slide. Just squeeze the grip to cock the hammer. Very simple, extremely reliable and accurate.
"Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."
It's good that she can rack the slide of an XD because they aren't the lightest springs around. Anyway, my wife could easily rack the slide of a 1911 and an HK USP or P2000. She went with the P2000 in the end.
Short barreled guns like the PM-9 have a stiffer spring. Mine is more difficult than my K&K P-30. However, what everyone said is correct, technique is more important than strength.
Thanks for the excellent and quick responses everyone! I showed her the cornered cat website and she took right to it.
After an hour or so at the gun shop my wife decided on a 9mm Walther P99SC with the AS trigger setup. She was able to rack the slide and she liked the way the pistol fit her hand. After trying out about 20 pistols her checkbook came out. She says racking a pistol slide reminds her of the breast exercises where you lock hands in front of your chest and push-pull. LOL An added benefit.
If she can't overcome racking the slide you could have her look at a Beretta Tomcat with the tip up barrel. You will of course have to step down to a .32 ACP round. I have a Tomcat for sale in the Member Buy, Sale & Trade section.
I totally agree with grip strengtheners; I like the Grip II balls. You can play with them while watching TV. My ex-army spouse recommends pushups, as "Pushups fix everything." But seriously, light upper body weightlifting will really help.
The hand of the aggressor is stayed by strength and strength alone!--Dwight D. Eisenhower