Suggest a gun for an older woman

Suggest a gun for an older woman

This is a discussion on Suggest a gun for an older woman within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm looking to purchase a gun for a woman in her 60's who lives alone. She has mild problems with arthritis so, a pump shotgun ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Stufftoad's Avatar
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    Suggest a gun for an older woman

    I'm looking to purchase a gun for a woman in her 60's who lives alone. She has mild problems with arthritis so, a pump shotgun or pistols are probably out. I'm leaning towards a 4" barrel 357 Ruger loaded with 38s. Only six shots but, everything's a trade off..
    Of course reliability is a concern, cost too.

    I thought about loaning her my 617 S&W since it'd be easy to shoot (lack of kick and noise indoors) and has 10 rounds, it's point and shoot, low maintenance.

    Lack of stopping power too.

    I'm going to do a bit of training with her so, I figure that's the first step.

    Second step, buy the gun. Tell me if I'm on the right track.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    Training, if possible with several different guns, and then her decide which she is the most comfortable with.
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    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    If there is a local range, take her there and see if you can rent some pistols for her to test. My wife has done that and, even with her arthritic hands, can rack the little Sig P238 that she settled on. I bought one for her and she has enjoyed going to the range with me.

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    Welcome to the Forum. At the end of the day, agree with the above. Expose her to several options and let her decide.
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    Arthritis/aches can be a problem if considering slides, as you've suggested. Even with a semi-auto shotgun (ie, Mossberg 930), insertion of the shells into the tube magazine might or might not be problematic.

    A revolver sounds like a good item to try out, in the first batch of guns considered. I'd suggest something bigger than the tiniest of the snubbies (ie, any of the "airweight" style snub-nosed variants on the market). Concealable and handy, sure, but likely an issue for an arthritic or someone with more-sensitive hands. A revolver of at least the size of a Ruger SP-101 with 3in bbl, possibly a GP-100, or similarly-sized Colt or S&W might be an option. Uncertain what her recoil sensitivity is like. With most guns, a trigger job can smooth (and potentially lighten) things up considerably, reducing problems an arthritic person might have.

    Agree, with getting a stouter, larger platform and loading with .38spl, depending on sensitivity. A .44spl might even be an option, considering it's nowhere near as heavy-recoiling as a .44mag.

    Check the "Revolver" sticky over in the Defensive Firearms forum, for additional options, considerations.
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    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    Any.......S&W "J" Frame.......preferably .38 Spec. .......IMO.

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    I think you're on the right track with a revolver, for lots of reasons, one of the best being it's simple manual of arms. .38 Special is also the way to go, for effectiveness with acceptable recoil. Without knowing which Ruger you're suggesting, I'll just caution you about the weight of the gun. I think a Service-Six would be fine, but a GP-100 is several ounces heavier and might be unwieldy. The older S&W Model 10 with the tapered (i.e., the standard, not the heavy barrel) might be just the ticket for your friend. How about giving her some trigger time with your 617? If she can manage that gun's 40+ ounces, then she'll be fine with any medium-frame .38.
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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Many seniors will find a youth sized 410 or 20 gauge very manageable also.
    ep1953 likes this.
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    Member Array Stufftoad's Avatar
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    Everything said makes sense. I'm going to start with the 22lr Smith. We have the ability to shoot at a family members property. I guess I should plan on going from there.
    Move up in caliber and down in weight if recoil doesn't seem to be a problem.
    I suppose rental will have to be the solution from then on.
    I have a ppk and a pistol grip 12 gauge.
    Both, not really appropriate for the situation.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array theskunk's Avatar
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    The S&W 22 is a top choice ...... she won't want a 38 snub nose

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    Member Array gregcheck's Avatar
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    Revolver for sure, my mom has horrible arthritis in her hands I took her shopping and she had major problems trying to move the slide on a semi-auto She ended up with a ruger sp101 in the 327 magnum version, just to make it a little easier for her I changed out the main spring to a lighter one . She has been happy as a pig in well you know. She also liked & enjoyed the ability to shoot several different rounds through it from a 32 s&w, 32 h&r mag up to the 327 magnum. She ended up using the corbon 327 magnum 75gr dpx load for personal protection this load turned out to be the best for her as a trade off between recoil and follow up shots/ accuracy. If you can I will also suggest renting something if possible..
    Just my two cents
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    I think you're on the right track with a revolver, for lots of reasons, one of the best being it's simple manual of arms. .38 Special is also the way to go, for effectiveness with acceptable recoil. Without knowing which Ruger you're suggesting, I'll just caution you about the weight of the gun. I think a Service-Six would be fine, but a GP-100 is several ounces heavier and might be unwieldy. The older S&W Model 10 with the tapered (i.e., the standard, not the heavy barrel) might be just the ticket for your friend. How about giving her some trigger time with your 617? If she can manage that gun's 40+ ounces, then she'll be fine with any medium-frame .38.

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    PS, I wouldn't loan her a firearm. go buy one pronto FOR her.
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    J frame 36 with 3 inch barrel. Works well for smaller hands, easy to manipulate, black sights have good contrast, and heavy weight equals no real recoil with 38 loads.

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    Member Array MrsHB's Avatar
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    I took my 65 y.o. mother to the range with me during a recent visit. She has very little experience with guns, but is very willing. She HATED my S&W 620 revo with light load .38s (which I *love*). She was physically incapable of pulling the trigger without cocking first, and the cocking procedure took her several seconds of concentrated effort and then getting sights back on target. I didn't even bother offering to let her shoot my S&W 640 (which I also *love*).... since like most revolvers, it has a really heavy DA trigger. Weaker hands need regular range practice to develop, and then maintain, trigger control and trigger finger strength if such a heavy trigger will be used.

    Mom's favorite handgun of all the ones she tried was the Glock 19 (although it was really too large to fit her hands, she shot it well and liked it), and my Sig P238 (which fit her hands AND which she could hit with and enjoyed shooting). However, the P238 is only a .380... not the ideal choice of caliber for stopping power, especially within the home.

    Why do you think this lady couldn't handle a pump shotgun? I find a 410 or 20 gauge pump shotgun easier to shoot effectively than just about any handgun. The trigger is still heavy, but shotguns are much more forgiving of poor form, and far exceed handguns in stopping power. I'd let her try a smaller gauge, youth-sized pump shotgun on some soda cans before ruling that option out.

    Good luck...
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  15. #15
    Member Array Nutrodoc's Avatar
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    I think the Sig P238 is just fine. With Hornaday Critical Defense ammunition or similar modern ammo, a .380 can be quite effective. A lot of what we read about "stopping power" is myth. I've heard so much about the incredible stopping power of .45 ACP, yet when a detective friend of mine shot an armed robber in the chest with his .45 1911, the BG ran out the door and across the street before he went down. One woman about your mom's age, MrsHB, cannot pull the trigger of a Ruger SP101 revolver more than once or twice and even that takes great effort. But she can run her P238 - racking, locking the slide, clearing malfunctions - without any problem whatsoever in spite of weakened grip strength due to a previous badly broken wrist. We tried several pistols and the Sig is the best for her.

    The original post says the arthritic problem is mild. Then a pump shotgun should be fine. The recoil on a .410 or a 20 gauge is minimal and working the pump doesn't take much effort. Whether pistol or shotgun, training and regular practice is crucial - even if it is only intended for home protection.

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