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T O P I C    R E V I E W
AndyB Posted - February 21 2007 : 12:50:32 PM
I am in a quandary about a SD firearm for my 82 year old Mom who has arthritis. She has a .38 snubbie loaded with 158 LHP's currently but her arthritic hands are getting worse. She lives alone at her farm which has a county road and has dealt with several incidents of unwanted visitors. On the plus side the local Sheriff's office has had deputies there in under 5 minutes. I am a 1/2 mile away and they got to her house before I made it. It was a case of two car thieves trying to gain entrance to her house for robbery. She came to the door with her .38 and they left.

My concern is that her accuracy with the little .38 is suffering because it hurts to shoot it. I have tried several rifles, with a .357 lever action being the one she kept for a while, but even it was too heavy and awkward for her. She is 5' tall and maybe weighs 100 lbs. I am considering a 9mm carbine as a solution or a small shotgun. I am not familiar with pistol caliber semi-auto carbines but am familiar with youth sized 20 gauge shotguns. Need some advice as home invasions are on the rise in our rural area.

By the way, my Mom raised 5 boys and a daughter without a husband and ran a hardware store for over 30 years. She is one tough lady.

25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
sgtcowboyusmc Posted - December 26 2011 : 12:13:18 AM
My Mom had a Colt trooper she used/carried for years. When she hit 70 she went to a Makarov and carried it til just before she died! Last time she flew out to see me when she was 74 the metal box she had to fly with was broken into. but the airline had the gun. Sky Cap said he thought she was going to kick someones butt before they could explain than 1. it was their fault and 2. they had the Makarov and it was in perfect shape! He said "Man your Mom ain't no Joke!" Anyway they aren't real expensive and the recoil is minimal!
Slick Posted - February 17 2010 : 4:42:35 PM
Some people just need a little more time to make an informed decision...
Besides, now Mom is 78, maybe her needs have changed ;)
16th pct Posted - February 17 2010 : 1:43:41 PM
Uhm, Belair asked that a year ago :-)

I hope he's decided by now?

mojo Posted - February 13 2010 : 12:47:25 PM
+1 on what Slick said about .22 ammo. The 10/22 is probabily the best semi auto .22 rifle on the market today. I agree with a pistol caliber carbine simply from an ammo viewpoint. If a .22 is the only way you can or will be able to go consider the .22 WMRF or one of the 25 round steel lipped .22 aftermarket mags loaded with CCI Stinger or CCI Velocitor ammo.
Slick Posted - February 13 2010 : 12:24:33 AM
How come you want to stay with a .22 caliber? I was thinking a pistol caliber carbine might be good for her if you need a 'soft shooting' long arm - maybe something like the Ruger PC or Beretta Storm Carbine, Ruger Camp Carbine, etc.

The 10/22 is a great little rifle, but I always worry about rimfire ammo for personal defense cause it seems (in my experience) that there are a certain number of "duds" per 100. If you go that route, avoid the "bulk" ammo and buy the higher end stuff - heck it's still cheap.
john wist Posted - February 12 2010 : 9:07:14 PM
What about a ruger single six with a 22 mag cyldner loaded with hollow points?
belair Posted - January 16 2009 : 10:28:43 PM
My mom is 77 years old and wants a home-defense weapon... she is strong-willed and determined but not a super-strong physical person. She'll need a long gun since she is not a licensed pistol holder (and we're in blue state America, insert sad sigh).
I am pleased to see the recommendations of the Ruger 10/22. I have never fired one of these units and want to be assured it will be a VERY reliable self-loader with a VERY low possibility of "jamming" or misfeeds. Would the 10/22 be the reliable functioning firearm that we seek? Naturally, given its intended purpose, exceptional accuracy and beauty are not essential. This firearm must function this the right gun for us? Is there a better alternative? (we do want to stay with a .22 caliber) Please advise
Dov Posted - October 26 2008 : 05:59:37 AM
Keep us posted.

Couple of thoughts. What about getting a 2nd 38, perhaps a Ruger SP101 and get good trigger job? Thinking heaver and less recoil. Another idea if the 110's get to be to much perhaps Glasser or Magsafe for less recoil.

I'll also second the idea of dogs. Check into "companion dogs" in your area, your local vet should be able to provide some contact info. Companion dogs are basically just well behaved dogs obedience trained dogs for handicapped and elderly they provide many positive benefits.

I have a friend same that has been confined to wheelchair his whole life, we tried several different guns but even little 22's to much for him to handle. Dog, phone, perimeter security, and social support (ie friends and cartakers around as much as possible when he isn't out at activities) was the best we could do.
Evan Posted - October 10 2008 : 09:51:40 AM
Ruger 10/22 with Butler Creek 25 rnd mag loaded with Mini Mag hp's-have several of these with the steel lips and they're flawless.
AndyB Posted - October 10 2008 : 09:21:09 AM
Dov, not really. She still hasn't moved into her new home, so I am hoping to get her out to the range. She currently uses Federal 110 grain HS which she can handle without pain. I am still trying to convince her to get a rifle of some sort. With her arthritis, manipulating magazines, safety, bolt etc. must be carefully selected to insure she is physically capable of doing the manual of arms safely. Oh, and soft recoil is good. AndyB
Dov Posted - October 07 2008 : 10:01:38 PM
Any updates?
AndyB Posted - August 31 2008 : 10:54:48 AM
Glenn, my mom has a .22 revolver and her .38 snub. She tried the light loads and she can get acceptable accuracy at under 25 feet. She decided in June to build a new house, since the one she owned was 105 years old and built as an old boarding house for the lumbermen and masons building the railroad through our part of the world in early 1900's. So her range time has been limited, and she finally got a set of glasses that allow her to see the sights and targets.

She has killed numerous rats, woodchucks, rabbits and snakes with the .22. I also loaded up some .38 shotshells for snakes and some 110 grain Remington hollowpoints for her .38 for practice. She is looking for a light, short rifle and we will be looking for probably a pistol carbine in 9mm. The lever actions are too heavy for her and something a bit lighter than the .30 carbine would work. She really can't see the peep sights on the carbine but she is "use to" the standard post and notch sights. Thanks for your input. AndyB
Glenn Posted - August 28 2008 : 10:15:22 PM
My grandmother is 74 and she is most comfortable with a .22 revolver but get your mom what she is comfortable with.
mikebco Posted - April 15 2007 : 4:56:31 PM
I'd go with the Beretta Storm in 9mm. Light recoil and plenty of accessories. A rail mounted flashlight is probably all she will need to stay on target 15yds or less....
Chuck Posted - March 31 2007 : 06:51:50 AM
The Pachmayr Decelerator grips are a great option for the snub. Not sure what gun she's using, but the set I put on my 640 made magnum ammo bearable, .38s darn right fun to shoot. I would seriously think about most practice being with wadcutters.

I second the M1 carbine, very light, powerful, accurate for the use needed, low recoil, easy to operate.
BikerRN Posted - March 19 2007 : 8:53:11 PM

Kewl Andy.

Good luck and I hope you both stay safe.

AndyB Posted - March 11 2007 : 3:46:24 PM
Biker, as a first step, I picked some low recoil .38s from Federal. Will try those when I stay in town long enough. I am a consultant to several companies that support various parts of the military. I am just paying for my past sins. This week is supposed to be pretty nice and I will be home, so we'll fire up the backyard range and get some shooting in. I also have the .30 carbine ready to rock, so she can try that. AndyB
BikerRN Posted - March 11 2007 : 12:26:49 AM

Hey Andy,

How about an update on your Mom?

BikerRN Posted - February 23 2007 : 12:10:52 PM

I'm going to re-suggest the KelTec Sub 2000.

It comes in 9mm and you can get one that takes Glock magazines. I find the Sub 2000 to be pretty light recoiling. The reason I suggested a Glock was because of magazine compatability between the two firearms. Also, with 15+ rounds on tap it should be a while before she has to reload, and that is something you can do for her when you visit.

Also, if she shoots the Glock dry the slide should lock back. In that case she could reload a magazine and then use the edge of a table to manipulate the slide stop lever. Another thing, Glock makes 33 round magazines. They work well and you have an almost endless ammo supply for a handgun and they work well in the Sub 2000 as well.

AndyB Posted - February 23 2007 : 10:33:55 AM
Dr. Liv, thank you for your input. The Storm or similar carbine is where my thinking is going. Now, getting that revolver retired is another story!

She wants a shotgun but I agree with you that the recoil, especially with the lighter guns would punish her. You can tell her she is too frail!
My excuse will be that for varmints, the shotgun is not the way to go. She has a very full garden each year and the shot would tear up more plants than any groundhog. That's my story and I'm sticking too it!

Too all members who replied, thanks for the inputs, they really helped me. AndyB
Dr Liv Posted - February 23 2007 : 09:51:28 AM
Snubby revolvers have the worst recoil of any handgun. If she wants to continue with a revolver, get her one with a longer barrel and as much weight as she can handle, to reduce the recoil.

You could go to a smaller caliber if .38 is becoming too much for her to handle. Yes, it is the "minimum" effective round, but won't do her any good if she can't place her shots with it.

If she goes with a semi auto, she will have to be aware that unless she can manipulate the slide or clear a stoppage with her arthritic hands, it will be good for only one magazine or less.

Adding a backup gun somewhere it is easily and quickly accessible would be a good idea. If she is concerned about grandchildren or others possibly getting access to it, get her one of the under-counter safes that can be mounted out of sight under a table, with digital push button lock, where she can store a loaded handgun for quick access for a New York reload option.

I would definitely stay away from the shotgun if she is recoil sensitive. I imagine it could knock her right off her feet. If she has frail bones it could even break or dislocate her collarbone, and elderly people bleed easily so it would at least cause a heck of a bruise.

I'm thinking the Beretta Storm in 9mm as a good one to try. It's not real heavy or long and the recoil is nothing. The M4 and M1 have more front end weight, which is harder for a small person to hold up. At the close quarters she is concerned about, 9mm should be perfectly adequate.

Kudos to her and to you for keeping her safe and protected!
ACP230 Posted - February 22 2007 : 8:46:09 PM
My Walther/Manurhin PP in .32 ACP is quite easy to shoot. It holds more rounds than a revolver too.
My Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 is easy to shoot also. It is a nice solid-feeling little three inch revolver.

I realize these are a step, or two, down in power, but would be better than no gun.
The Pathfinder is an older one so the cylinder can be released by pulling forward on the ejection rod. IME that is easier than using the thumb latch and I've just started dealing with Arthur Itis.
AndyB Posted - February 22 2007 : 11:09:27 AM
Thanks to you all for your insights. As to the pain, trigger pull is secondary to recoil (I think). Near as I can tell, it hurts to shoot the handgun more than 10 times. Now, she has an amazing tolerance to pain but her accuracy begins to suffer. I don't have the "courage" to say she doesn't need her .38 because that's her "gun". I am trying to increase the hit probability and effectiveness. My approach will be to concentrate on her ability to deal with varmints and feral dogs with a carbine, which is a year round issue where she lives.

To explain, she lives on 70 acres tucked deep into a valley. She is surrounded by steep hillsides. There are no neighbors except me and I am over 1/2 mile away and up another creek in a hollow. Traffic on the county road is maybe one vehicle per day in good weather and several on weekends. The weekend traffic is mostly folks going to their camps which are several miles further up the road from her house.

Weapons I have tried are: Mini-14 ranch rifle, 10-22, Model 94 Win Trapper in .357. I have not tried the 9mm pistols, but I soon will. When the weather breaks and we can walk around easily. Currently, there is about an inch or so of ice on the ground so practice is not going to happen. I will see if the local dealers have any pistol carbines she can try since most of them were pupils of her's in Sunday school. We have public ranges and private ranges, no commercial ones. Folks around here go behind the house and shoot against the mountain. Mostly clay banks around here.

Again thank you all. AndyB
kirb Posted - February 22 2007 : 05:34:18 AM
It sounds like you may be saying that her biggest problem wrt the arthritis is pulling the trigger? Maybe? I know revolver triggers tend to be heavy in comparison to semi-auto, which is why I have yet to buy one even though I like the reliability of a revolver.

Maybe something with a short, light trigger pull, such as a Springfield XD or a well-tuned Glock would be a good idea. If she can handle the recoil of a .45, a 1911 might even be a good idea, but she might have problems reloading, so the higher capacity of a 9mm would probably be a good thing.

In the long gun arena... as has been noted many times here, you don't gain anything over a pistol, except maybe awkwardness in handling, in a pistol caliber carbine. I agree with the idea of an AR. They have very little recoil, and though I wouldn't call it a reliable factor, the sight of an old lady handling a modern 'military-style' rifle will make the less determined criminals back off pretty quickly. I have a cousin with about the same height/weight characteristics as your mother (though much younger). She won't touch a 20-gauge again after her first few attempts, but she'll readily fire a 9mm handgun or a .410.

In the end, the best advice is to find a range you can take your mother to and have her try things out. The local range here in Austin even has a lady's night where gun rentals are free for women. Your local range may have something similar.
Biggfoot44 Posted - February 22 2007 : 12:20:40 AM
Before my Mom passed at 83, I had to deal with this also. Over the years had to change her armament a cpl times. There are many factors, often contradictory, and one solution does not fit all.
Is the problem simply pain upon recoil, or is there trouble with pulling the trigger also ? How is arm and shoulder strength generally ? Are there issues about the wt of the gun so far as being able to hold it up ? Is she fully mobile and stable, or are there mobility or balance problem whereby she would need to use a cane, hold on to wall, etc, and need to be able to shoot one handed ? Does she have long term shooting experience, or is this relativally new to her ?
Alas while we can tweak the technology, you can get too far from simply physics, and at some point may need to step down in cal. My Mom had an intermeadate step at .380, and then was at .22 Mag (full size bbl, 1400 fps). And at some point realize rapid reloads are not in the cards and plan a stratagy around a single gunload.
As she lives alone on a farm, stray rounds making it to neighbors are well done list of concerns.
In one of life's ironies those with the hardest time gunhandling, are usually the ones who most NEED a gun to protect themselves, it's not like she is in shape to tacle felons hand to hand. As long as they can place one round anywhere on torso of attacker from 5 feet away without shooting themselves, they deserve to be armed. Forums © 2002-16, Inc. Go To Top Of Page
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