70 Yr. old woman with arthritic hands

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    1. #1
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      70 Yr. old woman with arthritic hands

      Hi,
      I'm new to this; am a 70 year woman in CA with little experience and arthritic hands, but need home protection since the police told me I had to learn to shoot to protect myself from drug dealers who broke into and ransacked my house. CZ 83 models in .32 or, less ideally, in .380, were recommended by a posting that said that the trigger pull, slide, and recoil was acceptable for his screwed together hands.

      Do you think the trigger pull, slide, and recoil would be manageable for me? I am seeing listings for NRA very good condition and bore very good condition for about $400.00, and new CZ 83, also in .380 new for about $550.00. There is also a like new CZ70 .32 for $379.00.

    2. #2
      Senior Member desertman's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ShirleyA View Post
      Hi,
      I'm new to this; am a 70 year woman in CA with little experience and arthritic hands, but need home protection since the police told me I had to learn to shoot to protect myself from drug dealers who broke into and ransacked my house. CZ 83 models in .32 or, less ideally, in .380, were recommended by a posting that said that the trigger pull, slide, and recoil was acceptable for his screwed together hands.

      Do you think the trigger pull, slide, and recoil would be manageable for me? I am seeing listings for NRA very good condition and bore very good condition for about $400.00, and new CZ 83, also in .380 new for about $550.00. There is also a like new CZ70 .32 for $379.00.
      The CZ83 is a DA/SA. Which means double action for the first shot and single action for all subsequent shots. Double action trigger pull is about 13 lbs. which may be a little heavy for someone with arthritic hands. This gun can also be carried cocked and locked which means that there is a live round in the chamber, the hammer is cocked and the safety on. In this condition the first pull of the trigger is about 3.5- 5lbs. However the safety has to be manually disengaged before the weapon can be fired.

      You may want to look into a Glock Model G42 which has a trigger pull of about 5.5 lbs. The Glock is about as simple as it can be to fire and use, every pull of the trigger is of the same weight and there are no safeties to fumble around with in an emergency situation. Recoil is a very subjective thing. What maybe heavy to you may be mild to me. I certainly would not recommend anything less than a .380 for self defense. Don't even think about a .32ACP. Even the .380 is marginally adequate for that purpose especially if the assailant is pumped up on drugs/pain killers. They may not even realize that they've been shot and live long enough to grab your gun and turn the tables on you.

      You really should at least consider a 9mm. in a larger and heavier gun as the recoil and trigger weight would be just about the same. It is also much easier to grab and rack the slide on a larger pistol. Remember the smaller the gun the more difficult it is to shoot and control in both the 9mm and .380 calibers. Not only that but a larger gun holds more rounds.

      But before you do anything I'd suggest you enroll in a firearms/defensive handgun course and try shooting/handling different types of guns before deciding which is best for you. Only you can be the judge of that.

    3. #3
      Senior Member denner's Avatar
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      I'd likewise consider a good exposed hammer revolver such as a "K" frame 4 inch S&W or the like. A lady smith comes to mind if they still make them or are still out there. My mother does well with her S&W Model 637 snubbie in 38+P.

      She can't rack slides, nor understands the workings of a semi-auto pistol, nor is going to take the time to understand, but she understands the workings and can shoot a revolver.

      Just keep in mind that if you happen to cock the hammer on these Smith's be very careful as the single action pull is very light as intended......

      Please be sure you get someone experienced to help you out with this endeavor. The CZ 83 sounds like a good option as well, but just make sure you can rack the slide on any non flip up barrel semi that you try.....
      Steve M1911A1 likes this.

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      Member AZdave's Avatar
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      Beretta has a couple of flip barrel models from .22 to .380 , that are semi-auto and you do not have to rack the slide. Or a 38 special revolver are good choices for people with limited hand/grip strength.
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    6. #5
      Senior Member denner's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by AZdave View Post
      Beretta has a couple of flip barrel models from .22 to .380 , that are semi-auto and you do not have to rack the slide. Or a 38 special revolver are good choices for people with limited hand/grip strength.

      Good call, I was going to mention the flip up Beretta's as well.
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      Member Blackhawkman's Avatar
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      How about a good 12 ga pump shotgun? or 20 ga?

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      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by AZdave View Post
      Beretta has a couple of flip barrel models from .22 to .380 , that are semi-auto and you do not have to rack the slide...
      Nope.
      Beretta now makes only the .22 and the .32 version. The .380 is long gone.
      Both of these have stiff trigger actions, which may be unsuited to arthritic hands.


      I am qualified to discuss this issue, as I have been "gifted" with arthritic hands myself.
      My personal solution is a single-action-with safety semi-auto in .380 ACP. (Mine is an antique Colt's Pocket Model M.1903/08.)
      With sufficient instruction and practice, this may be the best choice. But instruction must be accessed, and technique must be practiced.

      All double-action revolvers will be difficult for arthritic hands to shoot. The long, moderately-hard trigger action will defeat them.
      And shooting a revolver by thumb cocking is also difficult for arthritics.
      A single-action semi-auto is a better choice. However, not only shooting instruction, but also slide-racking instruction will be necessary.

      I believe that all single-action semi-auto choices in .380 ACP will be old or antique pistols, but there are many which are not particularly expensive.
      There are a couple of relatively inexpensive single-action Berettas, for instance: The Series 70 is one, and the M1934 is another.
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    9. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
      Nope.
      Beretta now makes only the .22 and the .32 version. The .380 is long gone.
      Both of these have stiff trigger actions, which may be unsuited to arthritic hands?
      Yep, once again you are right Steve. I guess I was looking at an auction site the other day when I saw the 380 flip barrel.

      I'm just blessed not to have arthritic hands.

      There is a CO2 powered full-auto BB gun available. Not sure of stopping power but it is fun to shot. I've seen 22 and 45 cal air rifles. Maybe a google on that may help someone with weak hands.

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      At 5 lbs and just under 35 inches, a Mossberg® 510 Mini™ Super Bantam™ .410 All-Purpose Field Pump-Action Shotgun would probably be a good choice.
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      The only way you are going to find out if you are able to manage any particular firearm is by going to several gun stores and trying them out. Being a California resident, you are going to find that your selection of new guns is quite limited by law. I doubt that any of the new semi autos available will suit you, but you may find a used semi auto that will. Used pistols are not regulated by California law. A .22 revolver might be a good bet. There are lots of good used 38 revolvers available, but the recoil may be hard to manage with arthritic hands.

    12. #11
      Member AZdave's Avatar
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      I've been thinking about this some. How about pushing the slide of a semi-auto back instead of pulling. Make an L shape bracket with screw holes in the vertical section and a U slot in the horizontal section. The U has to be bigger than the barrel outside diameter. It also has to be a strong or thick metal.

      Fix this bracket about (a little lower) waist high mounted into the wall stud or door frame. Put a loaded magazine in the semi. Now you can use your full body weight to push the slide back, loading a round. Even a 90 lb. women should be able to accomplish this.

      I would suggest a 9mm or 380 1911 you could cary in condition one. But this should work with any semi, but the 1911 style has good safeties.

      If you have enough hand strength to grip a pistol this will work. There are even similar simple machines that allow you to use your body weight to load a magazine using a heavy table.

      It would be up to the user if the recoil is acceptable. But there are gloves or different strength springs to help with recoil.

      And practice is needed like most other things it is what works for the user. If the arthritic condition is severe there may be no good solution.

      I'll have to make one for my 1911's.

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    14. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by joepolo View Post
      That is similar, but not sure the user can use both hands. It has the advantage of being carried.

      You could mount this handy racker to the wall or door frame. It's just physics.

      I might have to get one or two.
      Midway USA has a sale on these. Got an order in.
      Last edited by AZdave; 07-12-2016 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Midway Sale

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      Junior Member Backlighting's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by AZdave View Post
      Beretta has a couple of flip barrel models from .22 to .380 , that are semi-auto and you do not have to rack the slide. Or a 38 special revolver are good choices for people with limited hand/grip strength.
      +1.

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      The tip up barrel would be a very good choice. The Beretta 32 caliber Tomcat has the tip up barrel and is on the California approved firearm list. She is a California resident and her choices for a new firearm are limited by California law. If she wants a .380 she would have to find a used one, since California law does not limit used gun sales.

    17. #16
      Member Kennydale's Avatar
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      My wife (63) has arthritis in hands, can handle a Glock G26 (She tried a Glock G42 in .380, but did not like shooting it)

    18. #17
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      Easiest racking slide I've ever come across was a S&W SD9VE. Recoil is manageable, light striker-fired trigger pull. I would not recommend a .32 against drug dealers. However if racking the slide is truly an issue, a wheelgun may be in order.

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      My wife has debilitating RA in her hands that make it difficult to impossible for her to operate many handguns. Here is what we have learned over the years-

      I bought her a S&W mod 60 .38 spl revolver which is nearly impossible for her to pull the trigger DA.

      I bought her a.32 Beretta Tomcat (tip up barrel) which is very difficult for her to depress the barrel release lever to load and the trigger is very heavy as commented on.

      I bought her a Walther CCP 9mm which she can easily rack the slide. However, it is a little snappy for her to shoot very much. I currently resides in her night stand as her home defense gun if I am not around.

      I ended up getting her a Bersa Thunder .380 auto and installed a set of factory wrap around grips. She loves this pistol and has no problems operating this pistol effectively and accurately. Most importantly, she is very confident in herself with this and that just might give her a slight advantage if she ever needs to use it.
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      Easy to handle, CA approved, 6 rounds, easy shooting. Ruger SP101 327 Magnum,
      RugerĀ® SP101Ā® * Double-Action Revolver Model 5773

    21. #20
      CW
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      Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
      Nope.
      Beretta now makes only the .22 and the .32 version. The .380 is long gone.
      Beretta 86B (.380 with tip up) does show up used from time to time, however a bit pricey. - (8/17/16 - gunbroker has a really nice one for $650)

      There is speculation it may be one of those pistols where Beretta makes a batch, then waits a few years till the next batch.
      Seems the 81/82 [.32 auto], 87T, and 87b are in that group. The .380 84FS and 85FS have had recent releases.

      As I regularly advocate, a DA revolver in 22mag would fit the bill quite well as its much better than a 32 auto, and a blowback .380 or 9 Mak is still hard on the hands when fired. Even the Keltec PMR 30 may be just right for older hands.

      If what you are looking for is home defense and not carry, a carbine or something with 45 long/410 chamber will do nicely.

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