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  1. #1
    cineski's Avatar
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    Pistol for Arthritic Hands

    Hi all, I've been trying to help my Dad find a handgun for home defense, and I'm having a few issues with helping him, namely the fact that he has quite arthritic hands. At first I thought a 1911 would be up his ally, as the recoil is not as bad as a polymer or .40. Then I got to thinking a soft shooting 9mm would be more up his alley, so I took him to the gun store last I was home and showed him a PX4, which is supposed to be quite soft shooting. He couldn't cycle the slide (Side note, my dad has had 2 nuckles replaced, so his hands are quite weak due to lack of use). I thought revolver, but he want a gun with a safety and a double action/single action. He really likes the 1911 design, but I need to bring mine home next time I'm home so he can do a true testing of it, shooting it and all.

    So my question is, in terms of soft shooting, soft working actions and with a safety, which handgun fits this bill?

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  3. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cineski View Post

    So my question is, in terms of soft shooting, soft working actions and with a safety, which handgun fits this bill?
    1911s in 9mm can be very lightly sprung. I have seen competition 9mm 1911s sprung so lightly you can literally run the slide by quickly jerking the gun fore and aft and letting inertia cycle the gun (Todd Jarrett likes to do this trick at SHOT Show).

    You might see if you can locate a steel-framed 9mm 1911 for him to try. Kicks like a mouse, too.

    An couple of oddball alternatives might be a Beretta .380 with tip-up barrel or a .22 target pistol. Not sure how low down the power scale he's willing to go, but 3-4 .380s in the chest or a .22 in the eye will discourage most bad guys.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 07-11-2007 at 10:18 AM.
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  4. #3
    Sigma_6 is offline Junior Member
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    Ok the 1911 purists might scorn me for this one but here go's. My friends father had a problem similar to your dads. He was a huge 1911 fan and wanted one for home defence only. So he got himself a full sized 1911, but he put a comander sized recoil spring in it and had another friend of ours make his dad up some lighter powered reloads so as not to hurt his hands as bad. Now mind you this pistol is shot very sedomly as to not hurt the weapon. This set up worked perfectly for his father and he has had it set up this way for about five years now. Also I wouldnt recomend using a high dollar 1911 for this, even though the process is reversible the damage to the moving parts may not be. I think he used an older Charles Daly he picked up used at a gun show. Well thats my two cents take for what ya will. Now let the bashing begin i can handle it lol.........Sigma_6 out

  5. #4
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Well, my mom is close to 70, and I have only found 2 pistols she could pull the slide back on - her Bersa 380 that she has now. And, an HK USP or USPc (so, maybe that is 3 pistols). The USPc grip is a bit thinner than the fullsize USP. But the slides on both do not take much force.

  6. #5
    k1w1t1m is offline Junior Member
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    I too suggest the Beretta 86. It's .380 with a tip up barrel so racking the slide is not necessary.
    My wife like her Bersa Thunder .380 for the ease of racking the slide.

    Good luck with your search. Please let us know what you decide.

  7. #6
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    My wife is an Occupational Therapist, and she deals with this kind of thing quite often. I asked her about this subject, and she immediately suggested the Beretta 21A, which also has the tip-up barrel (she doesn't know about any other Berettas). She loves hers, and the thing that she likes about it more than anything else is the fact that she doesn't have to cycle the slide.

    I've not used an 84, but as most Berettas seem to have a fairly thick grip frame, I'll bet that the 84 would also be easy to grasp for a person with arthritic hands.

    PhilR.

  8. #7
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    [QUOTE=Mike Barham;75409]1911s in 9mm can be very lightly sprung. I have seen competition 9mm 1911s sprung so lightly you can literally run the slide by quickly jerking the gun fore and aft and letting inertia cycle the gun (Todd Jarrett likes to do this trick at SHOT Show).

    You might see if you can locate a steel-framed 9mm 1911 for him to try. Kicks like a mouse, too.

    I'll go with Mike on this. A good friend of mine wife shoots a 9mm in competition all the time and loads her own ammo. I shot her gun at the range one day and it had about as much recoil as a .22 short. Hers is a Kimber but I would use the Springfield for the cost factor. I would say that with a little testing almost any 9mm could made to work. Good luck.

  9. #8
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    My brother in law has issues with his left hand that have grown progessivly worse in the last 20 years. He has taken to running the lide on his leg on bad days.

    I know that may make some safety natzis cringe, but as Mike sayes "keep your booger hooker off the bang switch" and nothing bad will happen.
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

  10. #9
    cineski's Avatar
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    This is GREAT advice! Thanks so much! Keep it coming! I'm looking at the .380acp's.

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    I see that you are a Springfield fan. Buy a S.A. 1911 in 9mm, loan it to your dad. If he likes it, tell him "Happy Birthday". If not, just add it to your collection.
    Sounds like a win/win situation to me.

  12. #11
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    Aftermarket sights are available that can be used in conjunction with a table edge or comparable item to operate the slide. These are touted for use in slide operation if one hand is wounded. I can envision it helping by allowing your dad to use both hands to operate the slide.

    Please let us know your ultimate solution as I have some arthritis problems of my own which could get worse.


  13. #12
    cineski's Avatar
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    Take your vitamine E! Seriously, my dad has a very advanced version of arthritis. I hope it's not hereditary. Anyway, like I said, I'm taking my 1911 home for him to try out, but it's hard to judge simply becuase his hands are so weak. I mean he could hardly break slide on the PX4, it makes me sad to see him like that. He's got a helluva spirit, though!

  14. #13
    rfawcs's Avatar
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    Ditto the Beretta tip-up barrel models, so he doesn't have to cycle the slide. DA/SA and a safety. They make 'em in .22, .32 and .380, as stated before.

  15. #14
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    Well, the Beretta 86 - the 380 with the tip up barrel, has been out of production for a few years. U can still find them, but ya gotta do some looking.

    The 32 and 22 tip up Berettas are still made - but are liht on caliber. And, I've read about so many Tomcat (.32 ACP) problems that I wouldn't buy one personally.

  16. #15
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    how about a beretta 92fs? my is plenty broken in, but the slide cycles back real easy - like it's on ball bearings. it almost works like a spring assist knife in that it kinda completes the racking of the slide super easy once you get it started. if you put the houge finger groove grips on it, it should be easy to hold and fire with arthritis

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  18. #17
    SuckLead's Avatar
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    Well, my mom has that issue as well, she has really bad arthritis, a broken wrist that was never set nor did it heal correctly, and several surgeries on her shoulders. She was never able to shoot much above a .22, but she did really well with my big old S&W 686 (6") with some .38s in it. The size of the gun plus the rubber grip seem to do the trick for her and she is even going for her CCW test with it. And that's even with the factory trigger on it. You may want to take a look at something along those lines and see if it is something he can do.

  19. #18
    cineski's Avatar
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    Just had grandkids, two of them, so a safety lever is a must in his mind, which gets rid of any revolver that I know of.

  20. #19
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cineski View Post
    Just had grandkids, two of them, so a safety lever is a must in his mind, which gets rid of any revolver that I know of.
    It is a common misconception that a safety is there to prevent unauthorized firing of a firearm. Nothing is further from the truth, and it is exactly that kind of thinking that has gotten innumerable persons - especially kids - in trouble.

    It's not hard to move a safety to the off position, and most any kid above the age of 5 can do this (his grandchildren will most likely reach this age). Why rely on something that won't actually protect a child from unauthorized use? Better to ensure that the weapon is kept away from children, and not worry about whether or not the firearm has a safety.

    PhilR.

  21. #20
    SuckLead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilR. View Post
    It is a common misconception that a safety is there to prevent unauthorized firing of a firearm. Nothing is further from the truth, and it is exactly that kind of thinking that has gotten innumerable persons - especially kids - in trouble.

    It's not hard to move a safety to the off position, and most any kid above the age of 5 can do this (his grandchildren will most likely reach this age). Why rely on something that won't actually protect a child from unauthorized use? Better to ensure that the weapon is kept away from children, and not worry about whether or not the firearm has a safety.

    PhilR.
    +1 Those safety levers are easily overcome, even by accident, and most usually so. The best part about a revolver is the trigger pull. Not easy for a kid to pull. Semi's, for the most part, are easier for them to pull the trigger on and the safety lever, in all honesty, is really just there to make you feel better, but it isn't functional enough to prevent accidents with grandkids. But either way, he may want to consider getting a small handgun safe to keep it away from the kids, or maybe using the locking device on the revolver frame while they are there. All he has to do is remember to unlock it when they leave. Rely on good gun safety practices, not mechanical devices that can fail.

  22. #21
    cineski's Avatar
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    Never said it wasn't going to be locked up. It will be with kids around, but the safety on the pistol is an addition that he simply wants. 2 barriers are better than one, and educating the kids on handling a gun is even better yet.

    If a kid can't pull the trigger, then my Dad's arthritic fingers probably can't either.

  23. #22
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    I keep my non-nightstand gun in a locked brief case. At least for now. It's also my range bag. It's a lot cheaper than a gun safe, and a heck of a lot easier to carry to the range.

  24. #23
    Anxiety.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cineski View Post
    Never said it wasn't going to be locked up. It will be with kids around, but the safety on the pistol is an addition that he simply wants. 2 barriers are better than one, and educating the kids on handling a gun is even better yet.

    If a kid can't pull the trigger, then my Dad's arthritic fingers probably can't either.
    Most guns that are DA/SA a five year old shouldn't be to operate it. If they can then you are in a little trouble but as people always say they shouldn't be able to get the gun. I too have young children, my main reason for wanting a DA/SA is because if somehow they get the safe open they still have to get past the safety and the long DA pull. Your Dad shouldn't have much trouble pulling a hammer back on a revolver or an auto. That is something that can be done with two hands also. Just my .02

    Nate
    Last edited by Anxiety.; 07-12-2007 at 09:40 AM. Reason: added to it

  25. #24
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anxiety. View Post
    Your Dad shouldn't have much trouble pulling a hammer back on a revolver.
    Then you're basically reducing the man to using a single-action revolver for defense.

    Upon some some more reflection, I think a lightly-sprung auto is the best choice. DA revolvers have heavy triggers, as several members have pointed out, and weak, arthritic hands will have trouble with that. Also, if he has to reload, an auto will be much easier than a revolver if his hands lack dexterity.

    While I am generally somewhat skeptical about the need for armed citizens to make instant reloads, the fact that his hands don't work so well may make him more likely to miss, and therefore more likely to need to reload.

    A Browning P35 or CZ75 also recoil lightly, especially with non-+P 9mm ammo. The higher capacities of these pistols make the need to reload less likely. Of these two, the CZ is more likely to be reliable out of the box. It's a DA/SA, though if he operates it as a DA, the first shot might be a throwaway with the arthritis.
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  26. #25
    P97
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    I have Arthritis in both hand, but worse in my right hand, and I am right handed. I cannot shoot the little pistols. The most comfortable gun that I shoot is the Ruger P97 that has had an Action job. The felt recoil is less and the slide easier for me to rack on a full size Auto, than it is on a compact. With my hands like they are I can't take the recoil of small guns. I have a freedom Arms, .22 mag revolver that I can't shoot because of the size and recoil. With me the bigger, heavier pistols work best.

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