Trigger pull, kids and strength
Please excuse my naivety, but I confess I know absolutely nothing about hand guns.
I am currently writing a short story involving a kid in a rather messed-up world and was wondering if a kid is strong enough to pull the trigger of a semi-auto pistol or even maybe a revolver. I've never hold a gun so I'm absolutely clueless about what would be credible.
The kid is supposed to be around 10 years old, of frail constitution, and the handgun he is forced to use should be a very common model. I thought about a Beretta 92 due to its widespread availability but apparently this model has a very stiff trigger. In the setting I have in mind, the kid will have to use the gun to spare needless sufferings to a loved one -- he will have plenty of time to put his forefingers on the trigger and will shoot point blank.
If a Beretta 92 is out of the question, do you have any suggestion about what handgun he could use? Actually a revolver would be even better (the gun is supposed to be used for self defense) but are they any common model that can be operated by a 10 year old?
Thank you for your knowledgeable replies,
Any reasonably competent 10-year-old can fire any pistol, given enough determination. However, accuracy is another matter entirely. It is not enough to merely fire a pistol: One has also to make a meaningful hit with it.
It is much easier to make the required hit with a pistol that has an easy-to-move trigger. That tends to rule out the Beretta M.92, because of its long, hard trigger pull. Instead, perhaps the child could use an old-fashion M1911, 45-caliber semi-auto, with its short, fairly light trigger pull. Remember, however, that before a shot may be fired from the M1911, its safety lever will have to be pressed down. (Once pressed, it stays down on its own.)
Another possibility would be to use the Beretta, but have the child cock (pull back) its hammer before attempting to shoot. Cocking this pistol's hammer converts it from its long, hard, double-action trigger pull to a shorter, lighter trigger pull more like that of the M1911.
The Beretta also has a safety lever, but many users leave it "off," and quite properly depend upon the long, hard trigger pull for safety.
Hitting a, um, target with a pistol's bullet is not as easy as TV shows make it appear to be. Most people cannot hit a man-size target that is only 20 feet away, with a pistol shot. Many people cannot do it at 10 feet. A child without experience would be very lucky to make a useful hit at five feet. Further, it is most unlikely that the child would be able to fire a follow-up shot, so make that first shot count.
Ask for any further information you may need.
Steve is right, if you want look for an old S&W mod. 10, .38 Cal.. I was shooting one from the age 7 or 8 regularly and both single and double action. so your idea would work.
Thank you for your prompt and very useful replies. I may go with the idea of a M1911, particularly if the kid has to shoot twice (I'm still not so sure how it will turn out).
Steve, what M1911 model do you think would be the easiest to get, since according to Wikipedia "There are a growing number of manufacturers of M1911-type pistols". Also, am I right to assume the recoil from a .45 caliber will be much more significant that one from a 9mm, and the potential damages much greater?
jtguns: I also like your suggestion. Again, there are zillions of variations of the original concept -- are all of them easy to operate or was it just your particular model? If so, do you remember which model it was?
Thanks a lot!
The M1911 is ubiquitous indeed, but you say nothing about the milieu or scene you are constructing. Is it in the future, modern-day, or in the past?
Also, there are single-action semi-automatic pistols which work like the M1911, but which fire smaller, less-powerful cartridges. The .45 is pretty easy to handle, regardless of its reputation, but using it requires some preparation if an effective second shot is contemplated.
How is this child to come into possession of any pistol? Is it the child's parents' gun, or a street purchase, or a battlefield pickup? This information would help determine the most realistic choice.
More information from you would be useful.
jtguns suggests using a medium-power revolver, instead of a semi-automatic pistol. That's a very good idea too. There are child-obvious techniques of shooting any revolver that could permit effective, single-action, first and second shots.
If you are leery of revealing too much of your plot to the general public, we could continue this discussion in PM form, or even by non-forum e-mail.
Last edited by denner; 11-01-2012 at 10:01 PM.
The action will take place in the very near future (I would say 2020 at most) and, while not set in a post-apocalyptic world per se, society has begun to fall apart. In an unravelling world, everyone grows suspicious and trusts no one.
Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1
The gun belongs to the kid's parents and is used defensively if push comes to shove. At this early point, quite a few details need to be sorted out. My guess is that the father relunctantly bought it from some gun store or shady gun dealer when it became obvious that kill-or-be-killed was the new rule of the game.
I merely intent to make it a short story though, so I have some leeway as don't expect to explain the "how" in any detail.
One last thing -- the plot will most probably be set in western continental Europe (Scottish Highlands or French Alps maybe) so I guess I need to make sure the selected pistol model is available there, althouth this is not really critical.
From your scenario, I would go with jtguns's suggestion, of a medium-power revolver.
In Great Britain, some number of Lend-Lease and government-purchased Smith & Wesson revolvers, and many Enfield and Webley guns, all in .38 S&W (British: 0.380-200, or just plain .38), would be left over from WW2.
On the Continent, revolvers were in use long after WW1, even though all those countries switched to semi-automatics. Many households still keep ancient revolvers in some drawer or other, especially in Switzerland.
The French revolver most likely to fit your story would be the M.1892, in 8mm, called the "Lebel," which was military issue until after WW2.
All of the named revolvers work either by merely pulling the trigger (long, hard pull) or by first pulling the hammer back ("cocking") and then having a short, relatively light trigger pull.
A child might hold the pistol in the right hand, using the right index finger on the trigger, and wrapping the left hand over the right for support. The left thumb, then, cocks the gun's hammer.
This almost-instinctive technique would permit quick follow-up shots.
Need more? Just ask.
Look at the middle east conflicts... there are a significant number of armed combatants under the age of 10.... a couple of tours in Viet Nam found similar circumstances.
The reason for the smith and wesson M&P mod. 10,(and older police issue)was 50 years ago that was one of the guns my father had and he carried a .45 acp (old 1911 that was made in the 1920's). But I learned to shoot on an old Ruger single six flat gate starting at age 4, all of which I now have and still shoot when the time strikes me.
Shoot safe and have fun doing it
Okay, so far, here is my short list:
- Smith & Wesson Model 10
- Modèle 1892 revolver (a.k.a. the Lebel revolver) if set in western continental Europe
Those models are pretty old though -- are they indeed readily available? If not, what would be more contemporary equivalents?
Here's what you've given us:
The implication is that the gun would be readily available from someone's underwear drawer, or from somebody on the street. That means "old and cheap"—and ubiquitous.
Originally Posted by abnormalis
Although in the US, something much newer would be available "under the table," in France gun ownership is much more tightly controlled, and in Britain there are no legally-owned pistols in private hands. Thus, an older gun would be more likely to be available, and the older the better. "Leftovers" from WW2 would therefore be the most realistic choice in either case.
In France, a more modern choice might be an ex-government semi-automatic in 7.65mm (probably the "French long" cartridge), but it would be more expensive to buy, and harder for a child to use, than the 8mm Lebel revolver. In Britain, the most available gun would be a S&W or Enfield revolver in 0.380-200 (.38 S&W), both of WW2 vintage.
This is a very good point. I will thus go with a "Lebel" or an old S&W revolver.
Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1
Thank you very much Steve, your help is really appreciated!
Why not go to the range and learn about it? I regularly fire a Beretta 92 FS and I don't know what the previous poster meant about long and hard trigger pull? I think a kid would not have trouble with it.
Edit: never mind i see what they mean. When i fire my beretta, i rack the slide to load the first round, and that cocks the gun. It's easy to fire at that point. A kid would have trouble aiming it though.
Exactly how do you carry that 92FS: Loaded and cocked, or with its hammer down on an empty chamber?
I suggest to you that carrying loaded and cocked is unsafe, since, if I remember correctly, your pistol has the kind of safety lever that doesn't secure a cocked hammer. It drops the hammer instead. (Am I correct?)
I also suggest to you that carrying it with its hammer down on an empty chamber ("condition three") is dangerous to your health, since it takes appreciable time—not to mention two hands—to get it ready to fire. If you ever are attacked, you will lose the fight while you are fumbling with your gun's slide, trying to rack a round "up the spout." And what would you do, if both of your hands were not free?
This is a French model 1892 8mm Lebel revolver,,,
This is a French model 1892 8mm Lebel revolver,,,
It can be fired single-action,,,
Where you thumb the hammer back,,,
That rotates the cylinder and gives a very light trigger pull.
Or it can be fired double-action,,,
Where pulling the trigger rotates the cylinder as it cocks the hammer, and then fires the gun.
Double-action has a heavy trigger pull,,,
But I got this pistol when I was only 9 years old,,,
I shot it with no difficulty at all with those 9 year old hands.
Although it is an antique pistol,,,
Ammunition is currently available from Fiocchi.
I am chuckling here,,,
The scenario you described is exactly how I got the gun.
Back in the early 60's My Mom and Dad were antique/junk dealers,,,
Kind of like the two guys in American Pickers,,,
They drove around buying old stuff.
They read the obituaries to get a lot of their leads,,,
One time they went to an old farm house where the farmer had died,,,
The son sold them every piece of furniture that was in the house and all of the contents.
There was an old chest of drawers in the lot and I was emptying it out,,,
The revolver in this picture was wrapped up in an old sock,,,
There were more than 200 rounds in a matching sock,,,
I got the pistol for working all day hauling trash,,,
It was a different world back then. ~sigh~
So if your story takes place in the French Alps,,,
This is a handgun that would easily be found in that locale.
Good luck with your story,,,
I hope this helps.
Thank you for those details. That photography will be handy when I'll get to describe the gun.
Originally Posted by aarondhgraham
I don't carry the 92fs, just take it to the range. It has the type of safety which rotates the firing pin out of the way. I kept it by my bed for a while, and I would have the loaded mag inserted but no round chambered and the safety off. To use for defense in that situation, you need to simply pull back the slide and release. This cocks the gun and chambers a round and it's very easy to fire at that point. The trigger pull at that point is very short with little pressure needed, and it's semi auto from that point. However, I am not sure a young child would be able to pull the slide like that, as it does require a firm pull. If you stored the gun with a round chambered and the safety on, the first pull of the trigger after releasing the safety is long and hard, unless you cock the hammer manually, then it's like I said before. For the range this all works fine and the 92fs is very accurate if you have the strength to hold it up and on target.
And I still think if the firing of a weapon is a critical element of the story, our author really should probably get a lesson at a range. At the very least so you can accurately describe what it's like to look down that barrel and.... I think you owe it to yourself and your readers to capture the feel of that as best you can.
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