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  1. #1
    Horngar is offline Junior Member
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    Mom wants a handgun

    My 72 year old mother is looking for a handgun. I know next to nothing about firearms. I've been looking over some of the posts already out there and have decided to take her to a range and let her get the feel for several different types of guns.

    That said I would like to get the ball rolling on advice from the community. We live in Virginia and she is planning on getting her conceal/carry permit. She is looking for something mainly for home defense. She is in good health but not a lot of upper body strength. From what I've read I think 9mm would be best for her but I'll defer to the experts.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    jakeleinen1 is offline Member
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    Either you have a cool 72 year old mom or this is a joke?

  3. #3
    Horngar is offline Junior Member
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    No this isn't a joke. She wants to be able to defend herself.

  4. #4
    jakeleinen1 is offline Member
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    Well depending on her abilities and knowledge it will be variable.

    Most women who know very little about guns are best left with a revolver. Easy to load and just pull the trigger. The recoil can be an issue here though especially since your mother is old.

    If you think she can learn how to manage a semi auto, thats a different story. There are so many variables in this case such as trigger pull, caliber, and size/ weight of the gun its hard to give you a good recommendation.

    My top 3 recommendations would be:

    1) Smith and Wesson .38 Snub Nose revolver
    2) A .32 or .380 Kel-tec (or Ruger LCP in .380) semi-automatic pistol (extremely low recoil, DAO trigger, small gun)
    3) 9mm of many variants (like GLOCK with no safties or extra levers)

    You have alot of options to be honest its going to take alot of research narrowing down what you think she can handle, function, maintain, and conceal

  5. #5
    Horngar is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks and I know it's a very broad question that isn't easy to answer. Maybe I should wait till after getting her some range time and she what she feels comfortable with and come back with a more narrow question. Thanks for the feedback though. That helps since I also know next to nothing about firearms.

  6. #6
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    a 22 revolver is the best choice

  7. #7
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Any gun with which she feels comfortable will be the best choice.

    While you're at it, buy her some shooting lessons and a self-defense course.
    You might even put off finding her a gun until after she has taken the course. Just find her an instructor who will provide her with a few pistols from which to choose.

  8. #8
    Panoply is offline Junior Member
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    Hello. I am new to this site. I, while not 'myself wise with age,' do know the limitations of those who are most wise - especially women. My 90yo grandmother and my 60-something aunt have both fired my pistols. A revolver may seem an obvious choice, however it is actually a terrible idea. As you know, revolvers have a stiff trigger pull and was beyond the ability of these two ladies to over come unless they used TWO thumbs to bring it into sa. A higher caliber is also a bad idea as this will cause massive flinching and anticipation of same. This is the only situation where I'd advocate a semi-auto for a carry weapon. No higher than .380. Berretta makes some nifty guns in .32... THOUGH....My great aunt famously (in my family anyway) carried a .22 derringer untill her death.

  9. #9
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Someone with limited hand strength, who wishes to fire a revolver, will benefit greatly from a two-hand hold.
    First, gripping a revolver with two hands, and holding it very tightly, will make each shot more accurate.
    Second, and more important, when the gun is gripped correctly in two hands, one hand's index finger controls the trigger while the other hand's thumb manipulates the hammer.

    When a revolver is gripped in this manner, and manipulated as described, repeated shots may be fired both quickly and quite accurately.

    Any instructor worth his/her salt can demonstrate and teach this simple, effective technique.

  10. #10
    95chevy is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Mom wants a handgun

    I would look into a walther p22. Its a nice smaller .22 semi auto. I agree that some (most) revolvers would be difficult to shoot double action. As the triggers are usally very hard and long.

  11. #11
    pic's Avatar
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    pic is online now Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    you say mainly for home defense, maybe a rifle, small bore shotgun, just a thought

  12. #12
    usmcj's Avatar
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    As I've posted many times....



    This is strictly my opinion, and has worked in many years of firearms training, and for men and ladies alike.


    Get some basic training FIRST. At this point she need fundamentals, not run and gun, or force on force. Reputable instructors will provide a host of handguns and holsters for her to experience in class. That will give her some idea of where her preferences might lead her in handgun selection. Then.....


    Buy a handgun just like she would buy a pair of shoes. If Ol' Joe over here says he likes Charlie China tennis shoes, and she's looking for a new pair of shoes, does she run out and buy Joe's pick, just because HE likes 'em? Probably not. If a new shooter is asking what to buy for a carry gun, it doesn't matter what works for me, or anyone else. I suggest telling that new shooter to go to many gun shops, and/or gun shows, and handle all the guns they can get hold of. Just like they would try on shoes. Before long they'll be able to make a list of guns that feel ok, pretty good, real good, and "that really feels great in my hands". The last two are the ones to pursue, and here's why I say that....If a given handgun doesn't feel "right" in your hands, you'll not shoot it enough to become proficient with it, because it's not comfortable, and you won't like shooting it. Just like you rarely wear shoes that are UNcomfortable. If you're not gonna become proficient with it, save your money, and buy a ball bat to carry. With proper fundamentals, he/she can learn to shoot almost any handgun, or any caliber. Very few folks can re-train their hands to make just any handgun feel comfortable. The last suggestion... again....get some training......proper shooting techniques, practiced slowly, but proficiently, will breed speed. Do it slowly, and do it the right way, every time.......If you practice speed first, and introduce less efficient techniques into your training, you'll have to do it all over again to get it right. Most gun shops have a box of used holsters that she can experiment with after she's chosen what gun works best for her. There are many options for concealed/open carry.


    By the way..... anyone who introduces a new shooter to our pastime by having them start with a large-caliber handgun, makes a very poor decision. Yes, some folks do ok starting out with large calibers, but the vast majority will not continue to shoot if their very 1st experience is with .50 S&W. Start with a .22 caliber something, and as her technique/accuracy improves, work up from there. Caliber doesn't count until after you can hit your target.


    If you're buying a handgun for home protection, and you choose to NOT have it on your person, you should consider where in your home you might be if someone kicks the door in. I don't see a person in a position to be able to ask an intruder to "hang on a sec, while I get my gun"


    There always will be a trade-off..... light weight, more recoil...... shorter barrel, more recoil...I've known more than a few gents who didn't care for the recoil of what's often called a "ladies gun"... just sayin....


    Again, just my ramblings.... but they work for me...


    Shoot Safely....

  13. #13
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    Are you guys serious?

    A .22LR for self-defense. Do you actually use one yourselves?

    I mean it's better than a slap to the face, but come on.

  14. #14
    jakeleinen1 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by paratrooper View Post
    Are you guys serious?

    A .22LR for self-defense. Do you actually use one yourselves?

    I mean it's better than a slap to the face, but come on.
    Yeah I agree. Especially like i mean if she were to face multiple attackers that .22 is garbage

    Better then nothing but why dont you give her something like a .38

  15. #15
    paratrooper is online now Senior Member
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    S&W makes some great .38's.

    I myself, have a model 642. Couldn't be any easier to use.

  16. #16
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Post deleted by OP.
    No longer relevant.

  17. #17
    tazelmo's Avatar
    tazelmo is offline Junior Member
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    All of this is very good advice. Remember Mom is the one going to use the gun. If the gun does not fit her it will become a doorstop.

  18. #18
    plp
    plp is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakeleinen1 View Post
    Yeah I agree. Especially like i mean if she were to face multiple attackers that .22 is garbage

    Better then nothing but why dont you give her something like a .38
    Really??

    How many who read or post on this forum would volunteer to be shot at close range with a .22lr?

    Remember, the OP is talking about an elderly woman with no background with weapons. Her ability to become proficient is hampered by age and lack of experience. I can only offer up personal experience here, but my 52 year old wife has arthritis and cannot accurately fire either a .380 or 9mm, with the exception of a full framed Beretta 92FS or a Ruger P-89. She can shoot both of those for a few rounds, but does not like them as they are hard to control past the 5th or 6th shot. Why? Because she is a 52 year old woman with arthritis.

    On the other hand, she can (and does) shoot either .22lr revolvers or semi-auto pistols for hours at the range. Her accuracies are very good, and have improved dramatically since we started shooting every weekend.

    A handgun that can be controlled is better than one that cannot be controlled. A handgun that gets lots of practice is better than one that sits in the drawer. A handgun with which the shooter is familiar is better than one that is a mystery in a high stress situation as far as how to make it go bang.

    The advice about trying out several different designs and calibers is a good one, however I personally feel everyone should start with a .22lr as first purchase, because it is an easy gun to shoot. The more they shoot, the better they will become. Sure, absolutely try several larger calibers and find what works, but we are talking about a first gun, and for me that is a .22lr.

  19. #19
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plp View Post
    ...How many who read or post on this forum would volunteer to be shot at close range with a .22lr?...
    That's not the point.
    The reason for shooting at an attacker is to immediately stop the attack.
    Of course a .22 rimfire hit will do injury. If it's properly placed, it may even stop a fight. But it is not a sure and immediate stopper.

    I happen to be 75 years old, also with arthritis issues.
    I have had to switch down from my usual .45 ACP pocket pistol to a larger .380, but I remain effective because I am a very experienced and accurate pistol shot.

    When your wife becomes open to the idea, she might give a medium-size .380 a try, to see if it is comfortable.
    Certainly, it would be a better defensive weapon than any .22 rimfire.

    (I believe that Jake's suggestion of a .38 Special revolver would not be a good idea, unless it were a gun with at least a 4" barrel. A lighter .38 will come complete with recoil-discomfort issues.)

  20. #20
    Huckleberry44's Avatar
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    The advantage most women have in the Concealed Carry world is that they have a rather larger place to carry - in a purse. That said, if she's carrying, she might be afforded a little bit larger pistol if she carries a purse.

    Also, being that she's an elderly woman, she likely doesn't have the hands of a gorilla, so any semi-auto in a softer and relatively week hand is more likely to malfunction after one shot. Just a thought.

    That said, I'd be more prone to suggest a revolver, like a K-Frame S&W .38 or an L-Frame .357. And I would suggest maybe a 3.5" to 4" barrel. More weight = less recoil. Larger gun fits in purse.

    Everyone has their opinions and most have some validity. But at the end of the day, as Clint Eastwood said, "A Man's got to know his limitations." So does a woman, so I agree with USMCJ above: Exposure and Practice will determine the answer to your question. Going out and buying a pistol will likely result in buyer's remorse until she's done her personal R&D.

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