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Thread: Shakey Hand - What pistol?

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    My sister who lives in Colorado is in the market for a pistol for home defense. The thing is, she has a medical condition which makes her hands shake a little bit. Not a lot, but a little. Just talking to her in day to day life, most people don't notice it. But if you knew it and looked at her hands, it's easily observable.

    Anyhow, she currently has a pistol with a lazer on it that her friend loaned to her. She noticed she really can't keep the dot on a target.

    I was going to recommend she get a Taurus Defender, which is able to shoot 410 shotgun shells. I wanted to get your opinions on that gun... and also to see if there are better solutions which make sense.

    Thanks, RichV

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    If she just wants a firearm for home defense, I would suggest a Mossberg or Remington semi-auto shotgun with an 18" barrel chambered for 20ga.

    Unless she's got a serious problem with snakes and squirrels invading her home, a .410 isn't really considered an effective round, ESPECIALLY from a pistol like the judge, because it's notoriously inaccurate at distances greater than 5 meters. Although 00-buckshot, .410 slugs, and the 45 Long Cold rounds are all considered to be pretty good for defense in the proper gun, the Judge probably isn't the best choice for most folks, because it's REALLY big and bulky for a pistol, it isn't very accurate, and it kicks like a mule.

    Get a shotgun in 20ga. with a "tactical-length" barrel, like 18" or 20". A semi-auto in 20ga will have a minimal amount of recoil, will be easier to use for someone with weak hands (because the weight is distributed more broadly) and puts a LOT more shot downrange accurately than a .410. So even if she shakes a little, her chances of defending herself effectively will be GREATLY increased over using a .410 pistol. And a long gun is MUCH easier to aim accurately at greater distances than a short pistol, so she won't have to wait for the BG to get right up on her to be sure she'll effectively deploy her firearm in her own defense.

    If, however, she's looking for somethign to use when she's out walking, or in her vehicle, then maybe the Judge is a good idea. It LOOKS mean, and any BG who finds himself staring down the barrel and cylinders on the "business end" of a Taurus Judge would have to be COMPLETELY insane to NOT turn tail before a shot is even fired...

    Also, I would recommend signing her up for a good defense course. Find someone who is willing to work 1-on-1 with her and can address her special issues, and can recommend tactics, shooting positions, and aiming techniques that might be more appropriate and effective for her in light of her condition...
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    Dreamer wrote:
    If she just wants a firearm for home defense, I would suggest a Mossberg or Remington semi-auto shotgun with an 18" barrel chambered for 20ga.
    If she's a large framed woman I'd go one further and suggest a 12g with 18-20" barrel. I keep 00 Buck in mine which might be to much if she lives in an apartment for example. But the above suggestion is a good one.

    If a pistol is required the Taurus Judge 45-410 has gotten some good reviews and one online video showing it in a carjacking situation would make a would-be thug soil his pants. One would need to aim at the head when shooting the 410 to ensure damage to the perp's body. Clothing made aid to protect against injury.

    The barrel of the judge is rifled unlike a standard shotgun. It will disperse the shot in a wide pattern because of the rifling.

    Check out this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl-ZIo-Wztc

    The handgun would be for a close quarters encounter whereas the longer barreled shotgun would cover a greater distance with inherent safety. One can't carry a long barreled shotgun in a purse or waist band holster.

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    If she really wants a handgun, I'd suggest something heavy enough to manage the shaking.

    Further weight could be added to a picatinny rail on the frame if it had one, because you could bolt a 1" wide weight to the rail with a scope mount. It sounds odd, and it would be, but it's just like a bow. If you need stability, you want weight.
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    Thank you all for the great information and advice. You guys are the reason I really like this forum!

    To answer some of the questions... she is not a large framed woman, so perhaps the 20 guage would be better than an 12 guage. I'll have to ask her if she would consider a shotgun rather than a pistol. Her current home is small.... like an apartment.

    Our previous conversations lead me to believe she wants a pistol that can be put in one of those small safes with the push-button combo locks. This would keep the gun inaccessible to teens in the house (or those that might be visiting), especially when adults aren't home.

    She is signed up for the NRA basic pistol class, and will be getting specific advice about the shakey hands from an instructor.

    Any experience with quick accessibility locks for shotguns? I've never seen any... so my shotguns are kept in a safe and not used for home defense.

    Thanks again for the info...
    RichV

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    For long-gun gunlocks that are secure but allow for quick access (and aren't big cabinet safes) check this company out:

    http://www.santacruzgunlocks.com/index.html
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    RichV wrote:
    My sister who lives in Colorado is in the market for a pistol for home defense. The thing is, she has a medical condition which makes her hands shake a little bit. Not a lot, but a little. Just talking to her in day to day life, most people don't notice it. But if you knew it and looked at her hands, it's easily observable.
    Can she control the shake if she is using both hands? A two hand grip is more stable than a one handed grip. If not practice leaning against/on something, a wall, desk, table would help stablity. Of course a burglar may not want to wait while you find something to lean on.

    I am no expert though so these are just my thoughts and others can rip mea new one if they want. :-) My first thought was a shotgun but you mentioned reasons against that above.

    With teens in the house/apt she needs to understand that bullets will go through "several" walls so a bump in the night may just be her kid dropping their ipod at 1am. A shotgun with birdshot will send birdshot through the walls but they will lose a fair amount of energy such that there is less danger to other residents. Glaser makes safety rounds but I have never used them.

    Training for her and her kids would be great. A plan (codeword for late returning teens) etc is good to have in place before any defense event is needed. She needs to know that a shot at a bad guy isn't going to hit her kid behind the BG in the next room.

    I mention all this because people simply think they will buy a gun and they will be safe.

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    One item that was not mentioned but has been referenced on this board sometime back is called a "Super shorty". It is basically a shotgun in either 12 ga. or 20 ga. If I read correctly it is a pump action capable of carrying 3 rounds of what ever you choose. It comes with an overall length of 16.5 " and has roughly a six inch barrel. The little bugger is a bit pricey for my tastes but answers most of the elements you presented. It isn't a pistol even though it does appear like one but is classified as "AOW" (any other weapon) and the manufacter claims that it is legal with just a $5. transfer fee.

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    Is the shaking confined to just one hand, or is it both hands?

    I'm thinking that if it's just the one, her strong hand (the one she pulls the trigger with) I would suggest trying a 2 handed shooting technique. My favorite is to use the weak side hand to pull back against the strong hand. This might reduce some of the shaking effect of the one hand.

    It also helps to lock the wrist of the strong hand, making recoil more manageable.

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    buzzsaw wrote:
    One item that was not mentioned but has been referenced on this board sometime back is called a "Super shorty". It is basically a shotgun in either 12 ga. or 20 ga. If I read correctly it is a pump action capable of carrying 3 rounds of what ever you choose. It comes with an overall length of 16.5 " and has roughly a six inch barrel. The little bugger is a bit pricey for my tastes but answers most of the elements you presented. It isn't a pistol even though it does appear like one but is classified as "AOW" (any other weapon) and the manufacter claims that it is legal with just a $5. transfer fee.
    You mean the Serbu Super Shorty:

    http://www.serbu.com/top/superShorty.php

    Even though most folks would consider this to be an "SBS" or short-barrel shotgun, through a quirk of the NFA regs, this particular shotgun classifies under BATF rules as an AOW (any other weapon) so you don't have to pay the normal NFA transfer tax of $200.

    However, it STILL falls under NFA regulation as an AOW. The transfer fee might be lower than a standard NFA tax, but it would still require an NFA application, a full NFA background check, and all the wonderful restrictions that come with owning an NFA-class firearm.

    Plus it only hold 3 rounds, is ONLY available in 12ga (Mossberg 500 or REmington 870) and is probably a real mule to shoot. Probably NOT a good choice (even if you COULD get it in 20ga, which you can't) for a small-framed woman with weak hands.

    Heck, I don't even know if I'd want to shoot this bugger in a self-defense situation. I mean who wants to pay nearly $800 for a 3-shot gun that is pretty much guaranteed to leave bruises on your grip hand every time you pull the trigger?

    It's an interesting novelty, but not real practical IMO...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    I have no real way of knowing whether it is available in 20 ga. or not just quoted their web site. However, for home defense where a two handed hold (necessary with a pump action) is completely normal it would still make a reasonable consideration. I believe I cited the high cost to start with as a negative but then I'm old and don't always remember stuff.

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    My grandpa has the shakes really bad. We found that a heavier pistol helps dampen the shaking. When he shoots my stainless raging bull he can keep it on target better than hiss ruger black hawk. Mines not much heaavier but the weight definitely helped. thats my 2 cents

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    Ruger44 wrote:
    My grandpa has the shakes really bad. We found that a heavier pistol helps dampen the shaking. When he shoots my stainless raging bull he can keep it on target better than hiss ruger black hawk. Mines not much heaavier but the weight definitely helped. thats my 2 cents
    if that scenarioholds true for the woman in question, get her a Desert Eagle, that should weigh enough to dampen the shakiness. But the kids would want to be shooting that all the time, and there is no way she could keep that in a purse.

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    She should shoot a variety of handguns to see what may or may not work for her.

    She should FIRST seek professional training to learn to shoot properly. Pistol shooting is difficult enough without physical problems. She can fine tune her shooting to account for the shaking, but will require some experience and a good coach. Buy the gun last since 99.9% of all coaches/trainers are gun nuts with full gun safes.

    Furthermore, she needs to manage her expectations. Target shooting is not combat shooting. Target shooting involves getting tiny groups at distance under a liberal time constraint. Combat involves adrenaline, fear, wounds, hostile environment, movement and thousands of other variables not present on a target range. A six inch group is terrible in target shooting at 15 feet, but just fine when the bullets penetrate the throat, lungs, heart and/or spine.

    Train her for fighting and consider any target shooting to be a fun bonus.

    Never mix the two.


    Mindset is most important. Have her read Guns, Bullets, and Gun Fights by Jim Cirillo. Cirillo's book will tell her what goes on in the mind during a fight.
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    Thanks for the posts. In addition to passing all this information on, I've invited her to join the forum!

    Thanks, Rich

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    I'll also put my hat in the 20 gauge corner. Unless a person has a specific reason for the 12, I will always suggest 20. 60% less recoil and few BGs will notice the difference on the muzzle end.

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    Take her out and let her decide what she wants to use. Make sure you take her to a range and let her try everything out. Good job on helping her out...do it right! Her life might depend on it.

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