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Thread: Single Action CC Gun for my wife who has beginning arthritis.

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Question Single Action CC Gun for my wife who has beginning arthritis.

    My wife is ready to start training and carrying, but her hands are not the strongest because of arthritis. I'm thinking that a single action that can be carried cocked and locked would be the easiest for her to operate. It also has to be concealable and easily deployed. I intend to get her to a place where she can handle and dry fire a variety of pistols. I also have to keep it on a tight budget so under $450 would be necessary. Right now I'm thinking Dam Road gun shop and Taurus 145 or 745. I need other suggestions about where to take her in Southern Wisconsin to handle the guns and any other ideas (coming from personal experience please) about other more suitable gun choices.

    Thanks,
    Dave
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Also try the Springfield Armory XD series. It has a single-action type of striker system with a grip safety instead of a thumb safety.

    One of my fellow instructors carries one daily, as do many here.
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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Also try the Springfield Armory XD series. It has a single-action type of striker system with a grip safety instead of a thumb safety.

    One of my fellow instructors carries one daily, as do many here.
    Thanks, Mac702, I have a Springfield Armory 5" Mil-Spec 1911 and really like it. Is that XD of your friend's a compact model?
    Dave
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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    An excellent gun for women is the Kahr K9. This gun has an all steel frame, is relatively small, and has superb ergonomics and feel for women's hands. And it is a DOA so it is inherently safe. You might want to give this one some serious consideration.
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    Regular Member Baked on Grease's Avatar
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    I did the same thing for my wife, and while I love XD and XDm's they are not easy at all to rack the slide. I got.my wife the Walther pk380, larger than most 380 pistols, with a molded grip for easier handling, a REALLY easy spring to chamber a round, and because of it's size, almost no "kick" compared to other 380's.

    Still small enough for her to conceal, and pretty cheap too, about $300. And I do meam REALLY easy to chamber a round... I can use my pinky to rack the slide....

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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baked on Grease View Post
    I did the same thing for my wife, and while I love XD and XDm's they are not easy at all to rack the slide. I got.my wife the Walther pk380, larger than most 380 pistols, with a molded grip for easier handling, a REALLY easy spring to chamber a round, and because of it's size, almost no "kick" compared to other 380's.

    Still small enough for her to conceal, and pretty cheap too, about $300. And I do meam REALLY easy to chamber a round... I can use my pinky to rack the slide....

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    +1 on the PK380.

    You could also look into a compact 1911 style .380 like the SIG P238. I've hear a lot of good things about it. One other would be the Walther PPK or PPK/S (the PPK/S has a larger frame and may be easier for her to handle). Both of these weapons are steel framed instead of polymer like the PK380 if you want to go that route.

    All of these suggestions can be carried cocked and locked. However, all of these suggestions are also north of the $450 price point if memory serves me (not by much-maybe $100 at most), but you shouldn't have any problem finding any of these used. And in the case of the PPK and P238, that might be a plus as steel framed guns tend to work better broken in.
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    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    The sig P238 is well over 450, its about 800msrp.

    But the walther pk380 would be a good gun right around that price, as others have mentioned. It was the only double action gun my sister could squeeze the trigger with so I would suspect that the single action would be a whole lot easier.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Single actions can be a good choice for folks with arthritis or other hand weaknesses, but you still need to address the racking of the slide and other manipulations for loading, clearing, clearing malfunctions, and unloading (hope I covered all the basic manipulations). For that reason I have often suggested Barettas with the tip-up barrel. They are easy to manipulate, they come in calibers that are a fair compromise between managable recoil and effective ballistics, and they can be had at reasonable cost.

    Please remember the best advice out there regarding the selection of a handgun for someone else - get the one they want, can use and will use. I'm guessing that a call to your fellow cheesehead shooters may be needed to allow your wife to try out guns she handled at the gunshop and put on her "MAYBE" list. Offer to buy the ammo and maybe to clean the gun afterwards - it's the little gestures that go the farthest. Then farm the cleaning out to your wife so she can see if she can manipulate it properly.

    stay safe.
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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davegran View Post
    Thanks, Mac702, I have a Springfield Armory 5" Mil-Spec 1911 and really like it. Is that XD of your friend's a compact model?
    Yes, he carries the compact .40. He and I took our instructor courses together and each had to put down 300 rounds. He's very good with it. They are nice pistols. I can't comment about the difficulty of the slide, and that is a VERY valid point for someone with weakness in the hands.

    The tip-up Berettas are available in .22, .25, .32, and .380. I have a .25, but the .380 is perhaps a good choice for moderate purposes. Now you will be back with a DA type of pistol, though the .25 does come in a SA type, like mine.

    I have a Walther P22, and a PK380 is on my list to get for my classroom firearms, as I try to continually increase what I have available for try-outs to my many clients who haven't yet decided on which sidearm. Again, this is a DA, though.

    I've only held them in the store long enough to play with them, and wonder if they truly serve a purpose, but MAYBE look at the ParaUSA 1911s with the LDA trigger. Again, some 1911s have harder slides than others, so definitely keep this in mind. (Oops, I just remembered the budget, so probably scratch this one.)
    Last edited by MAC702; 01-03-2012 at 12:57 AM.
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    The PPK/S offers its fair share of kick, which might be of concern for someone with arthritis, depending on the severity of the disease. The PK380, as has been pointed out, is a good-fitting choice, though it is a DA/SA pistol.

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    Regular Member Baked on Grease's Avatar
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    The Springfield 1911 mil-spec has a very smooth easy spring, I can even catch the rear sight on my clothing and rack it one handed that way, it's a full size so CC isn't so easy but you could check out some of their compact versions, Springfield Armory has plenty of styles to choose from. I've never been dissapointed by any SA guns I have tried.

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    I've heard good things about the KelTec PMR30. I haven't used one, but I have heard it is a good weapon for those with weaker hands. Maybe someone on here can chime in on it or you can check it out.

    I also have an XDm40 and XD-9SC and if your wife is starting to have issues I don't know how well she will handle these weapons. The 9SC isn't too bad, but it is a full size gun in regards to it's width (which makes it harder to conceal unless in a purse or you one wears a bit baggier clothing; and we all know how non-baggy most womens clothing is). And as pointed out, she could have an issue with clearing a malfunction or basic operation (outside of just shooting the gun) given the power of the spring on these.

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    Here is an idea you may not have thought of.
    Beretta makes some small pistols with a tip up barrel in 22lr, 25acp (under powered and expensive) and 32acp. With the tip up barrel there is no need to pull the slide back and the trigger a double/single action.

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Any better choices for <$600.00?

    Thanks for all the suggestions, everybody! The collective wisdom/experience on this forum is awesome! I'm starting to think that we'd better save up some more to get her a gun more suitable to her physical condition. It's a shame about her hands as her arms and shoulders are quite strong. With a little bit bigger budget in mind($600 tops) are there any other choices you would suggest? Has anybody fired the Beretta Px4 Storm compact? The type F, I believe, is DA/SA with an external safety.

    Thanks!
    Dave
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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    When I first read your post, I wondered why you'd want your wife to have what would for her be a single-shot gun.
    If it's SAO & she can't recock it, she's stuck, & eventually she'll get to the point where she can't.
    With double action, all she has to do is pull the trigger.
    I'm glad Skid pointed out other things to consider.
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark
    Single actions can be a good choice for folks with arthritis or other hand weaknesses, but you still need to address the racking of the slide and other manipulations
    There are people in our area who have more guns than they know what to do with, & are nice enough they'd probably be willing to let her try shooting them, then explain how to clean it & make sure she would be able to take care of it herself.
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    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    Dave,

    Here's my suggestion. Go to a gun show if you can. Take your wife to all the guns, one of each type, have her 'heft' them. Explain them. Have her ask to have the ones she can heft unlocked and try the slide.

    Now when I say 'heft', I don't mean a 'small gun'. You know the smaller they are, more recoil, harder to rack.

    Handle a LOT of guns at the show (go both days for a half-day). When she likes one, have her ask the dealer if she can dry fire it. Have her pick the ones whose triggers she likes. Then have her look at the sights. Show her the basics with your unloaded guns with snap caps in them at home.

    See where I'm going? You don't just buy a gun and give it to her. Have her try EVERYTHING she can short of firing it because you can demonstrate a wider selection. Of course, then go to the range and shoot some during off hours - ask when the range is nearly empty. Reduce the fear factor. Have her watch you. Let her decide when she wants to shoot.

    Baby steps. LOTS of them.

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    Regular Member cbpeck's Avatar
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    Another fan of Beretta 380s

    I have a Beretta 85 BB (predecessor to the current 85 FS Cheetah) that I used to carry. It is an aluminum framed, single stack .380 that is styled exactly like an older 92. It's a darling little gun, and I have often heard from men & women alike that it would be a great gun for a woman to carry. It is about the same size as the PPK, but the open top slide makes it much easier to check the chamber & take down is also far easier than on the Walther.

    It so happens that mine is also for sale - BAN ME - because I now carry a .40 & am looking to finance the purchase of a home defense shotgun, but I'm in the wrong part of the country.

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    When I first read your post, I wondered why you'd want your wife to have what would for her be a single-shot gun.
    If it's SAO & she can't recock it, she's stuck, & eventually she'll get to the point where she can't.
    With double action, all she has to do is pull the trigger.
    ....
    Gee, with my single ACTION 1911, all I have to do is cock it once, fire 8 rounds semiautomatically, reload from a locked slide, and fire 7 more. That doesn't sound like a single SHOT gun to me. A double action gun takes too much finger strength for her to operate the long, relatively heavy trigger pull. Get it?
    Dave
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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Have you considered a DAO hammerless revolver. You could get one and even have the trigger lightened within your budget. I ask because my mother has what sounds like similar limitations and after trying several different firearms has decided that is what she is shopping for at the next gun show.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this thread some more, and I am forced to agree more and more with the suggestions for a revolver. A DAO revolver can be made quite light and still fire reliably. There are no slide issues for weak hands. And it occurred to me that the subject here is "beginning arthritis." In other words, it's only going to get worse, right?
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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I was thinking about this thread some more, and I am forced to agree more and more with the suggestions for a revolver. A DAO revolver can be made quite light and still fire reliably. There are no slide issues for weak hands. And it occurred to me that the subject here is "beginning arthritis." In other words, it's only going to get worse, right?
    Unfortunately, that is correct, her arthritis will probably get worse. I sat her down today in front of my hand guns, including DA/SA pistols and a .32 revolver, and let her try to load (snap caps) and go through the manual of arms with each one. The only one she could operate was my SA 1911. The double action revolver trigger was too heavy for her to pull.

    I have shot a revolver with a very slick trigger job, but I don't think she could have operated that one either. Can a revolver action be massaged to yield the smooth 4# to 5# trigger pull of the 1911 and still be reliable? I'm asking, not arguing.
    Dave
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    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davegran View Post
    The only one she could operate was my SA 1911. The double action revolver trigger was too heavy for her to pull.
    You asked aerlier about the Px4 compact. IIRC, Px4s come in two configurations: with a decocker (no safety) and a combination safety/decocker, so "cocked & locked" is not an option on either.

    The problem as I see it is that compact autos are harder to rack than full-sized autos--less gripping surface and stronger springs. That's probably why she could cycle your full-sized 1911 but not the others. However, before you give up on semi-autos completely, check out http://www.corneredcat.com/Rack_the_Slide/ to learn some techniques for racking the slide better-suited for women. They mostly address upper-body strength vs hand/grip strength, so they might not make much of a difference in this case.

    If that doesn't help, you might have to go the lightened revolver route, but then she'd be carrying "cocked and unlocked"--potentially very dangerous.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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    How is she trying to cock the pistols?
    Most people hold the grip still and pull the slide back.
    For people with limited strength holding the slide still and pushing the grip forward sometimes helps.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyore View Post
    ...If that doesn't help, you might have to go the lightened revolver route, but then she'd be carrying "cocked and unlocked"--potentially very dangerous.
    I think we have all been recommending a lightened pull on a DAO revolver. This is not a single-action, and would never be cocked.

    I've seen some custom revolvers with very light (relatively) DAO pulls. A particular Ruger SP101 comes to mind as the smoothest I've ever seen, though S&W's have a reputation for ease of trigger work.
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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyore View Post
    .... However, before you give up on semi-autos completely, check out http://www.corneredcat.com/Rack_the_Slide/ to learn some techniques for racking the slide better-suited for women. They mostly address upper-body strength vs hand/grip strength, so they might not make much of a difference in this case.

    ....
    Thanks for the link! We'll try their suggestions.
    Dave
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    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

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