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E tan e epi tas
Picture of cslinger
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Food for thought. If the person in question has weak wrists I would tend to shy away from a semi auto.

If they are comfortable with a 617 then go with a 66 or 686 in .357 and load with appropriate .38 ammo. The variety of ammo will let you dial in something shootable and even the most powderpuff stuff will be better then .22. The exposed hammer will mitigate any heavy trigger issues and loading and unloading are a breeze.

I think talk of Jframe sized revolvers and semi autos are the wrong direction IMO.

"Guns are tools. The only weapon ever created was man."
Posts: 3727 | Location: Nashville, TN | Registered: July 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Bob RI
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Originally posted by cslinger:
Food for thought. If the person in question has weak wrists I would tend to shy away from a semi auto.

If they are comfortable with a 617 then go with a 66 or 686 in .357 and load with appropriate .38 ammo. The variety of ammo will let you dial in something shootable and even the most powderpuff stuff will be better then .22. The exposed hammer will mitigate any heavy trigger issues and loading and unloading are a breeze.

I think talk of Jframe sized revolvers and semi autos are the wrong direction IMO.

Beat me to it...agree this is really worth looking into. If a semi is desired, the PX4 is a great suggestion, I’d also look at the Steyr L9-A1.
Posts: 4196 | Location: NH | Registered: January 22, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Drill Here, Drill Now
Picture of tatortodd
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Thanks all.

The 3” Ruger LCRX in 38 SP is $100 less than the comparable .327 and ammo is much more plentiful.

I’m thinking a 3” or 4” S&W k frame in 38 SP or 3” Ruger LCRX with Hornady reduced recoil critical defense is viable.

Also, the new .380 S&W EZ looks viable too

I’ll do a little nosing around at the rental counters at a few ranges to see if I can get him to shoot one or more of these.

Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity

DISCLAIMER: These are the author's own personal views and do not represent the views of the author's employer.
Posts: 16827 | Location: N. Houston, TX | Registered: November 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Pizza Bob
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Of the ideas presented so far, I think that I am in the .327 Fed in a Ruger SP101 camp.

That being said, even though I have no actual experience with what I am about to propose, let me make a suggestion way outside the box: A 4" Chiappa Rhino revolver. Either in .357/.38 Spl chambering, or 9 mm with moon clips which make for a rapid reload and positive ejection. With the barrel at the 6 o'clock position, muzzle flip is mitigated.

If you think it would be tough to find a .327 to rent, just imagine how hard it will be to find a Chiappa. Although, they are being pretty aggressive in their marketing, so it may be quite possible. They are also now sponsoring competitive revolver shooters, so if there is one near you (contact Chiappa to find out), I'm sure he'd let you take a test drive.

Good luck with this and good on you for helping out.


Pizza Bob

NRA Benefactor Member
Posts: 1203 | Location: Central NJ | Registered: January 19, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
addicted to trailing-throttle oversteer
Picture of soggy_spinout
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The M&P Shield EZ is pretty elderly-friendly if a semi-auto is strongly desired. Not much a fan of or believer in 380 myself but there are some decent loads available. Not '9mm decent', but far more effective than a rimfire alternative. The Ruger LC380 has been a popular semi for older customers as well. And then there's the relatively soft shooting Glock G42, though the slide action could very well be an issue for those with arthritic joints. The Glock is less popular with older folks than the Ruger but we have sold them to seniors at a regular if modest pace.

Despite their diminutive size I wouldn't discount the Pocketlite clones as well, whether it be the SIG 238, Kimber Micro380 and probably the (egad) Springfield 911 (I've not shot or even handled one and probably never will, but not for reasons concerning the gun itself)...or even the original, the reboot Colt Mustang. Very soft shooting, slides relatively easy to rack and manipulate. However they ARE physically small; anyone with dexterity issues with smaller items may find them too minuscule to comfortably handle. And anyone with larger hands who erroneously thinks that they MUST have full purchase on the grip will more than likely find it a turn-off even with an extend mag in the well.

However all that said, I'd still recommend a M60 or SP101 with 38SPL over a 380. As long as the overall weight isn't a muscle strength concern, their recoil is well dampened with either all-steel gun, and their relative size certainly doesn't carry the girth and heft of a K, L frame or GP100 full size that can and will be more of an issue with shoulder and elbow pain and fatigue. And +P loads can certainly be realistically tried to see whether the elder gentleman can tolerate the added recoil energy. The caliber is a better solution for stopping power than 380, though some may not like the penalty of less margin for error due to the lesser round count.
Posts: 8724 | Location: Drippin' wet | Registered: April 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
Picture of ArtieS
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A 238 is probably the softest shooting gun I have ever fired.

"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
Posts: 9509 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Question for the OP.
Your guy liked the M617 .22 revolver.
Did he shoot it double action?
If he can pull a DA, great, a .38 revolver* is pretty much the default recommendation.
But people are prone to realizing that it is a lot easier to get hits with a 3 lb crisp SA than it is dragging back a 10 lb long travel DA. That is fine for the range, but can lead to trouble under stress. I know of three cases locally, one shot fired SA by a startle reaction, two in the floor when attempting to decock a revolver.

*Selection of the revolver. If he can handle a 617, he can handle a K frame .38. Lots available "on the street" at moderate prices if he doesn't mind a police tradein that rode 20 years in a holster but was only shot for annual qualification. Lightweight guns kick harder.
Posts: 2709 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by henryarnaud:
For those who've shot both, how does .327 Federal compare with .38 Special? My thought was maybe you could find a range with a SP101 in .357 Magnum and try it with .38 Special target wadcutters. Maybe that combo would work for him, or maybe it might give you an idea if .327 Federal would work.

A 617 is a K-frame, so something like a similarly-sized 64 in .38 Special, loaded with 148gr target wadcutters, may be do-able. Might be worth giving it a try. It might be easier to find a rental range with a K-frame .38.

On the semi-auto side, I'd be most concerned about his ability to operate the slide. If that's not an issue, maybe a bigger Kahr, like a P9 or K9? Loaded with some standard pressure 9mm ammo that might be do-able. If racking a slide is an issue, then a tip-up barrel Beretta may work, even though they're only available in smaller calibers.

Finally, I wouldn't completely discount a .22. He liked the .22 revolver, so if it's something that he enjoys shooting it's also something he'll practice with. While .22 wouldn't be my first choice, it might be worth considering if your other options don't work out.

I own a 327 Fed. And it is a great gun. Recoil with Full load magnums is stouter than that with the 38.

My recommendation ( I have arthritis in my hands) would be a Sig 238 which is a 380. Only weighs 16 oz but has the recoil of a cap gun. By far one of favorites.
Posts: 175 | Location: Florida Gulf Coast | Registered: October 17, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Big Stack
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This, or the Model 64 stainless equivalent (lots of these floating around as retired cop guns.)

No need to overthink this. It wouldn't be my first choice for a defensive gun, but given the circumstances described, it fits very nicely. And there are some pretty decent .38 spl defensive round available, especially out of a 4" barrel.


Felt the need to post a gratuitous video. This is from a gunstore. They had a bunch of these. The price they quote seems a bit high.

Link to original video:

Originally posted by Delta-3:
S&W model 10

Exactly! You won't find a more perfect weapon for the needs you stated.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BBMW,
Posts: 18380 | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is the gun i just bought my wife. If you can't pull back the slide, pull the trigger and let it reset, can't see the sights, load the mag then this is the gun for you.S&W M&P EZ 380acp.
Posts: 358 | Registered: July 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Prefontaine:
PX4 full size. With the rotating barrel and longer slide (compared to the compact or subcompact) it recoils very mild.

I had one of those but much prefer the Grand Power 9mm, it also has a rotating barrel and is soft shooting.
Posts: 48 | Registered: August 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Might I suggest an unlikely pistol option: H&K USP9. The slide is extremely easy to rack, the recoil is a pussy cat with very little muzzle rise, the triggers are multi configurable, they are well priced and abundant.

"Living among the enemy behind the Tofu Curtain"
Posts: 1919 | Location: California, USA | Registered: January 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My wife picked up a 380 EZ shield and it is very easy to rack and take down. It also shoots softly and has a good trigger.
Posts: 1514 | Location: Fountain Inn SC | Registered: April 27, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Plus 1 on the EZ 380. I picked one up on a whim, told myself it would be for my wife, I was really just dying to try something new in .380, and i have had a ball with it.
Real easy to operate and shoot. Racking the slide is almost so easy, before i fired it i was wondering if the thing would operate because there was so little spring tension.
Posts: 254 | Registered: August 09, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Once and Future SIG Shooter
Picture of Mike S
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I'll throw a different one in the mix. KelTec PMR30. It's lightweight with very little recoil, and holds 30 rounds of .22 magnum. Prices have come way down on these in the last year or so.

I picked one up several months back and it has been a joy to shoot. No malfunctions whatsoever and pretty accurate.

I suggest this gun based on my sister-in-law's experience with it. She is not very strong and is extremely recoil sensitive. We took her shooting with several light-recoiling 9mm pistols--Beretta 92, Sig P226, Sig P320, and a Walther PPQ. She hated all of those and complained that the recoil hurt her wrist. I let her shoot the KelTec PMR30 and she loved it. She was all over the target with the 9mm pistols, but was able to group fairly well with the KelTec.

Anyways, just a suggestion. Good luck with your decision. It's always fun looking!
Posts: 4456 | Location: Mississippi | Registered: December 08, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
His diet consists of black
coffee, and sarcasm.
Picture of egregore
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The Ruger MK IV 22/45 Lite should check all the boxes except for its caliber. But 11 hits with a .22 beat misses with a larger caliber that recoils too much. This is something often overlooked when somebody has a problem with hand, arm, wrist and finger strength. They might not be able to even heft a medium-frame revolver, let alone pull its double-action trigger, or handle the recoil from even light loads. I'm rather fancying one of these myself, as I don't have any .22s.
Posts: 21167 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A day late, and
a dollar short
Picture of Warhorse
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I've got to admit, that S&W EZ .380 sure sounds like what you're looking for.

NRA Life Member, GOA, MGO Annual Member, Annual member MRPA
Posts: 11492 | Location: MI | Registered: July 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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FN 5.7. Negligible recoil, lightweight, easy to work slide, and effective w. the right ammo

I agree with the above. Let me add they are easy to clean and the ammo has come down considerably in price. American Eagle is fairly reasonable and no problems with malfunctions. They are also very light, recoil is on the level of a 22 and the round packs a punch.
Posts: 4043 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You will have to pick up a couple to see what fits you best.

Sig SP2022 in 9mm about $520 new

38/357 revolver. S&W Ruger etc.Find one used you can afford and that fits your hand. Ingore all the fan boys for any brand. I prefer the Ruger GP100 or sp101 but noting wrong with other name brad revolvers like smith.

A ruger 22 pistol like the mk4 or 22/45. not the best choice but a viable one for a person with medical issues. Do not underestimate a 22.

Browning buckmark 22

As much as I hate them a glock 9mm. They have never fit my hand and I think they are way overblown in their glory but they are a viable reliable weapon.

Springfield Armory xd 9mm

1911 45 or 9mm

There are others but that should get you started.
Posts: 197 | Registered: May 25, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of P250UA5
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I skimmed a bit

Sig P250 in .380
Stoeger Cougar in 9mm (my co-worker's Cougar 40S&W is like a 22lr compared to my 357Sig P320).

The Enemy's gate is down.
Posts: 6216 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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