Throwback Thursday: The 10 Best Guns for Older Shooters

Heritage revolver

When it comes to guns for older shooters, there are many misconceptions. All are not disabled, but getting old isn’t for the faint of heart. All of us have been diminished in ability in some ways, whether it be less visual acuity, a loss of muscle mass, or some other part of the inevitable decline. Shooters who have handled firearms their entire life have an easier track than others. They may simply move from a .45 to a 9mm automatic and save wear and tear on the wrist. They may add a red dot sight or some other high-visibility type sight to help their accuracy.

Seniors who have not handled firearms but suddenly realize that just maybe this gun thing is a good idea have a more difficult time learning handguns and shotguns and choosing a firearm with a good fit. But there are good choices.

I was tasked to find 10 good firearms for older shooters. It wasn’t that difficult, and I am certain there are other types that would serve as well. Personal defense is the primary consideration, but long guns are also sporting types. I think the recommendations are valid and the choices will prove profitable for older shooters.

(Click here to skip the infographic and read the rest of the article.)

top 10 guns older shooters

1. Ruger Standard Model .22

older shooters handgun - ruger standard
The Ruger Standard Model is one handgun on the must-have list for older shooters.

The Ruger Standard Model .22 is a classic firearm today, but was very much an upstart from an unknown maker more than 70 years ago when first introduced. The Ruger is among the most reliable, accurate, and well-handling handguns of the previous century. Whether for training, small-game hunting, or even personal defense, the Ruger has filled every role a handgun may fill. The first handgun should be a .22 (and perhaps the last as well).

2. Heritage Rough Rider .22 Revolver

Heritage revolver
The Heritage .22 is offered in several versions.

The Rough Rider .22 is something of a marvel. It is very inexpensive, but it isn’t cheaply made. The .22 doesn’t have much pressure and the metal doesn’t have to take much of a beating. The Heritage doesn’t have any bling, but it always works well. The revolver is accurate enough and economical to purchase and fire. With the .22 Magnum cylinder in place, the Heritage is a good choice for small game and may serve for personal defense.

3. Smith & Wesson Shield .380 EZ

Smith and Wesson .380 Shield E Z
The Smith and Wesson .380 Shield EZ rack is a great all-around handgun.

Some older folks, and others with limited hand strength, have a difficult time racking a slide. The S&W Shield EZ is designed for easy racking and shooting. The Shield is offered with a manual safety or without, but all variants feature a grip safety.

I knew a woman about my age that had suffered a serious injury in a fall. She had courage and worked herself back into shape by lifting weights and constant action. However, she never regained full hand strength and could no longer handle her .38 revolvers.

While the .380 ACP isn’t an ideal cartridge for personal defense, this handgun is a reasonable choice for many people. Semi-automatic pistols transfer part of the recoil into energy to work the slide — the recoil spring absorbs some recoil. A self-loader doesn’t have a stiff trigger action if the pistol is properly designed. Another impediment, however, is that the slide may be difficult to rack. The recoil spring must be compressed as the pistol is loaded by racking the slide.

M&P Shield
The Shield is easy to make ready, an important advantage for older shooters.

The slide features well-designed cocking serrations that make for easy racking. The front of the slide is scalloped to allow for easy manipulation. The frame features the new 18-degree grip angle that makes the 2.0 pistols set so well in the hand. You have a good feeling of control with this handgun.  Going to this size pistol results in a handgun that is easy to handle, comfortable to fire and with excellent accuracy in offhand fire. Not only is the pistol easy to rack, but the magazines are also designed to be easy to load.

4. Taurus TH9 9mm

Taurus 9mm
The Taurus 9mm offers good function at a fair price.

The Taurus has two things going for it:

  • It is affordable.
  • It is reliable.

The pistol appeals to older shooters in that it offers a double-action first shot and a manual safety with decocker. While the modern striker-fired handgun is popular, there are many shooters that find the DA first shot more to their liking.

The pistol offers excellent accuracy with the single-action firing mode. The 9mm is a credible defensive choice, but without the recoil of larger calibers. The TH9 is an overlooked gem.

5. Remington 870 Pump-Action Shotgun (20-Gauge)

Remington 870 20-gauge
The Remington 870 20-gauge is controllable, compact, and effective.

The Remington 870 shotgun is the classic pump-action shotgun. While there are comparable shotguns, the Remington just seems the right fit for many of us. The 12-gauge shotgun is a bit much for many older shooters.

The 20-gauge shotgun is a favorite of savvy shooters. The 20 offers plenty of power for small game. With buckshot loads, the 20-gauge is a formidable home defender. Whether you find the 12-gauge just too much or need a lighter kicker, the 20 is a first-class option.

6. Beretta 1201 Automatic Shotgun (12-Gauge)

Beretta 1201
The Beretta 1201 is easy to manipulate and some of the recoil is absorbed by the action.

While the 12-gauge a bit much for some shooters, the pump-action shotgun may also be a bit difficult to handle. For those clinging to the 12, but wanting something a bit easier to manipulate, the Beretta 1201 is a first-class option. Let’s face it: few of us are able to afford a Benelli Super 90. The Beretta 1201 is similar-to-the-same under the skin. The action is smooth, the shotgun is very reliable, and you may not miss your pump-action shotgun. Load it with reduced recoil buckshot — check for function — and you are well-armed.

7. Any .410 Shotgun

Winchester .410 PDX
This is a Winchester .410 PDX sectioned by the author.

Be it a Remington 870 or a single shot, the inoffensive .410 is a favorite game-getter for small game. The .410 is among the most underrated of firearms. It is a long gun that is easier to use than, well, any handgun. The .410 offers a reasonable choice for home defense loaded with buckshot. Think about it: a high capacity 9mm or a .410 with buckshot in the hands of an occasional shooter. Which is the more formidable?

8. Ruger 10/22 Rifle

Ruger 10/22 semi auto rifle
The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular .22 LR rifles on the market.

Just as the handgunner needs a good .22 as his or her foundation, a rifle shooter needs a good .22 rifle. The .22 self-loader is the most versatile choice. The Ruger 10/22 is reliable, upgradeable, accurate, and has a host of accessories readily available.

I have seen quite a few .22s put meat on the table during my lifetime. The .22 rifle is also a baseline for personal defense in rural areas. It is a good choice for the everyday shooter that needs something for recreation, personal defense, and to keep critters off the ranch.

9. AR-15

Daniel Defense AR-15 truck gun
Daniel Defense makes some of the best AR-15s on the market.

So, the AR-15 in a feature on guns for old folks? Yes. If you have been competing with an M1A in .308 and the expense, recoil, and weight are just too much for aging bones and a fixed income — a match-grade AR-15 is just the trick. If you have been a varmint shooter and your arthritis is messing with bolt manipulation, the AR gives up little if anything in accuracy to bolt guns.

If you have been hunting deer with the .308, then the .223 will make the grade with a properly bonded core bullet, such as the Federal 62-grain. And you just may find a friendly, accurate light-kicking rifle you enjoy firing very much.

10. 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle

Savage 110 Apex 6.5 Creedmoor
Savage makes a great bolt-action rifle at a price that won’t break the bank.

My 6.5 Creedmoor is a Savage 110 Apex. It’s light-kicking, accurate, affordable, and topped with a Vortex scope that has given the author excellent results. If you are looking for a versatile all-around game, getting the 6.5 Creedmoor is easy on the budget and the shoulder as well. It is an ideal cartridge for older shooters.


As we age, mental elements are affected, and our mental operations suffer as a result. Just the same, if you are a bit off from your very best, you may remain very good at what you are doing.

What firearms would you recommend for older shooters? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October of 2019. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (74)

  1. Thank you Bob Jones for your advice. We moved into the California valley after the L.A. Riots in SoCal 1992. My home is on a busy corner, and we had no problems for many years. We did everything to this place, but older folks are targets. Everyone started carrying a gun.
    This old neighborhood has been a dream to live in. Fifteen years ago a new 12 acre park went in across the street…well I’m sure you get the picture. My husband and I did what we could, but the homeless moved into the park, and now I’m too old to start over by moving again.
    I agree with you Mr. Jones, using a gun to kill someone isn’t what I long to do therefore you understand why I’m struggling. I fear for my safety, it’s that simple.
    Thanks for pointing out that the caliber doesn’t matter. I agree I must get a gun because I’ve become a junkyard dog…jumping up with everything I hear.
    It’s time to stop avoiding the problem. As for the RIng doorbell, well they’re stealing everything they see off the property, and unfortunately my poor dog has been my best alarm so far. I guess this is where I close my eyes and point at a gun case in the store and purchase something.
    My father was a Highway Patrol Officer at the end of WW2. If my dad can do it I know I can step into his shoes…wish me luck

  2. Loretta, I would suggest taking some other measures prior to getting a gun. Not dismissing that option but avoiding trouble is far better than confronting it at any age.

    First, make sure your home is secure. You need good deadbolt locks with reinforced strike plates. You need to have a means of observing the outside of the door area before you open. I would suggest a “Ring” type of doorbell with a camera and speaker system. That said, even a peephole in the door will suffice. You should also put good locks on your windows as well.

    An alarm system would be a great addition too. Some come with fobs you can wear around your neck to set off the alarm manually. That can come in handy.

    A gun for home defense needs to be thought through. If you can’t handle a gun after practice then might be doing more harm than good. For home defense I would suggest you try a 38 caliber revolver. If that’s too much gun then you might go with a 22 caliber. Keep in mind that for self defense you are not trying to kill your assailant. Your trying to stop him from harming you. The most important factor for a defense handgun is reliability and ease of use. Training is going to be important and that means not only gun training but when and how to use a gun for self defense.

    As to carrying concealed I would strongly recommend you talk with someone who teaches firearms use and let them evaluate your ability to carry and effectively use a handgun on the street. I am 72 and do carry at times but I usually rely on being cautious and aware of my surroundings.

    I can’t make that assessment through email communication. Just be aware that using a gun for home defense and using conceal carry are quite different. If you chose not to use a conceal carry firearm you might consider carrying a personal alarm system. In the event you are accosted a shrieking alarm might we discourage the assailant. Also, I think some medical alert systems do work outside the home and can be used in to call authorities as well.

    Without knowing your personal situation and the laws of your state I can’t really recommend specifics. It would be well to talk to someone who trains others in self defense both with and without a firearm to see what they might recommend to you.

  3. Turning 73 in June;was a military (Vietnam) wife, but I didn’t think I needed a gun until this last year. I lost my husband a year ago, and I wish he showed me how to use a gun. I’m so lost because I don’t know what gun to purchase. I was raised on a farm and now live in the city. I shot off my brother’s handgun back in 1958, but I have no idea where to start. I have been reading everything online, but I understand that a handgun won’t stop someone unless you hit them a few times in the head or heart. I have a homeless man who keeps forcing me to call the police. They’ve taken him away, but the fool comes back again and again. The police told me to get a gun, my daughter realized it was time to get a gun, but my pastor shocked me when he told me that every woman should carry a concealed gun and know how to use it. I have small hands, but I use a cane now, so how can I practice? Yes, I know this sounds silly, but I have to get it in my head that this world isn’t going to get any better. I know this is going to sound real stupid, but I’ve got to say it…what kind of gun? And how many do I need? I live alone so I need to get something ASAP. Thank you guys

  4. Returned home from Vietnam in 1969. Before that I was stationed in Germany and shot on the 8th infranty division bullseye pistol team. I thought I was a very good pistol shooter till I had to use my 45 to keep from being shot. The VC was about 25 feet away, climbing out of a spider hole, using his sks as a prop to get up. I fired before he was able to. Out of 7 rounds I hit him with just 3 and only one of the rounds was fatal. I’ve been reloading and shooting competitively since then and thankfully haven’t had to shoot another human being. I shoot in a local match every month and practice at least 1 to 3 times a month. I’m 75 yoa and have owned and shot a wide variety of pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles. I love my Springfield Government model in 45 ACP. I’m not bothered by the recoil or ease of manipulation. I had a hip replacement several years ago, making strong side carry uncomfortable. I mostly carry a S&W M&P 2.0 9mm, with a Trijicon rmr 6.5 moa or a Smith model 60. My nightstand gun is another S&W M&P 9mm, with a 5moa Trijicon red dot with a steamlight mounted light. Also keep a Mossberg 12 ga 590S that has been highly customized. I’m very lucky I still have the hand strength needed to manipulate my handguns. I have a very good friend that couldn’t rack the slides and couldn’t load magazines. He purchased a Smith 9mm e-z slide and thought it was easy to manipulate the slide and load mags. His problem now he has a hard time depressing the grip safety. Oh well we’ll keep trying to find a handgun for him. Sorry I got so long winded.

  5. Love going back and reading the comments after a number of folks get to reply. I do suggest to anyone trying to “rack” the slide on a pistol consider how I do it. With the non-shooting hand, hold the slide and brace your non shooting hand against your hip (wrist tight against the hip bone). With the “shooting” hand, push the frame/grip, so you are “racking” the frame/grip. using pistols with an external hammer, I cock the hammer first, then “rack” the frame/grip. Need to practice with an UNLOADED pistol and dummy rounds until you feel comfortable using this technique. While my COLT 1911 .45 is not too hard for me to “rack”. did find that my blow back action .380s are so much harder. Note – Recently added a RUGER EC9, with a LASER, and agree that the polymer frame does help offset some of the recoil, but still brace my wrist against my hip to rack the slide on it.

  6. @Robert
    I appreciate the suggestion. I can handle my .38 spl.
    Grandma can’t. My wife likes her Hellcat and I don’t. I like my S&W’s. Guess it’s up to to each their own, right?

  7. I take a bit of a different tact on this subject, because of the chaotic times in which we presently find ourselves. Every patriotic American, young or old, who loves God, country and family should own, at a minimum, three firearms: a semi-automatic rifle, a pump-action shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol.

    First, my military service was from 1971-1977, so without hesitation I still choose the Springfield Armory 7.62×51 NATO M14, the best sniper rifle before the days of Chris Kyle. A bit weighty for most, myself included. But it ain’t heavy, it’s my brother. These days Springfield Armory offers the second generation M1A with walnut or synthetic stock, the latter of which is about a pound lighter. That pound means something to us old soldiers, but then again, the walnut sure is pretty.

    Second, my preference for close quarters combat is none other than the DP-12, Standard Manufacturing’s Bullpup 12-gauge pump action double-barreled shotgun. With a separate magazine for each barrel, fully loaded means 2 in the chambers and 12 (6+6) in the mags if you’re loading 3″ shells, 2+14 (7+7) if loading 2 3/4″ shells and my personal favorite, 2 + 22 (11+11) when loading 1 3/4″ mini shells. Keep up with your upper body workouts, Silver Sneakers, because this “pup” is one heavy “bull.”

    Third, when you’re in a life-or-death fight and all other options are exhausted your personal side arm is your best friend. As Harry Callahan once said to the bad guys, “we can’t just let you walk out of here,” to which the main bad guy rebuffed, “who’s we, sucker???” and Harry, reaching for his best friend, retorted, “Smith, Wesson and Me.” The S&W M&P 2.0 Line of semi-automatic pistols are exceptional. I own a 5″ Ported 9mm, a 5″ Ported 40 S&W and a 4.6″ 10mm. I would feel equally comfortable carrying any of the three. Even the 10mm doesn’t beat up this 73-year-old (74 on Xmas) when loaded with Liberty or Sinterfire frangibles.

    Be well, be vigilant, be safe.

  8. I turned 70 this year and I’ve owned mostly just sporting guns for almost 50 years. (Never could justify laying out the money for a gun that was not permitted in the field.) But over the years, my hometown has become dangerous, especially for seniors. Last year, I finally broke down and got my concealed carry permit and began shopping for auto pistols. I bought a Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall for c.c. and this spring, I got a CZ75B Omega to shoot out at the range. I really like both weapons (especially the CZ) and my hands are still plenty good for racking slides and handling recoil. My bedside gun is a S&W Model 60 .38 snub, as I don’t like the idea of compressing the spring in the magazine of an auto and leaving it that way for a long time. I realize everyone’s needs are different, but the guns I own seem to be suited to me. I think the mouse guns are neat too (my friend owns a .32 Tomcat) but I wouldn’t want to bet my life on a lightweight.

  9. Retired LEO but also pushing 78 ( where did the years go!). While I am in good shape, generally, I do not recommend a pump shotgun. If your mind goes towards a shotgun, go for a quality semi-auto in 20 gauge. You want something that will work, but not require you to do any manual pumping of the action. I still use a 870, but can see the day when arthritis will make it difficult or slower. A sub-gun in 7.62×25 would be perfect, but this is not a perfect world.

  10. Good article. There are lots of opinions and lots of food for thought. I am an army veteran and a gunsmith. Here are my observations. Polymer framed pistols and revolvers have significantly less felt recoil than metal framed and I recommend them. I also recommend revolvers and pistols with exposed hammers that can be fired single-action. I have observed a healthy (and athletic) 25 year-old woman have great difficulty pulling the trigger on a double action 9mm pistol. It was quite useless to her. Unless you are trained I would avoid an AR. The controls are not intuitive. A Mini 14/30 is better (but practice those mag changes). The “Tomcat” style pistols are hard to rack. Avoid them, unless you’re happy with loading the flip-up barrel. I greatly recommend buckshot in the .410 pump or 20ga if she can handle it. If all you have or all you can handle is a .22, that’s ok. A .22 is a thousand times better than no gun at all. I consider a .22 magnum to be a serious self-defense caliber, not to be ignored.

  11. Sgt Dvais, you might want to try a Ruger SP101 .38 Special +P (or something similar) and have Grandma cock the revolver and use it in single action mode for lighter trigger pull. The pistol is easy to load and the frame size reduces recoil a whole bunch. Now it is heavy but I find the recoil in the lightweight 38’s to be punishing particular for those with arthritis. I’d rather have a heavier gun with less recoil.My wife has an S&W 642 Airweight and it is so light that it hurts my hand shooting it and I am used to shooting a 1911 or a Ruger 44 mag. Just my thoughts.

  12. At 85 the Mossberg Pump,or a Stoeger O/U,18 inch,12 Gauge loaded with “mini’s” is a great home security solution. A S/S 410 Savage is ideal for my Bride to use loaded with slug or buckshot and her Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver are good home or personal protection. Safety and awareness training and mind-set are VERY necessary as well as frequent practice. Complacency and “threats to shoot” are killers.

  13. Pretty darn good list, but as with any shooting sport enthusiast (late 60’s here), I have a few disagreements. Note I have same or similar to most of the items on the list, just not recommended, now that I am old(er).
    12GA – maybe for home defense, but only when using low recoil loads like turkey shot. Forget slugs or Buck Shot (owwie!). 410 is a better option at my age. Need to trade that old 12 GA…
    A Taurus G2C 9mm was my latest (getting older) acquisition, and I like it but – iron sights (post cataract surgery is an issue) and small frame (too much recoil) are problematic. Going micro red dot is much easier with a Glock (and other accessories are widely available), and I recommend lighter load ammo here too to preserve failing body parts.
    22 anything can be dangerous in the right (or wrong) hands and is a good caliber for running a thousand (or more) rounds of practice to develop sight picture, grip, etc. shooting skills. Not my choice for home defense.
    Wheel gun – absolutely go with a 357 magnum. Shoot light 38 special practice loads (148 gr hollow base wad cutters, great for practice and will make a mess of an intruder) to develop skills, and avoids joint damage, semi-affordable ammo. Heavy frame makes shooting more pleasurable in older bodies (and women of any age). If you feel the need you can load up to devastating levels (110 gr JHP @ 2000 FPS) get some practice with that kind of load level, it is brutal.
    6.5 Creedmore? ROFL. I’ve been thinking about building one for 3 years and keep passing as it shoots way further than I can reliably see and the recoil will trash what little is left of my spine, shoulder, elbow.
    Alternate affordable solutions if you want some range, better home defense rifle, etc. Stay with an AR15 lower, add 300 Black out upper (pistol length maybe, remember brace vs stock issues?), add a 6.5 Grendel upper and mag if you are still lucky enough to have the motor control and vision to reach out past a few hundred yards.

  14. I bought a Ruger LCR .38 for my 81 yr old aunt who lives alone. It’s about 13 oz. Has an internal hammer and an easier trigger than most .38 snubs. Neoprene grips.
    She loves it. Showed it to her friends. They were impressed.

  15. As an arthritis stricken senior citizen I’ve found a Browning Black Label 1911 .380acp and the Sig P238 in .380acp are very comfortable shooters. The Sig conceals very well for a carry piece.

  16. It really does depend on the individual shooter and the particular use of the firearm. I’m 72 and find that for defensive carry a compact .45 serves my needs well for home defense and carry. Comfortable on my hip or in my hand and the recoil is manageable. I also find a 1911 or a 44 magnum comfortable shoot because of their heavier frames. They are just a bit cumbersome for carry purposes. 9 mm is ok but I don’t need the extra capacity for a fire fight at this age. I think for most other purposes the list of firearms “to have” is quite similar whatever the age of the shooter. I would probably prefer a Ruger mini-14 or mini-30 with a synthetic stock over an AR-15 just because its simple and easier for me to balance and shoot. Personal preference. The .410 is IMO a bit too small and requires a bit more expertise and steady hand at least for hunting. If buying new I would probably strike a compromise and go with a 20 gauge. A bit less recoil but also less demanding in terms of handling skills compared to a 410. Just some other thoughts.

  17. I’m 75 but I’m not ready for a walker. My fav handgun is a S&W Model 29. No I don’t view myself as Dirty Harry, but I do love the recoil of a good big bore handgun. My next buy will be a Magnum .50.

  18. I have been meaning to check out a S&W EZ 9mm if I can ever find a store that has one.
    My “dream gun” for people with diminished hand strength doesn’t exist.
    Someone should make a flip barrel 9mm.
    The largest caliber I have found in a flip barrel is .32 ACP in Beretta’s Tomcat.

    The Tomcat is a jewel of a gun, holding it is like holding a fine Swiss watch.
    The problem isn’t so much the gun (other than the price) but the round.
    I would not want to be shot with one but the .32 ACP is lacking compared to even the .380.ACP
    Both of those rounds cost more the 9mm and offer less performance.

    380 ACP is better than it used to be.
    However getting .380 ACP hollow points to open with carry gun velocities isn’t a sure thing.

  19. Some, maybe… but really… “any .410″? And Remington 870 while I do own and carried one as my patrol shotgun… old people? Might as well give them a 12ga break action single shot loaded with 3” magnum. Who are we trying to hurt, the target or the shooter?
    Grandma has the S&W EZ .380 and can’t rack it. She can’t pull the trigger on my .38 revolvers nevermind any of my M&P semi-autos… my old Winchester Mod 94 in .30-30 shoots soft as melted butter but the lever action scares her… because she thinks she’s gonna break it… so I vote for hand grenades. At least then we should just be able to pull the pins. 🤣
    I really do understand because I’ve had some injuries, and by nothing but sheer blessings I still have strength enough and dextarity to operate things I have. Just saying… I was an RSO/Range Master/ instrusctor for a state agency for years and I still haven’t found a thing my grandma can or will shoot. I’m not sure if it’s the manual of arms for whichever or what.
    And the first smart butt that says .22 revolver, gets smacked. Haha

  20. I am 75 years old. I’ve been shooting and loading since I got home from Vietnam in 1969. I shoot a .44mag S&W 29-3 and 629, 45 Goldcup National Match and just recently a S&W M&P C M2.0 9mm. For carry I use the nine for better concealed carry. For home defense a 300AAC Blackout AR pistol.

  21. .410 with the “handgun” loads or the Rough Rider with the .22WMR cylinder is high on my list. Also have the “TUFF STRIPs” set up with reloads. As to other handguns, a revolver is a good choice, but the “ultralite” versions are not for older shooters. A 4″ “K” frame size revolver has enough weight to dampen recoil of typical .38 rounds, but not so heavy as to be uncomfortable to handle. Still, the key point is that a solid hit with a .25ACP (or .22WMR) round is way more effective than a miss with a .44 Mag.

  22. For a sneak peek into my safes, all you have to do is look over the stuff I’ve bought from you!
    As a hard chargin’ military & police weapons instructor, I’ve always loved the heaviest toys, but I’m 66 now. I recently bought a Mountain Gun in .45 Colt and I can’t wait to get rid of that kickin’ so-and-so. Also I seem to have become inordinately fond of a 4″ S&W 1903 K-frame .32-20 and its new-to-me sister, a Browning B53 in the same neat little caliber. Not gettin rid of the .44s, .45s and .450 BM though.

  23. OK Folks, I’m about ready to hit 74. I think that qualifies me as a “Seasoned Citizen.”

    Shooting with red dot sights makes all the difference in the world for seasoned citizens. I have been shooting a Glock 19 with Leupold Delta Point Pro. However, I recently switched to a Trijicon SRO because of the larger field of view.

    The Glock 9mm is a fairly easy shooting handgun. I shoot the Glock Sports Shooting event held in Nampa, ID each year. It’s GREAT living in a free state. In the GLOCK’em event I had no misses at all shooting in the “Unlimited” category. Not bad for an oldster.

  24. I have found getting into handguns, at a late age, totally counter intuitive. I had tendonitis in my strong hand wrist. Had never fired a handgun before. Only M1s and m14s in the military. I found the 9mm ok but didn’t like the recoil impulse. Decided to try 357 magnum in a much heavier gun. Loved it! My wrist has improved noticeably, I assume from the exercise. I then got a Glock 21 and also love to shoot that gun. None of that was even on my radar when i started out with a 22 SA revolver. I’m as surprised as anyone about the outcome of my little adventure.

  25. One of the best advances for older shooters in recent years isn’t even gun, it’s the red dot holographic sight.

  26. I crossed over the 70 line a couple years ago and I guess that qualifies me as being older. I qualified as a small arms expert in 1967 in the USAF but I had been shooting 22 rifles, 12 and 20 shotguns since I was 10 years of age. I always loved shooting hard recoiling firearms (12 gauge magnums, 454 Casulls, 44 magnums, 357 magnums, etc.), however, I have reached that stage in life where age has become a undenieable factor. Hopefully, I will still will be able carry my 357 magnum revolver until I reach 80 -God willing. While shooting hundreds of firearms (rifles, M-16s, ARs, shootguns, pistols, & revolvers) over the past 60 years, I found that the easiest to load and handle are barreled revolvers – especially those that accept low velocity 38 special cartridges – that includes 357 magnum revolvers & all of them accept the 38 special shells. If movement of the fingers is a problem, the hammerless double-action is easier when pulling the trigger. Maybe I will buy one as 80 approaches?

  27. Everyone seems to forget the 22WMR. Much better for a cc than a standard 22 or a 380.
    The S&W 351 is a great 7 round option or the Ruger LCR+ in 22 WMR.

  28. Any double barrel short barreled 20,28 or 410 can do the job.If a older shooter has mental degenerative problems.Maybe it’s time to reevaluate there owning a firearm.

  29. Hard to go wrong with the judge. Hard to believe it was not on the list. The recoil isn’t that bad. Also the baby rock 380, that’s the Rock Island Armory 1911 .380 Don’t understand why all these reviewers and gun writers always go for the high dollar powder burners. Us social security chillen gots shaller pockets.

  30. I have a High standard model B, probably 75 years old left over from WW2 that shoots rings around any Ruger, and only have to remove the bolt to clean. Don’t diminish 9mm as being soft. My 39 Smith will kill as well as a1911, I know I have both and at 70 would recommend either to an old fart of any size.

  31. I’ll be 68 in 45 days. My everyday-carry is a 5-shot 44MAG Taurus. I use a 6lb 6oz 30/30 lever gun and a 6lb 8oz 30.06 bolt action carbine for deer hunting, depending on terrain. My ‘AR’ platform is a ’10’ not a ’15. My ‘pillowgun’ is a 16ga pump cut down to NFA limits. I do have 10/22s and Ruger 22 autos and Heritage SA 22s, but I usually use these for practice and introducing new shooters to the sport. I almost forgot; I use a 12ga SXS for shooting clay birds.
    I’m not planning on giving up my firepower any time soon.
    Skrew that ‘older shooters’ stuff.

  32. I have a SAR K2P 9mm At my age (64) my grip is not what it once was so its hard to work the slide, also have a Browning High Power 9 mm which is a bit easier to work, Plus a couple of Ruger pistols, after reading this I’m going to check out the 308s an going to compare shop Great read!! Thanks

  33. Yes, I’m among the arthritic oldster generation.(Hey, I’ve got one original leg joint !) I do more enjoy the .22 over the .44 and the good ol’ Marlin model 60 gets a lot of use along with the .38. Still, I drag the Mosin Nagant M44 out to the range now and again and lay in bed and cry the next couple of days. It’s worth it to see the youngsters jump and stare at the fireball. Just bought my wife the 4.5″ barreled Rough Rider and it is a great little gun for both of us.

  34. After telling those darn kids to get off my lawn, getting my reading glasses, and securing my walker, I read this article.
    I still like my S&W 38 revolver. Reliable, accurate, and an excellent tried and true cartridge.

  35. I’m retired LEO. I liked the weight of my Glock 27 but wanted a 9mm instead of a 40. So I went to the Glock store and bought a conversion barrel and 15rd glock mags which work perfectly for me. Now I have a high compacity, heavier more accurate 9mm. Conversion can be better and cheaper then buying another gun unless you just want another gun as many of us do! I also bought an FNH 12 ga SLP. It’s their LEO semi auto.

  36. A 71 yrs old shooter recommend Walther PPK 380, Sig Sauer P938 9mm, S&W 442 38+P as conceal weapons and CZ Scorpion 9mm Carbine

  37. For older shooters and those who don’t know they don’t know. I’d keep it simple. Snub nose 38 revolver with +p ammo for defense. It’s reliable, ready to go and safe. Everybody needs at least 1 22cal rifle. For plinking and stray pests. For heart and home a mossberg 410 with bird shot. Up close bird shot is devastating and it won’t over penetrate. As for the other guns in that list, everyone needs an ar they’re just fun to shoot. Try to stay away from the 380. It’s underpowered in my experience and the 38 is just a better round.

  38. First, I just turned 74 and have upgraded all my weapons from .357 to .45 ACP. I recommend the Kahr PM45 upgraded to a 6 round Mag in boot carry with 2 spare 6 round mags in the opposite boot as a back up.. The 7 round mag is too big to easily get pant leg up exposing it for use. This gun can also be carried on the hip with 2 spare mags.

    I also carry a Para Black Ops Recon upgraded with 16 round Mag, IWB, with 2 spare 16 round mags also IWB in opposite waste band.

    Both my Sam Browns have been upgraded to the Recon with 3 spare mags.

  39. I’m only 69 and my wife is 66, I got her a S&w EZ and she shot it once but she is a revolver gal. I started her out on my Colt Python and she will shoot noting but a revolver??? I probably caused this, cause that is what I shot for years. I am trying to get her to the range more to practice w the EZ but she still carries a 5 shot light 38+P revolver so I want her to carry something she is comfortable and confident to shoot. I know one thing I usually carry a Glock 31 but have back problems so carry a Glock 33 as well. I have shot the EZ and it is one very accurate pistol, and can hit the center and provide a fist size pattern even at 25 yards.

  40. Surprised to see the Standard Ruger 32 semi, but I agree whole hearedly.
    As an aside, I bought a Ruger standard in 1968 upon return from Nam and for three months streight fired at least one brick of 500 ends week.
    Used it hunting rabbits and grouse,(Blues and Ruffed) and to dispatch wounded and dying slow deer, elk andnBear.
    Sold it to wifes cousin in 1976 and he still has it today.
    Disagree slightly with authors mention of 380 not being a good self defense round.
    Todays 380 is not same rounds as say 20 years and past, the bullet designs powder and even primers have moved this round into what for years non NATO(European) or US civilian 9mm fmj was in the past that many thought was a very suitable self defence round.
    It is not just the 390 round that changed as even the twist rates now vary froM in past.
    Surprized when mention ease of racking slide no mention Berretta and Taurus tip barrels.
    As for those who do have problems with racking a heavy slide, a practice we learned was weak hand announced arm slide racking, some semis you could push down on hard surface, if proper design allowed.
    it many older semi had hold open last rounds, and boy some slides damn near needed weight training .
    Good article.

  41. Yes older! I have peaked at 82 yrs young and still an active shooter. I have to admit that I now have a 20ga double loaded with buckshot as my bedside companion and a 9mm S&W every day companion. I love the big bores but they’re just too punishing. Us older folks might be wrinkled but we are not out of the game yet.

  42. My best recommendation for ‘older’ shooters is don’t give up the guns you have but exercise to increase strength and endurance. I’m 67 and do so daily. It could add quality years to your life and make you feel great and confident at the same time..

  43. I am 63, not elderly, but I need reading glasses for non optic equipped firearms. I prefer a 1911in .45 ACP and a Colt (or clone) 1873 in .45 LC or .44 Special because they point so naturally, I can hit fairly small targets without needing the sights. reducing caliber when hunting of defending yourself is foolish and dangerous. a .22 is useless for anything but plinking and small game or pests.
    the unreliable nature of rimfire ammo should exclude its use on anything that really matters, ie self defense, not to mention its utter lack of power. while an AR is a fine platform, I have several, they are not suitable for big game here in the west, where a 30-06 sprg can be on the small side for some of the long range shots necessary for trophy elk and moose. while you did not mention the Marlin 336 and the Winchester 94 in 30-30, they are light low recoil and very effective on mule deer and even close range elk. I noticed you mentioned a Rem 870, which did not pass the military tests for reliability, the Mossberg did, and is a much better design. instead of the firearms you picked, think .38 special, 327 magnum, 40 S&W, 30-30, 243 win etc.

  44. At 80 I’m still shooting .45. An HK45 fitted with a CT green laser, and a custom 1911 race gun fitted with a Leupold 7.5 MOA Deltapoint Pro allows me to have fun and be competitive at the range with controlled recoil.
    Semper Fi!

  45. My dad, a former LEO and machinist, when he turned 70, traded in his Colt Python for the above Ruger .22 and a Taurus Judge composite 410/45 Colt. He carried three 410 defense rounds and two .45 Colt HP and had them when traveling or in his nightstand. When we went fishing or camping he only carried the .22. I know that if necessary, he could have put 10ea .22 HP shots into a quarter at 15 yards so stopping a would be thug was no problem either way.

  46. It would be nice if you recommended something that handled snake loads and hollow points. Not all seniors are able to rack a slide easily. The revolver you started with isn’t even mentioned. Should be considered. Thanks

  47. I would also put the Marlin XL 7 in 25-06 in the list. My wife uses my rifle, it’s light, had a good balance and light in the recoil. I would also put the RIA 10mm, I love mine, I’ve over 500 rounds through mine, not one jam, awesome pistol

  48. At 85 I still shoot several times per month. My favorites are the Springfield 9 mm and the Smith 9mm Shield. My .45s are not so much fun anymore.

  49. I have a 5-foot nothing granddaughter that doesn’t have a bunch of forearm and grip strength. Altho’ not an “older”, the same will apply to them as well. I bought for her (she can’t have it until fully trained) a Beretta 3032 INOX Tomcat (see earlier post). The tilt-up barrel is a life saver to her and also contributes to safety since the round in the chamber can easily be cleared without racking the slide. .32 caliber insufficient for self-defense? Anyone volunteer to stand in front of it?

  50. Note on Beretta Tomcat:. Be sure of the ease of operation before buying! A lady, age 70+/-, I was helping choose a EDC gun got stuck with a Tomcat by a Pawn Shop Commando bought one before I could examine it. It had the black finish and the button that released the barrel was so stiff it put a blister on my thumb after a few minutes trying to manipulate it. She never could! She eventually stuck her husband with it, he thought it was cute. Being a difficult student, she eventually ended up with two .38 revolvers, one 2″ and one full size 4″ ‘like her Daddy’s’.

  51. Although I agree that .22 cal is an inexpensive, accurate and enjoys a light recoil I wonder if arthritic hands can load the Ruger nautilus magazines. If arthritic hands are an issue I would put a .22 DA revolver at the top of the handgun list. As for the rifle the Marlin mod.60 with a tube magazine or even a Henry lever action with a tube magazine might fit the bil. Of course all suggestions are dependent on the capabilities of the shooter regardless of age.

  52. I have a Ruger 9 MM PC Carbine it is easy to handle, load and is incredibly accurate. I fitted it with a cheap red dot sight ($34.99 at Wally World) . I joke with people saying that a legally blind person can accurately fire this gun. It also has very low recoil. Great piece for older shooters.

  53. I have a few of the aforementioned firearms. Maybe AGE isn’t the defining thing… it is the physicality of the shooter… I love my 22cal handguns and rifles but I also have 308 and 30-06 as well as the “40 Family” handguns..40S&W, 45 GAP and 45 ACP. even the 357 MAG.. At 71, I limit use only by distance to targets. I also enjoy building the AR platform “tinker toys”… in 223/5.56×45, 300 AAC and 7.62×51(308).

    My rule… shoot and enjoy what you are safe and comfortable with…. AGE be-damned

  54. I’m a big fan of the Beretta .32 Tomcat .Flip up barrel makes for easy loading for anyone , external safety , and very comfortable one-handed shooting .

  55. I’m 73 and have a 380 shield ez. I love this gun, love it. Easy to change mags, soft to shoot, easy to take off safety. I have the extra safety and feel confident there will never be an accident. Taking the safety off is automatic as you pick up the gun as everything on this gun is in perfect reach for my hand.

  56. At 67, just picked up my first Colt Lightweight Commander 45 acp. Ordered a compensator from Valkyrie Dynamics for 40 bucks. Can’t wait for my Underwood 45 ACP+p 230 gr fmj and 51 ft-lbs of energy. All fits nicely in my Bianchi shoulder rig. Do not go gently into that good(?) night. Semper fi & semper fortis. Tom

  57. Glock 42 .380 or Glock 43 9mm…either of those with a rack assist or slide pull charging handle from The Glock Store make racking a slide a breeze for someone with arthritic hands.

  58. The Bersa 380 Firestorm is a great pistol, easy to fire and extremely accurate for being so small. My wife who doesn’t have much upper body strength can easily handle it. When I go target shooting it is the first pistol I shoot so I had to get a second one. Normally under $300.

  59. I would like to add the Remington Recon Commander in 9mm to your list. It is so well-balanced that the weight isn’t noticeable when shooting, recoil is minimal, and the slide is easy to rack. Carried in a SnapRig holster, the gun is easy to conceal despite its being a full-sized service weapon. 18+1 capacity is also a comforting feature.

  60. Due to multiple spine surgeries to both the neck and lower spine I found the .308 caliber difficult to deal with. The recoil of my Remington 700 and my M&P AR-10 was just more than I could deal with. I think that I found the perfect replacement. I bought a Ruger American Ranch in 300 blackout. It is an effective caliber for hunting deer or other game up to 200 yards depending on the load you choose. The 300 blackout has minimal recoil with a 120 or 150 grain round and no more recoil than a .22 with the 200 grain sub sonic round. The gun is light weight and easy to carry. I have been very impressed with the accuracy of the rifle.

  61. I would advise older gentlemen and ladies to do some hand and wrist strengthening exercises and i am confident you can handle 45, 40, 9mm etc. You don’t need to be a hulk to handle these but a little exercise goes a long way.

  62. While the 6.5 is an excellent round, the 5.56/.223 should be included. At 68 I hunt as often as I can for pigs and deer. My Ruger American ranch is a lightweight, easy shooting, deadly accurate go to rifle, that isvery inexpensive to shoot.

  63. I disagree with Larry H. I have a Tomcat 32 cal & it gives a nasty bite & kick in the hand.

    I have dupuytren’s contracture in my hands therefore makes racking a slide an adventure. A great device has kept me in the game with my beloved Kimber TLE 45.

    I was also considering the 380 EZ but it was still a little stiff when I came upon the Handi-Racker. Total game changer at least for me.

    Blessing, Roman

  64. I’m 61 and had a nasty motorcycle accident with a distracted driver and have 12 screws in my neck. Though I’m strong enough now to rack the slide on my 1911, I sometimes like carrying a S&W 638 Bodyguard because of its’ light weight and doesn’t take a lot of strength to shoot. I installed a larger Hogue grip to make it easier to handle. For the house, I have a Ruger Vaquero in 357 magnum, that’s had an action job done to it to make the hammer easier to cock and but also keep it reliable. I’ll carry a 1911 as long as I safely can, but don’t feel undergunned with either the 638 or Vaquero.

  65. I qualify as an older active senior. I have arthritic wrists and found the EZ was very easy to rack. Mine resides under my pillow. However, it lacks a lot of punch but with a laser sight if I can paint it, I can hit it. I also have a Sig P320C RX the red dot compensates for old eyes and trifocals and it also helps as additional leverage for racking the slide. AR’s tend to be a little heavy for me, that includes a Windham Weaponry CF version. I would propose an alternative not mentioned, the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1. Light, about 5.5 pounds, easy to arm, low recoil, and very accurate. I have loved this pistol since the first magazine. It is also relatively inexpensive to shoot compared to a 5.56 or 300 BO. Great article. Thank you.

  66. With an old injury from combat, my back is not what it used to be after four surgeries, I was forced to downgrade from .40CAL to 9mm. All my new pistola are 9mm. I still have some hard hitting rifles and shotguns but mostela stay in the safe. Let me tell you, getting old is not for sissy’s.

  67. A few things need to be better defined…”older” and experience level. I’d say half those would be disqualified for novice shooters or truly elderly!

    My wife has the 380 EZ, and I love that things. it WILL create distance or even be lethal if you make your mark!

  68. I recommend rifles on the AR platform because of weight and
    low recoil like ATI 410 also berretta tomcat for those with arthitis

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