Concealed Carry

Throwback Thursday: Top 5 “Small” Carry Guns for Arthritic Hands

Close-up detail view of hands in gloves holding gun. Shooting range

As we all know, none of us are getting any younger. My birthday is rapidly approaching and I will barely remain under 50 years of age. I like to think that I am still close to my prime, but I can certainly see how my parents are no longer near their peak. This is very evident with my mother’s arthritic hands.

Roughly 10 years ago, she purchased a Ruger LCP (the original) as her everyday carry (EDC) gun. Her hand strength was fine for recoil control and slide manipulation, and her finger was certainly strong enough to manage the trigger. Over intervening time, those processes have become much more difficult. As an example, she must now use both index fingers to make that gun go bang! This is far from an ideal situation.

Small carry guns fall into two broad camps — semi-autos and revolvers. I will tackle the semi-auto carry guns first.

SIG Sauer P238 semiautomatic subcompact pistol with black frame, wood grips and rainbow titanium slide
Both the SIG P238 .380 ACP and P938 9mm are small, thin, lightweight, extremely comfortable, and easy to carry. These traditional single-action only semi-autos both have a 2.7-inch barrel and hold 6 rounds of ammo.

SIG P938

The mostly metal composition of the SIG P938 goes a long way toward taming the recoil of 9mm. The increased grip size also helps in this regard for all but the smallest of hands. The slide is fairly light to rack, especially if done on an unloaded magazine. Removing the empty magazine and inserting a full one, then releasing the slide chambers a round and the gun is ready. The limited capacity of the magazine also makes for less compression on the magazine spring, so loading the last round is not as difficult as most double-stack magazines. For those with smaller hands, this gun is a great fit. For those with larger hands, half to a whole pinkie may be left without a perch. The trigger breaks at around 7 pounds, and although somewhat heavy, it is a crisp 1911-style, short throw break. For some, the need to carry cocked and locked may be a deal breaker.

Smith and Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ

The 9mm Shield is a marginally effective pistol for those affected by arthritis. The new 380 EZ Shield is much better, in several ways. Out of the gate, the gun weight is the same as the 9mm but shoots a significantly less energetic round. This makes for better recoil mitigation. The slide is also significantly easier to rack with a lighter recoil spring and reminds many of racking a rimfire semi-auto. It comes in thumb safety or grip safety models. The grip safety is likely best for purposes of this article. Also the factory 5# trigger is quite light for a factory offering. Lastly, the magazine spring is easy to depress when loading bullets. This might be the gun that breaks the stranglehold on small revolvers for this market.

Smith and Wesson 380 Shield EZ Carry Guns
One interesting feature of the new M&P 380 Shield is its grip safety.

Walther CCP

The Walther is the largest of the group, being slightly larger than the 380 Shield EZ. It is chambered in 9mm and part polymer and part metal, much like the Shield, but it has an active gas/weight system to combat muzzle rise. This greatly reduces felt recoil. The slide is not the easiest of the three to rack, but is much lighter than most offerings from other companies. For those with average to larger hands, its size adds real estate for the entire hand to grip the gun. This assists in comfortable shooting. The 5.5-pound trigger is second lightest, but they do tend to have a moderately long travel and some grit until broken in. This usually happens between 150 and 250 rounds, which is a minimal number of rounds for a carry gun, before declaring it ready for service.

There are a few revolver options as well. These are better described as categories as they are not standardized like their semi-auto brethren; each sub model can be dramatically different in construction material, barrel length, grips size, and weight. Most of the options discussed today will have a roughly 2-inch barrel, 5-shot cylinder, and be chambered in .38/.357. I will be looking at both Smith and Ruger options. Both brands are equally good firearms, so try both to see which works better in your hands.

Smith and Wesson J-Frame

The lightest S&W model I am aware of is the 340 PD, an aluminum and titanium gun. This five-shot revolver is chambered in .357 Magnum and weighs in at 11.4 ounces. We will leave it as very not appropriate for this discussion, even shooting .38 Special. Although the ultra-light weight makes carry easy, recoil is brutal. At the other end of the spectrum, the Pro Series Model 640 is an all stainless-steel gun weighing in at 22.4 ounces, and the Model 60 3-inch barrel or Performance Series Pro Model 60 at 23.2 and 23.4 ounces respectively.

3 carry guns revolvers
Different size and weight handguns will behave differently with the same load. The aluminum frame .38, top, offers harsh recoil with many loads. The steel frame .38, center, is heavier and easier to control. The four-inch barrel steel frame revolver, bottom, is the easiest of all to fire and use with the same .38 Special ammunition.

These steel carry guns are heavy for their footprint, but that greatly aids in absorbing recoil. For those with weakened grips due to arthritis, this helps to prevent flinch, quickens follow-up shots, and for some, may even be the difference between retaining or losing grip of the gun upon discharge. Often, the ultra-light revolvers are not able to use bullet weights below 125 grains, safely. This removes all ultra low recoil .38 Special rounds from consideration. This is not helpful as these cartridges are an additional way to aid to those with arthritis.

With the great variety in this category, I would highlight several choices. I prefer the hammered options as it allows manual cocking of the hammer with the off-hand and drops trigger pull into the 2 to 3-pound range. Most non-Performance Center options have a double-action trigger pull exceeding 9 pounds. A qualified gunsmith can easily reduce this into the 7-pound range without compromising safety or primer ignition. With practice, manual cocking of the hammer can be made automatic and uses a gross motor skill. This is often a great choice for reliability and to encourage training.

Ruger LCR and SP Revolvers

Ruger’s LCR revolvers take a different path than the Smith J-Frames, but end up in a similar space. Their ergonomics are different as are the options.

The lightest of the Ruger LCRs is the 5401 and its compatriots that vary mostly in color choice. They weigh in at 13.5 ounces. One comes with a pink grip and another with a purple frame. If those options make the shooter happy, by all means get them. Otherwise they are functionally the same. These, much like the lightweight Smith and Wesson are not good choices for those affected by arthritis. Also realize that all LCRs come without an exposed hammer. Ruger does have different caliber options in addition to the standard .38 Special and .357 Magnum. They also offer 9mm (5456) and .327 Magnum (5452) choices. Both of these carry guns tip the scale at or just over 17 ounces. They are not nearly as heavy as the all steel Smiths, but the extra 4 ounces is helpful in mitigating recoil.

Picture shows a Ruger LCRx, a small revolver with exposed hammer.
Constructed of a mix of 7000-series aluminum, stainless steel, and polymer, the LCRx has a changeable Hogue Tamer Monogrip, matte black finish, and weighs only 13.50 ounces.

The 9mm option is great from the standpoint of bullets, as choices are plentiful and fairly cheap, but the super short barrel will effectively reduce them to .380 ACP velocities and likely create a large fireball. This option also requires the use of moon clips, as 9mm is not a rimmed cartridge. With training, this can be an aid in quick reloading, but is also renders the gun next to useless if you manage to lose the moon clips.

The .327 Magnum is designed for shorter barrel weapons, so it is less affected by the 1.87-inch barrel. Recoil is in the neighborhood of .38 Special but packs quite a bit more penetration power and velocity. Unfortunately, it also is not commonly stocked in most gun stores.

Ruger’s LCRX line has a few heavier choices that offer larger grips and longer barrels such as the 5444. This steel revolver has a 3-inch barrel and weighs in at 21.3 ounces. It is capable of shooting .357 Magnum, although that should not be a consideration for those reading this article. The LCRX line is also Ruger’s carry category with an exposed hammer.


Another Ruger option is the SP101 family. They are overbuilt tanks, and with .38 Special, quite soft shooters in comparison to the lightweight variants from Ruger or Smith. They are slightly larger in size and weight (26+ ounces), and have a longer minimum barrel length of 2.25 inches. All of these help with ergonomics and recoil control, but they will make them a bit more difficult to conceal. A variety of longer barrel lengths are available, and they can be purchased in all the calibers available in the LCR line.

Final Thoughts

To recap, in the semi-auto line the choice is between size, weight, ease of racking the slide, and ergonomics for the individual shooter. There are few low-recoil ammunition choices, as a semi-auto needs a minimum amount of energy to cycle the slide. There are smaller, lighter carry guns, but the recoil penalty is brutal for those with grip issues.

Walther CCP 9mm Two Tone Left Angle Safety On Carry Guns
The CCP uses a gas-delayed blowback action that softens felt recoil. This is one of the most underrated carry guns.

Having said that, my mother chose to stay with the same platform she was used to, the Ruger LCP. Her choice was to upgrade to the LCP with the much-improved (less than 5 pounds) red trigger. This no longer seems to be available in the Ruger catalog and five years later is becoming much less viable for her. Her arthritis is also in the hips and knees, which makes EDC of a “heavy” gun painful as it changes her gait. Living in Florida, she is not able to open carry in public like she does at home. This means her most comfortable carry choices are forbidden. This also keeps her in a lighter than optimal gun.

Despite the family stubbornness trait, even the lower trigger pull LCP is now tough for her to manage. Soon, she will likely switch to a Smith or Ruger, 5-shot revolver of intermediate weight (16 to 18 ounces), and load the Hornady .38 Special Critical Defense Lite 90-grain rounds. This will remove the struggle with magazine reloads, not increase the weight of the gun substantially, and actually decrease felt recoil. Not to mention, she is a better shot with revolvers.

For a practice session, I reloaded lead projectiles that mimic the Hornady round. Using a friend’s J-frame, she shot much longer strings than with her LCP and had zero hand pain during shooting or the next day. Currently, she is using the mindset, that if I need to shoot someone, hand pain is the least of my worries. At some point soon, that will not be a functional option just as it wasn’t with her original LCP.

Which small carry guns would you recommend for people with difficulties such as waning hand strength or arthritis, and why? Share your answers in the comment section.

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

About the Author:

John Bibby

John Bibby is an American gun writer who had the misfortune of being born in the occupied territory of New Jersey. His parents moved to the much freer state of Florida when he was 3. This allowed his father start teaching him about shooting prior to age 6. By age 8, he was regularly shooting with his father and parents of his friends. At age 12, despite the strong suggestions that he shouldn’t, he shot a neighbor’s “elephant rifle."

The rifle was a .375 H&H Magnum and, as such, precautions were taken. He had to shoot from prone. The recoil-induced, grass-stained shirt was a badge of honor. Shooting has been a constant in his life, as has cooking.

He is an (early) retired Executive Chef. Food is his other great passion. Currently, he is a semi-frequent 3-Gun competitor, with a solid weak spot on shotgun stages. When his business and travel schedule allow, you will often find him, ringing steel out well past 600 yards. In order to be consistent while going long, reloading is fairly mandatory. The 3-Gun matches work his progressive presses with volume work. Precision loading for long-range shooting and whitetail hunting keeps the single-stage presses from getting dusty.
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 (64)

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Kimber KS6. This gun hold six rounds, will shoot .357, .38+P, .38, or any kind of load you want in that caliber range. It’s pricey, but quality costs. My neighbor’s wife, who is in her late 60’s, was amazed at how little recoil it had and how controllable it was, even when shooting .357 defense rounds. Her EDC gun is a small-frame S&W .357, or one of several 9mm semi’s. If you’re going to carry a small 9mm that only holds 6 rounds, why in the world would you prefer it over a good DA wheel gun with no levers, awkward safetys or other things that slow you down and get in the way. I’m 74 and can still shoot my Ruger Alaskan short barrel .454, and my walk around our neighborhood near Flagstaff gun is a Public Defender loaded with .410 defense rounds and .45LC. Again, no problem. But my all-round, Sunday-to-meetin’ or trip to Walmart gun is my trusty KS-6. Enough said.

  2. Nadine, a company called MCARBO makes a trigger spring kit for the SCCYs that reduces that double-action only trigger pull to around 4-5 pounds. I have several SCCYs and have replaced the springs in all of them to get the lighter trigger pull.

  3. Big advocate for the Sig 2&938 micros.
    I own a black pearl 238 and an Rosewood 938. They are top shelf guns but with that comes the sky high prices.
    I got lucky and found the Rosewood 938 for sale at a pawn shop and inspection showed it probably had never been shot. It looked brand spanking new. These run $679 new at any gun shop online and up to $800 at big box stores.
    I finagled the shop owner and bought it for sticker price he marked at $440 but I told him to throw in an AMT backup for a deal and he obliged. That was a great deal. It came with trigicon sites original case all the paperwork a mag and lock.
    Over forty two years I’ve aquired trigger finger in both hands and it causes Scleradactyli (curling of the fingers) to which is similar to arthritis.
    Both Sigs have the exact same trigger. It’s a 1911 (911) trigger that has very short travel, no take up , a good wall and roughly 4.5 lbs and a reset that’s instant.
    It’s perfect for arthritis but the 938 is chambered in 9mm. This can be snappy for many and maybe over snappy for some that have damaged hands or joints but, Sig has you covered. The 238 is chambered in 380 and it’s even easier on the hands.
    I still carry both in my rotation but round capacity is minimal to which may turn some away.
    They are accurate and they are manageable and that’s good for most. It’s print is nice with the SAS (Sig Anti-Snag) rounded edges and conceal ability is numero uno. It’s about as small as they get without making them a chore to use.
    It’s a user friendly alternative with a great trigger and it prints better than most.
    Just try and find it slightly used to buy one for much less.
    Need more rounds ready?
    The 365 Tac ops macro is phenomenal but is striker fire so the trigger isn’t comparable to these renditions.
    1911/2011 are king when it comes to triggers.

  4. I am a 67 year old man and have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 30. My hand strength, permanent joint damage and finger mobility have all slowly deteriorated over that time and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. However, I am lucky as my rheumatologist says I have a mild case and usually someone diagnosed so early would be fully crippled by now.
    So I have experienced many stages of issues that have affected my choice of firearms
    1) wrist pain came first and I gave up shooting magnum pistols early on as the sharp fast hard recoil would cause me pain for days after a shooting session even with a model 19 S&W with a 6.5” barrel. Lower velocity rounds like .38 special, .45 acp or even .45 long colt were, and still are fine.
    2) hand articulation. As the joints deteriorate the cartilage in the joints crenellated causing a rough jagged motion of my trigger finger over a long pull length. To be even semi accurate I had to switch to single action shooting. No double action only revolvers and absolutely no double action only semiautomatics.
    3) reduced strength. The arthritis affects more than just the joints. It also affects bone shape, knarly bone growths and weakened tendons. I have a fully torn tendon in each of my biceps and reduced arm and hand strength. So getting a pistol with a very light crisp trigger pull is important as is an easy operating action.
    So I now mainly shoot a S&W EZ 9mm due to its light crisp trigger pull and easy rack slide and easy to load magazines. I also have an S&W model 36 .38 special with a 3” barrel that I shoot single action. When I am having good days I still shoot a 1911 in .45 acp but cannot work the slide during active rheumatoid flare-ups so I could not recommend it as a primary defensive weapon. I even shoot my old Ruger Vaquero and Colt Single action army clones in .45 long colt as the single actions typically crisp triggers and the wonderful SAA grip shape work well for me and the slow recoil of the low velocity rounds does not bother me. As I continue to get weaker I will probably move down to the S&W EZ .380 and get my model 36 a good trigger job.

  5. “For some, the need to carry cocked and locked may be a deal breaker.” For the P938, it does have a firing pin block, meaning the trigger must be pulled for it to fire, not just an inanvertant hammer drop, but what I really like about the P938, unlike the 1911, is the P938/238 can be loaded, and unloaded, with the safety ON. Maglula also makes an accessory for it’s loader, to aid in single stack magazines, and ingeniously attaches to that small key ring that comes on the Maglula. As for the SP101, when using full house .357 Magnum, it is the most punishing handgun I have ever fired, including a 44 Mag., and a 7mm Thompson. The Hogue grip helps the SP101, but I still wouldn’t suggest it for those who have issues with high recoil, because it definitely has it.

  6. The S &W Shield EZ is a great semi auto pistol for people with arm/wrist injuries. It handles well and fits into my hand well unlike the 1911 and Glocks do. It feels comfortable and fires well. Very accurate and highly recommended. I would also suggest the SCCY 380 with the four point locking chamber. It is affordable, handles well, and the slide easily locks into place not to mention the locking features on the weapon. It fits in the palm of my hand and feels good to handle. With a slightly shorter barrel than the S &W Performance is it an easier to carry concealed carry weapon. And it has more power than the Ruger LCP 22.
    Having injured my hand several years ago and having nerve damage, my wrist has taken the joy of handling and firing my Bersa 380 away from me. But the S & W Performance EZ Shield and SCCY semi-auto 380 have more than satisfied me. Plus the SCCY comes in many color combinations for a woman who has color preferences-not that this was a key selling point for me. The much more economical price on the SCCY and the ease of use made it it a go-to-concealed carry weapon for me. The color combinations made it even more desirable. I have never been a fan of a high polished silver barrel. Black or brushed silver has always been more desirable, with black being my most often chosen option. Long ago I learned that pretty does not make perfect. Accuracy, quality and function are far better selling points for me.

  7. I have not shot most of these guns but have shot similar and any small gun will not be pleasant to shoot with Arthritic wrists. One of the softest shooting 9’s is the glock 19. Better to have a gun that is bigger to spread more of the recoil to your hand and wrist. I had not shot the glock in several years and was surprised at how soft it was. I have had several 380’s and the Browning 380 1911 was the best wrist wise. Actually I liked it the best for any reason. A full size 1911 in 9mm is also very soft. I can shoot that one all day. Similar is the 38 Super in a 1911. A Full size 45 not so much. I have a compact 45 I can shoot but really it is a bit much so it is going on the block. However when you consider that for a 7 yard pure defense gun it is probably ok. It really boils down to a personal choice as to how bad your wrists or hands/fingers are. Mine is in the wrist itself and continually racking and dry firing as in laser training is hard on it. (The wrist that is) I do have bigger hands and dislike anything smaller than a glock 26 or an officers 1911. While some will say you need a 45 if you use a 1911 they are nuts plain and simple. What you have and what you can hit with are more important so if all you can handle is a .22 the go for it.

  8. If this thread is still active, I’m loaded with new questions after reading everything so far. Regarding a pistol for my wife, age 77, petite, pretty, but extremely limited by arthritic hands. First trip to a range last night the instructor finally put a small semi auto 22 in her hands which she could grip okay, pull the trigger okay, and actually put an 8-round grouping you can cover with a coffee cup surrounding the bullseye. Problem was that she cannot rack the slide. I failed to ask which gun model she was using, so I must simply ask if anyone here can suggest a solution, be it a 22 or larger bore semi auto or revolver. She is aware the 22 has no significant stopping power but I think it is simply a peace of mind effort to think that if a bad guy enters the house uninvited, at least she’ll go down in a blaze of glory.. as someone before commented: number one priority is to have a gun.
    I’m afraid her grip would not hold much of a recoil safely, so I’m hoping for a better solution. BTW, the instructor even commented that a revolver might be a problem in that she would have to cock the hammer. We hadn’t thought of or tried that option. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks

  9. Keltec P32 with fiocchi fmj ammo is a nice shooter and with the new extreme cavitator ammo in the barrel and one at the top of the magazine you have 2 good defensive 1st shots and then six fmjs to minimize rimlock. Very easy to rack the slide and load these magazines.

  10. What about a 22 revolver? I know everyone quickly dismisses the 22 because its so small. But for elderly who need close up protection, it is extremely gentile on the hands and wrists. And 5 or 6 22 calibler rounds effectively placed into an intruder is better than one shakey shot from a larger recoil. The 22 is cheap to practice with and therefore can be a comfortable weapon especially if you are confident in your round placements.

  11. Ruger EC9S and LC9S are also easy-to-use subcompact EDCs. They have easy to use triggers and low resistance slides that can also be racked using the rear sight or an add-on rear racking option. The narrow slide width and compact stock or extended magazines facilitate discrete carry.

  12. I have psoriatic arthritis in both hands and I’ve found the Springfield XDe to be very easy to operate and shoot.

  13. Been using the Walther CCP as my EDC for about 3 years now. Being almost 60, and having arthritis setting in to both hands, it’s a very comfortable gun to shoot and manipulate. With the piston blowback system, the recoil is very manageable and also, with this system, it needs a much less stiff recoil spring which makes racking the slide much easier than other guns of its size. The only drawback is learning the takedown and reassembly for cleaning. After a few times, it gets easier. Oh, and by the way it’s very concealable. I Have fairly large hands and with the included backstaps of different sizes, you can adjust it to fit your hand.

  14. My personal choice has been my Bersa Firestorm in .380.
    With the advancement in modern self defense ammo, the .380 is no longer the underpowered little round.
    Recoil is more than manageable for my 69 year old hands and it pretty much is a shoot-to-point little pistol.
    Much easier to handle than the Browning BDA .380 and at half the price.

  15. I have NA ARMS Guardin in .32 acp i carry in a pocket ot ankle holster as my last ditch back up .It is a fine choice and should be on that list along with the new .32 NAA Guardian version with its bottleneck .32 cal cartridge .

  16. I have much larger hands than my parents. This is one of the reasons why my mother and father look to me to help them pick their small frame concealed carry firearms. Recoil is a big factor in my choice of carry preference. I have chosen for my mother the Ruger LCR hammerless .38 because of the point and shoot reliability and the ease of operation. My father however prefers the S&W Bodyguard .380 because of the 6 round capacity and ease of concealment. The revolver is easy for my mother to manipulate, even with her carpal tunnel syndrome and weak wrists. The bodyguard that my father carries has an easy to rack slide and low recoil even when using the Hornaday 90 grain hollow point round. Each of these are adequate with ball and hollow point rounds, and hold nice groups at ranges from 25 to 40 yard ranges.

  17. I had exactly the same question a few months ago. My decision was to go with the 365 Sig. I am not a big fan boy. I have always admired their products, but I have never owned them. I have only fired other people’s guns of that make.
    I rented the three guns you mentioned at our local rental range. After a box of ammo through each, the Sig was the standout choice for me.
    I used the ammo rated best for all by the gun writers. Surprisingly they were correct. 😉 They All shot pretty well, but the Sig was WAY more accurate! It was also easier to shoot, and had by far the best trigger.
    The choice was obvious for me, and after having more than 40 years of EDC experience, I am confident in recommending this fine firearm!

  18. My wife also has small hands and mild arthritis at 50. Bought her an LCP, complete failure. Then bought the Sig p238. She loves it. So I went with the p938 and I love it. Put in hollow point and I’m good to go. I think I will ruin someone else’s day before they can ruin mine.

    1. Have similar experience. Tried the Ruger LCR in 38/357, the SP101 in 38/357 for my wife. No go. Then the P238. Worked great! So I got one, too. Then on to the 938 and the slightly larger grip works better for me, plus, it’s a 9mm. After over 2,700 rounds in all 3, no issues whatsoever. I EDC the 9mm most often, now, carrying 2 spare mags. I am looking at the 365, tho, due to the higher round count while carrying only one spare. 25 rounds, can’t have too many rounds when needed.

  19. Check out the Ruger EC9. Ita barely 1/2″ longer than the LCP .380,
    Great (mm conceals easily without printing and seems easier to operate than the .380! Not as tight.
    I love it and I own several 9s to choose from. It’s my new EDC (every day carry)!

  20. A few words about defensive caliber choices –
    Never use the following –
    .22 LR
    .22 Magnum
    .25 ACP
    .32 ACP

    Because they do not impart hydrostatic shock into the target they do not have sufficient power to stop the bad guy. Most do not have expanding bullets, but then they lack the energy to actually expand in muscle tissue so all they really do is penetrate, and the last two are known for being stopped by heavy clothing.

    PLEASE use .380 ACP as the minimum powered round and always get modern expanding projectiles in the load you select. The .380 ACP is a close range round so that is also a consideration – pick the most power you can effectively put on the target at distance. Most of the compact carry pieces you see today have short sight radiuses which makes them difficult to be accurate with which makes practice very important as well. Make sure to visit the range often to sharpen your skills. Your or someone else’s life may depend on it.

    Please do not carry any small caliber non-centerfire caliber – this presents more of a danger to you than your opponent.

    1. Hydrstaic shock does not exist with any pistol ammunition. It’s marketing term. And those calibers are better than nothing, shoot what you have. And .22’s have killed many people, I love when people discount the caliber.

    2. Killing someone is not the point, especially when they die of sepsis 3 weeks later. The point of a self defense gun is to stop the attack RIGHT NOW. Rimfire and small, light FMJ bullets in centerfire have a low probability of doing that.

      Having said that. If all you can carry / handle is a .22LR, it does fit the first rule of a fun fight. Have a gun.

      Just be aware there are likely other options with a bit more ummph.

    3. DISAGREE a .32 auto is a last ditch belly gun or shoot directly in the head at point blank range .I have to go to my .32 i am putting all 7 rounds in his chest or 6 in the chest 1 in the head that = 7 holes and my NAA .32 will pop them out quick .It is a last ditch weapon when all else has failed but if you know where to shoot them with it and you put 7 rounds in them they will go down and in the least they go with me .

  21. Several years ago I had the joint at the base of my right thumb replaced due to severe arthritis. I’ve regained about 90% of the range of motion and strength that I had when I was younger, and full size as well as most mid-sized handguns are comfortable. At the same time I retired, and my wardrobe changed from suits and sport coats to cargo pants and polo shirts tucked in. I went looking for a small handgun with three criteria — 9mm at a minimum and comfortable grip and fit in my pocket. I had just about given up when I saw a Sig P938 with an oversize ribber grip in a local gun store that satisfied all three. Great gun, super accurate at 7-10 yards, virtually invisible in my pocket, even in dress pants, and with the pinkie extension 7 + 1 rounds.

  22. I own a Ruger LCR in 9mm. I bought it with the idea of limiting the different types of ammo I had to buy. It’s a great gun but in 9mm it punishes the shooter. I wpuldn’t recommend for small arthritic hands.

  23. Convince your mother to make the switch to revolvers now while she has better hand function. She will be more effective with the wheel gun when the time comes that she must switch.

  24. Trigger pull is not the most difficult part of dealing with hand weakness due to aging, arthritis or other things like carpal tunnel syndrome – and the grip strength reduction you end up with post surgery. Slide racking effort is, and so is magazine spring weight. If you can’t load a pistol you will never be confident in using it in an emergency situation. I have a Kimber Micro 9 and I have to use a device called a handi racker to retract the slide because the recoil spring is so heavy. It is also hard to load from a full magazine because the top round under spring tension from the magazine spring only increases the pull and grip force you need to use simply to load the first round. Waiting until you need to put a live round in the chamber is safe, but you can’t do that with this pistol. It has a single action trigger and a positive safety but if you are not comfortable with cocked and locked the Micro 9 is not for you.

  25. For soft recoil, very easy trigger, easy to conceal, and racking a slide like a 22 I would like to suggest the Bond Bullpup 9mm. I have to say I am very happy with mine and there are many reviews online for your research. Not trying to convince anyone to buy this gun in particular, I’m simply suggesting another alternative.


  26. I am a 67 yr old woman with arthritis & carpel tunnel in my left hand. Since I am not getting younger or stronger I started searching for a new pistol. The Taurus Spectrum 380 is perfect. Made to be a CC pistol all edges are rounded and smooth and it is small enough to carry in a pocket and will not weigh down a pocketbook (something important to old ladies). Even with my bad hand it is easy enough to rack. I think this is a perfect gun for a woman of any age, but especially for the elderly.

  27. Before buying any of those pistols or revolvers mentioned above take your current firearm to a reliable gunsmith and get a trigger job on the pistol or revolver you like carrying or using currently. You be better off saves you alot of money too plus you are already familiar in shooting it and the maintenance of it.????????????????

    1. Excellent suggestion. I have thought about that in the past and can’t recall too many people suggesting that. Thank you.

  28. I have the Sig P938….awesome little gun…shot 250 rounds right out of the box with not one problem…I like the grip and the “ locked snd cocked “ design of it…

    1. I, too, have the 938. Have shot over 1,000 rounds, fmj and hp with zero issues. On my hip as I write this. I carry either in my front pocket, or IWB appendix carry, in a DeSantis pocket holster, cond 1, with 2 spare mags for a total round count of 22. While I like it better than my 238 (grip is a little smaller than the 938), I am looking at acquiring the 365 for a higher round count while carrying only one spare mag instead of two. I shoot the 938 very, very well, especially with my reloads. That higher round count keeps me looking at the 365, tho.

  29. So glad that I ran across this article, at he age of 57 my arthritis has gotten so bad that on my last trip to the range I found myself having to use both index finger to pull the trigger on my 1911. I’m going to find a LGS that has the S&W in the article and try it out. Thanks.

  30. Another unfortunate factor for the ageing shooter is cost. Most elderly folks are on a tight budget and cannot afford all these pricey branded firearms. A viable solution could be something like the Bursa Firestorm .380. You can pick one up for roughly $250 on sale and it totes a lifetime warranty. Just my 2 cents.

  31. I would point out that the 327 LCR can shoot a reduced recoil .32 H&R Magnum and it is a six shooter. The 22 Magnum versions of the LCR (6 shot) and J frame (351 PS 7 shot) is loud and has a big fireball, bur low recoil and controllable. The shooter is prepared for the flash and thunder, but not so the person not expecting it. The 22 Magnum might not have the best ballistics from a short barrel, but I would recommend it

  32. The bullet is the thing that comes out of the muzzle. The ammo (cartridges) is what goes in the magazine. Hard for me to take anyone seriously when they don’t seem to know the difference. Sort of like so many people who say cement when they are talking about concrete!

  33. I really want to purchase a new small 9mm that has come down to comparison between the New Sig Saur 9mm the 365. The small 9mm
    made by FN s 9 compact with night sites. Or the new small Glock. Which would you suggest. My favorite has been the FNS 9 compact. Which do you think will have less recoil as well?
    Kenneth N Field

    1. I cannot speak on anything but the Sig P365 (on the three you mentioned), but I carry one everyday and absolutely love it. It is a fine firearm. It seems like Sig has some wizards in their employ as the 365 is just pure magic. With factory extended mags, you can have a capacity of 12+1. This is simply amazing when you consider that it is a tad smaller than even a Walther PPS M2 (but potentially has twice the capacity depending on which mags you use). It is rated for +P ammo and feels great in the hand, it almost feels like a larger pistol when firing. It’s such a great little gun. I will say though, there is no denying that Glock and FN have wonderful reputations and I am sure that either of those would make a fine choice. It all comes down to how it feels to you while it’s in your hand. Good luck!

    2. I also wanted a compact 9mm and after trying the S&W, Ruger, and Glock, I got the Sig. Recoil has not been an issue at all, and I recommend that.

    3. Hi Ken, did you check out the S&W M&P Shield ?? I have the Glock 43 and like it a lot but the Shield has become my new CCW of choice. I haven’t shot the FNS so I can’t speak of that.

    4. I was considering buying the Sig 365 myself until I started researching it a little. A lot of information is out there about the gun’s failure to fire. Seems that the tip of the firing pin on the striker has has been breaking off. This failure has happened in as little as A couple hundred rounds. In one YouTube video, the host points to a “smear” on the primer, indicating that the tip of the pin is dragging on the cartridge as it is ejected, and opined that this is the probable cause of the problem. It was also suggested that the striker part was not made by Sig, but was imported from a foreign producer. A failure to fire in a dangerous situation as a result of the striker tip breaking after a day at the range, would certainly not be good. I’d investigate a little more to see if this problem has been addressed before I would consider carrying it for personal protection.

    5. The issues with the firing pin were from the earliest runs of the 365. As of mid 2018, it has been corrected. No reviews from August ’18 or after, or comments from people who bought the gun with manufacture date after August ’18 have mentioned any issues. I have been following this story as I am interested in acquiring one, too. Currently, I carry the Sig 938 in condition one with 2 spare mags for a total of 22 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense FTX. The 365 sounds, and feels good in the hand. I particularly like the idea of carrying it with one spare 12 round mag, exceeding my current carry and round total. I’ll have to see how well I can shoot it compared to my 938.

    6. Kenneth, I’d suggest shooting all three. Find the one you like…my wife has a Sig P290 in .380 that is about that same size…it goes bang every time, fits her hand. I’m looking at the Springfield XDs mod 2 in 9mm to carry in lieu of my XDm .40 compact when I need more concealability. Love both my XDm and my Sig P226 that I carried for 22 years on duty.

    1. I used to take Ibuprofen until I realized that it raises my blood pressure. Now I take Tylenol. Too bad it doesn’t work.

    2. Take a small amount of a caffeine drink with the Tylenol…it speeds up the relief from pain…a headache will disappear 3 times faster…my doctor gave me this advice…not too much caffeine though…

    3. Try one extra strength tylenol+ one Tramadol. I can’t tak NSAID’s. this combo works pretty well for me.

  34. My LC9s is perfect and I have crippled hands, with a permanent middle finger erection.

    Weight is light, conceals great, only complaint it kicks a little more than my Security 9 but is more concealable.
    Trade offs???? That’s life.

    1. The Ruger LC9s has the best trigger of any single stack 9mm, and better than Glocks or most guns. My wife’s has a 4.5 pound trigger. I build 1911s and the trigger is as good as any I can tune. We own copies of almost every small carry gun on the market. I am a CCW instructor and carried concealed for 50 years now, military and law enforcement—carried 5 different badges, so not new to this subject. I shoot big bore handguns and now have arthritis, carpel tunnel, ulnar nerve damage in both arms, so I understand the problem. The little Remington 380 has a long but easy trigger and easy to rack the slide, really surprising and my wife’s smaller CCW in addition to the LC9s. Suggestion. When she goes to the range, have her wear hard leather gloves. Not shooting gloves but hard leather that will absorb the recoil so she can shoot a lot, I am starting to do it with my big bores, 44 mag, 45 Ruger loads, 400 carbon, etc. You can shoot much longer. Just shooting a box of 50, cheap Walmart ammo is a big deal for training. Now, I do not like the sig 380s at all because they drop the grip safety but do not have the built in safeties like the Glock and other striker fired guns We also have the Glock 42 and 43, fine little guns and the trigger hovers around their advertised 5,5 pounds. Lastly, the j frames. Carried a concealed hammer model 640 for 20 years and replaced it with a model 60 external hammer with adjustable sights. Anyone who cannot pull a short semi auto trigger, would be far better off with a hammer gun that can be cocked and then only have a 2 pound or less trigger. I can train anyone to use them well, just a matter of training and SW air weights only weigh 15 ounces, and far safer than any semi auto if you have toddlers around. FWIW

  35. Hi
    Regarding your article on arthritis.
    I have arthritis in my fingers which means they do not bend and this make pulling a trigger whilst maintaining a good grip almost impossible.
    It is also difficult operating the slide

    Any suggestions Please


  36. Got my little wife a 380 ez…I love it! Feels like the M&p 22 I got her but didn’t feel comfortable with her having the unreliability of 22 let alone the stopping power. Little to no recoil. Slide super easy…I’d really like to see chronograph testing on it however as it feels way to soft …a good thing!

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