Weekend Fun Show

Since the local gun shows are held at a point about halfway between where I live and where my parents live, it’s a good time and place to get together with Dad. So on Saturday that’s what we did. This time, Dad had a couple of items on the agenda:

  1. find some spare magazines for his 10/22 (successfully)
  2. find a holster for the Ruger R1 1911 he bought recently (he found one he likes, but held off this time because of the cost. He’ll probably get it next time.)
  3. most importantly, scout out some possible carry guns for Mom, because her current carry gun (a compact 1911) is a) heavier than she likes, and b) has too much recoil for her – her arthritis has gotten to the point that it hurts her hands to shoot it.

Dad was looking at .22’s, mainly looking for either a Walther P22 or Ruger SR22. I was trying to point him towards .380s, like the Bersa Thunder or Walther PPK. This is, after all, intended to be her regular carry  piece, and I would greatly prefer that she carry something in a calibre that is a little more effective than .22. I figure something like a PPK, Bersa Thunder, or even a Sig P238 would have enough mass to bring the felt recoil to a manageable level while not being too heavy for her to carry comfortably.

To complicate things, she has some slow deterioration to her vision, so the nearly rudimentary sights on some of the smaller pistols are unusable. I’d like her to get something she can get CT LaserGrips for, and while you can get them for the .380’s I was of, it looks like they don’t make them for the .22’s.

He’s going to either take her to a gun shop or to the next gun show so she can handle the different options and decide for herself. Unfortunately, there are no places reasonably close for her to rent one to see what she likes best. I really, really would rather she get a .380 than a .22, but then again, if she won’t practice with even the bigger .380s, the .22 might be better for her.

Maybe someone else might have an idea I can pass on?


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  1. John Bernard Books

     /  March 18, 2012

    One vote here for the P-238. It weighs about double what the other .380s do and mine is a hoot to shoot. Extremely comfortable.

    • I expected they would be, and I would really like one myself. My biggest concern with it is that might be too small for her to get a good grip on with her arthritis. Her arthritis isn’t too bad right now, but for that it wouldn’t take much.

  2. Maybe something like an M&P9 Compact, or a Glock 26? They’re light, also the double-stack makes the recoil feel a lot more manageable, and they’re about the same size at the compact 1911

    • Mom and Dad have both fired 9mm before (Browning Hi Power), and neither one liked it – and Dad said it hurt his hands, so it definitely won’t work. Also, Dad hates 9mm, so it would be an uphill battle convincing him to get one at all.

      None of us can hold a Glock comfortably, either, the grips just don’t work for any of us. Even the 4th generation feels like crap to me.

    • Just as a comparison, Dad carries a S&W Bodyguard .38spl, and that’s apparently too much recoil for her to shoot comfortably.

  3. Cymond

     /  March 19, 2012

    AVOID the PPK, it’s a straight blowback with a very heavy recoil spring. Unfortunately, most of the 380s are ultra-tiny and ultra-light. The Sig is a good option because it is heavier but still has a locked breach. It also benefits from real sights (not tiny bumps in the slide) and 1911-like controls. If bigger is better, take a look at the Walther PK380. It’s essentially a 380 version of the P22.

    However, if a 38 special is too much for your mother, then a 380 is probably too much. 380+P rounds have energy levels comparable to standard pressure 38spcl (although the 380 launches lighter bullets than 38spcl). Maybe a 32 ACP? Maybe something like a North American Arms or a Seecamp is heavy enough to have milder recoil. There aren’t many modern options for the 32 Auto. Is she a revolver person at all? Any revolver in 327 Federal Magnum will also chamber 32 H&R Mag, 32 S&W Long, and the original 32 S&W. Start with the 32 S&W and work her up to find what she can handle. The 32 S&W has energy levels comparable to a 22lr but with a bigger, heavier bullet. S&W currenty makes J-frame revolvers in 327 Fed and there are many discontinued S&W guns in the older calibers. There are a variety of less expensive older 32 revolvers available since she won’t need the full power of the 327.

    modern ammo from midway: not hot stuff but they all beat 22lr
    32 S&W – 88 grains, 680 fps, 90 ft lbs, lead round nose
    32 S&W Long – 98 grains, 778 fps, 132 ft lbs, semi-jacketed hollowpoint
    32 H&R Mag – 85 grains, 1100 fps, 228 ft lbs, JHP

    Also, your dad hates 9mm but likes .38spcl? 9mm is only 0.002 inches smaller, but it has higher velocities (for the same bullet weight) than the .38spcl. If a 38 is enough, then a 9mm is more than enough.

    • I’ll definitely look into the PK380. I didn’t see (or at least notice) any Saturday, and didn’t know about it. Thanks!

      The catch with .38spl is that Dad has the S&W Bodyguard .38, which has pretty harsh felt recoil for a .38 – it’s a very lightweight revolver. My hope is that going with one of the slightly heavier .380’s will reduce the felt recoil enough that she can tolerate it. It’s a carry gun, so she just needs to be able to practice with it a little so she’s confident that she can use it if she needs to, even if it’s not entirely pleasant.

      The weight/power/recoil issue, and the uncertainty of what her hands can tolerate, is why I’m really lamenting the lack of someplace she could rent a gun to try it out, first. Sure, they could buy one and trade it for something else if it doesn’t work out, but you almost always lose money that way if you bought new.

  4. If you can find one, a Kel-Tec PMR-30 might fit the bill. 30 rounds of .22WMR should be pretty useful for social work.

  5. Bad-Guy who was shot in the chest with a .22LR recently and perished. I think the .22 has more penetration than the .25ACP. I have an old (1980’s) era S&W Model 10 4-inch .38spl that has very low recoil – but it’s all steel so that affects carry. There’s 8-round Airlight .22 revolvers…


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