As we move into our senior years there are several things begin to occur that are quite natural. Specifically, our bones and muscles begin to deteriorate. Rather than bemoan it, we can simply adapt to how we work. When it comes to firearms we will need to make some adjustments. There are literally thousands upon thousands of different weapons out there and it would be near impossible to pick one or two out and say, “this is the weapon to get”. However, we can certainly look at the varying mechanics of them and find one that will suit our needs. This has been a topic of conversation in my family in recent years as my parents are still vibrantly healthy for their age but are experiences deteriorating strength due to their age. My mother has severe arthritis in her hands and it makes it hard for her hands to do several tasks using fine motor skills. We found some solutions for her and others in our training that I will share with you here.
Understanding caliber is the key
The caliber of the weapon is an indicator of how large a round of ammunition is. The larger the round the larger the explosion, as well as, the larger the weapon that must be able to contain it. The obvious answer for those having such difficulty is to go down in caliber size. In today’s world with so much technology and research having been put into ammunition, it is not a problem. A round such as a .380 with self-defense loaded ammunition is more than enough to utilize in this manner. It also does not provide so much kickback that it is harmful to even smaller, or more frail hands. If it is, then you can always go to a .22lr caliber weapon. That is what my mom uses. With arthritis and older hands, it is about the only thing that works for her. While a .22lr is not ideal, it is certainly better than nothing at all. With proper training, it is also an incredibly lethal round.
Handling a weapon
Holding a weapon and utilizing it the way it was intended is another consideration. Those with frailer hands will find it difficult in two different types of weapons. Revolvers are typically, not always, have heavier frames and a harder trigger pull. There are some exceptions this from some manufacturers, and you can modify trigger assemblies to make them easier to utilize (should only be done by a gunsmith). Semi-automatic weapons tend to be hard for frail hands to rack the slide on. Please bear in mind that training is key here. Most of these considerations are based upon multiple shots being needed. With proper training that is less likely needed. Reality is that multiple shots will most likely be needed. There are some weapons in which the barrel pops up with the simple touch of a button to put your first round in. A 22lr version of this is what my mother uses. It is easy for her hands to pop the chamber open, place a round in. It is also easy for her to place the magazine in. Since it is a 22lr it has very little kick to it. It performs well in her hands. As mentioned before, my mom is healthy for her age but she is a senior citizen and has extremely bad arthritis.
Long guns are not the best choice for carrying concealed that is for certain. To cover the subject adequately we must consider these as well. Shotguns simply are not good choices at all. They have too much kick for a frail older person. It may seem counter-intuitive for those not use to operating them, but an AR15 is a good choice. By design they have very little kick to them. They have a large spring in a buffer tube that takes up nearly all of the kickback. They are also not incredibly heavy. Drawbacks for their use is that they are extremely loud and need an adequate amount of training to manipulate them properly.
I hope this has provided you some insight into things to consider for those that are more mature in years. I would also like to highly recommend that you have frank discussions with people in this age group. Often senior citizens have wise counsel based upon life experience. This sort of discussion will help all of us to be better equipped to avoid situations where the use of force would be necessary.