Picking a Handgun for CCW: Difficulty Level, Female with Arthritis
Maybe I’m just slow, but it’s looking like the Glock platform is creeping up on the AR platform in regard to the ” what in the heck can we do with it this week?” aspect. Maybe other makers do this too, I just don’t really pay attention to what many other makers are doing.
This is not to eyepoke other vendors- it’s just that there are some pretty interesting developments out there from a lot of talented shops. These creations to me are like looking at custom motorcycles. I’ve not ever owned a motorcycle, and it’s not happening. However, I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into them. With these exotic Glock projects, it’s very easy to spend over a thousand dollars on a pistol, and this is just silly. At what point does the tool become a totem? If the goal is concealment, why do you have a pistol that screams to be looked at?
The installment today will revolve around arthritis, and the havoc it has wreaked in my small family unit. There may be a couple of things here that you’re not familiar with, and they just might help you out, too. My wife and I have been together for 37 years, and have shared all the things that couples like this do. Marriage is teamwork, communication, and compromise, but that type of article isn’t exactly germane to this format. To keep things simple, my wife has arthritis, and watching the cruelty of it isn’t fun. I can’t make it go away, but I help out where I can. I wouldn’t wish this affliction on anyone.
A lot of what I drone on about is aging, because none of use are getting younger. Those of you with your multi thousand dollar pistols will be there soon enough- there isn’t an app for youth. It’s interesting to note that you don’t see ads geared toward older people and firearms, when in reality, it’s the “elderly” who make up the bulk of the population in this country. Older people need to be far more aware of what’s going on around them than the bearded super studs that are plastered hither and yon as the “Ambassadors” of the “gun culture”, not older folks with bum hands that can barely manipulate the tools of the trade.
This brings me to charging handles. A few years back, my wife decided to get her carry permit, and that decision has led me down a path unconsidered by myself. It’s ironic that the person I spend the most time with had me looking at things in completely different ways, because of the way she has to do the same tasks that I do. This kind of insight literally puts you “in another persons shoes” and helps to make you (hopefully) a better person.
She was not capable of toting a full sized duty pistol inside the waistband. It was time to stop being “the Instructor”, and allow her to explore options for her carry gun. She chose a Glock 43, which is a handy little pistol, for some. She knows the trigger, has shot them extensively for nearly 30 years, and the decision was too easy. What we learned was that at time of purchase, she wasn’t plagued by hand pain as much. Since then, the Glock lives in a safe, and this is why. The 43 has a small “beavertail” that goes down into an abbreviated curve that rests by the thumb area of the palm. Practice sessions were soon reduced to maybe 3 magazines, and she had to stop. Full house defense ammo was agony. It was time to explore other options.
Through using some of my other pistols, she really liked the grip angle and trigger of the Kahr P9. Her groups were better, shooting was not as painful due to the different grip angle/shape, and we figured that maybe this would do the trick. Wrong again. The issue with Kahr pistols is that they are tight little machines, tolerance wise. Their springs are stout. Reloading them can be difficult for people without arthritis, but was basically impossible for her. This is where the fury begins for those people who don’t believe you need more than 1 magazine, and let’s just nip that in the bud.
The focus for this article is that Kahr pistols can be challenging for those with lesser hand strength. To be fair, Kahr has a “charging” enhancer, of a sort, if you are/were unaware. The vendor is Lakeline, and it gives you a pair of “ears” that project out at the back of the slide. These are just too small for her to capably manipulate 100% of the time. May be these would help you out, but for her, not so much. To walk around believing that 8 rounds are going to stop all calamity that could head your way is tantamount to suicide.
So, we looked for a more viable carry gun, again. This trip I stayed completely away from her, and let her decide on her own. This put her squarely in the hands of the cretins behind the counter. Shame on them for not realizing that though she’s small, she’s made of stern stuff. These people tend to freak out when the prospective buyer asks to field strip the gun, check feed ramps, dry fire, etc. Apparently they don’t see this very much, and it was pretty hilarious to watch, from a distance.
She opted for a Walther PPSM2. She could charge it easily, the trigger was decent, Ergo grips were good for her, etc. If you’re a “gun person”, you know what to look for. Again, there are those who feel this pistol is utter rubbish, but she wasn’t buying it for you. There was 1 minor glitch, and we’ll get to that shortly.
We broke it in, no issues, and were fairly certain that this pistol met the wickets. I made her holster setup, and all was well. Next is yet another potential chance for you to learn something. I was installing new sights on a few of my Kahr pistols. The sights are Meprolight Bullseye F.T.’s (fiber optics/Tritium)
Here’s the deal with these sights. Step 1, get rid of the front sight, it’s not needed. At the rear of the slide is your rear sight, with a “front sight” riding dead center. Bringing the gun to eye level, you have a black rear, and a green thin “ring” with a more solid green center. Now let’s take this a step further. This arrangement means your “front sight” is constantly, perfectly centered. If you find yourself fighting at Bad Breath Distance, get a gross sight picture, press, and repeat until hostilities have ended. If time allows and you see the green ring/dot, well, that’s your “reward” for precise alignment. These things can be wicked fast, but you have to do the work.I like them because my old eyes can see them.
Here’s another learning point that may interest you; there exists urban legend about how difficult it is to remove Kahr sights. I can attest that the CW45 sights were no challenge at all, and things had been changed out in about 10 minutes. My wife wanted them on the Kahr P9 as well. Perhaps I was over confident, but I broke a sight on the P9, and this hadn’t ever happened to me before. Twenty years of dissecting all sorts of firearms, and I broke a sight.
This wasn’t the end of the world, she had her Walther, she could use that. My wife does this stuff to make money called “physical labor”. This involves a lot of motion, and bending/twisting, really onerous stuff. I was promptly notified that the Walther failed with flying colors in this capacity. That’s where the glitch had occured- most gun stores are not keen on letting a perspective buyer stick guns in their pants, and wander around. This is understandable, but, we would have learned this factoid a lot more promptly. Suddenly, my sight changeout became Priority One, as she returned to the Kahr. The good news is that at least the 43 has company in that particular safe.
So all of this leads us to the Glock 43X. I’ve gushed extensively about the 48, as it has solved a lot of my needs for carrying in the pants again. She shot it, and I could see the light bulb come on. Again, the 43X is very similar to the Kahr pistols, size is virtually identical. Although I type this with some trepidation, I believe we have the charging dilemma solved, too. There are aluminum “pull rings”, and several other devices out there. Without being mean, we can say that we chose exactly none of those, as each had more cons than pros. By the way, the aluminum pull ring can be a challenge when bending/twisting etc., so, we went a different route.
We chose a “rubberized” ring, if you will, made by Clip Draw. It costs like 15$ on Amazon. Installation is a breeze, and charging the firearm is easily accomplished. Being flexible, it’s not constantly poking you as you perform your daily tasks. Everything seems to point out that we may have, at last, found the best combination for her needs.
So, what did we learn today?
1-Perhaps firearm makers should look at the large demographic, and figure some things out
2-If you prowl the streets looking like an MMA fighter, most likely a squad of ninjas won’t attack you. We understand this is a bummer, because you won’t get to show off your 3000$ pistol, replete with light, compensator, red dot, and pint sized disco ball to hypnotize the foe with.
3-Aging is our destiny, each and every one
4-We may have learned about “new” sights, and how to use them.
5-You can’t blame gun stores for not letting you stash their wares in your trousers
6-Don’t EVER believe that females are not as savvy as you. They already know you think this way, so you’re behind the curve.
7-Whenever possible, try out firearms your friends might have, to avoid “Buyers Remorse”
8-Select what you feel to be correct, don’t let cretins and sharks(or spouses) sway you
9-For the custom aftermarket types out there- spend less time/energy on creating useless cavities for “forward press checks”, and devote some brain juice to enhanced rear charging, where your hands belong, in the first place
10- If your spouse and you share the same platform, you have magazine commonality, and this is a Good Thing
Stay Safe, Train Often