The First Step Is The One That Counts.

I noticed something interesting during my too-brief time behind the gun counter: Elderly people would shy away from even mid-sized guns like the Glock 19 and LC9, and immediately assume that smaller guns like the SIG P238 and Ruger LCP would be easier for them to handle. The feeling in their minds was that smaller guns = smaller recoil, which is, of course, not the case.

Not by a long shot.

The other thing I noticed was their reaction to failing to perform the (apparently) simple task of cycling the slide.

Think about it: What’s the first thing that any (competent) gun store clerk does when pulling a gun out of the case? They drop the mag (if there is one) and cycle the action to prove that the gun is unloaded (Rule 1!) and then hand it to the customer. We do it so often, it’s like breathing to us, and we make it look like it’s a super-easy task to perform.

But what if, for reasons of age and/or upper body strength, it’s not a super-easy task to perform? All of a sudden, a basic task that signals the start of using a gun is an impossible thing to perform, which creates doubts in the person’s mind… if I can’t do THAT, what else can I not do?

Yes, this seems silly to those of us who shoot a lot and can cycle a slide in our sleep, but I assure you, it’s really, and it sold a LOT of P238’s, a small gun that is (relatively) easy to shoot and very easy to cycle.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. i found that out when shooting with you. That slide was just too much of a tug for my aging arm strength.

  2. We recommended revolvers for those who couldn’t handle racking the slide, or at least something with an external hammer like a 1911 they could cock first and then rack the slide.

  3. With women, I noticed a huge improvement after stopping to call it “racking the slide” and described it as “holding the slide while pushing the frame forward”.

    Still, strength is an issue and I agree with Steve that a DA/SA or SAO gun is probably easier.

    I am not to sure about revolvers though, because their triggers tend to be hard to pull (roughly as hard as cycling the slide, since they perform similar actions). Clearly not all of them, all the time. But I have seen people work a trigger so hard that they pulled the gun off a man-sized target at 5m distance. Cheaper revolvers tend to have worse triggers. First time guns are usually cheaper. First time gun users are usually not great trigger pullers. Those errors stack up.

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