Can A Pistolsmith Fix It?
Self-Defense For Weak Hands.
Two of the most vulnerable citizens in the world are small women with weak hands and old men like me with arthritic or damaged fingers. These citizens are targets for the evil cowards who walk among us. I regularly visit with honored war vets, injured soldiers, fragile women and any others who come to Ten-Ring Precision in search of advice on a carry pistol they can operate. The problem is multifaceted and very real.
Most of these fine men and women have already purchased one of the sub-compact pistols or revolvers such as a Walther PPK or S&W J-frame thinking the small pistol will be easy to operate and conceal. They quickly discover the opposite is the case. The smaller the handgun, the smaller the parts and the tighter the geometry; so the hammer, recoil spring and trigger return spring must be heavy.
The S&W J-frame and others of such size may be honed and smoothed and the springs lightened slightly, but the trigger pull will often still be much too hard for damaged or weak fingers. Small pistols such as the PPK and others can, likewise, be honed and smoothed so the action will actually feel lighter to a strong hand. But the length-of-pull and weight-of-pull are still going to be hard for the lady who prepares your King Ranch chicken, and who must defend the kids and herself when you’re not around. In a world fueled by liberal politicians who mommy-coddle criminals and release them to prey on the innocent and weak, this situation is not acceptable.
The discontinued Colt Government Model .380 is a good possible option
for those with weak or injured hands. You can find one if you shop around a bit.
The solution to this problem is a difficult one and one which we gunsmiths deal with on a daily basis. Indeed, most of these same men and women can no longer see a black front sight well. The sight solution is fairly simple with the advent of the fiber optic, but solutions for the weight-of-pull on behalf of weak hands continues to be evasive.
I’m sure there are pistols and revolvers in America of which I am not familiar, but I have settled on a couple I feel are friendly to the weak hand. The first is the beautiful, but alas, out of production, Colt 1903 and 1908 in .32 ACP and .380 ACP respectively. Yes, I know these calibers are not what we deem as serious, but sometimes we must “give something up in order to gain.” There are .32 and .380 cartridges loaded today with some pretty lethal bullets, ballistics and velocities, so please do not discount their terminal effectiveness.
Another pistol I like for ladies — or antique gents — is the Colt Mark IV Government model in .380 ACP. The 1903, 1908 and Mark IV Government models may still be found in abundant quantities. You’ll discover they are easy to operate for even some weak handed shooters when given professional instruction. Please guys, sign your woman up with a professional instructor. Unless you’re a magician, don’t try to teach her yourself.
I like to advise women and most men to carry their pistol in condition two, which is with a full magazine, but with a chamber empty. You can lessen the amount of pull required to pull the slide back to load a cartridge by first pulling the slide all the way back “on an empty chamber” so the internal or external hammer is cocked. By doing this you do not need to overcome the weight of the hammer spring when you load the chamber for serious business. If you need the pistol in a hurry all you need to do is pull it from your belt or purse in one “smooth” motion, rack the slide to load the chamber and you are ready to defend your life.
Men and husbands, when you purchase a pistol or revolver for the women and relatives you hold dear, please take them with you to the gunshop. While there, they can handle and test each handgun available to see if they will be capable of operating it in an emergency. Never believe the pistol or revolver will become easier to operate with use. Likewise, never believe that in a panic situation your lady will be stronger on adrenalin.
Last, please do not believe a good gunsmith can make it better. We gunsmiths are good, but there is a limit to what we can do. My final advice is to get it right the first time, and buy her a handgun you know she will be able to operate.
By Alex Hamilton