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Discussion Starter #1
My FiL is 84 and, considering the current climate, is concerned about protection for his wife and himself. When he asked me about what gun to consider, I found myself weighing a lot of factors as I formulated my response. I have no issue with determining what he can handle and demanding he get training. Those factors are a non-starter.

My concern is his health in considering training, practice, and ensuring realistic expectations. As many men who have worked all their lives he is used to being a proud, confident, and capable person. He currently takes blood thinners and that is my primary worry. He will bleed out brushing up against a hedge. Two weeks ago as result of some light gardening, Peter had to be rushed to the hospital when a misstep ripped through his leg. the damage caught me by surprise as his skin shredded like thin paper after simply stepping through two hedges. The worry is not the his willingness to defend himself, he would not hesitate to protect his wife. I think my worry is going to the range for an form of practice. I'm afraid that a piece of ejected brass would turn into a medical scare.

Of those here that do a lot of training, what has been your experience working with very fragile folks? Are there recommended practices when the practice environment has an increased lethality for folks willing to develop self defense skills?

Is this even a path to consider when someone is that frail?
 

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In that circumstance, I would go with a revolver, mid sized so the recoil isn't as punishing.

Revolvers tend to have fewer sharp edges to catch on things, like skin, and while there might be a few more steps to load and fire, the steps are easier on those with frail skin and/or lacking the strength to manipulate a slide.
 

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Wheel guns may be your answer. I had a female out here at my range recently who could not manage the double action trigger pull on a Ruger 22 revolver. I would evaluate his hand strength carefully.

Smith and Wesson also makes the shield EZ that’s supposed to have a slide thats much easier to rack.
 

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I don't do a lot of training with the elderly/fragile, but he's probably gonna need something light and low recoil! What ammo do you have, because right now there ain't sheeit on the shelves in the way of handgun stuff except 22 Mag (which is better than nothing).....and there ain't much of that!!! As far as "defensive" training, I would think that's a no-go, given his situation. Try to get him to the range and see what he can confidently handle! And 84 and just now worrying about protecting himself and his family? Kinda late to the game, but like they say, better late than never! Good luck with him!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent points. I had not considered those factors and they make perfect sense.

On the second part of the question regarding health concerns during a training class. I'm afraid to take him to the range as first aid is a critical issue should there be an accident, of any nature. I would think that there is both a responsibility to additional attentiveness and there is a degree of legal liability to be factored.I really do not like the 'living in a bubble' analogy and I don't think Peter would be happy to be coddled. No one wants to be a weak link or a complainer. Is private instruction recommended as it would help, primarily me, feel better?
Do we simply prepare an emergency plan in advance (phone numbers, ambulance service, nearest hospital, etc) ?
 

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Echo what others have said regarding getting a revolver as long as your F-i-L has the muscular control to aim a firearm safely, hand strength for the trigger squeeze, cognitive ability to learn a new skill, and then gets training, which you've already said is a non-starter (if he won't). Also, the revolver answers the question about ejected brass from his own firearm potentially causing a heath scare and you could put him on the far left of the firing line at the range for his training to keep other people's ejected brass from potentially striking him and doing the same. I also suggest talking to the RSO(s) and need for placing your F-i-L on the far left of the firing line and their need to be extra vigilant to the risk from someone else on the line to his right violating the rules of safe gun handling when they have a malfunction and stupidly look at the handgun by pointing the muzzle to the left instead downrange. Just my $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't do a lot of training with the elderly/fragile, but he's probably gonna need something light and low recoil! What ammo do you have, because right now there ain't sheeit on the shelves in the way of handgun stuff except 22 Mag (which is better than nothing).....and there ain't much of that!!! As far as "defensive" training, I would think that's a no-go, given his situation. Try to get him to the range and see what he can confidently handle! And 84 and just now worrying about protecting himself and his family? Kinda late to the game, but like they say, better late than never! Good luck with him!
It is never too late. But given his history it makes sense. Being formerly British his thinking towards guns is different than the American independent spirit. Now, as a proud American citizen, he sees the world under an American lens. That is quite an accomplishment for a person of his age, this shift in core thinking. I give him a lot of credit for moving from his roots and adopting this the US view of life.
If he buys a gun, I want to make sure he does not injure himself and that he becomes as capable as he possibly can in the endeavor.While I can only offer my opinion, when asked,he makes his own decisions and actions. I will not try to convince him otherwise, unless it is a severe action. If, because of his condition, it is not advisable to have a gun in his home, then I would state such advice. Hence my question here from, not only, the more experienced trainers, but also from those that have elderly parents and have gone through a similar experience.

I've got a S&W .38 that he could try and confirm his ability to operate. So I guess I could confirm that he can hit a target. At least as a first step.
I really appreciate these factors to consider.
 
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I don't want to say this out loud so I'll type it. Could he have end game ideas?
 

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I have a little plastic 1911 the fires plastic bb’s. I will give it to you if you’d like and you could work with him on muzzle discipline, safety rules etc. i’m in Sanford so I think I’m pretty close to you.That way you could cover all the basics with him personally in the comfort of his home or outside his home. You could also let him dry fire a revolver just to see if he has the hand strength.

He also might be a candidate for a lot of dry fire using a laser as a training tool.

With this situation I would also be concerned about the free bleeding. What about training his wife? They listen to direction better than men anyway.

I think a scandium framed Smith and Wesson 357 magnum revolver might be out of the question.
 

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While recoil on most 38's is tame in comparison to many other calibers out there, sometimes a light frame/short barrel can offset the advantage of a smaller caliber! Hand strength will be a big factor also and some revolvers have triggers that aren't conducive to weak fingers/hands! Hand strengthening exercises are a must for many older folks (even for some of us that aren't quite "older") wanting to pull a trigger and hold onto their pistol! Plenty of advice on the internet regarding hand exercises! Definitely see if he's got what it takes to dry fire your 38 and go from there! Double/single action? Have him try from both positions. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't want to say this out loud so I'll type it. Could he have end game ideas?
No. He is focused on protecting his wife and himself. After recent events, his sense of vulnerability is in question.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have a little plastic 1911 the fires plastic bb’s. I will give it to you if you’d like and you could work with him on muzzle discipline, safety rules etc. i’m in Sanford so I think I’m pretty close to you.That way you could cover all the basics with him personally in the comfort of his home or outside his home. You could also let him dry fire a revolver just to see if he has the hand strength.

He also might be a candidate for a lot of dry fire using a laser as a training tool.

With this situation I would also be concerned about the free bleeding. What about training his wife? They listen to direction better than men anyway.

I think a scandium framed Smith and Wesson 357 magnum revolver might be out of the question.
Agreed on the practice techniques. I have a couple of those tools about but appreciate the offer.
On the question of the missus - That is kind of funny. Mavis can handle a ton more of what life brings. She is the formidable one and, yet, She defers to Peter's protection. He administers his role as the family provider and protector extremely with confidence and fully carries the responsibility with ease.It looks like a modern twist on an old theme.a couple of hundred years ago, you would see them as typical frontiersmen. Now it is as endearing as it is enduring. Mavis would only handle a gun if Peter was dead and the children's lives were at stake.Ironically, her grandchildren are almost 30 and they will protect her with aplomb.

Mavis will not consider handling a gun, although maybe this situation might bring some consideration. But Peter is the husband and the man of the house despite the names they call each other after 60 years of marriage. ;)
 

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How about something a little longer but short and light.
Pistol caliber carbine, doesn't eliminate the slide but a much more comfortable handle can be used.
This doesn't sound like concealment is necessary, .45, 9mm. 15, 20, 30 round mags and a mounted momentary flash light.
Home Operator, add some night vision.

No holstering practice, grab and go, point and click
 

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How about something a little longer but short and light.
Pistol caliber carbine, doesn't eliminate the slide but a much more comfortable handle can be used.
This doesn't sound like concealment is necessary, .45, 9mm. 15, 20, 30 round mags and a mounted momentary flash light.
Home Operator, add some night vision.

No holstering practice, grab and go, point and click
Was thinking the same thing, a lever gun in .357 Magnum should be pretty easy to handle. 🤠
 

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I don't want to say this out loud so I'll type it. Could he have end game ideas?
Not a dumb question.
Most gun deaths are suicides by men 75+

My Dad talked about possibly getting a gun in his late 80's. Since we had just gotten him to stop driving because of slow reaction times and failure to maintain awareness, we thought it a bad idea.
 

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Was thinking the same thing, a lever gun in .357 Magnum should be pretty easy to handle. 🤠
In my twenties, 1st time I grabbed a lever gun 30-30 ran the action twice (wrong???) and left a not so happy bruise on the inside of my finger.
And reloading for the old man.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
I love my 30-30 levers, Can I assume .357 Magnum has less recoil? I'll have to consider that for a bit. I see pluses in handling, particularly with something like a Henry I can't see him going through a reload cycle with any gun as the risk of injury to himself would be a concern. Might be something worth considering even for something as simple as peace of mind.
Although, he only has to drop it once on his foot to negate the entire effort. Mind you dropping a pistol might prove as disastrous.

Sigh, there are more factors to consider than I had originally thought. All of the advice here is worth serious consideration. Not impossible to work out, mind you. but the boxes need to be checked in my mind before I proceed.
 

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I got my mom 76 a S&W 38 air weight it's a older mod36 she was very happy with it, then loaded Hornady 158 XTP's .3 grains under the max they tested well and she tried them at the range without any complaint's, problem solved. She liked the simple point pull trigger no safety .
 
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