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Easy to rack handguns?

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What type of semiauto's would be easy to rack for a small woman? My gf is unable to efficiently manipulate my S&W M&P9C and M&P9 Pro (and by efficiently, I mean unable to pull the slide far enough back to chamber a round). She has tried a friend's G19 and could pull back the slide a little easier, but she still found it pretty difficult. I've tried to teach her different techniques but she seems to just not have the strength.

 

So what are my options for her to try out? 9mm preferred, as I have plenty of ammo, but would entertain other options (although ammo scarcity might make it prohibitive). 

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My wife can't rack my G19 and ended up getting her a Sig P238 (.380). Nice shooting little gun.

I second this.  The 238 is exceptionally easy to rack!

 

In general, or in depth, or both...

a pistol is easy to rack when the rack operation can be seperated from cocking the gun.  A pistol is easy to rack if it has a long slide operation.  A pistol is easy to rack if it has a lighter recoil spring.    A lighter caliber is easier to rack because it has a weaker recoil spring, so a 380 is easier than a 9, a 22 is easier still, etc.  My desert eagle takes a great deal of effort.

 

So a DA/SA, if cocked first, is easier to rack than an internal striker that is being pulled back along with the recoil spring.   A SAO 1911ish pistol is easy to rack if you thumb the hammer back first.   Replacing the springs with a lighter one can help quite a bit.  Having some texture to the slide to grip can help.  A DAO may be easy to rack as well --- the action is independent of the slide for those, but make sure she can pull the trigger and LIKES the heavy pull on it (same for any gun but esp for a difficult to operate one).  

 

All that is on TOP of using a good technique, rather than trying the manly slingshot method, try to use leverage to your advantage (there are videos and links of better ways to rack that use less muscle and more brains). 

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It's a matter of technique. Women tend to be tentative with guns and that's absolutely the wrong thing to do when trying to rack a small semi auto.

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/running-the-gun/rack-the-slide/

My 5'2" wife can easily rack my .45 compact when using the above method.

Great link, thanks much!!!

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Or, just get a revolver..  If she can't pull the slide on a semi-auto, she probably isn't going to be comfortable with it if she needs it.  Get a revolver.  Simple as point and shoot.  She should be able to handle a .38 hopefully.  

Edited by Hozzie
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It's a matter of technique. Women tend to be tentative with guns and that's absolutely the wrong thing to do when trying to rack a small semi auto.

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/running-the-gun/rack-the-slide/

My 5'2" wife can easily rack my .45 compact when using the above method.

 

I 2nd or 3rd this... where ever I am in line.  My wife is a true weakling but I taught her how to rack a semi properly.

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We sold a ton of the Walther PK 380's to ladies due to just that feature, super easy slide operation.  Even easier than the 238's.  Grab one and give it a "rack"

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My wife loves her P238 beacause it's so easy to rack and shoots so nice. She doesn't have any trouble with the Glocks and larger slides either. It's the ones like my PF9 that she doesn't like Edited by Batman

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One other option -- Beretta Tomcat (3032).

Not my first choice in a defensive round, but that little pop-up barrell

-- and the low recoil -- and the ease of concealing -- ended up being

my better half's EDC.  And I'd rather she have that .32 than nothing.

 

(She's pretty good with a .38 Special airweight, too, but doesn't want

more than 5 or 10 rounds at a time.  With the Tomcat, she's good for

a box of ammo at practice time.)

 

The techniques mentioned above may solve her problem, but it didn't

work for the spouse.  'Course, neck and then cancer surgery have

done a number on Joy's grip.  Hasn't hurt her aim, though!

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I taught my wife, daughter and sisters to use the technique in the link peejman posted. My sisters are rather petite lil thangs and lack any semblance of upper body strength. Both could lock the slide back on any of my guns once they stopped trying to muscle the slide rearward instead of anchoring the slide and pushing the frame forward.
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We sold a ton of the Walther PK 380's to ladies due to just that feature, super easy slide operation.  Even easier than the 238's.  Grab one and give it a "rack"

This is the pistol that I would also recommend. I have a PK380 and a P238 and the PK380 is easier to rack the slide since there is a little more to grab onto compared to the P238. Both pistols are great shooters with the PK380 having milder felt recoil since it is a larger pistol.

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OP, like a couple of others have stated - it's technique, not strength.

 

My 90 pound, 13 year old niece has NO ISSUES running a Glock 9mm.  She even likes the Ranger +P+ ammo I let her shoot. 

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Racking the slide has to become a "no thought needed" exercise.  We used to teach the point it down and use the shoulders technique for those determined to get a semi-auto that was difficult to rack and yes, they could eventually get it to work but when it comes down to reducing a stoppage under pressure, do you really want them to have to come off target, go through that exercise or just tap/rack/bang while keeping it pointed at the threat?  Make it easy on the lady to train, and train correctly. 

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Racking the slide has to become a "no thought needed" exercise.  We used to teach the point it down and use the shoulders technique for those determined to get a semi-auto that was difficult to rack and yes, they could eventually get it to work but when it comes down to reducing a stoppage under pressure, do you really want them to have to come off target, go through that exercise or just tap/rack/bang while keeping it pointed at the threat?  Make it easy on the lady to train, and train correctly.


That's a darn good point and bringing the gun to midline to take advantage of larger muscle groups definitely takes the gun "out of the box" where you should be operating.
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What type of semiauto's would be easy to rack for a small woman? My gf is unable to efficiently manipulate my S&W M&P9C and M&P9 Pro (and by efficiently, I mean unable to pull the slide far enough back to chamber a round). She has tried a friend's G19 and could pull back the slide a little easier, but she still found it pretty difficult. I've tried to teach her different techniques but she seems to just not have the strength.

 

So what are my options for her to try out? 9mm preferred, as I have plenty of ammo, but would entertain other options (although ammo scarcity might make it prohibitive). 

I've never seen a woman, even my niece when she was 10 (who even today at 14 is 5'2: and < 100lbs), not be able to rack any 1911 or Glock...they simply have to be taught how to apply leverage properly.

 

I suggest she concentrate on finding the firearm she is comfortable shooting/carrying (if carrying is in the cards) and then learn how to rack it.

Edited by RobertNashville

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OP, like a couple of others have stated - it's technique, not strength.

 

My 90 pound, 13 year old niece has NO ISSUES running a Glock 9mm.  She even likes the Ranger +P+ ammo I let her shoot. 

 

That put a grin on my face, especially the +P+.

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I've gotta agree with the folks saying it is technique. All of my daughters and wife can rack my 1911. It took a little while, but once they got it about pushing the gun forward they do not have a problem. Of course racking the slide on my S&W 422 is a bit easier :)

 

I was at the range yesterday and a young girl was struggling to rack the slide on a smallish 9mm semi-auto. I was starting to get really nervous as the muzzle wandered towards me. I wanted to give a a pointer, but they got it racked before I could offer.

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I agree with all the technique stuff but, there is more to handling a firearm than racking the slide.

Perhaps a membership to the Y or a Gym and some time with a personal trainer.

Get them moving on the road to better overall fitness.

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I agree with all the technique stuff but, there is more to handling a firearm than racking the slide.

Perhaps a membership to the Y or a Gym and some time with a personal trainer.

Get them moving on the road to better overall fitness.

Certainly, being able to control the weapon is vitally important but I'm not sure that was a problem for the op's spouse???

 

I know I eventually stopped carrying a G31 just because I found it harder (for me) to control than a G20 or G21!

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