Maybe you’re trying to help your parents stay safe in their home, or maybe you’re getting up there in years, losing your vision, and don’t want to sacrifice your love of hunting. No matter the case, knowing what to look for when choosing the right gun for an older shooter is crucial.
Best Guns for Senior Citizens: How to Choose?
In most cases, you’ll want to focus on either a shotgun or a pistol. Shotguns, especially pump-action shotguns, are generally easy to use, point well, and mostly handle by feel. However, shotguns can be heavier and come with a good amount of recoil. If this is a problem, you might want to go with a handgun instead. No matter what type of firearm you choose, from a revolver to a rifle, you should remember to prioritize two things: recoil and reliability.
A gun with lighter recoil is often better for older shooters. Although it may seem counterintuitive, a heavier, larger gun can help with this, because there’s more surface area to dissipate the energy. Reliability is also key, especially in-home or self-defense situations. You definitely don’t want your gun to jam at the worst possible moment. Keeping these things in mind, here are some of my recommendations for the best guns for older shooters.
Ruger 10/22 Standard
Let’s talk about the Ruger .22 Standard, a tried-and-true, time-tested handgun. Since its introduction in 1949, the Ruger Standard has remained one of the most reliable and well-handling pistols out there, making it an excellent choice for aging shooters.
It’s great for almost any application, including self-defense, target practice, or even small-game hunting! Ruger is a very reputable and versatile manufacturer, producing everything from small pistols to some of the best semi-automatic rifles.
Smith & Wesson Shield .380 EZ
If you or someone you know has been having issues with gripping or losing strength in their hands, the Smith & Wesson .380 Shield EZ might be a better choice. As the name suggests, this pistol was designed first and foremost to be easy to use. Racking, shooting, and reloading are all optimized, with lots of texturing and tactility for a secure and comfortable hold. It weighs just 18.5 oz, but features a good quality recoil spring to absorb some of the kick.
The grip angle is also optimized for ultimate comfort and accuracy, making it very comfortable to shoot. This is also a great choice for those with aging eyes because it includes very clear white dot sights that make it simple to aim.
Taurus TH9 9mm
If you’re shopping for a more old-fashioned shooter, you might be more interested in the Taurus TH9 9mm pistol. It features a double-action first shot, which some older individuals are more comfortable using. It’s affordable, reliable, and offers excellent accuracy in single-action firing mode.
Remington .870 Pump-Action
Some shooters might simply prefer a shotgun over a handgun. In that case, the Remington .870 Pump-Action Shotgun could be the one for you.
This is one of the most well-known, classic pump-action shotguns. It has a bit of a heavier weight, but this does definitely help to reduce recoil. For best results and ultimate recoil reduction, try using reduced recoil buckshot ammo. I’d also recommend going with the 20-gauge over the 12-gauge, which might be a bit easier for older shooters to use.
.410 shotguns are also generally simple to use and good for home defense situations, and the Mossberg 500 is one of the best available! Mossberg is arguably the most reputable firearm manufacturer in the country, with over 100 years of experience crafting reliable, accurate firearms. The 500 is also very easy to clean and maintain, meaning there’s relatively little upkeep for you or your senior parent to deal with.
Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field.