Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Guns for disabled shooters
EDITED TO ADD: Due to a lot of interest in this post and links to it from other bloggers, I've added a suggestion at the end.
I'm almost at my wit's end trying to locate several firearms for disabled shooters who live in areas where they feel threatened by dangers such as home invasion, etc. Some feel at risk when going down the street in wheelchairs, on crutches, or using another mobility aid, because gang-bangers regard them as feeble - easy prey. Trouble is, on disability income (often no more than a few hundred dollars per month) they can't afford to buy new or high-quality firearms for self-defense.
Time was I could find old revolvers (decent ones such as Smith & Wesson police department trade-in Model 10's and more modern versions such as the Model 15, Model 64, etc.) for $150-$200. Not any more. The diminishing supply of police trade-in revolvers, and increasing demand for low-cost home defense weapons, has meant that finding such deals is now a matter of luck alone. The last couple of handguns I was able to find for disabled shooters were older-model Ruger P-series pistols. The earliest production runs of P85 9mm. handguns (shown below) are sometimes available in the $200-$250 range, and I buy them when I can find them.
They're big and bulky, which is a problem for those with small hands, but beggars can't be choosers.
Also, time was I could get halfway decent pump-action shotguns (used Remington 870's or Mossberg 500's) for $150-$200. No longer. I'm probably going to have to look more closely at Chinese copies of US designs. A Chinese clone of the Remington 870 is widely available for about $200, and a locally-assembled version sells for a similar price. They're rougher and less well put together than the original, but if one can't afford a Remington . . . (Rifles are pretty much out of the question, as a worthwhile one will usually be a lot more expensive than a 'beater' shotgun. Besides, for home defense most rifles have the disadvantages of being too powerful and over-penetrative.)
(I've had some success swapping ammo for suitable firearms. For example, I've got a reasonably good stash of .22LR ammo, which is as scarce as hens' teeth in the shops right now. I recently obtained a Ruger P85 for $50 plus four bricks of Winchester 333, and the seller was very glad to get it! Another seller parted with a shotgun in exchange for a selection of .45 ACP ball and 12ga. buckshot.)
I have three or four disabled shooters who I can only describe as seriously impoverished. They can't find work to supplement their meager allowances, and therefore can't spare more than a few dollars for their protection. For their use, I'm looking at estate sales and elsewhere to see whether I can find a few of the old single-shot H&R or NEF shotguns. These sometimes used to sell at auction for as little as $20 - in poor cosmetic condition, to be sure, but still shootable. A single-shot shotgun is better than nothing for home defense, and if that's all these people can afford, it'll have to do. (I'll donate sufficient ammo to train them to a proficient level.)
I'd be grateful if those of my readers who care about such things would please keep their eyes peeled for older, usable-condition pistols, revolvers and shotguns at low prices. I know everyone wants them, but if you spot something like an old single-shot shotgun, or old Ruger P-series pistol, or an equivalent weapon at a price along the lines discussed above, PLEASE e-mail me! (My address is in my blog profile.) I may ask whether you'll be willing to buy it (on receipt of funds, of course) and ship it to a local FFL for legal transfer to a disabled shooter. However, that'll add shipping and FFL fees to the cost, which may make it unaffordable (unless you're in Tennessee, in which case a face-to-face transfer will be legal and free of charge).
If any of you have an old firearm like that doing nothing but take up space in your gun safe, and you feel like donating it, or selling it at a good price, to a good cause, please e-mail me . . .
EDITED TO ADD: I've had many readers arrive at this post from other blogs - far more than I expected. I'm very grateful for your interest, and for several offers of suitable firearms: but there may be a better way for you to help.
I'm just one man, in one city, trying to help one group of disabled people. There are vastly more of them spread across this country, in every town and city, in every county and state. Instead of sending guns or money to me, why not approach a local shooting range to discuss the possibility of setting up training classes for disabled shooters in your area? You (and your range) could approach local groups of disabled people (there are bound to be links to such groups in your telephone directory), offering training for those interested in it. If enough of us do this, it would be of great help to far more people than I can reach.
Thanks for your interest!