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I do a lot of handgun training, most of it with women and first-time shooters, some of whom have limited hand or upper-body strength. When using semi-auto pistols, I try to use guns that they can easily manipulate, but some are tougher than others. One client is a nice lady over 50, who has had shoulder problems, and while she shoots a 1911 pretty well, chambering a round is difficult for her, even with low-powered springs. She generally doesn't buy a gun without consulting me first, but one day at Bass Pro Shop a female sales clerk talked her into a Kimber Solo, based mostly on its size. The clerk was a stout woman in her 30's, and easily demonstrated how to lock the slide open and rack a round in. The sale was made, and it wasn't until my client got home that she tried to rack the slide herself. BIG problem.

The Solo has a very short slide, and makes a wonderful concealment gun (it's a 9mm) but the captive recoil spring is something on the order of 300 pounds, or so it would seem. She brought the gun to me, and I had trouble getting the slide back far enough to chamber a round, let alone lock it back, the spring weight was horrendous. I'm not a descendent of the Schwarzenegger clan, but I have pretty decent hand strength, and this thing was a BEAR to manipulate. To make matters worse, it jammed on EVERY shot, regardless of the ammo used, and clearing jams involved a lot of sweating, straining, and colorful language. My client would squeeze off a shot, the gun would seize up, and she'd hand it to me, and it often took me several tries to get it back in working order. After a call to the Kimber factory, the gun was sent back, they replaced nearly everything in it, (including BOTH magazines) and while it finally worked properly, it was still quite a chore for me to work the slide, and impossible for my client.

I tried to get her to sell it at a loss, but finally told her to leave it with a round chambered and the safety on, like the 1911 it resembles. She was okay with that, but felt helpless without someone stronger there in case she had issues with it. After studying the design for awhile, I hit on an idea, spent an hour in the wood shop, and came up with a way for her to work the slide with her good hand.







It's simple in design, easy to make, and it works pretty well. Jam the muzzle into the proper recess, push down hard, and the slide is pushed back far enough to chamber a round. Push a little harder, and you can manually lock the slide back, using one hand or both. It's crude, but it works. I got the idea from a WWII vet who had lost his left arm at Iwo Jima, and used to use the edge of his shooting bench to chamber a round in his 1911. Once the mag was empty he'd dump it, jam the gun into his waistband, pull a fresh magazine out of his belt, shove it into the grip frame, press the slide release, and go back to shooting. He was an accomplished Bullseye shooter, and could blow the X-ring out of a target with his favorite pistol at ranges that would make you wonder what he could have done offhand with a rifle if he'd had two arms at his disposal. Off a bench he was a force to be reckoned with!

Having a woodshop in my basement has been a blessing, and not just for me. I mostly make sawdust, but sometimes some good comes of it. She loves it. And all it cost was some wood scraps and an hour's time.
 

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LOL papajohn I have a old friend and fellow comrade in arms that many years ago lost his left arm in a firefight that owns a 1911. And that we had brainstorm and came up with something similar. He past away a few years ago but his wife uses it on the same 1911. Thank you papjohn for posting that. Especially for those on here who run into the same problem also thank you from me especially. Since my stroke I don't remember a lot and seeing that trigger some pleasant memories for me.
 

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A good solution for a problem that is sure to arise among an ageing population plagued with arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, torn rotator cuffs and who knows what else.
Thanks for taking time to post it.
 
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Maybe after a break in of 200 rds it will loosen up a little.My kahr PM9 was very stiff when I got it.
 

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In the instruction manual it says to insert an empty magazine and pull the slide back until it locks in place . Then insert a loaded magazine and release slide to load. Much easier to load that way.
 

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In the instruction manual it says to insert an empty magazine and pull the slide back until it locks in place . Then insert a loaded magazine and release slide to load. Much easier to load that way.
You still have to pull the slide back the first time, so it wouldn't (in my mind) make much of a difference.

Great idea papajohn, but what kind of damage (if any) does/will it cause to the finish? It does seem like it would be easier for this lady to use a revolver IMO.
 

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PJ,

Nice Idea....................On another note:S&W Shields and probably all M&P's suffer from too much spring force in the Mags.................I'd be really afraid of any woman that could fully load a Shield magazine!

Hey, you're not mad at me, are you?

Tom
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Nice Idea....................On another note:S&W Shields and probably all M&P's suffer from too much spring force in the Mags.................I'd be really afraid of any woman that could fully load a Shield magazine!

Hey, you're not mad at me, are you?
C'mon Tomray, I could never get mad at you for being honest, could I? You're one of our greatest assets on this forum, and if you said something I disagreed with, I'd send you a PM to discuss whatever issue we had. A nice PM. I (and many others) value your input here.

A week ago I wouldn't have known what you meant about the mag springs in the Shield, but I just bought one, and getting that 5th/6th/7th round in there is a serious issue. (That's the nicest way I can think of putting it). I've been accused of having Gorilla Thumbs, able to load stiff magazines in a single bound, but the Shield mags are the worst I've ever encountered, and as I said before, I have pretty good hand strength. I'm looking for a mag loader designed specifically for those, because I can't top them off without prayers, cuss words, profuse sweating, and more cuss words. They are HORRID to load, and since I got the gun, I've left all three mags (I bought an extra) loaded, in the vain hope the springs will soften up over time. I'm not too optimistic about that.

Boobarzo, this gun has seen around 400 rounds, both before and after its trip back to the factory. If it's not broken in by now, it never will be. Most of it was pretty stout.

Marlinluvr, there is no way a soft block of wood will mar the slide, or the finish. That's not a concern.

The saleslady that sold her the gun apparently saw her coming, noticed the Platinum Visa, and sold her something that was completely unfit for her. I warned her not to go to Bass Pro, but she doesn't always listen to me. With Night Sights and a Crimson Trace grip, she has over $1400 in this gun. She has money to burn, but the only thing that got burned in this case was my student. Live and learn. But this has been a VERY expensive lesson.

BTW, she has several nice revolvers, most of which I talked her into, including an engraved 642 she carries daily, a Nickle-plated S&W M-15, and a 3" 686 7-shooter, plus a really sweet Colt Combat Elite 1911. Why she thought she needed this tiny monstrosity is beyond me. It was cute, small, and works like a 1911, so she bought it.

Barenjager has the Solo and likes it, but not every gun is a good idea for my assorted clientele. Limited hand strength and arthritis are common issues with the people I coach, and as North Country Gal pointed out, semiautos have their advantages, but revolvers still have a lot going for them in terms of simplicity and ease of operation. What good is a defensive firearm if you can't make it work, quickly, efficiently and in times of high stress? Clearing jams in this little beast takes minutes, not seconds. I think Kimber had a good idea when they envisioned the Solo, but the execution is sorely lacking in practicality for most people.

Quite frankly, I think my $220 Kel-Tec PM-9 is a better gun. And I am not a fan of most Kel-Tec's, nor the 9mm.

If she wasn't so fashion-conscious, I might be able to talk her into carrying the 1911, but it doesn't hide well in Spandex. Maybe when it gets colder I can talk her into wearing it in a Bianchi shoulder-holster. She likes leather! :wink:
 

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Patent the idea, put some fancy paint or powder coat, and of course make them from carbon fiber, and ya have the next million dollar gadget.:biggrin: But unlike most gadgets, its a needed one.

There are a lot of folks that simply do not have the hand strength to operate some fire arms, age catches up with us all, and women dont stand around mixing things with a wooden spoon, nor carrying water into the house like our moms and grandmothers used to do. Few men no longer buck bales, nor dock lambs etc. when going the to gym, wasnt really required to build muscle.
 

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This may not be a popular response but here we go.

Kudos to you for coming up with a solution but I do not believe in carrying a firearm that you cannot manipulate on your own. Yes, I know that most gunfights end in few than 5 rounds being fired but you still should be able to clear a jam. If the spring is that strong, I can foresee a possible stove pipe from limp wristing it, or some other possible failure. I always taught the folks that I had the pleasure to help, to push your hands together instead of holding the gun with one hand and using the strength of one arm to do the work. One of the problems with guns getting smaller is the spring tension needed to soak up short recoil. BTW, My wife's carry gun is a Shield .40 and I'm impressed with it enough that I plan to pick one up as well, now that they offer it without the little safety on the side. You want a tough mag to load, try a 21 round 2011 mag :beerglass:
 

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Very nice solution to the recoil spring issue; while I agree with Itchy that she ought not have bought a gun she can't manipulate, the fact is that she did. Most folks aren't like us, who trade/sell/get rid of "wrong" guns - they're simply going to work with what they have, and papajohn's fixture lets her do that. Kudos.

As to the Solo locking open after each round, most likely it was the common Solo problem that's given them a spotty reputation. Fortunately, it's a very easy fix.
The gun was most likely field-stripped and reassembled incorrectly when she bought it. Kimber just reassembled it correctly.
There's a small spring in the frame that holds the slide stop *down*. If you reassemble it like a 1911, that spring will get under the slide stop and push it *up*, with the predictable result that it locks back with every shot.
That little spring has to be caught *on top* of the slide stop when you push it back into place during reassembly.
The owner's manual (and many you-tube videos) shows how to do it.
 

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Good job PJ. Just proves that "bubba" is not always wrong. :flute: :tee:
 

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We do training with 1911's. Occasionally we get a diminutive student.

My cure for them to rack the slide is a push/pull.

Grab the top of the slide with the left hand, push the grip forward with your right hand. In short, once gripped as outlined, try to touch opposite elbows.

Works every time. :)

Even the smallest, weakest student can do it.
 

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Patent the idea, put some fancy paint or powder coat, and of course make them from carbon fiber, and ya have the next million dollar gadget.:biggrin: But unlike most gadgets, its a needed one.
Too late, I already patented the idea. I did however give John credit when I named the website...PJ'sOddBalls.com. :flute: :biggrin:

Roe
 

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All of these issues and others with the semi-autos are why my wife and I carry 38 SPL revolvers.

Jack
 

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C'mon Tomray, I could never get mad at you for being honest, could I? You're one of our greatest assets on this forum, and if you said something I disagreed with, I'd send you a PM to discuss whatever issue we had. A nice PM. I (and many others) value your input here.

A week ago I wouldn't have known what you meant about the mag springs in the Shield, but I just bought one, and getting that 5th/6th/7th round in there is a serious issue. (That's the nicest way I can think of putting it). I've been accused of having Gorilla Thumbs, able to load stiff magazines in a single bound, but the Shield mags are the worst I've ever encountered, and as I said before, I have pretty good hand strength. I'm looking for a mag loader designed specifically for those, because I can't top them off without prayers, cuss words, profuse sweating, and more cuss words. They are HORRID to load, and since I got the gun, I've left all three mags (I bought an extra) loaded, in the vain hope the springs will soften up over time. I'm not too optimistic about that.

Boobarzo, this gun has seen around 400 rounds, both before and after its trip back to the factory. If it's not broken in by now, it never will be. Most of it was pretty stout.

Marlinluvr, there is no way a soft block of wood will mar the slide, or the finish. That's not a concern.

The saleslady that sold her the gun apparently saw her coming, noticed the Platinum Visa, and sold her something that was completely unfit for her. I warned her not to go to Bass Pro, but she doesn't always listen to me. With Night Sights and a Crimson Trace grip, she has over $1400 in this gun. She has money to burn, but the only thing that got burned in this case was my student. Live and learn. But this has been a VERY expensive lesson.

BTW, she has several nice revolvers, most of which I talked her into, including an engraved 642 she carries daily, a Nickle-plated S&W M-15, and a 3" 686 7-shooter, plus a really sweet Colt Combat Elite 1911. Why she thought she needed this tiny monstrosity is beyond me. It was cute, small, and works like a 1911, so she bought it.

Barenjager has the Solo and likes it, but not every gun is a good idea for my assorted clientele. Limited hand strength and arthritis are common issues with the people I coach, and as North Country Gal pointed out, semiautos have their advantages, but revolvers still have a lot going for them in terms of simplicity and ease of operation. What good is a defensive firearm if you can't make it work, quickly, efficiently and in times of high stress? Clearing jams in this little beast takes minutes, not seconds. I think Kimber had a good idea when they envisioned the Solo, but the execution is sorely lacking in practicality for most people.

Quite frankly, I think my $220 Kel-Tec PM-9 is a better gun. And I am not a fan of most Kel-Tec's, nor the 9mm.

If she wasn't so fashion-conscious, I might be able to talk her into carrying the 1911, but it doesn't hide well in Spandex. Maybe when it gets colder I can talk her into wearing it in a Bianchi shoulder-holster. She likes leather! :wink:
PapaJohn; I bought my Ruger LC9s because the Hi Point 45 was a bit much for me to handle correctly plus having the stroke I was worry since my physical strength declined and my martial arts training don't work to well in slo mo lol. I bought the LC9s 9mm for conceal carry and I found that loading the clip took a little bit of effort. So I bought a ADCO thumb loader and now am able to load my clips with no effort.
 

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We do training with 1911's. Occasionally we get a diminutive student.

My cure for them to rack the slide is a push/pull.

Grab the top of the slide with the left hand, push the grip forward with your right hand. In short, once gripped as outlined, try to touch opposite elbows.

Works every time. :)

Even the smallest, weakest student can do it.
That is the way I have to do my ruger LC9s. Luckily my right is the weak one and my dominant one.
 
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