There are literally hundreds and hundreds of semi automatic pistols out there in the market, and some excellent ones at that. Every year brings new technology and design improvements that take what’s been out for years and improves upon it.

But, the one thing that continues to remain a challenge is to find pistols that are easier for people with smaller hands, women, and folks with arthritis to operate. Unless you have someone that is knowledgeable enough to advise you, knowing which few to seek out and test drive can be a challenge.

There are two that immediately come to mind when looking for pistols in this category; the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .380 ACP and the newly released Smith & Wesson Shield EZ 9mm. I have run both of them and they truly are a breeze to rack. I had a female student that I taught to shoot for the first time that ran the S&W Shield EZ .380 ACP and she shot that thing like a pro without any assistance at all. It was impressive to say the least. You can see her here.

Two other options that are out there that fit this category are:

  • The Walther CCP M2 9mm – This pistol is not only known for its ease of racking the slide, it is also known for its low recoil characteristics or, what Walther refers to as, “soft recoil” technology.   This pistol has very good ergonomics and a perfectly positioned thumb safety for those that prefer to have a safety.
  • The Walther PK380 .380 ACP – Another offering from Walther that is specifically designed to be easy to rack. This particular pistol is of the double action/single action hammer fired variety.

There are a number of pistols that are chambered in .22LR that are known for being being easy to rack, but that should pretty much be a given considering the caliber. I am not an advocate at all of using the .22LR caliber for self defense. I’d much rather see a student go with one of the .380 or 9mm options if planning to carry it for self defense.

Hopefully, this will help you at least a little bit in finding the right pistol that you can operate. Just don’t forget, no matter what you end up going with, if you don’t practice with it, you are no better prepared with it than without.

Be safe,
Joe Shahoud

Joe Shahoud is the owner and lead instructor at Safe Family Defense LLC, a firearms training academy that serves the greater Columbia, SC area specializing in pistol, concealed weapons permits, personal defense, and general education in personal safety. Visit their classes page to see what is available and enroll.

Joe is also the owner of Safe Family Safes, an online retailer that specializes in fast-access smart gun safes and other gear essential to the concealed carry lifestyle.

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