The Top 5 Arthritis Friendly Guns

What Is the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Got Arthritis? Well, We Have Gun Options for You


Got arthritis? I know I do. It runs in the family, and I developed it when I was 23 years old. I’ve also been working with a new shooter who has terrible arthritis in her hands. We worked on learning basic gun safety, marksmanship fundamentals, and the very basics of self-defense. An issue she ran into was finding the right gun for her. She could find tons of lists about the best guns for women, for smaller shooters, and more, but none for those suffering from arthritis. 

So why can’t we do one? I formed this list from my experience with arthritis, from working with people who have arthritis, and my experience with a ton of different handguns. I gathered five of the best handguns for those who deal with arthritis. 

Smith &Wesson Shield EZ Series 

The Shield EZ series was built from the ground up for people with weak hands. It implements an easy to rack the slide, an easy to load magazine, and a low recoil design. The EZ series comes in both 9mm and .380 ACP. The .380 ACP variants offers the lowest recoil, but the difference between the two calibers is somewhat minimal.

The Shield EZ’s full-sized grip allows for a good grip, maximum control, and maximum recoil reduction. The Shield EZ is not the smallest gun but makes shooting with arthritis comfortable. 

Walther CCP M2 .380 ACP 

CCP stands for concealed carry pistol, and the CCP first premiered in 9mm. The CCP M2 in .380 ACP takes the same small design and reduced recoil significantly. The CCP sports a very easy to rack slide that glides rearward. The little Walther also uses a proprietary gas system known as the Softcoil gas system.

This actively reduces recoil and makes the CCP extremely easy to shoot and handle for shooters of all strength levels. The combination of the .380 ACP cartridge and the Softcoil technology makes the CCP a real kitten for hands plagued by arthritis. 

Beretta Tomcat 3032 

The Beretta Tomcat is an ultra-small gun designed for deep concealment that’s handy for arthritis infused shooters. It’s one of the smallest guns on this list. It is chambered in the .32 ACP cartridge, which admittedly is less power than most would like. However, the .32 ACP generates minimal recoil and allows you to carry an ultra-small gun.

The tip-up barrel design eliminates the need to rack the weapon, and the heavy frame absorbs the already minimal .32 ACP recoil. 

Ruger LCR or LCRx

Revolvers are tricky for those with reduced hand strength and arthritis. The long double-action trigger can often be too heavy to be comfortable. The Ruger LCR features one of the best double-action triggers on the market. It’s smooth and light and never fights you on its way back. The LCRx model also allows you to cock the hammer for short single-action shots. The LCRx comes in various calibers, and those with arthritis should stick to .38 Special or .327 Federal magnum. 

327 Federal is powerful but recoils softly. If that’s specific niche ammo is too hard to find, the .38 Special model loaded with 90 grain Federal Lite loads may be the ticket for you. 

SIG P238 

The SIG P238 is one gun that’s often never mentioned in the quest for the perfect gun for those who have arthritis or weak hands. Often pocket-sized .380s recoil strongly and snaps and pop your hand, but the P238 is different. The P238 mitigates recoil well through the combination of the all-metal frame, the .380 ACP cartridge, and the single-action hammer. The weight of the metal frame and 1911 grip ergonomics are perfect for cutting recoil. The single-action hammer also slows the slide down a hair, cutting down on recoil even more. 

Users can pre cock the hammer, and this makes working the slide easier. The little P238 is small and easy to carry, and the .380 ACP cartridge is perfectly suitable for self-defense. 

Arthritis Sucks!

The above line is very true. Arthritis sucks to have, but you should never let it stop you from protecting yourself or exercising 2nd Amendment rights. One of the above guns is perfect for concealed carry. They are small but easy to manipulate and take active steps to reduce recoil. If you decide on one of these carry guns then I humbly ask you to check out Crossbreed’s holsters. We offer a holster for each and every gun

Do you have arthritis? Have you found a gun that works for you? 

Let us know below. 


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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.


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18 thoughts on “The Top 5 Arthritis Friendly Guns”

  1. I read the above article on arthritis friendly guns. I’m not sure how the Beretta Tomcat made it on your list. You’re correct in that you don’t have to rack the slide but the button to push to release the barrel top is impossibly hard to push with someone with weak hands. If you happen to get it to release you then can’t push the slide back down into place because it’s extremely difficult. I know this because I bought this gun based on your articles recommendation. I would not recommend this gun to anyone with weak or arthritic hands.

  2. William E. Blubaugh

    I am a disabled veteran Who has severe arthritis in my hands shoulders knees looking for a easy shooting at issuing and recoil pistol I have a Bersa 380 I have never fired it it is still in new condition.

  3. James Strickland

    Based on your review, I bought a Ruger LCR in 38 special for my wife with arthritic hands. Bad information, and now we’re stuck with a firearm that she cannot pull the trigger on. Further research shows that the trigger is anywhere from 10+ to 13. What were you thinking?

  4. Stephen Collins

    You started off okay, then went right down the crapper. The first two I can get behind, after that? No way. I’ve trained a lot of shooters with weak hands due to injury, arthritis, etc. Hell, I’ve got arthritis now, so I understand even better. A revolver is almost always a bad choice, simply because of the trigger pull. Even a .22LR Ruger LCR has a tougher trigger pull than many arthritic fingers can pull. In fact, any handgun with a long trigger pull is going to be suboptimal.

    The last three are also going to be painful to shoot because of their small size. Depending on the severity of pain that the shooter is already probably living with, now throw a good bit of recoil on top of it, and you’ve got a gun that stays at home in the sock drawer.

  5. Victor Waruszewski

    In addition to arthritis, carpel tunnel does not make life easier. The P238 was my first choice for EDC for a number of reasons. I love it and also a S&W J frame 38.

  6. Great article!

    I happen to have the LCR and it is easy to shoot. However I practice a lot and I wore it out.

    I’m. Looking for a semi that I can shoot at practice at least 50 rounds every couple of weeks that’s artihitis friendly. Which of the ones you recommend might suit me


  7. I have 3 S+W PM shield ez handguns….a 380,and two 9mm. Love them!!
    I bought them specifically because of my arthritis. They do not disappoint

    1. THANKS MARY for your review! I have arthritis too in my thumb! Long time shooter and I know how solve the problem of racking and recoils but do not see too many gals reviewing. I do have the .380 SE EX .380 and I could shoot and carry all day long with no pain. So I want the 9mm but will have to read more about the EZ in 9mm. The .380 is big and heavy so out for edc! Wondering how the 9 mm racks and recoil. Anybody?

      1. I own both 380 & 9mm S&W EZ, AND a 9mm Performance Center EZ, all rack the same, I can not tell the difference. The Performance Center 9mm is smoother shooting by a little. All are dead on accurate, I carry one. Find them to be my only handguns that allow either hand, one handed, multi round shooting with accuracy. I have had RA for over 35 years, very painful with most handguns, tolerable with these EZ models.

        1. Forgot to mention, if you get a performance center EZ, do NOT get the shiny metal grip safety. If it comes that way send to S&W for replacement with the grip safety you have on the 380. The one that came on my 9mm PM EZ was so sharp and protruded from grip so far it was impossible for anyone with RA to shoot more several shots, causing severe pain. Once grip safety was changed, smooth and soft, no pain.

    2. Thank you Mary and all the others that have replied to your post.
      I’ve been looking to swap my Walther P22 for a 9mm that’s easy on my arthritic hands & shoulders, not a lot of recoil and small enough for CC.
      This S&W sounds like the perfect fit.

  8. For in-home protection would a BB or pellet gun suffice? I’m 72, arthritic and have MS. The suggestions above all seem to heavy or complicated. Thank you!

    1. Any bb or pellet gun that’s self defense viable isn’t user friendly. My suggestion would be a 22lr or magnum revolver. They aren’t hard to find nor all that expensive and I’ve been using one since I was 7. Smith and wesson or ruger seem to be the most solid these days.

    2. A pellet gun or a bb gun with repeated shots approx 9 shots will sting like crazy and my put the person down. The person might me able to move in a very slow way and long as the hits are in the chest are i they are facing you, or they could trun aroud and still can be hit and feel the stinking pain and may leave in a crying state slowing making their way our of your way.

  9. MY advice would be to have a ””’BEAR SPRAY NEAR YOUR SURRONDING WITH A MOST POWERFUL GUN YOU CAN USE IN A CRIMMINAL SITUATION, AND DONT STOP SHOOTING UNTILL THE PERSON IS UNCONSCINESOS OR D E A D. HAVE UNITED STATE CONCEALED CARRY INSURANCE FOR 35.00 A MTH, LOCATED IN WISCONSIN WITH THE PHONE NO OF 1-877-677-1919. I AM A PLATINUM MEMBER. Call me at cell 216-849-8388. I am a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do Karate and have taken down people 6’8 by kicking them with a swing kick right to their knee joint and it brings them down and in pain. I also wouuld suggest you take self defense lessons and get training for about 9 mths that will make you quick, fast and attack the pressure points to put an attacker down and fast.

  10. Good recommendations.
    I have arthritis and carry a Ruger SP101 with a 3″ barrel, loaded with 38 special.
    DA trigger pull is very manageable, but I have smoothed the action.

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