(courtesy kygunco.com)

After my father died, my mother continued to summer by the sea. One night, as my SUV’s tires crunched goodbye on the stone driveway, I looked back at the house. The weathered cottage was a softly-lit beacon glowing in the gloaming. This did not fill me with confidence. My eighty-something mother was alone, defenseless. I stopped the truck . . .

Predictably enough, my anti-gun mum was shocked when I suggested she keep my revolver by her bed. Offended. Angry. But I felt duty-bound. When someone spends a large part of their life protecting you, offering them a tool for self-defense is the right thing to do. Even if they won’t receive it.

Luckily, most TTAG readers aren’t in the same place. So, what gun would you/did you buy for your mother – or the mother of your children – for Mother’s Day?

70 Responses to Question of the Day: What Gun for Mum?

    • A lever gun is a great option, as is the 30-30 caliber. Does she hunt deer, or is the gun just for varmints of the 4 and 2 legged varieties? A .357 mag lever gun would also be nice, as would a 9 or .40 carbine.

      • Would guess that a 357 would be a bit much for an older lady. 9 mm or smaller caliber revolver might be a good choice. But, if she got one you would also need to teach her basic gun safety and take her to the range a few times to make sure she was familiar with her weapon and comfortable shooting it. Also want to make sure she could actually hit something with it.

        • .357 in a lever action rifle is what I’m talking about. This rifle would also fire .38 specials if the .357 was too much. Out of a rifle, the .357 would be both quite effective (but less so than a 30-30), and pretty mild recoiling. The .38 special out of a rifle would be really mild, but probably hit more like a .357 out of a handgun. The 9mm carbine would also be great, as would a M1 carbine in .30 cal.

      • I got a brand new Henry lever in .357 and, while I’ve only taken it once to the range, that once was a huge disappointment as the thing jams like a SOB.

        I’m only using new, brass cartridges, no reloads and nothing in aluminum. I rack it with authority to eject the spent casing, which it usually does, but chambering the next round jams about 50% of the time. I’ve tried babying it, too, but same results.

        A modern, quality firearm shouldn’t require a “breaking in” period, IMO, so I won’t let it get away with that excuse. Any ideas on a remedy? Next step is a thorough cleaning and generous lube. After that it’s back to the factory.

    • Bought mom a Mossberg 510 mini in 20 gauge yesterday. It will be the only long gun in the house that is “hers”. She’s not anti-gun at all, but leaves it mostly up to me and dad. It’s now sitting next to dad’s loaded Colt HBAR as her go-to gun.

      I tricked her into showing me her Length of Pull by saying I just found out something cool on the internet and could she help me figure my LOP out. Turns out I’m 14 and she’s about 11.5 inches 🙂

  1. Five years ago I bought my wife an M-9 for Mothers Day. My mother having passed on 20 years prior.

  2. My mom is 83, has Pick’s Disease (an Alzheimer’s variant) and lives in a medical residential facility, a hotel-like nursing home. Even at her best, years ago, I would not have trusted her with any firearms. The mother of our children is a different story, however, and we’re working on getting her up to speed this year on various tools and technologies. She has some minimal experience skeet and clay shooting long ago, but needs to ramp up on handguns, defensive shotgun usage and of course, rifles. Luckily our range is just three miles up the road. And lest I come off as some kind of paternal guru, I also need to recover training I had long ago and get up to speed on new stuff.

    • Someone I know had a mother slowly deteriorating to Alzheimer’s.

      The problem was, she was also a gun owner.

      Her caregivers finally organized a quickie firing pin removal by a local gunsmith during one of her doctor’s visits.

      Alzheimer’s is an ugly, ugly thing.

      • Alzheimer’s and its clones are indeed very ugly scenarios; my dad died 17 years ago of early-onset Alzheimer’s at only 71 and now my mom has it. Neither was into firearms but were OK with me and my brothers doing it. One of my concerns about Mrs. davidx is her forgetfulness and too-often carelessness with tools and leaving stuff in all kinds of places. Not sure how to address that, but we will get her familiarized with the current nomenclatures here, at least, so she knows what to do if I’m not around.

      • Mom died several years ago with/from early onset Alzheimer’s. It was a blessing at that point. For the wife, I am thinking a P320; she likes to shoot, and wants to get the permit.

  3. Give my mother a gun?! Are you nuckin’ futs? Did you ever see “Throw Mama from the Train”?

  4. My mom, and my wife, are both “nervous and uncomfortable” around guns. They aren’t “anti-gun” politically, but are shy/nervous around them.

    I’ve taken my wife shooting once. She shot my one round out of my CZ82 and thought it was “too much”. On the other hand, she actually kind of liked shooting my .22lr NEF R92 6″ revolver. That actually might be the best gun for her. It has 9 rounds, is accurate, and reliable.

    Since that time, I’ve also picked up a Ruger SR22 pistol, which I think she would like shooting. It is pretty reliable, lightweight, concealable, and has ten round mags. I’d also like her to try out my Marlin 795 rifle for a long gun.

    Honestly, I think she would do perfectly fine with my Glock 19, SW9VE, CZ82, Rossi 461, and AK47 as well as the .22s if she wanted to. The P3AT, Colt 1917, S&W 642, Mosin-Nagant, and 12 gauge would not be ideal for her for various reasons.

    My elderly mother probably similar guns. Midsize 9mm, or K-frame .38 if she was willing to apply herself a bit, .22 if that was all she was willing to use.

  5. Wife wants a Bodyguard .380 currently but wants to shoot one before we go spend the money, mothers day range rentals!

  6. Five years ago purchased a bersa For wifey, just because. As a firearm owner and enthusiast, was hoping spouse would be as open to guns as our daughter is. Bersa gets cleaned and lubed as other members of collection, waiting for day wifey sees guns as my daughter and I do……..she recently asked of possibility of taking HER gun to range……..there may yet be hope for her to jump the fence. Time shall tell.

  7. I bought my wife a Ruger LRC .22 for her bday which is close to mother’s day. 8 shots. “Just keep pulling the trigger until they either fall down or run away.”

  8. My mother taught me to shoot. To be more specific, my dad taught me to safely use and clean a firearm, while my mother taught me to shoot with precision. She was partial to .22 revolvers and .410 shotguns…but she was satisfied with the guns she had and the skills she possessed to use them. She was happier with a nice dinner than she’d have been with a new gun she didn’t ask for – or choose for herself.

  9. Give my mother a gun! Are you friggin nuts! She’d use it on me for not calling home enough! Seriously. A Jersey Mom with a gun is a recipe for familial genocide. Holidays at home were soooo much fun! Besides she’d just guilt trip any attacker to death.

    • “Give my mother a gun! Are you friggin nuts! She’d use it on me for not calling home enough!”

      Remember the scene in ‘The Godfather’ when the Don’s daughter is crying to him how her husband beats her?

      The Don replies to the effect of, “What do you do to make him want to beat you?”

      Translation: Call your mom, ed. 🙂

  10. My pint sized mom likes her M&P9 quite a bit. It’s grip is quite ergonomic and thus very forgiving of her small hands.

    But her first love will always be the old single six that grandpa designated to be the “girls’ gun” when her and her sister were growing up. Although she is definitely warming up to the S&W 617 that we got her for shooting Steel Challenge, she likes the wheel gun uniqueness.

  11. If only there was an organization consisting of MOMS DEMANDing to be able to protect themselves. Maybe they would suggest something in double ACTION.

  12. Mom is partial to dads S&W model 27 4″ with .38s in it. Just gave my daughter a makarov with 3 mags for protecting her and her daughter. She looks forward to range time.

    (Mind you, this was done prior to the new communist law here)

    • Makarovs are a great option for a reliable, practical, inexpensive, general purpose handgun. You deserve a big hug for being a good dad.

    • Tom, wouldn’t have made any difference, as long as they are near relatives, wife daughter, son, etc.

  13. My mother lives in a state of perpetual fear of everything. No guns for her.
    My mother-in-law upon my wife showing her her new IDPA pistol promptly grabbed it, turned it toward her face and asked “is it loaded?” while simultaneously working the trigger. Later that day we went to the range for a little basic pistols class.

    Sometimes I wish humans were one of those species that ate the sitting mother upon hatching for strength to grow. Sometimes meaning everyday.

    • “My mother-in-law upon my wife showing her her new IDPA pistol promptly grabbed it, turned it toward her face and asked “is it loaded?” while simultaneously working the trigger.”

      One word:

      Yikes.

      I feel for you, man…

  14. My mother, like the rest of my family, was raised around guns and shot from an early age. Before she passed away she gave my daughter her Colt .25. She had carried that pistol since she was 16 and my daughter now carries it as her back-up. My wife has one too, a gift from my aunt.

    • “She had carried that pistol [Colt .25] since she was 16 …”

      Impossible … we all know that teenagers — especially girls — are emotionally unstable and would have been guaranteed to harm herself or someone else at some point in the first 24 hours of acquiring that pistol!

      /end_sarcasm

      • Kids raised with an expectation of responsibility are likely the least apt to do stupid sh!t.

  15. I wish I had the funds to buy the mother of my kids a gun. She loves guns. My own mom went to heaven 38years ago and I have no clue, what she thought…but my dad taught us to shoot so I think she’d be OK. My mother-in-law lived with us and had a shiny 38 until she went to a nursing home. Sorry for your troubles RF.

  16. My better half already has a pistol so probably the 20 ga pistol grip shotgun she liked at the gun store. She picked it up and said “Oh! I like this one!” It’s only a matter of time.

  17. I would purchase a compact rifle in .22 LR (with a 16 inch barrel and a tube magazine) for someone who has minimal interest in firearms. The compact long gun makes aiming fairly easy without sacrificing too much maneuverability. And the tube magazine is pretty darned reliable. If that tube magazine can hold at least 14 rounds, that represents enough capacity to dissuade all but the most determined (or stoned) home invaders.

    If your mom can tolerate a little more recoil or has more interest, a semi-auto carbine chambered in .44 Special with a tube magazine would be ideal. Unfortunately, I don’t believe such a firearm exists.

    • I agree pistol caliber carbines are great for new shooters. Just Right Carbines are nice. What about a Henry .357 lever action loaded with .38 special?

    • “If your mom can tolerate a little more recoil or has more interest, a semi-auto carbine chambered in .44 Special with a tube magazine would be ideal. Unfortunately, I don’t believe such a firearm exists.”

      Plenty of lever-actions in .44, almost as easy to use…

      • Yeah, I thought of that … and I also pictured a nice little older lady (who is a bit more frail in her golden years) having trouble operating the lever action during an actual home invasion. For that reason I like semi-auto. The trouble is, no one seems to make a semi-auto carbine in .38 Special or .357 Magnum — especially with a tube magazine.

  18. My GF (and future mother of our kids) got my kimber for Xmas a,couple years ago. Couple months ago she told me she wanted her ccw. Off to the store. she tried every small gun in the place. Picked a nice SIG 938 with night sights and houge grips. she’s always had good taste in guns. momma is partial to dads hi-power 9mm

  19. My mom is long, long gone, but when she was here, she could do more damage with a wooden spoon than most women could do with a 12 gauge.

    • If it was his mother-in-law that he shot, I’d have to wonder if it was truly an accident.

  20. The little lady has spoken and she wants a pup for mum’s day. And I’ll be getting one pop’s day.

    • Of course you let her pick the gun. This whole discussion is really hypothetical about what you think would be a good gun for your mom or wife. My wife and my mom don’t care much for guns, so I’d be delighted to give them whatever gun they wanted.

      A friend of mine gave his wife a 10/22 takedown rifle for mother’s day last year, and she cried (happy tears of feeling loved) because she is a sage-rat/ground-squirrel shooting mama. She picked it out by the way. Though she already had a Marlin 60, the takedown Ruger gave her something she could throw in the back of the minivan for impromptu shooting sessions.

  21. My brother made sure to get his wife a good simple firearm. Mossberg 590. He had to put an adjustable stock on it to fit her better, and she had to get used to the fact that it wasn’t a .380, but that is one household I would definitely not wanna be trying to gain illegal entry to.

  22. My mother loves her Walther PK380. My wife… not so much. I’m trying to talk her into a Ruger SR22 and work her up from there, but it is a challenge.

    • I have both or my wife has the PK380. It shoots almost like a .22. The SR22 has the same feel. I love that combo. If you can get HER shooting the SR she CAN transition easily to the PK.

  23. A few years back i got my mother a stainless 3″ GP100. She loves it and shoots it well. I like that she’s got some sort of protection out on the farm by herself.

  24. My late mother kept a Colt Woodsman handy. She was ornery, determined, and very accurate with it. We lived in the country, and she kept in practice by dispatching various varmints that came around the house.

    She’s long gone, and I sure wish I knew what happened to the Colt. Their house burned, and I suspect it was destroyed in the fire. The Ruger Mark I gave my dad probably survived in a part that wasn’t burned, but was stolen by the time I could get to the house to look for it.

    • +1 on the Colt Woodsman. Its the only gun the woman can shoot well. Bought her an SR22 which she likes but she limp-wrists it from time to time and has a hard time racking the slide. Didn’t think that was possible if I didn’t see it myself. Can’t pull the trigger on a LCR22. She is afraid of anything larger caliber so I don’t push it anymore. But the Colt is the perfect size, heft, and ergonomics for her and is quite reliable. I wish I could find another one.

  25. A .308 cal bolt-action rifle with a freefloated barrel, detachable box mag of at least 5 rounds, a good bipod, a scope of repute in the 3-24x range, along with the Pelican case for it all. Mother wants to do intro to precision rifle, only wish I had the spare change to get it for her. And an S&W 929 as an inside joke gift.

  26. Lived out in the country a grew up around guns and left the childhood home with a couple .22 rifles. My only pistol from 76 to 06 was a Ruger Single Six with a WMR cylinder included. LR for the range WMR hollow point for home defense. My SO of 14 years started saying she wanted to learn shooting so she could defend herself. And boy did she push hard. So we started with the Single Six. Just befor CCW passed in Wisconsin, a friend gave me a good deal on XD40. Now she was really hungry. I bought her a PK380 and I got the Shield. We both have our CCW and she just transitioned to the G42 (forgot to work it into a special day gift) So call it an early MD gift. She will even shoot the XD on occasion .
    She was the push and over the last four years we (I) have acquired 3 rifles and 4 or 5 other pistols. A little catch up.
    She was the gift.

  27. I always like a good .410 pump shotgun. Easy to operate, compact, reliable, inexpensive, and highly effective. From a defensive firearm standpoint, it definitely punches above its weight.

  28. Related to this question and the possible subject of another article, how do you buy your mother or anyone else a gun without lying on the federal form? Doesn’t it specifically ask if you’re buying for yourself?

    • Strictly speaking, you are still the “actual buyer”, even if you plan to give it as a gift, since they aren’t buying it at all. Moreover, there’s no federal law against giving a firearm as a gift. That said, there are some 20,000 gun laws out there, so it’s treacherous terrain.

      Interstate transfers must go through an FFL regardless. Same for intrastate transfers in some states. Then there are restrictions on shipping methods. Of course, you may not provide a firearm to a known prohibited possessor, aside from other circumstances.

      A safe play is to buy a gift card for the person for the amount of the gun, and just let them go through the purchase process themselves.

  29. My mom lives in Illinois and now has her CCW. As much as I was against getting her a small revolver she wanted a SW 442, so I got one for her. I think of the 442 as an experts gun, but she shoots twice a week and groups smaller than I can.

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