We are trying to find a home defense rifle for my mom. She can’t handle my AR. Even with the stock as short as it will go, it’s too long for her. We got her a Tavor airsoft to practice with, and she’s having trouble with that too, although she can actually reach all of the controls. She still has trouble getting it to a place where she can see through the sights.
Unless your Mom is a “Little People” most issues are in how the rifle is mounted. Try getting her to turn straight to the target, kind of like the isosceles pistol stance. My kid sister is 5’-2" and when I got her on an AR with a PRS stock she couldn’t get in behind the sights on a bench. After moving the bench seat around and getting her more squared up she was able to get in behind it and was making 880 yd shots doing holds in short order. It took a bit of effort as she was skittish of the rifle and kept trying to get away from it but eventually we got it worked out. From there she could stand, prone, sit or sling in. I’ve gotten 6 yo 60 lb boys and girls behind a collapsed AR stock by re positioning them from “movie stance” to “reality stance”.
Start at a bench and get her square behind the rifle (perpendicular to the bore) the LOP of a collapsed carbine stock is like 10.5". Have her off hand go to the mag well for support and put the forearm on sand bags or a bipod. Flake her elbows out and the position will come to her. If she is leaning back, she will be wrong she almost needs to HUNCH over the rifle leaning forward. Keep the stock inside her shoulder pocket so that the arm/shoulder can rotate forward and “cup” the stock. You can get this position with only one hand on the gun and then have her reach forward.
FWIW this is very much similar to teaching a right handed shooter to shoot left handed. It’s totay unfamiliar and everything is backwards and upside down.
@LordDeinonychus have looked into the S&W “8 barrel .22? While .22s lack knockdown power, the right placement of the shot could neutralize the problem or at best create space between you and the threat.
9mm AR pistol with a 7.5" barrel with a brace and a good re-dot sight. SUPER easy to control since there is basically no recoil and all the controls are right in your hand. Red dot sights are easy to learn to use effectively and are very forgiving of form and head positioning on the stock. Get one that accepts Glock mags and get some big capacity 30+ round magazines and you’ll probably never need a reload in a real world scenario.
I just got my wife a Ruger PC Charger. I put a simple pistol brace on it. It is short and just a little lighter than an AR pistol. Since it is a 9mm, it has minimal muzzle blast or flash. I put a green dot on top and it is stupid easy to shoot very, very well.
Is this a 16" + barrel? I would bet you the issue is with the front-heavy weight, especially if the stock is collapsed the balance is all tipping forward. We tend to take for granted just because we don’t have trouble lifting a 6-8lb rifle that others won’t have the same difficulty.
To that end, I will echo other suggestions here to try a short-barreled rifle in pistol configuration (altho you have to worry about ATF hot-stepping for the next 4years+ unless you want to SBR it). It may not seem like much but the weight savings from the barrel and also less handguard/rail can be significant and also help balance out the weight back to the rear with the stock collapsed.
An AR in 5.56 I wouldn’t go any shorter than 11.5" (to keep concussion down). Or a 300Blackout in 8" or 9" would be fantastic. If you want to go even shorter barrel (and hence less weight) a PCC like an AR9 or Ruger Charger (as mentioned above) you can get down to a 4 or 5" barrel.
I’d also offer up a Ruger 10/22 as an alternative to the AR-22 mentioned by @Marrio above. 10/22 has a 16" barrel (to avoid ATF), you can get an collapsible stock for it, they are stupid lightweight, can put a red dot or something on it, and a 25round magazine you can put a tremendous amount of lead downrange pretty quickly but accurately.
Hello from a fellow short woman! I’m 5’2", and I have found the “youth” model hunting rifles fit me better than the standard size. I am comfortable with a full-size AR, but the pistol is just as workable, especially with a brace. Carbines are good options if you want something for HD. Some ranges have a variety of carbine and short barrel options to rent and try. Maybe taking her out to try some out might be a good place to start.
You might want to try a m1 30 cal. It has a short barrel easy safety and not too bad charging to get started , several manufacturers still make them like Auto ordinance subdivision of Khar firearms, they make the one that our troops carry in ww2.