My late MIL & her "Saturday Night Special"


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Feb 27, 2009
(I posted this on Firing Line too)

Yes, the Titan .25 is a POS.

However, one of those little potmetal junkers quite possibly saved my MIL's life in Taylor, Texas around 25 years ago when she was about the age of 75. Living alone, she had purchased (without telling me) a Titan .25 from her local hardware store for about $25 new. Knowing nothing about guns & never having fired one, she got a local LEO acquaintance to load it for her - then kept it by her bedside at night.

In the middle of one warm summer night she woke up because her two little yappy dawgs were barking at the back door. Seems that a shirtless drunk/druggie was trying to break into her back screen porch. So, ol' Lillie Mae got her untested .25 popgun, turned on the back porch light and threw down on the potential perp. This young twentysomething guy stared at the pistol for a minute, then took off running...with said yappy dawgs (one was a toy poodle, the other a chihuahua) taking up the chase. The cops were called but there was no sign of the perp anywhere. One of the dawgs was found a couple blocks away later that night, and the other was found hiding in a furniture store several blocks in the other direction about noontime.

All's well that ends well, but the wife & I were disturbed that she had armed herself in such an irresponsible manner without telling us. For one thing, she knew I was a gun collector & shooter, but apparently didn't want to rely on her "favorite" son-in-law (I was her only SIL) to help her get a proper weapon.

Then of course she failed to familiarize herself with the crappy little gun she did purchase, much less even taking it out for shooting instruction/practice.

What's even scarier, the LEO who loaded the pistol for her had carelessly put one round in the pipe (the hammer click "safety" didn't work) and jammed one too many rounds in the magazine! Now maybe with this gun in condition 1 she might have gotten off one shot, but that next round wasn't going to feed...even if the slide cycled. When I examined that gun the next day to discover this potential fail, I told her exactly what she had done wrong.

That same week I bought her a S&W Chief's Special (paid about $185 new) with a couple boxes of .38 Sp....then showed her how to load & unload the thing. Since she refused to go out with me to shoot it, I did have her dry-fire it a few times to make sure she could actually pull the trigger & point it.

I know, it still was not a good situation, but she was adamant about having a gun. Of course I impressed upon her the need to be very careful with it, and to put it out of reach if any kids came to visit.

After she passed away in 1995 without any more near shootouts, I put the S&W Model 36 in my safe, but my oldest son wound up with the Titan in his. My wife gave him the S&W along with the box & papers for his birthday a couple of years ago, and he has enjoyed shooting it ever since. He has kept the Titan for purely sentimental reasons...and because of it's "action" history. LOL.


1911 Nut
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Jan 23, 2009
New Braunfels, TX
Ah kinda like "live action target"!



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