What is the best gun for a woman to carry? Everyone wants to know. There has to be an answer to this question, doesn’t there? It seems like such a simple thing to ask.
Just do an Internet search and you will certainly see articles with titles that claim to have found the Holy Grail of handguns for women. Sorry to burst your bubble, ladies, but despite the fantasy some have that they know which guns are best for a woman, they DON’T know which gun is the right gun for you. There is no best gun for a woman just as there is no best gun for a man! The best gun for you is out there, however. You just have to do some research and have confidence that you will be able to find it. Your lack of knowledge and your newness to gun ownership doesn’t have to mean you are helpless and dependent on what someone else “thinks” is the right gun for you.
I realize as a woman first dipping her toes into the waters of the gun world, finding the right gun can be a bit overwhelming. All you want to know is which gun to buy for yourself, but instead of finding an answer, you get lost in a sea of options and opinions. So lost in fact that it can dampen your enthusiasm and potentially stop you in your tracks.
Finding “your” gun really isn’t all that complicated. What makes it confusing is a combination of: the new shooter’s lack of knowledge, her lack of confidence, and the mixed opinions and advice of others. The truth is that by following a few simple guidelines, you will not only find the right gun for you, the individual woman that you are, but you will do it with confidence. So, stop looking for the gun that is somehow supposed to be the best for a particular gender based on some generalities that may or may not be true for you.
You CAN make the right selection for you, and I have every confidence you will. It’s really a lot like match-making, matching what works for you with the model that has those qualities. It is really a discovery process.
There are many guns to choose from, and as you work to narrow them down and zero in on the best possibilities, you need to understand that you will KNOW it when you find it. The right gun will “just feel right” in your hand. I realize this statement lacks scientific flair – but I KNOW you know what I am talking about. Most women I connect with say this is exactly how they knew which gun was the right one!
Here is some guidance for you. First, do some basic research then trust yourself and your answers to the following five questions. You may find, as I did, that my first gun was perfect for me as my FIRST gun and as I grew as a shooter, I found the best gun for me changed as well.
Here are some simple questions that will serve as a guide to help you find the right match:
Answering this question will help determine the overall size of your gun. If you plan on carrying your gun ON your body, (preferred), the most concealable handguns are the smaller, compact and snub nosed models. Learn about the basics of concealed carry here
This is a very important question to answer. Let’s be honest, a 32A bust size will not conceal a large Glock in a bra holster very well! Body shape, size and how you dress are all important factors in selecting your gun. If you have your heart set on carrying a particular way, know in advance what guns those particular holsters will accommodate. Otherwise you might be disappointed to discover the holster you were counting on carrying with isn’t available for your gun! Read more on concealed carry holsters here.
Things like hand strength, finger strength, ammunition capacity and mechanical complexity must all be considered in order to answer this question. Can you effectively pull the trigger of a Double Action Revolver or “rack” the slide of the semi-automatic pistol? If you are not sure yet how to answer this question, review the differences between a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol here.
For self-defense, the best caliber for you is the one you can shoot and manage the recoil comfortably and that can do the most damage to stop the threat. This is a simplistic view taken to assist the new shooter as there is much to learn about ammunition. Things such as caliber and the ballistics of different calibers and types of ammunition. I encourage you to take some time learning about ammunition.
In my opinion for self-defense, a caliber of .380 in a semi automatic pistol or .38 special in a revolver would be the lowest caliber to consider. Of course, any gun of any caliber is better than none, if you just can’t manage these calibers yet, try a .22 and grow in skill and confidence toward higher caliber pistols.
Your hand should comfortably wrap the entirety of the grip, giving you a strong handle on it. You should be able to perform the mechanical operations of the gun confidently. (Pulling the hammer back on a single action revolver, pressing the magazine release button and releasing the slide lock on a semi-automatic pistol for example.) The meat or pad of your finger should lie solidly and comfortably on the trigger. If you have to stretch or change your grip on the handgun to accomplish this, than it’s not the right gun for you. Here is a video I did on hand size.
Many ranges and gun shops have rentals or demo guns you can try. If possible, find one, even if it means driving a bit of a distance. If you have friends that own guns, perhaps they can take you shooting to try them. Getting the chance to shoot different types of guns of different calibers is the ideal final step in selecting the right gun for you. It gives you the chance to feel how the different gun types shoot. Like with any fine machine, each variety and make will have differences, and getting the chance to feel these first hand makes for the most successful selections. Another great place to try and learn about different guns, is a TWAW Shooting Chapter near you.
There you go, some basic guidelines to help you find the right gun for you. My hope is that you begin the task of finding your partner in self-protection with some confidence. You now have an idea of what you want, and how to identify the right gun for you. Yes, you very well will still need the assistance of others, but the key here is having their “assistance” – not having to completely rely on their opinions.