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The Top 10 Guns Women Are Buying

What are the top 10 guns women are buying? There are two questions we receive here at The Well Armed Woman every single day, all day long. What guns should I buy and how should I conceal carry? This isn’t surprising as women are trying to solve a big problem, they want to stay safe and be able to effectively protect themselves and their families and have the right tools and equipment to do that. It’s natural that they want the best gun and the best holster to carry it in. The problem is, there are no “right” answers, but we can rely on our friends to tell us which are their favorites. In this article focuses on the top 10 guns women are buying.

What are women looking for in a gun?

Each woman is just so unique and there are numerous variables that must be addressed to find the right gun and right holster for them, and for their lives. However, with all of the choices out there, it is very helpful to at least begin to try to narrow it down. The recommendations of other women and knowing what choices other women are making can help to take some of the overwhelm out of these decisions. In this article, I am going to focus on the gun and to help, we are going to look at data. I know, data sounds so sterile and impersonal but the truth is data reveals so much and it tells a story that we can learn so much from.

The Data

So let’s focus on what The Well Armed Woman data is showing is about the guns women are buying. I surveyed 4883 women. Yes – all of the data represented here is from women ranging in age from 18 to 76+ who range in experience from brand new shooters with experience less than 1 year to women with 20 or more years under their belts.  The data used to compile this list is based on guns purchased in 2017. Not guns they already own, just the new purchases. I will also compare this data with previous years to see patterns or shifts in preferences. One more thing before we get started, I have linked each model to reviews that were written by women just like you. I think you will find it invaluable to hear what they liked and disliked about these guns as you research and investigate all of these models to make your own best choices.

An important thing to note is that ALL of the below are outstanding firearms. The ranking is not a ranking of quality or performance but more of that of preference.  I have personally shot all of these firearms and would carry, train with and trust my life with any of them. You literally can’t go wrong with any one of these. The task is to find the one that fits you, the one you can handle and shoot accurately with confidence and the one you can carry on your body as you live out your life.

Are you ready? Let’s do it!

The Top 10 Guns Purchased by Women in 2017

#10      Ruger LC9s 9mm

I have to say this surprised me. Of the Ruger guns most common for concealed carry, I really expected the LC9s to be higher than our number 7 on the list, another Ruger. (No, I am not going to tell you what it is, that would be cheating!!) The Ruger LC9s is an awesome gun. It’s very concealable and one of the smallest, if not the smallest of the 9mm concealed carry guns.  It was #4 in 2016 and #7 in 2015. Perhaps because the LC9 is also out there, it is possible that some confusion existed in the completion of the survey. Just a thought.  Read TWAW reviews here

#9        Glock 26  9mm

guns women are buying

The Glock 26 moved up 2 spaces from #11 in 2016 to back to #9 in 2017. It was also the #9 top seller in 2015. The Glock 26 has an outstanding capacity of 10 rounds (Plus one more with a round in the chamber) I think this is one of the reasons this gun over the years has been a favorite of so many concealed carriers, men, and women. My theory is that this is a priority to many women but the “chunkier” size and larger grip (by smaller female hand standards) keep it from the top 5.  Read TWAW reviews here

#8        Springfield XDS 9mmshopping with mom

Once again the Springfield XDS holds a Top 10 spot remaining in the #8 position again this year. It had the #5 position in 2015. The XDS is very slim and with the extended magazine, it has an impressive 9+1 capacity. Considering how slim and small this gun is, that is impressive. The grip with its very aggressive texture helps to keep a solid hold on the gun, even when sweating.   Read TWAW reviews here

#7        Ruger LCP II  .380

Ruger LCP II gun review

Keeping with tradition, the Ruger LCP holds a very solid position in the top 10 with the new LCP II. In both 2016 and 2015, the LCP (Original model) was #6. The LCP II is about as small an concealable as you can get. The trigger on the LCP II, especially for women is much more manageable than the trigger of its predecessor, the LCP. The original LCP has historically been one of the most popular guns out there, the newer LCP II is clearly going to be the same, mostly due to its sleek, small style and the improved trigger. One more thing to note, the LCP II is much easier and “friendly” to women who struggle with racking the slide.  Read TWAW reviews here

#6        Three Way Tie With An *

The Sig P938 has been on this list the past three years. It was #10 in 2015, #7 in 2016 and now #6 for 2017. What is notable is that neither the Walther PPQ nor the Sig Sauer P320 was even on this list before this year. It is significant to see them both literally come from nowhere to number 6. Here is the *, the PPQ and the P320 are offered in a number of configurations and not all of the data was clear which configurations were purchased. Not all entries in the survey indicated which version they had purchased. So this really represents them all collectively. So technically it is not a single gun model of these two firearms that have tied, but rather a family of them. This makes the Sig P938 truly the #6 place winner.

Sig Sauer P938 9mm

The Sig P938 has been a real favorite of women, especially those that prefer the 1911 style firearm and those wanting a concealable 9mm. It was the #7 pick last year and #10 in 2015. The P938 is not much bigger than the Sig P238 (.380) another top pick of women for years. With all of the favorite attributes of the classic 1911 in a compact, it’s a manageable, very nice gun.  Perhaps it’s price, which is quite a bit higher than most of its competitors is a factor for some. It has a capacity of 6 rounds plus 1 in the chamber. Read TWAW reviews here

*Sig Sauer P320 9mm


What a huge surprise. This is Sig Sauer’s first striker fire gun, likely introduced to compete with such giants in this market as Glock. The high number of purchases made by the women who participated in the survey – really earned it a place on the list. What makes it unique is that it is modular – so the user can easily and affordably modify the frame size to three different frame sizes to suit the largest and smallest of hands. And… it can also easily be converted from 9 mm to .40 S&W or .357 SIG, using the same process of changing frames. It has a whopping 16 +1 capacity (9mm), something that more and more women are making a priority when making their selection. No wonder this made the list of popular guns women buy! Read TWAW reviews here

Walther PPQ 9mm

This is such a great gun, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like it, man or woman. I am thrilled to see it in the top 10. What is surprising to me is its size. This isn’t a “small woman’s gun” and shows that many women are carrying larger guns these days. The PPQ also comes in a variety of configurations, like the Sig Sauer P320, so its place on the list represents the “family” of PPQ’s. Still very impressive to see these numbers of two firearms that are larger than all of the others. The PPQ has a huge capacity of 15 +1 for the 9mm. Again, the desire for greater capacity I believe, is driving the sales of these larger sized guns. Read TWAW reviews here

#5        Walther PPS M2

Walther PPS M2 LE Gun Review

In last years Top 10, I predicted this new gun would be on this list.  It’s impressive to me to see a number of Walther’s on the list this year. They have been working very hard in recent years to earn the loyalty of women, so Kudos to them. For the most part, smaller hands love Walther’s! Their grips are just typically smaller and more narrow than most others and women with smaller hands love to feel like they have a really good grip on their gun.  It has three magazine options ranging in capacity from 6+1 to 8+1. Read TWAW reviews here

#4        Glock 42 .380

Gun Reviews Women Glock 42

This #4 ranking has been the Glock 42’s sweet spot. It has held the #4 or #5 position for the last few years. The smallest an slimmest of all the Glock pistols and its only .380 model.  It’s smaller than most all concealed carry handguns, which is part of what makes it so popular with women looking for the ultimate in concealment. Glocks are known for their durability, reliability and their ability to take a beating. For most women I speak with, they either LOVE the attributes and feel of a Glock or they don’t, there is no question of loyalty. They are either Glockers for life or they are not!  The G42 has a capacity of 6+1. Read TWAW reviews here

#3        Sig Sauer P238 .380

No surprises here, the Sig Sauer P238 has held the #3 spot the last 3 years in a row and continues to be one of the top guns women buy. The small 1911 frame with its butter-like slide, make this a favorite year after year. This is just a smooth, sweet gun to shoot and very easy to conceal. The P238 has and is a steady favorite and can’t miss choice. They come in an array of colors and grip designs which also appeals to many women.   Read TWAW reviews here

#2        Glock 43 9mm

Glock 43 Gun Review

Once again, for the third year in a row, the Glock 43 is the second most popular handgun with women shooters. This “Steady Eddie” with its slim profile and sleek styling is rugged. It does what it needs to do and is wrapped in a beautiful package. Like all Glocks, the quality and the reputation for rugged reliability proves important factors for women in making their firearm purchase decisions.  The G43 has a capacity of 6+1. Read TWAW reviews here  

#1        Smith & Wesson MP Shield

gun reviews Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

I am happy to repeat myself, year after year. The M&P Shield holds the #1 spot again! Since its introduction in 2012, this firearm has been a top guns women buy. It was one of the first smaller, slimmer 9mm concealed carry guns and provides a 9mm gun that a woman can truly conceal. The width of this gun measures a very slim and trim  .95 of an inch! This is significant when trying to achieve a clean, slim profile when concealing. The grip is great on this gun, it’s not too short and not too long. It provides enough space to wrap your smaller hands around and not need a pinky extension for a solid grip. I think this proves the value of being the first, having the great reputation and brand power of Smith & Wesson and of making a just a great gun. With the extended magazine (included) the MP Shield has a capacity of 8+1. Read TWAW reviews here

Some Observations & Thoughts on the Top Guns Women Are Buying

In recent years, there have been so many awesome new guns released that are designed for concealed carry. The number of true, quality options has grown substantially. The result is a greater number of reliable, quality guns.  Bringing more variation and innovation allowing us all to truly find the perfect fit. This would help to explain the number of newer guns on the list and some of the fluctuations we see in the ranking of many.

For the last two years, 3 of the top 10 are .380 caliber guns. In 2015 there were 4. The fact that the majority of guns women buy and carry are the higher caliber of 9mm is important to note. Each year these numbers grow as well as increases in women purchasing and even carrying .40 and .45 caliber firearms. These calibers have historically been perceived as “the man’s caliber”. A confident and trained woman can and does carry larger firearms.

Once again this year, there were no revolvers in the top 10. Does this pattern begin to dispel the myths that a woman needs a revolver due to its simple design? Perhaps, but there are still many women that prefer and carry revolvers. They absolutely are a great choice for concealed carry and the best choice for carrying in a concealed carry purse. Many women struggle with hand strength issues. For them, the revolver provides them the opportunity to own a firearm they can shoot effectively and safely. Besides, who doesn’t like to shoot a revolver, it’s just fun!

In case you are interested here are the firearms that round out the top 20

#11      Walther CCP

#12      Kimber Micro

#13      Glock 19

#14      Ruger SR22

#15      Bodyguard 380

#16      Ruger LC9

#17      Ruger LCR

#18      Walther CREED

#19      Ruger SP101

#20      Sig Sauer 226

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9 thoughts on “The Top 10 Guns Women Are Buying

  1. With all rioting, looting and attacking people in their cars i upgraded my wife to a Glock 26 because of magazine capacity and the possibility of multiple attackers. At this moment in time I believe magazine capacity is the main concern after being able to shoot the weapon well.

  2. Joyce Kleppinger says:

    I am looking to make my first gun purchase. This list gave me a great starting point for what to look for. Thank you!

  3. Ellie says:

    I’m a little surprised that the Walther PK380 didn’t make the list! Every woman in my family carries one and I’ve even convinced at least 3 other female friends/coworkers to buy them! They all absolutely love them and one’s husband wants one for himself! They’re honestly so quiet and gentle and I’ve never handled a gun that was as easy to rack as Walther’s 380.
    Absolutely love mine!

  4. Suzanne Ferro says:

    Why has anyone looked into the EAA line of compact 9mm? The pavona ( from reviews ) seems the best choice for women. The SAR 9 also seems a great variant. Any chance of theses weapons making the top 10? Just looking for my best option

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m surprised the ruger SR9C did not make list! It’s a great gun!

  6. cathy krist says:

    I have the Browning Black Label lite compac with rail in 1911-380 & 1911- 22 which are a wonderful gun that ladies may want to look into. I wore one of mine out and am looking for another. It has been my right hand for the past 3 years and I cannot begin to tell how many rounds have been through it. It has been my ole reliable for countless training classes as well as just practicing on our range here at the farm. I love my Browning 1911 compac’s they are reliable, fit your hand, easy to use and are ambidextrous (for single hand shooting)and have the backstrap safety and thumb safety which I love, easy to clean, however Browning is a pain in the “arse” to deal with. I have tried many others but always come back to my little Brownings. They fit like a glove and are just second nature to me.

  7. N says:

    This was extremely helpful. Now I know where to start….

  8. Andrea Kline says:

    THANKS for the info! Glad to see the gun I purchased, specificly for left-hander ease, was the #1 on the list, S&W MP Shield, although mine is the EZ, which is VERY NEW! I LOVE the list, thanks again

  9. nicola guy-maxwell says:

    Thank you. It was very helpful

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