Skip to comments.Recommendations for handgun for petite woman?
Posted on 11/02/2009 7:25:03 AM PST by missycocopuffs
Wondering if anyone has recommendations for a handgun for a petite woman (me...5'2", 110lbs). Have used a small semi-automatic years ago, not sure of caliber. FIL worries that I might lack strength for semi-auto; I worry that loading bullets under pressure vs. loading ammo clip would waste precious time.
Just curious what the ladies here are using? Going to gun range tonight and I think I will have the opportunity to handle a few different guns. Would like input to maybe weed out some choices that would be inappropriate for my size/needs.
Another question: we currently have no handguns in the house. If we could purchase only one gun for self-defense, what would be a good choice that balances stopping power AND ease of use for both me and my husband? Also, a gun that I enjoy taking to the range to actually *practice* shooting is a huge plus. /grin
Thanks in advance, Missy
Walther PPK/S or a Bersa Thunder .380
A .380 is usually considered the minimum self defense weapon, and particularly good for ladies.
I guess if you were set on a revolver, you might try a .32 (although you sure don’t see many around...).
Smith & Wesson Model 442 .38sp. Very light. Hammerless. Can also get same frame is smaller caliber. .38sp may have more kick than you want. I just got one & love it. (I’m a guy) Check out the S&W website.
Try a .38 or 9 mm. If you can find a friend or gun shop that will let you try before you buy, see how a compensated model feels.
Ruger SP101 .327 Federal Magnum
And don't let anybody, no matter how supposedly expert or seemingly well meaning tell you what's right for you.
Only YOU can determine what fits your hand, and what weight and recoil you are able to handle. If you're putting holes in the center of the target at reasonable range (and not tearing up your hand), you can handle it.
Also, consider being accurate is FAR more important than the size or speed of the bullet. I knew a little lady that could shoot the eyes out of the target at 25 feet. I dont care if it is a .22 .... being able to shoot the eye at will will put anyone down and in a hurry.
And as always ... practice, practice practice and then more practice.
Best answer yet.
Good call. My wife tried the Bersa 380 and thought it was a little too heavy for her hand. She was used to firing a .22 and I wanted her to move up and the 442 fit the bill.
The best all around handgun for self defense for carry or in the house for a petite woman is a hammerless snub-nosed .38. If you want even less kick purchase a snub-nosed .357 and load it with .38s.
(1) It is easy to load and unload.
(2) There is no slide to chamber a round
(3) There is no chance of jambing
(4) If a round does not go off when you squeeze the trigger, pull the trigger again
(5) There is no hammer to catch on the purse or pocket when you have to draw it in a panic.
(6) It is always double action so there is no easy trigger pull to cause an accident.
(7) .38 is cheap to practice with
(8) Revolvers are less maintenance and more reliable with fewer moving parts.
(9) It is a cost effective firearm compared to a semi-auto (most cases)
(10) Always very easy to conceal.
It is certainly not a sexy weapon, but it is my and my wife's primary carry weapon. We have .357s. She loads with .38 and I load with .357.
Practice safety and practice often. Good Luck and welcome to the club.
Get a good “dirk”.
5-6 inch blade is meant to be used up close, easy to shove up to the hilt with little effort and has an immediate effect on any attacker.
Also easy to conceal.
The small framed S&Ws (J-frame) and Rugers (SP101) are worth looking into in revolvers. The Rugers are chunkier than the Smiths, which helps tame the recoil, but makes them more noticeable (to the carrier, not to onlookers) when carrying due to the extra weight.
I agree w/ you as far as the Ruger SP101 part only chamber it in .357 Magnum(you can shoot .38 Spec out of it too).
Don’t buy anything until you at least look at the Ruger LCP.
+1 on the S&W 442(blued) or 642(stainless). Load w/ +P ammo. Small and light enough to go with you everywhere, every time you leave the house.
I agree with you. Being a man, I especially can’t tell a petite woman what to shoot. Some women love the small frame Glock which is entirely too small for me. I would also advise her to actually shoot and not just hold the gun. A small frame .357 is usually too much to hold on to for most men.
It is very small and very lite.
Beat me to it. I like a .38 snub-nose. I also have a 22 magnum 5-shot mini revolver.
Walther PPK 380! Perfect for the petite woman! Make sure to put hollow points in it!
I second that. I have a Bersa and love it. Also a third the cost of a Walther.
You might also look at the new Walther. It is in .380 ACP and only marginally larger than the P-22.
Many women do not have the chest or arm strength for any auto. Blowback pistols require more strength than Browning locked breechs. Revolvers always work and do not require the upper body strength. A .38 Special with Personal Protection ammunition is my recommendation. I'm an NRA trainer of NRA instructors in personal protection
Your FIL may be correct.
that is a 9MM may be better than a .380
as well as a NRA trainer of Woman's shooting sports.
Many women do not have the chest or arm strength for any auto.
Blowback pistols require more strength than Browning locked breechs.
Revolvers always work and do not require the upper body strength.
A .38 Special with Personal Protection ammunition is my recommendation.
I'm an NRA trainer of NRA instructors in personal protection
Taurus Judge .410 revolver....
Do not accept a Lorcin/Jimenez,Bryco-Jennings or AMT even as a gift.
Many say these are great "lady" guns. My sister and mother carry them (One is the Tomcat). My father has one as well. Berretta, S&W, Taurus and Keltec....I have seen "the girls" have jambs with them all. My mother's Taurus had an old round jamb in the barrel and the next shot cracked the frame (lucky no one was hurt). My sister's Keltec jambed because she limp wristed a thrid shot. My father's Barretta is absolutely junk as I can't get a whole clip to go through it but about 50% of the time. I am sure there must be good one's out there. But they scare the hell out of me. I guess I have just had bad luck with them.
ArrogantBustard’s comment is spot on. Totally in the abstract and not knowing you, I’d recommend a good revolver — probably a smith & wesson — in .38special. But I don’t know you, nor does any other commenter. Good defensive rounds begin at the .38sp and 9mm range, and both are inexpensive (meaning you can practice more easily). My petite wife carries an HK USP compact in 9mm and can easily shoot a .45ACP pistol. If you’re not going to practice much (really bad, but people often have other things to do), then most people will recommend a revolver — no controls to screw with in the night, no mags to seat or drop out, and it goes bang with extraordinary reliability. But don’t limit yourself — the push recoil of a .45acp round in a good gun is potentially less snappy than a 9mm in a light pistol. Additionally, many pistols have radically different recoil characteristics even in the same caliber — a springfield XD (also a good semi-auto) has a sharp recoil up and twisted to the right, compared to a glock which seems to punch straight back and up. As AB said, try then buy.
Then practice. Take a class. Without training, a gun is a moderately dangerous lump of metal.
Finally, if you were going to get only one gun exclusively for home defense, a remington 870 in 20gauge is more powerful and dependable than any handgun you could fire. The purpose of a handgun is to give you time to get to your long gun.
Yep. Walther PPK .22 for my wife who’s only 5’ 100lbs.
Fits her hand very nicely, not a lot of recoil. Very smooth compared to even my 9mm.
IMHO, you can’t beat the weight, balance, confidence, and fast response of the Walther PPK/S in .380. Plus, it is small and light enough to fit into anything you carry.
I don’t qualify as one of the ladies here, but I do have one piece of advice to offer (free and well worth the price). What you want least is a gun that will anger an attacker without doing much else. The .380 is good, but the smallest gun I carry for defense is a S&W .38 Special with a 1.875’ barrel and a five round cylinder. (But fo course, if you choose any revolver, leave the hammer resting in an empty cylinder except at a range.)
You may not hit much at shooting range distances with a short barrel .38, but it will hit hard enough to stop most things that come out of alleys. Feel free to go larger, but think hard before going much smaller. (An FN Herstal 1911 .45 ACP with a fourteen round clip not only shoots great; it should double as a fine club; just a little bulky....)
Concur. Bought my two daughters S&W 637’s. The Federal(?) 110 grain non +P is decent to shoot, recoil-wise.
If this weapon is going to be used in practicing, pick something in a high enough caliber to damage an assailant (the weapon needs to be larger than a 22 long but probably less than a .44 or .45, if you'r an average strength female at your height). Practice will teach you to handle the recoil and get back 'on target' naturally.
If this weapon is going into a purse, it needs to be hammer free so it will not snag on something under pressure of drawing to fire. It should also be heavy enough to be distinct in your grip as you seek to draw and fire. And unless you practice a whole lot, stick with revolver choices rather than auto loaders. If you anticipate needing more than six or seven shots, you need to change your expectations in life and the places you haunt. If this weapon is going to be carried in a holster on the waistline, consider a reliable autoloader with punch to it, like a slab-side .45 or .38sp.
What Darth posted is an excellent compromise for all the above. The .327 is like a hot .32 caliber, so it will penetrate to viatl organs through heavy coats, for instance. I carried a 22 semi-auto for long time as my carry protection, with the intent to shoot into the pevlic region if assaulted ... it will drop a cahrging perp with the exquisite pain cused by slamming into the nerve and blood and organ rich target. I've switched to a larger caliber as my eyesight and mobility have declined.
If you intend to practice regularly but will keep it at home, get a 20 gage pump shotgun and forget about protecting your home with a pistol. I helped a lady obtain a 20 gage birdgun pump and clipped the barrel off at 19 inches. This is an excdellent tool for home defense because there are many typed of ammunition, from slugs to buckshot to dual shot.
Finally, I would advise you stay away from lightweight revolvers because with small hands you will not practice regularly so you will not learn repeatable habits with the weapon. If you go for a revolver, pick one heavy, like a .357 in which you'll load .38 spl Jacketed hollowpoint +P ammo, and practice with the ball version of the same +P, to get used to the feel of the recoil and retuning to target naturally.
Maybe so ,I know 16 CCPs who carry them and have never had a FTF, I also know 7 Glock owners with consistent FTFs with their Glocks(3 as duty weapons), and a Glock Armorer who works on three of them.
My wife got me an XD .45 Compact for my birthday a couple years ago. It is a very very nice piece. It's getting to be winter around here so I will be able to start wearing coats again (hee hee).
The kick of this weapon is noticable different from the Glocks. Two friends of mine went to the range about 6 months ago. We compared my XD against a Glock .40 and a Glock 9mm. The XD .45 had less kick than the .40 and just a little more kick than the 9mm. We were all surprised.
Beginners should start with NRA Certified training
I would recommend training
from an NRA Certified Instructor inRefuse to be a victim
NRA training for women
Personal protection in the home
and the newly released
Personal protection outside the home
NRA Gun Safety Rules
Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use
Taurus and Ruger make good, less expensive versions as well, although they are a bit heavier.
If you plan to carry the gun every day, spend the money and buy the lightest one available. If it is primarily a home defense weapon, slightly heavier is a better choice. Of course, a shotgun is best at home.
Give the Ruger LCP and the Kel Tec P-3AT a look. My wife purchased a Kahr PM9 a few years back. She liked the size but did not like the spring tension when pulling back the slide. She likes my P-3AT. It has been 100% reliable, was inexpensive, and is an easy gun to carry.
It’s sort of like Dodge trucks to me. It was like owning a boat. The two best days of that ownership were the day I drove it home and the day I traded it back in 9 months later. They sell and folks love them, but I will never own another. I spent more money on gas to have warranty items addressed than I have on oil changes for the Ford that replaced it.
I suggest a Smith and Wesson .38 air weight. It’s a model 637, I believe. Five shots. Double action revolver, meaning you can simply pull the trigger, or pull the hammer back, cocking the gun and then pull the trigger. It is light weight, has a small grip for small hands and is as simple, uncomplicated and completely dependable a weapon as can be found. It is far safer for an inexperienced user than an automatic, will never malfunction and certainly gets the job done with any number of good ammunition choices. I’ve had one for nearly fifty years. You should be able to buy the weapon for about $430-$500.
I see you are a Nerd.
Here are some recommended reading:
I recommend reading any thing by Masaad Ayoob
for women I also recommend Paxton Quigley Armed & Female
I may have to rethink about a revolver with no hammer after reading these comments.
The receiver on the Walther PPK is fairly easy for her to handle, but there’s no beating point-and-shoot without pulling a receiver back.
Going to gun range tonight and I think I will have the opportunity to handle a few different guns.
Thanks for posting this! My husband and I are looking for a gun and don’t want to buy something that will not work for us. We had no idea that we might be able to “try before we buy” at a gun range.
You also might want to consider a “Youth Shotgun” http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/shotguns/model_870/model_870_express_jr.asp
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