FN 509 vs. Ruger LCP II (courtesy thetruthaboutguns.com)
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Small handguns suck. There’s less mass to soak-up recoil. There’s less surface area for a secure grip. They tend to shoot smaller bullets, which create smaller wound channels, delivering less [potential] “stopping power.” In short, no. Don’t choose a small gun for everyday carry. Unless you’re an average woman . . .

It would be great if all women seeking to protect themselves, their family and their community carried a “proper” gun: a GLOCK 19, GLOCK 19-a-like semiautomatic handgun or a similarly sized revolver. With a few not-so-notable exceptions, they’re easy to shoot accurately, as reliable as a Swiss train and provide plenty of capacity. Mazeltov.

GLOCK 19C (courtesy thetruthaboutguns.com)

But most women can’t carry a GLOCK 19-sized handgun. Not all the time. It’s a wardrobe thing.

Unless they share the XY set’s penchant for wearing pants and a shirt every day of their lives, a woman’s clothing choices won’t always accommodate a full-size or even most compact-sized handguns.

Have you ever tried hiding a big ‘ole handgun wearing yoga pants or a skirt and a tight top? I’m not saying I have, but if I had I’d have been tempted to carry that gun in a handbag. (Trying conjugating those verbs in French.)

I’ve got one word for the off-body answer to the women’s concealed carry question. NON! Actually, a few more . . .

Concealed carry handbag (courtesy athenasarmory.com)

Off-body carry risks a too-late-oops-you’re-dead (and/or raped) non-presentation. And theft. Not to mention the possibility that a child could sneak into your bag, grab your gat and wreak ballistic havoc on themselves, you or innocent bystanders.

Off-body carry. Don’t do it for the children!

Which leaves aspiring female firearm schleppers where? In need of a small gun. A firearm that can be strapped to a thigh or ankle holster, slipped into a belly band, stashed in a tiny pocket, carried in their crotch, something. Anything. Every day. And that’s the key.

The above video shows a young lady packing a variety of guns into a variety of outfits. It highlights a simple fact: some women’s clothing choices accommodate a larger gun, some don’t.

Here’s the thing: very few women buy handguns like they buy shoes (e.g., different guns for different outfits). Even less are willing to change and restrict their clothing choices to suit a GLOCK 19-sized carry piece. I reckon you can round the percentage of women willing to do either down to zero.

So, if we adhere to the adage that having a gun is the first rule of a gunfight, women are well advised to buy a handgun they’re likely to be able to carry easily and comfortably every day, no matter what they wear. A small gun.

Of course there’s always open carry, in which case this whole article is more-or-less meaningless. But if we’re talking ONE GUN for women’s concealed carry, size matters. Smaller is better.

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  1. /facepalm
    I deal with this. Every. Damn. Day.
    A new female gun shopper who immediately heads to the “pocket pistol” display case. And invariably, after a bit of education, they end up choosing something just a (bit) larger than they thought of at first. The Smith&Wesson Shield is a popular choice, the Glock 43, the Walther CCP (can’t keep those on the shelf long enough), the Walther PPS, the Sig p938, the Sig p290 (if my buyer would get them to me, *ahem*), the Beretta Nano, Ruger LC9s… and of course I like to pull out the Remington R51 to fondle it too…
    ….and we haven’t even gotten to the revolvers yet; when we do, we’ll be looking at the Ruger LCR and LCRx.
    What I try to stress to them is, “Find a gun that you will not look at and say to yourself, ‘this is too inconvenient for me to carry today, I’m leaving it at home’. Chances are, with proper preparation (accessories and choice of outfit) and forethought, you’ll choose a bigger (and easier to use) gun than you thought at first.”

    • Oh, and of course I have Purses Are For Lipstick – YouTube
      Saved to my bookmarks to pull out at will, love that vid…

  2. I never understand when people recommend that a woman gets a j frame revolver for a first gun. The recoil is harsh even with target .38 loads. The sights usually suck. Plus a heavy double action trigger takes a lot more skill to master than learning how to operate a strike fired semi auto.

    • Crimson Trace and range time.

      Laser makes it much more enjoyable and helps negate some of what you mentioned.

      • I am a huge fan of J frames, my model 36 no dash is one of my favorite guns to shoot and carty; however a single stack 9mm is a better choice for just about everyone. The learning curve on a semiautomatic isn’t nearly as steep as a J frames, the ammo is cheaper and defensive loads are more powerful than 38+p with less felt recoil. Reloads are quicker and the triggers are easier to master. The grip on a single stack nine fills the hand better and is easier to control during recoil without being too large for some people and generally they hold between two and four more rounds.

        Again, I love J frames, but you need to shoot a lot more to become proficient and most gun owners shoot once a month or less.

        • I will say this, I have a model 38 and with the addition of the Hogue Bantam Grips and a 12lb trigger return spring I can get it to talk okay. I would really prefer it be a 49 with a bit of extra heft but it was part of a package deal. I never touched the main spring (I don’t on revolvers after I had a 66 with Wilson springs act weird. Not worth the risk on primer hits.)

      • The “learning curve” is not shallower on a semi than a revolver, it’s steeper. Revolvers are much simpler and more intuitive to operate than any semi-auto. That is the only OUTRIGHT error here, but a few more things need to be said. The heavier triggers and less comfortable grip of the J frame size revolvers are more difficult to MASTER than a semi-auto, but very few people indeed will ever even WANT to become a handgun master, let alone get there. For a defensive handgun, only the ability to hit a man size target from 3 yards and in matters. Once that is fully understood, the lack of ‘mastery’ of the J frame will not matter to hardly anybody. A beginner can learn to put all 5 in a silhouette in a very short amount of training from 3 yards. Much less than the time taken to learn just the charging/clearing/malfunction drill on a semi. And if 9mm is cheaper/easier to find than .38 special, then they make J frame revolvers in 9mm too you know…
        All that said, then anyone can carry whatever they want. That’s why there are so many differing designs. Different strokes for different folks.

    • I have a Kahr CM40 (13 oz, 40S&W) and a S&W J-Frame 642 (38+p). Hands down the Kahr is more pleasent to shoot, even with a more powerful cartridge. Semi-auto really absorbs some of the recoil. Both guns require monthly training to ensure I can hit a man sized target at 10 yards. Although, at 10 feet both work just fine.

    • You are not wrong about a j- frame being no fun to shoot. But there are other considerations. My wife loves my 9mm shield. Unfortunately she needs me to chamber a round before she can fire it. She cannot cycle the action. Which also means that she would need me to clear a jam if one were to happen. Or unload and show clear. Or so many other reasons. She has a little j- frame with pink crimson trace grips that she just loves. Yes, it twists your wrist even with lighter loads. But when she needs it, she will be able to dispense all 5 every time. And it has holster options that hang from her bra!

  3. Well I’m getting my wife a Taurus SS 85 Ultralite. HER CHOICE. Not at all concerned she can’t handle recoil-she’s very strong. The main thing is “have a gun”…

  4. I have a Taurus TCP (LCP size), a Taurus PT111 (Glock 26 size), a S&W SD9VE (Glock 19 size) and a Ria 1911 (full size). The TCP and LCP are very snappy and hard to shoot accurately. The SD9VE and Glock 19 shoot well but are a little large. The 1911 is far to large and heavy to carry. The PT111 and Glock 19 shoot well, are light and are still concealable. I think that size is what an average woman or man could shoot and conceal well.

    • “The TCP and LCP are very snappy and hard to shoot . . ” The LCP (second gen w/ improved trigger) was very snappy to shoot. That changed when I fitted Hogue grips. Suddenly, the LPC because a substantially more usable weapon. It’s still not a fun gun to shoot but, with the Hogue grips, it becomes a weapon that even people of small stature and small hands can reliably use. It’s better to have **a** gun than to not have one.

  5. I tend to disagree with this article.

    Some women are quite strong and quite naturally skilled with firearms. Many are not. Picking a smaller gun, as the article points out makes the gun more difficult to use which means it’s less likely she’ll actually put in the practice to master it (due to frustration) and now we’ve got someone who carries a gun that they probably can’t hit anything with, except possibly a wall or a bystander. That’s dumb. Get a slightly larger handgun that’s easier to shoot and makes the practice fun. You can get a pop gun later for a range toy.

    If you’re not willing to sacrifice a bit of fashion for safety then you are, IMHO, a dumbass and quite frankly I don’t much care what happens to you because you’re the one willfully disregarding your own safety. This goes double for women because they generally LOVE clothes shopping. So, go buy some clothes that work with your gat. Now you can waste hours of time and a ton of your husband’s money and he won’t care because now you’re carrying a decent pistola. See, it’s fun! Everyone wins! Yay!

    • This coming from the guy who conceal carries a full size, 5 inch barrel 10mm in all clothing all the time….(sure yah do)

      My wife with two small kids in tow, carries an xdS. Great compromise gun. I’d carry one myself if I needed the smaller size. And she’s a great shot with it: during stressed shooting drills even….

      That said I’ve watched her struggle with CC through two pregnancies, lugging diaper bags and kiddos, trying to wear even a normal pants suit, all of these situations have convinced her/us than she needs something even smaller yet. Ideal? No. Rule 1. have a gun.

      And my god holsters. Owb? Not a chance. iwb? Not with pants w/o a belt. Not with a dress, not with any form fitting clothes. Not with a t shirt. Thigh holster? not with pants. Corset holster? Great, but not with a dress.

      When 8 months pregnant!? Still looking for an answer: the corset holster with extensions was decent. Thank good for a winter cover garment. Because her belly was printing (in a cute pregnant way!) let alone the gun!

      Body changes and dressing normally for an occasion mean challenges for everyone. For me it might mean a compact m&p or even an XDS in a formal summer setting. For her, it might mean a sig 380 (one day..) and an arsenal of holsters.

      The challenges ARE real when you are 5′ 3″ and somewhere between 120 and 160lbs depending on maternity status…sometimes a smaller gun IS necessary.

      This is sound advice by the author: I would temper a bit by saying a small gun that you can shoot well. The xDs was a great choice (as I’m sure others in the class would be) but even at that size it has limitations.

      • Thank you! That was a great response.
        Also, when you’re skinny, a big one can dig into your ribs (high or low ones) when you walk or bend. Winter clothing is the best for us. (I will never do the purse carry)

  6. “I’m still a guy” But:
    Ruger LCR in anything but .357! Glock 26!

    I hate iddy-biddy semi-autos (like Ruger LCP)! I wanted Glock 27, but it is too snappy.
    I hate 9mm’s (although you must have one or two). Glock 26!

  7. Wow, this is horrible advice. Like literally the exact opposite of what a new shooter should buy, especially someone of smaller of stature.

    A S&W Shield is basically perfect, there are other options that are a bit smaller, or larger, but a 6-7 round single stack is great, like a Goldilocks gun. If recoil is a bit much, get low recoil ammo, still better than 380, marginally, but with an option to go up to some of the hotter Underwood type stuff. Practice ammo is plentiful (now) and cheap.

  8. I’ev worked with a few women over the years and found that just like men you taylor the tool to the job. The “best choice” is worthless if it doesn’t work for them. J frames for most everyone are a poor choice, yes it’s what I have lugged for years. I know it and my short comings with it and take it from there.
    The #1rule is the gun cartridge combination that they will practice with and carry regularly. This means reality checks all around for both genders.

    • Let’s face it: most shooters NEVER PRACTICE. But if they do, shooting a Ruger LCP II isn’t particularly painful. Nor is a Smith & Wesson 642. Or a GLOCK 42 or 43.

      And while I’m feather ruffling, how good a shooter (i.e. accurate at distance) does a woman carrying a gun need to be?

      As accurate as possible, of course. But again, the first thing is to have a gun. The second thing is to have quick access to it. The third thing is shooting. Center mass, usually at 7 yards or less.

      • Considering women are more often attacked the men they need to be better trained and prepared than us. Nice to see you know every type of hand problem out there that can affect every shooters ability.

      • This is absolutely true . some of you are forgetting that women dress differently. their clothes are tighter (thank god ) and offer less concealment opportunity . I think Robert’s advice is spot on. hornady offers a low recoil 38 special load for 38 spl that uses a 95 gr polymer tipped bullet that at 1000fps . a little better than most 380 out of a small gun . It is what my mom has in her 38. It is no problem to shoot.

      • Every woman I know has been scared in a late night parking garage or empty school parking lot. That’s a kind of fear most men never experience. If you’re of a mind to, it can be really instructive to talk to the women you know about the times they’ve felt threatened in those situations. When I did that, it made me realize some things I’d never even thought about. A small gun is better than no gun. Let’s face it, nobody wants to get shot with even a .22.

  9. If the woman is completely new to shooting, I think it’s best to start with a 22 LR target pistol to learn the basics. The hand fit isn’t super important, because there is no recoil to disrupt the grip. Many of us shooters have one around already. After enough practice, then she can start renting and/or borrowing to find a center fire handgun that fits her hand and is small enough to carry.

    • Excellent advice! And in the best of all possible worlds, that’s what would happen. Here in the real world, a woman walks into a gun store and says “I want a gun for self-protection.”

  10. Maybe the direction of this article should address the ridiculous norms of women’s fashion, and not buying a poor choice of tool trying to accommodate impractical/skimpy/ho-bag clothing. When you think of it from a purely practical standpoint, most women dress idiotically.

    • There are so many variables, and real life situations that limit our choice. I had to wear a nursing uniform for the first 16 years of my 30 year career, and carrying a gun was simply not possible. I wore business clothing and a lab coat for the next 14 years, and still had no real option to carry a gun. And that was even before California fell off into the ocean of gun control.

      When I retired, I moved to Wyoming and began to carry. I altered my “wardrobe” considerably, wearing mostly jeans and flannel shirts with a sturdy OC holster on my belt. I carried a Ruger SP101 .357 for several years, then went to an XD .45 compact. Now I carry an XD compact 9mm all the time. On the few occasions I want to wear a dress or skirt, I have a holster type fanny pack that holds the 9 without any problems. No “printing” and no trouble getting to it if I needed it.

      And I do practice a lot. Lots of dry fire, and regular range time. I spent 10 years as an NRA instructor as well.

      So no, Robert. The number of women willing to alter their wardrobe and carry a decent size gun is not “zero,” by any means.

        • Must be different where you live. 🙂 I know a lot of women who carry here. They each have their own ideas about it, of course, and different solutions. The big thing is that nobody here is trying to stop them from carrying whatever way, and whatever gun they want.

  11. Police carried .32 cal for years in Europe and it did the job for them. I am 6′-0″ and way over 200 lbs and I hate a full size handgun. A Makarov, a CZ -24, CZ-27, CZ-50/70 are a nice size handguns and they have enough steel so that recoil is NOT a problem. The newer handguns in .380 and even some of the 9s are a great size and are between 6 and 7 inches long. Not exactly pocket pistols, but a nice size that fit in most hands well.

    We do not all need to carry .45 and 10mm handguns, what is right for a LEO who could be facing down a monster felon just out of prison or a violent PCP crazed person, may not be right for someone who wants protection from most criminals in the U.S., who may not be comfortable with Dirty Harry’s gun. Suggesting that a woman or even a man should buy one of these hand cannons could just cause someone not to carry it or fire it because of the recoil and/or noise that they may not like

    • I am a small man 5 foot 6 inches tall and weight only 125 LB. My carry gun is a ultra carry II Kimber 45 with laser grips and night sights. And have absolutely no trouble with recoil or hitting what i aim at. And It’s a real sweet gun to shoot if your not a big p*sy and afraid of a little recoil. I really like the 45 caliber because it has enough Knock down power to stop any big aggressor high on drugs looking to hurt you.

      • I think you are the exception. most gals are put off by the weight and recoil of larger guns. A small lightweight 380 that you can master, is a better choice than a monster of a gun you are afraid to shoot. I have a Taurus TCP. I carried it for some time until I got something more practical for my size and weight.
        I see no reason why it would not be a good choice for most women.
        We are talking “self defense” here, not something that you would normally use at 25 yards or more.
        As far as sights go, most ranges at which a women would need to defend themselves are probably less than a couple of yards. Sights would not b an issue.

  12. Why not a fanny pack style holster? My wife keeps her 4.2″ SP101 in and while I am not much of a judge of fashion it looks fine to me. The odd thing is that no one seems to guess what’s in it. It seems to be in between purse carry and a normal belt holster in speed and complexity of motion.

    • There’s a trend with this kind of thing and honestly I think the truth is that a lot of people know darn well what you’re doing but have the good graces not say anything about it.

      It’s like the Maxpedition JK-1/2/3. They say it’s a “concealed carry pouch” but the first time you see some moron wearing it you know damn well what’s in it. Might as well put a sign on the thing.

      Realistically the only way a fanny pack blends in is if you’re wearing parachute pants and carrying a boom-box that’s blasting a mix of MC Hammer, Run-DMC, The Juice Crew, Grandmaster Flash and some Sugarhill Gang. You know, basically dressed like Will Smith circa 1986.

      • Oh I dunno, a fanny pack would blend in quite well with a pair of khaki cargo shorts, sandals with socks, a pastel polo and a sun visor. Go for the yuppie suburbanite special.

    • My boss carried a Glock 19 in the false bottom of her purse. Surprised the hell out of me when she told me. That may not be the best place to carry a gun but it was with her and within easy reach at all times.

  13. I think the advice in this article is 1000% spot on.

    Sure, sub-compact semi-auto handguns and j-frame revolvers have snappy recoil. Guess what: it doesn’t matter! Why? Because:
    (1) No one is going to feel the recoil of their handgun during an actual attack.
    (2) No one needs marksmanship practice to be able to reliably shoot a man-sized attacker who is five feet away. Thus, women who carry a snappy handgun and refuse to practice because of that snappy recoil will do fine anyway!

    • “No one needs marksmanship practice to be able to reliably shoot a man-sized attacker who is five feet away.”

      YouTube that shit bro. Lots-o-misses at bad-breath distance. Lot’s of bad guys running away, and getting away, without a GSW too.

      • Hey, Nine, I’m quite okay with a goon running away with zero holes in him… so long as he’s running away. 🤠

      • Let’s be honest here: what you describe is the situation where the victim and the attacker are both moving quickly. In order for anyone to be highly accurate in such a situation, they need a metric $hit ton of practice at moving and shooting at a moving target. And since we are being honest, somewhere in the neighborhood of 98% or more of women will NEVER commit to that level of practice with any size firearm, even “comfortable” shooting handguns.

        Thus I stand behind my comment.

        • I put about 2500 rounds thru my P-3AT from stationary positions. Then this year I started doing simple shoot-and-move drills with full-size targets. I was surprised at how much I missed, and still miss. Everybody should try shoot-and-move. It’s humbling.

    • You’re insane. I once went to put a wounded rabbit out of its misery. 4” .357, and I was literally standing over it. 3 feet at most. And I missed

      • Red in CO,

        Well, if you were aiming at the rabbit’s brain, that is a target about the size of a walnut. So I can see where you might miss a walnut which is a few feet away. I cannot see how you would miss a human attacker who is a few feet away since the target area of a human attacker is about 100 times larger than a walnut.

  14. The best handgun for concealment is the smallest one in the biggest caliber the owner can shoot well. The same applies to men, too. They might like to carry a full size .45 but, to be socially acceptable, have to make do with a .380 in a pocket holster.

  15. If someone comes in and says, “I need a gun for self-defense today.” There needs to be a real conversation with that person about who/what specifically that they’re afraid of. Not just pointing over to a particular section of the display counter.

    • That’s silly. I’m not particularly afraid of anyone or anything. I prepare to deal with all sorts of different threats, and concentrate on situational awareness and avoiding conflicts of all kinds, just in case.

      Trying to carry a gun for just one or a few potential threats will leave one vulnerable to pretty much anything that comes along which doesn’t fit that narrow mindset.

  16. My Ex wanted a pistol. I recommended several medium sized .380’s and 9’s. She chose a Ruger LCP .380 over my objections (with explanations why). We went to the range and tried it out. On the third shot she put her left thumb over her right and got slide bit. She never fired it again. Long story short, I have a Ruger LCP. I hate firing it with self defense loads. IT HURTS! I carry it every day in every place that I can legally carry. That little stinger is so convenient. A MECO hip pocket holster is the way I carry.
    Still hate practice.

  17. Women are better off buying smaller guns?

    Hell, I think everyone is better off with smaller guns for concealed carry. Not enough bang for the buck.

    Unless ya want to carry a .44 mag and up, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

  18. I “think” that “most” women will purchase one pistol. Some women have really small hands; others have plenty larger hands than I have. I really think is more about the combination of hand size/strength vs. recoil. Pretty much same as for a man but biased toward less recoil and fitting a smaller hand. Shield in 9mm, Sig 238 have minimal recoil for respective cartridge. Ruger LCP2 is not bad for its size. Just my experience. And then there is the clothing issue, which as the article notes, biases toward smaller size handguns. Having said all this, one woman I used to know (co-worker, not girlfriend) had a .45 semi. She had larger hands than many women but was quite feminine in all the other attributes. I also had a female employee who was a bit on the large-boned side. She carried a Judge. A couple of us males just about sh@t when she told us. Then told us her dad was a retired Marine Corps DI and taught her how to shoot it. Both of these ladies purse-carried. While it might not be the “approved” way to carry, it would have been a really dumb move to have tangled with either one.

  19. A gun really needs to fit so you can control it properly and hit the target. I know women around 5′ whose index/middle/ring fingers are the same size as my little finger, and my hands are smaller than my wife’s. A couple guns that I’ve found to fit people with smaller hands are the Sig P239 with the short trigger modification, and the 9mm 80-90% scale 1911s. Revolvers are tough for some people to pull the trigger unless they’re cocked first. Sometimes, the pocket pistols are all that they can get their hands around. Once a suitable gun is found, you can figure out a carry method to fit body shape, wardrobe, activity, etc.

  20. Of course big guns pack more power. Anyone who trains needs to be cognizant of individual needs, body type, carry preferences, recoil sensitivity, and the like. Starting on a .22 LR is a great way to go. If recoil sensitive shooters pick a good single stack .380 or 9mm that they can carry, control, and practice with, then they will be well served.

    I’m looking forward to my new Glock 43 with night sights since it packs a lot more power than pocket .380s. For some, that gun has too much recoil.

    • If the 43 was the same dimensions as the 42 Glock would have created the greatest pocket gun of all time. As it stands the 43 is too big for my pockets and not small enough to justify it over something in the 26 size range, at least for me. A near miss, but still the only Glock I’ve considered buying since I sold my 17 6 or so years ago.

  21. Are you kidding me? Guys!

    If I tried to chose the gun my wife carried, I would be divorced. Look, it is her decision. encourage her to take classes with woman instructors and join women oriented gun clubs. Take her to the range, rent different guns, and ask her shoot them. The point is that this is her journey, and the decision is hers. With good training, she will likely make a better decision than you anyway.

    • If I tried to choose my wife’s gun, she would probably shoot me with it in one of her fits of anger! Now, she just picks up a butchers knife and threatens me with it. I may die soon.

  22. I decided to learn to shoot a hand gun at the age of 57, a few years ago. My husband had several recommendations, I’d look, but, it took him three days to remember his hands are much bigger than mine. Hey, we’ve only been married 25 years.

    Started with a 380. More of a full size, but still small. The manufacturer does not make the model any more, to my knowledge. Slightly unreliable, became worse. I now own a few guns, in 380, 9mm and 45. Of course, I can’t conceal carry the 45, and keep my pants up. Can’t open carry, either. Same problem. As one gun salesman said, with me, there’s a lack of real estate. But I am accurate at 7 yards, practicing for further distance.

    In hindsight, if I were to start all over again, I’d recommend renting a .22 to learn to shoot. Then I would rent a few 380’s and 9’s, before I bought. If I were to own one gun, I’d recommend an easy to take down and put back together 9mm (easy to clean) the smallest 9 that I was comfortable practicing with. The ammo is cheaper than a 380 or 45, and plentiful. I prefer semi-auto over revolver, however, I am fine with a 38, just not fun to practice at the range.

    • Did you notice how the lady in the photo is wearing her purse, on the edge of her shoulder, just begging to be grabbed!
      If you must keep your piece in your purse, the shoulder strap should be on the opposite shoulder, and if the strap isn’t long enough, then get another purse.
      The biggest, loudest, most powerful gun in the world isn’t going to do you any good, if it’s in someone else’s hands!

  23. Fuck that. As I woman I carry a full size Beretta m9. I feel far more comfortable carrying it then the little mouse gun some woman carry. Sure it’s big and bulky, but I live in Minnesota. When it’s cold, even open carry becomes concealed under the massive hunting jacket I wear.

  24. All women are not the same, some will do well with a small gun, others will do well with a full sized one, whats right for some may not be right for others.
    If they carry concealed it pays to have a small to medium gun.
    If they open carry they can use medium to big.
    I’ve seen them open carry a big .357 magnum revolver and also those who carry the NAA revolvers.
    Nothing is best for every woman they must shoot all types to find the one they feel capable with.
    My wife has trouble with the big 1911A1 I have and also with the old Galesi-Brescia .25 acp I inherited from my aunt who carried it from purchase 1965 up till the day she died where it was discovered in her house coat pocket, locked and loaded. She can shoot the .380 acp Ruger I have but doesn’t like the recoil.
    The wife shoots the S&W J frame M-640 best. it is the right size, weight and loaded with the right snub nose rounds makes her comfortable to carry.
    Something along the lines of the Beretta Pico or a Glock .380/9 mm pocket model should do, she will carry it more than she will ever need it, but if she does, it’s there.

  25. Wrong. A Glock 19 is the last gun on earth to give to a person who is a non-gun person. It has no manual safety and when you snag the trigger it goes off and women are around children much more than men. Remember last year when the young mom shopping at the mall when here 2 year old son reached into her purse and pulled out a striker fired gun and blew her head off.

    And men are not immune from being shot by Striker fired pistols either. One guy got into his car and a part of the holster was pressing against the trigger and when he shifted his weight in the seat the gun went off and shot him.

    A girl at a shooting competition holstered her striker fired gun and it too caught its trigger on something and she shot herself with a .40 S&W and joined the “crippled for life club”.

    I could go on forever on this with dozens of other examples but guns with manual safeties and/or long hard double action pulls go a long way in preventing such needless accidents but you cannot convince the Jethro Bodine crowd as they will tell you accidents simply cannot happen to them.

    I have carried a wide variety of guns for years and I can tell you from over 55 plus years of carry that you tend to leave at gun home or in the car when its not comfortable to carry and even guns as small as the Glock 19 are in no way comfortable to carry even for short periods of time let alone when on a trip when you must carry it all the time. Its better to have a .25 auto in your pocket than no gun at all and reality is that many people just don’t carry all the time unless they are going into an area that is known to be very dangerous not realizing that trouble can come even in relatively safe areas as well. Its a tough choice to make because yes a 9mm is better than a .25 acp but only if you happen to be carrying it.

  26. I also forgot to mention that people have been brainwashed by no nothing gun writers for way to many years. Agnes Herbert who became one of the most famous women hunters of her day way back in 1900 said when she was first learning about firearms she caught on very quickly the average gun writer of 1900 did not know what the hell they were talking about. My how little things have changed in 117 years.

    The facts are that yes even a .25 acp has been know to save many women’s lives in many cases of attack. And has anyone ever bothered to watch the Reagan assassination where 3 big men went down as if hit by lightening when hit with the lowly .22 rim fire. Seeing is believing and gun writer bullshit then evaporates very quickly. And before you mention that the perpetrator used an explosive bullet it only worked on Jim Braidey and he owed his life to the fact that the bullet actually failed because it blew up on the outside of his head. If the shooter had used a solid bullet he would have been killed instantly simply because it would have went right through his head.

    The real facts are that caliber is often irrelevant rather its bullet placement and penetration that incapacitates. Shooting some one in the head with a .22 rimfire that penetrates deeply enough kills someone every bit as fast as blowing their entire head off with a 20mm cannon. In other words dead is dead not deader. Even .177 cal pellet guns have been known to kill people instantly when they were hit in the head or the heart.

    A poorly placed shot does not incapacitate anyone no matter what caliber. I have shot deer with a .12 gauge shotgun (70 caliber) and seen them stand there and just look at you or take off running with a huge wound in them not showing any signs of being incapacitated. Its just where you hit them not with what size projectile you hit them with. Again seeing is believing and it proves that the caliber myth is just plain bullshit.

    Carry a gun that is comfortable and one that you can hit with and not flinch when using it. Do not worry about caliber only about the fact that it will use a bullet that will penetrate and that you will be able to place an accurate shot with. Dirty Harry’s 44 Mag does not do you any good sitting home in the drawer but a .25 acp in the hand is much better than nothing thats for sure.

  27. Small handgun? Sure. But I’d recommend keeping it in a small caliber too until the lady is ready to step up to something more punishing. And yeah, in pocket pistols that could mean .380 and 9mm are too much.

    I stepped up my lady to a (full sized) 9mm pistol too soon and she flinched so badly that she was shooting low off the paper at 5 yards. So back down the power curve we go until she’s good and comfy. And if she never is comfortable with recoil, so be it. A .22 revolver is still better than a hope and a prayer in an emergency.

    All I’m saying is that close range is demonstrably not a cure-all for not being comfortable with your gun. If you’re already freaked out enough to be drawing a gun, you do not need to be freaked out by your gun on top of that!

  28. I have to disagree with this article. People, male or female, are individuals. I will illustrate that with two examples.

    First, my boss is a woman who carries a gun. She succumbed to the “good advice” from well intentioned “experts” who told her the gun for her was a Ruger LCP in .380. Yeah, she carries it, or at least keeps it in her car all day, but rarely shoots it because it hurts to shoot it and I seriously doubt if she could accurately shoot it under stress. But, she she abided by the expert advice of men who knew ‘better’ than she did about what she should carry. Final analysis, ? I I do not think she could use the thing in a pinch, and I seriously doubt she could hit anything with it if she did.

    Second, my wife. Now granted, she is a bada$$ and very sexy woman who lifts weights and likes a good fight, but she hates pocket guns. They are no fun to shoot and she doesn’t like practicing with the PF9 I carry as a BUG. She prefers to carry a Beretta 92 in a shoulder bag. She’s fast at drawing it and hits what she shoots at. Why? Because she likes to practice with it.

    Bottom line, carrying a gun you can barely shoot and can’t hit anything with isn’t a lot better than carrying no gun at all. Yeah, I carry my PF9 under certain circumstances, but I run at least a few magazines through it every week to ensure I can use it. But I’m a 5’10” 200 pound man in excellent shape with a lot of experience. Most women don’t fit into the category, so a pocket pistol with a lousy trigger and recoil so painful they never shoot it at the range is not the best choice for them.

  29. You’re first mistake is putting all women into the same category. We are ALL different. We carry what is comfortable; what we’ll practice with and what will do the job.

    You’re second mistake is ASSuming all women should just simply carry a small firearm. I haven’t found a .380 I even remotely liked to shoot, which is often what ‘menfolk’ recommend for women.

    It’s not just about carrying or ‘fashion,’ we have to LIKE the gun (grip, recoil, trigger, racking the slide easily etc) so that we’ll actually practice so we CAN protect ourselves if ever necessary.

    So rather than just make a sweepingly broad statement that all women should carry small guns, give the advice that they should check out a lot of DIFFERENT guns, find one they know they’ll practice with; figure out how they prefer to carry on body based on varying clothing they may wear and find a holster that will do the job (most women I know have a drawer full of holster from trying varying types or using various types).

    I know some women who carry .22s, .45s, .380s, .40s, 9mm… it’s all about what WE find best suited for OUR self defense, not based on fashion. That’s what holsters are for.

  30. Most women want to carry off-body. And while I think that is a stupid choice, I can’t change their mind. If we accept that they are going to carry off body, there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER for them to carry a small gun.

    With a properly chosen purse, a G19 works perfectly.

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