Newly Single, 40+ female, Home Alone - What Would You Recommend (story)?


May 7, 2005, 01:57 AM
A friend of mine at work(hospital) is getting devorced and children have or are about to 'fly away from the nest' so she'll be home alone in a big house with two dogs and a sock full of marbles. Dogs are great but, as I and several other co-workers convinced her today, not enough.

It was pretty funny. I work with mostly Nurses and therapists and it turns out most of them have a gun or two at home for self-defense :what: One after the other said stuff like: "Oh yeah, I have a ...357, .22, .380, .38, etc." But hey, it's Texas :D One Nurse said: "Well, you know, I really don't like guns but we have to have one for..., you know, defending my family."

A former army guy, who is partially responsible for getting me into guns, started it all off by saying "You have to get a gun now. It's what they call "the great equalizer."
My friend, a meek catholic Nurse, responded by declaring: "Oh, a gun?!? I would never have a gun in my house! I have a sock full of marbles under my bed. I got that idea from watching Oprah one time...I'll just swing it like this over my head." Priceless! :rolleyes:
After she endured a couple of hours of marble and CSI related jokes and some more exegesis on "the great equalizer" concept she started to come around, got this really serious thoughtful look on her face as if she was imagining all the horrible things that could happen to her and finally said: "Well, I'll have to think and pray about it some more but what gun do you think I should get...and will you show me how to shoot it?"

I recommeded a .357 revolver loaded with .38 ammo and pointed out the benefits of the set up but promised that I would ask here so that if she continues to want one she gets the best possible set up for her.

She would not be able to comfortably pull the slide of a semi so let's stick with revolvers. She will not CCW so it'll stricktly be a home gun.

What would you recommend?

Please give me some ideas of what brand/model, barrel length, and related pricing info if you know it.


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May 7, 2005, 02:13 AM
Don, I've sent you a PM.

May 7, 2005, 02:19 AM
I gave my mom a S&W Model 36. I think they call it the "lady smith" now. It's a little 5-shot .38. It's as simple as any revolver, and it fits the lady's hand better than a larger pistol.

May 7, 2005, 02:20 AM
That's what my wife chose after trying several different revolvers and semi-auto pistols. She keeps it loaded with .38Special +P hollowpoints. (She doesn't like the recoil or noise of the Magnum rounds.)

It's a big gun, she's only 5'4" and 130lb., I thought it would be too heavy for her. But she is scary accurate with it.

May 7, 2005, 02:25 AM
Recommend for her?

1. An NRA Basic Pistol course.

2. That she then go several times to the range and practice with rented/borrowed guns in .22 and .38 or 9mm.

3. An NRA Personal Protection in the Home course.

4. More practice with rented/borrowed guns.

5. Let HER decide what she wants.

May 7, 2005, 02:44 AM
Even though she asked about what type to get, it doesn't sound like she gets it. I would suggest taking her to the dojo with her sock of marbles and letting her try to fend off a really big guy with it. Or even a determined 13 year old. This should cause the point to sink in.
After that,
1. An NRA Basic Pistol course.

2. That she then go several times to the range and practice with rented/borrowed guns in .22 and .38 or 9mm.

3. An NRA Personal Protection in the Home course.

4. More practice with rented/borrowed guns.

5. Let HER decide what she wants.

May 7, 2005, 04:06 AM
A shotgun.

Black Majik
May 7, 2005, 05:20 AM
A shotgun would be a great advice. My suggestion would be a 20 ga. pump shotgun, such as the Remington 870.

If she wants something more compact, revolver wise, My recommendation would be the S&W 66 (K frame).

Its lighter than the L frame, and since she'll be mostly shooting .38 spl outta it, that gun would be more than adequate enough.

Snub nose revolvers can pack a punch for the shooter, since this gun isn't going to be used for CCW, I'd recommend something more full size, or in my recommendation... compact.

May 7, 2005, 07:09 AM
I thought Infidel had a very good idea. There are some good ranges with good selections of rental pistols in your area (Bullet Trap and DFW Gun Range come to mind). Let us know how it turns out.

Fred Fuller
May 7, 2005, 07:51 AM
Buy her a copy of _Women and Guns_ magazine. It's often available on the magazine stands at larger bookstores, or see . Seeing other women confidently discussing various aspects of gun ownership and shooting can be a big help, and the information in each issue is useful as well. This is a big step for lots of women and may take some time, too much chiding/picking on is not necessarily a good idea in advancing the process as it can foster resentment and resistance.

Meanwhile get her out to the range in the hands of a patient and competent instructor, preferably another woman. Let her try a variety of firearms and make her own decision based on what she has confidence in after she gets some hands-on experience.


May 7, 2005, 08:07 AM

larry starling
May 7, 2005, 08:09 AM
My wifes first gun was a S&W model 60, she loved it and got alot of fun out of it! Now she has upgraded to a Ladysmith 3913 and is looking at Colt defender now! If its the ladys first handgun I would suggest a revolver in .38 or somthing in that area! :D

May 7, 2005, 08:14 AM
A shotgun would be a great advice. My suggestion would be a 20 ga. pump shotgun, such as the Remington 870.

yes, exactly, but in the YOUTH CUT: 20" barrel, shorter stock. Easy for the ladies to handle and wield in close quarters. Loaded with birdshot to limit penetration through walls etc...

Of course then there WAS the old Police chief's wife that picked the .357 over the shotgun in a pinch because she didn't want to mess up the new kicthen cabinets... :D

May 7, 2005, 08:23 AM
If she settles on a shotgun, don't suggest she get a youth model unless she is very small and/or shoots one and makes the decision herself.

Texian Pistolero
May 7, 2005, 08:33 AM
Many reccomend small handguns for women, but the fact is that small handguns kick harder than bigger ones.

Since many women are big on moisturizers for soft hands, the heavy DA pull of a revolver is something she will have to decide she can live with. Do NOT ger serrated trigger!

I think the previous advice to rent/try out all types is good.

May 7, 2005, 08:37 AM
You might want to share this information with your friend. It is straight out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (emphasis added by me)

"2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.66

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

May 7, 2005, 08:38 AM
I recommeded a .357 revolver loaded with .38 ammo and pointed out the benefits of the set up but promised that I would ask here so that if she continues to want one she gets the best possible set up for her.
I think your advice to her was excellent.

The shotgun is undoubtedly the superior weapon, but a shotgun can be VERY intimidating to a would-be gun owner or someone who is not comfortable with guns, they are somewhat more difficult to secure while you are away due to size, and the handgun would be a LOT easier for her to keep nearby wherever she is in the house. From your description of her, I doubt she'd prop an 870 in the corner when she's in the living room reading a book, but she might keep the .38 handy...

Highland Ranger
May 7, 2005, 08:42 AM
Most folks only read the turn the other check chapter . . . . . which is why I've pointed folks in this direction myself.

May 7, 2005, 08:47 AM
I'm a Catholic -- you could show her "Death Wish." There's a scene where Charles Bronson swings a sock full of coins around and it breaks. That might spell it out for her. If she's going to carry, I'd recommend the S&W 649/638 Bodyguards or the model 60 2" that I own. I use it with .38s only and it's a great gun but I'd add a nice Hogue grip on them as the factory ones are awful. Might try it with magnums soon. :)


May 7, 2005, 09:03 AM
Just noticed that you don't indicate if she wants to carry or keep it at home. That would make a difference. If just for the home, The S&W 686 4" or 2" would be a good choice, a GP 100 3", SP101 3", model 60 or 65 Lady Smith. Sticking with revolvers would be a wise move. Also, a little weight would help with the recoil. Even a model 10 is a good option. I think once she gets her permit, she needs to spend a little time trying some out on her own.

May 7, 2005, 09:24 AM
a Ruger SP101 with Wolff spring kit (to ensure the double action pull is not too much). have her practice with .38 mid range loads to her hearts content and gradually work up to the .357s. this is what i did for my girlfriend (she was living alone with no weapon in the house when we met). she is barely 100# and 5'2". the factory Ruger double action pull was too much, but the Wolff spring kit (and an action cleaning/lube job) reduced the pull a lot and still functions 100% with everything that gets stuffed into it. she keeps me busy reloading .38s now.


May 7, 2005, 09:31 AM
Mossberg HS .410 shotgun. My mom has one. She also has a .32 H&R Magnum revolver.

May 7, 2005, 10:17 AM
Get her a couple of room mates. There should be some people at the hospital (nursing students, etc.) looking to stay someplace.

Or ...... get her out of the house into a condo situation.

May 7, 2005, 10:37 AM
20 ga coach gun. Short, easy manual of arms, packs enough whallop, and being 20 ga, not to hard on the shooter.

May 7, 2005, 10:51 AM
And the winner is:

A shotgun would be a great advice. My suggestion would be a 20 ga. pump shotgun, such as the Remington 870.

I would add to that a pistol gripped short barrelled IC 20 ga pump is small enough for any woman or youth to handle and distributes the recoil into both hands and arms. SG shells as we all know are bigger and autoindex better in one's hands in the dark and in distress mode than handgun cartridges.

Shot placement and marksmanship are less critical [I didn't say non-critical] with a SG loaded with bird shot.


May 7, 2005, 10:55 AM
My brother got my aunt a 357 revolver and, though he tried, couldn't get her attention long enough to get her comfortable with it. Sure, she fired it a couple of times, but just wasn't into it.

Well, in the rural area she lives in, sure enough, scary noise one night prompted her to grab the pistol and cock the hammer. She was so scared of the weapon she couldn't drop the hammer after she realized she just had a curious possum at the back door.

My brother had to come decock it--this time she paid a bit more attention and now practices a bit more often.

That said, I like the Rugers, but the smiths are fine guns indeed. Personally, I don't subscribe to the shotgun for a newbie's home defense weapon. It is to long and bulky to navigate around corners. As for that myth of "you just got to point it" I'd suggest those folks MEASURE the actual typical distance from barrel to target that most home defensive shooting would happen at, then do a pattern test from that range with the load that would be used. A shotgun pattern may open up at 20-30 yards, but not the 7-10 feet that you'd likely see in a home defensive shooting. Follow up shots with a pump aren't quick for me either. (And sorry, I'm not putting much of my tactical advantage in the "sound of the slide"--though plenty of people I respect swear by that.)

My itty-bitty wife has a Ruger 45 with a decocker--she gets enough trigger time to be comfortable with that, though.

I think its great that you're helping out--I can't fathom someone being defenseless.


May 7, 2005, 11:58 AM
I think you gave her great advice about a revolver. I tried to get my mother a semiautomatic handgun and she is such a klutz that it wasn't working out too well even after much training. The revolver is almost foolproof and as long as you get a reliable model, she should have no problems after many training sessions. Pricewise, I really like the Taurus models. I have not seen any problems with the newer models. And of course S&W and other domestic manufactors make some pretty good ones too. 357 with 38 special cartridges would be a great start.

May 7, 2005, 12:27 PM
i'd suggest a 20gauge pump loaded with buckshot. perhaps a youth version, depending on her size.

if not, i'd say a .357 would be best, .38's for practice, .357mag for HD. i'd lean towards a Taurus because of the 7 or 8 shot capacity. more is always better. :rolleyes:


May 7, 2005, 12:41 PM
This is what we did. After months of magazine articles, gun shows, gun stores and much "ooh'ing and ah'ing" on my part over XD's, Sig 239's and Walther 99's, she spotted a SS GP100 with a 4" barrel. She bought it. Then she said, "We need a shotgun." We picked up an 870 Express Youth model. It gets fed Federal 2 3/4" #3 buckshot loads. The GP gets Federal "Low Recoil" 130 grain 357 Mag Hydroshoks.

A trip to range amply demonstrated the little 20's punch and how small the pattern is at 15 yards. No hip shooting like in the movies. :) The youth 870 is light so it bucks a little but nothing she can't handle.

She shoots home brewed 38 Special 148 gr wadcutters for practice. She will only shoot it DA style because SA "takes more work" according to her. I do nothing to discourage the DA shooting at all.

A DA revolver is simple, reliable and extremely versatile. Makes a very good backup for a shotgun, which is a REAL home SD weapon.


May 7, 2005, 01:26 PM
Either a 20 gauge loaded with 00 buck or 000 buck. With pistol grips for the front and rear, perhaps even a laser sight on it so she WILL NOT miss....

Or just the .357 loaded with .38 Hollow points would work as well, but I think the sound of a pump shotgun being pumped is an intimidator all on its own.

Also some nice large sized cans of OC would help too.
This is the best, imho....

It probably won't stop a meth-head or a crackhead, but it should give her a few extra seconds to get to her firearm if the OC doesn't do the trick.

May 7, 2005, 01:33 PM
I see alot of people recommending a .357 with .38 loads

Why not a .38 with .38 loads? Saves a few bucks on the gun doesn't it?

I think those Youth sized 870s are only $170 IIRC to BTW. The reason I suggest them is because they ARE small and easy to navigate around corners etc.

I like the laser idea!

May 7, 2005, 01:35 PM
One of the 9mm-.40 carbines might serve well, easy to shoot, low recoil, etc.

May 7, 2005, 02:14 PM
One of the 9mm-.40 carbines might serve well, easy to shoot, low recoil, etc.Complicated manual of arms for a person new to shooting, though. The reolvers are getting the nod because of how simple they are.

Now, if they really want to spend some time learning their weapons and practicing with them, certainly a pistol caliber carbine would be a respectable choice.

May 7, 2005, 02:21 PM
She will not CCW so it'll stricktly be a home gun.

The more I think about it the more I think any handgun is the wrong solution for this lady and a scatter gun is exacly the right one.
But then I said that already. :D

This thread remined me of a junkyard safari I went on one weekend years ago. You know the story...eventually discarded home appliances get involved.

It's amazing what even an el cheapo load of #8 s does to a discarded frig or washing machine. 00 or #1 buck are amazing in differenct ways but any SG load was visually more impressive than the 38s or 45s we were plugging'em with. We all talk about 1 shot stops and how handguns can come up short on that proposition. I thinking a SG would up the odds in her favor.

May 7, 2005, 02:49 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I will print some of this out and let her read, specially the encouraging posts from fellow Catholics.

I think a shotgun will be too much of a gun for her and a handgun would be easier to secure. She is not short but has very thin/delicate wrists/finger

We have a range with rentals nearby so I'll have her do that first. I have a snub nose .38 that I'll let her try but it sure kicks hard.

So far my favorite is the Ruger GP100 series KGPF-331 with 3in (76 mm) barrel, in .357 mag but we'll have to see what she likes.

That nun sure looks like Madona to me :)

I hope she doesn't grow cold to the idea over the weekend or we'll have to work on some more marble jokes.


May 7, 2005, 03:02 PM
i can't get over the bag of marbles though... not even a baseball bat! oy.

May 7, 2005, 03:32 PM
If the kick is a concern, make sure the gun has some weight. The 60/649 has enough weight to tame recoil but still light enough for carry. Use .38's through them and she'll be fine. I'm recoil sensitive myself so I'd also advise you stay away from airweights and titanium guns;stick with 20 oz at least for a snubbie if she goes for that. I know people here mean well but shotguns and pistols are not what a newbie should be shooting, escpecially if she's gun shy to start with -- that'll get her running. The Lady Smith 36 or 65 are options - I'd avoid double action but if it's a bodyguard, she'll have the single double action choice without the snag. Most important of all are lessons to help her learn about the gun and dispell her fears. If you have a .22 she can borrow, I own a New Single Six, it's a great place to start. Once she's comfortable she'll build up to a higher caliber -- or stay with a .38 -- but there's nothing wrong with that if she uses it well. Lastly, Catholicism aside, a woman should be as armed as her attacker. Best of luck to her. :)

May 7, 2005, 04:33 PM
Aagghhight, here I go...

On the handgun, sticking with mid-sized revolvers, I'll recommend an S&W Model 10. The new ones come with rubber grips and they'll be rated for +P .38spl loadings, but that don't mean she has to shoot 'em that hot. In my experience, the 4" bull barrel has just the right weight and balance to be accurate. A Model 19 w/ 4" bull barrel works good too with the right grips, as they're both a K-frame, but you have to pick the .38 and/or .357 loads that work for you. Some are "badder" than others. Start light and experiment and see what she's comfortable with.

My sister keeps a Taurus .38spl with a 2" barrel and rubber grips. She can hit stuff with it- fist-sized group at 7yds, and can still hit gallon jugs at 40-50'. She was shooting some of our Daddy's handloads, but now she keeps it with Hornady 125gr HP/XTP. While I can hit with a Model 10, I can't hit the side of the proverbial barn with the Taurus, but my sister likes the Taurus and that's what matters.

Shotguns? Some like 'em and some don't. My sister is four years younger than me and about four inches shorter, and when she was 15 years old, she weighed about 120lbs and was shooting an 870 Youth 20guage. She did fine with it and didn't complain about recoil. The "coach guns" in 20guage are a good idea with the simpler manual of arms- one of my buddies in the cowboy world is a petite lady and IIRC she keeps one in 12guage handy- but don't have the capacity of an 870. If you take the plug out of the 870's magazine tube, you can have 4rds in the mag (5 if you keep one in the barrel). With it kept with a loaded magazine and empty chamber, you can rack it and, hopefully, watch 'em take off running. However, in doing so, you give away your position, which isn't counted as smart by combat vets who've discussed home defense. The individual's temperment goes a long way in all aspects of gun handling/use.

I noticed somebody mentioned 00 Buck in a 20guage, but all I've ever seen is #3 Buck and it seems like that oughta be heavy enough.

Oh, did I mention I'm no recoil junkie either?

Mas, If Texas is like Georgia, the lady ain't gonna need a permit just to buy a gun and keep it at home, although if she did decide to CCW, that'd be different. We ain't like Massachusetts.

May 7, 2005, 05:26 PM
Newly single female sans brood? Looking for new interests and friends? Sounds like introduction to competition shooting is in order. Can't forget the social aspects of shooting sports.

<Two cents alert> Start with basic NRA training and let nature take its course. I've taught my daughter to shoot and she quite frankly fooled me with her choice of handgun. I figured .32 to .38 because of the bark and bolt. She chose a .45 ACP Taurus PT145 featuring full-house loads. :D Never would have I predicted her choice. </Two cents alert>

May 7, 2005, 06:27 PM
I wasn't commenting on her permit. Just because she's interested in getting a gun doesn't necessarily mean she'll carry it. If she has one just for the house, she has more options in terms of weight and barrel length. If she does plan to carry it as well, then it becomes a factor. That was my only point -- trust me, I'm well aware no one is like us. Even registered sex offenders don't have to give thirty days to the police before moving.

May 7, 2005, 06:54 PM
Okay, I see. I've heard some discussion on the size/weight options and even some other advantages from a woman on another board- she said a heavy revolver with a 6-7.5" barrel can be handier in close quarters than a little revolver.

1- If the BG grabs a 2" .38, they'll most likely grab in around the cylinder. If they grab it tight enough, I've heard the gun can be disabled in that the cylinder won't rotate.

2- If the BG grabs a 6" medium-large frame revolver, they'll most likely grab the barrel thinking they have a better handle. From what I understand from the woman I just mentioned, if even a small woman pulls back on the grip of this gun, three fingers and thumb gripping pulls the barrel in line with the attacker's forearm. The index finger on the trigger will complete the grip and send a slug up the attacker's forearm to break the elbow (theoretically) and change BG's mind.

As for the permit, I'm agreeing that it does give a gun owner more legal options depending upon state of residency.

That part about registered sex offenders- that really ticks me off. To be honest, not knowing the exact wording of FL and MA laws, I don't know the difference, but from what I understand, FL just lets 'em fall through the cracks instead of enforcing the law. So for all practical purposes, it looks a lot alike. Makes a case for carrying in defense of one's children if not in defense of one's own self.

This part's just a general observation not aimed in any one direction, but that part in Waitone's post about the "social aspects of shooting sports"- while that's a good idea, and I go as much to hang out as to shoot, I wouldn't stake the success or failure of one's general social life, love life or whatever on meeting somebody at a shoot. I get out and around all the time and if I meet somebody or get to talking with somebody, fine. If not, fine. People are wherever they are. You never know where or when you'll meet who.

May 7, 2005, 07:14 PM
If the BG gets close enough to grab the gun, maybe she shouldn't own one? I've heard people make similar comments based on the Leathal Weapon movies with regards to my Beretta. If the BG wants to give it a try, he's welcomed but he won't get far. :evil:

The bottom line is the revolver offers the simplicity for the lady concerned; if she's shy about recoil, it does need weight. I have a 686 4" but no way in Hell I'm packing that to go out. I have a 60 2" that works great, but another lady shooter may prefer a 3" 65, 60 or SP101. The subject of this thread won't know what she wants until she's had some exposure. Hopefully, she won't back away from the idea of carrying.

May 7, 2005, 08:11 PM
A major issue with women and handguns is lack of hand strength. Either they don't have strength to rack the slide on an auto or they don't have the finger strength for double action trigger pull on a revolver.

May 7, 2005, 08:47 PM
Pfft..if they're 90 or have arthritis or something.

If we're capable of hauling a sleeping kid and 4 bags of groceries up a flight of stairs, I think we can generally handle a DA trigger.

May 7, 2005, 08:54 PM
Been thinking about this a bit and I think I'd add DAO to the list of qualifications of the .38/.357 revolver.

Decocking a revolver is a pretty good way to have an ND if you're not willing to practice the procedure, and the temptation to cock one when under stress is just about irresistable.

May 7, 2005, 09:09 PM
SP 101 3" bbl stuffed with 158gr LSWCHP +P. A night bead on the front sight would be good too.

Skip the talk about .357's - for one thing an inexperienced shooter will end up hating shooting exposed to those, and from a practical standpoint, would she (or anybody) REALLY want to fire even a mild .357 indoors?

May 7, 2005, 09:39 PM
I'm wondering about a DAO...the thought of a cocked revolver and small hands is leading me that way. Hopefully, they'll have one to rent.

Those Rugers sure look great to me, except for that "Read manual..." stamping :barf:


May 7, 2005, 09:47 PM
The conversation that comment about the BG grabbing the gun was made in concerned extremely close quarters in the home. Whether they get that close or not sometimes depends on the layout of ones home. Everybody has an opinion. I wouldn't say that's grounds for somebody not to own a gun, but rather grounds for them to be more ready to fight.

The Lethal Weapon movies? I saw that scene. They must have had the takedown ready to strip it, but I don't know. It rolled good on film, but that's about it. Personally, I'm kinda the same way about that as I am about knives, machetes and bayonets. They ain't gettin' that close; that's what the .45's for.

Hopefully, she won't back away from the idea of carrying.


Now, I'm noticing some debate as to whether a woman can handle a DA trigger pull. I'd have to say it depends on the individual and it also depends on the weight of the trigger pull. I'm a 6' tall 200lb guy who lifts weights and I've run into DA triggers I hated (as well as recoil springs I felt were way too heavy).

Skip the talk about .357's - for one thing an inexperienced shooter will end up hating shooting exposed to those, and from a practical standpoint, would she (or anybody) REALLY want to fire even a mild .357 indoors?

I recall when I started shooting centerfire revolvers, I fired everything between .38spl and .45Colt. The lady in question may or may not care for any of those. As for why anybody would want to fire a mild .357 indoors, in a defensive situation, it won't matter. You use the most power you're comfortable with to stop a threat. I heard from a retired GA state trooper that when the adrenaline's dumping, you get tunnel vision and you'll think you could've heard a pin drop. .357 blast won't matter to you, but you can bet it'll matter on the other end. I don't know about you or her, but if it's a matter of surviving...

May 7, 2005, 09:52 PM
I'm still leaning towards suggesting a 20 ga. with buckshot. Although it seems that a larger gun might be more intimidating, that's not always the case. I have a sister in law who was fine with her husband owning long guns, but wigged out the first time he brought home a handgun. She'd grown up with hunters, but always associated handguns with criminals.

The shells will be easier to manipulate if she's nervous, the safety is easy to operate, and they're easy to unload.

I guess the best person to ask would be her, though. She knows what she's comfortable with and what she's not.

May 7, 2005, 10:09 PM
I used to own a 442 and sold it promptly. Hated the muzzle blast and loooong trigger pull. I was in the martial arts all my life, physically fit and I can't deal with a DAO trigger pull. This is a major reason why I'm getting a 649 which is snag free but allows me the option of cocking the hammer if I want. Face it folks, they can't prove you did cock the hammer in a situation, and if they want to find fault with you, they don't need a gun with a hammer to do it.

The important issue is can she use it often and well. I like the single/double action option - which I'll keep with the 649 when I purchase it. I also like a little weight on a gun to help with the recoil. I admit, I'm sensitive to both recoil and heavy DAO guns and I know there are women who share my experience. I describe the 442 as bruatal. The 60 is a pleasure, the 686 is a blast with magnums and I feel nothing - and I can practice all day with them. Can't say that with a light weight snub or shotgun. If the subject of this thread isn't carrying, the 686 4" or snubby is THE gun for home defense.

I can't see a gun shy Catholic nurse shooting a shotgun as her first firearm - even if she is from Texas. It also elimates any chance of carry, if it's a consideration for her. In my opinion for first time shooters, 3" single/double action revovlers are ideal. I got my father a blue GP100 3" and he loves it. Great for home and carry and fun to handle at the range.

May 8, 2005, 02:11 AM
Add another '4" stainless .357 revolver' - survives on improper maintenance, excellent hitting power, easy to use with very little training or practice.

May 8, 2005, 02:17 AM
I'm not sure some understand how a shotgun patterns at in-home distances: one still needs to aim and hit. If your friend is inclined to do room-clearing drills chasing away the invading hordes, then perhaps a shotty with all the tactical gizmos and a laser makes sense.

But if she just wants something she can keep at her side, get into action quickly, is handy up to contact distances and effective, I'd say the 38 snubbie with some of the new SD ammo made specifically for these guns is a good option. Now a laser on a snubbie...that's an idea...

The most important thing is finding something she is comfortable with. I tried buying a gun for my wife, and boy, was that a mistake: I would've had better luck buying her shoes. After that dismal failure, she went out on her own, rented and shot everything she could get her paws around, and came home one day with a HK USP 45 Compact. In the end it came down to controllability; she shoots the autos much better than the revos, and with some coaching and practice is able to load and clear very quickly. And she likes the idea of making nine 1/2" holes if necessary, with eight more ready to fly.

Find a gun your friend likes and if the trigger is too stiff for reasonable accuracy, send it off to a smith like Teddy Jacobsen of Sugarland TX for an action job to smooth things up without harming reliability. Teddy used to give special priority to customers who sent him their SD gun for work; he's slowed down a bit, but it's worth a try.

Hopefully she'll grow so accustomed to her new "friend" that she'll take it everywhere she goes.

May 8, 2005, 09:03 PM
A short barreled SG will open up a spread fairly rapidly. My Youth 870 has a 20" barrel with a modified choke and at 15' with #4 shot will create about an 8" pattern. That gives you a little more room for error than a .38 would.

I prefer a SG with small shot as it limits overpenetration of bodies, walls, etc. Turn a .357 round loose in your house and there's no telling where it will end up.

May 8, 2005, 09:21 PM
I prefer a SG with small shot as it limits overpenetration of bodies, walls, etc. Turn a .357 round loose in your house and there's no telling where it will end up.

I know a guy on another board who says he keep a 12guage loaded with BB size shot. From the way he described it, it'd be a tough round to survive.

From many opinions (instructors, cops, various other shooters) I've heard, overpenetration by handgun bullets is part of why you're supposed to use HP's for defensive situations. Personally, I keep my 1911A1 loaded with FMJ's but everybody has an opinion.

May 9, 2005, 10:10 PM
Talked to her again today. She is up for it and likes the rentals idea. We talked about the potential for making a decision to pull the trigger and she said she thought she could do it under home invasion circumstances.

Thanks again for the help and ideas!

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