Petite hands


July 1, 2006, 11:16 AM
Took the wife to the gun store yesterday to try on a few different autoloaders. She was reluctant to go but warmed up as we tried one after another. The only one we could find that offered her adequate trigger reach with proper grip was a Kahr. She is new to shooting and I wanted to get something with a 4inch barrel so that leaves only the Kahr T9 ir TP9. I've read that this particular Kahr is not all that accurate, maybe even less accurate than the smaller Kahrs. Any suggestions?

Next time I think I can get her to actually shoot in the stores indoor range!

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July 1, 2006, 11:44 AM
you know what, try one of the beretta's, cougar or 9000s models, or even a cz, they have such comfortable grips.

James T Thomas
July 1, 2006, 11:49 AM
Also consider the Ruger P95 model. I have not handled their newer model, so I do not know if it is the same or perhaps better.

The previous semiauto in 9mm had a quite "comfortable" grip, though it was somewhat larger in size than the Kahr.

Stainless Chili
July 1, 2006, 12:23 PM
S&W 908 [S], but it might be 3.5" or the 3913

July 1, 2006, 12:31 PM
Take her to the range.
Loudly announce what the problem is.
I'll bet your wife gets to try every gun at the range and some surprises may be in the offing.
I've never seen anyone at the range not let a newbie try at least a few shots. Especially a lady type newbie.


July 1, 2006, 12:43 PM
I am curious, why a 4" barrel?

I've got a little girl's hands. The Kahr P9 is one of the few that fits nicely in my hand. The Walther P99 with the smallest backstrap just barely fits my hands, but I shoot the P9 better.

Has she tried a 1911? My dad's Gold Cup fits my tiny hands, too. Again, one of the few pistols that does. A single stack magazine makes for an agreeably thin grip.

July 1, 2006, 12:46 PM
Any weapon makers today, what with modern industrial techniques, is able to produce a quality, accurate firearm. What else that needs to be factored into the weapons system the shooter...!!! Get your "significant other" some professional training and I will bet the store that you could buy her any firearm she wants and she and that weapon will do just fine at the range........

July 1, 2006, 12:50 PM
Surprisingly, the Browning Hi-Power fits my small hands very well even though it is a double stack 9mm. Just something about it makes it fit right for a lot of different people. It is a single action however, but they now have a newer version that is single and double action, but it is a polymer gun, and not called the Hi-Power

July 1, 2006, 12:55 PM
you know what, try one of the beretta's, cougar or 9000s models, or even a cz, they have such comfortable grips.

I own several different Beretta's and while I do agree they are comfortable, small they are definitely not (especially the 9000). To this extent, Beretta's tend to have exceptionall large grip circumference when compared to the cartridge they fire. The circumference of my 84 FS .380 is similar to my Baby Eagle 9mm.

My suggestion would be to try the BabyEagle ( It is a 15 round DA 9mm with Decocker that seems to fit the hand very well, no matter who is holding it. I bought one, and within two months three of my friends had their own. They run about $450, standard finish is black. They can be had in any finish MRI offers (chrome, bright nickel, titanium, etc), but there is extra cost. Hogue makes both panels and fingergroove grips in rubber and various hardwoods. Magazines are plentiful, as any CZ/TZ 75 mag will work. The Baby also has true polygonal rifling, which makes bore cleaning a snap. All in all, they are pretty hard to beat, especially in the sub-$500 range.

July 1, 2006, 01:02 PM
IF you can locate a Browning BDM 9mm pistol, that particular Browning was VERY slender, and yet featured a 15 Rd. magazine. It had a recessed slot screw that would allow the user to choose between typical D/A first shot mode to a DAO mode. Again, if you can locate an example of this pistol, your wife's eyes might just sparkle! Good luck.

July 1, 2006, 01:15 PM
I was thinking 4 inch for two reasons. I didn't want less than that because I thought as a first gun she would have enough site radius to learn to shoot more accurately. I didn't want more than 4 inch because I wanted something she could carry if she eventually wanted to do so.

So far you all have given me a great list of guns for her to try. I agree that the final decision is hers and can only be reached after shooting several.

the naked prophet
July 1, 2006, 01:22 PM
My wife has very tiny hands - the 7 year old girl at church has bigger hands than my wife. The Walther P22 was too big for her - we tried one, and she couldn't reach the trigger.

First, she bought a Kel-Tec P32 because it was so small. That worked, but she wanted something with more punch.

The Kahr was too big - she couldn't reach the trigger. Anything that was double action, she couldn't reach the trigger unless it was tiny, like the P32.

Finally, we found that she could hold a Glock 27. Odd. And, she can fire my Browning Hi-Power quite comfortably and very effectively. Even though the Glock is not single action, the trigger is short enough that she can reach it. Most single action pistols, with a trigger closer to the grip and a shorter trigger pull, were okay. The 1911 was a little too big because of the longer .45 cartridge, but I think if we had thinner grip panels it would have been okay.

In short, look at single action semiautomatics. The long reach for the double action triggers is what's causing the problem, at least for my short-fingered wife.

July 1, 2006, 01:33 PM

any reason for autoloader or is it just preference?

for small hands a nice snubbie .38 might be a good idea

July 1, 2006, 01:46 PM
We were stuck on autoloaders only because we thought the increased mag capacity would be an advantage. However, with the single stack slim autoloaders it seems that we are right back down to 7 or 8 rounds and that advantage disappears. Wouldn't the double action of a revolver be a longer trigger reach?

July 1, 2006, 01:57 PM
While capacity is always nice there are two tings to consider. Most shoot outs are over within three shots, much of the time you are not going to run into a BG that is going to shoot it out with you and just seeing a gun can often be enough to make them wet themselves and go on their way. Also, you are talking smaller guns which don't have really high capacity anyway and if you are talking small hands the larger grip of a double stack might not work so well anyway. So as you mentioned, you aren't talking all that big a difference in capacity, five shots compared to seven or eight.

Also consider a speed loaders. Changing out a magazine is going to be faster but if you are worried about number of rounds a speed loader can get you reloaded almost as fast as an auto loader.

As to the trigger pull yes it will be longer but usually not much to worry about and is easily manageable if you get a good model. Also a revolver is not going to fail you, if a round fails you simply move onto the next with no hang up. I prefer autoloaders but sometimes its hard to beat a nice revolver.

July 1, 2006, 02:09 PM
It's a 3" barrel rather than 4" but I will strongly recommend the Para-Ordnance Slim Hawg. I just ran one through a test program and after a couple or three hundred rounds of several different ammo brands and types, there were no (as in ZERO) malfunctions. It's a single stack 1911 in .45 ACP, with very slim grips.

For more capacity, Para also offers the Hawg in a double stack version, and that's also available in 9mm as the Hawg 9.

July 1, 2006, 02:38 PM
GVMan, that Kahr will hold 'minute of bad guy' out to probably 25 yards. She does not need more accuracy than that. What she DOES need is a gun she can hold comfortably and shoot consistantly.

July 1, 2006, 02:46 PM
Hawkmoon or anyone with an opinion,
Isn't 45acp a bit much for a small woman?

What does "minute of bad guy" mean?

It looks like she might need to rent quite a few before she finds just the right one.

July 1, 2006, 02:51 PM

I know a woman who is five foot and slim that shoots 45 reguarly, it all depends on the individual.

July 1, 2006, 03:49 PM
I have to second the Browning HiPower and its variants, as well as the 1911family. CZ's and some other auto loaders would have the same advantage.

That advantage is removable grip panels. For the above three named pistols aftermarket "slimline" grips are available or are fairly easy to make/have made. Dropping the grip circumference doesn't help with the trigger reach issue but for folks with stubby fingers like mine it increases the feeling of control by getting more hand around less grip.

The 1911's also can have various lengths of triggers installed (best by a gunsmith) to lengthen or shorten the trigger reach, I believe other autos share this ability.

That said, I found the Kahr's and the Glock 19 and mini Glocks not too big, there are similar sized guns by SA and Smith. A friend of mine swears by her Sig 239. There are hundreds of choices, by helping her try multiple guns you are on the right track.

Have her be sure to take a firm proper firing grip and see where the trigger reach hits. It is counter productive to have a comfortable grip if the shooter has to crank their hand around to get leverage on the trigger. If she can hold and reach on the guns but has to crank her hand around to manage the DA pull, that's a strength training issue and can be dealt with.

July 1, 2006, 04:05 PM
I'm agreeing with the 4" barrel and revolver for learning and carry, but I also shoot 1911A1's. My sister (she's 5'5" while I'm 6') likes a .38spl snubbie, but she can shoot anything she wants to, up to and including my .45's... and that's .45ACP or .45Colt. Women can shoot anything men can and many times better. My experience and observations are proof.

My sister's .38 is one of the Taurus M85's. It fits her hands but it's too small for mine. I've seen what she can do with Winchester Silvertips at defensive distances too and she can make very small groups with a weapon I can't hit the side of the barn with. The grip/hand fit is very very very important... while I'm for anything .38spl and bigger, this fit is much more important than the size/quanity of the slugs.

July 1, 2006, 11:58 PM
As another poster has recommended, the now-discontinued Browning BDM has a WONDERFUL grip and grip angle that she'd really like.

It was a just-introduced "casualty of the Assault Weapons Bill during the Clinton administration. The BDM used 15 round, high cap magazines that were DIFFERENT from anything else around . . . and they didn't have sufficient depth of high cap. mags to "grandfather" in.

So . . . it was just another 9mm without the ability to get extra high cap mags.

HOWEVER, I have seen some dealers selling some NEW, old stock BDMs lately with one 15 round magazine. The 10 round mags are a little easier to get.

My BDM, waaay back in the mid-90s only came with 10 round magazines and I could not find any 15 rounders for it, so I traded it off . . . but DANG . . . what a nice, small grip.

I don't imagine Browning will ever bring it back. It was a great idea in a double action auto, and had a nice double action pull to boot.

Mine was the two-toned one with a black slide and "stainless-looking" frame. Good looking too! Sometimes I wish I still had it.


July 2, 2006, 01:11 AM

I've got pretty small hands I really like my Browning Hi-Power. Either slim wood grips or a Hogue mono grip makes it even better. I also have the monogrip on a round butt S&W model 66; once again its a great fit. The standard Glocks, like the 17,19,26, etc. also work well for me. I find that with Hogues, or standard Magna Grips with a Tyler T-Grip, the S&W K frames are very comfortable. A Lady Smith model will already be tuned from the factory, but a good smith can slick up the action on any S&W easily at minimal cost if the the non LS trigger is heavy for her. 1911 variants also work well for me.

As for recoil I don't think 45 ACP is any worse than 9mm; it's just different. The 9mm is more a quick snap while the 45 is more a slow long push. 40 S&W, and 357 SIG moreso, is even snappier than 9mm. Keep us updated as to what she likes after more handling and, hopefully, shooting.

July 2, 2006, 02:27 AM
A Smith 39xx or 908 series single stack guns are great small grip guns. My favorite single stack to shoot was a 39-2. :cool:

Walt Sherrill
July 2, 2006, 09:40 AM
I'm a big CZ fan and enthusiast - have several, along with CZ clones -- but they are not good candidates for someone with a small hand. The trigger pull on the DA triggers are quite long, and folks with small hands or short fingers are seriously challenged by the CZ.

July 2, 2006, 10:35 AM
I'm assuming you're either looking for weapons to conceal and/or smaller weapons to make it easier for her to wield them effectively.

I agree that you should make as many shooting opportunities open to her as possible, so she can check out a range of possibilities. Maybe she'll find a winner that nobody else expects.

I also have smallish hands (for a guy) and I have a Kahr K9. IMO, the Kahr line can be a bit of a challenge for new shooters because of the trigger and the short sight radius. I used to completely miss the paper with 1/3 of a magazine at 25 yards until I had lots of practice. But it fits my hand well, recoil is very manageable for a gun that size, ballistics from self-defense loads are acceptable, and it conceals well. I'm very reluctant to switch.

The Sig 239 is another possibility for someone with small hands. Not much bigger than the Kahr, has a 3.6" barrel but a 5"+ sight radius.

I've also had very good luck with the Browning Hi-Power. For a double stack it has a slim grip, decent (not great) trigger out of the box, and a simple manual of arms.

Best of luck.


July 2, 2006, 10:35 AM
I would have to agree with Walt. The double action pull on cz's isn't for small hands. Hipowers are good and springfiels xd's also have a pretty short trigger and they are pretty thin for a double stack gun. Mark

July 2, 2006, 09:07 PM
My wife likes the feel of my P345, over my CZ75B 9mm. She also likes shooting it better. It's the only Ruger with a small grip, and for the weight, the recoil is pretty tame:)

July 3, 2006, 10:08 PM
Today we drove to a store in the next town that is reputed to have a large selection of used guns. We were hoping to find some of the models that were suggested by all of you. Unfortunately, they didn't have a Browing BDM, Highpower, or a 9mm 1911. We looked again at the Sig 239 to check out if the "short trigger" mod would be short enough. It wouldn't have been.

Our family expert, my wife's father, suggested we try a Smith and Wesson model 60 revolver. Wow, it was the perfect fit for her small hand. I saw how easily she could reach the trigger and I picked up one myself and started to check it out. I have always wanted a S&W revolver. I became so enthralled by the one I was holding, that I didn't notice that she had not pulled the trigger yet. I was ready to call the salesman over to complete the transaction when I asked her to pull the trigger. She couldn't even budge it. The salesman handed her a different model and she couldn't budge that one either. (unless she cocked them first) Darn it!

We tried the Kahr T9 again and it was the perfect fit. For those not versed in Kahrs this is the largest one featuring: 4 inch barrel, all steel frame, and wood grips. It even came with night sights. It looks great and she loves it.


Thanks for the great suggestions!!

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