HD handgun for a petite woman?


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Kimber1911_06238
August 30, 2007, 08:58 AM
Ok, here's the deal. This woman's husband passed away and she wants something to protect herself (I was very happy to hear this). Ultimately I would suggest a shotgun, but she feels that long guns are too unwieldy and that it could be taken away during a conflict. So that leaves us with a handgun.

I really would like to see her choose a revolver, but I think .38/.357 would be too much for her. I know ruger makes a gp100 in .32 H&R mag, but I'll bet the gp is too big for her small hands and I don't know about the recoil. I think the lady smith line from smith and wesson would work well, but not in .38/.357. Any suggestions for a small gripped gun that is fairly light and doesn't have much recoil?

I was also thinking maybe glock 9mm? semi auto to soak up a little recoil and no safeties to fumble with. The concern is the glock's blocky grip. The other thing is that I'm not sure about 9mm recoil, she's never shot one so I'm not sure that she could handle it. Sounds like a range trip is in order.

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AirForceShooter
August 30, 2007, 09:17 AM
Yes a range trip is in order.
Let her try every gun she can lay her hands on. I've never seen a guy say no to a woman that wants to try his gun.
Do NOT tell her what you think she should shoot.
Send her to the web site of the Cornered Cat run by Pax, a girl type person.

You may be very surprised at what she finds out she likes.

AFS

Kimber1911_06238
August 30, 2007, 09:41 AM
thanks for the link

Jim Watson
August 30, 2007, 09:58 AM
I know ruger makes a gp100 in .32 H&R mag,"

I don't think so. They make the much smaller SP101 in .32 H&R, which might be a good choice. I can't find where S&W is making one now, but she could probably find one NOS or used. She is not likely to shoot so much that price and availability of ammo will be a real problem.

A Ladysmith (or standard) M65 would probably work. There are a LOT of .38s to choose from and it would just be a matter of working up to the top of her comfort level. A 35 oz .38 need not kick any more than a 28 oz. .32.

But AFS is right, she needs to try everything possible.

rantingredneck
August 30, 2007, 09:58 AM
Indeed she should try out everything possible to see what fits her best.

A note about GP100's though..... If there's one revolver out there that nearly everyone makes aftermarket grips for this one is it. They can easily be customized to fit smaller hands. A hogue monogrip is much slimmer than the stock grips and easier on the hands as well. Plus the finger grooves give somethign to hang on to. :)

Gunbabe
August 30, 2007, 10:04 AM
I agree with AirForceShooter about not telling her what ones you think she should shoot. My husband tried that but found out to stop that quick. I think it should be what each person is comfortable with not what you think fits them.

I love my range time and hopefully she can get some time it and will love it too.

Line Rider
August 30, 2007, 10:17 AM
The first step, I feel, is that she get some training in firearms safety and self defense. In the 11 years that I have been in law enforcement, I have seen too many cases of concern family members or family friends giving a woman a firearm, and that woman later having the gun used on her. Please, don't think that I'm in anyway against the right to self protection, because I'm not. The best example I can give is you don't buy someone who doesn't know how to drive a new car and never test them how to drive it. That principle applies here. Start her with an NRA course and a borrowed or rented gun. Then some range time and see what type of gun she can handle well. Many ranges offer women's self defense firearms training.

RPCVYemen
August 30, 2007, 10:31 AM
I think it should be what each person is comfortable with not what you think fits them.

That's what Cornered Cat says:

http://www.corneredcat.com/

I will also share that there is no relationship I can determine between the size of a man or woman, and the caliber or handgun they prefer to shoot. The last time I was at the range, there was a skinny adolescent girl shooting a 1911, and grinning ear to ear.

People perceive recoil differently. I find a Blackhawk shooting 255@800fps much more pleasant than a 1911 shooting 230@750fps. Too much crap moving around (for my taste) with a 1911 (or other auto-loader).

Mike

Kimber1911_06238
August 30, 2007, 11:41 AM
I would ideally love to have her shoot as many guns as possible, the only problem is that most of my handguns are large and there in nowhere around here to rent any. That's why I was trying to figure something with a small grip size that won't have crazy recoil.

erict
August 30, 2007, 06:20 PM
My wife has tried most of my handguns (which are mostly compacts) including Glocks, Sigs, and HK. I can't get her to try the S&W 340 because everyone whines about it after shooting it. :eek:

She really like my Sig 239 in 9mm (she pretty much stole it from me), it has a very small grip (single stack). I have average sized hands and the Sig feels small to me but just right for her. Every person is different though so make sure and try what you can try to see what she likes.

Jim Watson
August 30, 2007, 06:35 PM
the only problem is that most of my handguns are large and there in nowhere around here to rent any.

You have convinced her she can't handle a big gun?

You don't have any friends with guns?

W.E.G.
August 30, 2007, 06:45 PM
four-inch steel-framed revolver in .38 special
stainless steel

accept no substitutes

pax
August 30, 2007, 07:12 PM
Kimber1911_06238 --

Start by handing her your Kimber and see how it fits her hand and how she feels about shooting that caliber.

Don't start by telling her what she can't handle. That's for her to tell you, not the other way around. (Or her targets will tell both of you.)

And follow this link please: http://womenandguns.servertalk.in/viewtopic.php?t=2140&mforum=womenandguns -- it's a thread over on the Women & Guns forum, kinda-sorta exploring an issue very closely related to this topic.

Oh, and W.E.G.? Please follow the link above. It might help you.

pax

XDSC
August 30, 2007, 08:58 PM
Kimber, you didn't mention why you feel the lady wouldn't be able to handle a .38 or higher caliber. Is she elderly? Does she have arthritis? Some of these questions you need to take into account. My Mom is 74 yrs old, (God bless her!) has COPD, and recently broke her arm. She can shoot her .38 revolver just fine as of last week.
No offense, but a lot of guys believe that women are weak and lack the intelligence to use a firearm. This is just not so. I personally don't like to carry anything less than a .40 and enjoy shooting 45 long colts out of DH's "Judge". But, everybody is different. The important thing to remember is she needs to be responsible for her own safety. This means that she will need to make some very important choices. Research is a good place to start. Introduce her to this forum, The Cornered Cat, and Women & Guns. (This is what I did) She will need to take a firearms course. The NRA has an introductory pistol class to introduce women to guns.
http://www.nrahq.org/women/isc/index.asp
Plan ahead for safety if she has children in the home. Make sure that she has adequate hearing and eye protection before you go to the range. Arrange for her to shoot different guns. Then, let her make her own decision. She is lucky to have you for a resource.

springmom
August 30, 2007, 09:18 PM
There are many, many semiauto options for this lady if that's what she wants. She should get to shoot as many guns as possible; but if that's limited, she certainly can go to a gun shop and *handle* every one of them if she needs to!
That will enable her to find the gun with the grip that is right for her.

Is there some physical disability that has you so worried about her experience of recoil? Because I have arthritis in my hands and shoulders, and my first handgun was an XD-40....and I shoot .38's, a .357, and for hunting, even a .44 mag (although I like specials in that gun better, I admit). If she *thinks* that she is going to feel "too much" recoil, then it will be a bigger deal for her than if she's encouraged to absorb it and realize that it won't hurt her, and especially encouraged to wear ample ear protection (double ears) which will make the whole experience far more pleasant.

Springmom

GVMan
August 30, 2007, 09:56 PM
My wife has very small hands. The Sig 239 grip was too fat. The only semi auto that worked was the Kahr. The T9 has a 4 inch barrel and is all stainless. Perfectly reliable after the 200 round break in period.

Although she could reach the trigger on a S&W revolver she had trouble pulling it. I think that if the woman could pull the double action S&W trigger then that would be the best choice. I think a 4 inch stainless revolver would be easy enough to shoot in 38 special if not 357, and she could choose either.

thebaldguy
August 30, 2007, 10:14 PM
Per W.E.G, a .38 stainless steel revolver would almost be perfect. Maybe a steel snub nose, or something with a longer barrel to add weight for the recoil sensitive. Different models with aftermarket grips may be a good suggestion. Avoid slide racking, magazines, safety/decockers, etc. Keep it simple at first, then maybe something more complicated like a semi auto.

golden
August 30, 2007, 10:35 PM
I agree totally with a trip to the range. Start with a .22 revolver just to get aqainted. Then a mid size revolver with at least a 3 inch barrel to keep down the muzzle blast from hotter loads.

If the woman is petite, you may want to start with a 5 shot model like the S&W 36, Ruger sp101 or Taurus. Otherwise I would go for a K frame S&W like the model 10, 13, 15 or 19 with a 3 or 4 inch barrel.

Either way, start with either wadcutters or standard velocity 125 or 130 grain loads. If the shooter is comfortable with this. Try some +P. I stick with 125 grain REMINGINTON JHP +P loads for my guns. They recoil less than the 158 grain loads.

AVOID .32 caliber guns unless she CANNOT HANDLE a .38. If she has that much problems, she should probablely not get a gun or stick with a .22lr and realize that it will probably not do the job.

If she is good with this so far, get her a training course. She needs a professional who can evaluate her weaknesses and correct them.

I believe the shooting style, gun type or caliber is far less important than the attitude and knowledge of the person using it.

I went through the FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING CENTER Academy with a man who left everyone in awe with his total inability to shoot even a mid size .38 special with wadcutters. I have also worded with a petite woman who shot an attacker with a .357magnum and dropped him with one shot. Gender does not decide lethality!

Jim

pax
August 30, 2007, 11:04 PM
thebaldguy ~

I had a nice, righteous rant all typed out for you, but I've set it aside for the nonce.

Instead, I would like to ask you to please go read the link in my previous post.

No, here, I'll make it easier for you so you won't have to scroll up: http://womenandguns.servertalk.in/viewtopic.php?t=2140&mforum=womenandguns

After you read it, come back and we'll talk.

pax

springmom
August 30, 2007, 11:44 PM
I'm going with Pax on this one, y'all. I know you guys are just knocking around ideas and don't really mean that the OP should "have her shoot" this or that. What you mean, I'm sure, is that these are suggestions for her to try.

(But that's not what you're saying. That's why reading the link Pax lined out for you might be useful.)

We haven't heard back from Kimber about the lady's possible recoil problem. I have rheumatoid arthritis and some related problems, including fibromyalgia. Those two, taken together, equal some serious, why-the-heck-did-I-start-having-labor-pains-in-my-FINGERS!!!- type pain :rolleyes:. Far too often. If this lady has arthritis, then I can say from my own experience that a K-frame revolver with good grips (not those lovely wooden things, but nice recoil-absorbing rubber grips) in .357 or .38, when loaded with medium loads of .38 spl, will not be a problem, recoil-wise. Even on my bad days, I can take my 66-3 to the range and shoot reasonable .38's out of it all day long. And I have NEVER had a problem with recoil in any of my semiautos; those springs do help, indeed they do.

However: if the idea here is "she can't handle recoil because she's a new shooter" or worse "because she's a lady" well, that's just not true. New shooters can be made afraid of recoil by nasty tricks like I've heard of, where a shooter gives the newbie a hot loaded gun when he's expecting something easy; or by simply yakking on about how the recoil is so hard and creating fear where no fear needs to be. IOW, like coaching in childbirth....don't yak about how bad the pain is going to be; that isn't helpful. If you're the OP, or in his position at some point, don't implant the idea of recoil as something awful; just be really encouraging and teach her how to roll with it and keep on shooting.

If the lady has internet access, how about sending her to Women & Guns to talk to a whole lot of us who've BTDT and can encourage her?

Springmom

XavierBreath
August 31, 2007, 12:04 AM
This woman's husband passed away and she wants something to protect herself (I was very happy to hear this). Ultimately I would suggest a shotgun, but she feels that long guns are too unwieldy and that it could be taken away during a conflict.The real question is whether she wants to carry a gun or defend her home.

If she wants to carry a gun, a handgun is the obvious choice. I agree with Pax here. Let her shoot and make her own choice. Encourage her to explore the possibilities with as much empirical experimentation as possible. Many women take to a 1911 quickly. My wife has carried a Kahr K40, which has more perceived recoil than my own 1911s. She has since settled on a J frame S&W, but she carried the K40 for a couple of years and was quite proficient with it. With a shotgun, she whips my tail shooting skeet (that ain't difficult though......) My 11 year old daughter shoots a Star Model B, 9mm. She is pretty darned good with it. She also shoots a 20 gauge shotgun. My oldest daughter carries a Makarov. Again, she is quite good with it. The one key ingredient is they all began shooting with a .22 pistol and learned marksmanship.

Note that they carry handguns, or in the case of my youngest, is preparing to someday carry.

A shotgun is a far superior firearm when it comes to home defense. Shooting the shotgun well is all in technique, not strength. Maintaining control of your shotgun in a home defense scenerio is all about technique as well, not strength. If she needs to defend her home, why should she pick a less effective weapon if she can learn to control and shoot a superior one well? Encourage her to learn the technique and arm herself effectively.

There is no reason a woman should be less well armed than a man. The other side of the coin is the less strength she has to fight off an attacker, the more effective she needs her weapon to be when it comes to stopping the threat immediately. She needs to be able to stop a threat and save her life.

I would first look at the intended purpose of the firearm, seriously, and realistically consider all options, and not rule out anything yet. The selected firearm should meet her real needs, not be selected because she thinks she may not be able to use it effectively.

gbran
August 31, 2007, 12:29 AM
On most of these threads, the pat suggestion always seems to be a trip to the range to rent and try out what works best. I don't disagree with this.

However, I wonder if every locale has this as an option. I live in a city of about 250+ thousand. We have a few gunshops and only one whith rentals and an indoor range. Their selection is pretty good, but not broad enought to cover all platforms.

This woman may be able to fondle, but might not be able to light them off.

golden
August 31, 2007, 12:46 AM
I am against a shotgun or rifle for home defense in most cases. It does not matter if it is a man or woman shooting the gun.

My reasons are that you cannot keep it next to you most of the time. You can clean the house with a pistol on or watch tv or play at the computer.

A shotgun requires both hands and you can lose control of it if someone deflects or grabs the barrel. You can tuck a handgun up close to your torso and still block someone with your weak hand.

Going through a doorway or around a turn either means the shotgun is not in a ready position or is stuck out there for someone to grab.

If you have to fire your shotgun in a confined space, the noise, blast and flash may disorient you.

Jim

mikeb3185
August 31, 2007, 12:56 AM
38 snub with ct grips

Fisherman_48768
August 31, 2007, 12:57 AM
Have her try one of the S&W J frames, my wife likes the older mdl 36 with round butt. Her hands are small and the steel framed 38 spl isn't brutal on her hands. http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a149/Fisherman_48768/MDL36SLEFTVIEW.jpg

pax
August 31, 2007, 12:59 AM
gbran ~

That's a good point.

However, if you can find one range that rents firearms, you're in good shape. It's worth driving quite a ways to get that chance, too.

Even in the most limited rental shop, it will generally be possible to sample at least one revolver in .38 and/or .357, at least one 1911-pattern gun in .45 ACP, at least one Glock or Glock-type gun in 9mm, at least one Sig-type gun in .40. There will often (not always) be an opportunity to rent some kind of .380 as well.

That gives you a very general introduction to the feel of different platforms and the recoil from different calibers ... and provides a fairly solid foundation upon which to build when the newcomer begins handling for-sale firearms that cannot be test fired. She'll understand better the trade offs between weight and recoil control, and she'll have a more natural understanding of where her finger is supposed to fit on the trigger when she measures the gun in her hand, after she's handled a few guns in different platforms and calibers. This is essential knowledge that will help her a lot in her hunt, even if none of the guns she shoots during her exploration are the specific model she ends up buying.

Newcomers to the handgun world need information. They need to learn stuff like how to handle a firearm safely, what the laws are that govern the use of a gun, how to load/unload the gun, how to care for the gun. They need to learn stuff like why to choose one gun rather than another for defense, and they need to do some significant soul-searching to discover if armed self-defense is right for them -- if it fits within their ethical, religious, and moral paradigms.

None of this can be simply handed to them on a silver platter, together with a gift-wrapped gun.

The newcomer has to seek the knowledge out for herself, and internalize it.

Friends can make this knowledge-seeking process a bit easier, but (this is important) friends cannot simply learn what the newcomer needs to know. The newcomer is the one who needs that knowledge, not the helpful friend. The most the friends can really do is gather resources and point the newcomer in the right direction so that her process of learning what she needs to learn is as painless as possible.

When someone steps in and does all the research, narrowing down all her choices, and then presents the newcomer with a very narrow and strictly-limited set of guns to choose from, he robs the newcomer of some very important baby steps along her personal journey to self-defense. Maybe she'll overcome this handicap, or maybe she won't -- but it IS a handicap.

So the new shooter, or the prospective new shooter, needs information and encouragement. She doesn't need someone standing over her robbing her of her confidence by overtly saying or even just implying that she is too weak, too non-mechanical, too incompetent, too ... whatever ... to learn what she needs to know. She doesn't really need spoon-feeding, but she does need someone to show her where the food is and to hand her the spoon. And she really doesn't need someone to offer her a choice only between Gun A and Gun B, leaving her, in her still-ignorant state, to choose between the two based solely on whichever one looks "cute" to her eye. Listening to a woman choose a gun based solely on the cute factor is a red-flag signal that her helpful, gun-knowledgeable friend has failed her.

So ... don't "narrow" the choices for her, k? Instead, seek out a wide variety of guns that might be suitable, and let her do the narrowing herself. Don't limit her to just revolvers or just semi-autos. Don't limit her to just DAOs, to just DA/SA, to just SA, to just striker-fired. Don't limit her to one caliber, either. Instead, find a good example of each type and discuss with her the pros and cons of each type as she handles it and checks out its fit in her hand. Let her do her own narrowing as she learns. Discuss ammunition choices with her too. As you do that, she'll be learning what she needs to learn and you'll be helping her internalize the resolve she will need if she is going to defend herself with a firearm.

pax

hamourkiller
August 31, 2007, 07:46 AM
Good S&W 22 Mag revolver would fit the bill.

sansone
August 31, 2007, 09:43 AM
yeah, 22mag is good. maybe 38spl with light loads if she is afraid of recoil. she'll get over that with time. trying a few guns before purchase is a good idea. // FYI: envonge(post #27) has been PM-ing members with curse words for no apparant reason. avoid talking with envonge, he's bad for this group

Polish_Pounder
August 31, 2007, 10:04 AM
My wife is 5' 6", petite, and has very small hands (size 4 wedding ring). However, she prefers shooting my 1911 in .45 ACP or my friend's compact .45 over a .22 lr or 9mm any day of the week. She feels that the 9mm is a pop-gun and not much fun to shoot because it doesn't recoil. Plus 1 to what has been said here at least a dozen times already: let her shoot and tell you what she likes.

On a similar note, I find that until you get into the .44 Magnum power level women are generally more tolerant of recoil than men. I think it might have something to do with expectations going in. A man knows the gun will kick and tries to over think/over grip it so he doesn't look like a girly-man. Women just grab the gun the way they were taught and pull the trigger. Less testosterone = better accuracy in my experience (at least for beginning shooters).

-Polish

sansone
August 31, 2007, 10:16 AM
9mm a pop-gun? depends on the gun. Detonics Pocket 9mm is compact & delivers a surprising "pop" to your hand. a full size auto like 1911 types will absorb enough recoil for a woman provided her hands are large enough

Deanimator
August 31, 2007, 10:22 AM
I'd go with a used 3" or 4" K frame S&W in .38Special or .357Magnum, loaded with .38s.

There are a LOT of .38Special loads. Don't presume that she HAS to shoot loads that would take out a BMP.

I'd rather have a .38Special revolver and shoot 148gr. wadcutters in it than use a .32Magnum.

miko
August 31, 2007, 10:24 AM
I second a steel-framed Kahr in 9mm - though I have K40 in .40 for my wife and recoil is not much of a problem.

miko

Kimber1911_06238
August 31, 2007, 11:34 AM
just fyi, the whole point of this thread was to get some ideas because the last thing I wanted to do was try to make her shoot something that would turn her off to shooting.

ok, range trip. She loved my smith and wesson .22A. said the grips were a bit big, but she didn't mind the recoil, obviously. took one shot with my kimber 5" .45 and said she didn't want to shoot it again. Hmmm....thinking about maybe loading up some light .38's and letting her try that in my gp100. the only thing with that gun is the factory grips are huge. the stock grips seem to fill my hands completely.

she's about 5'2" and 100 pounds, needless to say she has small hands.

Kimber1911_06238
August 31, 2007, 11:36 AM
envonge....good suggestion! thanks, you are so much more helpful than everyone else...

sansone
August 31, 2007, 11:38 AM
try to borrow a sp101, it is a smaller frame gun than the gp100

pax
August 31, 2007, 12:46 PM
ok, range trip. She loved my smith and wesson .22A. said the grips were a bit big, but she didn't mind the recoil, obviously. took one shot with my kimber 5" .45 and said she didn't want to shoot it again.

Okay, you've got upper and lower limits for recoil then. Good. She can cross all .45-caliber guns off her "possibles" list, since the recoil is simply not going to get better for her in a hand-friendly smaller gun. She still needs to try a .38 and a 9mm and possibly a .40 and a .380 if you can find one for her to try. After shooting one each of those, she'll probably have at least one caliber she's willing to shoot and that will be where she concentrates the rest of her gun hunt -- on guns of that caliber.

In semi-autos, I'm personally a big fan of the 9mm round for beginners. It's big enough for defensive use, but has a gentle enough recoil that a newbie can usually avoid developing a bad flinch from it. It's also very inexpensive to shoot, meaning you can get lots of rounds downrange for practice, and it's available in a lot of different platforms, including most of the small-hand-friendly guns on the market. None of this is to say that it's the only option, not by a long shot, but if she finds the caliber friendly at all there are a lot of good guns out there in 9mm that will fit the small-hands bill for her.

Has she expressed a preference for revolvers or for semi-autos, or is that still up for grabs?

pax

40SW
August 31, 2007, 01:11 PM
Excellent thread!, As a firearms instructor I have had hundreds of female students within the category you describe. In west central Florida, ( where I teach), the following are the most popular that I see for petite women. These are ones that they bring to the class and/or end up purchasing eventually and it becomes their go to carry gun/purse gun/etc.

Revolvers:
1. Smith J Frames: (By far!!!!!!!!!). in .38+P, or in .357MAG (women tend to use .38+P in their .357MAGs as carry loads, obviously manageable load and very respectable stopping power). (a few carry .32H&R chamberings).
2. Taurus/Rossi snubbies and J frame type clones. : same as above, more affordable. (.38/.357/.32H&R)
3. Charter Arms undercover/undercoverette: As calibers as above, IN THE RECENT PAST, they are making a comeback, very affordable and lightweight. Strong ratings from GunTests. Reliable, but not a durable plinker for sure.

Autos.

1. Beretta Tomcat in .32ACP. I have no idea why in such large numbers, but the local women here are IN LOVE with these guns. why? Here is what they tell me, NO RACKING OF THE SLIDE, tip up barrell, very manageable recoil even with Silvertips or Gold Dots. My response, well, a .32ACP is better than nothing. It can be respectable with proper shot placements, and it women can shoot it better and more accuratly, I would rather have them proficient with a .32ACP than praying and spraying with a .40SW. #1 purse automatic with women around here, maybe the local gunshops are pushing them or the local Beretta reps, but its a reliable and functional mousegun.

2. Bersa Thunder .380ACP. I agree, best value for the money, PERIOD!
and now with the low profile snag free CCW version, well, I got a few myself.
As reliable as any PPK ,CZ, taurus, or SIG in the same caliber. For a under $300 gun, its a steal.


3. Glock 26 9mm. I would say its tied with the top 3 or very close, why? Name recognition, reliability and dependability, and excellent shootability for women with small hands, A few also love the G19, but larger to conceal in a purse, depending on purse size.


Hope it helps.

Kimber1911_06238
August 31, 2007, 02:50 PM
she hasn't espressed a preference to semi's or revolvers. I think a trip to the S&W range is in order....that way she can try both and see what she likes. I was also thinking along the lines of a .38 or 9 mm......but hey she might like something else, they are a good place to start though

Thanks Pax and 40SW, your posts were very helpful

Rex B
August 31, 2007, 06:21 PM
Don't judge recoil sensitivity too quickly.
My wife has a Colt Agent 2" snubby in .38 Spl.
She shoots it just fine. It hurts my hand, so I don't like shooting it.
A small-frame .38 revolver would be ideal if she is comfortable with it. The lady in question needs to decide for herself by shooting one.
Remember there are lower- velocity defense loads that might mitigate recoil. Lastly, any reloader should be able to come up with a load adequate for most SD purposes without being hard to handle.

Rex B
August 31, 2007, 06:27 PM
That S&W 22A is available with wood target grips. The standard grips have been compared to a 2X4. I think they are terrible.

Another thought: You might consider one of those Eastern European PPK knock-offs in .32 ACP. They go for well under $200 in excellent condition, and they are reportedly quite reliable. Being all steel, recoil should be mile with that .32.

Lastly, if all else fails, don't rule out a .22 or even .22 mag. One of my house guns is a 9-shot DA H&R .22 revolver. Occasionally I carry a NAA Black Widow in .22 Mag.

A good example might be a Taurus M94

Peter M. Eick
August 31, 2007, 07:59 PM
You have some great advice up above here. I can only add that when I took a women friend out who wanted house protection, she tried many different guns and what surprised me is she shot my 38/44 Outdoorsman the best and a 1911 45 acp 2nd best. She liked the 1911 45acp the most so that is what she bought.

She is a darn good shot with it!

I still wonder about it though. Why a 1911, but she likes it and is comfortable with it.

jaydubya
August 31, 2007, 09:01 PM
Will she shoot for center of mass? Or will she aim for the arms and legs, and (as someone above mentioned) have the handgun used on her? As others have suggested, self-defense course should be included.
Cordially, Jack

springmom
September 1, 2007, 05:56 PM
:confused::confused::confused:

Will she shoot for center of mass? Or will she aim for the arms and legs, and (as someone above mentioned) have the handgun used on her

Why do you think she would do this? Where did THAT idea come from? The woman wants a gun for home defense. I suspect that pretty much speaks to her willingness to use the gun effectively..... :scrutiny:

Springmom

pax
September 1, 2007, 06:26 PM
Could she really ...? http://www.corneredcat.com/Mindset/really.aspx

A quote from that article: Occasionally the "Could you really...?" comes from a man who has quaint notions about women's physical capabilities and odd beliefs about any woman's emotional resolve. Were it not for the fact that women ask this question of other women nearly as often as men do, I might be tempted to slap the sexist label on the question itself. It isn't. But there's no denying that sometimes the question comes from men who are motivated by some very offensive ideas. I've never found a good way to deal with such people except to ignore them and move on. You can't please everyone!

I agree that training is a good thing, and that if there's any doubt in her mind that she can do this thing, she needs to do some serious soul-searching.

pax

Deanimator
September 1, 2007, 06:27 PM
Or will she aim for the arms and legs, and (as someone above mentioned) have the handgun used on her?
Can you cite an instance where that actually happened?

Anti-gunners have been giving me this as an excuse for why women shouldn't have guns AT ALL for over twenty years. If one of them can give me an example tomorrow, It'll be the FIRST one in all that time.

lance22
September 1, 2007, 10:33 PM
AirForceShooter said it all. Re-read his post.

jad0110
September 2, 2007, 08:59 AM
XavierBreath makes some very good points about a shotgun. Perhaps that is something that she can try as well. 20 ga shotguns aren't bad at all in the recoil department, especially with lighter loads IMHO. And though the .410 doesn't get much respect by some, I still consider it a more than viable self defense weapon. And it has less less perceived recoil than a 20 (to me anyway). I freely admit that my experience with shotguns is limited, though I intend to rectify that in the future.

I assume she lives alone, so there is no need to go "house clearing" in a SHTF scenario, something I would have to do as I have a 10 month old little boy to protect (for that, I do prefer the compactness/maneuverability of a handgun). My sister, who lives alone, is considering a HD gun. However, she admits that she doesn't have a lot of time to devote to marksmanship training. I therefore suggested she consider/try a pump shotgun of some type. God forbid it ever happens, her best option in a home invasion would be to take up a good defensive position and wait for the police to arrive.

Hope this helps!

raytracer
September 2, 2007, 10:35 AM
Most of the petite women shooters I know prefer 1911 pattern guns chambered in .45 ACP. Of course, most all of my friends who shoot very much like 1911s in .45.

Point is, there's not much in the way of physical disability that would seriously limit one's ability to shoot whatever caliber and platform they wanted. Provided they had sufficient training and practice to overcome any specific challenges. And that's the biggest issue.

She could go to the music store and plink out "Smoke on the Water" on every guitar in the shop and decide that she likes Fender Strats more than Gibson Les Pauls - so that's what she buys and takes home and sets on a stand in the living room and never touches again.

Until, on that fateful day, comes a knock at the door: "Hi, I'm the manager for Deep Purple, we need somebody to sit in for Ritchie tonight at the Metrodome. Can you do it?"

Except, instead of Bruce Payne at the door it's going to be some lowlife with unspeakable intentions, and instead of a Fender Strat it's going to be any firearm that she only shot once on the day she bought it, and instead of a tounge-in-cheek metaphor it's going to be life and death.

Far more important than her selection of tool is that she get the proper training - and enough of it - and regular practice sessions so that she's able to put that tool to use.

Otherwise, she might just find herself in front of 20,000 screaming fans trying to remember if G is the third fret or the fifth.

Joe

Soybomb
September 2, 2007, 08:37 PM
Let her try a bunch out and see what she likes. Don't be the typical guy and try to point her toward a snub revolver. Children can shoot service caliber guns and so can any adult.

Andrewsky
September 2, 2007, 10:33 PM
How about a Smith and Wesson 317?

At least get her some Fox Labs OC spray in the meantime. Maybe even a 3" folding knife would be in order?

Elm Creek Smith
September 2, 2007, 10:42 PM
It was probably last year, but I saw a six-shot S&W Centennial-style J-Frame in .32 H&R Mag. Charter may have something similar (don't know for sure). The only reason I mention it is because Riley Gilmore's wife has tiny hands and cannot reach the trigger on a K-Frame. She uses a J-Frame for her carry gun. If this lady's hands are very small, it may work for her.

I think everyone else has pretty much covered things. My wife likes a 4 inch L-Frame.

ECS

Mad Man
September 2, 2007, 11:12 PM
What often is forgotten in these type of threads is that there's more to owning a handgun than just the ability to shoot it.

Can she maintain it? I.e. take it apart and re-assemble it for cleaning?

Most people can be taught to shoot a 1911, Glock, etc. But it takes a certain amount of strength and dexterity to take one apart and put it back together -- something the more experienced among us often take for granted.

Even loading certain magazines may be difficult for some people.

Neo-Luddite
September 2, 2007, 11:19 PM
.38 spl Ladysmith mod. 36 w/ 3-4" barrel.

My wife if 5' and 110 lbs---she can shoot a larger gun, I can too. For the scenario you describe, a .38 spl revolver is the way to go; the loads can be as light as needed---and options for .38 ammo are many. Simple, hammer tough construction, fail-safe, smooth trigger; enough power for most defensive situations.

pax
September 3, 2007, 12:27 AM
Mad Man

It's so much harder for a guy with his big, thick fingers and poor fine motor skills to manage those little parts that some guys don't realize how much easier it is for a girl to learn that stuff. ;)

Honestly! Of course she'd have to learn how to maintain it. If she gets a .357/.38 she'll have to learn how to really scrub the chambers, how to remove the cylinder from the frame for cleaning, how to protect her pretty wood grips from cleaning solvents, etc etc. If she gets a Glock, she'll have to somehow summon up the massive strength and extreme dexterity it takes to pull a trigger, move the slide back 1/8 of an inch, and pull down on a simple lever. If she gets a 1911, she'll have to build up her muscles so she can pull out a pin and remove parts ...

None of this sounds terribly difficult here, does it? Of course she'll have to learn it. But I betcha she knows how to operate the controls on her washing machine, which buttons to press on the microwave to warm up a cup of coffee, and how to put gasoline into her own automobile. She was capable of coping with those strength-intensive, dexterity-demanding tasks by the time she became an adult, so it's reasonable to suppose that with a little education she might even be able to manage the horrendous complexities of a modern firearm, too.

pax

Barbara
September 3, 2007, 05:16 AM
how to protect her pretty wood grips from cleaning solvents

Hey, what about her nail polish? Those solvents are hell on a manicure.

If she's lucky, she'll find a good man willing to help her out by cleaning her gun for her!

Socrates
September 3, 2007, 05:44 AM
No pics, no fun.

Mad Man
September 3, 2007, 10:20 AM
It's so much harder for a guy with his big, thick fingers and poor fine motor skills to manage those little parts that some guys don't realize how much easier it is for a girl to learn that stuff.

What I wrote applies to both men and women. I know guys who have trouble with this stuff, too. Sorry if I offended your sensibilities.


As I said, this is something the experienced folk among us take for granted. At least try to think about how complicated it can be for somebody who isn't a firearms enthusiast like us.

It is not the same as simply being able to pull the slide back to chamber a round.

"Take your thumb, and wrap it around the grip. No, just the thumb. Not through the trigger guard, around the back. Now grip the top of the slide with your other fingers. No, with your right hand. Keep your thumb where it is..."


In my limited experience helping new gun owners, and my vast experience of spending way too much time reading these forums over the years, I don't recall this point being brought up at all.

57 posts into this thread, and nobody has mentioned it so far. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks it's an important consideration?

Instead, people prefer to discuss models, calibers, etc. As usual.


If she gets a .357/.38 she'll have to learn how to really scrub the chambers, how to remove the cylinder from the frame for cleaning, how to protect her pretty wood grips from cleaning solvents, etc etc.

Nowhere did I dismiss the idea of an automatic. Just keep in mind that some are easier to take apart than other. E.g., the Browning Hi-Power has a mechanism to lock the slide back before removing the slide-release lever. Berettas, Sigs, and the Springfield XD use a rotating take-down lever, that require much less strength and dexterity than disassembling a Glock or 1911.



But I betcha she knows how to operate the controls on her washing machine, which buttons to press on the microwave to warm up a cup of coffee, and how to put gasoline into her own automobile. She was capable of coping with those strength-intensive, dexterity-demanding tasks by the time she became an adult, so it's reasonable to suppose that with a little education she might even be able to manage the horrendous complexities of a modern firearm, too.

Pushing buttons does not take the same strength or dexterity as maintaining a firearm. And you know it.

Will a new shooter maintain their new handgun often enough to remember how to do what is required? Or will the new handgun simply sit in the nightstand drawer, except for the once-or-twice a year it's taken out to the range?

Using your microwave analogy, how many people do you know are "12 o'clock flashers? (http://www.deadtroll.com/index2.html?/video/helldeskcable.html)" Every appliance in their home is flashing 12:00 because they haven't bothered to learn (or re-learn) to set the clocks on their VCRs that are in their homes every day. Yet some how, we expect people to become -- and remain -- proficient in the use of firearms, even though access to the nearest range may be so inconvenient that it could discourage regular visits.

Unlike guns, our culture has not been conditioning people to be intimidated (for lack of a better word) by the mystique of cars, microwaves, and dishwashers. Which makes regular training -- not just the initial instruction -- in all aspects of owning a particular gun more important.

Barbara
September 3, 2007, 11:19 AM
I'm still missing what part of maintaining a handgun is any more difficult than maintaining anything else?

No one acts surprised when a woman can lug a sleeping child, a giant handbag, and 3 bags of groceries into the house, but is skeptical that same woman can pull back the slide of a pistol.

No one is amazed when a woman can do intricate needlepoint or follow a recipe that calls for 30 different ingredients but they sure are shocked that she might be able to figure out how to pull a slide back or follow cleaning instructions.

Perhaps the problem is your perception, rather than our abilities?

pax
September 3, 2007, 11:30 AM
What I wrote applies to both men and women. I know guys who have trouble with this stuff, too. Sorry if I offended your sensibilities.


My mistake. I thought that since the thread was titled, "HD handgun for a petite woman?" you were making a stab at answering the actual question. Didn't realize you were speaking in generalities.

Because some people are stupid, the argument goes, we should plan for a newcomer to not learn anything.

Especially if that newcomer is a woman, her (supposed and assumed) reluctance to learn anything at all becomes the deciding factor in her choice of a gun. (Read back through this thread with that in mind, and see if it isn't the case!)

I'm not buying it.

Here's how to take down and reassemble a Glock, by the way: http://www.corneredcat.com/GunCare/clean-glock.aspx It is very simple, very easy, and requires no particular strength (considerably less than, say, racking the slide -- which is also a function of technique rather than strength). If you perceive either of these to be difficult, it is most likely so simply because no one has shown you the easy way to do it yet.

It's a training issue, NOT a strength or dexterity issue.

Which makes regular training -- not just the initial instruction -- in all aspects of owning a particular gun more important.

Well, I absolutely agree with your bottom line here. And that makes your insistence that a newcomer either can't or won't learn basic firearms maintenance on these simple machines all the more ironic and puzzling.

pax

golden
September 3, 2007, 12:55 PM
In an earlier post, it was suggested OC SPRAY or a KNIFE be used as a substitute for a gun. Both require training to be effective.

The OC SPRAY is issued by my agency and I like many officers refuse to carry it.
It has several drawbacks, the most serious is that IT MIGHT NOT WORK. I observed at least 2 officers being sprayed with it and both were uneffected. One was even sprayed a second time just to make sure. The second blast made his eyes water, but he was still upright and mobile.
The second big problem with OC SPRAY is BACKWASH. It can come back on the user. If you spray into the wind or the target is very close, it can bounce back.
What is the reaction to OC of the user? It is very important to know this. If you do not like spices, this stuff can incapacitate you. Then what do you do. Also, if you use it in a confined space like a car, hallway, bathroom or whatever, the atmosphere in the room can be full of it.
IF YOU DO DECIDE TO USE, GET TRAINING ON IT. IT IS JUST LIKE A GUN IN THAT IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO USE IT, IT CAN BE MORE DANGEROUS TO THE USER THAN THE TARGET.

The same thing applies to the KNIFE except that you have to come in contact distance to an agressor. NOT GOOD! Also, to be effective, you need training. Also, small knives are best at slashing, not stabbing where there effect will be much less than a large knife like the USMC KA-BAR. It will not incapacitate instantly.

I would choose an ASP type collapible baton. These will put someone down immediately. Again, you need training to use it properly. In my experience, it has the least drawbacks. It is my choice for non-lethal carry.

If you have a choice, go with a gun of adequate power and train with it.

If not and the baton is out, try getting one of the aluminum flashlights like a MAGLIGHT and get training is using it as a baton. They are not normally classified as a weapon and can be brutally effective. I know of at least one case where they were used with fatal consequenses.

ABOVE ALL, WHATEVER THE CHOICE, GET THE TRAINING TO GO WITH IT THAT WILL MAKE IT EFFECTIVE.

Socrates
September 3, 2007, 04:13 PM
The woman in question never posted. Let's draw up a hypo that will get folks to fight with each other, about someone that isn't even present.
HD handgun for a petite woman?
Ok, here's the deal. This woman's husband passed away and she wants something to protect herself (I was very happy to hear this). Ultimately I would suggest a shotgun, but she feels that long guns are too unwieldy and that it could be taken away during a conflict. So that leaves us with a handgun.

I really would like to see her choose a revolver, but I think .38/.357 would be too much for her. I know ruger makes a gp100 in .32 H&R mag, but I'll bet the gp is too big for her small hands and I don't know about the recoil. I think the lady smith line from smith and wesson would work well, but not in .38/.357. Any suggestions for a small gripped gun that is fairly light and doesn't have much recoil?

I was also thinking maybe glock 9mm? semi auto to soak up a little recoil and no safeties to fumble with. The concern is the glock's blocky grip. The other thing is that I'm not sure about 9mm recoil, she's never shot one so I'm not sure that she could handle it. Sounds like a range trip is in order.

Yes, take the person to the range, give them a bunch of guns and loads, and let them draw their own conclusions, and, ask THEIR OWN QUESTIONS.
To be specific, the Glock 26 is an excellent choice, if you can hold on. 10 rounds, and, with 125 grain hot loads averages around 1200 fps. Excellent 27 you might look at with 135 and 155 grain bullets. Over 170 grains, and things start recoiling and moving too slow. You might also let her try the 45ACP Glock 30 and 36. Of all the Glocks, the 36 has the smallest grip that I know of. The 30 is very accurate, and, if you use light bullet loads, the recoil is light, since it operates at 13k-17k pressure, vs. the .40's 35k pressure. As the person develops, they can move to heavier bullets.

And, when all is said and done, don't forget to let her try as light a caliber as she wants, like .32 and .380, because with solids, they will penetrate enough.

Final bit of food for thought on S&W J frames. They are REALLY hard to shoot, double action, at least for me. Trigger has to be over 12 pounds on my 360PD, and, the front site moves all over the target as I draw the trigger. YMMV depending on hand size, but, they are NOT easy guns to hit stuff with, DA. Making sure the hands match the grips is vital. Also, if she can carry a 3-4" barrel, in both revolver or auto, the ballistic benefits are worth it. BIG difference in velocity between 2" and 3" barrels. Model 60 S&W comes to mind.

Also, remember that often the flashbang from a snubby can be more effective then the bullet.

Now, is this a CCW gun, or, a home defense gun? Can she get a CCW in her area or not? What is the biggest gun she feels comfortable carrying weight wise, and size wise?

woad_yurt
September 3, 2007, 04:58 PM
How about one of these? My girlfriend loves it. Mild recoil, no safeties to get in the way, a .38 S&W Iver Johnson. You can get a new-like one really cheap. This one cost $89.00 online. It's a natural pointer, too.

jaydubya
September 3, 2007, 09:04 PM
My previous: Will she shoot for center of mass? Or will she aim for the arms and legs, and (as someone above mentioned) have the handgun used on her

Springmom replied: Why do you think she would do this? Where did THAT idea come from? The woman wants a gun for home defense. I suspect that pretty much speaks to her willingness to use the gun effectively.....

My response: I base this on personal experience with my daughter. She wanted a handgun for home defense. I let her handle several of mine and, knowing my daughter, asked her what she would do with one if she had to fire it at someone. She responded that she would shoot for the legs. I stated that would not do, that the handgun probably would end up being used on her. She refused to consider shooting for center of mass, so I advised her not to get a gun. Springmom, you are long past this hangup, so perhaps you have forgotten how many of your friends think like my daughter. To balance things out, her husband is even less likely to shoot for center of mass. I took him to a range and let him fire my Hi Power. I think he closed his eyes, because the bullets went everywhere. The range master asked us to leave. I agreed; sad, but true.

On the other hand, while I was away on a cruise during the Vietnam War, my wife once used her "surrogate husband", a .380 Colt Pocket Model, to scare off two would-be intruders. Had they not fled, she was fully prepared to shoot to kill. My older daughter, a former Peace Corp member, would have no compunctions either. We are, regardless of sex, all individuals. Thus my question about shooting for center of mass or for the legs.

Springmom, I have read many of your contributions, and I respect you. Peace.
Cordially, Jack

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