What is a good gun for a female?


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scastle
August 31, 2008, 05:59 PM
I am looking to purchase a handgun in the next year. I went to the gunshow yesterday and got a good feel on a couple of guns but I found that most of them had a grip that was just slightly too big for my hand. The handle does not fit in the web between my thumb and index finger. Because the handle is so big, I have to move my hand so that the nuckle of my thumb is aligned with the back of the gun. This is the only way that my finger will comfortably reach the trigger. The problem with this is that when the gun recoils, my nuckle takes an ugly beating. Can anyone suggest any handguns that have a smaller grip?

I did like the CZ-57. It felt pretty snug in my hand but I would like to explore all of my options.

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Walkalong
August 31, 2008, 06:05 PM
If you like the CZ 75, try an XD in 9MM out for size. I find the XD grip a tad smaller than the CZ, which is a great gun, by the way. :)

Have you tried out any revolvers?

The Cornered Cat (http://www.corneredcat.com/)

Welcome to THR

Loomis
August 31, 2008, 06:06 PM
Kahr

Period. No full sized semi has a smaller grip. In fact, it's so small, that men with larger hands sometimes can't shoot it well.

If you are looking at revovlers, then check out a smith and wesson J frame "lady smith".

scastle
August 31, 2008, 06:16 PM
I actually have tried out revolvers and I do not have that problem with them. I actually prefer them over pistols but I want to get a pistol so that I can use it for my CHL test.

TCB in TN
August 31, 2008, 06:22 PM
You might look at some of the compacts and sub compacts such as the Kel Tec, Taurus, Smith etc . Small single stack semis. Not the greatest for targets and such but good for CC, easy to conceal and have small grips for small hands!

JWarren
August 31, 2008, 06:24 PM
scastle,

My wife doesn't have large hands in any stretch of the imagination. While you may not feel the same as her, she loves her Glock 19.

Try one and see if it feels right to you.

-- John

indiandave
August 31, 2008, 06:26 PM
Scastle why would't you buy a gun that you are comfortable with. Nothing wrong with a revolver.

Josh Aston
August 31, 2008, 06:29 PM
Try the Kahrs. Try the steel framed and polymer framed ones. The grip on the steel frame models is ever so slightly bigger than the polymers.

SamTuckerMTNMAN
August 31, 2008, 06:40 PM
I think you ave the right idea, trying what feels good is just fine. You can certainly conceal a revolver or an auto depending on which you like better once you get the license.

I have a younger female friend who has very small hands. She shoots a 1911 .45 and it works just fine for her. She filed down a small part of the rubber handgrip I think and its even more custom to her taste. .45's are a blast to shoot and dont kick as much as you think they would. I have had 9mm my whole life and recently fell in love with the 1911. It will always score high marks, but is a bit pricey compared to some.

take care and best wishes

st

jnyork
August 31, 2008, 06:49 PM
Scastle why would't you buy a gun that you are comfortable with. Nothing wrong with a revolver

Good question. If you like the revolver, get the revolver. Plenty of smaller models to choose from.

ravenwolf71
August 31, 2008, 06:53 PM
Look into a Walther P99. Very comfortable, dependable and easy to use and clean. Interchangeable backstraps on the grip make it adjustable for all hand sizes.

proud2deviate
August 31, 2008, 06:55 PM
In certain locales, if you qualify for your CCW with an auto, you can carry either an auto or a revolver. Qualifying with the revolver limits you to revolvers only :confused:

Goofy laws abound. . .

RobMoore
August 31, 2008, 07:02 PM
My wife really likes the M&P 9mm I just bought. She says "That gun fits my hands better than any of your other guns (SIG, Glock, 1911)".

She was putting some guys to shame yesterday shooting 4 inch steel plates @ 15 yards with it.

Sylvan-Forge
August 31, 2008, 07:16 PM
I'm a guy with small hands.


In no order of preference; here's what I've found and what I do:

[] Springfield Armory EMP (1911 styled small-frame) pistol: Good fit, no mods needed.

[] Walther PPS pistol: Good fit, no mods needed.

[] Kahr pistols: All fit, no mods needed.

[] Beretta, CZ, Heckler & Koch, FN, Browning, IMI, Sig Sauer, etc. pistols: Double-Action type pistols carried with hammer cocked (must use good belt holster + safe handling and trigger-finger discipline, ie. Don't holster with finger in trigger-guard :p).

[] Springfield Armory, Colt, etc. 1911 pistols: Equipped with short trigger.

[] Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Colt, etc. revolvers: J or K frame sized: Most fit with factory grips. In some cases equipped with smaller aftermarket grips.

[] Glock pistols: Trigger ground/cut and trigger-safety removed. I've never had it done, but grip reduction services are available from a decent number of popular gunsmith shops.

Calibers for all of the above: 9x19mm for pistols and .38 Special for revolvers. If you like the 1911, check out the EMP in 9x19mm. If you want a full-size 1911, I'd stay with .45 ACP.

.

Whether you get trained or learn by yourself, you ought to try and start with .22 LR caliber sidearm to build a solid skill foundation:

[] .22 (conversion units) that fit onto pistol models noted above: 1911, CZ, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Glock.

[] .22 (complete) pistols: Ruger Mark series or 22/45, S&W (variety of models), CZ Kadet, Browning Buckmark.

.

Best! :)

.

Elza
August 31, 2008, 07:24 PM
“CHL” and “need semi-auto pistol to qualify” sounds like Texas. A ridiculous law to be sure but we’re stuck with it.

Any chance you can borrow one as opposed to buying something you don’t really care for?

sd
August 31, 2008, 07:35 PM
kahr , Glock 26 , springfield XD compact , SW M&P compact,
Beretta storm compact , CZ makes a compact , SIG 239

Arrogant Bastard
August 31, 2008, 07:45 PM
I actually have tried out revolvers and I do not have that problem with them. I actually prefer them over pistols but I want to get a pistol so that I can use it for my CHL test.

My first gun was a S&W 640 (stainless steel .357 mag). It's a great gun, and conceals easily in a pocket. Before I took the CHL class, I rented a Glock 19 at the range, and practiced with it until i was confident I could pass the test with it.

Passed the test, so I can carry either revolver or semiautomatic, and I've since bought a Glock 30, but I still usually carry the S&W 640.

Buy the handgun you're comfortable with now. If that's a revolver, and you want the flexibility of carrying a semiauto later, rent a semiauto at the range and try shooting with it. Try several similar models, until you find one you like, or at least can shoot with well enough to pass the test.

Then take your time about buying a second gun, until you've practiced with one you really like.

sm
August 31, 2008, 07:59 PM
S&W 3913 is another good one to try before you buy.

orionengnr
August 31, 2008, 08:06 PM
+1 on borrowing a semi for the class, and then buying and carrying whatever suits you. (I am assuming you are in TX, and the revolver/semi dilemma applies.)

And select your CHL class carefully. The one I attended, the instructor brought a number of his own handguns and would allow any student to use whatever suited him/her, free of charge.

He even brought ammo and was definitely not making any money on the deal. I thought about it later and concluded that I should have used his gun, his ammo and let him clean the gun afterwards :)

If you are in the DFW area, pm me and I will forward details.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

stevemis
August 31, 2008, 08:07 PM
Because the handle is so big, I have to move my hand so that the nuckle of my thumb is aligned with the back of the gun. This is the only way that my finger will comfortably reach the trigger. The problem with this is that when the gun recoils, my nuckle takes an ugly beating.

My wife had this problem with our Beretta 92FS. She loves everything about the pistol except for the grip size. She's also deadly accurate with it. One of the downsides to semi-automatics (especially the 92FS) is the fact that the pistol doesn't shoot reliably unless there's a person "properly" absorbing recoil -- by holding the gun right. Every 92FS she's tried jams at least once per magazine and never jam for anyone else.

Make sure you can properly hold anything you buy. It's not a comfort issue with semi-automatics -- it could save your life.

FWIW - There's an extensive collection of CZ's here. At the range, my wife's favorite is the SP01 Tactical, although she carries a P01, which is essentially a compact version of the same pistol. IMO, you can't go wrong with any CZ pistol, except for the CZ100... if they're still even made.

Good luck in your quest, and do keep us posted.

Loomis
August 31, 2008, 08:15 PM
There are variations of the 92 beretta that are easier on smaller hands.

Vertec
compact "L" type "M"

ConstitutionCowboy
August 31, 2008, 08:16 PM
Let the female decide. My wife has long fingers and loves her "J" frame, by daughter-in-law has short stubby fingers and loves her 1911.

Go figure.

Woody

feedthehogs
August 31, 2008, 08:19 PM
Try before you buy. Many ranges rent.

I teach many women most of whom have more problems with slide movement than recoil.

This can be especially true with well manicured nails that inhibit grasping the slide firmly, pushing on the mag release and so forth.

Try all aspects of the gun so you are comfortable with quick and easy operation.

JWarren
August 31, 2008, 08:40 PM
Let the female decide.


Uhm... The Original Poster IS the female. She's asking for input.

joffe
August 31, 2008, 08:43 PM
I have teeny tiny lanky hands. I have problems getting a comfortable grip on say, a Glock (well I can't get a comfy grip on a Glock).

What I have found, with said tiny hands, is that the 1911 is an incredibly ergonomic, comfortable design. Even more so with slim grips that many manufacturers sell. You should 'try one on for size', so to speak.

kimbernut
August 31, 2008, 08:45 PM
And what you shoot well.
My wife could not shoot our S&W 659 well. We took a trip to the range and she fired about 8 different handuns. She did not like or shoot the small frame revolvers or pistols well. She finally settled on two-The Browning High Power and the S&W model 28 4"-with both she replaced the 10-ring with a ragged hole.

rbernie
August 31, 2008, 08:56 PM
In certain locales, if you qualify for your CCW with an auto, you can carry either an auto or a revolver. Qualifying with the revolver limits you to revolvers only This is absolutely the case in Texas, for example. I know many folk who carry and practice with a revolver, but qual with a pistol just to have the option of carryin' a pistol if the mood hits 'em.

The Kahr is an excellent suggestion for a pistol with a small overall grip circumference. My wife did NOT like the M&P Compact; it was still too bulky for her hand. I subsequently bought her a Sig P6/P255 single-stack that seemed to fit her hand better. She also was partial to my alloy-frame 1911.

doc2rn
August 31, 2008, 08:56 PM
Springfield Armory EMP (1911 styled small-frame) pistol: Good fit, no mods needed.
Walther PPS pistol: Good fit, no mods needed.
Kahr pistols: All fit, no mods needed.

While all of these I would agree with, I would add Sig single stacks like the .380 or a Styer M1A. A good slim grip for small hands is hard to find.
Couple of guys I got my CCW with actually used Ruger MKIIs for their quals. The instructor agreed caliber was not specified, so .22lr was the pic of the day.

hso
August 31, 2008, 09:04 PM
There's no easy answer because, as you have found out, finding a gun that fits is a completely personal challenge.

If you have a gun shop with an extensive handgun selection anywhere within a day's drive it is worth the trouble to travel to it and try the various families of pistols in the cases. If they have rental guns, even better.

Try a 1911, Browning High Power, Glock and a CZ75. With your finger safely along the frame above the trigger, see which points to sight alignment when you point the gun naturally at a target. If the sights fall into alignment check that the pad of your finger falls comfortably onto the middle of the trigger. No adjusting your hand around the gun to make that reach to trigger, just pick it up with your finger along the frame above the trigger and point the gun at the corner/ceiling and see if the sights fall into place. If not, pick up a different gun and try again. You'll find that something you pick up lets the sights align when you point it without having to tilt up or down.

When you find that you've narrowed your selection to that "family" with that grip angle, if you're finger falls onto the trigger comfortably you've found the right grip angle and the right reach. If you can't find a gun with the correct reach as well as the grip angle that fits you ask if the in house gunsmith can improve the reach for you by changing the trigger.

If the right gun for you turns out to be a revolver, huzzah, you've found the gun that fits you. You'll be much more accurate in a life and death situation than running a gun that doesn't fit.

Don't let anyone that isn't trying to fit the gun to your hand tell you that you "need" this or that particular gun. Find the one that points, then find the one within that group that has the right reach and you'll have found the gun for your hand.

wrc
August 31, 2008, 09:06 PM
Every woman who I've had shoot a USPc has liked it. Newbies liked it, and women who had shot dozens of different handguns all agreed that it "just fit".

No one could tell me exactly why.

FourTeeFive
August 31, 2008, 09:10 PM
I agree that a revolver can be better for some women. My ex was much more comfortable with a revolver in terms of not having to rack the slide, etc.

If you really want a semi-auto perhaps try a Sig P232. Only a .380 but a really nice gun to shoot and quite accurate, and good for smaller hands.

Sig P220 is a nice slim gun in larger calibers.

FourTeeFive
August 31, 2008, 09:12 PM
Every woman who I've had shoot a USPc has liked it. Newbies liked it, and women who had shot dozens of different handguns all agreed that it "just fit".

I had a USP-45C and really disliked the way it felt in my hand; too bulky. Yet I like the Beretta 92 grip feel, which a lot of other people think is too bulky. Just goes to show you that gun grip feel is a very personal issue.

Bob F.
August 31, 2008, 09:24 PM
SCASTLE: Welcome aboard! Check Cornered Cat.com referenced above. One of our (special) members. Also, +1 on sm, as usual. And I'm not a S&W Auto fan by any means!

SWMBO likes her Kahr CW_9 and her Makarov because they feel good!

Have fun, Darlin', and stay armed!

Bob

akodo
August 31, 2008, 09:32 PM
I actually have tried out revolvers and I do not have that problem with them. I actually prefer them over pistols but I want to get a pistol so that I can use it for my CHL test.

In many cases the use of the term 'pistol' is synonymous with 'handgun'. If you give your city or state, people may be able to tell for sure, but I suspect it says pistol but really means handgun and just doesn't want you showing up with a rifle.

For what guns, get what fits your hand. Remember, a gun that holds at least 10 rounds will need to have them stacked next to eachother just like a 'doublewide' trailer. They will be wider in your hand. Try and look for pistols that have 8, 7, or 6 rounds in the magazine and try holding those.

Also recall, the lighter the gun, the more it will kick.

I would recommend you try the following

Sig 239
Kahr K9 (all stainless steel, not the polymer one)
Smith and Weson 3913
Smith and Wesson 908 which is the economy version of the above
Walther PPS
I add Kel Tec PF-9 with some reluctance, it is inexpensive, and slim, yet it is very light, so it will kick more than most

wrc
August 31, 2008, 09:35 PM
I had a USP-45C and really disliked the way it felt in my hand; too bulky. Yet I like the Beretta 92 grip feel, which a lot of other people think is too bulky. Just goes to show you that gun grip feel is a very personal issue.


Absolutely! Grip is key, and not something easily quantifiable. I think the controls and ease of slide manipulation have a lot to do with the popularity of my little 9mm USPc.

I like it myself, but I never had the "a-ha!" moment the women I lent it to had.

It may just be because it shot well for them. Anyone can forgive a lot of quirks if the gun+shooter hits where they aim...whether it's a 92, a USPc, a K-frame or a HiPoint.

...ditto for CorneredCat, etc. Trial and error in a positive environment is the name of the game.

Restorer
August 31, 2008, 09:38 PM
My daughter carries a Smith & Wesson M&P .40 compact and she loves it. Her hands aren't large but she shoots it well with no problems. It conceals well in a good carry purse and in her car. The ergonomics are good due to interchangeable backstraps.

If you liked the CZ look for a CZ 75D PCR Compact. It is a really sweet handling pistol, wicked accurate and dead nuts reliable.

I like the feel of both of these...the guns sit fairly low in your hand which helps reduce perceived recoil.

TallPine
August 31, 2008, 10:01 PM
What is a good gun for a female?

Of what species ??? :D

Females can be surprisingly hard to kill, so use an adequate caliber ;)

scastle
August 31, 2008, 10:06 PM
In certain locales, if you qualify for your CCW with an auto, you can carry either an auto or a revolver. Qualifying with the revolver limits you to revolvers only

This is the reason why I want to buy an auto before I purchase a revolver. Thank you all for your comments. They are very helpful.

pbearperry
August 31, 2008, 10:15 PM
Same as a good gun for a guy.

telomere
August 31, 2008, 10:54 PM
My wife loves my XD9.
She really liked the the the S&W M&P compacts felt too.
Right now she is really hooked on Kahrs though, she just keeps going back to them
Luckily enough for me, my Beretta 71(.22) is perfect for her, and she loves shooting it

armoredman
August 31, 2008, 10:54 PM
Welcome aboard! My wife is very very partial to her CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm. It LOOKS chunky, but isn't.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/shelikesit.jpg

Her choice isn't your choice - you find what fits you like an extension of your arm, test fire if possible, then enjoy! Also, get GOOD training, too.

Hoppy590
August 31, 2008, 10:59 PM
elcome aboard! My wife is very very partial to her CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm. It LOOKS chunky, but isn't.

dont let here guess which one you think might be "chunky" :p

Mrs. Armoredman
August 31, 2008, 11:00 PM
I can honestly say I went throught the following guns a Taurus 38, Taurus 357, Witness full size 40, witness compact 40 then I finally found the one I really love. It's the CZ 2075 Rami in 9mm and CZ PCR 9mm. It took a while but I had to find the best gun that I felt comfortable with. I have shot a M1A,AK47,Ruger 10/22. I like my Ak the best because it's lots of fun to shoot.

Hoppy590
August 31, 2008, 11:17 PM
oh that timing couldnt have been better. i saw " last response" and craped myself

Vic303
August 31, 2008, 11:35 PM
What ever pistol feels right in your hands and that you also shoot well. I like Browning HIgh Powers, Springfield XD45's and Ruger GP100's, and of course a good 1911.

Officers'Wife
September 1, 2008, 12:11 AM
Whatever she can grip comfortably with recoil she can tolerate. Beyond that there is no one size fits all. If I were to start CCW I would want something like Dad's 'baby' Browning .380 simply because the grip suits my hand. My cousin carries a Glock 40 for the same reason.

Your best bet... Arrange to have her shoot a wide variety of sidearm and let her decide. Extra points if you don't roll your eyes when she calls one cute.

Selena

ConstitutionCowboy
September 1, 2008, 12:41 AM
Uhm... The Original Poster IS the female. She's asking for input.

Doesn't change the advice. It's too personal of a choice. Try them all!

Woody

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
September 1, 2008, 12:57 AM
My wife has small hands and the XD 9mm fit her hand perfectly. Might be worth a try. Being a common model most ranges likely have one for rent.

JWarren
September 1, 2008, 01:00 AM
Doesn't change the advice. It's too personal of a choice. Try them all!

Sure it does. Saying "Let the Female decide" to the female asking for advice would be counter-intuitive to starting this thread.

If she didn't want suggestions, she wouldn't have asked.

And you know that. :)


-- John

ditch_dgr
September 1, 2008, 09:11 AM
My wife has a bunch of guns, a full size Kimber SIS .45, a Kimber Aegis Pro Carry 9MM, a Glock 34 9MM and a Glock 26 9MM. She carries the 26 but likes to shoot the .45.

Loosedhorse
September 1, 2008, 09:51 AM
I think you see the consensus here--if you can find some means to try a lot of guns, that's the best way to find out what you'll like.

If I may, let me offer some observations I've gathered from training women to shoot pistols over the last 10 years:

1) Just like you said, a 9mm fired from a gun that rests on your thumb is less comfortable than .357 full-power hunting loads fired from a well fitting revolver.

2) Is the gun for carry? If so, how will you carry? Women's hips and waists are different (Vive la difference!), so holster carry may entail very short autos or 2-inch-barrel revolvers to prevent rib-digging. Carry in a purse or fanny-pack may be important options to consider. And if this is just for the bedroom night-table, we have more guns to choose from.

3) I'm glad no one her (I think) talked about .380 semi-autos: most are blow-back operated, so they actually kick more than locked-breach 9mms, and the slide can be impossibly stiff to operate for some women. (Keltec's 3AT is a locked-breach .380--maybe you should look at it.)

4) Besides trouble with slide manipulation, some women will have trouble with long, heavy, double-action triggers. Therefore, double-action-first autos (e.g., SIG and Beretta) and hammerless .38s might need to be avoided; better to go with SA autos or exposed-hammer revolvers if you can't dependably and smoothly compress a heavy DA trigger.

5) Heavier guns have less perceived recoil (all other things equal) and are wonderful to shoot--if carry isn't the concern. Some women won't feel comfortable lifting a heavy gun, though, feeling they can't steady it.

6) Many women will choose to put in less practice/training than many men (some women are dedicated professional shooters who regularly clean me out!). If you're not gung-ho to practice at the range every weekend, consider a revolver--fewer jams (so less jam-clearing training) than with semi-autos. But good training is likely MORE IMPORTANT than what gun you choose.

All that said, my usual recommendation as a starter gun for women who "just aren't sure" is either a .357 4-in revolver (using .38 special loads) or a .45 ACP revolver (those full-moon clips make reloading a snap!). Both these revolvers allow use of powder-puff low-power loads for practice (make practice fun, and make it often!), and dang impressive loads for self-defense. For a different opinion: my wife loves the H&K P7M8, which is unfortunately discontinued and hard to get these days.

Lastly: you like the CZ? Stick with it! Great gun! (REAL important that you get a gun that YOU LIKE, no matter what some GUY like me says!)

Good luck!

RDak
September 1, 2008, 09:59 AM
scastle: FWIW, it's been my experience that, although women have smaller handsize overall, their trigger reach isn't that much less than the average man's trigger reach.

My wife, for example, only wants our old S&W Model 10-5 as the house gun.

It has a large grip but her index finger still reaches the trigger easily. Her palms aren't as meaty as a man's so she still has a pretty good trigger reach.

You just have to go and try them IMHO.

ConstitutionCowboy
September 1, 2008, 12:15 PM
Sure it does. Saying "Let the Female decide" to the female asking for advice would be counter-intuitive to starting this thread.

If she didn't want suggestions, she wouldn't have asked.

And you know that.

I still offer her the same advice. Try them all.

Think of it as buying a new pair of shoes. The shoes must fit, and the shoes must do what you want them to do, and you must be able to walk in them.

Take everyone's advice if you wish, but leave no gun that meets your fancy untried. I bought three guns before I found the "right" one for me. All the advice I got didn't help all that much. No one suggested the gun I carry, and, in fact, was steered away from it because it is a "cocked and locked" 1911 and is too "dangerous" to carry.

So, scastle, listen to all the advice, but make sure you find the one that best suits you by hands-on trials, what will fit your wardrobe, and do what you want it to do - save your life.

It is a very personal selection, so take a little time but not too much. A not-quite-what-you-want selection is much better protection than having no protection.

Woody

contenderman
September 1, 2008, 12:42 PM
Keep looking until you find one that feels comfortable/secure in your hand while permitting you to operate the magazine release, and/or any associated safeties or slide releases w/o having to alter you grip on the pistol. Once you have done this, then find one that you can test fire. Many ranges have a pretty good selection of rental guns. Some of the larger retailers even have mini-ranges and demos.

Revolver or semi-auto ... comes back to the feel/comfort thing followed by shootability. Your looking for something that you can develop confidence in and competence with.

revjen45
September 1, 2008, 01:48 PM
Look athe Steyr M and S Models. A lady friend who has gone to the trouble of taking training and going to the gun show with me to pick a carry piece likes my Steyr S9 better than the the SIG 239 she bought. Also, a friend from another gun board says his special lady likes her S9. I have found mine to be reliable, accurate, and easy to carry. Glad to see another lady decide not to be a victim.

scastle
September 1, 2008, 04:51 PM
Wow! I wasn't expecting to get so much feed back. Thank you all so much for your help. I have been trying out any gun I can get my little hands on but I just wanted to have a better idea of what types I should try out. I just came back from the range and have decided to get a CZ 75B Compact. I finally got the chance to shoot one and it felt perfect. Thanks again.

ConstitutionCowboy
September 1, 2008, 05:58 PM
Congrats, scastle!

Woody

Vic303
September 1, 2008, 08:21 PM
Nice choice scastle! Now get out there and buy a bunch of hi-cap mags to go with it and have fun shooting!

stevemis
September 1, 2008, 08:41 PM
Well done. Beware... CZ's tend to multiply.

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