Advice on new pistol purchase for person with "smallish" hands.


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Hokkmike
August 25, 2009, 06:58 PM
I currently have only one handgun. It is a Beretta 9000s-D in .40 Smith & Wesson. It has been pretty reliable. The only serious problem for me is that my hands are "smallish" and it has a bit of a thick grip. Yes, I knew it when I bought it but it was a deal I thought I couldn't pass up.

Enter the Walther's PPS in .40 Smith and Wesson. What a beauty. Or, is it vision blinded by new gun fever? It fits my little hands well. I love the looks. The only two things that concern me are the 6 round magazines and the uniquely placed magazine release. I have been told that learning to use the release is not difficult and that in fact they work well.

I am thinking of selling the Beretta which is in excellent condition and picking up the Walthers. I don't need the money from the sale to do the deal but see no point in keeping two pistols of the same caliber.

What I would like is some thoughtful, and critical if you like, comments on my thinking here. I want to decide by Saturday then its off to the gun store. Your comments are very much appreciated.

Maybe you have an alternative suggestion for a good quality pistol in .40 Smith & Wesson?

Thanks for whatever comments you may offer.

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JDGray
August 25, 2009, 07:11 PM
Check out the Ruger P345, that pistol fits girly hands and kid hands:) Its a very soft shooting 45ACP, accurate & affordable. A 1911 with thin carry grips, is another very thin gun.

Hokkmike
August 25, 2009, 07:23 PM
Check out the Ruger P345, that pistol fits girly hands and kid hands...

Ouch JD - But, thank you for the suggestion. I'll check it out.

DougDubya
August 25, 2009, 07:28 PM
The Kahr family is equally small-hand friendly.
The Ruger SR9 has all its problems fixed, and has a slender grip frame.
The Smith and Wesson MP40c has a regular magazine release, can fit the smallest of hands, has more than twice the capacity than the PPS.

I'd seriously go for the M&P compact. It's the right blend of not too much bigger than the Beretta 9000S, more ammunition capacity than the Beretta, and the slanted floorplate that allows a full-handed grip.

makarovnik
August 25, 2009, 07:31 PM
Do a search and you'll find a lot of info on this. It has been done to death.

clang
August 25, 2009, 07:33 PM
Single Stack S&W 3rd Gen Autos are worth looking at - 3913, 3953, etc.

JDGray
August 25, 2009, 07:41 PM
Sorry bout that:o My wife and young Son enjoyed shooting my P345 the most out of all my guns, twassnt calling you names:D

Hokkmike
August 25, 2009, 07:44 PM
Sorry bout that My wife and young Son enjoyed shooting my P345 the most out of all m guns, twassnt calling you names...JD

No apology needed. I thought it was in good humor. The smiley face gave it away!

bigfatdave
August 25, 2009, 08:40 PM
Hokkmike, while the subject has been beat to death, I have a PPS in 9mm, and find it great for my largish hands, but MrsBFD's hands get beat up under recoil. The top/rear of the frame beats up her thumb's first joint. This may be the first time I'm NOT pimping the PPS platform, by the way ... I love mine, but you should find one to shoot before buying.

Kahr, Kel-Tec, Taurus, and Springfield make compact single-stack auto-loading pistols in duty calibers, perhaps you need a rental range, or a pile o' guns from friends/family.

gga357
August 25, 2009, 08:51 PM
The Ruger SR9 is great for smaller hands.

blikseme300
August 25, 2009, 10:27 PM
I am a 6' dude with relatively small hands. I found that it is not only the size of grips that matter, the shape is important. The bones of the hand are linear and grips are rounded. Try different grip panels. The shapes of these make a huge difference. I have handguns ranging from .25ACp to .45-70 & 444 Marlin and all fit my hand well, and shoot well, due to the grips I have selected.

I have .32ACP pistols that hurt and 444 Marlins that don't. The shape and fit of the grips do matter.

Jed Carter
August 26, 2009, 04:50 AM
Most subcompact pistols even though they fit your hand are a handfull to shoot. The 1911 has a very narrow grip, various calibers to choose from, and very enjoyable to shoot. Another possible choice might be the CZ 75 compact, P01 or CZ 75D PCR, all are high capacity compact (not subcompact) 9mm's. I own the PCR and carry it daily, it never dissapoints me when I take it to the range, a lot of fun, very reliable, really sexy pistol. I used to carry a SIG P232 it is sized like a Walther PPK (both .380) and kicks like a mule... makes me glad it only holds 7 rounds.
Another thing to try is the "thumbs forward" grip when shooting, it works. There are threads in this venue, and vids on u tube. I shoot USPSA matches and often see little women shoot Limited and Open class pistols (all have huge capacities and grips) using the thumbs forward grip with no problems, in fact most shoot very well.

rbernie
August 26, 2009, 08:29 AM
My wife finds the BHP tolerable, the M&Ps and most other double stacks intolerable, the Kahrs too flippy, and the Sig P225/P6 to be just about right.

Hokkmike
August 26, 2009, 10:16 AM
I appreciate all of the responses. It does appear that not too many people have direct experience with the Walthers PPS.

searcher451
August 26, 2009, 01:54 PM
I have a PPS in 9mm and another in .40 S&W. The Walther is a terrific pistol: reliable, accurate, easy to carry and conceal, wonderful engineering and ergonomics. I prefer shooting the 9mm version over the .40, but that's just me. I've been shooting both for the past year or so and am nearing the point when I'll retire my PPK/S and carry the PPS full-time.

But I'd recommend that you go to a range that rents guns and test-drive any number of pieces that are of interest to you, including athe PPS. Don't buy a handgun on the recommendation of others and what works for them. The only handgun that's right for you is the one that you select because it best fits your hand and eye. It might well be the PPS, but only you can make that final determination.

Hokkmike
August 26, 2009, 03:11 PM
But I'd recommend that you go to a range that rents guns and test-drive any number of pieces that are of interest to you, including athe PPS. Don't buy a handgun on the recommendation of others and what works for them. The only handgun that's right for you is the one that you select because it best fits your hand and eye. It might well be the PPS, but only you can make that final determination.

Salient advice to be sure. I have held one in my hand and have been allowed to dry fire it. As far as "renting" one I am not aware of any local facilities that allow that. Maybe I have been too long out of the gun market. I have always said that guns are somewhat akin to running shoes. You don't know how good they are until you do a few miles!

pascalp
August 26, 2009, 03:16 PM
When I'm thinking about a model and can't try it easily. I search a used cheap airsoft, they are close to real one. Don't laugh, it work with my fat hand short fingers.

bigfatdave
August 26, 2009, 04:10 PM
Salient advice to be sure. I have held one in my hand and have been allowed to dry fire it. As far as "renting" one I am not aware of any local facilities that allow that. Maybe I have been too long out of the gun market. I have always said that guns are somewhat akin to running shoes. You don't know how good they are until you do a few miles!
This place (http://www.tripolistriggers.com/indoorrange.nxg) looks way too fancy to not have a rental counter. On the other hand, it looks pricey, too.
Can't hurt to call & ask, though.

esq_stu
August 26, 2009, 04:32 PM
I was doing a comparison for my own purposes to decide on a single stack 9. Attached is a table I made for comparison of some of them. Not guaranteeing that all the numbers are exactly right but close enough for my purposes. There are newer S&W models, but I was specifically looking at the 3953 so it is in the table. I bought one. But I also have the Kahr PM9 and ended up carrying that and not the 3953. I like the size, weight, trigger, and accuracy of the Kahrs best. YMMV

mesinge2
August 26, 2009, 05:16 PM
It is a bit pricey but the Springfield EMP .40 is designed for individuals with smaller hands. They purposefully narrowed the grip (front to back) for the calibers smaller than 45 ACP, it is for 9mms and .40s.

http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=137

oldhack62
August 26, 2009, 05:55 PM
I, too, have smallish hands, but like them to feel full when I shoot. A double-stack of diminutive build does the trick.
Bersa makes a fine and reliable, yet inexpensive, line of handguns in a variety of sizes/configurations. My most frequent carry is its Thunder380 Concealed Carry (.380 acp; 8+1 single stack), which has borderline power, but everywhere/anytime concealability. My all-time favorite handgun to shoot is my Bersa Thunder9 UltraCompact (double-stack, 13+1) tack driver, which has become a 'tough get' because of its price and reliability. It just doesn't fail to feed or fire, and hits the aiming point. The Thunder45 UC (single-stack; 7+1) is about a half-inch longer, and easily rests in the same carry holster as the 9mm.
I've owned and carried S&W and Taurus, et al, but currently my only self-defense handguns are Bersas (.32 acp to .45 acp). I don't own the others any longer.

Nowhere Man
August 26, 2009, 06:14 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned S&W M&P or the Walther P99. Both pistols have removeable grip panels to change the size of the grip.

Both are hi capacity and reliable.


Dave

Hokkmike
August 26, 2009, 06:15 PM
This place looks way too fancy to not have a rental counter. On the other hand, it looks pricey, too. Can't hurt to call & ask, though. Bigfatdave

They were supposed to return a call to me if they could get one to sell. Nothing yet. I have heard they rent some guns for range time. I don't know what their policies are.

mljdeckard
August 26, 2009, 06:37 PM
Many people are surprised to realize that a full-size 1911 actually fits people with smaller hands most of the time. You have the option of an arched or flat manispring housing, and remember that this design is so old, when it was designed the average height (and also hand size) of the average adult American male was significantly smaller than now.

I shot a Beretta M-9 the other day for the first time in hyears, and while I tolerated it before, I really hated it now. It's really fat compared to my 1911.

m2steven
August 26, 2009, 08:43 PM
If you go to a shop and hold the Taurus Slim and the SSP you'll see they are quite similar. I own the Taurus and it's a great feeling pistol. I can't recommend it at the moment, but the 9mm ssp has good word of mouth now. Based upon having held the ssp and shot the Slim - i can recommend the SSP as a great pistol for smaller hands. Even for regular hands like mine - they "hold" great.

JDGray
August 26, 2009, 09:01 PM
Heres a few pics on how thin a 1911 with thin grips is, compared to the small hand killer, G23:D And to think Glock 45s are wider yet:eek:
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b278/JDG357/IMG_1227.jpg
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b278/JDG357/IMG_1224.jpg

omegaman
August 27, 2009, 01:07 AM
Try a S&W M&P with the small grips on it, betchya fall in love.

Hokkmike
August 27, 2009, 09:19 AM
If you go to a shop and hold the Taurus Slim

I was able to do that last night. An impressive fit. Not too expensive. How RELIABLE are they I wonder?

H2O MAN
August 27, 2009, 09:32 AM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2388/2200496586_f7dd0b251c.jpg

jsg
August 27, 2009, 04:30 PM
I have rather short fingers so I know what you are talking about. Not knowing what role you want the pistol to fit, the following work for me.

Sig P6
Sig 220 SAO
1911 (single stacks only)
Kahr CW-9
Hi Power (suprisingly)
FN FNP-9 (interchangeable back straps)
Sig 2022 (interchangeable grips)
M&P (interchangeable grips)
Glock 19 (suprisingly)
S&W 4006
Walther PPK/S

bigfatdave
August 27, 2009, 05:22 PM
I was able to do that last night. An impressive fit. Not too expensive. How RELIABLE are they I wonder?
Reports vary. At the price I saw one for in a LGS case, it might be worth trying out.
Some people have reported major issues, I don't have them memorized, but a search of the autoloaders section should turn them up.
Some people seem to label their guns "junk" after no cleaning and 50 of their cousin Bubba's reloads cause a few malfunctions. Remember that there is a lot more complaining on the 'net than praise. My experience with Taurus was limited, the pt111 we picked up shot consistently with all ammo we fed it, but was just never happy in MrsBFD's hand or mine, plus we both discovered that the Heinie sights (which the pt709 doesn't have, I think it has 3-dot) were not to our liking ... so it got swapped after being replaced by an XD9sc for MrsBFD. Nothing wrong with the gun, just a poor choice ergonomically, which the pt709 doesn't seem to match, it seemed well put together when we handled one. I haven't shot one though.

Evela
August 29, 2009, 02:41 PM
Quick note:

Before you start thinking about pistol choices, I assume you've considered how you hold a pistol and what stance you take. For example: if you are into Weaver, the alignment of the gun down your firing arm will require a longer trigger reach than if you are into Isoscoles, where the alignment is more centered and the reach is shorter.

Personally, this caused me a buncha grief until I realized that using my Isoscoles I could handle a bigger frame than I thought.

mini14gb
August 29, 2009, 02:59 PM
I'm not exactly sure how small your hands are but mine are not huge by any stretch of the imagination. With that in mind I must tell you that I find the Sub-compact Xd-40 to be a perfect fit. I own the 9mm Xd-sc also but use it for the cheap practice blammo.

Frank Ettin
August 29, 2009, 03:29 PM
...Before you start thinking about pistol choices, I assume you've considered how you hold a pistol and what stance you take. For example: if you are into Weaver, the alignment of the gun down your firing arm will require a longer trigger reach than if you are into Isoscoles, where the alignment is more centered and the reach is shorter....That is simply not true. I have used Weaver, Isosceles and Chapman with equal facility, and going from one to the other requires no change in strong hand grip. And last fall, I took LFI-I with Massad Ayoob where, as part of our training in the class, we were required to shoot, during qualification, using all three stances (as well as strong hand only and weak hand only).

BTW, I also have small hands and short trigger reach. My pistol of choice is the 1911. I have fitted all my 1911s with short triggers. I'm also partial to the Heckler & Koch P7M8, which can be very manageable for someone with a small hand. Browning High Power is another of my favorites -- quite manageable as well. And I recently had a chance to shoot a S&W M&P, and that worked well for me also.

420Stainless
August 29, 2009, 04:01 PM
Your thinking sounds pretty reasonable to me. I don't like the idea of having the magazine release different than on the frame at the base of the trigger guard, but that is mainly because its where it has been on every pistol I've owned for 30 years. If its likely to be your only handgun and you practice with it regularly then you should be fine.

I have small hands. Most single stacks work okay for me. The BHP and XD are the only double stacks I've handled with reasonable grips for me. From what I've been reading, the XD started a trend that carried into other recent introductions like the M&P and SR9 among others.

joesolo
August 29, 2009, 05:06 PM
Walther PPS! I just changed from rotating between a Glock 27 and Rohrbaugh in favor of the PPS. It is a fantastic gun, has NEVER malfunctioned (which I can't say about the others), points beautifully and is just plain easy to shoot. The wife and I shoot every Sunday morning and I finally talked her into trying the PPS (by the way we both have small hands). It felt better to her and she shot it better that her Gclok 26. So, we bought her a 9mm PPS yesterday. You can't go wrong.

bigfatdave
August 29, 2009, 09:28 PM
I don't like the idea of having the magazine release different than on the frame at the base of the trigger guard, but that is mainly because its where it has been on every pistol I've owned for 30 years.You get used to it rapidly.
Of course, I also have a P22 with the same mag release, so I get lots of cheap rimfire practice.

Evela
August 30, 2009, 10:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evela:

...Before you start thinking about pistol choices, I assume you've considered how you hold a pistol and what stance you take. For example: if you are into Weaver, the alignment of the gun down your firing arm will require a longer trigger reach than if you are into Isoscoles, where the alignment is more centered and the reach is shorter....

Reply by fiddletown:

That is simply not true. I have used Weaver, Isosceles and Chapman with equal facility, and going from one to the other requires no change in strong hand grip. And last fall, I took LFI-I with Massad Ayoob where, as part of our training in the class, we were

Perhaps you misunderstand. The longest trigger reach is when the gun is aligned with your forearm (Weaver) - the shortest is when the gun is aligned inside of the forearm (Isoscoles).

I have short fingers, and when I try to align my hand with my forearm, I simply cannot effectively reach the trigger, but when the gun is aligned inside of my forearm (which works for my Isoscoles) I CAN reach the trigger properly. This does NOT mean I can't do Weaver and Isoscoles, it DOES mean that I cannot take the most effective grip for the Weaver.

If you are so fortunate as to have longer fingers, then you don't have this problem. Andy Stafford gives some of the best advice "...place your trigger finger first, and let the alignment follow".

By knowing he is going to use say the Isoscoles stance (which does NOT require alignment with the forearm), this user has access to larger weapons than he might if he wishes to do a strict Weaver. Be honest - most people favor one style or the other - if they choose the Isoscoles they have more flexibility than they think.

I know from personal experience. Don't get hung up on forearm alignment especially if you are going to be using Isoscoles. Capish?

Frank Ettin
August 30, 2009, 11:27 AM
...The longest trigger reach is when the gun is aligned with your forearm (Weaver) - the shortest is when the gun is aligned inside of the forearm (Isoscoles)....This is an incorrect approach. One's strong hand grip should not vary with different shooting postures.

In any case, the primary characteristic of the Weaver is not the alignment of the gun with the forearm. The primary characteristic of the Weaver is the use of tension -- pulling with the weak hand and pushing with the strong hand -- to manage recoil and limit muzzle flip to promote being on target quickly for follow up shots.

If you think differently, I'd be curious to know where you learned the Weaver.

...Andy Stafford gives some of the best advice "...place your trigger finger first, and let the alignment follow"....That is correct. And the follow up is that your strong hand grip should not vary whatever shooting posture you're using.

In any sort of dynamic shooting -- self defense or "action" shooting games like IPSC or IDPA -- one will shoot from a variety of postures. One may be shooting from behind barricades or kneeling or prone or with the strong hand only. One can't be constantly changing his grip.

While it's always desirable to align the gun with the forearm, it is more important to have the finger placed on the trigger so that the trigger press can be smooth and straight back with only the trigger finger moving. Trigger control is the single most important element in accurate shooting.

...most people favor one style or the other...True enough, but it's still desirable to learn and be able to use different ones.

Evela
August 30, 2009, 01:28 PM
Fiddle we are in complete agreement. I was only pointing out that different alignments do exhibit different trigger reaches - but not that they should alter their alignment. And I agree that - like Stafford - we let the trigger finger decide the alignment, not the reverse, and yes, stick with it.

But think about this: a lot of new shooters mistakenly come to the conclusion that the gun MUST be aligned with the forearm. That'd be nice, but not necessary (Stafford). In my case, I almost sold my G34 at one time cause I couldn't achieve that.

What I wanted this shooter to realize is that, especially with an Isoscoles, such alignment may not be necessary. Which is not to say that there are not grips which really are too large (for example, I'm not sure I could deal with a G30). But that he/she has more flexibility than they realize.

Frank Ettin
August 30, 2009, 01:49 PM
...But think about this: a lot of new shooters mistakenly come to the conclusion that the gun MUST be aligned with the forearm....Which is a good reason that some instruction from a qualified instructor is important for a new shooter. In the classes (including Basic Handgun) my group teaches, we make that clear.

...What I wanted this shooter to realize is that, especially with an Isoscoles, such alignment may not be necessary....But that is not the way to put across that point. It is needlessly confusing, especially to a new shooter. Strong hand grip is not related to stance or posture.

The way to deal with the issue is to point out and demonstrate that alignment of the gun with the forearm is desirable, but that position of the trigger finger allowing proper trigger control is more important. So --

[1] If you can't reach the trigger properly with the gun in perfect alignment with the forearm, turn the gun as necessary to allow good placement of the trigger finger and a smooth, straight back trigger press.

[2] If the gun is very far out of alignment with the forearm, it is probably not a good choice, and a different gun allowing better, even if not perfect, alignment would be a better choice.

The strong hand grip is taught before the shooting postures are taught. Once a good strong hand grip is established and learned, it can be used with any shooting posture, even strong hand only. Note that the gun does not have to be in perfect alignment with the forearm to effectively use the Weaver stance.

Hokkmike
August 30, 2009, 02:43 PM
Fiddletown and Evela - You both point out to me through your dialogue the need for me to get a pro to show me the "how to's". I am, like in other things, self taught, ergo; my teacher has never been to school himself!

Frank Ettin
August 30, 2009, 03:53 PM
Hokkmike, thank you. I heartily recommend getting good instruction. There is really no good substitute for a qualified instructor watching you and then advising you based on what he sees.

I try to take a class regularly, and I always learn something new and worthwhile.

GunTech
August 31, 2009, 12:53 AM
Have to agree with those who said single stack magazine. Kahr, 1911 variants, Sig P225 all have much smaller grips than their double cloumn bothers.

There are a number of Sig P6s (P225) coming into this country that can be had for a pretty reasonable amount of money. That's my wife's favorite and she has very small hands.

mini14gb
August 31, 2009, 01:02 AM
Just how small are your hands? Can you give us the glove size you commonly wear? I wear medium work gloves and I still maintain that the XD-40 fits me like a glove, no pun intended.

Hokkmike
August 31, 2009, 08:56 AM
Just how small are your hands? Can you give us the glove size you commonly wear?

Hmmmm.....never considered that. I'll have to find out. I play bass guitar and really have to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the fingers.

Doogle
August 31, 2009, 09:26 AM
I also have smallish hands and the trigger reach on some pistols was just too much, (Beretta 92/96 & Taurus versions, for example, particularly in double action). Same with quite a number of double action revolvers.

The BHP, despite having a double stack magazine is a good option for smaller hands. After trying quite a number of pistols I decided on my first choice for 9mm, the BHP.

I also play bass (or rather did play, haven't for years). I didn't have too much trouble with normal 4 string basses, (I played a Jazz bass much of the time, which has a slim neck) but did have significant issues with guitars, especially the longer scale lengths such as on Strats. Gibson's shorter scale lengths helped a bit.

http://people.timezone.com/pauld/tzpics/hp_taurus1z.jpg (http://people.timezone.com)

Hokkmike
August 31, 2009, 09:56 AM
Doogle - Thank you. Nice pic too. About 1911's - "cocked and locked" has always bothered me. Seems patently unsafe. I know it isn't true but not having experience with these things it is a a scary configuration to (me) some.

Frank Ettin
August 31, 2009, 12:27 PM
....About 1911's - "cocked and locked" has always bothered me. Seems patently unsafe. I know it isn't true but not having experience with these things it is a a scary configuration to (me) some....Of course that's a different issue entirely. But I'll just comment that a lot has to do with training and practice. You need to have excellent trigger finger discipline and muzzle awareness (but then you also do with all other guns). You need an good holster that covers the trigger guard -- also pretty much required with anything else. And then you need to train and practice to assure that sweeping off the safety becomes reflexive (something done without conscious thought).

As far as getting used to carrying a cocked and locked gun, clear and triple check the gun. And then carry it cocked and locked (but unloaded) around the house for a while.

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