Looking for nightstand gun for wife


September 8, 2011, 08:59 PM
Recently got married, and wife is enthusiastic and supportive of having a handgun in the nightstand for SD. My choice is my XDM 9mm, but it's too heavy and big for her: she's got tiny hands. My other pistols are a Ruger LCP 380, a heavy single-action revolver 38 special, and a Mosquito. She likes the Mosquito the best. It fits her hand, it has an easy-to-operate safety, and she's plenty accurate with it.

Thing is, like most Mosquitos, it's unreliable as all get out. And of course, it's "only" a 22. Sure, any bullet can kill, but I'd be much happier with a heftier caliber bullet fired from a more reliable gun.

Any suggestions? Criteria:

1. Reliable
2. Controllable (fits her hand, not too big of a caliber)
3. Decent defensive caliber (not 22)
4. Storable

That last one is odd, so I'll elaborate: we've got long-haired cats and their hair gets everywhere, especially since they enjoy crawling into drawers (the same drawers that will hold the gun). A quality holster will help, but I'm thinking the encased hammer of the LCR would really help. Any other good hammerless revolvers out there?

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September 8, 2011, 09:05 PM
S&W model 60 "lady smith"

Ruger Sp101

Remington 870 (he he he heh)

September 8, 2011, 09:15 PM
We've already got the Remington. :)

Lots of love for the SP101 around here.

September 8, 2011, 09:17 PM
My wife is setup with my SP101. Its the one she shoots best and she is more comfortable with it than any of my semis.

Black Knight
September 8, 2011, 09:26 PM
Take her to a range that rents many guns and let her try as many as possible. She should find one she likes. Also the idea of a shotgun is not all that bad. A nice 20 guage Remington with an 18 - 20 inch barrel would be a very good safe room defense gun. For home defense think of accessories that will be beneficial such as high power flashlights, speedloaders/extra magazines, cell phone (in case the phone line gets cut), extra house key attached to a bright key chain (so it can be dropped out a window to responding police). There are others but this should get you thinking about what your specific home situation allows.

September 8, 2011, 09:58 PM
You don't specify caliber other than not wanting a .22, so I'll recommend a Bersa Thunder in .380. Take her to a gun shop and let her handle one and I'll bet she really likes it. For me, it's very ergonomic and feels secure and comfortable in my hand, the DA is close to a DA revolver, perhaps a bit stiffer- but that has been smoothing out with use, but the SA is light and crisp. The recoil is minimal using 95 gr fmj wwb, and I don't notice any significant muzzle flip. And at 25y, it's 90% in the black when I do my part (breathing, sight picture, trigger control- the 10% outside are my errors not the pistols). It's close in size to the PPK but I was told the grip is just a bit shorter. And the safety acts as a decocker allowing safe carry with one in the pipe. It retails for < $300, too!

September 8, 2011, 10:24 PM
The SP101 is nice, but if the XDM 9 is too heavy/bulky, I don't know if an SP101 will be any better. Female friends of mine enjoy shooting my P9, but many of them don't have the hand strength required to chamber a round (this may not be an issue depending on what condition you intend to store the gun for nightstand duty).

September 8, 2011, 10:32 PM
I'd say most of the .380 type handguns should fall into this category. Don't just straight to that though. My Wife, even though I gave her the whole speech, jumped straight at a Walther PPK and soon found that she had a difficult time charging the slide for her loads and had some difficulty with the first double action pull. (Enter my "I told you so" at this point) With a little work though we got her passed that and now she loves that gun. Just make sure she gets a little time to choose what she wants, and then some more to time to practice and become comfortable with it.

September 8, 2011, 10:45 PM
My wife keeps an sp101 in her dresser drawer. They are versatile, not just for home defense, but for dangerous animals and wild hippies who might pose a threat. She takes it huckleberry/chokecherry picking and on long road trips. She is a stay at home Mom and we both feel better when I'm at work.

You will not regret getting her an sp101. They are heavier then the "air biscuit" guns, which will bring her a more pleasant shooting experience

September 8, 2011, 10:50 PM
Mine uses Glock 21 SF for this purpose. The SF Glocks seem to fit women better. Consider introducing her to shotguns too.

September 8, 2011, 11:52 PM
Try some used medium frame S&W, Ruger, or Colt, .38 cal revolver with a 4" barrel.

Simple, reliable, minimum recoil and naturally pointing guns.

September 9, 2011, 07:30 AM
My wife USED to carry a Taurus M85. Liked it fine and it always worked. Then, I bought a Ruger LCR. Wife IMMEDIATELY confiscated it and loves it. Sold her Taurus.

Either of those is a possibility.

September 9, 2011, 07:53 AM
Look at a 4" mod. 10 S&W ("K" frame).
I consider the "J" frame S&W's (and clones) to be "experts" guns and not a top choice for a novice shooter.

September 9, 2011, 08:06 AM
the aforementioned S&W LadySmith, Ruger LCR, and Taurus 85 (preferably all steel for the 'extra' weight and better control) are all good candidates

but an all steel "full size" single stack 380 acp gives more barrel length (like 3 1/2" to 4"), is very shootable with minimal recoil, and yields very similar terminal ballistics to 38 sp snubbies. I say single stack for the slimmer grip, which may be a bit presumptuous of me.
I think Beretta and CZ might offer some models worth a look (pricier than the Bersa Thunder, but different feel and trigger). The Browning BDA is highly regarded, but is a double stack. In any case, if considering 380s at all, do consider "slide bite"; some folks do have such issues with Walther and Sig models)

September 9, 2011, 11:05 AM
My wife went thru about 4 pistols. She ended up with a Ruger LCP 380. She is very good with it and loves the compact size that doesnt bulge her clothes.

September 9, 2011, 12:38 PM
My wife likes my Glock md. 30. This is my CCW. I always carry
a Md. 21 mag. for back up. This is what my wife like's about the md. 30, it will accept md. 21 mags.

September 9, 2011, 01:20 PM
Like others have mentioned a 20ga shotgun is a good choice. As far as a handgun I still like a revolver like a S&W model 10 4 inch or a model 13 4 inch. I have both and they are both great all around revolvers. I would use a the LSWCHP 38 special round either by Remington or Buffalo Bore. Both are great self defense rounds.
Good luck,

September 9, 2011, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the replies! She's run into slide/chamber issues with auto pistols. She finds the XD to be difficult to rack. The Mosquito is easier. She really dislikes my LCP: difficult trigger, difficult rack, difficult recoil.

That's why I'm thinking a DA revolver. Point, pull, bang. No fuss with racking. Since this is a gun for emergency situation (specifically, home invasion), I'm not concerned with reloading. She'll have her six bullets, and it's unrealistic to expect she'll need more (and in such a crazy Zombie attack scenario, she can go for the XD or 12 gauge).

I'm intrigued by the mention of used guns. I've only ever bought new, but the economics of used are really, really appealing. And for some reasons a used revolver seems like it'd be less sketchy than a used pistol. What's the best place to buy a used gun? Pawn shop? Gun store? Internet?

Also intrigued by the K frame. Why is it a better gun for novices?

September 9, 2011, 02:06 PM
Also intrigued by the K frame. Why is it a better gun for novices?

Because its fits most shooters hands well, its very well balanced, points good and has one of the best double action triggers of all revolvers. I have eight S&W revolvers. Six of them are K frames. Personally, I shoot these revolvers the best. I have small hands and again the K frames fit me the best.

Hope this helps,

David E
September 9, 2011, 02:06 PM
Keep the drawer with the gun it it closed. You'll just have to deal with the fact your cats will be inconvenienced. :eek:

Gun-wise, consider a S&W 442, possibly with a replacement spring kit.

September 9, 2011, 02:21 PM
I second (third?) the Smith K-frame recommendation in .38sp. Enough weight to soak up the recoil and six bullets unlike a J-frame. Make sure she can fire it DA though----and accurately. If she can't pull it straight back and keep it on target, it's of no use. If that pull is too heavy for her, look into a hefty 9mm. (Hefty meaning heavy to soak recoil, not unwieldy). In that case, a lighter DA trigger such as a Kahr K9 would be better. Good for small hands, weighty, accurate and good trigger.

September 9, 2011, 02:26 PM
Let her try out a Ruger Sp 101 in .357 MAG, with a 2 1/4 in barrrel, of course put some light weight .38 Special rounds in it for her and see if she likes it. You can alays slap some .357 rounds in it when your're home.

I have a girlfriend who loves the Sig Mosquito. With a little work such as getting the feed ramp polished, using the heavier spring, and loading it up with CCI Mini Mags it's a reliable piece. Ten rounds applied to center mass of an intuder will do the job. Up close and personal, especially in the hands of a practiced shooter, the highly under rated 22 will do the job.

September 9, 2011, 02:28 PM
Shooting a .357 inside? :eek:

click clack
September 9, 2011, 02:29 PM
CZ-83.. Small, Heavy, High Cap, Decent Round.. you said she has tiny hands, i dont why people are recommending Glocks, SP101, etc.. anyhow, good luck!


September 9, 2011, 02:32 PM
small hands fit small gun = difficult to shoot well
large gun, heavy = easy to shoot well


medium gun = K frame = model 10

September 9, 2011, 06:13 PM
She likes the Mosquito the best. It fits her hand, it has an easy-to-operate safety, and she's plenty accurate with it.

OK start there. What is it about the Mosquito that she likes?

If she likes that, my first thought would be the Bersa Thender .380. My very next thought is the Bersa Thunder .380 Plus... which gives you 15 rounds, something I would take in a heartbeat for a HD pistol.


I have a Thunder .380 which has been uber reliable, and quite accurate. It's much more than I would expect from a gun I paid $225 for.

That last one is odd, so I'll elaborate: we've got long-haired cats and their hair gets everywhere, especially since they enjoy crawling into drawers (the same drawers that will hold the gun). A quality holster will help, but I'm thinking the encased hammer of the LCR would really help.

Lock box?


Ever thought of disciplining the cats? They can learn, but most people don't care to train them beyond finding the litter box.

BTW, how do they open the drawers without opposable thumbs? :D

Any other good hammerless revolvers out there?

SP101 double action only.


Black Knight
September 9, 2011, 06:35 PM
Many years ago I was a Private Investigator and private security supervisor and I carried a 2 1/2" S&W 66 around the office. My wife liked that 66 so much it is her home gun now. She has it loaded with 125 Gr. SJHP 38 SPEC +P. It works for her.

September 9, 2011, 07:40 PM
Also intrigued by the K frame. Why is it a better gun for novices?
It's revolver like you said simple operation and point and click simple. also a 4" model 10 is one of those nice size guns enough weight to absorb recoil yet not too heavy to hold for long periods. I'd also add that the K frame has a small grip frame so it's easy to find a grip for small hands.
BTW Buds has some nice looking police trade ins for $270.

I'd also reccomend a CZ-82 they are quite plentyful and have a pretty small grip for a double stack and again are a nice size, big enough but not too big.
they are chambered in the still plentyful 9X18 makarov and have good capicity at 12+1 last I checked CDNN had a bunch of them for 150-200 depending on condition.

September 9, 2011, 08:20 PM
Well, my wife carries a G17. Keeps her bag next to or on the nightstand, mostly so that it is secure and can't be used on us. I keep a G21 with light/laser next to me, along with my carry piece. I'd use my carry piece too, except that it is compact (a G29) and doesn't have a light/laser. I really like those for nightstand use, and I prefer a full size for that too.

I have a 686 that would be great, but I've done too much work to it to make it very accurate, and it has compromised the reliability some. Soft strikes, too bad. My wife really likes the feel of it and it is probably her favorite iron, period. Everytime we go shooting she shoots it until we have no more ammo. We seldom have .38spcl kicking around here, they get used up fast.

If she likes the Mosquito, then try the Walther P99. I think it is the P99. They make a .22 and a 9mm that feel very similar, very ergonomic grips. My wife likes how they feel, she'd probably have one, but right now she wants an integrally suppressed MKIII (I agree!).

September 9, 2011, 08:31 PM
Re: the cats, thumbs or no they have a way of getting into those drawers. We shut them, but they just get in again. I'm not motivated to discipline them; simpler solution is to just get a hammerless and a quality holster. And a dustbuster.

I'll definitely check out the K frame and the SP101. And, wow, that police trade-in Model 10 looks terrific. What an iconic handgun.

The S&W Bodyguard 38 looks pretty nice as well. Hammerless, and the integrated laser is a nice touch.

Again, thanks for the replies y'all. We'll head out to the range and try out a few of these recommendations.

September 9, 2011, 10:33 PM
I'm not motivated to discipline them

couple of mouse traps and your drawers would be unmolested

after start leaving the drawers alone...move the gun in

September 9, 2011, 10:43 PM
I do love k-frames above all else
but we don't know how small her hands, and grips alone are not the answer

milady does fine with a k-frame, but another young family lady, all you need is to watch her grip and her trigger finger reach and you know it ain't going to work.. (and it didn't)
pert-near broke my heart

but yeah, if it works, lots of 4" heavy barrel model 10s afloat in the used market these days, reasonable prices, unbeatable bang for your buck IMO

September 9, 2011, 11:47 PM
My two cents:

Any S&W K-Frame .357Mag/.38SPL with 4-inch barrel (M65, M66, or M64 or M10 come to mind)
Any Ruger "six" series .357Mag/.38SPL
Any Ruger GP or SP series .357Mag/.38SPL
Any S&W L-Frame 686 with 3-inch or 4-inch barrel

I own a rep or two of all three (except the Ruger GP and SP), and my wife and daughter (both rather petite) both love shooting them....and they do very well with them!!

You can find good used examples in many places...my fave is GunBroker.com

I recommend staying away from the Bodyguard380 unless they have a lot of experience with small semi-autos. My BG380 tends to "bite" when shooting some high-end self-defense loads.

September 10, 2011, 11:24 AM
She likes the Mosquito the best. It fits her hand, it has an easy-to-operate safety, and she's plenty accurate with it.
Thing is, like most Mosquitos, it's unreliable as all get out. And of course, it's "only" a 22. Sure, any bullet can kill, but I'd be much happier with a heftier caliber bullet fired from a more reliable gun.

What kind of mags & ammo are you using? Mozzies are notorious for only liking the genuine SIG metal magazines. They also seem to run better with the light recoil spring.

They're also notorious for being ammo finicky.

I got my wife a Mozzie & 4 extra metal SIG magazines ($30 each at Cheaper than Dirt :eek:) We ran 500 rounds of CCI MiniMag solids through it without a hiccup. She says we had 1 malf but I don't recall that. After that it runs probably 95% with cheap Remington bulk and 100% reliable with the MiniMags. Run Federal bulk for malf drills. It essentially reduces my wife's gun to a single shot.
I clean it after every session, make sure the screw that holds the barrel on is tight and run it pretty wet.

Any suggestions? Criteria:

1. Reliable
2. Controllable (fits her hand, not too big of a caliber)
3. Decent defensive caliber (not 22)
4. Storable

If she likes the Mozzie have a look at the SIG Pro 2022 9mm. Got one for the wife & she loves it. The ergos are almost identical to the Mozzie except there's no manual safety, just a decocker that's in the same place.

1. Reliable - check. It gobbles up my handloads & wants moar. Weve also run JHP handloads & WWB JHP with zero problems.
2. Controllable (fits her hand, not too big of a caliber) -check. It comes with smalll & medium replacable backstraps
3. Decent defensive caliber (not 22) - 9mm JHP will gitter done
4. Storable - Well... as much as any I guess.

One good feature is that you can easily find them for <$400. IMO it's a great handgun for the money.

September 10, 2011, 04:11 PM
I have a Colt Diamondback for mine. Loaded with Federal Hydra-Shok +p JHPs. It is pretty much fool-proof.

September 10, 2011, 04:55 PM
*Finally* got my wife enthused (not the same as *interested* or *tolerant*) about shooting-now that a whole group of our circle of friends are going out to the hole once a week, and taking courses together.

My observations, none of which are original, or even new to this thread:

#1 piece of advice: take her to a good range that has rental stock, and let her try, and then choose. Buying anything for someone else is always iffy, IMHO, it's her gun, after all is said and done.

#2 poa: resist the urge to immediately buy into the ".380 bond gun is great for women because they have small hands" conventional wisdom. It sure sounds good in theory, but in reality, the blowback guns are as hard as it gets to manipulate well (stiff recoil springs, small controls) and the micro locked-breech 2nd-gen mini-guns are hard enough to hit with for all of us as to not be much fun unless you are already skilled enough to enjoy the challenge (IMHO).
I love my sig P238, but introducing a new shooter to handgunning with a micro .380 is like introducing a new coffee drinker to the habit with a double shot of espresso in one of those dinky porcelain cups: I like those too, but I'd recommend a drink with more sweet goop and milk, in a bigger package, to the uninitiated...

#3 poa: police depts have already done the work of figuring out what works for females of average stature. Why reinvent the wheel; a G19 or 26 works, as does a good 3rd-gen compact smith auto.

However, In the final analysis-for my wife-she ended up choosing any of my "department proven" K-frame .38s out of a goodly number of tacticool cult-gun options: S&W 65-3, NY-1, even the lighter model 12... she preferred any/all of them over everything else us guys regularly shoot. All the folks above who voted "used 10/64 because it's proven" know of what they speak, IMHO. Once you know that a given lady has the hand strength to easily work the medium-frame revolver trigger in DA mode, the rest is just tasty gravy.

Plus, I now have free license (again, not the same as *interest* or *tolerant*) to buy more K-frames. I'm thinking my beloved really needs a police trade that has been honed and refinished by Gemini customs, or something; it's the only way to retain personal ownership of my minty, t-gripped model 12...


September 11, 2011, 12:47 AM
I have small hand and short fingers. So small that I can't reach the double action trigger comfortably on K/L/N frames. I practice single action defensive shooting on my K frame. Single action trigger is much shorter, easier to reach. I would cock the hammer as I bring the gun up to point at the home invader.

About J frames 38spl, I hate shooting them; J's with 38 hurt my hand so discourage from training. Here's what I came up with for nightstand:

(1) two J frame in 32 S&W Long (12 shots, aka Texas reload)
(2) K frame Model 10, shoot it single action, learn to cock and shoot quickly with one hand

Whatever your wife choose, she will need lots of training. People with small hands are at a huge disadvantage; so extra training is needed. It's like a short person playing basketball.

September 11, 2011, 01:18 AM
My vote goes to any revolver she shoots well and likes. My wife uses the Ruger SP101 2 1/4 inch, for HD. Just pull the trigger and she's ready to rock & roll.

September 11, 2011, 08:14 AM
One of the security trade-in DAO model 4" 64's, like the ones J&G lists ~$270-$300, would be ideal. She will never notice shooting +P ammo in it - and, if you get a round butt model, a wide range of grips are available to tailor fit her hand. A self-defender should be shot DA. I got a 4" 64 NIB locally a few years back for $315 OTD as a security guard trade-in. Sadly, my wife insists the 2" 10 I bought new eight years ago is 'cuter' - and fits her hand better (I did sand & refinish it's grips to fit her desires!). I swapped grips - she said to put 'her' grips back on 'her' 2" 10. Same gun - one is 2" longer in the barrel and SS - the one she likes is blued - my only blued handgun!

This year, she had to have a new PPK she spied at the pusher's. Engraved/carved grips - it is pretty. She shot it - put it back in it's display case - she doesn't want to get it dirty. That 2" 10 is her defender. She also has a Seecamp .32 for pocket carry - very infrequently. She is 5'10" - she could carry that PPK! The key is to get them something they like and feel comfortable with.


PS Train a cat... keep a cat out of a drawer/cabinet/closet? Obviously suggested by someone who is not part of a cat's staff. Remember... dogs have owners... cats have staff! I am part of the support staff for six indoor cats.

September 11, 2011, 09:31 AM

While cats are not "trainable" in the sense a dog is, they can be conditioned.

"skat mats" as well as motion detecting devices that spray air or make noise can keep cats out of an area.

The cheapest this is small mouse traps. Not big enough to damage the animal. Just scare the hell out of it.

The bottom line is that there is no reason to compromise safety for a critter. I would rather enjoy General Tso's Tabby.

September 11, 2011, 01:01 PM
^^^Spoken like a true dog man.


September 11, 2011, 01:16 PM
spoken like a true dog man

lol :D

CSA 357
September 11, 2011, 02:32 PM
mod 10 smith

September 11, 2011, 02:46 PM
My wife uses a S&W model 64 DAO 4" for the house.
She has years of practice with that weapon system, she will try to shoot at least once per week( drills and reloads with comp II speed loaders.)

she gets to shoot the bottom two alot
The rest are mine from my NYPD days.


September 11, 2011, 07:52 PM
A J frame Smith or Taurus 85 with Hogue finger groove grips is an easy fit for small hands.

Hondo 60
September 11, 2011, 09:27 PM
I introduced my friend's daughter (23 y/o) to handguns last Thanksgiving.

I had 6 of them to shoot.
A S&W 10-5 4",
a S&W 10-5 2",
an SP101 2",
a 9mm S&W,
a S&W 66-2 4"
and a S&W 36 no dash

Afterward she said she liked the 4" 10-5 the best.
(of course it had the lightest recoil)

Mauser lover
September 13, 2011, 03:31 PM
One more vote for a S&W K frame, 66 4 inch if you like .357 Mag, or a Model 10 will do just fine if you like .38 Spl. If you get a .357 mag, you can shoot .38s through it.

Maybe a Ruger Security Six...

Elm Creek Smith
September 13, 2011, 09:29 PM
J&G Sales has police trade-in S&W Model 64 .38 Specials in good to very good condition. These are the round butt versions that I prefer for people with small hands, (http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/p/smith-wesson-model-64-38spl%2C-4-inch%2C-stainless%2C-round-butt%2C-good-to-very-good-condition-s-w/products_id/3592) but for $10.00 less they have the square butts. (http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/p/smith-wesson-model-64-38spl-dao-stainless-steel-4in-revolver%2C-used%2C-good-to-very-good-condition-s-w/products_id/5831) They are double-action only (DAO), and the hammer spurs have been removed.

When I read the title, I was reminded of a T-Shirt that my sister bought me. It read, "I got a gun for my wife. Good trade, huh?" My wife wasn't amused.


September 14, 2011, 03:08 PM
My wife wasn't amused

Your wife is not trained well.

I told my current wife that and she laughed. Said that I had better get a nice gun. Then was saying that I had better not trade her to an a-hole.

September 15, 2011, 06:46 PM
Glock 17 auto loader or as you mentioned an LCR with 125 grain Nyclads. I wouldn't store any gun in a leather holster, Kydex or similar is okay.

September 16, 2011, 06:44 PM
"I wouldn't store any gun in a leather holster"

ditto that, proud to have 'rescued' a S&W model 66 somebody had done that to
then again, milady's SP101 pretty much lives in a suede holster, and has for many years
(but it gets out and exercised and cleaned pretty regular)

September 17, 2011, 12:46 AM
Nightstand gun for a non-enthusiast with minimal training....S&W Model 64 or 65 4-inch bull barrel. Police Department returns are fine as they are usually in good condition and can even be in excellent shape. My daughter and her husband have a pair of PD returns, a 65-2 (P&R) and a 65-4 both with 4 inch barrels which they shoot infrequently but can hit accurately enough with them.

September 17, 2011, 04:02 PM
First my wife adopted my ppk 380 and carried it for several years but due to arthritis she has trouble racking the slide + its sort of heavy. Next she got a sp101DAO 357 that took care of the racking the slide problem but not the weight. Now she has a ruger lcr with laser grips (38 special) and she likes it due to the light weight, laser and great trigger. But she still borrows my keltec p3at when she wants something really small and light when she isn't carring a purse.

September 17, 2011, 04:38 PM
A 4" 10/64/65 is a great house gun for anyone! DAO, ie, like a hammer spur-less 64, is fine.

When checking her 'discrete look' with the PPK holstered IWB vs the .32 Seecamp, my wife asked my opinion as to whether they made her butt look big. She did ask, so I replied, "No, they don't!". Never knowing when to keep quiet, I had to add, "... I think that is last week's super-sized fries from McD's!". She cautioned that another remark like that and she'd have to hurt me... I'm still thinking...


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