My wife and I will be getting our LTC's in the next few weeks. Of course I am wrestling with what I want, but I talk to everyone, do research and shoot with friends. I will also end up owning several handguns as I over do most things. My wife just wants a pistol to shoot at the range and keep for personal protection. She does not want to carry (yet). She basically looks to me to research it for her. Oh yeah, she does not want a revolver (too ugly and clunky looking). I was considering a Sig P232 in .380. Opinions are welcome. Is this adequate for personal protection? What about the Sig? I have heard good things from several people. Also we are in MA and choices are limited. Undoubtedly we will handle and shoot several different handguns before buying, but this board is such a wealth of experience and information that I figured I would throw the question out there.
If you enjoyed reading about "Advice on pistol for my wife...." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 27, 2004, 03:15 PM
.380 is about the minimum that most of the "experts" would rely upon for protection. I highly recommend that she try out as many different guns as possible to find the one that suits her best.
January 27, 2004, 03:16 PM
My wife went through 4 revolvers before she tried my Witness, and now happily carries a Witness 40 compact wonderficish in an HBE IWB rig. pictured here.
January 27, 2004, 03:18 PM
.380 is what a lot of people here will consider the bare minimum for a personal defense gun. The Sig P232 is also considered by many here to be the cream of the crop for that style pistol but a good number also favor the Bersa Thunder. Same size, same caliber, good construction but a lot cheaper, not sure if they are available in MA though.
What you also might want to consider, depending on how much your wife already knows about pistol shooting, is to get her a .22 to practice with. Then once she is comfortable and has some skill built up have her pick out another pistol that she would use for home defense. Anyway good luck with your search, I know from experience that very soon you will have a ton of answers better then mine following.
Oh yeah forgot to add this too, Welcome to THR!
January 27, 2004, 03:56 PM
My wife went through a Beretta Tomcat. Too hard to shoot well.
A Taurus snub nose revolver... she doesn't like to dry fire practice so the DA pull was killing her aim and her finger.
Now, she carries her Bersa Thunder. She has the Stainless version of the SIG P230, so it's a tad bit heavier. But she likes the Bersa and can hit reliably with it.
January 27, 2004, 04:08 PM
Main thing is, let your wife choose a weapon her-self! :scrutiny:
That is most important; cuz what fits you might
not fit her; and what she likes, you may not like. :uhoh:
A quality .380 such as SIGARMS P230/P232, Walther
PPK/PPK-S, or even the less expensive Bersa Thunder is
about the "bottom line" in defensive weaponary. Sure,
a lot of us carry a "pocket" mousegun in .22 LR, .25 ACP,
or .22 magnum caliber; but its carried only as a last resort
firearm. With proper ammunition, the .380 should serve
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
January 27, 2004, 04:13 PM
Advice on pistol for my wife.... Well, it depends. If she can work hard and doesn't talk back I'd try to get at least a semi-custom 1911 or maybe a good Sig in trade at the very least.
- Gabe :D
January 27, 2004, 04:29 PM
.380 should be fine. I carry a 9mm Makarov (aka 9X18 ) and it's just a souped-up .380...
I really like the Makarov, maybe your wife should try one? There are only 2 downsides: it's somewhat heavy, and it takes a bit of effort to rack the slide (it is a blowback afterall)...
But other than that, Maks are great. They are very accurate and reliable. They are also thin, thats good for people with smaller hands (like me). And best of all, they can be had for under $200...
January 27, 2004, 04:35 PM
The Goose is loose!:D Sorry, have been wanting to say that.:p
Anywho, how about taking her out to a rental range and as my good friend Ala Dan sez, let her pick out her fave. With training and experiene her favorite will change.
Get a gun she likes, then get another just like it. Lots of mags, ammo, range time and instruction.
You guys will do great.:)
January 27, 2004, 08:46 PM
The BEST advice I can offer BOTH of you is go rent some guns...spend 200$ over a couple of weekends in rental fees and ammo.
What you will do is get an idea of what you want, feels good and you both can shoot well. And save yourselves 100's of $ and hours/days/weeks of frustration.
Posting a thread like this is a good idea for reference. But in no way are our words gospel. We can tell you what guns are reliable and accurate but beyond that.....its STRICTLY up to you.......
January 27, 2004, 09:26 PM
A friend of mine, who happens to live in MA, has a girlfriend who shoots. He has both a stainless P230(or 232, not sure) and a Beretta Cheetah -- both are .380's. His GF strongly prefers the Beretta. I haven't fired it, just passing along what I've heard, might be worth looking into.
January 27, 2004, 09:32 PM
If you could find one a Colt pocketlite or mustang are quite nice.
I lived in Burlington a long time ago, 68-70 during my Jr Hi years and I lived at 71 Center St. My father was the pastor of the big white church up on the top of the hill.
January 28, 2004, 08:03 AM
Only 2 reasons that I'm aware of are size and the theory that they "kick less" . Has to be right? I mean the bullets are smaller? Not in my experience.
I've shot a few, as well as a makarov and a .32
I think the recoil is harsher than most 9mm's. This is because of the blowback operation of the pistol. The ONLY exception in my experience was a colt .380 (as mentioned above). The come in 3 sizes and are no longer made. pony = smallest and has a DAO trigger. Mustang and govt get bigger and bigger. I'd get the gov't or the mustang in a +2 configuration (same grip as a gov't)
But I'd really recommend a 9mm. Lotsof choices here, and lotsof previous threads.
Need to know a bit more about your wife to really help more .... I mean about her experience or inexperience in shooting.
January 28, 2004, 08:48 AM
I love Makarovs, but my wife did not. She felt it was too big and heavy. Same for my HK P7M8. She then shot my friends Berretta Cheetah (single stack .380) and loved it. The alloy frame is lighter and the gun is smaller in general, but still holds 8 +1 rounds. As soon as I find one around here, I am going to buy it for her.
January 28, 2004, 08:48 AM
I suggest you at least look at the keltec autos. very small, very light, reliable, and choices of 9mm .380, or .32. any of them should be under 250$, maybe even under 200$. I have one friend wearing the P32 with the belt clip on a bra strap. I can clip one on the front seam of a dress shirt, and hide it under a wide tie.
I agree, fondle all you can before you decide.
January 28, 2004, 11:52 AM
IMHO the only reason to go with a .380 is for a small size to conceal easily. The Sig 230/232 is a top quality gun for sure but there are 9mms that are the same size and a few smaller. The recoil of the .380 is no less than the 9mm and in many instances because of gun size is more than the 9mm. After trying several handguns from .380 to .45 ACP my wife chose the 9mm Browning Hi-Power as her housegun. Body size, hand size, and mindset are all factors but the deciding factor will be which one she hits best with.
If she's just starting out be sure and go over the safety rules with her beforehand and start at 5-7 yards. Hits at close range beat misses at 15-
25 yards for enthusiasm everytime. Hits will keep her interest and you can change the distance to the targets as she progresses. Good Shootin'!
January 28, 2004, 12:24 PM
I would encourage her to select a decent caliber (.380 on up preferred, but a .22 will kill you) and a reliable, quality gun, but let her pick it. Do you want someone else picking your carry gun? Didn't think so.
January 28, 2004, 12:32 PM
Another one in the camp of:
Try various guns, preferably with another qualified instructor ( Husbands, BF's not always best). Pick one and continue with outside instruction and practice for a bit, especially good is with a group of ladies.
Support her, buy her ammo, and if she finds through the instructors,and ladies group a holster , belt and the like... poney up and let her get what she wants. Yeah you get buy lunch and the after sessions coffee/soda/ de-brief snacks as well.
You will gain back a lot more this way.
January 28, 2004, 01:45 PM
Just agreeing/amplifying two points others have made:
1. The .380's and Makarovs look small and cute and they do have a less powerful cartridge, but that doesn't mean they don't kick. Very small, light guns can have much MORE felt recoil than a big heavy gun. For me, the only reason to have a smaller lighter gun is if you intend to carry it concealed. If it is just for home and the range, I say get the biggest heaviest gun that you can still comfortably handle.
2. Rent a bunch of pistols, shoot 'em, compare. Then she can decide which one she likes. If she's going to shoot it and practice with it and enjoy it, it has to be her gun and that means she chooses.
January 28, 2004, 08:33 PM
Well, you can't get the Glock in .380 (at least not in the U.S. that I'm aware of), but the 9mm is available and despite the epithets of "combat tupperware" :D Glocks are good, reliable firearms. Ease of use (point and shoot) is also a big plus. Accurate out of the box and very, very reliable.
I don't like the Sig firearms but only because they don't fit my hand well. The grip is too large for my shorty fingers (small female fingers :banghead: ). And the bore axis is too high for me. However, those are just my personal issues with its fit. I've heard nothing but good things about their accuracy and reliability, so if it fits her well, then it's a good choice.
Most important is to make sure she can fire it easily. And 10 or 20 rounds aren't enough. She's going to have to practice and practicing means at least 50 to 100 rounds once a month (preferably more). If it's going to start beating her hands after a couple dozen rounds, she won't want to practice. And that's not a good thing.
January 28, 2004, 11:02 PM
I just go out and buy myself a nice NIB Bersa Firestorm 380 so I can replace the Bersa Thunder 380 the wife stole from me. When I get home and show it to her, she decides she likes it better than the Thunder and takes it from me. That's how we pick out guns for my wife around here.
But I still wear the pants in this family:cuss:
January 29, 2004, 12:15 AM
I was married two times, and have had a number of live in girl friends, and I have always been the boss, and they have all told me I could say so:) I think I have been good at selecting passive mates?
January 29, 2004, 03:26 AM
well here we go:
something .380 or larger.
something that fits her frame so she can conceal it if she so desires.
something that fits her well.
But the formula is basically, to take her shooting and find where she is comfortable caliber wise. THen take her to the store with the THR list of guns we like (tm) and let her fondle some of them to decide how the grips, balance, and trigger reach work for her.
viola... there you have your short list. THe wallet, aesthetics, and availability of accessories can take you from there.
For a compact gun, I'd check out the sig p239 for those with small hands.
If she's more partial to full size guns, but maybe kinda will think about carrying, the walther p99 is decent, and is fairly compact for a full size.
They aint the end all be all, but you should probably check them out on the fondling part of the shopping adventure.
January 29, 2004, 10:38 PM
This is the first such thread where no one recommended a small .38 revolver!
Kind of a pet peeve of mine. I've just finished helping a friend select a revolver for his wife and him to use in home defense. She picked out a model 60 S&W in the store and I warned him she wouldn't think it was so cute once she took it to the range.
I rounded up 5 revolvers for them to shoot and sure enough, she picked the biggest .38special I brought. As has already been said, in a given caliber, the bigger it is, the less it kicks. The model 60 turned out to be her LEAST favorite to shoot. She shot it once and then put it down and wouldn't fire it again.
In a similar vein, my sister has a model 60 S&W that she is trying to get rid of. After some cancer surgeries, she no longer feels that she has the upper body strength to control it.
The small locked breech .380s and the larger blowback .380s like the CZ (83?) , the Browning BDA, and the big Beretta .380s are some of the most comfortable guns to shoot on the market. Just make sure she racks the slide--the blowback guns tend to have stiff springs. If she can handle a DA trigger pull and a little weight, a big .38Special (like the GP100) is also a very comfortable gun to shoot.
January 31, 2004, 03:52 PM
I agree that SHE has to pick it. I took my 21-year old daughter in law to the range the other day for her first time to shoot (she says she wants a CHL, so I wanted to find out if she was serious about wanting to shoot). Started her out firing a S&W 38 snubbie - is was "OK," she said. Then a 9mm Jericho - "don't like it. " The Ruger MK II - "is that it?" she says. So I gave her the .45 Baby Eagle, and the first time she fired it she got a big grin and said "that's more like it!" After 150 rounds of .22, 50 of 38 Special, 50 of 9 mm and 100 of .45, her only question was "got any more of that .45?" I was out, so she fired my last box of 38. I told my son he better hang on to this lady.
Then we went to the show room to handle some other pistols. I was sure she would love the Sig 232 and it would be perfect for her - too small, she says. Glock - "yuck" was her only comment. After trying several others, she settles on the Sig 239 in .40 as "just perfect." Fooled me. I have also tried to pick handguns for my wife and the only lesson I have learned is to not bring home anything I don't want to keep for myself (not all that bad - "darlin', I was just thinking of you, after all").
January 31, 2004, 04:06 PM
Heck, buying handguns for my wife is easy. All I gota do is buy a pistol I really, really want for myself, take it home and show it to her, she falls in love with it and I'm stuck with all the old stuff.
January 31, 2004, 04:16 PM
I recently went through the process of my wife picking out her own gun. After firing several different models she chose a Glock 34 in 9mm. I think it's a good choice too for several reasons.
First she is accurate with it and the recoil is manageable for her which will encourage more frequent practice.
Second is I have some old high capacity magazines that hold 20 rounds which eliminates the need to grab extra magazines in a home defense scenario.
Third and perhaps most important is that this gun has been perfectly reliable with over 8k rounds through it.
Fourth is that it has a light rail on which an M3 weapon mounted light rides.
Fifth is the manual of arms is as simple as possible so that under a stressful situation all she has to do is point and pull the trigger.
Good luck! :)
February 1, 2004, 02:52 AM
I've carried the Sig P232 for 8 years now and absolutely love it. I've tried the 9mm and .40 and, while I enjoy shooting them at the range, my hands are just too small for them to be really comfortable. I think that is important with something you may have to use when you are under pressure. Also, I have a Galco purse and my .380 fits inside quite nicely.
Good luck - to both of you!
February 1, 2004, 08:32 AM
Swing by the Four Seasons for the very best prices - www.fsguns.com
If you ask Carl, the owner, in advance you can order the Beretta compact type M. It's a single stacked 9mm which is perfert for carry too if she's ever comfortable with that idea. The Sig 239 in a 9mm is another way to go if she's O.K. handling a gun that doesn't have a manual safety. If she's not planning to carry, a Sig Pro in a 9mm or Walther P99 are nice choices. Don't over look the Glocks -- Carl has several 19 models for sale at great prices. I believe the 9mm is the best caliber for easy recoil and personal defense, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the revolvers. The Ruger SP101 is hardly an ugly gun and Smith and Wesson has a Lady Smith in different barrel sizes that would make a terrific carry piece. Swing by Carl's and ask. I wouldn't rush the purchase; take your time to see what works for her, and I'm sure you'll find Four Seasons will have what you're looking for. Good luck.
BTW -- I got my 92FS Brigadier, standard 92FS, compact type M, Ruger Single Six and S&W 686 from the Four Seasons. I have small hands too so don't be fooled into thinking a carry gun has to be small, and never encourage her to keep it in her purse. It should be carried on her person.
February 1, 2004, 09:03 AM
Check out the CZ75 compact or PCR. My wife has small hands and this is what she chose. Very reliable and quite accurate.
February 1, 2004, 09:12 AM
This is the first such thread where no one recommended a small .38 revolver!I hear that. I bought my wife an ultralite .38 a while back and she absolutely despises it. She doesn't even like to dryfire it.
She says it looks cool, but hates to hold it or shoot it.
PS: Welcome to THR Shannon! :)
February 1, 2004, 09:36 AM
The SP101 is a .38 revolver. ;) I wouldn't go with too light a revolver though. I had an airlight S&W 442 snubbie. Hurt like Hell and got rid of it in record time....
February 1, 2004, 04:20 PM
A beginner lady picking her own gun is like Pee Wee Herman teaching martial arts. Do this: Try FIRST a S & W 3 inch heavy barreled .38 J frame , before anything else. They have half the recoil of a 2 inch IMO.
Flame on but an auto pistol is not a good choice for a new lady shooter. My wife still to this day carries her .357 S & W M65s, although she is very profecient with her AR15s, she feels much more confident with a simple reliable powerful revolver. Ladies (99% of them) are not going to become Rambette, no matter how much we might want them to. Most women want a simple, reliable defensive piece that goes BANG every time and is easy to shoot. If the trigger is too heavy have a trigger job done by a pro 'smith.
If we left it to most ladies they would carry a .22 auto, perhaps one of the worst defensive choices one can make. We need to make informed experienced decisions when life is at stake...
February 1, 2004, 06:13 PM
Well, my wife and I went to a local gun shop to verify what she liked. She looked at a Kahr 9MM , Beretta Cheetah .380, Sig 232 .380, Glock 26 9MM, S&W Airweight .38 Spl revolver. The bottom line is she still likes the Beretta and I do too. She will get the proper training to handle a semi-auto and I know .380 is a "marginal" caliber, but that's what she will shoot and feels comfortable with. I tried to sell her on one of my many Makarovs, or one of my HK P7's, but they are just too heavy in her opinion.
Son of John
February 2, 2004, 06:39 AM
When I went through this with my wife, the only two pistols she picked up and liked were a Kahr K9 and Glock 26. I said OK, we walked out and I bought her a Kel-Tec P-11 instead. She rejected the Kel-Tec immediately when I gave it to her and it's now in my glove compartment.
Bottom line is, buy them what they like. True for anything, not just firearms...
February 2, 2004, 09:44 AM
Since you live in the land of Ted Kennedy, it would be easier to know which guns are approved, and then downselect from there. For a .380, you already picked one of the best (Sig P232), so you need not go any further. She MIGHT be better off with a 9mm, and so here's my recommended list;
February 2, 2004, 03:46 PM
You just never know about women; and if anyone does, please give me a clue! I let my wife shoot my HP's, P7, 1911's, Maks, Berettas, and various revolvers. She was never much of a "gun" person, and not particularly mechanical, so I gave her a Colt Det. Spcl. Couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. Out of all my pistols, guess which one she picked? A Sig 229 40S&W!! I would have bet money she couldn't get her hand around that fat grip; I would have been wrong. I would have bet she wouldn't like shooting the hot 40's; I would have been wrong. Anyway, she stole my nice Sig; and now the only time I get to play with it is when she lets me clean it. Yeah, thats still "my" job! Only pistol I have ever seen her been able to shoot. That was ten years ago; she still likes the Sig, but now shoots Glocks, XD's, etc quite well. Still can't hit *&%$ with a revolver. Along the lines of the Beretta 380; you might want to let her try the Browning BDA380. Nicer safety set up, and the thick grip spreads the recoil; really sweet.
February 2, 2004, 04:03 PM
A beginner lady picking her own gun is like Pee Wee Herman teaching martial arts.
But a beginner gent can pick a gun just fine, right? Must be the balls... :rolleyes:
The stupidest gun buyers I've seen are other guys, because they THINK they know something, but are still stone cold ignorant. Most women don't think they ought to pretend to know about guns like alot of guys do, so at least they "know what they don't know."
Nobody said you should let her shop "blind" without the advice of somebody who knows more about guns than her. But the same could be said of a guy buying his first gun. There is a world of difference between being a patronizing twit and just giving her a gun because women are too stupid to figure them out, and helping her select one herself (for instance, by steering her away from inappropriate calibers or junk brands).
February 2, 2004, 10:26 PM
Okay boys, here's from a gal's experience.
1) A woman CAN make her own choice. But let her shoot as many guns as she can before she actually thinks of buying one. That process alone will help educate her and get her jazzed about guns--or will show you whether or not she's truly interested at all.
2) A woman CAN handle an autoloader. Most of my female friends have had no problems with mine or any other that I've seen. It may be tough during the break-in period, but give her a chance.
3) Men, help your ladies find third-party instruction. Don't drag your ego to the range, let her learn stuff on your own--later on you can share your hobby and your combined knowledge. Make it a sport you can share, not one in which you automatically have the upper hand. She'll respect your experience if you don't shove it down her trachea.
4) Women have their own reasons for picking a gun. I admit that part of my attraction to my firearm of choice is lines, feel, size, thinness, reputation and such. Respect that women are often attracted to things for different reasons. Which is why many of you boys like boobies on your partners and many of us ladies like big strong arms on our men.
5) I love my Kahr P9. I don't carry on a regular basis, but the gun's comfortable enough for me to love taking it to the range weekly. I've worn it holstered and it's concealable enough for me. It's simple enough for me to break down and clean (though I needed some help during the break-in process, as it was pretty tight, like new guns tend to be). It looks and feels delicious in its Little Black Dress (velvety A-grips). I also liked the XD9 and Glock 26 a lot, but felt more comfortable with the Kahr. I thought about the smaller guns (Kel-Tecs, Maks) but for my first purchase, the p9 made the best all-around sense. Later I'll get a pocket gun, and probably a 45, then a shotty and so on...but that's a different story.
Don't force it, respect her attitudes, give her breathing room, and you just might have a shooting buddy for life.
February 3, 2004, 04:02 AM
Can I ask you some questions lupine? How old were you at first contact with "the gun culture"? Were you anti, or neutral before that? Is there anything we guys can do to bring more women into the shooting sports? Is your attraction self defense or entertainment?
I just looked at your profile, and I do not know if you are my age or my daughters age. Are your parents pro or anti gun?
If you enjoyed reading about "Advice on pistol for my wife...." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!