A friend getting into shooting/self defense reasons


November 18, 2012, 09:04 PM
This person hasn't shot anything.

She wants a gun for home defense. I figured first to take her to the LGS and have her hold some.

All I own are a Kahr CW9, and a Ruger SR22. Ill can have her shoot my 9mm, it is what I use for carry. She doesnt want a carry gun.

I thought a ruger LCR in .38 might be a good choice but I wonder if this might be something a little difficult for a new shooter to shoot.

She might end up just buying a gun. I figure between me and my friend she can shoot a 9mm, .45 acp, .22lr, Makarov 9, and possibly a friends .380 (Walther PPK I believe he just got).

Unsure which would be best avenue. I thought I wanted a glock, held a few didn't like it. So the obvious first step is to have her hold a few.

Any direction would be helpful.

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November 18, 2012, 09:07 PM
Have her try what you have. If she can handle the calibers than that can narrow it down. Look at gun videos online too to help her see some of the pros and cons.

Best bet is to let her try different guns out, find some friends that can donate a gun for a day.

November 18, 2012, 09:13 PM
I would try to find her a decent DA .38 Spl. revolver with a 4" barrel. A .38 is all she will ever need for a house gun. A K-frame S&W would be ideal, IMO.

November 18, 2012, 09:46 PM
Either as mentioned a decent 4 inch .38 Special revolver (Another vote for the K-Frame Smith if it fits her) or a IMO/IME a full size 9mm semiauto handgun if she can operate the slide. Let her choose which one fits her best and is most comfortable for her.

If strictly for the home, has she considered a long gun?

Maybe a Ruger 10/22 with a 25 round magazine loaded with CCI Stingers, or a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 20 Gauge loaded with #3 Buckshot?

Just my .02,

November 18, 2012, 09:53 PM
Agree with having her hold several at a shop and shoot yours in order to get an idea of what she may want.
Several of our local shops/ranges also rent guns. Think it was like $10/day and you can switch out guns at will. All you have to do is purchase the ammo there and in my case that was the same price or better than Wally World.
So if you stay with a caliber or two its not that expensive.
In my case I was pretty sure I wanted another Glock but ended up with my M & P after shooting several different guns. Just fit me best ergonomically.

Sock Puppet
November 19, 2012, 12:35 AM
Home defense with zero experience, huh? If you don't think she will put the time into becoming and staying proficient with a handgun, point her toward the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 and load up on the buckshot.

If she plans on taking it with her on trips, or carrying down the road, then a handgun is the way to go.

November 19, 2012, 12:49 AM
The first step is to have a heart to heart talk with her about if she is absolutely willing to use a gun on another human. This has to come before any decisions regarding type of gun or caliber. If she has any doubts at all she should not consider a firearm. And she must also be dedicated to a practice routine.

November 19, 2012, 01:22 AM
Step one, in my mind, is a trip to the range to work on things like grip, stance, and basic manual of arms. If someone doesn't understand the mechanics of actually firing a pistol, what does or doesn't feel right in the hand at a gun store may not be a really helpful indicator of what will be a good fit for that person. Start with the SR22 or other .22 cal pistol and work on basics -- ideally with a target close enough that missing entirely won't be an issue, and hits on paper can be easily analyzed for what's right or wrong with fundamentals. Graduate up to non-rimfire calibers after sorting out fundamentals some -- then go to the gun store and look at what feels like a winner, etc.

November 19, 2012, 01:27 AM
acquire a pile-o-guns

if you don't have a pile-o-guns, your job is to help her get to a pile-o-guns, and provide range time
if you don't have a range, get someone who does

come back after you've had her try a few examples (each) of autoloaders, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns - at this point there's nothing to go off of, and we just have a variation on the "what gun should I get for my girlfriend" thread

November 19, 2012, 01:29 AM

guns are gender-neutral, more than a description of the user's plumbing is required for meaningful advice

Frank Ettin
November 19, 2012, 01:35 AM
First stop, The Cornered Cat (http://www.corneredcat.com/).

Second stop, get her into an NRA Basic Handgun class.

She'll then have a good foundation and can start deciding what would work best for her.

November 19, 2012, 02:36 AM
Well if you go with a hand gun for a house gun, I recommend one that is easy to shoot...meaning points well and doesnt have alot of kick.

Such as a S&W M&P, the fullsize. 17+1, changeable grip sizes, and if she is comfortable with the medium palm grip, Crimson Trace makes a laser for it which is a great training aid (esp. since she is new to guns) and can be helpful in nighttime situations.

And not looking to start the 'laser debate.'

The M&P is a nice 9mm to shoot....for a house gun there's no need for something smaller that will be harder to handle. You can also get it with a safety.

November 19, 2012, 07:43 AM
When you say this person hasn't shot anything do you mean she has never fired a gun and has zero firearms experience?

If so Frank has the best advice....actually I think Frank has the best advice regardless of her experience level.

November 19, 2012, 09:19 AM
Take Franks advice and have her read the Cornered Cat and get her to visit the website. I bought my then fiance, now my wife, the Cornered Cat before we ever hit the range. She was so scared of firearms she would shake just holding a gun. After giving her plenty of time and coaching when she requested it she has chosen my Ruger SP101 as hers. She tried K-frames, 1911's, CZ 85, PA63's etcc... and ended up choosing the Ruger. I tried to get her to practice with a Ruger MKII but she just grabs her snubby and her lane at the range and I leave her alone with a box of handloaded 38's and shoots as long as she wants to.

Shawn Dodson
November 19, 2012, 09:21 AM
I recommend a revolver for someone who isn't a gun enthusiast.

I'll recommend an auto pistol if the person is able to physically work the slide with little effort and who is willing to devote time and effort in learning how to clear malfunctions quickly under stress, and maintaining this perishable skill.

For someone who wants a long gun for home defense but who isn't a "shooter" I suggest a five shot Rossi Circuit Judge .410 revolver "shotgun" loaded with Federal Personal Defense 000 buckshot. Again, the revolver design eliminates the need to know how to clear malfunctions or the possibility of shortstroking a pump action, and the four pellet 000 buckshot Federal load provides the best terminal performance. In addition, a long gun is easier to shoot more accurately under stress.

Good luck!

November 19, 2012, 11:56 AM
I third Frank's advice. And if that is too much to ask, skip the website and go directly to an introductory class; maybe a lady's intro class. There are almost certainly basic information and mindset issues here.

Baba Louie
November 19, 2012, 12:34 PM
What Frank said.

Then, take friend out shooting with your .22. Keep it fun. None of this "Can you Kill or Shoot another Human"... yet (One shoots to STOP lethal force in SD moments). Just let her get over any newbie heeby jeebies, enjoy the moment(s) and gain confidence in putting little holes in paper. When she's ready to step up from the .22, a 9mm is a good way to go.

Stress safety always, of course.

You can discuss layers of self defense concept for the home, etc.

As for any new shooter using a revolver for the first time, index finger strength and pistol control in DA is interesting to watch as most new shooters will want to cock the hammer first for obvious reasons as the SA trigger is easier to master. Might take a few hundred or thousand dry fire sessions to get that finger strength and pistol control down for DA, which can be off-putting for some.

But then again, elderly grandma types have had no problem blasting a hole or two in ner-do-wells who come acreepin in the middle of the night using their late husbands model 10 with no training whatsoever.

November 19, 2012, 12:41 PM
"If she's not willing to train, just get her a shotgun"...except you need the same safety training to use a shotgun, and you still need to know how to hit a target with a shotgun. I do agree, though, that if it's strictly for HD, a long gun might be a nice alternative to a handgun.

My issue for revolvers for women (and this is a gender thing, because women typically have smaller hands) is that you either have a small revolver (typically lightweight and with a decent amount of recoil) or you have something that's big and clunky. The DA trigger pull can be really daunting if the hands aren't up to it, and manipulating the hammer gets more difficult as the gun gets taller.

My Mom started off on a revolver, but now she uses a single-stack semi-auto because she realized she could manipulate the trigger faster on that than firing a revolver in SA mode. But, in the end it's up to the individual. I would recommend a 9mm semi-auto, personally. One that she can carry, but is heavy enough to absorb some recoil.

November 19, 2012, 01:07 PM
The CW9 is really a great gun for anyone. It's a good caliber, quality, size and price. It can fill both CCW and HD roles just fine.

November 19, 2012, 02:11 PM
.38 revolvers are what my wife prefers because it's so basic. She can see where the bullets go, see the cylinder rotate, see the hammer go back and forth. She doesn't have to think about safeties, magazines, etc.

November 19, 2012, 02:17 PM
I thought a ruger LCR in .38 might be a good choice but I wonder if this might be something a little difficult for a new shooter to shoot.

The small snub-nose revolver is a challenge even for an experienced shooter. For home defense concealing is not an issue, so why would you suggest a handgun at all? Go with a carbine. It's far easier to aim and far easier to hit what you aim at. Recoil is a lot less, as well. If safeties are a concern she can simply train with an Israeli presentation, slingshot one in or rack the slide when there's trouble and never bother with the safety as a regular part of drill. That's how I do it.

Handguns are a poor choice for any self defense scenario if you have any alternative. For concealed carry you really don't. But for home defense, they make little sense. When you add the problems of a novice shooter into the mix, they make even LESS sense. With a day of training she can be nailing bulls at 100 yards with an AR. But it will take months or years to get good enough to do that with a snub at 20 yards, if she ever manages to do it. And that's stationary, visible targets that aren't shooting back or kicking in doors.

November 19, 2012, 03:02 PM
Well I did tell her we should sit down and talk about things. Explain the responsibility of owning a gun to yourself, and your neighbor, and what USING a gun entails.
I was going to take her to the range let her shoot my 9mm, and SR22 to get an idea about firing.
I already told her she should take the NRA basic Pistol safety course to get an idea. My friend is a certified instructor.
I thought of the shotgun idea. ANOTHER friend of mine has a pump, so shooting that would also give her an idea.
I will direct her to that cornered cat website.
I want to ease her into it, and make the interest in firearms a longstanding one , not a flash in the pan buy a gun and sell it in 6 months kind of thing.
Also she is the one who mentioned a handgun first. I told her if it is strictly a HD gun to go for a shotgun.
In my neck of the woods a used Mossberg can be had for right around 200 , all day. Especially right before and after the seasons.
I do see a previous point about caliber and revolvers going up in size and the difficulty.
There are a lot of parameters to encounter.
I do agree with what Frank said, and have directed her to the website.

Thanks so far for all your replies.

Arkansas Paul
November 19, 2012, 03:29 PM
I would try to find her a decent DA .38 Spl. revolver with a 4" barrel. A .38 is all she will ever need for a house gun. A K-frame S&W would be ideal, IMO.

I would definitely want her to try one of these as well. That's what we ended up getting for my wife. A Taurus 82 police trade in for $229. She handled it in the store and liked the way it felt. She was having trouble flinching with my .40 but has no issues with my handloads with the .38.

November 19, 2012, 06:23 PM
Im going to start reloading come the new year, so the possibility of her getting a .38 would be beneficial for both of us!

I did kkind of lean heavy on the shotgun side though for strictly HOME DEFENSe.

She did make a remark about possibly getting a concealed carry license. She has thoughts from all directions in her head.

To clear the air I figure we would have a relaxing day at the range , to see if she can hit anything, and see her reaction from accomplishing this goal.

November 19, 2012, 06:32 PM

Very good video - Rack a slide like a lady - should work on most semis.

Don't let the possible inability to rack a slide be a negative.

Black Knight
November 19, 2012, 07:00 PM
As others have stated do not over look a good 38 Special revolver. The S&W K frame (models 10, 15, 64, and 67) are nearly ideal for her purpose. Also the 357 Magnum versions are also good since they will fire 38 Special ammo as well. Depending on how much practice she plans on getting the revolver may be her best choice. It is simple to operate and simple to load. It is always ready when needed. You don't have safeties to flip, decockers or any other doodads that can be forgotten in a high stress situation. Some may not believe it but when cops went to semi auto pistols there were several cop deaths attributed to the lack of familarity with their duty weapons. Remember the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid or if you prefer Keep It Sweet and Simple).

November 24, 2012, 04:44 PM
I figured a revolver for similar reasons.

We are going to plan on going to the gun store in the next couple days.

November 24, 2012, 06:13 PM
Try as I might I could not get my wife to enjoy my bottom feeders. In her eyes they were too complicated, always trying to bite her, and slinging hot brass in her personal space.

I rescued a beater Taurus 82 just for a project and did a bit of tuning on it... she loved it. Now a finessed 4" Ruger SP101 is her bedside guardian and she's getting to be a decent shot.

Now a higher priority. As mentioned above if she needs to know if she would use a gun on another human. If not it would likely get taken away from her and the scenario goes downhill from there.

Professional training takes the personal touch (and mostly the personal conflict) out of it. I wish I could convince my wife to sign up.

November 26, 2012, 02:40 PM
The first step is to have a heart to heart talk with her about if she is absolutely willing to use a gun on another human. This has to come before any decisions regarding type of gun or caliber. If she has any doubts at all she should not consider a firearm.

A day at the range to play with the toys is never a bad way to spend some time.

But before she goes further than that I think Drail's thoughts are spot on. if she can't or won't commit to pulling the trigger in a crunch it would be simply too easy for her to be disarmed and have her own gun turned against her. Or if nothing else her threat against the perp would certainly escalate the violence due to retaliation.

November 26, 2012, 06:51 PM
Since it will be a house pistol and not a conceal carry pistol, I would opt for something that is larger and heavier in order to mitigate recoil. Most begining shooters seem to be a bit more bothered by recoil from my observations.

Cee Zee
November 27, 2012, 04:59 AM
I talked my daughter into buying a .38 spcl.. I talked my wife into a .380. But both are carry guns. For a HD gun you can't beat Big Green and her killing machine, an 870 probably in 20 ga.. That's what I gave my daughter only it was a Mossberg actually. Maybe go ahead and get the 12 ga. depending on the person. That's what I use for HD. You can bet it will do the job.

The thing about handguns is they penetrate a lot. Depending on location that can be a problem. That's a big reason people go with shotguns. There are others. First off a shotgun will knock the crap out of pretty much anyone when loaded with the right shells. Don't use bird shot. Bird shot is for birds. Use buckshot. Yeah I know it's for bucks but it works on people too. Birdshot doesn't. It doesn't work that well on birds even.

If she is dead set on a handgun I'd get a 9mm for the house. It's the gun that keeps on shooting and shooting and shooting (get one with a high capacity mag like a SA XDm or a Glock and get an extra mag or 5). A .40 works too but a 9mm is good enough. I actually have a .40 that I use for home and car duty these days although the shotgun is the primary for the house. I have 2 .45's but the .40 has impressed me enough to switch after many, many years. The penetration of things like car doors has made me think twice not to mention the fact I can carry 16+1 rounds in my XDm. I really like my Taurus PT-145 which holds 10+1 rounds of .45 ACP but that's more of a concealed carry gun. I have a Sig P220 but it only holds 8+1 rounds which is a big disadvantage these days IMO. I just don't want to get shot for the lack of shooting back.

If I shoot the right direction the chances of hitting anyone are very remote (as in about a billion to one) so a handgun isn't so bad for me. But if your friend lives in an apartment complex in town get a shotgun. It will penetrate most walls too but not as much as a handgun. For proof of that check out the Box O' Truth website. (http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3_2.htm)

Shawn Dodson
November 27, 2012, 10:51 AM
I suggest you also consider a revolver chambered for .327 Magnum. I keep a S&W 632 loaded with .32 S&W Long 100gr wadcutters for my wife and daughter to use for home defense. (Neither one shoot handguns very much and I wanted an easy to use handgun with low felt recoil. Both enjoy shooting it and have confidence in their proficiency with it.) It has no exposed hammer that can be inadvertantly cocked under stress.

It offers 6 shots (versus 5 shots for a small frame .38 Special).


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