2 girls bitten by gun bug, what to suggest?


January 27, 2013, 09:42 PM
My son called me. Said his wife and her mother both want a gun for home protection. Mom is single teacher, lives in a condo. My boy works odd hours, his wife is also a teacher, no kids, 3 bedroom single family home. These women aren't anti-gun, but have no experience and right now want home protection.

I will set them down and educate them on everything from situational awareness, preparedness, etc. I'm wrestling with suggested gun choices and would like to keep it simple. I will take them to a local range and let them try various guns.

I'm leaning toward J-Frame 38's or 20ga shotties.


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January 27, 2013, 09:45 PM
I would say definite no to the J-Frame. As a concealed handgun? Sure. Home defense? Not ideal.

The best thing that you can do is to take them to a range and rent a few guns and let them see what they do and don't like.

I would put several full size semi-automatic pistols in their hands, along with a full size revolver (3"+ barrel). Recently, a woman in Georgia shot an assailant 5 times with a 6 shot revolver, much like that J-frame.... He was hit in the face, neck, and chest and still lived to get out of the house and drive a short distance.

I'm leaning toward J-Frame 38's or 20ga shotties.

What you are leaning toward is great if you want a new HD gun.... Not great if you are trying to help them out.

January 27, 2013, 09:45 PM
Not thinking along the same lines here, but what about M&P Shield/Compact? Optional safety. Nice trigger. Easy to hold even for small hands.

January 27, 2013, 09:48 PM
The only gun my wife refuses to shoot is my J-Frame. She loves the Glock 19, her LCP, even the shotgun, but won't touch the 642. I can't say that I really blame her.

If it's purely for home defense, then it's hard to beat a Glock 19 with a white light.

January 27, 2013, 09:48 PM
I'd say that a simple pistol like a glock would be good.
Slightly more complex than a revolver, but still easy to learn and reduced felt recoil.
Higher capacity (for now at least!) and easier/faster reloads.

January 27, 2013, 09:49 PM
The downside to the JFrame is capacity, the upside simplicity.

January 27, 2013, 09:52 PM
Just took a buddy and his wife out to the range yesterday, with a variety of handguns, for this very reason. She chose the Taurus stainless M85. The automatics were too hard for her to rack the slide, and she didn't like the safety on the BHP ... the Glock was worse than the Browning, for racking the slide back.

January 27, 2013, 09:55 PM
That was really decent of you BHP Fan.

I'm sure she appreciated the gesture.

Sam Boca
January 27, 2013, 09:59 PM
Unless they are mechanically inclined, I'd stay away from the semi-autos and lean toward revolvers. Probably go with a full size and all steel to reduce felt recoil. A .38/.357 is ideal since they can start with .38s and move up to .357 when they are ready. Plus a .38 defense load can be more than adequate.

If they are ready to move up to semi-autos, consider a Sig Sauer P250 9mm in full size or compact. Very simple gun because it is Double Action Only. No external safeties or decockers. Consistent trigger pull very similar to a revolver only smoother. It can also be easily converted to other calibers and even other frame sizes by transferring the modular fire control mechanism to another shell. Sig Sauer sells these Caliber X-Change kits on their website. No FFL needed since the fire control mechanism is the part that is considered to be the gun.

Texan Scott
January 27, 2013, 10:00 PM
Ruger GP-100, 3" 6-shot .357. JMHO, but if we're limiting it to handguns, this is about ideal. Not just for 'the little lady' either... I would gladly have one if it came to that.

January 27, 2013, 10:06 PM
If they are ready to move up to semi-autos, consider a Sig Sauer P250 9mm in full size or compact. Very simple gun because it is Double Action Only. No external safeties or decockers. Good option I hadn't considered. BTW, these are not petit girls. A full sized handgun is not out of the question.

January 27, 2013, 10:08 PM
Guess we have to think CA legal.

Can either of these teachers leave a weapon in their car on school grounds? If so, a Ruger LCP (380) or the equivalent compact revolver in 38 SPL would be great. My 12 y/o daughter fires the LCP just fine.

For pure home defense, for the ladies, a Mossberg 20 gauge Bantam would be hard to beat. My 9, 11, and 12 y/o can each fire it with comfort.

And of course an at least 3 day class where 500 rounds will be fired.

January 27, 2013, 10:09 PM
My wife liked the revolver better. " Doesn't have all the buttons to worry about and if i run out of bullets i can hit em with this" She was shooting my GP100:D

January 27, 2013, 10:10 PM
''That was really decent of you BHP Fan.
I'm sure she appreciated the gesture...''

Her husband and I worked together for about two years as Security in a Casino. The least I could do for these fine folks.

January 27, 2013, 10:17 PM
SR9 or M&P9


4v50 Gary
January 27, 2013, 10:18 PM
I'd hate to buy a gun and find they are uncomfortable with it.

Here's some things I learned recently: modern revolvers may be difficult to shoot in the DA mode for some females. For older females, they may not be able to pull the slide back on a semiautomatic. Glocks are the exception. I suspect that a semi with a flat coil spring is easier for an older woman than a CZ-75 or Browning Hi-Power.

Best thing is to get them firearms safety and handling training first. This should be about four hours of class room and handling with empty firearms. Then take them to the range with a variety of guns. Let them try the guns out and see which works best for them (comfort, ease of handling and operation, accuracy).

Sam Boca
January 27, 2013, 10:18 PM
The P250 compact is fairly large for a compact. Since you're limited in CA to 10 rounds, the only advantages to the full size are slightly better accuracy and reduced muzzle flip. And since you are limited to 10 rounds, it makes the .40 S&W more attractive. The beauty of the P250 is that you can start out with it being a 9mm and convert it to a .40 S&W later. Switching calibers takes no more that 5 minutes once you get the hang of it.

January 27, 2013, 10:22 PM
Your on a good track with the revolver and or the 20 ga. I would step up to a K frame sized revolver in .38 Special or .357 Mag. I prefer a revolver over a semi-auto for a handgun that will spend most of its life in a drawer. It can lay there 25 years and still function as new. A semi-auto's magazine spring will probably suffer if left fully loaded for 20 + years. Plan on shooting a 125 gr JHP .38+P load for defense. They work well and are not too excessive in recoil. I personally like both a shotgun and a revolver for home defense. The 20 ga in a youth model is excellent. It is shorter an more manuverable in close quarters with the added plus of slightly less recoil. Turkey loads make a good SD load inside the home.

January 27, 2013, 10:35 PM
Best thing is to get them firearms safety and handling training first. This should be about four hours of class room and handling with empty firearms. Then take them to the range with a variety of guns. Let them try the guns out and see which works best for them (comfort, ease of handling and operation, accuracy).

Good advice, I have 17 handguns. I'll take them out to shoot most of them. I'll also take them to a range and let them rent some. I will also pay for them to take a safety class.

I'm getting a lot of good input as I expected.

January 27, 2013, 10:41 PM
If they can pull a slide back then the Kahr CW9 may be the right size gun for there hands and there is no safety to mess with as it's DA .

January 27, 2013, 10:57 PM
Glock 17 and range time.

January 27, 2013, 10:58 PM

Out of the handguns that I have shot, Mid and full size glocks and full size M&Ps have had the easiest slides to manipulate. However, that is not saying that all women can handle it; it is more of just a reference and possibly a starting point.

January 27, 2013, 10:58 PM
glock .......oops

January 27, 2013, 11:00 PM
A home protection gun should not be a small gun that doesn't soak up recoil. My first ever gun was dual purpose HS/SD, and it was a J-Frame. It has long since been replaced by others in the HD role. I'd recommend a gun that's simple, kind of heavy, and moderately powerful, like a medium-frame .357 revolver or a double action steel or alloy-framed pistol in 9mm or .45ACP without an external safety. I personally like .40S&W, but it's not the best choice for a new shooter.

January 27, 2013, 11:26 PM
My daughter is 19 and was going off to college and I wanted her to be able to protect herself. Gave her a stun gun to carry, not old enough for concealed carry license. Took her to the range to have her pick out a gun she liked. Lost my Ruger LCR 38+p. Had her shoot everything from a .22lr to a .45 ACP and she picked my Ruger carry gun ( now my carry gun is the Ruger .357 LCR) she liked the revolvers much more than the semi's, no safety or racking the slide to worry about.

January 27, 2013, 11:38 PM
The one they like is the best one. My buddie's wife liked the revolver because she simply could not pull back the slide on the Glock.

January 27, 2013, 11:39 PM
I think that with no prior experience, and the likelihood that these ladies aren't going to turn into 500+ round per month range-addicts overnight, to try to keep things simple for them to handle safely, disassemble&clean, to be able to manage under pressure, handle any FTF or FTEs, and able to get acceptable accuracy results without large amounts of practice. I'd also suggest a standard sized DA revolver to start with, or a mid-size, simple DAO semi-auto like some that have been suggested. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, the ladies should go to a store and handle, try, and ask questions about a selection of options themselves and not rely on someone else's selection for them. I know one woman who carries a Charter Arms 44 Special, and another who carries a Ruger SP101, and yet another with an XDm and a Kahr PM9.

We had an article in today's newspaper about a recent large increase in women purchasing firearms for personal protection. The paper interviewed a lady who works at a firearms store, as well as several members of the pro-2A group, Second Ammendment Sister. A link to the article is here, if it will be helpful/of interest:

chris in va
January 27, 2013, 11:41 PM
They need to pick the guns, not you.

My girlfriend absolutely hated the old 50's J frame inherited to her. She likes my full size 45 much better.

Shotguns aren't great either. Pretty hard to hold the phone while firing a long gun then having to rack it again. The recent SD shooting is evidence of that.

Big Nugget
January 27, 2013, 11:50 PM
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to teach a single mother how to shoot a pistol for home defense. Her next door neighbors had been broken into by some dude high on "bath salts" and realized that it could have very well been her house. After basic range/gun safety and a introduction on how each gun functions we began shooting a little. We began with a Ruger MKIII. She really favored it because of the lack of recoil and she ended up shooting VERY well at 15 yards for a first time pistol shooter. Once she was comfortable we shot a 9mm Glock and a Taurus Judge. Between the two she favored the Judge even though your range is a bit limited and the capacity is only 5 rounds. Loaded with a good defense round you can get 3 to 4 hits in each shot shell. I never really thought much of them, but now I'm having a hard time not getting one for my wife!

Rob G
January 27, 2013, 11:56 PM
I'd suggest you start by reading this:


It basically explains how to buy an appropriate gun for a woman.

I'd also point out that I've seen several people on here comment about women, or some particular woman, having trouble racking the slide on a semi-auto. My experience is that with few exceptions this is usually because they haven't been taught the proper technique for doing so, largely because whoever taught her probably didn't know it either. OP if you'd like to teach these ladies how to shoot a semi-auto then I'd suggest you look up proper technique for racking a slide (it's on the same website as that link I just posted). I taught my own wife how to work the slide on a semi-auto using that technique and she can easily handle any gun you hand her now.

January 28, 2013, 12:13 AM

Rob G beat me to it so I will second the advise.

I would also have them look closely at a revolver if they do not plan on spending a lot of time at the range. That doesn't mean a semi-auto is bad or out of the picture . It's just to say that the revolvers SOP is easier to learn and retain. (IMO)

January 28, 2013, 05:36 AM
My go to choice for home defense is always a shotty for those not overly familiar with handguns.

I would also suggest going with a revolver over a semi auto UNTIL they were more advanced in their firearm handling and know how to identify semi-auto failures and how to clear it with ease. Revolvers also benefit from a lower number of required operations to be ready to fire - no racking the slide, safeties etc.

Sure, most semi-autos are quite reliable. But when it comes to mission critical events such as self defense - it's best to remove all possibilities of failure you can. A medium frame revolver with a 4"-6" barrel would be ideal. Something like the S&W 686+ for seven shot capacity in .357 magnum and enough weight to help with recoil. If they have large enough hands, a model 627 has added capacity for 8 rounds of .357.

Then find a load that is good for defense but they are also comfortable shooting. Follow up shots may be required and you don't want the gun literally jumping out of their hand with recoil. Often home defense situations happen at night or without ideal lighting and one thing to remember is the hotter the load, the shorter the barrel, the larger muzzle blast you will get and can momentarily blind you. Consider that when selecting your barrel length and ammo. If possible, try and do some training at night as well.

January 28, 2013, 06:09 AM
For full size auto, I would consider the beretta 92. They are easy to operate, very well balanced and minimal recoil. For revolver I would consider something along the lines of a Ruger sp101 chambered in .357/38. I have heard of several people buying the berreta only to use in getting their wife/gf used to shooting. I have the beretta92 and its by far the smoothest 9mm I have ever pulled the slide back on.

January 28, 2013, 06:50 AM
For pure home defense, for the ladies, a Mossberg 20 gauge Bantam would be hard to beat. My 9, 11, and 12 y/o can each fire it with comfort.

If it is just for home defense, I don't think a pistol is the right choice. For HD I think it may serve her well to have simple mossburg pump. Hand guns are fantastic for something easily carried, holstered, and with you at all times for defense. They are ideal for their purpose, but not the most effective in every situation. The shotgun would be cheaper, and I've known far more women that Cling to a shotgun over any of the handguns they have tried. My wife is one of them.

January 28, 2013, 06:57 AM
My opinion and just that, my opinion.

These women aren't anti-gun, but have no experience and right now want home protection.

A revolver as it does not get any simpler. While anyone can be taught a semi-automatic pistol and become proficient with it if god forbid a gun is needed in a home defense situation nothing beats the point and shoot simplicity of a revolver. Racking a slide and or working a safety should not be a factor. Be it a Ruger, S&W, Taurus or whatever I just lean towards a revolver. Shooting in a defensive situation is a one time deal, factors like recoil should not be a factor. I believe a factor like recoil should not even enter into it. Most shootings like this are not a matter of holding and squeezing with sight picture and alignment but more often shots from the waistline at a very short distance. I suggest a short barrel, 38/357 revolver.

Just My Take...

January 28, 2013, 07:32 AM
Glock 9mm, leave a round chambered.

January 28, 2013, 07:40 AM
I'm thinking Ruger LCR in .38 with a Crimson Trace for my wife.

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January 28, 2013, 07:42 AM
Every woman is different some love Autos and some Wheel guns. Let them try it and see what they like.

January 28, 2013, 08:01 AM
9 MM might be a great choice for the home owner with no children but not for the Condo dweller IMO. When the SHTF you can be sure there will be bullets that do not hit their mark and this is proven time and again with trained police officers in shooting situations. Where do those free flying bullets end up in a Condo setting? For the mother I would suggest a K frame 38/357 loaded with safety rounds.

January 28, 2013, 08:06 AM
I'm leaning toward J-Frame 38's or 20ga shotties.


A 20 gauge is good but make sure the stock fits. If the ladies are small, get a youth model or have the stock shortened to fit.

For the home i would not recommend a J frame, but I agree a revolver would be the best place to start. The smaller guns, while great for concealment, tend to have a kick objectionable to the novice shooter.

Again, fit and comfort is important. My wife is small with small hands but likes her 4" S&W 586 with neoprene grips.

Remember, a hit with a 22 trumps a miss with a 44 Magnum any day.

Sav .250
January 28, 2013, 08:22 AM
What ever you buy make sure they can handle it and be resonably accurate with it.
Getting them a cannon they make be afraid of ....serves no purpose.

January 28, 2013, 08:45 AM
Since presumably neither of them will be doing any house clearing, etc and will head to the "panic room" and wait for the cavalry, a long gun would be my call. I was going to be different and say AR, M1 or other pistol-caliber carbine..then remembered CA..so probably stick to the shotgun route.

January 28, 2013, 11:14 AM
Start them off with a .22 LR automatic or revolver. Let them enjoy shooting to start with, build up some confidence and them work them up to a larger caliber pistol. Then they can more realistically choose what's best for them. I personally think a good used 9mm Sig P239 pistol is a good choice and pretty soft shooting.

January 28, 2013, 11:53 AM
If this is a purely defensive, home gun I suggest the Glock 17. If they may decide to carry it in the future, go for the Glock 19.

January 28, 2013, 12:21 PM
If you're gonna try a semi-auto, have them try the Walther p-99 in .40 , easy to rack, wonderful trigger, and left in the night stand with a dummy in the chamber and a loaded mag. The drill is to slam the mag in and rack the slide. Very easy and very straight forward and with the AntiStrain model, the trigger slides into VERY light mode making the first shot more likely to land on center mass. Remembering the gal in Georgia that hit the target 5 times, Shot placement, shot placement , shot placement.


January 28, 2013, 05:54 PM
Here's a different option.

I would not hesitate to grab my KelTec Sub2000 (40S&W) in a life & death situation. Of all the guns I own, this is the one I grabbed after an explosion at a local chemical plant woke us up at 1am. Sounded like someone had knocked down the front door. Turned on the red laser and off I went. The 32 round mag is nice to have in a high stress/high adrenaline situation. I think even I could put at least one of 32 rounds in a bad guy's hurt zone. The Sub2000 is a compact carbine that's easy to control and folds down for storage in a laptop bag. Only downside might be the charging handle can be a little heavy at times, but a lighter spring might address that issue. Just a thought.

January 28, 2013, 08:09 PM
My first thoughts are 20 gauge shotgun or full sized Glock 9 mm. Both have pros and cons and will require them to rent a few things and see what they like.

January 28, 2013, 09:42 PM
Whatever you get make sure you practice, practice, practice. Having a race car does not make you a race car driver. Having a gun does not make a good marksman. Develop strategies for home and away from home and if possible, always let the bad guy come to you on your terms.

January 28, 2013, 10:07 PM
When I was at the range a few weeks ago testing out the new M&P c9 I got, a couple of young ladies, mid to late twenties were getting a few pointers from their dads and uncles on shooting. They were shooting a Glock 19, a Ruger LCP, a 9mm Sig, forgot to ask, and various revolvers, with a couple 1911s thrown in. After a bit of talking and bs ing, I offered my c9 for them to try. Both woman loved it. And they were hitting decent groups at about ten yards. They both told the guys "I want that"

Might work for your two ladies as well

January 28, 2013, 10:19 PM
This is only a suggestion list. Let them try before buying and make a choice.

Glock 19
Springfield 9mm 1911
Sig P226 or SP2022

I am not a big fan of revolvers for a lady but wouldn't rule it out. Once I was an XD9sc fan but have seen too many problems with them.

January 28, 2013, 10:25 PM
I have to echo the ideas of getting them to the range and trying a range of weapons out. It's been my experience that, just like men, women all have different preferences in firearms, and also that interest and enthusiasm in firearms can dry up pretty fast if they feel pressured into adopting a weapon they're not really liking.

January 28, 2013, 10:36 PM
work on making the home more secure first. You would be surprised at how many Windows can simply be lifted from their tracks to gain entry. Most deadbolts are cheap garbage. Most of these deadbolts don't go far enough into the door frame to withstand a good strong kick and the hinges can be bent by hand. Big thorny plants in front of low Windows. Even a simple wooden dowel in the window tracks is ag good start. Install a charlie bar in sliding doors.
No shatter resistant film on the Windows. No alarm system. No safe for valuables. Not even a dog to give you a heads up.
Guns are fine and have a place in defending ones home but spend the money elsewhere first.

Worry about a gun later. Make the house secure first.

January 28, 2013, 10:37 PM
I have a Taurus Raging Judge,.45LC/.410 best of both worlds. I have a Charter Arms bulldog pug. Maybe a .38spl,just big enough. Chics like pink colored they got that. Small enough for pocket surprise.

January 28, 2013, 11:01 PM
Sounds like you need to make a trip to the range. Let them try them all until they find the one that fits. Don't try to push any one, let them try and find out what they like.
Just make sure at least one is a revolver. :D

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