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HD handgun for a petite woman?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Kimber1911_06238, Aug 30, 2007.

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  1. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    Ok, here's the deal. This woman's husband passed away and she wants something to protect herself (I was very happy to hear this). Ultimately I would suggest a shotgun, but she feels that long guns are too unwieldy and that it could be taken away during a conflict. So that leaves us with a handgun.

    I really would like to see her choose a revolver, but I think .38/.357 would be too much for her. I know ruger makes a gp100 in .32 H&R mag, but I'll bet the gp is too big for her small hands and I don't know about the recoil. I think the lady smith line from smith and wesson would work well, but not in .38/.357. Any suggestions for a small gripped gun that is fairly light and doesn't have much recoil?

    I was also thinking maybe glock 9mm? semi auto to soak up a little recoil and no safeties to fumble with. The concern is the glock's blocky grip. The other thing is that I'm not sure about 9mm recoil, she's never shot one so I'm not sure that she could handle it. Sounds like a range trip is in order.
     
  2. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Member

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    Yes a range trip is in order.
    Let her try every gun she can lay her hands on. I've never seen a guy say no to a woman that wants to try his gun.
    Do NOT tell her what you think she should shoot.
    Send her to the web site of the Cornered Cat run by Pax, a girl type person.

    You may be very surprised at what she finds out she likes.

    AFS
     
  3. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    thanks for the link
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I know ruger makes a gp100 in .32 H&R mag,"

    I don't think so. They make the much smaller SP101 in .32 H&R, which might be a good choice. I can't find where S&W is making one now, but she could probably find one NOS or used. She is not likely to shoot so much that price and availability of ammo will be a real problem.

    A Ladysmith (or standard) M65 would probably work. There are a LOT of .38s to choose from and it would just be a matter of working up to the top of her comfort level. A 35 oz .38 need not kick any more than a 28 oz. .32.

    But AFS is right, she needs to try everything possible.
     
  5. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    Indeed she should try out everything possible to see what fits her best.

    A note about GP100's though..... If there's one revolver out there that nearly everyone makes aftermarket grips for this one is it. They can easily be customized to fit smaller hands. A hogue monogrip is much slimmer than the stock grips and easier on the hands as well. Plus the finger grooves give somethign to hang on to. :)
     
  6. Gunbabe

    Gunbabe Member

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    I agree with AirForceShooter about not telling her what ones you think she should shoot. My husband tried that but found out to stop that quick. I think it should be what each person is comfortable with not what you think fits them.

    I love my range time and hopefully she can get some time it and will love it too.
     
  7. Line Rider

    Line Rider Member

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    The first step, I feel, is that she get some training in firearms safety and self defense. In the 11 years that I have been in law enforcement, I have seen too many cases of concern family members or family friends giving a woman a firearm, and that woman later having the gun used on her. Please, don't think that I'm in anyway against the right to self protection, because I'm not. The best example I can give is you don't buy someone who doesn't know how to drive a new car and never test them how to drive it. That principle applies here. Start her with an NRA course and a borrowed or rented gun. Then some range time and see what type of gun she can handle well. Many ranges offer women's self defense firearms training.
     
  8. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    That's what Cornered Cat says:

    http://www.corneredcat.com/

    I will also share that there is no relationship I can determine between the size of a man or woman, and the caliber or handgun they prefer to shoot. The last time I was at the range, there was a skinny adolescent girl shooting a 1911, and grinning ear to ear.

    People perceive recoil differently. I find a Blackhawk shooting 255@800fps much more pleasant than a 1911 shooting 230@750fps. Too much crap moving around (for my taste) with a 1911 (or other auto-loader).

    Mike
     
  9. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    I would ideally love to have her shoot as many guns as possible, the only problem is that most of my handguns are large and there in nowhere around here to rent any. That's why I was trying to figure something with a small grip size that won't have crazy recoil.
     
  10. erict

    erict Member

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    My wife has tried most of my handguns (which are mostly compacts) including Glocks, Sigs, and HK. I can't get her to try the S&W 340 because everyone whines about it after shooting it. :eek:

    She really like my Sig 239 in 9mm (she pretty much stole it from me), it has a very small grip (single stack). I have average sized hands and the Sig feels small to me but just right for her. Every person is different though so make sure and try what you can try to see what she likes.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    You have convinced her she can't handle a big gun?

    You don't have any friends with guns?
     
  12. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    four-inch steel-framed revolver in .38 special
    stainless steel

    accept no substitutes
     
  13. pax

    pax Member

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    Kimber1911_06238 --

    Start by handing her your Kimber and see how it fits her hand and how she feels about shooting that caliber.

    Don't start by telling her what she can't handle. That's for her to tell you, not the other way around. (Or her targets will tell both of you.)

    And follow this link please: http://womenandguns.servertalk.in/viewtopic.php?t=2140&mforum=womenandguns -- it's a thread over on the Women & Guns forum, kinda-sorta exploring an issue very closely related to this topic.

    Oh, and W.E.G.? Please follow the link above. It might help you.

    pax
     
  14. XDSC

    XDSC Member

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    Kimber, you didn't mention why you feel the lady wouldn't be able to handle a .38 or higher caliber. Is she elderly? Does she have arthritis? Some of these questions you need to take into account. My Mom is 74 yrs old, (God bless her!) has COPD, and recently broke her arm. She can shoot her .38 revolver just fine as of last week.
    No offense, but a lot of guys believe that women are weak and lack the intelligence to use a firearm. This is just not so. I personally don't like to carry anything less than a .40 and enjoy shooting 45 long colts out of DH's "Judge". But, everybody is different. The important thing to remember is she needs to be responsible for her own safety. This means that she will need to make some very important choices. Research is a good place to start. Introduce her to this forum, The Cornered Cat, and Women & Guns. (This is what I did) She will need to take a firearms course. The NRA has an introductory pistol class to introduce women to guns.
    http://www.nrahq.org/women/isc/index.asp
    Plan ahead for safety if she has children in the home. Make sure that she has adequate hearing and eye protection before you go to the range. Arrange for her to shoot different guns. Then, let her make her own decision. She is lucky to have you for a resource.
     
  15. springmom

    springmom Member

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    There are many, many semiauto options for this lady if that's what she wants. She should get to shoot as many guns as possible; but if that's limited, she certainly can go to a gun shop and *handle* every one of them if she needs to!
    That will enable her to find the gun with the grip that is right for her.

    Is there some physical disability that has you so worried about her experience of recoil? Because I have arthritis in my hands and shoulders, and my first handgun was an XD-40....and I shoot .38's, a .357, and for hunting, even a .44 mag (although I like specials in that gun better, I admit). If she *thinks* that she is going to feel "too much" recoil, then it will be a bigger deal for her than if she's encouraged to absorb it and realize that it won't hurt her, and especially encouraged to wear ample ear protection (double ears) which will make the whole experience far more pleasant.

    Springmom
     
  16. GVMan

    GVMan Member

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    Kahr T9

    My wife has very small hands. The Sig 239 grip was too fat. The only semi auto that worked was the Kahr. The T9 has a 4 inch barrel and is all stainless. Perfectly reliable after the 200 round break in period.

    Although she could reach the trigger on a S&W revolver she had trouble pulling it. I think that if the woman could pull the double action S&W trigger then that would be the best choice. I think a 4 inch stainless revolver would be easy enough to shoot in 38 special if not 357, and she could choose either.
     

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  17. thebaldguy

    thebaldguy Member

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    Per W.E.G, a .38 stainless steel revolver would almost be perfect. Maybe a steel snub nose, or something with a longer barrel to add weight for the recoil sensitive. Different models with aftermarket grips may be a good suggestion. Avoid slide racking, magazines, safety/decockers, etc. Keep it simple at first, then maybe something more complicated like a semi auto.
     
  18. golden

    golden Member

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    My 2 cents worth

    I agree totally with a trip to the range. Start with a .22 revolver just to get aqainted. Then a mid size revolver with at least a 3 inch barrel to keep down the muzzle blast from hotter loads.

    If the woman is petite, you may want to start with a 5 shot model like the S&W 36, Ruger sp101 or Taurus. Otherwise I would go for a K frame S&W like the model 10, 13, 15 or 19 with a 3 or 4 inch barrel.

    Either way, start with either wadcutters or standard velocity 125 or 130 grain loads. If the shooter is comfortable with this. Try some +P. I stick with 125 grain REMINGINTON JHP +P loads for my guns. They recoil less than the 158 grain loads.

    AVOID .32 caliber guns unless she CANNOT HANDLE a .38. If she has that much problems, she should probablely not get a gun or stick with a .22lr and realize that it will probably not do the job.

    If she is good with this so far, get her a training course. She needs a professional who can evaluate her weaknesses and correct them.

    I believe the shooting style, gun type or caliber is far less important than the attitude and knowledge of the person using it.

    I went through the FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING CENTER Academy with a man who left everyone in awe with his total inability to shoot even a mid size .38 special with wadcutters. I have also worded with a petite woman who shot an attacker with a .357magnum and dropped him with one shot. Gender does not decide lethality!

    Jim
     
  19. pax

    pax Member

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    thebaldguy ~

    I had a nice, righteous rant all typed out for you, but I've set it aside for the nonce.

    Instead, I would like to ask you to please go read the link in my previous post.

    No, here, I'll make it easier for you so you won't have to scroll up: http://womenandguns.servertalk.in/viewtopic.php?t=2140&mforum=womenandguns

    After you read it, come back and we'll talk.

    pax
     
  20. springmom

    springmom Member

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    I'm going with Pax on this one, y'all. I know you guys are just knocking around ideas and don't really mean that the OP should "have her shoot" this or that. What you mean, I'm sure, is that these are suggestions for her to try.

    (But that's not what you're saying. That's why reading the link Pax lined out for you might be useful.)

    We haven't heard back from Kimber about the lady's possible recoil problem. I have rheumatoid arthritis and some related problems, including fibromyalgia. Those two, taken together, equal some serious, why-the-heck-did-I-start-having-labor-pains-in-my-FINGERS!!!- type pain :rolleyes:. Far too often. If this lady has arthritis, then I can say from my own experience that a K-frame revolver with good grips (not those lovely wooden things, but nice recoil-absorbing rubber grips) in .357 or .38, when loaded with medium loads of .38 spl, will not be a problem, recoil-wise. Even on my bad days, I can take my 66-3 to the range and shoot reasonable .38's out of it all day long. And I have NEVER had a problem with recoil in any of my semiautos; those springs do help, indeed they do.

    However: if the idea here is "she can't handle recoil because she's a new shooter" or worse "because she's a lady" well, that's just not true. New shooters can be made afraid of recoil by nasty tricks like I've heard of, where a shooter gives the newbie a hot loaded gun when he's expecting something easy; or by simply yakking on about how the recoil is so hard and creating fear where no fear needs to be. IOW, like coaching in childbirth....don't yak about how bad the pain is going to be; that isn't helpful. If you're the OP, or in his position at some point, don't implant the idea of recoil as something awful; just be really encouraging and teach her how to roll with it and keep on shooting.

    If the lady has internet access, how about sending her to Women & Guns to talk to a whole lot of us who've BTDT and can encourage her?

    Springmom
     
  21. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

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    The real question is whether she wants to carry a gun or defend her home.

    If she wants to carry a gun, a handgun is the obvious choice. I agree with Pax here. Let her shoot and make her own choice. Encourage her to explore the possibilities with as much empirical experimentation as possible. Many women take to a 1911 quickly. My wife has carried a Kahr K40, which has more perceived recoil than my own 1911s. She has since settled on a J frame S&W, but she carried the K40 for a couple of years and was quite proficient with it. With a shotgun, she whips my tail shooting skeet (that ain't difficult though......) My 11 year old daughter shoots a Star Model B, 9mm. She is pretty darned good with it. She also shoots a 20 gauge shotgun. My oldest daughter carries a Makarov. Again, she is quite good with it. The one key ingredient is they all began shooting with a .22 pistol and learned marksmanship.

    Note that they carry handguns, or in the case of my youngest, is preparing to someday carry.

    A shotgun is a far superior firearm when it comes to home defense. Shooting the shotgun well is all in technique, not strength. Maintaining control of your shotgun in a home defense scenerio is all about technique as well, not strength. If she needs to defend her home, why should she pick a less effective weapon if she can learn to control and shoot a superior one well? Encourage her to learn the technique and arm herself effectively.

    There is no reason a woman should be less well armed than a man. The other side of the coin is the less strength she has to fight off an attacker, the more effective she needs her weapon to be when it comes to stopping the threat immediately. She needs to be able to stop a threat and save her life.

    I would first look at the intended purpose of the firearm, seriously, and realistically consider all options, and not rule out anything yet. The selected firearm should meet her real needs, not be selected because she thinks she may not be able to use it effectively.
     
  22. gbran

    gbran Member

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    Got a question........

    On most of these threads, the pat suggestion always seems to be a trip to the range to rent and try out what works best. I don't disagree with this.

    However, I wonder if every locale has this as an option. I live in a city of about 250+ thousand. We have a few gunshops and only one whith rentals and an indoor range. Their selection is pretty good, but not broad enought to cover all platforms.

    This woman may be able to fondle, but might not be able to light them off.
     
  23. golden

    golden Member

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    No Shotgun For Me

    I am against a shotgun or rifle for home defense in most cases. It does not matter if it is a man or woman shooting the gun.

    My reasons are that you cannot keep it next to you most of the time. You can clean the house with a pistol on or watch tv or play at the computer.

    A shotgun requires both hands and you can lose control of it if someone deflects or grabs the barrel. You can tuck a handgun up close to your torso and still block someone with your weak hand.

    Going through a doorway or around a turn either means the shotgun is not in a ready position or is stuck out there for someone to grab.

    If you have to fire your shotgun in a confined space, the noise, blast and flash may disorient you.

    Jim
     
  24. mikeb3185

    mikeb3185 Member

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    38 snub with ct grips
     
  25. Fisherman_48768

    Fisherman_48768 Member

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    Have her try one of the S&W J frames, my wife likes the older mdl 36 with round butt. Her hands are small and the steel framed 38 spl isn't brutal on her hands. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
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