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Hello from a Newbie with Questions

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by 3KillerBs, May 1, 2008.

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  1. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    Hello from a Newbie. I've been lurking for a month or so and have been very impressed with the quality of the discussions here.

    I'm yet another woman with small hands facing the problem of finding a carry gun that fits. My issue isn't so much the business of reaching the trigger and I'm strong enough to rack the slide on almost every gun I've ever tried. I've fired a friend's S&W M&P and, with the smallest grip insert, it was OK to fire but still too big around for comfort and confidence.

    Rather, my problem is that I can't seem to reach the slide release and the magazine disconnect on what I've seen so far. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I ought to be able to do these things with one hand since, in an emergency, my left hand may well be occupied with one of my young kids.

    I'm going to a gun show this week and am collecting a list of small, 9mm guns to seek out and handle. What sort of suggestions do you all have in the way of 9mm, semi-automatic, carry guns that don't have so much distance to reach the necessary buttons and levers?

    Perhaps as important, do you have any warnings of things to beware of? Guns that are notoriously nasty in their recoil (my CC instructor last week described a miniature revolver as "painful")? Guns that aren't made well? ???

    I'm not considering revolvers right now because I don't enjoy shooting them (the opposite of my DD who likes revolvers and dislikes semi-autos). And I'm not planning to actually buy at the show -- just collect information and take notes. :)
     
  2. Omaney

    Omaney Member

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    Bersa Thunder 380. You won't be unhappy with it. This is my primary carry pistol during the warmer months. My wife has tiny hands and this pistol is a great fit for her. She won't even consider a revolver because they aren't cool.:barf: The Kahr is pretty small as well, but I had no luck with my one and only example and probably won't give one another chance. Kel-Tec, Beretta, Smith and Wesson, Glock, all have some form of uber compact pistols too.
     
  3. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Welcome!!

    3 Killer B's--Welcome to THR! Good to have you aboard! Sounds like you're Doing It Right in researching the handgun to buy before buying headlong. Good luck in finding "YOUR" firearm! (Of course, when you do, we'll need pix!)
     
  4. Omaney

    Omaney Member

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    Oh...and welcome!
     
  5. CountGlockula

    CountGlockula Member

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    Welcome aboard sister!

    Tactical training use of your weak hand will help you out. Find a local NRA handgun instructor to assist.

    A second solution is to look into an appropriate 1911A1 model, you can modify the slide stop lever to reach your strong thumb.
     
  6. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    Walther PPS (Police Pistol Slim)...

    Also, you might want to stay away from polymers as a general rule, as they tend to be thicker in grip than steel. Also take a gander at the guns designed FOR ladies.

    Vaya con Dios.
     
  7. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Member

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    I am a man with small hands (ok, stubby fingers) and frequently can't reach the controls on semi's. I don't generally recommend Glocks to folks, but from your description, it sounds like a compact glock in 9mm or 40 S & W might be the cure.

    There are no external safeties to worry about, and you can get a mag release extension, extended takedown piece, and extended slide release. There are likely others which have those options and someone will come along after me to offer their opinion.

    Your idea of going to a gun show and handling a variety is a very good approach. Watch, listen and ask. If a dealer won't help, move on. The other option is to find a good ma and pa store where they will take the time to help.
     
  8. sqlbullet

    sqlbullet Member

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    Couple of disclaimers...I can read, and saw you wanted a 9mm, but looking at the recommendation I offer may give you some insight into features you want in other guns that are in 9mm.

    I am not a rabid Kimber fan. I don't own one, but wouldn't reject one if someone gave it to me.

    The Kimber SIS line of pistols were designed for, and partially by, the LAPD Special Investigation Section. Among the design criteria were one-hand operation. You will note the large block rear sight. This is to allow the slide to be actuated against any resistive surface....belt, steering wheel, edge of a car seat :)

    Point being: You may also want to consider investigating tactical solutions to one handed operation that don't require an unnecessary compromise in weapon size that will result in less manageable recoil, etc.
     
  9. JRG

    JRG Member

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    Check out this website: Cornered Cat Kathy Jackson is an expert as you will soon discover.

    Also you might check the CZ RAMI cz-usa.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2008
  10. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Member

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    I think you should check out the Kahr 9mm line. I have a CW9, the "lower end" of their line, but it's a great gun, shoots well, carries very easily 'cuz it's small and thin, and has been totally reliable.

    I think you get all of these attributes with the PM9, MK9, etc but they're more nicely made and thus cost roughly $100-$200 more. Nice CCW guns all.
     
  11. Seminole

    Seminole Member

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    I don't have much to add to the good advice you've received so far, except to strongly suggest that you try to shoot any of the pistols that have been suggested before you buy one. For example, you might find that recoil in the Kahr CW-9 or PM-9 might be uncomfortable for you or, on the other hand, you might find it quite tolerable; but you don't want to spend money on a gun just to find out after you buy it that you don't really like it.

    More importantly, welcome to THR!
     
  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup, cornercat.com has the best fitting guidance around (and is often quoted/excerpted here). You could search the site just using the website as a term and you'll find other good advice related.

    The first issue is to find what family of guns point naturally for you. A "family" of guns would be like all the variants of 1911s. Whether .45, 10mm, 9mm or .40 you can find 1911s made to shoot them. Poly, widebody Al, steel single stack too are available. The thing they all have in common is similar controls layout and ergonomics. 1911s also have a specific grip angle that may naturally point for you. If a 1911 points for you then you can try on all the different members of the 1911 family and be assured that they'll all point for you regardless of whether you're handling a compact carry 9mm or a full size combat. Same for the guns in the CZ family or for the Sigg family.

    Now we have the additional advantage/confusion of companies offering handguns that can change the grip angle so that you can make an M&P or Walther or Ruger point like a CZ or 1911 just by changing out a part of the grip. Wow! Now you can get a gun that you can make fit you instead of you having to fit it and without having to have a gunsmith tailor it to you.

    If you like Glocks, but point 1911s, there are customizers that can melt and shave a Glock to point like a 1911 (or whatever). A young gunsmith locally has a set of police trade in G17s that point like a CZ or a 1911 (or even a Glock) that he's shaved and shaped. So if you want a Glock 19 and want it to point like something else there are smiths out there doing that as well.

    In the defensive handgun classes we've taken we've seen a lot of good guns not stand up to the pounding of firing 1,000 rounds in 2 days. I've seen 2 Bersas break under that level of stress. I saw one sail through without a hiccup. I also saw two very expensive HK P7s fail during the same course. I've also seen inexpensive Witnesses (CZ clones) perform flawlessly.

    My wife points CZs. She has CZ types in .45, 9mm and 40cal. Her Rami in .40 rides is her carry gun. I have 1911s from different makers. We both have smallish hands.
     
  13. primlantah

    primlantah Member

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    a lot of people recommend bersa and walther. I dont. They are not comfortable to shoot and the round is generally pretty small. If you have small hands and your set on 9mm i would suggest a Kahr. My other recommendation is the springfield xd(My girlfriend and i both have small hands and prefer the xd 45acp to all).

    dont worry about recoil or caliber. get a gun that fits your hand with features you like. price of ammo is a consideration.
     
  14. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    I can't reach the slide release or magazine release on any gun I shoot with just one hand without changing my grip. I just don't have long enough thumbs. I'm not sure many people do. That may be a constraint that you just don't need to be worried about. Truth be told, most defensive uses of handguns are over in less rounds than are in the magazine, so changing is probably not going to be the highest priorty. I'd place more emphasis on a gun you can shoot well, carry well, and are comfortable with, rather than with one that allows you to reach all the controls one handed.
     
  15. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    Thank you all.

    My Basic Pistol instructor pointed me to the Cornered Cat site and I've been studying it top to bottom. I even used it to create a gun safety mini-unit study for my homeschooled teens. :D

    If it helps in making recommendations:

    I chose to buy a Mark III Hunter (with the longer barrel because they're so beautifully balanced in my hand that I couldn't feel the difference in weight with one in each hand), rather than a .22/45 because it felt better in my hand and because I could reach all the stuff more readily.

    I've fired a S&W M&P with the smallest grips on and while I can shoot it the gun just doesn't seem to sit right in my hand.

    I held a Kimber Aegis and everything about it was impossible (a great disappointment because I've heard Kimbers so highly recommended).

    I picked up a Taurus PT 92 because I thought it was beautiful. I just wanted to touch it but expected to find it impossible to reach anything on such a massive, monster of a gun. However, I found that, though I would have had to use my left hand for the slide and the magazine, it fit into my hand in a way that made me reluctant to put it down.

    I don't know if any of that means anything. I'm too new to handguns to have the vocabulary to explain what I mean about the Kimber being impossible or that Taurus belonging in my hand.

    Of course that Taurus wouldn't conceal under anything short of a parka and a hoopskirt. LOL

    I'm writing down all the suggested guns, but I want to get a 9mm if at all possible because DH and I have, after doing our research and getting opinions from more knowledgeable friends, determined that's the best compromise for power, cost, and availability. We can't get the same gun so as to standardize holsters, magazines, etc. but we can at least hope to standardize our ammo. :)

    Thanks again for all the advice.
     
  16. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    Please do check out the Kahr line of compact 9mm pistols., especially the P9 and CW9. The CW9 is more affordable but only because it isn't prettied up with fancy machining. I think you will like them.

    BTW, I have large hands and I still sometimes find it necessary to adjust my grip to reach and firmly press the mag release. It can be done one handed and with practice you can realign a proper shooting grip in a split second.
     
  17. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    3KillerBs, sounds like you are coming along. 9mm is a great choice, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. With todays ammo, it's not a compromise.

    I carry a Springfield Armory EMP because I love the 1911 platform, and just love this little gun. My full size 1911s are great, and .45 caliber is a fun round to shoot, but I carry a nice, light, slim 9mm. I used to carry a Springfield XD9 subcompact, but this EMP is just a little slimmer. The XDs are great, and they fit my hand wonderfully. I didn't like the M&P either, didn't fit my stubby fingers.

    You may also want to look at revolvers. They fit a small hand great, and don't have as many controls to worry about.
     
  18. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    Sig 239, Walther PPS, and the Kahr guns are probably good smaller 9mm guns to check out. Good luck, trying them all out is the hardest part!
     
  19. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Remember that a double stack handgun is not a necessity (and I carry a P12:rolleyes:).

    If the gun points for you (you point the gun at a target and then look to see if the sights are lined up naturally) then the rest is making sure it goes bang every time. You're not going to be using the slide release (it isn't a "release", but a slide "stop" instead) with your fingers anyway so it's not that important.
     
  20. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Welcome aboard, 3KillerBs.

    I would like to first point out that nearly all of us have to break our grip to manipulate the mag release and/or slide release one-handed. I have quite large hands with long fingers, but there are still only a select few firearms that I can drop mag/slide without turing the gun in my hand. On that note, if you have to reload in a defensive firefight, there are many variables that are going to cost you more time than repositioning of the gun-such as locating your spare magazine.

    That said, there are a number of single-column 9mm pistols that work well for people with smallish hands. In the CCW department, the Kahr K9 definitely comes to mind. There is also the PM9 and CW9 (both just under 16 ounces) but, as with other lightweight CCW guns (Kel-Tec PF-9, 12 ounces), recoil becomes rather punishing as the weight drops below 1 pound.

    Other compact pistols that seem to fit small hands well but offer increased capacity over the Kahr are the Baby Eagle compact and S&W M&P compact. Both offer 12+1 capacity in 9mm. At 26 ounces, the Baby Eagle is slightly heavier than the K9 (23 ounces) or M&P (22 ounces), but this does make it a pleasant gun on the range.

    So there's a couple more idea's. Happy shopping!
     
  21. cruze7

    cruze7 Member

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    My wife has small hands and enjoys her Springfield XD Subcompact 9mm.

    Maybe a local range would have one you could rent for the day. One of the ranges in my area will rent you a gun for $15 and then you can try anything else they have in the rental case of the same caliber for no extra charge.

    Good luck.
     
  22. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

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    I've got child sized hands myself so I know what you mean.

    It might be worth taking a look at ambi-dexterous pistols too. You can then use your strong hand's index finger to hit the slide release and your strong hand's middle finger (or index) to actuate the magazine release.

    Walther has a rather nifty magazine release too on their P22, P99 and I think the PPS that's great for small hands, IMHO. The trigger guard pulls down a bit, and you can do that quite naturally with your strong hand's middle finger. Heck, I bet an Oompah Loompah could make that reach!
     
  23. slow944

    slow944 Member

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    I understand you problem. For a guy I also have small hands with fat fingers as my wife often reminds me, LOL. I used to carry a Kel-Tek P3AT in my pocket, but didn't like the 380 for SD and being so light it was a handfull to shoot. I recently sold the KT and picked up a Kahr MK9 in 9mm, although it cost close to 3 times the KT it just fits right. It's a little heavier gun so it absorbs the recoil better. Hopefully I can get my wife and daughter to the range to let them become familiar with it as well. Hope you find what your looking for and I know what you mean about the Taurus P92. My first gun was a P99 which has adjustable sights and I'm sorry I sold it. Seen lots of 92's but no 99's.
     
  24. bnkrazy

    bnkrazy Member

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    Welcome! My wife loves her Sig P239 as it's a single stack and she can reach everything easily. It also points well for her (and pretty much everyone else that has shot it). Make sure you get something that points (lines up with your natural aim) well as others have mentioned, and the rest is easy.

    Also, if you and your husband want to consolidate on holsters, the P239 and P229 will usually fit in the same holster as the slides are very close to the same size. The P239 has a bit of a narrower grip due to being a single stack.

    Most importantly: have fun!
     
  25. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    Thanks again.

    Its a long drive to the nearest range that rents guns so our plan is to get a short list of possibilities that I've at least handled and liked the feel of before either asking around the shooting club to see if anyone has one I could try or call ahead to the distant range to see if they have one for rent.

    Other than the time factor, between gas, range fees, and inflated, must-buy-it-at-the-range ammo costs its almost break even to first buy it then try it then pay the restocking fee if it doesn't work out. :)
     
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