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Small Auto or Revolver Suggestions for Petite Wife

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by hartzpad, Oct 9, 2008.

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  1. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    A thought here, from a small woman:

    Though my hands are strong for their size and I can rack just about anything even the ones that are so big I can't lock the slide back, I have noticed that the slides are stiffer to work and the controls harder to cope with on the small guns than on some of the larger ones.

    In particular, the guns that I find easiest to work with are the Beretta 92 and its Taurus clone the PT-92. The slides are easy to get ahold of and pull back.

    Additionally, the narrow neck at the top of the chunky, double-stack grip makes it possible for short fingers to reach the trigger comfortably.

    So, counter-intuitive as it is, going bigger rather than smaller may solve the problem since it a home gun rather than a carry gun size isn't really relevant.

    As for revolvers, I suggest getting a steel one rather than an Airweight or Ultralite.

    Lightweight snubbies HURT to fire -- like slamming your hand down on a table as hard as you can. Even the retired military guys from Ft. Bragg are willing to admit that so its really sort of ridiculous how often women who are shooting for the first time are told to get lightweight snubbies.
     
  2. M203Sniper

    M203Sniper member

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    have you tried a Sig P225/P6 8 rounds of 9mm and get the springs right, the same for a glock, get the spring weight right about 13lbs and it will be easier to work the slide.

    A shotgun is probably best.
     
  3. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    As you can see there is a lot of good idea's on how you can pursue a firearm for the smaller lady. I always think the first choice that should be made is wether an auto or a wheel gun fits the person the best.

    That is in handling, ergonomics, weight, etc. Racking a slide is problem for some, for others it is not an issue. How to find out is to have her try various guns and see what she is most comfortable with.

    As to the 6 shot revolver vs a 5 shot . I believe it is a non issue. That said, there are small frame revolvers that hold 6 rounds. In 38spl there is the Colt detective special, there is my Taurus 731 in .32 H&R magnum that is also a 6 shot. By the way, all ladies who have looked at My Taurus seem to find it appealing. The Ulta-lite is 17oz which feels good in their hands, and the recoil is less than the .38 Spl with H&R mag loads, and absolutely a soft shooter using .32 S&W Longs. It may be something worth looking at for her. Mine happens to be a now discontinued 13oz total titanium. The ones still being manufactured are alloy and stainless.

    S&W and Taurus make a variety of small frame revolvers in shrouded hammer designs, and various materials. The longer trigger pull of a DA only revolver can also give some problems so check for that.

    In auto's one can get a tip-up barrel Beretta to rid yourself of the need for racking the slide. They are limited to smaller calibers however. Smaller calibers can in fact get the job done with proper shot placement . Shooting something that she is comfortable with is more important I think than what caliber or how many rounds it holds.

    So, first - auto or revolver , then caliber , then fit . That is my 2 cents worth for today.
     
  4. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    3KB stated:
    As for revolvers, I suggest getting a steel one rather than an Airweight or Ultralite.

    Lightweight snubbies HURT to fire -- like slamming your hand down on a table as hard as you can. Even the retired military guys from Ft. Bragg are willing to admit that so its really sort of ridiculous how often women who are shooting for the first time are told to get lightweight snubbies.


    This is GREAT advice right here. My wife absolutely loved her SW 442 15 oz .38.......until she fired it. After about 20 rounds through the gun, it became mine. I even traded it off because the thing hurts to shoot. For a home defense weapon, I think a bigger, longer barreled revolver would be a much better choice.
     
  5. BrennanKG

    BrennanKG Member

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    My wife's preferences. She's 5'1", and petite, with tiny hands.

    Sigs: P232 (380), P239 (9mm), or P225(9mm, out of production but easy to find).

    1911: any reliable 3-4.5" model, preferably with an aluminum frame. She prefers 9mm to 45, but handles the 45 pretty well.

    The above choices reflect her unreasonable bias against double-action pulls. She can handle the Sigs' first DA shot, but dislikes it. She flat out refused any of the Kahr options. :(


    B.
     
  6. creativetownsman

    creativetownsman Member

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    For auto, agree Beretta 92 or Taurus PT-92. Easy to rack, less recoil.

    For revolver, any 4" steel framed .357/.38gun, and CERTAINLY NO J-frame. Impracticable and she'll end up hating it, most likely. The only one J-frame that would probably work might be a 432PD, or one in .22LR. If had to choose J-frame, 32 H&R magnum but since you prefer auto for her in 9mm go with the Taurus.
     
  7. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    For some with small hands, the Beretta 92 is going to be too big, and the back strap will recoil against the thumb--ouch!

    Is CCW the issue?

    If not, think about

    [​IMG]

    That's a 60: J-frame small grip, but with lots of barrel to decrease muzzle flip and increase sight radius. .357, but .38s'll be just fine.

    If concealed carry:

    [​IMG]

    Model 36: No-snag sights, pretty nickel (as befits).

    Small hands can have trouble with slides--especially slides with heavy springs for blow-back calibers like .380. True, good technique and training overcomes that almost always.

    But you indicate that she's unlikely to go gung-ho on training. Then I gotta think revolver, and one of those two steel revolvers should do it. Add laser grips and you're set (but she still needs to train with it--use target or cowboy loads, they're light).

    Revolvers have their problems: ammo capacity, slower reloads, and if they go bad they go way bad. But for someone who isn't up for practicing a lot of tap-rack-re-acq drills, revolvers have a special appeal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008
  8. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    And maybe set her up with a snap cap for every chamber, if she ever feels inclined to practice at home.
     
  9. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    I have been reminded that I forgot to suggest the Ruger SP101 3"
    [​IMG]
    Omission corrected.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  10. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    That's what mystifies me about the situation I described. My hands are very small, with very short fingers though a relatively broad palm. There is no way I should be able to handle a full-size, even over-sized, duty gun like that. The only reason I ever even picked one of those monsters up is that they match my long-time mental image of what a semi-auto ought to be like and I just wanted to hold it for a moment. I was completely prepared to sigh hopelessly and try to find something else.

    But that narrow neck at the top of the grip makes ALL the difference and I can handle one of those more comfortably than ANYTHING else, even my Mark III. And when you add in how hard it is to work the low-profile safeties, slide locks, etc. on the varies compact guns designed for concealed carry compared to the large controls on the 92 that are so easy to get firm contact with its amazing. So its worth a try for anyone who is struggling that way.

    I do have that problem you mentioned about taking recoil in the thumb joint when I fire a 1911. Only a few rounds of .45 from a compact Kimber left my thumb joint aching for a couple days afterward. Any gun that does that to a person is definitely the wrong gun.
     
  11. Chuck Dye

    Chuck Dye Member

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    One slightly expensive solution to the small hands question is a Ruger SP-101 with custom grips. The grips on an SP-101 mount to a central peg rather than the backstrap/frontstrap full frame used by most revolver designs. The result is substantial room for shortening the length of pull. I shared some range time once with a family who had a .22LR SP-101 with grips customized for the kids. It worked great.
     
  12. Blacksmoke

    Blacksmoke Member

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    No offense meant but if your wife (and anyone else) is not intending to practice shooting it regularly she has no business owning a handgun. Would it be wiser to buy her a shotgun or a carbine she can wield?
     
  13. Catherine

    Catherine member

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    I would NOT want a "light weight gun" for anything but in a 22LR. For example in a S&W Model 317 - kit gun. Uncle Mike's grip, 3" barrel, 8 rounds, revolver, etc.

    I would not want ANY barrel shorter than 3" long for myself.

    The S&W Model 60 is a VERY nice gun. I know about the 3" barrel in this one. I loved 38 Special Plus P ammunition out of this one.

    The S&W Model 686 is a VERY nice gun. I know about the 6 inch barrel in this one. I loved 38Special Plus P and 357Magnum out of this one. I used wad cutters too.

    My late husband had a VERY nice Dan Wesson many years ago and that was my self defense - house gun. NO CCW back there. It had a 6 inch barrel. I learned on that gun - NO problem. (357Magnum and 38Specials - hollow points.)

    So is the Ruger SP 101 although I do not own this gun - my husband does. His is a good gun but a wee bit shorter in the barrel than 3 inches. Two something - I think. I would NOT want to shoot and practice with 357Magnums out of this myself for a LONG time.

    She could shoot 38Specials, 38Special Plus P and 357Magnums in the above.

    The Glock Model 19C and 19 are VERY nice guns in 9mm. I know about this gun in the Model 19C - my very own first gun. Great gun as others are!

    I am only 5'3" tall and not big. Old injury, arthritis, some nerve damage and healed broken bones. If she would be concerned about 'racking a slide' no matter HOW much she practices... maybe a revolver would be good for her. If a lady or a gentleman can't PRACTICE often and learn her/his GUN - well, that would be a shame. You get my drift here.

    I can shoot the bigger calibers in 44Special and 44Magnum - I owned one in a gift of a S&W Model 29. I loved 44 Specials!

    Same with the 45Colt aka long colt - I love my Blackhawk as much as my 22LR guns/rifles.

    I have only shot .45ACP a few times in various pistols. I prefer the 45Colt load and shooting revolvers in that load versus semi automatic pistols but that is JUST ME. Others may differ and some people do NOT even LIKE my choice in guns. Ha!

    Go to the various web sites, have her try other guns if you can from friends, some places don't have much of a choice even if you CAN 'rent a gun' - depends on the area that you live in, let HER do the choosing and just because something is in a BIGGER caliber does not mean that it might not SUIT HER. Same on the gun size - I shoot better with a 6 inch barrel in a bigger caliber than in some friends guns with shorter barrels and smaller size guns with the calibers both being EQUAL. It has to fit HER.

    Have her read ARMED AND FEMALE by Paxton Quigley and Mas Ayoob's books.

    http://www.paxtonquigley.com/

    If you don't personally teach her - have her take a class if I already missed that here.

    I had a super LONG list here for some 'newbies' when I first joined up here.

    ALL kinds of information plus other people added to the list. Search for it here if you have time.

    One thing does irritate me is when people say that if the person gets TAUGHT on how to 'rack a slide' the proper aka right way... that is what their problem is because they are NOT DOING IT RIGHT. (Not talking about anyone here so NO offense.) There are women and men who have physical problems with their hands, arms and even fingers where they had to LEARN how to use them ALL over again - been there - done that myself! If there is a physical problem - all of the 'teaching and wishing that the freaking SLIDE WILL RACK on ALL semi automatic pistols is just wrong!!!' Some may slide for the handicapped person and some may NOT - it DEPENDS on the FIREARM aka pistol and the PERSON! Same with a revolver for triggers and recoil. It depends on the 'day' too - IF that person had a good or bad day for strength and so forth.

    I am a lady who loves 45Colt and other caliber single action revolvers due to MY strength and 'some' semi automatic pistols. I love double action revolvers too.

    It depends on the person and we are ALL individuals with strong and weak points. When some 'scoff' at single action revolvers and the ability of x, y or z person and hitting the target and/or in self defense... I usually let it go or just sigh. Sometimes I smile too.

    Best wishes. Welcome lady!

    Catherine
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  14. Catherine

    Catherine member

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    The one man has a POINT on a rifle or shotgun.

    I am a handgun lady and handle them the most.

    If it was not for a handgun which is my FIRST choice and I learned on handguns... I would choose a LEVER action rifle! Bigger caliber... lots out there. Get one to match up with a gun in 357Magnum, 45colt aka long colt and a 44Magnum if you can or want to! She could use 38Specials and 44Specials if need be - if she could handle them.

    Do you have a 30-30 rifle that she could use if need be? Can she shoot it?

    Heck, if I was limited on ammo costs and so forth... I would choose a 22LR lever action rifle in a Browning BL22, a Marlin 39A and a Winchester 94-22. I have owned these. Henry rifles are nice, I shot some of my friends but don't own one. I get laughed at when I mention THESE in 22LR when it comes to self defense, ammo costs, time to practice, various physical problems, etc. So be it.

    I don't own a shotgun and have only shot a few in my life @ 58 years old. I am NOT knocking shotguns.

    Thank you.

    Catherine
     
  15. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    +1 on shotgun--don't know why I didn't think of it (except that you asked about 3-4" revolvers).

    Semi-auto youth-sized 20 gauge would sure do it. But strangely, I've run into a few gun neophytes who could do pistol fine, but had all sorts of shouldering problems with long guns (or were cross-dominant: left eye aim with right shoulder mount) that made long guns feel very awkward, even when sized correctly, negating their usual advantages.

    Definitely something to think about, though.

    For the newbie, I don't think pump has advantages over semi-auto: semi is "more complicated", but it's easy to short-stroke a pump. Do they make a 20 gauge coach gun? If only they made a revolver-shotgun...hmmmm....

    :)
     
  16. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

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    Time will fix everything.In 20-30 yrs,the petite wife will probably weigh 170 lbs. and she will be able to handle just about everything.Oh ya I am way out of line here.Jay Lenos fav line.
     
  17. tschmittel

    tschmittel Member

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    Not to thread jack, but my problem is more serious. How can I get my wife down to 105lbs.?
     
  18. BrennanKG

    BrennanKG Member

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    Divorce.
    I've noticed that when women get divorced, they very often lose weight. I've seen this in most of the divorced couples I know. While the men generally pork out.

    Back on topic, my wife really wants someone to make an 80% scaled FN Five Seven. She likes how they shoot, but has a hard time reaching the controls.


    B.
     
  19. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

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    I'll be married 35 years on the 28th, to a petite 5' 0" lady who is so sweet.

    Which handgun for a petite lady? Whichever one SHE likes best.

    Guys, there is NO WAY you can know this. Take her shooting and let her find what is right for her!

    T.

    PS: In the end, my wife rejected all the automatics due to slide rack issues and rejected some for having to remember to flip levers under stress.

    She LOVED the 3" barreled .38 and .357 handguns such as the K frames, so I let her have my 3" Model 65. However, she wished for a much lighter and smaller revolver with a 3" barrel.

    In the end, she settled on a 3" barrel Model 37 Airweight S&W . . . one heck of a choice too, IMHO! I put a Tyler T-grip on it and she LOVES how it shoots.

    She took it to a self-defense course taught by our sheriff and staff . . . and her range officer told her she shot better than most cops! He also told her she knew the subject well enough (gun safety AND technique) to teach the class too. I'll take a little credit for showing her that!

    In the end, a lady should get the firearm SHE likes and is most comfortable with.


    T.

    PS: Ditto about the advice learned on the "Cornered Cat" website. ALL men and their ladies should read this FIRST.
     
  20. Catherine

    Catherine member

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    Great news and congrats to both of you!

    Catherine
     
  21. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    Short-stroking a shotgun is a major issue for the very short person -- who, naturally, has short arms. When I get a shotgun of my own I'm getting a semi-auto because of that problem. I refuse to use my DS#1's 12 gauge even at the range because I short-stroke it 3 times out of 5 and end up creating a safety hazard due to the gun's uncertain status and my inability to clear the problem.
     
  22. Clipper

    Clipper Member

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    You might want to have her try one of the tilt-barrel berettas...Racking the slide isn't necessary, and I think they're made up to .380...
     
  23. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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    My wife's CCW is a 2.75" Ruger Security Six loaded with Speer Short Barrel 135gr gold dots. It has been a progresion of good revolvers to get to this point! When she got her CC permit we went to the gun store and SHE picked a S&W 638...she loved the light weight and ability to shoot it SA. She HATED it once we got to the range! Anything hotter than a 100gr WC was out of the question! Next came a S&W M36 with hogue monogrip...MUCH better but still not right. Finally I picked up the Six and she tried it one day at the range and was sold. She travels overnight on business ~ once/month and now the Six is "her" CCW on those trips;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
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