Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

The place for general discussion about guns, gun (and gun parts) technology discussion, gun reviews, and gun specific range reports; and shooting, training, techniques, reviews and reports.
User avatar
JAG2955
Posts: 3044
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:21 pm

Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by JAG2955 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:30 pm

This post brought to you by the 80 year old woman who insisted on purchasing an M&P 340 revolver for her concealed carry. The good thing is, I suppose we'll be seeing that gun again to purchase it back from her. Part of it is pulled from my facespace.

How the average woman chooses a gun: Comes in with a boyfriend/husband/neighbor who "knows" guns. The dude with her tells the Guy Behind the Counter "She needs a small gun to carry". GBC shows her a bunch of small, "cute" guns that are hard to handle, and harder to shoot. Woman doesn't say anything, guy friend takes control of the situation. She winds up with a subcompact lightweight pistol with crappy sights. It sucks to shoot it, so she never practices and is not confident with the gun. It resides in her dresser drawer, and maybe gets carried occasionally without a round in the chamber.

Alternatively, she buys a tiny revolver with a 15+ pound trigger pull that weighs less than a deck of cards. Douchebag dude friend loads it with full-bore .357 Magnum loads. She shoots two rounds, leaves, and never touches it again.

A lot of women that actually do the right thing, come in, and ask me questions, I hand them a Glock 19. They say "It's heavy..." Of course, then I ask how many pistols they've held. Right about zero. Yeah, it's not heavy at all. I had a 14-year old female student that shoots a Glock 19 very, very well.

Typically, women have difficulties in two different areas. #1 is the size of the grip in relation to where the trigger is. Your fingers are not as long as most men's. Find a pistol where you can put the backstrap in the middle of the web of your hand and still easily reach the trigger. For as much as I like to recommend Glocks to first time shooters, the M&P series has a shorter trigger reach. #2 is racking the slide. Tiny subcompact pistols with short barrels and slides are difficult to rack. The longer and wider the slide is, the easier the pistol will be to rack. This is partly due to being easier to grab, and partly because with a heavier slide, the recoil spring can be lighter. Guns with an external hammer can be easier to cock if there is a hand strength issue because you can pull the hammer back first so you don't have to fight against the hammer/main spring as well. Full size guns are also easier because you can get a better grip on the frame.

I bought a Smith and Wesson 60-15 Pro Series revolver specifically for women who come into the shop wanting a revolver. It's "too big". Note, that it's a 5-shot, extended J-frame. Do not, under any circumstance purchase an M&P Bodyguard 380.

Okay guys, what guns do we recommend for women shooters of all ages. What pitfalls can they avoid, what should they start with, and what questions should they ask?

I realize that we're putting the hardware before the software, but let's start with the hardware this time, as it's on my mind.

User avatar
Weetabix
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:04 pm

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by Weetabix » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:03 pm

My daughters are getting permits, so I bought a sack full of semi automatics from a tiny 380 to hand size 9's for them to try. I haven't got a revolver yet. But my approach is going to be: try them all quite a bit and see what you like.

And the method you described is how my secretary's husband chose her gun. I think she hates it. She can't work the slide, and can't hit anything with it.
Note to self: start reading sig lines. They're actually quite amusing. :D

User avatar
Darrell
Posts: 6586
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:12 pm

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by Darrell » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:21 pm

I watched a new shooter couple struggling at the range a while back. They were shooting compact .40s, doing Miami Vice teacup holds, the whole nine yards. I don't know if the guy decided if they should have .40s or the guy behind the counter talked them into it, but neither one could hit the side of a barn. I'd normally MYOB, but I could see that they were unhappy, so I showed 'em how to do a modern two handed hold. They were very grateful. Still, I wouldn't give a woman a .40, at least for a first gun. She was a little thing, too.
Eppur si muove--Galileo

User avatar
randy
Posts: 7369
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:33 pm
Location: EM79VQ

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by randy » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:22 pm

I've let Darlin' Daughter shoot a variety of guns over the years. So far she likes [strike]her[/strike](MINE Damn it! I'm not dead yet) Browning Buckmark and Browning Hi Power.

She also likes the Glock 17, but had problems using the mag release. Had an extended mag release installed ($12.00 including installation at the local ELGS) and she's happy with it.

She's tried J Frame revolvers and does not like them. Going to try a Glock 19 range rental next time we get a chance. Still got a couple of years before she can get her permit, so we'll keep playing.

CINCHOUSE shoots my Hi Powers OK, but just flat out doesn't enjoy shooting. She does have her permit, but almost as much so she can legally transport my weapons or drive my truck without sanitizing it if needed as anything else.
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".

User avatar
evan price
Posts: 1809
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:24 am

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by evan price » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:07 pm

Mrs price isn't a small woman but she still has issues racking a slide. Her house gun is a S&W model 36 with 3" barrel and pachmayrs.
I've taught a lot of people including a lot of females. Surprisingly they like my sig p220 more than most others IF they can work it.
Beretta had a 380 with tip up barrel that was discontinued, it was excellent for people who can't work a slide.
Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc

http://ohioccwforums.org/
Ohioans for Concealed Carry:THE source for Ohio CCW information and discussion!

User avatar
JAG2955
Posts: 3044
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:21 pm

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by JAG2955 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:35 pm

I've said a few times that the perfect gun for a beginning woman shooter would be a Sig P210 in 9mm, or more common, a 9mm 1911.

User avatar
Denis
Posts: 6570
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:29 am

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by Denis » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:32 pm

JAG2955 wrote:I've said a few times that the perfect gun for a beginning woman shooter would be a Sig P210 in 9mm
Have you priced those recently? Spendy. On my wish list, but seriously spendy...

There are a couple at auction now in the UK:

http://auctions.holtsauctioneers.com/as ... &saletype=

http://auctions.holtsauctioneers.com/as ... &saletype=

This is a nifty idea for the ladies from Tandemkross: enhanced charging handles for pistol slides. On sale now...

https://www.tandemkross.com/Charging-Handles_c_59.html

https://youtu.be/P-JQsVVxWvc

https://youtu.be/NkCt5ZMTZbM?t=55s

User avatar
PawPaw
Posts: 4493
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:19 pm

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by PawPaw » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:48 pm

I would no more try to pick a gun for a woman than I would try to pick her underwear. It's that personal a decision.

What I would do is expose a new shooter to as many different handguns as possible to try to let her see the tremendous variety that is available. It's not necessary that she shoot them all, but it is important that she handle them. Some will be discarded immediately. Of those not discarded immediately, some of those will be discarded later int he process.

Some women are very easy to please when it comes to handguns. My (1) daughter-in-law, after trying several decided that she wanted a steel-framed Smith J-frame.My (2) daughter-in-law has been through a dozen or more, she's still trying to make up her mind. My wife is very particular in her choices. Her carry gun is a Colt Police Positive. She won't consider anything else. She likes that frame size above all others. Her race gun is a Pietta SAA repro in .45 Long Colt. Neither one of those is a handgun that I'd even consider, but she won't consider any other. Go figure.

Any man who tries to pick a gun for a woman is on a fools errand.
Dennis Dezendorf
PawPaw's House

User avatar
Darrell
Posts: 6586
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:12 pm

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by Darrell » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:26 pm

I may have mentioned before that if hand strength to cycle the slide is a concern, check out the Grand Power handguns. The one I tried years ago cycled very easily.
Eppur si muove--Galileo

User avatar
Vonz90
Posts: 3257
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:05 pm

Re: Think Tank: Guns for women (of all ages)

Post by Vonz90 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:32 pm

First, know your limitations. I do not try to teach adult females how to shoot because experience has taught me that my instruction methods do not come across well with adult females.

In general though I would agree with Paw Paw on this. Learn to shoot, try a lot of different firearms and see what you like before buying one. I think this advice applies to anyone.

If one absolutely had to buy something now for an immediate personal defense need, then get something low power with a lot of capacity that fits your hands. At least then you should be able to shoot it, but that is a cart before the horse kind of thing.

Post Reply