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Old January 27, 2009, 03:15 PM   #1
Rescue2
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Opinions needed from ladies on Sig P239 .40 S&W

I know that I shouldn’t be suggesting to my wife which gun she should use, but I’d like to get opinions from the ladies on how they feel about the Sig Sauer P239 in .40 S&W caliber…

My primary handgun, which I like very much, is a Sig P229 in .40, and the double stack grip is not comfortable for my wife. It’s just not a good fit for her hands at all. Given that “minor” inconvenience, we’re going to investigate a nice single stack arrangement for her.

I’ve shot a P239 in 9mm, and I enjoyed the fit, and didn’t really notice a big difference in the recoil between the 9mm and .40.

The reason I’m interested in the P239-.40 is for a couple of reasons.

First, I’d like to maintain a consistency in “operations”, mostly for safety and familiarity between the two of us. For instance, the Sig design of a de-cocking lever (as opposed to a manual safety) would be common, and not requiring a conscious evaluation of “How do I engage the safety mechanism on this one??”

This also covers things like magazine ejection, and take-down/break-down for cleaning,

Second, I’d like to keep a common caliber of ammunition. No confusion, no mix ups. Also helps justify bulk purchases…

I will not impose my preferences into the decision process, but if it’s a toss up between say a Beretta or a Smith, or a Glock and the Sig, I’d like to be able to suggest that there are good reasons for manufacturer commonality. Even if for some reason she decides she likes a 9mm better than the .40.

Now, if I’m wasting my time even *thinking* about being logical, I need to know that, too…
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Old January 27, 2009, 04:15 PM   #2
Shadi Khalil
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Im not a lady but my girlfriend is and she loves my .9mm 239. She has no problem racking the slide, working the controls and recoil is a non-issue. Does she like the feel of the 229? does she shoot it well? Btw, my girlfriend is 5ft nothing and weighs 110lbs.

Last edited by Shadi Khalil; January 27, 2009 at 05:43 PM.
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Old January 27, 2009, 04:21 PM   #3
Colt1911forever
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I am a dude and find 40 S&W too snappy out of smaller pistols like the P239. Its not that it is too much but its snap vs a 45 push makes follow up shots much slower...

9mm and 45 are my preferred calibers..

That said if she likes the 40 then a simplified manual of arms is always good.
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Old January 27, 2009, 11:10 PM   #4
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This may sound nuts, but she hadn't expressed any interest in shooting the P229 before now, primarliy because it feels so "big & awkward" in her hand.

I have a 1940's vintage Beretta 1935 .32 cal that fits her very well, but it's not to be considered as much more than a relic from my Dad's WWII momentos. Not a HD or PP candidate due to its historical significance to his heirs...

I may have to rent a P239 in .40 to feel the difference in the frame mass recoil absorption for myself, having only fired 9mm from that platform (hadn't considered the force transference deltas - doh!)

Thanks for your insights, which always give me cause for further introspection...
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Old January 28, 2009, 04:44 AM   #5
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I'm a guy, but I'm also an instructor and I work with *a lot* of new female shooters.

I have a Sig 239 in 9mm and it's been very popular with the vast majority of my female students. I think I've had maybe three or four who didn't like it out of over 100 or so who have fired the gun.

The grip size just seems to work well for many women.

Mine's a nine though, so I don't know how much difference the different recoil impulse of the .40 will make. Subjectively, the 9mm 239 is very pleasant to shoot.
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Old January 28, 2009, 06:08 AM   #6
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I like the feel of my 239-9. However, I have noticed that the muzzle flip is a bit more than my husband's XDM9. As I assume a .40 will have even more, that might be an issue. I would rent both the .40 and 9mm for her to try - don't just go by the fit.

Of course, I've not shot anything besides 9mm (will have to rectify that soon), so I may be off base in my assumption.
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Old January 28, 2009, 07:03 AM   #7
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MY wife shoots my 239 in .40 just fine. Some days better than I do.
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Old January 28, 2009, 08:42 AM   #8
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*shakes head sadly*

Women are individuals, just like men are.

Just because some other woman halfway across the country likes the P239 doesn't mean your wife will.

Just because 1,643 other women like the gun doesn't mean your wife will.

If a million other women jumped off a bridge, would your wife do it too? (Sorry ... just channelling my mom there for a moment! )

What I'm getting at is that the only opinion that really matters here is the one belonging to your wife. You need her opinion far more than you need mine or those of anyone else in this thread.

But since you asked: I'm a lady with average sized hands, and the allegedly "small" grip of the Sig 239 is still too fat for me, making it difficult to easily reach the controls. And I've never been a particular fan of the stereotypically slappy recoil of .40 S&W from most platforms, including the P239.

Now what use was that opinion, really? Have you ever seen my hands? How do they compare in size, strength, flexibility to your wife's hands? Are hers more flexible than mine? Is her reach longer or shorter than mine? Does your wife perceive the same thing about recoil that I perceive when I pull the trigger? Does she have the same generally-negative feeling about shooting a .40 that I do? Or does she generally like it? Do I have more, or less, tolerance for perceived recoil than she does?

How would you know?

Meanwhile ...

www.corneredcat.com/FirstGun/tryongun.aspx

Follow the link for info about how to find out if a handgun fits the shooter's hands. But you'll need your wife's cooperation for that, since your hands aren't the same size as hers either. (Oh, should add -- my husband and I have exactly the same size hands when we hold them up. But something about the way the tendons work means that I've got a slightly longer reach on a handgun than he does. Go figure!)

Hope things work out for you both.

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Old January 29, 2009, 10:01 PM   #9
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Thanks to all

I appreciate the comments, and they have given me a general impression that a woman can (and will) shoot a P239 in .40...

However, I gather that 9mm is more prevalent, and that .40 has some characteristics that can be viewed as less desireable (not just for the ladies)...

My wife's handgun shooting experience is nil. Nadda. Shotguns, yes. Pistols = nuttin'... Hence I am scrambling to make sure I don't screw it up for her.

I have declined to follow her suggestion of, "You can teach me what I need to know." I probably have a couple of not so good habits (none of which I'm inclined to admit publicly) that I don't want her to pick up in her primary source of learnin'...

To that end, I'm making arrangements (with her concurrence) for an hour of private instruction at the range from an NRA Certified Training Counselor, where she will receive the fundamentals and safety training that will forge the foundation of any further handgun knowledge and training.

Kathy,
I appreciate your comments, too. Even the "*shakes head sadly*" part.

Yours was one of the first weapons oriented sites that I bookmarked, and I've read just about everything you've posted (especially about how guys have no bizness 'choosing' their lady friends weapon). I value your opinions and the effort you put into sharing your knowledge on "The Cornered Cat".

*Deciding* what's best for her use is not my intent in any form. She gets to do that. Honest. She's got to touch it, feel it, and fire it ('it' being the various handguns that will be available for her evaluation) to make the final decision. I understand that part of the deal...

My reasoning to try out the P239 in .40 was so that *I* would have direct knowledge of the differences in "feel" between the same load in that weapon, and the P229. If only as a reference point to be able to empathize with her perceptions...

I have a friend (female) that has a P239-9mm that loves it (and whose gun I shot), that has much smaller hands than my wife. Her ability to operate the gun properly gave me the idea that this same model gun might be a fairly reasonable platform for my wife to try out. Keeping the .40 caliber commonality in the family was my idea. Maybe a wrong one, but that's what happens when an analytical type guy starts processing the variables...

Let's see what shakes out, and go from there...
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Old January 31, 2009, 01:22 AM   #10
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Rescue2 ~

Sounds like you've got a solid plan there then.

(Sorry about the *shakes head sadly* -- meant for a touch of humor, but neglected the smiley...)

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Old April 29, 2009, 01:01 AM   #11
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Progress made in the selection process...

Well, after some time (with delays for various reasons), my wife was finally able to make arrangements to go get her initial handgun training the other week from a qualified, reputable and highly recommended NRA instructor.

Following her "classroom" session, it was time for "practical" shooting exercises. She was give a small selection of guns to choose from, and chose a 9mm Glock, after deciding that she didn't like the way the offered Smith & Wesson felt, nor the general feel of another (whose brand name was forgotten...)

Since I was not in attendance to see things as they unfolded, I had only the shot up target to see how she had done. All 50 rounds on the paper, as can be seen below...



Looked to me like she had not too much trouble with the 9mm, and she liked the way it felt in her hands, as well as firing it.

In the past few months leading up to her instruction, we'd had plenty of discussions and back and forth over the merits of various different firearms, with me constantly giving her the affirmation that whatever she eventually decided upon would be fine with me.

Well, tonight we "made a date" at the local indoor range to test drive a few different models and calibers.

One of the guns we took into the range was a 9mm CZ, which neither of us cared for, as it just seemed foreign (no pun intended) to the mechanisms that we'd been manipulating on my current Sig 229. It seemed clunky, and somewhat complicated. Which in actuallity was incorrect, just "different".

Then we brought in a Sig 239 in .40, which had Hogue finger groove grips already installed, and SWAMBO really liked the way it felt in her hands.

The Hogue grip fit the contours of her hands, trigger was readily accessible with proper hand positioning, and everything just "worked"...

However, the .40 (165 gr) was a bit more than she cared for, and I could see how her shoulders "jammed" back a little with each shot.

She was a trooper though, and put two magazines through the weapon before she asked if she could turn that one in to try the same frame in a 9mm.

No problem...

Although this one in 9mm didn't have the Hogue grips (to mimic the finger grooves that she initially liked in the Glock, and then again on the .40 P239), the sizing was to her liking, and the recoil was felt to be very managable.

Her groupings remained consistent, and she kept putting shots downrange until the aftermarket magazine flew apart during a reloading. They didn't have any replacement magazines (at least that they would bring out) so that ended that part of the experiments...

She didn't stop there though, as now she was very keen to have a go at the paper man with my 229. I relinquished control immediately, forgetting that I had 180gr ammunition in the magazine. By watching her shoulders, the "snap" or whatever we want to call it was readily evident in each of the 7 shots she took. But she didn't stop until the slide locked back on an empty magazine.

She commented later that she felt comfortable enough with the controls to decide that the Sig P239 in a 9mm would be a gun she would like to have for her own.

I'm more than fine with that, and am very glad to have received such wonderful advice here on The Firing Line that I started to learn how to keep my damn mouth shut and let the lady decide for herself...

Well, with *maybe* a little guidance from He Who Knows Whats Best For His Wife... (i'm goin' to hell for that, ain't I??)

Thanks for all your help gang!!!
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Old April 29, 2009, 01:25 AM   #12
Shadi Khalil
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Good work! I'm glad you updated us! Will she be carrying?
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Old April 29, 2009, 09:58 AM   #13
Rescue2
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"Good work! I'm glad you updated us! Will she be carrying?"

Thanks. I thought it fitting to describe the closure of that particular chapter of our

As far as carrying, I presume you're implying CCW. Possibly eventually. She hasn't expressed any strong inclination towards carrying concealed (Arizona allows open carry, without the recriminations that seem common place in areas like Milwaukee, Wis.), but that may change.

After her short bit of training at the hands of this particular NRA instructor in our town, she is very comfortable with, and receptive to taking formal classes with him in the future.

Short story there is (hmmm, is there *ever* a short story in my ramblings??) I'll suggest that she take the CCW course, if only to have first hand knowledge of the applicable laws that govern the use of deadly force, and if she takes it the next step further, and actually begins to carry concealed, that will be her decision.

I'll provide the mechanical tools and emotional support, whereas she'll need to acquire the training and knowledge that comes with it.

Time will tell.
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