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Old September 4, 2012, 12:59 PM   #26
TacticalDefense1911
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Hard to throw out ideas without knowing more about the shooter and the guns intended use.

Assuming the gun will not be used for ccw, a larger framed semi-auto is going to be the best bet. 9mm is a great all-around caliber that is economical to shoot, inexpensive to shoot in large quantities and is a proven self defense caliber. Two guns that immediately come to mind are the S&W M&P9 full size and the Glock 19. They are both mild shooting handguns with adjustable backstraps to fit a large range of hand sizes and they have large support from the aftermarket. Also each platform has a compact version which could then be used for ccw if she decided to get her license in the future. My personal choice would be the M&P because it has a better current track record given the recent Gen 4 Glock issues and there is also a 22lr version of the hangun that replicates the FS 9mm gun in almost every dimension. The 9mm M&P can be found for less then the Glock as well, usually around the low to mid $400 range. Slightly used they can be found for less then $400.

I would stay away from small framed guns due to reliability issues and excessive recoil, guns chambered in a caliber below 9mm (reliability issues and lack of effectiveness), revolvers due to heavy trigger pull and poor sights and low-end guns like Hi-Points and Keltecs due to overall lack of durability from extended high-round use and lack of resale value.
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Old September 4, 2012, 01:38 PM   #27
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Picking a handgun is a very personal thing and certainly not a choice that total strangers can make. When people say a handgun for a lady, most people automatically assume they need something small, light, and with little recoil but such is not always the case. I have personally known women that, with proper instruction, could handle large, heavy, hard recoiling handguns up to and including .44 Magnum without issues.

That being said, there are a couple of platforms that are, in my experience, very easy to shoot well even for inexperienced people. As has been mentioned several times, a S&W K-Frame or comparable revolver in .38 Special seems to be universally easy to handle. The grip of the K-Frame seems to fit a wide variety of hand shapes and sizes and the weight of the gun dampens recoil well without being so heavy as to feel unwieldy or cumbersome. Good models to look for include the S&W Models 10, 13, 15, 19, 64, 65, and 67 or a Ruger Security Six, Speed Six, or Police Service Six (some of the aforementioned revolvers are chambered for .357 Magnum, but they will shoot .38 Special ammunition just fine).

If a semi-auto is more to your liking, a full-sized 9mm will be easy for most people to shoot. Much like the S&W revolver, weight is your friend when it comes to recoil and a 30+ oz handgun dampens the recoil of a 9mm quite well. Good models to look at include the S&W 5906, CZ-75, Sig P226, Beretta 92-series, Stoeger Cougar, Browning Hi-Power, or one of the various 9mm 1911's. Polymer-frame guns like the Glock 17, HK USP, Ruger SR9, Beretta PX4, S&W M&P, and Walther P99 can also be good choices, but their lighter weight will come at the price of somewhat increased recoil. Be careful, however, when selecting a 9mm as most full-sized 9mm's on the market today are double-stacks and may not fit a person with small hands well.
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Old September 4, 2012, 06:04 PM   #28
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I have a friend that is looking for a 380 pocket semi and I posted on the semi-automatic forum to inquire about the Ruger LCP, the Kel-Tec 380 and the S & W 380 Bodyguard. You might want to take a look at that thread for some opinions on those.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=500121

Whatever you are thinking about, I'd recommend taking her to a range where you can rent something that she might be interested in so she can actually shoot one prior to purchase. A lot is going to depend on her experience (I'm assuming that if you are a shooter, she's already been exposed to that), her hand size and build, how she is going to carry, etc. I'd even try out some of the lighter weight snubbies as well such as the Ruger LCR, S & W Bodyguard, Airweights, etc.

Bersa also has some very reliable semi-autos. I purchased a used Bersa Thunder CC 380 but personally, I didn't care for it. After the first shot the trigger was way too light for my liking - I'm not sure if the previous owner had worked on the trigger or not. I was impressed with the pistol though and would not hesitate to buy another one. You do have an exposed hammer though versus a "hammerless" (not exposed hammer) on such pistols as the LCP, Kel-Tec, etc. I' more of a revolver guy so I went with the Ruger 357 LCR and it's light and easy to carry - would also fit in a purse as well.

I have a friend that I shoot with and she has one of the Sig 380s - pricey yes, but an excellent smaller handgun. She is a smaller gal and it fits her to a "T". She handles the recoil of the 380 just fine and has improved to the point that she has no problem hitting central mass with a small grouping at SD ranges.

Above all, as you well know, the secret is for your daughter to practice, practice, and pratice with whateve she ends up with so that she is fully familiar with it and can hit what she's pointing at. Good luck - let us know what she ends up with!
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Old September 4, 2012, 08:06 PM   #29
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Handguns are very personal and each of us should be left to make our own choices. Give the young lady advise, but let her try as many as possible, then let her make her own decision.

My wife likes my Airweight. My daughter-in-law stole my Model 60. Go figure. However, I like to let them try a variety of handguns and one of the ones I always let them try is my Ruger Super Blackhawk. I let them shoot medium .44 Special Skeeter loads and they universally love it.

Here's one daughter-in-law trying it on.



And here's a friend's daughter giving it a go.



Every time a young lady tries that pistol, I get to hear an insane laugh from them after the first round. And, they always want to finish the cylinder.
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Old September 4, 2012, 08:51 PM   #30
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handguns for daughter

I have two daughters each has chosen a different path. One likes to carry in a kydex holster a Makarov 9mm. She is very confident with it and carries it.

The other daughter has chosen a 2 inch Charter Undercover .38spl. She too carries it on a daily basis. Both have Concealed Carry Permits.

So it boils down to what the young lady likes and is comfortable with.
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Old September 8, 2012, 12:33 PM   #31
mike!
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Thanks for all of your replies. Sorry I haven't responded sooner.

Yes she will have the gun for self defense & will probably get a concealed carry permit.

I chose the Kel Tec as a benchmark because even though I have some .380's, I think that a 9mm should be the smallest caliber she should carry & the price is a big constraint (I can't even afford a Glock for myself).

I will take her to the range & rent at least three different guns for her to try - I am just looking for suggestions. The S&W Shield may be a good one, maybe in .40 S&W

We were going to go to the range this morning, but she went out to party with her girlfriends last night & was not up early enough.

I am going to send her a link to corneredcat.com today.
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Old September 8, 2012, 02:21 PM   #32
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The one she wants and stay out of it.

Years ago, my ex was in the market for a new Mercedes. I call up an engineer friend working in Sindelfingen and ask him to spec the perfect configuration. The most efficient engine, comfortable seat options and in-car entertainment.

I got everything together and guess what my ex do? She went down to the dealership and bought one that matches the colour of her handbag!
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Old September 21, 2012, 03:33 PM   #33
mike!
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We're going to the range tomorrow morning. We will try out at least three different 9mm auto pistols. I am thinking S&W Shield, a Glock & maybe something cheaper like a Hi-Point or the Kel-Tec.
Whatever she likes will probably go on lay-away & she will need to apply for a CC Permit as well.
Thanks for all your input.
- Mike
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Old September 21, 2012, 05:25 PM   #34
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Remember... the smaller and lighter... the more recoil and more unpleasant to shoot.

If she is not a "shooter" or has no real interest or large desire to learn to shoot... that unpleasantness is not a good thing.

If she has experience shooting, then smaller light pistols may be fine.

I am looking hard at the Ruger LC9 myself.

The P11 has a little extra size that may help for shoot-ability... but it is not a gun designed for regular shooting and practice.

You need regular practice... it does not have to be all with the carry gun, so that can help limit the wear and tear on the P11 if you go that route.

Glocks and the XD/XDM pistols in the sub compact version, with an optional extended magazine with grip extension is always a good choice. The extra length helps practice at the range, then using the short standard mag for carry.

The XD is probably the cheaper choice there.

A little bigger, but a good rugged well made pistol is the Sig 2022... it can be found for $350 online if you look around.

Last edited by marine6680; September 21, 2012 at 05:31 PM.
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Old September 21, 2012, 05:39 PM   #35
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Quote:
I chose the Kel Tec as a benchmark because even though I have some .380's, I think that a 9mm should be the smallest caliber she should carry & the price is a big constraint (I can't even afford a Glock for myself).
This may get in the way of finding the perfect handgun for her. When I took my wife shopping for a handgun I let her handle all the guns she could and she eventually settled on a Sig P232. It felt the best in her hands and pointed very naturally for her. Of course it was also the most expensive gun she looked at.

I wouldn't rule out the little .380 ACP for her if I were you, it allows for a lot more options in smaller guns which some people like. My wife has small hands so a .380 was about as large as she wanted to go even though she could shoot my Ruger P-90 better than I did.

Stu
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:02 PM   #36
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I would go with the same handgun that is recommended for cougars.
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:13 PM   #37
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Quote:
The simple answer. Especially because you are taking her to a range to try some. The one she likes!
Best. Answer. Ever.

Let me elaborate....

I am an NRA Pistol Instructor, and I also instruct officers in my Department concerning pistol and patrol carbine shooting.

I have trained both men and women for a long, long time.

That being said, I have NEVER seen a woman/female shooter regret her choice, if SHE is allowed to pick out the handgun that she wants--and gets enough range time to practice well.

Example: I purchased my wife a Ruger LC9 for a "sick in your pocket when you're on our property" pistol. She understands the need for being prepared--but she does not like the pistol too much. It barks, bucks and snorts. My wife is 5'2" and about 120.

On the other hand, she will--and has--done quick mag dumps from my Glock 22 into a B27 at 7 yards. Everything stayed within the 9 ring.

She does not like my shotguns--they're too long for her.

She does, however, feel quite comfortable sitting at the bench and burning ammo through my folding stock MAK-90.

Once again--LET HER PICK IT OUT!!!

Best of luck--and post some targets, too!
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:59 PM   #38
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Like was said... let her pick.

But another good option to look at would be some of the larger 380s.

The CZ 83 is a little bigger, and steel, so it should recoil very little... It's not too spendy either.

There are other similar sized 380s... even that size in a 9mm with a steel frame should not be too bad in the recoil.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:42 PM   #39
muddymustang
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Bought my wife an American Arms .380, and was surprised at how accurate it was at 20+yrds. Small gun, low recoil, and accurate.
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Old September 22, 2012, 01:53 AM   #40
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Folks, there are plenty of helpful intentions on the board.

That being said, there are also a lot of (unintentional, I'm sure) efforts to buttonhole this lady into a .380.

Why?

A quick story...

We had a female officer who had just been hired and was getting ready to go to the Academy. She chose to use a personal firearm, instead of the issued Glock 22.

Well, some gun store salesperson talked her into an XD40. Great guns, and I love the entire XD series--but they do not fit small hands well. Her grip put the base joint of her thumb right into the backstrap. She was not happy, the gun actually hurt--and she could not manage to qualify.

After watching her try to qualify for the second time, I had an idea. I asked her to unload and clear, and set her pistol to the side.

I then handed her my duty sidearm--a Colt Gov't Model enhanced 1911, in .45. It's not box stock--there are Champion night sights with a trijicon front, an Ed Brown beavertail, a mainspring housing checkered at 20 LPI--and a short trigger. I also have it fitted with Hogue rubber grips.

She accepted the pistol, gripped it and looked at me with some surprise. "It fits! This gun feels good," she said.

I handed her two magazines with duty ammunition--at that time, 230 grain HydraShok. For those who have used this round, these things are HOT (right at 960 fps from my gun).

We had targets set at 7 and 10 yards. She ate the X-ring out on both targets--no flyers. I asked how firing the .45 felt. She said, "It's comfortable. More of a push, no sharp recoil, and it settled right back on target."

Once again, let her pick what she wants, and what she feels comfortable with. That includes caliber.
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Old September 22, 2012, 04:08 AM   #41
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I am going to take her to the range to check it out & maybe two others in the same caliber/price range.
It's only $90 more for a Ruger LC9 by my info.
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Old September 22, 2012, 05:47 AM   #42
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Buying a new gun is like buying a new pair of shoes to a woman...but once you find the right pair (gun+ammunition) you stick with it. Good luck this can be an adventure!
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:14 AM   #43
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380 isn't a requirement for a woman... but he did say they want to be able to use it at the range, home defense AND concealed carry...

Then he threw one extra requirement... not too expensive. He claims Glocks are too expensive for him.

Unfortunately the cheaper small pistols are not really considered "durable" for lots of range use... and any smaller pistols tend to recoil more than others of similar caliber.

Any pistol she finds comfortable and can shoot well and fulfills her required uses, is the one for her... regardless of the caliber it shoots.

My personal choice is a LC9... but it might not be the best choice for an inexperienced shooter or one recoil sensitive.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:17 AM   #44
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To my way of thinking, given reasonable amounts of practice, ammo expenditures wil exceed the purchase price of most pistols within a year or two.

That being the case, down the road a .380 becomes significantly more expensive than a 9mm, based on ammo cost.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:42 AM   #45
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A lot of posters here get the vapors whenever you discuss women and guns. It is a free country, and if the husband, or wife, is really into firearms, there is nothing wrong with some suggestions which may be right or wrong. Letting a novice with little to no interest in spending serious range time pick something will probably have the same "success" level as an experienced opinion. I never see the same reaction when talking about sons and daughters and fathers. Regardless, friend, wife, uncle, aunt, mother, daughter, parent, son, whatever, you have to start somewhere. Try something and if it's not right get something else. Unless someone is going to put in significant range time, nothing is better/safer than a double action revolver. Many people don't have a great interest in spending the time to operate a 1911, but want something. The post above about the cosmic union between the female officer and the customized 1911 occurred after the woman had an opportunity to shoot the "wrong" gun. If that same person had zero experience, and had nothing to compare the 1911 to, she may not have appreciated the customized 1911 as her soul-mate. Many of the Glock users migrated from another "platform" and vice versa. So, again, start with something. Not everyone is going to spend hour after hour at the range. Get the four rules memorized and get something and take it from there. Many people, even "experts" will start with something and "evolve" to something else. Nothing wrong with starting with a .38 or .380 or whatever, just get started and the rest will work itself out. Let's not get our panties in a twist.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:44 AM   #46
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Many good answers here.
I believe the idea of getter her a few good books on the subject and some time at the firing line is the best advice I have read so far.
Also I believe a good 22 auto or revolver is in order as a first gun so she can learn the correct way to handle a gun and learn to shoot WELL!
(Ammo is accurate and cheap)

Now-- when she’s to a point that shooting is fun for her and when she is proficient, go to a larger caliber.

She can sell the 22 if she likes, but in most cases she won’t I am a very good shot with a handgun and I love my 44s and my 45s, but I still shoot a LOT of 22 ammo myself. A 22 is a great tool to learn with, and it’s not exactly worthless if you needed to shoot an attacker. Not the best, but surly a lot better than no gun at all, and a lady who owns a good 22 handgun and has fired about 10,000 rounds through it is probably going to hit what she’s shooting at, with that 22 or with most other handguns too.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:49 AM   #47
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Try out any .38 snubbie. if that doesnt work for some reason try a spring field emp in 9mm. i wouldnt start her on a 40 if shes inexperienced. now if those dont work if you can find one try a makarov. some still make em in i believe even 9mm now but i know some still make 9x18
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:53 AM   #48
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In my case, I have a reasonable assortment of handguns, and am happy to take friends out to try different types.

I typically start newbies on my S&W 18 .22LR, then move up to .38s from my S&W 13-3.

If they are more interested in autos, then it is the Kadet .22LR conversion kit on one of my CZs, followed by the same pistol in 9mm.

I have larger and smaller autos and revolvers in service and hunting calibers. Depending on how the newbie is doing, and how froggie they are feeling, we may try any number of these.

Odds are, most people looking to get a new person into shooting know somebody like me, who has a variety of guns, a willingness to help, and some experience in training new shooters. Make use of those people.

If you don't know anybody like that, find a range that rents guns. Possibly, hire an instructor. (For people in some NE states, this may require a drive to VT, NH, or PA....)

As mentioned by a few of us, reading corneredcat.com is a good starting point.

But I would not just go to a store and arbitrarily buy something. That might work, but could very easily just be an expensive mistake.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:56 AM   #49
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"But I would not just go to a store and arbitrarily buy something." No one should, but it would be better than nothing if you have the four rules burned into your mind. The guy behind the counter, (or your husband, heaven forbid), at the LGS might hit the nail on the head, but at least it's a start.
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Old September 22, 2012, 12:01 PM   #50
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jmortimer, the only reason I would go that route would be if I had a known, imminent threat. In such a case (woman with stalker, for example), yes, have something simple - but get training ASAP.

In such an extreme case, I would go the 3" round butt K-frame or SP101 with .38s route, for simplicity of operation and shooting characteristics.

In non-emergency cases, spending a little time up front pays dividends.
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