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Old April 28, 2013, 05:16 PM   #1
dayman
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Handgun for wife.

Dreams, it would seem, sometimes do come true.

A mountain lion has been spotted on our road, and my - usually far from enthusiastic about guns - wife has decided that she would like to learn how to use and carry a pistol.
So, I finally get to teach her how to shoot, and I figure I can re-take a CCW class so we can do it together. Very exciting all around, but now I have to find her a gun that she'll actually carry.

There are a few constraints.

First, size.
She's a little lady with little hands, so a big double stack grip might be too big. She seemed to like the size of my xds with the small back-strap. So something small enough to conceal reasonably well, but not tiny.

Second, action.
I think she'd consider a revolver, but other than that I'm almost certain she'd want a manual safety. Also, I can't see her carrying cocked and locked. And finally, it has to be reasonably easy to shoot - so nothing with a super heavy trigger.

Other than that I was thinking probably 9mm, as it tends to have less kick and better capacity in small guns. And, obviously, the more physically attractive it is the better.
Price isn't a huge deal (within reason), but I'd rather pay less than more.

The 2 that came to mind without doing any reasearch to speak of were the Ruger sr9c, or a some flavor of S&W 38spl.
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Old April 28, 2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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It's going to be her gun, so she needs to try several and see what she likes. There are good used Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolvers available for not too much money. A K-frame like a Model 10 or 15 might be a good choice, but it's possible she'd like to try a J-frame. Harder to shoot well and noisy, but very easy to conceal.

If there's a range where you can rent a number of guns for her to try, that would be the best place to start.
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Old April 28, 2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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My suggestion....

Without knowing more facts, I'd suggest a S&W Mod. 60 with 3" bbl., in .357 mag. I really like mine & the only (possible) down side would be the 24.35 oz. weight (unloaded) as opposed to my 17.0 oz. (unloaded) Ruger LC9. I only shoot/carry .38 +P ammo in the Mod. 60, but the fact that I can shoot .357 in it is a plus.
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Old April 28, 2013, 06:33 PM   #4
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It's going to be her gun, so she needs to try several and see what she likes.
This.

And this:
The Cornered Cat. The title's a little ironic, if the two of you are concerned about mountain lions, but it's an outstanding site for women who are new to handguns. (And not a bad read for their husbands, either... )
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Old April 28, 2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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Every woman I have introduced to guns liked the Smith 37 (older) with the longer Butler rubber grip. I guess its appeal is small and light.
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Old April 28, 2013, 07:59 PM   #6
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I went through this process a year ago. My spousal unit is also a small lady. She did not like the feel of automatics--their big(ish) grips were hard for her to hold and she couldn't rack many of the slides. She liked the small revolvers the best and selected a Ruger SP101 in .38. She shoots it like a champ.

Your best bet is to visit a local gun shop or firing range and have her hold/shoot several models.
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Old April 28, 2013, 10:03 PM   #7
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get the woman a S&W K frame .38 special and turn her loose
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Old April 28, 2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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Is there a place nearby where she can rent and shoot a few different ones? As I have learned from personal experience, my choice for a handgun did not match my wife's

Of course, I got an extra SIG out of that error.
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Old April 28, 2013, 11:53 PM   #9
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Like others have mentioned, a S&W Model 60 with a 3" barrel would be a great choice. A simple Model 37 is another. Besides the actual shooting, she needs to be comfortable with the 'manual of arms' with whatever you set her up with, loading, unloading, reloading etc..

Yes, a handgun course of some type would also be great.
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Old April 29, 2013, 01:27 AM   #10
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Sig P290

My mother has recently started getting into handguns and so far she has bought 3. She's a little lady too, small enough to get blown over if a tractor trailer passes by too fast. She had a SigP290 that she loves, a glock 26, and a ruger 380. I'd recommend any of those.
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Old April 29, 2013, 06:30 AM   #11
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Choices...

I'd have her start off with a simple basic, no frills DA only revolver like a Ruger LCR in .38spl +P or .357magnum, a S&W J frame(no security lock) 642/442 or a L frame .357magnum 686/686+ 6/7 shot.
She can learn the basics & understand how to clean-load-unload etc...
After carrying a DA revolver for a year or 2 then she can move on to a semi auto pistol.

If she really wants a semi auto pistol(and not just you wanting to buy it), Id recommend she get a used/surplus P225 or P6 9x19mm, the M&P Shield, the Ruger SR9 or SR40 compact, the Smith & Wesson SD9 or SD40 VE, or the Beretta PX4 Compact(the ambi control compact not the stubby sub-compact pistol).
Have her use only factory made ammunition, no reloads or hand loads. Top 9x19mm rounds include: DPX, Hornady TAP, Hornady Critical Duty +P 9x19mm 135gr, Speer Gold Dot 124gr JHP +P, Ranger T/T Series 124gr JHP +P.

Use a well made CLP like Slip2000, Ballistol, LPX or Gunzilla for cleaning/storage.
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Old April 29, 2013, 06:35 AM   #12
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You like most shooters have to realize in shooting, size doesn't matter! Small hands can easily be accomodated with all the choices out there. Most important for her sake, is a potent caliber. No brainer for revolver, six shot 3-4", 38spl. In auto, 9mm, 45acp. Either are soft shooting out of a 4" auto.
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Old April 29, 2013, 07:21 AM   #13
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Momma needs to pick out HER gun - period, end of discussion, do not pass Go........

Remember, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"

She might love a revolver, then again, she might hate them - small snubbies are one of the hardest guns to shoot and shoot well.
She may love a semi, she might not. Some have issues with the slide - The Cornered Cat will show her how.

She will do much better if she takes a class without you there teaching ir watching her - wives work that way. Just like little kids with soccer or Little League, that third party coach has their attention and his/her words carry more weight then yours, even if you say the same thing.

Good luck!
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Old April 29, 2013, 07:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Handgun for wife.


I thought this going to be about an unusual and unique trade.

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Old April 29, 2013, 07:50 AM   #15
dayman
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Thanks for all the responses so far.

And before it comes up, I'm aware that 9mm/38spl is not the ideal lion gun. They don't actually live around here, they just occasionally pass through. She knows that too, but this represents the first time that she's been willing to see a gun as a piece of safety equipment rather than a killing tool. The most likely 4-legged threat around here are wild dogs, and I'd think any of the service calibers would work fine for them.

Sadly there aren't any rental ranges within easy driving distance, and - as seems to be the case everywhere - most of the shops around have pretty limited selection at the moment.
She's definitely going to be the one to pick what she wants, but if I have some ideas and can call ahead to check selection it'll make for a more enjoyable day of shopping.
We're going to go shooting sometime this week so she can try all my guns and at least get a feel for the platform she likes, but I assume she's going to want something fairly soft shooting, yet small enough to be easily concealed.

The sig 225 is intriguing - though I'd almost certainly have to order one online. One of my friends has one, so I could probably even arrange a test.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:06 AM   #16
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The M&P9c with the small back strap & optional thumb safety might work if she can do a double stacker. My GF has no problem shooting my full size M&P9 with the small back strap and she has small hands.

If a double stacker is too chunky, consider the Shield 9, thumb safety standard. GF can shoot mine great, no problem with the recoil, very accurate with it.

Ruger LCR has the best DA trigger out of the box of any small revolver I've ever shot, much better than the Smith Airweights. GF can shoot mine pretty good, but doesn't like it as much as the Shield due to the greater felt recoil for her. I don't think it's that bad with standard pressure rounds, bit stouter with +P. If you go with a bigger revolver, going to be harder for her to carry.

But yeah, she really needs to shoot a few types of guns to see what she likes. Guy from work was looking to buy a semi auto, came out with us on a range trip. Didn't like any of my Smiths, Rugers, RIA 1911, or any of my buddies guns either, NADA. Guy next to us was shooting a Glock 9, let him try it. He loved it, shot it much better than any of our stuff. I don't like the Glocks, grip feel, grip angle, sights... but hey, he liked what he liked, ended up buying a Glock, very happy with it.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:29 AM   #17
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Yeah, at first it sounded like a trade, wife for gun.

Once again, the conversation is mostly about the gun and not the use.
Her choice of gun will change with training.
It doesn't really pay to chose one for her, or add to the confusion, before she learns how to use them.
If you want to get her something, make it a class or two from a competent instructor.
Then she can make a realistic and intelligent decision as to what she wants.
The gun is the least of it.
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Old April 29, 2013, 08:57 AM   #18
dayman
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The use would be general SD, and defense against the various predatory critters in our woods - mostly dogs, or the occasional rabid varmint.
I want to find her some options that would be reasonable to shoot so that she'll actually train with it.
I'm not going to pick out a gun for her, just looking for some ideas as to what might work so I can decide what shops to hit when we do go shopping. Guns aren't her thing (yet), and she's not likely to do a lot of research on her own.

She'll be taking a class as well, but as the local selection is somewhat limited, I don't need any suggestions for what classes to take.
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Old April 29, 2013, 09:10 AM   #19
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Another "She needs to choose it" response, with a couple of embellishments.

If you can find a Beretta PX4, especially a compact, for her to try, it deserves to be on your list for evaluation. My daughter owns one, and my wife and other daughter are both jealous. (Actually, so is my son-in-law.) Very easy pistol to shoot well, because the rotating barrel tames recoil considerably and the grips are nicely formed in three sizes. It is a little chunky, enough that it might be harder to conceal, but boy is it a good shooter.

My other comment is that revolvers seem to be recommended for women way more than women pick revolvers for themselves. My wife and both my daughters find concealable revolvers to be frustrating because of the heavy triggers and the recoil, both of which affect accuracy. Broad brush, I know, but it takes more than pink grips to make a handgun a "woman's gun."
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Old April 29, 2013, 09:28 AM   #20
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When friends went lion hunting using dogs, and they succeeded in treeing a cat, the cat was easily dispatched with a 38. A treed cat would about the same distance you are talking about. Also, if that cartridge in the right gun is what your wife is comfortable shooting, then that is what she needs.

Better a solid hit or two from a 38 than a loud miss from a 44.....
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:27 AM   #21
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We went to a range that rented guns to find my wife a semi auto we tried 5 different ones she was interested in, she is 5' 1" with small hands she ended up liking the Beretta 92A1.

It was interesting some of the guns she liked in the store she did not like the way they shoot.

Her favorite gun is a J frame S&W.
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Old April 29, 2013, 04:02 PM   #22
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S & W Model 10. My 5' 3" wife loves this revolver. Fits her smaller hands, points easily, has a 4" barrel for sighting.

If it's for mountain lions, though, I would recommend a rifle or shotgun. Ain't no way Missy is going to take down a cat with a handgun without a LOT of training.
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Old April 29, 2013, 04:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
We went to a range that rented guns to find my wife a semi auto we tried 5 different ones she was interested in, she is 5' 1" with small hands she ended up liking the Beretta 92A1.
Do you know the reason she liked the Beretta over other semi's? My Beretta 92 series pistols are some of the easiest semi's to rack the slide, very reliable, and accurate. While large it is probably no more difficult to carry than many others.

When hiking in the CO Rockies, with a good population of cats, I was comfortable with what I carried down in the Denver area, which was often my 9MM CZ-75D PCR or Browning Hi Power. A Beretta would be just as good.
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Old April 29, 2013, 06:04 PM   #24
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Do you know the reason she liked the Beretta over other semi's? My Beretta 92 series pistols are some of the easiest semi's to rack the slide, very reliable, and accurate. While large it is probably no more difficult to carry than many others.

When hiking in the CO Rockies, with a good population of cats, I was comfortable with what I carried down in the Denver area, which was often my 9MM CZ-75D PCR or Browning Hi Power. A Beretta would be just as good.
She liked the feel of it, the curves, the actions, she also liked it was metal and the way it shot.

I recently got a 96A1 and she really liked the feel in the store but at the range the recoil was to strong to be enjoyable for her, so we went on a mission to find her a semi auto and she ended up liking the 92A1.

I do like the Berettas so far, I had a Taurus that was basically the same but very inaccurate but I always loved the design, so I am happy to have the design in better quality and accuracy. They are large to carry concealed I usually carry a S&W 686 2” in bear country that is large also so I am thinking about a S&W 5shot J frame for better concealment around the city.

I do spend a good amount of time in mt lion country I like to explore the nooks and crevices of the redrocks around the front range. I have had some hair raising experiences with cats but I am much more scared of bears and usually don't carry a gun for cats. I might start carrying a stout walking stick in a couple of places(not that it would kill them but more of a deterrent). One of the biggest animal problems I have had so far is aggressive moose.
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Old April 29, 2013, 07:38 PM   #25
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I'm a fan of the bigger calibers, but whatever you do, make sure you can buy ammo locally for it.
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