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Old May 27, 2013, 11:09 PM   #39
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Join Date: March 18, 2013
Location: Northeastern US
Posts: 1,107
There have been a lot of good points so far and you'll find some of them echoed in my advice:

She is going to need range time to get comfortable with shooting in general. This poses a challenge in that what makes a gun fun at the range and good for carry are not always the same attributes. You could ease her in with a good target .22 but most people consider that too light for reliable defense. That's why I'll suggest you explore the .32 family of firepower.

People might knock .32acp for its low power but it is a considerable boost from .22 without adding a ton of recoil. This caliber was popular with police, light security personnel, and as a civilian CCW up until recently. It was even the standard of James Bond. That being said, check out some used Walther PPs if you get a chance. CZ made some nice copies. I carried a CZ 70 for years and whenever I let a lady shoot it, they had no problem.

The CZ 70 is small enough for mild concealment but large enough for comfortable use. It is light enough to carry but heavy enough for stable shooting. The slide is fairly easy to rack. Once racked, the hammer can be safely dropped with the decocking safety. With the hammer down, it can be thumb-cocked for the first shot or started off double-action. The trigger pull on mine was neither too heavy to hate nor too light to fear. The default grips with the magazine lip also seem to comfortably fit a variety of hand sizes.

Of course, if you'd prefer the increased reliability of a revolver, snubs are still being made in the more potent .32 H&R Magnum. Charter Arms makes them in girly colors. Models with shrouded hammers are harder to find but do exist. An added benefit here is that if she finds the .32 magnums too snappy, you can also load .32 S&W Long or Short in these revolvers. I consider .32 long the bare minimum for defense but it makes for good practice. I suppose the shorts could be a stepping stone to the longs in terms of practice and comfort-development but I wouldn't trust my life to them.
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