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Old April 28, 2019, 01:40 PM   #1
JohnKSa
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Ladies Pistol Project 3

Informative writeup in the May 2019 American Rifleman Magazine.

68 female shooters, ranging in age from 25 to 76, and with similarly wide-ranging levels of experience took place in the project.

They fired 26, currently available, self-defense oriented firearms, chambered in .380ACP, 9mm, and 357Mag/.38Sp, and rated them for various parameters such as ergonomics, recoil manageability, magazine loading difficulty, ease of operation of controls, etc.

The S&W M&P380 Shield EZ topped the list with a nearly perfect score (96.6%), runner up was the Glock 19G5, followed by the SIG P238. SIG also took 6th and 10th with the P365 and the SP2022, respectively. Walther managed an 8th place finish with its CCP M2 and the Ruger Security-9 managed to squeak into the top 10 with a 9th place finish. The remainder of the top 10 guns were Glocks, with the 42, 17G4, and 43 taking 4th, 5th and 7th, in that order.

What's interesting is that although 4 revolvers were tested, the top finisher came in only 17th. The top wheelgun finisher was the 3" GP100, also the largest revolver in the test. The smallest revolver tested, a S&W Bodyguard in .38Spl came in dead last in the test, scoring 26th out of 26.

We talk a lot about what we believe constitutes ease of use when it comes to firearms, and the "common wisdom" says revolvers top the list in that respect. Real world testing doesn't seem to bear that out.
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Old April 28, 2019, 01:57 PM   #2
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Thanks for the head up. If you go to http://blog.krtraining.com/ and look for the Girls with a Gun Conference, there's similar info.

Here's a link to the American Rifleman article: https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...ect-3-results/

A quote for guys who post : What gun should I get for my ....

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“Most women generally want to learn more about firearms and don’t want to rely on their husbands. It helps they are surrounded by other women.”
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Old April 28, 2019, 03:08 PM   #3
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The top 4 are really no surprise to me, they are mid-size pistols, most in .380 and how can you really say much bad about the Glock 19?

It seems the trend is for pistols that fit the hand and controllable recoil.
I learned from the advertising as I got to that article that there are now FOUR Performance Center M&P Shield .380 EZs that are ported and milled out, flat triggers and improved sights, and a dandy little cleaning kit and an msrp of $510. Now when will they make me a long slide version?

The choice of pistols was curious to me. Where is my inexpensive but favorite Bersa Thunder? There the Walther CCP M2 is, around here that’s fairly uncommon.

It leads me to wonder how a nice Walther P22 would have scored, or a buckmark with a dot sight in it.

The purpose of the event was to encourage women to shoot for self defense yet it seems the scoring was based on enjoyable sport shooting. That’s fine with me... the more people at the range, the better! I’m retired and do other stuff on the weekends!
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Old April 28, 2019, 03:30 PM   #4
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Another thing I noticed is that there were a lot of pistols NOT on the list. Obviously, there are dozens of pistols and you can't test them all. Still, the 'results' are limited to the guns tested.
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Old April 28, 2019, 03:59 PM   #5
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The choice of pistols was curious to me. Where is my inexpensive but favorite Bersa Thunder? There the Walther CCP M2 is, around here that’s fairly uncommon.
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Another thing I noticed is that there were a lot of pistols NOT on the list.
Bizarre how that works, isn't it. If you can't test all of them, you have to choose the ones to test and then the ones you don't choose don't get tested.

Yes, it's almost certain (and I suspect we all have a pretty good idea why this is true) that in any real-world testing, there will be many, many more models that don't get tested than models that do get tested.

According to the article, here's how the guns were chosen:

"Handguns selected for the LPP3 came from trying 2018's new models, while retaining some popular models from previous LPPs, and adding others Worthy and Jackson <the two persons, Casey Jackson and Donna Worthy, who set up the test> had deemed popular among their female clientele."
I know that the following paragraph is going to sound pretty smart alec, but that's really not how I intend it.

I am positive that the gun community would welcome the results of other similar tests if they could be run with different models included. If there are models you believe should have been included, get together a decent selection (say 2 dozen firearms that fit the general category) and a good cross section of the female population (say 50-100 shooters) and run your own test. YES, I understand that this is not a small undertaking and it may well be outside the capability of some, but with some effort it seems within the realm of possibility for a motivated person who either has, or is willing to make some connections and organize the test.
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Old April 28, 2019, 07:51 PM   #6
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Revolvers advantages tend to rely on the idea that they are easier to operate, less prone to failure, and can generally chamber more powerful cartridges

Easier is suspect. They are likely less familiar to most people in today’s culture and absent a hand strength issue the advantage of not racking a slide is over thought. My wife insists a semi auto is easier to operate

Prone to failure is relative. Outside of induced failures most modern semis are boringly reliable

More powerful is suspect. Yes the rally big boys like the 460 have no common rival but even the beloved 357 is challenged by the 10MM and I defy anyone to show me a 357 the size of a G29 that is as easy to handle

Face it. The revolver is you “grand daddy’s gun”. Yes I’m transitioning back to one (injuries to me left arm / hand make slide manipulation under stress suspect) but for most people they are obsolete and more expensive than entry level pistols from the same manufacturer

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Old April 29, 2019, 12:44 AM   #7
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I keep revolvers stashed around the house because my wife and daughter do not care any more to go to the range. the revolver is either loaded and ready to fire or it is not. for them, to pick up, aim/point and pull the trigger without worry about a safety or a limp wrist failure or anything else is key for them.
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Old April 29, 2019, 07:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JERRYS. View Post
I keep revolvers stashed around the house because my wife and daughter do not care any more to go to the range. the revolver is either loaded and ready to fire or it is not. for them, to pick up, aim/point and pull the trigger without worry about a safety or a limp wrist failure or anything else is key for them.
Agree..My daughter-in-law, walking to her car after dark, is going to CCW..and she 'opted' for a M380 revolver vs a Glock 42 because of the simplicity.
She is not a frequent shooter, doesn't go to the range..has enough experience to know the revolver but not a recreational shooter.
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Old April 29, 2019, 03:02 PM   #9
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The top 4 are really no surprise to me, they are mid-size pistols, most in .380 and how can you really say much bad about the Glock 19?
The Sig P238 was in there - very small pistol. It impresses me that it scored as well as it did, among some considerably larger pistols.

I will admit to a bit of bias. It was my wife's first choice as a concealed carry pistol. I later got one for a pocket pistol, as well.
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Old April 29, 2019, 09:39 PM   #10
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As far as revolvers, the selection pool was a little strange. It looks like the LCR, SP101, normal J-frames, and K-frames were all absent but hey, they had a Chiappa Rhino. Of the ladies in my life who carry, all but one carry an absent revolver. The odd lady out carries a Shield.

It's worth noting that my wife prefers revolvers for aesthetic and sentimental reasons. They are prettier. They make her happy. They undoubtedly strike a chord with various eras of fiction and history she enjoys in books and on the screen. Whatever the case, she enjoys shooting them and she shoots them well.
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Old May 2, 2019, 03:03 PM   #11
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Interesting. I guess all the women in my extended family are atypical. They all preferred some version of the little S&W 5-shot revolver......
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Old May 2, 2019, 03:38 PM   #12
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FWIW, Wife Unit has RA, and thus has problems racking slides and loading magazines. That pretty much limits her to revolvers.
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Old May 2, 2019, 03:50 PM   #13
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The anecdotal evidence keeps rolling in... Lots of ladies prefer small revolvers that weren't included. How could that be?

This is a recurring problem with "studies", whether it be something benign like this gun test or the kinds of purposefully slanted academic "studies" used to push an agenda. We've always got to look at the particulars. Luckily, this one isn't behind a pay wall. =P
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Old May 2, 2019, 11:16 PM   #14
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women & guns

My wife's rationale for revolvers:
no problems with racking slide;
no need to practice malfunction drills;
if there's a failure to fire, just pull trigger again;
rounds in chamber are visible, thus easy to tell if loaded;
can leave loaded for eons, no fear re, magazine spring probs (if they exist);
no safety levers/decocking levers to fool with - just point and pull trigger;
likes shooting 38 spcl std or +P more than 9mm or 45.
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Old May 3, 2019, 01:08 AM   #15
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This is the third test of its kind. The results of previous tests may provide some useful information for those interested in how the guns in the previous tests were ranked since each LPP tested a different selection of handguns.

In addition, since one of the factors in gun selection for the LPP3 was how similar guns had performed in the previous testing, the previous results may provide some insight as to why certain guns were/weren't included in the LPP3.

A selection of revolvers were tested along with the rest of the firearms in the LPP1--the one that scored the highest was the largest one tested. The SIG P238 was ranked #1 in the LPP1 with the Walther CCP coming in second.
https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...istol-project/

The LPP2 did not test any revolvers. The Glock 19 finished first in the LPP2 with the SIG P238 coming in second.
https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...carry-pistols/
Quote:
FWIW, Wife Unit has RA, and thus has problems racking slides and loading magazines. That pretty much limits her to revolvers.
Mine has a similar medical issue with similar symptoms. She can't pull the DA trigger on a typical revolver unless she uses both index fingers, and after testing a number of revolvers, large and small, she absolutely refuses to shoot any more of them because the recoil causes her too much pain.

She tested a lot of revolvers because everywhere she went, she asked for advice (she knew nothing about handguns) and was advised by multiple gun shop clerks to buy a revolver. Rather than simply accepting the recommendations, she rented a wide variety of handguns (including the recommended revolvers) at rental ranges in the area.

She chose a locked breech, all steel, .380ACP pistol after testing a lot of different guns and has been very happy with it. I had absolutely no input into her choice because she did the testing and selected the gun before we met.

The DA revolver trigger pull issue is one I've run into with other shooters who have hand-strength issues. The ones who really don't have the hand strength to run a full-sized 9mm or or a locked-breech .380 also often don't have the hand strength to pull a DA revolver trigger properly. In fact, I've run into more than one shooter who can't pull a DA revolver trigger properly but can run the slide on at least some autopistols suitable for self-defense--although sometimes it takes teaching them a better technique for operating the slide than they have used in the past.

As far as loading magazines goes, the UPLULA makes the task much easier.
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Old May 3, 2019, 05:38 AM   #16
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The smallest revolver tested, a S&W Bodyguard in .38Spl came in dead last in the test, scoring 26th out of 26.
So size does matter.
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Old May 3, 2019, 09:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
The DA revolver trigger pull issue is one I've run into with other shooters who have hand-strength issues. The ones who really don't have the hand strength to run a full-sized 9mm or or a locked-breech .380 also often don't have the hand strength to pull a DA revolver trigger properly.
@JohnKSa, great post. You made a bunch of important points, but I want to emphasize the section above. It has always been bad advice to recommend double action revolvers for people with hand issues. Sometimes revolvers do work, but more often, the double action trigger turns out to be a big issue.

The best advice is that all hand and wrist issues are different, so a person with limitations needs to try different things, under the guidance of an instructor or coach, to find what works. Unfortunately, this approach is beyond the resources and skills of most gun store clerks.

For many people, a semi-auto where the slide is easy to rack is the best choice. The S&W Shield EZ and the Sig 238 are two reasonable examples.
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Old May 3, 2019, 10:21 AM   #18
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Thanks for posting this. It totally lines up with my own (somewhat limited) experience teaching my wife and her friends to shoot. They ALL hate revolvers.

So, I cringe every time I'm at the gun store and overhear a clerk telling a new female (or male) shooter that they recommend starting with a snub nose revolver as their first gun. Nobody (male/female/space alien) shoots those well without a TON of practice.

Incidentally, many female shooters I know seem to really like my Walther P99. I think the light trigger pull has something to do with it.
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Old May 3, 2019, 11:27 AM   #19
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One problem is, most women don't get into the Gun Culture and are not inclined to put in the time to make a good selection and learn to manage it.

Even so, most women still take instruction well. I did run into a friend's new wife recently who did not absorb the basics as well as I have come to expect.

I have seen several women with both index fingers on DA triggers.
I also know of a couple of women who figured out that it was a lot easier to make the shot if the revolver hammer were cocked. This led them to ADs in moments of stress, fortunately with no injury.
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Old May 3, 2019, 11:31 AM   #20
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One problem is, most women don't get into the Gun Culture and are not inclined to put in the time to make a good selection and learn to manage it.

Even so, most women still take instruction well. I did run into a friend's new wife recently who did not absorb the basics as well as I have come to expect.

I have seen several women with both index fingers on DA triggers.
I also know of a couple of women who figured out that it was a lot easier to make the shot if the revolver hammer were cocked. This led them to ADs in moments of stress, fortunately with no injury.
None of those issues are gender specific. The "old time" gun culture is getting smaller and smaller.
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Old May 3, 2019, 12:00 PM   #21
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It totally lines up with my own (somewhat limited) experience teaching my wife and her friends to shoot. They ALL hate revolvers.
If they all hate revolvers, then I'd say you didn't teach them properly.
No dig against you, but if they wind up hating revolvers, something wasn't done right. Prefer something other than a revolver, sure. Hate? no, hate means something was missed, or incorrectly presented.


I assume you're not one of the morons who gives a beginning shooter a .44 Mag as their first time with a revolver...are you??

I am old school in many ways, I think people should be taught to shoot, THEN move on to defensive shooting (and the guns best suited for that).

the survey was mildly interesting but their rankings don't mean squat to me. Might be of some value if you are looking to sell pistols to women. I'm not.

I too cringe when someone recommend a snub nose revolver (or a pocket size anything) to a beginner. Those guns are the most difficult of all guns to shoot well, and some are the most difficult to operate at all, for certain people.

Mom was a small woman, 4' 10 (and a half, damnit!!) wore size 3.5 ring (her High School Class ring would pass through my 8.5 class ring without touching), and she never weighed 110lbs in her life.

Dad got her a .25 auto. She couldn't rack the slide. She could manage to rack a 1911A1, if she cocked the hammer, first. She could do tolerably well with his S&W Model 28 (it had the original "magna" grips, the small ones), shooting SA. She never bothered with DA.

On the other hand, with HER pistol, she was deadly accurate, fast if she felt like it, and borderline amazing at her ability to hit small things and moving things, to the point neighbors and friends nicknamed her "Annie Oakley".

Her pistol was a Ruger Super Bearcat.

To contrast this, my wife's cousin came to visit, the 12yr old I had met a decade earlier had become an absolutely stunning 6' blonde to rival any model or actress you've ever seen. She showed up wearing cowboy boots, jeans that seem painted on, a very..snug shirt and a jean jacket. She asked in I had any 9mm ammo I could spare, she wanted to practice a bit while out in the country. She then produced a small 9mm seemingly out of thin air. And she shot it well, too. This was a lady who knew what she was about, and managed perfect CCW. To this day, I don't know where she wore that gun, and I did look! (carefully, )

I mention these two, as a couple of illustrations of the wide range of possible differences. I don't teach women to shoot, I don't teach men to shoot, I teach people to shoot and every one of them is different in some way.

If you are considering a pistol for a woman, don't go by anyone's "ranking" as to what is best, go with what she wants and feels best for her. If that happens to match somebody's study, fine. If it doesn't, also fine, and perhaps even better!
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Old May 3, 2019, 06:24 PM   #22
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No dig against you, but if they wind up hating revolvers, something wasn't done right. Prefer something other than a revolver, sure. Hate? no, hate means something was missed, or incorrectly presented.
Or it means that the gun couldn't be operated properly or caused the user pain.

My wife hates centerfire revolvers after shooting a number of them based on recommendations from well-meaning gun clerks. To this day, she refuses to shoot them at all because the recoil was so painful and because she can't operate the DA triggers properly.

On the other hand, after performing the same kinds of testing with semi-autos, under the same kinds of circumstances, she has chosen a number of centerfire semi-autos that she loves, and even competes with when her health allows.

And no, she's never fired any magnum revolvers (at least not with magnum ammo)--only the typical revolvers that we see commonly recommended for self-defense and carry.
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If you are considering a pistol for a woman, don't go by anyone's "ranking" as to what is best, go with what she wants and feels best for her.
That is exactly what the LPPs are all about. Shooters trying guns and seeing what works best and feels best for them.

Obviously, even if you look at the test results, not everyone agreed, but for a gun to score near the top or near the bottom of the rankings, there had to be some general level of agreement amongst a number of the shooters.

Does that mean that the results will be directly applicable to any single specific female shooter looking for a self-defense gun? Possibly, but not likely. But there is some useful information in there. If, as was the case with the P238, a gun consistently ranked very high on the list, that provides a useful place to start for a female shooter looking for a self-defense pistol.

Similarly, guns that consistently ranked near the bottom might not be the best starting point--especially for a person who is more interested in the goal than in the journey.

It is certainly true that a female shooter shouldn't buy a gun on the basis of nothing more than reading the LPP results (or gun store clerk recommendations, or LEO recommendations, or internet forum recommendations, or recommendations from friends who own guns, or recommendations from spouses or other family members)--there are a number of reasons why that could be a bad decision. But that doesn't mean that the results of the tests, or recommendations from various sources should be ignored or viewed as useless. Being able to narrow the focus a little bit at the beginning of a search can really save a lot of time, money and frustration.
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Old May 4, 2019, 12:01 PM   #23
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... Incidentally, many female shooters I know seem to really like my Walther P99. I think the light trigger pull has something to do with it.
This has been my experience as well. We occasionally get together with a few families at a friend's farm. Everyone brings a few guns and there is usually a Walther P99 in rotation. The wives and daughters all seem to like it and do well with it.

It isn't just that the trigger is relatively light. It's smooth. Treating it as DA/SA, I've described the double action as drawing a bow straight back. It has a unique and intuitive feel. The gun itself is ergonomic and relatively compact for a full-size. Despite working well in my larger hands, it fits smaller hands well too.
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Old May 4, 2019, 11:29 PM   #24
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What an interesting project. There are some missed opportunities though. I would have liked to see the scores categorized by experience with that type of handgun - something like: less than 10 range trips shooting a revolver, more than 10 range trips shooting a revolver. Or a category of pistol - sub-compact, compact, Full size.

This is why: Who here still carries / uses their first purchased pistol as their primary? As we learn more, we learn what we like and matters to us. And our needs change. What's the perception of a full size pistol versus a sub compact to a beginner shooter? How about to an expert? And if you shot semi-autos most of your life and this is your third time shooting a revolver, how are you going to rate it? Everything would feel funky.

The downside to the wide diversity of the participants without collecting specifics is a limit to applicability. We may be seeing the result of a preference for what the women were familiar with already just as much as what they experienced during the test.
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Old May 4, 2019, 11:38 PM   #25
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The second LPP (see the link in my earlier post) did report by experience level. I don't know why they didn't do that in LPP3.
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