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Old September 15, 2012, 09:43 AM   #26
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I just picked up a Beretta Nano. That might fit the bill for your needs.
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Old September 15, 2012, 09:52 AM   #27
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Well I suppose you could just fax us all an outline of your hands, and we could wrap the picture around various guns.

OR, you could go to a gun store and tell the salesperson you want to handle a lot of guns to see which one feels right in your hand.
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:07 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by lilcris
Kahr, the 1911 and the Walther PPS
I'm a 1911 guy, and I don't think a 1911 is going to do it for you. Try it, by all means, but I don't think so. If you do try one, be advised that there are multiple trigger lengths for 1911s, and most come from the factory with a medium or long trigger.

In 9mm, the Springfield EMP is a 1911-style pistol that has been shortened fore-to-aft between the trigger and the back of the frame by 1/8" to 3/16" -- of any 1911, I would expect that to be the one that's best suited to tiny hands.

There's also the Colt Mustang in .380 ACP (and the SIG P238, which is a clone of the Mustang). Not exactly a 1911, but similar in a very small package.

Then there are the small pistols from Kahr, Kel-Tec, and Ruger. All generally seem to get decent reviews. In addition to those, the shop at the range where I shoot sells a lot of Bersa .380s to women, and the owner says they virtulally never have any warranty repairs on them.
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:21 AM   #29
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Like some other responders, I would recommend you take another look at a .22 cal auto-pistol.

People who are eager to hurl hate at the .22 LR are curiously reluctant to stand up and take ten .22 rounds square in the chest.

In a home defense situation to some extent it depends on whom you're defending against. If there is someone specific who is trying to get in to get at YOU specifically, then perhaps a .12 ga shotgun makes a better choice.

But if you're scaring off the neighborhood meth head on a hot prowl, a few shots from anything would likely remind him that he has urgent business somewhere else.

As the others said above, a .22 LR that you can shoot very well, very accurately, and that you feel comfortable practicing with several times each month, is going to do you much more good than a larger caliber that kicks like a mule, is expensive to practice with, and that you're scared to shoot. A hit with anything beats a miss with a more optimal caliber. And as said above, any little tiny pistol is going to kick pretty good - its a function of physics.

There are all sorts of opinions out there, and some are better informed and more experienced than others. Regardless of which way you lean, recognize that using a firearm well also involves a psychological element that comes from knowing that you are proficient with whatever you select. Select something, then, that you can become very proficient with.

There is nothing wrong with a .22 LR pistol, if thats the pistol that lets you hit what you aim at every time, in light or darkness, whenever you need to.

Here is one to take a look at:

Just another opinion!

Best of luck to you.
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:22 AM   #30
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I think the suggestion for a 1911 may indeed be a good idea. It's a big gun but with the different triggers available for it you can get one with a short trigger that may let you be able to reach it even with the small hands. The grip is fairly big on them and yet on the thin side too so you may be able to make it work for you.

Once you have it in your hands, the bigness of the pistol makes it easier to shoot well as you'll have lots to hold on to. With a proper two thumbs forward and two palms against the grip, you may find that you can indeed shoot it well.

They sound like good suggestions to get a mouse gun, but there are detractors from guns with such a small frame. Increased recoil and muzzle rise are the big ones with accuracy problems following a close second. If you actually needed to protect yourself, being a small easy to carry gun would be one of your last concerns. At that point, being able to shoot under stress is the main concern. A large frame 1911 is easy to shoot well and so would be easier under stress also. Not many question the stopping power of a 45 ACP and there's a good reason for that. Perhaps a short trigger and a flat mainspring housing would make it shootable for you. As odd as it may sound, a large pistol may be what you need.

I also second the motion for a 22 pistol. Everyone should have a 22 pistol even if you do have a 1911 or whatever. That's the only two semi-autos I own in pistols. A Government model 45 and a 5.5" Ruger MK II.
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Old September 15, 2012, 11:01 AM   #31
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I don't usually recommend a .22LR for self defense, but the Beretta Neos has about the smallest grip I have come across in a pistol. I have taken lots of young women (friends of my daughters) shooting for the first time. Everybody can reach the trigger, everybody enjoys it, and everybody has some pretty immediate success with it (which has a lot to do with enjoying it).

The problem with larger calibers is that to get a pistol small enough for tiny hands, the overall size and mass of the pistol may very well make recoil objectionable.

One centerfire pistol you might consider is the Beretta PX4 Compact. It is interchangeable backstraps, and the smallest one may allow you to reach the trigger. If so, it also has a rotating barrel system that tames recoil pretty significantly.
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Old September 15, 2012, 11:09 AM   #32
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These are the two I got for my lady.

Aguila Blanca might be right about the 1911 but it was one of the first that pops into my head because MY girl loves hers but she isn't quite as small as you. Its big and heavy and soaks up the recoil of 9mm.

PM9 (this is a Pm7 cause I couldn't find a PM9, PM7s are .45s not 9mm and have different sights.)

Kahr T9

Also this isn't a great CCW persay but given your size and such I might make a Really good range gun because its big enough to enjoy shooting it at range. It feels great in hand.

This also popped into my head. It is a S&W model 60. J frame five shot .357 also can fire .38 specials less recoil, noise and cost. Hopefully you'll find that small boot grip to be comfortable.

The issue for you is while most smaller guns should fit you they are not especially fun or easy to shoot. For newer shooters I always try giving them a .22 then a heavier centerfire gun to start out. Sadly all three of these guns are not particularly cheap... But I hope it gives you some ideas.

Let us know what you decide!
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Last edited by Venom1956; September 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM.
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Old September 15, 2012, 11:14 AM   #33
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I have considered a .22, but I don't really want to have to buy another gun down the road. I've heard a .22 is terrible for home defense.
Biggest problem with a .22 is unreliable ammo, not its lack of power. Use CCI MiniMags and most of that problem goes away. It's still not a great defensive round, but it's not terrible. Longer barrel is better than shorter; .22LR is really a weak rifle cartridge.

You might try a Keltec K32, or a small .38 Special revolver (you can use wadcutter ammo to reduce the recoil), or a single-stack 9mm.

Good luck
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Last edited by zxcvbob; September 15, 2012 at 01:50 PM.
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Old September 15, 2012, 11:37 AM   #34
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I don't question the effectiveness of 22LR. I just question its reliability in a small semiautomatic pistol in defense situations.

I've had all sorts of plinkers over the years, none have been reliable for any situations outside of a range and no 22LR ammo has been, either.
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Old September 15, 2012, 12:05 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by lilcris View Post
...Please don't make me purchase a teeny tiny pink gun.

Thanks for the help!
Nothing wrong with a pink gun. What matters is what comes out the barrel and where they go.

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Old September 15, 2012, 12:12 PM   #36
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Smith & Wesson Airweight and a couple of speed loaders.
Then, practice, practice, practice.
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Old September 15, 2012, 01:45 PM   #37
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I will echo the statments of others.

DO NOT use a .22 lr for self defense.

It can be letal when shot placment is good. The problem is that rimfire rounds generaly are not anywhere near reliable enough for self defense. You don't want to get a "click" when you NEED a "bang".
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Old September 15, 2012, 01:54 PM   #38
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CCI MiniMags are reliable, and they are not light target rounds. I've never met a gun that didn't like them. I'm not sure they are reliable enough for an autoloader for self-defense. They might be, but I wouldn't want to depend on it

There is only one sound louder than a "BANG" when you didn't expect: its "click" when you were expecting a BANG. At least in a revolver you can just pull the trigger again.
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun"
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Old September 15, 2012, 02:19 PM   #39
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My advice would be to contact a local private gun range or club. This is where you will meet people who shoot. You'd be surprised how many women shoot for both self defense and for sport. The number of boys and girls attending shooting events are our club has been rising for a couple of years now. Public ranges can be really good or really bad depending on location and who's shooting.

If you find yourself unable to handle and fire specific firearms you might try going to youtube and watching video demonstrations of people actually shooting the weapons under recoil.

Also there are a number of firearm websites devoted to women and guns which might be of help.
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Old September 15, 2012, 02:26 PM   #40
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How about a Springfield 1911 EMP 9mm??

Racking the slide felt way easier than my current gun, finger reaches the trigger okay. Feels heavy enough to absorb recoil. Expensive though.
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Old September 15, 2012, 02:39 PM   #41
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Alternative: shotgun

Mentioned only once before is the web site

Mentioned a couple of times is the fact that a shotgun (consider a 20 gauge, which is lighter than a 12 gauge and hits much harder than any handgun suitable for home defense) is

1) easier to aim
2) MUCH more effective on the receiving end
3) is much less likely to have uncomfortable recoil
4) better suited for the tactics of a stationary defense (get in a defensible room or corner, call for backup - police- have shotgun aimed at the entry point and wait.
5) see post 43 for stuff I forgot

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; September 15, 2012 at 04:17 PM.
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Old September 15, 2012, 03:00 PM   #42
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Alternative: Ruger Bearcat. Here's the plan

The Ruger Bearcat is a gun I would recommend you look at. It is proportioned for the small hand and a used one should be quite affordable. When you want to move up to a centerfire, you will lose very little when (if) you sell it.

Why start with a 22 that is only marginally adequate for home defense?


Guys are proud of their guns. I guarantee if you show up at a range regularly, show safe gun handling skills, are attentive and approachable, you will be shown their favorites and given a chance to shoot many of them.

At a range, you will not be confronted with salesmen who will be trying to make a sale (which, since you have trouble reaching the trigger on the gun you were sold indicates you were dealing with the wrong clerk who did NOT have your best interests in mind).

Target practice with a 22 will develop skills most of which WILL transfer to centerfire guns (safe handling, sight alignment, trigger control, breath control, etc.) and are easier to learn without the distractions of the accompanying blast, noise and recoil of the larger calibers, for now.

Learning to shoot well and confidently requires a LOT of practice. 22 Ammunition is a tenth the cost of centerfire (at least in stores around here).

With the Ruger Bearcat (or possibly the Single-Six) which is (are) single-action revolvers, you will find it difficult to cock the hammer with one hand. But that is no problem, as you should be holding the gun with both hands and can use your off-hand thumb to cock the hammer and your primary hand to operate the trigger and both hands (fingers) to wrap around the grip.

Join the NRA and take one of their introductory classes.

Good luck. Welcome to the forum. Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep
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Old September 15, 2012, 03:15 PM   #43
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I have size 7.5 hands so I understand your plight a bit better than many. By really small I am guessing you have size 6 or even 5.5 hands.

1911 pistols...forget them too big. Double stack 9mm and 40 S&W also too big.

The biggest and closest to a full sized semiauto you should be looking at is a single stack 9mm. Even though a 40 S&W can be available in the same sized package, the recoil will most likely really put you off.

Go to your local gun range that has rentals available. It is worth the time and money to see what is available and take them for a test drive. The selection of smaller guns will probably be very limited but it is worth seeing what your options are.

Look into a Sig 239. You probably will have a bit of an issue with trigger reach in double action mode with the factory trigger (we'll get back to this). If you can get to the trigger in single action mode and it feels like something you would be interested in see if the shop offers any gun smithing services. SigArms offers a short trigger that costs about $30-40. This reduces the reach to the trigger in double action.

If the Sig is too big for you, then look at snub 38 revolvers and 380 pistols like the Bersa Thunder ( Article ).

If all else fails you can get a Mossberg 510 Mini Super Bantaam in either 20 gauge or 410. The stock has spacers so you can adjust the stock length from 10 1/2" to 11 1/2"....this will accommodate your shorter reach. If that is too small, then you move up to the 505 with a 12" length or a 500 Bantaam at 13". The wrist on the stocks of these are also reconfigured to get your trigger finger closer to the trigger.

A Buckshot load from a 410 will get a bad guys attention real quick.

Last edited by SHR970; September 15, 2012 at 03:23 PM.
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Old September 15, 2012, 03:53 PM   #44
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Size matters but... a well placed .22 shot is better than wild .44 or .50 shot

If you can't confidently and reliably control the weapon, then don't consider it.

A .22 that fits your hand well and allows you to consistently achieve a good shot placement is a significantly better choice than a larger weapon you're either afraid to rapid fire or can't control the weapon after the first shot.

Why is this important? Remember last month's NYC shoot out: 2 officers fired 16 shots, hitting 9 people.... These guys are supposedly professionals trained to fire under stress. Find a weapon where in a difficult situation you don't have to think about your grip.

And most importantly, take lessons.

Good luck.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:00 PM   #45
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S&W Lady Smith

Smith and Wesson makes a j-frame .38 that is built for smaller hands. Granted, I don't know just how small that may be. With a j-frame though, I'm sure you can search around for smaller grips that can be changed out with just a couple of screws. Best of luck on your search.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:08 PM   #46
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+1 to

+1 to going to shops and trying guns for size. Even better if those shops have ranges and rental guns.

If you have friends who are shooters, you might talk them into letting you try theirs. (I have been known to let people try mine on for size.)

I would also recommend a class or two, since you are new. One, with focus on firearm safety, and one with focus on gun handling, shooting, and stoppage clearing / troubleshooting.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:18 PM   #47
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Smith & Wesson Airweight and a couple of speed loaders.
Then, practice, practice, practice.
She asked for something heavy enough to tame recoil, and I wouldn't put a S&W Airweight in the hands of someone who asked for that. Heck, I don't think they are much fun myself. My wife and two daughters disliked mine severely.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:27 PM   #48
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A Bearcat is a fine suggestion. Guaranteed it will fit your small hands. I bought one for my kids when they were little and it was perfect for them. It is a single action though, that and a 22. But it's still a fine gun to have and shoot at the range. In a pinch you could press it into SD service I suppose, but a Bearcat is not my idea of a primary arm.

They are wonderfully light and compact and is the bridge between the NAA Mini-revos and full sized handguns.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:32 PM   #49
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I try to avoid recommending specific guns to people I do not know.

With regard to my 442 (J frame) I will say that I don't find it too punishing, if it has the right grips. I have the opposite problem from the OP - my hands are long. I could not get a good grip on the old, slim, banana style S&W grips. With those, the little gun hurt.

With the current iteration's thick rubber boot grips, or with CTC grips, it is much less unpleasant. My present 442 has some oversize Altamont woods, which also work.

Fit and shape matter, with regard to perceived recoil.

(Note, though, that in the subcompact category I would much prefer to shoot my PPS or PM9 over the 442.)
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Old September 15, 2012, 05:39 PM   #50
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Get a Ruger 10/22 rifle with a 25 round magazine. The longer barrel will increase the power of the .22 and what's not to like about 25 rounds. The new take down version is nice and light.
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