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Ladies Defense gun recommendations?

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  • sillysoundefx

    New Member
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    Mar 23, 2008
    North Dallas
    Hey all, hope this hasn't been asked before. The search got zero hits so...
    I just turned 21, and I've decided to take advantage of my second amendment rights and buy a hand gun.:D I have no experience with guns (My father quit Remington Europe when I was too young to care) and, if it's not too much trouble, I would like some suggestions on what experts think is suitable. I've read a bit on the internet, and the whole "double action" etc. is a bit hard to understand. I'm a very small woman (only about 94 pounds) so too much kick will knock me over. I'm buying for defense, so I want something sure and accurate, and I also plan to practice, practice, practice at the range until I get it right. So perhaps something too small wouldn't work either. Thank you very much for your time and help!:)


    Active Member
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    Feb 29, 2008
    Welcome to the forum!

    Unfortunately a general question is going to net a general answer....

    How much shooting experience do you have? Have you ever fired a handgun? A rifle? A shotgun? If you have fired any of these before, tell us everything you remember about the experience.

    It sounds like you're angling towards a handgun. You're already heading towards the right direction - accuracy. To a certain extent, accuracy is more important than caliber. 9mm (aka 9mm Luger, 9mmx21mm, and 9mm Parabellum) is an excellent starter cartridge that's inexpensive, readily available, has manageable recoil in most pistols, and has sufficient stopping power should you need it.

    A larger handgun will typically have more mass to absorb recoil, a longer sight radius for greater accuracy, and greater magazine (ammunition) capacity. A smaller pistol might be somewhat easier to handle and is easier to conceal.

    Which handgun to pick is something you will have to choose for yourself. There is no one size fits all. The best advice anyone can give is to try everything that you think you will like and go with what works best for you. Glock, Springfield Armory's XD line, Walther, Steyr, H&K, Ruger, CZ, Beretta, Smith & Wesson's M&P Series, and Sig Sauer all make good pistols.

    Double-action is something that applies more to a revolver (think cowboy guns in western films) than a pistol (think a modern handgun that is fed rounds through a magazine in the handle). In simple terms, a double-action revolver cocks the hammer and fires the weapon with each pull of the trigger; a single-action revolver only fires the weapon after the hammer has been manually cocked.

    Let us know if you have any specific questions!


    TGT Addict
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    May 29, 2017
    Austin, TX
    Hi Micah, welcome to the forum.

    I'm 23, so we're not all a bunch of old guys. :P

    What I would suggest, before making a purchase, is to get with some friends that have guns, or go to a range that has rental guns and try out a few. They will instruct you on how to operate it, and about the basic safety rules.

    I would start with a .22 caliber pistol to get a feel for how a gun runs, or operates. The .22 is a really soft, relatively quiet pistol round and is great for new learners like yourself. Once you've gotten the swing of that, on the same day, move up to something in 9mm, .380, or .32. I would stay away from .45, .40, and .357 Sig, these are all pretty powerful rounds for a pistol and produce alot of felt kick. The step up will be very noticeable, as this is, at least in my opinion, the base caliber range for a defensive weapon.

    One of the things people new to guns do is they do not hold onto the firearm very well, and this is increased by their instinct to get away from the loud noise. It takes a little range time to get used to the noise, so don't worry. Focus on holding the gun nice and firm, and slowly pulling back on the trigger. Keep easing back on it, slowly adding pressure, until the shot breaks. At this point you are trying to feel out the gun, I wouldn't worry too much about accuracy, focus more on how it feels to you.

    Kinda like with shoes when you're a kid, you'll grow into the more powerful calibers as you learn to control the weapon. It's a very short adjustment period. Don't let your physical size cloud your mind either. Shooting is very much about proper form, so if you can conform to proper form you'll find that you can control alot of gun.

    Since you probably have small hands I would look into the Glock G26. It's a small pistol, so it's easy to conceal, and would probably fit your hand pretty well. The downside to the smaller pistols is that they can kick a little more, but you can learn to control this.

    Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions :)


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    Mar 16, 2008
    Houston Metro Area
    Active Shooter or Not

    If you are not a active shooter and don't plan to be a revolver is much easier to learn to shoot with and may be what you are looking for. A .38 snub nose revolver might fit your needs well. If not the Glock 26 and 27 semiauto pistols are also a great little gun and easy to learn and train with.

    Best of luck


    Rating - 0%
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    Mar 22, 2008
    My wife is also a 'small" woman and doesn't have a lot of strength in her hands. Therefore she has trouble racking the slide of a semi-auto pistol. She however can shoot a small revolver with no problems. She hits what she aims at so only having 5 or 6 rounds isn't a problem either! Like others here have stated, go to a shooting range that rents guns to shoot and have someone show you how to work different types of handguns and see what you are comfortable shooting. Don't get in a hurry and end up buying a gun you aren't happy with and are hesitant to use!
    Let us know what happens.


    Rating - 0%
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    Mar 9, 2008
    A .38 snub nose revolver might fit your needs well.

    +1. You might take a look at the S&W 642 airweight line. The .38 is a viable cartridge and the recoil won't knock you over. Plus, it weighs less than a pound unloaded. They're offered in double-action (either pull the trigger, hammer down, or cock the hammer and pull the trigger; i.e. "double" or "two" actions) or double action only (hammer cock disabled or no visible hammer).

    As to accuracy and reliability, it meets its intention. If you're looking for a target pistol or what some call a "tack driver", this ain't it.

    You might also consider taking lessons at a reputable range until you feel comfortable with your new hobby.


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    Mar 4, 2008
    My wife started with a 4" revolver and is now shooting a Colt 45.She liked the revolver as the kick was less than the 38 snub I had.She likes the 45 compact and is a great shot.


    New Member
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    Mar 21, 2008
    DFW, Texas
    I'll second the .38 snub nose. It's a great defense handgun. If you can, go to your local store and try racking a slide on a few handguns. I went to get my wife a .38 and she ended up coming home with a XD9 Service model.


    TGT Supporter
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    Feb 21, 2008
    Austin, TX
    If you haven't shot or handled any guns, I would first recommend going to a gun store and or shooting range that has rentals. First off I'd recommend just handling several different guns and try to find something that feels comfortable to you. I feel that being comfortable with the way a handgun sits in your hand is a very important factor. After that, I'd recommend renting that type of gun you decide feels comfortable as well as a few others. I would start off with small calibers of 9mm (9x19mm) or smaller. As others have said, something in .22lr (.22 long rifle) is excellent to start off with as ammo is very cheap and sound/recoil are easy for anyone to manage.

    I personally would recommend working your way up to a larger caliber for self defense purposes, as larger calibers will provide you a better possibility of disabling an attacker. That doesn't mean you have to work your way up to a .44 magnum or anything, but something in a centerfire cartridge like a 9mm (9x19mm) is a BIG step up from the small .22lr. Even 9x19mm provides very good ballistics with the advances in bullet technology in the past decade or so. God forbid you ever have to be in that sort of situation, but if you do every little bit of help you get from the ballistic properties of a slightly larger bullet means you are that much more likely to disable the attacker. Though some feel very comfortable with their .22lr handguns and bigger stuff can be hard for some people to use (too large, too much recoil, etc), and I feel that being comfortable with a self defense gun is a very important thing to consider.

    Micah, I see you mentioned you have no experience with guns. If any of the terminology any of us has used doesn't make any sense, please let us know as I'm sure all of us would be glad to elaborate on anything you might not be familiar with or might not understand. :)
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