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Female gun recommendations

BrittBritt Posts: 1 New Member
Hi, I am trying to find a gun that is small enough to be comfortable to shoot but a large enough caliber for self defense.

I've tried a .22 pistol (easy to shoot but doesn't have a lot of stopping power) a .38 special (bulky/harder to hold and left me with a bone bruise on my thumb) and a .380 pistol (size/kick was alright but the S&W jammed 5 times in less than an hour and every casing came back and hit me on the face/chest).

I'm not sure where to go from here, any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

I have approximately a 7.5 in. hand circumference and prefer pistols to revolvers.

Thank you.


  • JayhawkerJayhawker Posts: 18,362 Senior Member
    At the outset, it sounds as if you need some coaching...as to a specific firearm until we know something about your shooting background it's going to be hard to help....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • zorbazorba Posts: 25,287 Senior Member
    I'd recommend going to a range that rents guns and trying/shooting as many as possible. You'll find one that works for you.

    My wife prefers revolvers as she doesn't like flying brass - but that's her and not necessarily you.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • bisleybisley Posts: 10,815 Senior Member
    If you do not have access to fundamental instruction, there are some pretty good books and videos that can give you a clue about proper grip techniques. The jamming with the .380 indicates a likelihood of 'limp-wristing,' which is simply not gripping the gun tightly enough and using your 'off' hand correctly to control it.

    Get some professional help if you have no one else that knows what they are talking about, and then shoot almost any self defense type gun and you should be able to control it. I've seen petite little females run circles around the boys, with a .45, so I know your problem must be technique.
  • earlyearly Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    If you're carrying it daily, it needs to meet your size requirements to be concealed, and will take some proper application to conquer recoil.

    If it's a house or vehicle gun, it can be larger and may be less of a problem to learn to control.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Posts: 4,324 Senior Member
    As others have said ...

    The first thing depends on your training level, if you are going at it with the intent of using is as a SD/HD firearm get some good training ... more than firing rounds at a stationary paper target. If you have a good instructor you'll likely get good suggestions from him but second thing don't go on just what a person tells you, especially a sales person, as said above go to a range and rent what you think might interest you. If friends or family have something see if you can invite them your treat for lunch and an hour at the range. Do not buy a firearm no matter how great a reputation it has unless if fit your hand, you can operate it without struggle and you like it. My wife went thru quite a few guns from mouse subcompacts to compacts to even a smallish full size revolver before she stole my Sunday go to church Gun (Sig P239). Luckily I already owned all but 1 of them. As to caliber ... training and mechanics allow even the smallish hands of many women to fire larger calibers as long as she hasn't been told to much she can't by a man. My wife prefers a 9mm but can run my .45acps pretty damn easy ... and handles an old S&W 29 .44mag pretty damn good as well but she worked her way there.
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • 10canyon5310canyon53 Posts: 2,122 Senior Member
  • Gene LGene L Posts: 12,817 Senior Member
    Can't help...all my guns are males. They're loud, lack compassion, and sometimes fire before you want them to.

    But for a female wanting a gun who fits her hand, given all the limitations, I'd try a S&W Shield. A single-stack 9mm.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ZeeZee Posts: 28,439 Senior Member

    You seem to be fitting sound advise so far. Stick around and keep us informed of your progress.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Posts: 9,874 Senior Member
    .38 Special ammo varies GREATLY in terms of velocity and bullet weight, and .38 Special revolvers can vary GREATLY in grip size and weight. All those variables will cause the recoil to range from virtually none to quite a bit.

    If you're looking for a HOME gun and have small hands, Look at a 4.2" barrel Ruger SP-101. These are chambered for .357 Magnum which can also shoot the lighter, shorter .38 Special round. It's an all-steel 5-shot that has some weight to absorb the kick.

    Carry gun - S&W 640-1. Hammerless .357 with a 2.25" barrel. All stainless steel, so will kick less than the alloy framed lightweights.

    Glock 43 9mm also would be good for house or carry.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • zorbazorba Posts: 25,287 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    Glock 43 9mm also would be good for house or carry.

    And the Ruger LC9s.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • AxeAxe Posts: 421 Member
    anything 9mm and single stack will be a good start for you. My daughter has small hands and she shoots revolvers well enough. May be a good place to start.
  • john9001john9001 Posts: 668 Senior Member
    Welcome, you are getting good advice here, you need a gun you are comfortable shooting and carrying, good luck on your search.
  • neosamneosam Posts: 28 New Member
    I also recommend that you visit a local gun store that offers classes.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    SIGgal wrote: »
    Yay, another girl lol. Welcome to the nut house! I came here for similar reasons. I am petite with small hands, and every gun I have had a chance to shoot was too large in grip size, or just hurt from recoil. Alot of information to consider tho, and the general opinion tends to be towards the .38, 9mm and .32S&W.
    Dont think anyone recommended 32S&W, I hope not. A 32ACP loaded right with decent factory offerings would be OK, or at least better than a sharp stick.

    As to the OP. If you can shoot a 22 well and it is a home defense gun, use it. At least until you get enough experience that you can handle something larger. One of the first things you need to understand about any gun small enough to be concealed and fired in one hand for the avg person, there is no such thing as "stopping power" like in the movies. The idea is to put enough holes in the target that the target decides that it is tired of receiving holes and is convinced that it is time to stop. Bigger holes should make the decision quicker, but there is no phaser out there that is a guaranteed one shot stop.

    If you bruised your hand on a 38,,,, I am guessing you were shooting a airweight snubbie with heavy for cal bullets and dont have a lot of experience or a good coach. That is re-enforced by the 380 experiance. I took my daughter out for a range session, her first with handguns, and I had her shooting a 1911 45acp and a 357 with 125gr bullets within the hour and hitting a 12 in steel target at 20 yards more often than not. There was a day or 5 of familiarization before we ever put a round downrange.

    And BTW, cute puppy.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Posts: 2,614 Senior Member
    Welcome to the Jungle. Please leave all ninja gear at the door.

    Also, welcome to the shooting community. The advice you've seen so far in this thread is as sound as it gets. Use it, and keep us posted on how it's going.
    Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.
  • TugarTugar Posts: 2,479 Senior Member
    I would also caution against going TOO small. A compact will be slightly larger but can be MUCH easier to shoot well than it's smaller cousin the subcompact.

    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Posts: 1,720 Senior Member
    Britt, Welcome to the mad house. I know that you prefer semi automatics but I recommend that you consider a revolver instead, for several reasons. There is no safety to worry about engaging or disengaging, the trigger pull is identical for each round. All you have to remember is point the gun at the bad guy and pull the trigger. I recommend that you continue to pull the trigger until you hear a click instead of a bang, or he falls to the floor or runs out the door. When you are asked why you shot 6 times, tell the nice officer that you don't remember how many times you fired because you were scared..........robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    Darn newbie playing Dr Frankenstien again
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • NNNN Posts: 25,236 Senior Member
    Welcome aboard.

    Try a Bersa Thunder .380. Granted it is a small cartridge; but, if the .38 was too much, I suspect any more powerful cartridge in a small gun will be a problem for you.

    Also, be sure your not limp wristing.

    Clean can't shoot any thing with much recoil----she did like the Bersa. No brass in the chest or jamming.

    Her hand is small like yours.
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    Guys. August.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • earlyearly Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    I recommend that all eligible females have guns.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
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