What are the best handguns for women? A common question for many.
When it comes to the often-sensitive topic of choosing the “best handguns for women,” there’s a mountain of heavily misdirected information out there. Funny things is, almost all of that information comes from husbands, brothers and dads who have nothing but the best intentions simply because they want nothing more than to have the special ladies in their life enjoy shooting.
When someone finds a new restaurant they like, the natural response is to recommend it to others. And, so it goes with handguns for women. A well-intending spouse finds a “sweet-shooting” gun that works exceptionally well for him and, naturally, he insists his wife or girlfriend will have the exact same experience.
The thing is, everyone has a unique palate. And when it comes to handguns, personal taste is important … but so is fit and feel.
Where To Start, When Searching For The Right Women’s Handgun
If you were expecting a list here … we’re sorry about that. There are manufacturers who give specific attention toward designing and marketing handguns for women, but that’s simply a place to start. For example, Smith & Wesson offers the Shield EZ, which is specifically designed for shooters wanting a gun with a slide that’s easier to manipulate and a magazine that’s easier to load. Sig’s P365 has quickly become a favorite handgun for women because of its high capacity in a very compact package—yet the gun has become equally as popular among male shooters for the exact same reason. But there’s a whole lot more that goes into finding the right handguns for women than reading the marketing material on the gun’s box:
Caliber: Most small handguns designed for carry for personal defense are chambered in .380 Auto or 9mm. The 9mm generally produces more felt recoil than a .380, but most 9mm handguns are larger, which helps mitigate that recoil.
Recoil: Even though the .380 is a smaller caliber, it’s common for a .380 in a very small gun to recoil harder than a 9mm in a slightly larger handgun. A bigger gun means less felt recoil, but a bigger gun can also be a more challenging handgun for women to conceal.
Size and weight: If goal is to find a handgun for women to carry concealed, size is a paramount consideration. If the gun is too big and cumbersome, it becomes tempting to leave at home …where it does absolutely no good. If the gun is small, it becomes easier to carry but often more challenging to shoot. Balance and personal fit are the keys to finding that middle ground.
Safety features: Handguns come with a variety of different safety feature options, yet all are designed to mitigate the likelihood of an accidental discharge. A grip safety, a manual safety or a combination of the two are most common, and each shooter should ensure their gun is equipped to handle their shooting preferences and skill level.
In a department store, the men’s and women’s clothing departments are separate for very obvious reasons: When it comes to clothing, men and women have very different needs. But when it comes to handguns, you won’t find separate men’s and women’s departments in a gun store. The best handguns for women depend entirely on her personal preferences and needs.
The Perfect ‘Give It A Try’ Environment
Stock & Barrel offers a myriad of co-ed classes for shooters of every skill and experience level, including small-class and one-on-one learning opportunities. The Stock & Barrel team also recognizes that ladies might feel intimidated in such an environment. To help alleviate those apprehensions, the entire team is hand-selected and trained to accommodate shooters who have never held a firearm before … but have the interest. In addition, multiple ladies-only learning opportunities are available:
Ladies’ Night Event: Every month, Stock & Barrel holds a special 2-hour “women-only” event designed for new and experienced female shooters. The goal is to create a fun and safe environment for female shooters to learn and ask questions about shooting and firearms, and the session begins with a short educational/training session and then to the shooting lanes for shooting and fun. The cost is a mere $15 and includes firearm rental. Show up with nothing more than a willingness to learn. Ladies’ Night rotates between our Eagan and Chanhassen location.
Empowerment Strategies for Women: Stock & Barrel also offers a very unique 1.5- hour “Empowerment Strategies for Women” course. The class teaches concepts such as living in a state of relaxed awareness, how to practice situational awareness, manipulations employed by predators, signs of an imminent attack, and how to turn the tables on the predator
Try and Test, Try and Test!
The only way to find the perfect handguns for women is to find a shooting range with a knowledgeable and trusted staff, “try a bunch on” and see what fits.
And when you find that perfect fit … you’ll know, but if you’d like some help along the way, you can always book a private lesson with us!