First, let me disqualify and exempt myself from being a gun expert on what gun is specifically best for women. I chose to discuss 9 mm Luger or .380 ACP models for the semi-automatics, and nothing larger than .38 special for revolvers. The trigger pull on a semi-automatic is much easier for some women, as most revolvers are going to have anywhere from a 9 to 12-lb. trigger pull in double-action mode. The push/pull method works best with the semi-automatic.

When looking for a concealed carry handgun, you need to consider four very important factors: reliability, stopping power, wearability, and user friendliness. It is not uncommon for women to have a variety of pistols that conceal better with different wardrobe choices or activities.

I suggest LTC (CHL) holders buy a high-quality handgun they can shoot well and carry comfortably. It is a good idea to take your time and consider all the options before buying a handgun. You might want to rent different models of handguns at a range or shoot a friend’s handguns until you find the one that fits best for YOU.

It is not uncommon for women to arrive at the pistol range with the “wrong” gun. Most handguns women fired in their younger days had been designed, understandably, with a man in mind—huge slab-steel revolvers and M1911s—and, they were most definitely purchased by a man. Many handguns that women have today were borrowed from a man or a man recommended the gun for them to purchase. However, these days, thanks to the thousands of models on the market, it usually comes down to the gun’s intended purpose.

“The type of firearm that you end up purchasing is going to be vastly different depending on how you’re going to use that gun,” said Debbie Crews, NRA Range Manager. “Are you going to purchase a firearm to keep in your home for self-defense? Do you eventually want to carry concealed? Are you just getting a gun so you can go to the range and shoot recreationally?” These are questions all gun buyers must consider before deciding to buy any firearm.

There are several things to consider when buying a handgun for carry. Personal preference is a right as well as a responsibility, and one’s opinion and comfort level should neither be ignored nor the subject of negotiation. Comfort and function, trigger press, perceived recoil, or sights that don’t lend themselves to proper or consistent alignment, should be typical causes for dismissal. Consider: Is it small enough to be concealed properly?

The Walther CCP was Shooting Illustrated’s choice in 2016, the second year the award was given, and American Rifleman named the Springfield EMP4 its 2017 winner.

And what features did these two guns possess, with two entirely different operating systems—one a delayed-blowback, striker-fired, polymer-frame gun, the other an M1911-style hammer-fired pistol that had been sized for the 9 mm Luger cartridge—are they really great for women?

The Walther CCP has quite a few things going for it. In fact, it is hard to find anything most women don’t love about it. Most women like the pistol’s size, weight, recoil management, the textured grip and simply the fact they can shoot it well with good results. Remember, this is about the ability to shoot the gun.

The Glock 43 is tough and reliable. It is another good carry gun for those who want 9mm in a smaller frame, without the biting recoil of a small pocket gun. Its slim profile makes concealment easy. It has a lever-incorporated trigger safety, a firing pin safety and a drop safety. The GLOCK G43 pistol has a 6+1-round capacity and is at a good price point. The pistol is designed with a polymer frame grip with a built-in beavertail design. Holsters are easy to find as well as additional magazines pouches.

The Springfield EMP4 gives women some insight into the love affair that many men have had with the M1911 for more than 100 years. Although the textured wood stocks and the red fiber-optic front sights provided enough of an ergonomic advantage to push the gun into a running of favorites, it has the smooth press of the single-action trigger that leave them wanting more.

The Glock 42 has a dual recoil spring, which blows other.380s out of the water. This double-action pistol is reliable out of the box and has fewer jams than other .380s. It has a 6+1 magazine capacity and has a lever incorporated into the trigger to help prevent accidental firing. The polymer grip is great for women with small hands, and its slim, compact design is a plus for women who prefer form-fitting clothing and conceal on body.

The SIG Sauer P238 has earned a high overall rank. Ironically, the little SIG, a .380 ACP pocket pistol, has found favor with some ladies who have larger hands.  The .380 pistol features a stainless-steel slide with slide serrations and an anodized alloy 1911-style beavertail frame. It is single action with very little recoil that is very manageable despite its small size. The P238 is compact making it easy to conceal. It is lightweight with a single-stack 7+1 capacity, has an extended 7-round magazine capacity. The P238 is easy to manipulate by women who struggle with racking the slide or do not have a strong grip. It has an acceptable trigger and comes out-of-the-box with many upgraded options, including night sights that are removable and adjustable for windage.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.  The Shield is another of our favorite carry guns. This striker-fire double-action pistol is less than 1” thin, so it is very easy to conceal. The 9-round capacity and single-stack 9mm magazine provides a lot of rounds in small carry handgun. It features a Melonite barrel and steel, white dot, dovetailed sights with a good trigger, so it doesn’t require modifications or significant investment after its initial purchase. With a price point under $400, it is a great investment. The Shield is a very reliable pistol. It has thumb and striker safeties and is lightweight making it very attractive for concealed carry. The polymer grips have excellent ergonomics that are comfortable for most women. It is easy to control and has low recoil. It shoots like a full-size gun in a small, concealable package.

Springfield Armory XD-S.  The XD-S has a narrow frame that is easy to conceal. It is a single-action handgun with a polymer frame and a steel barrel and slide with a Melonite finish. It has trigger, grip, and firing pin safeties as well as a loaded chamber indicator. It has a 7-round flush-fit magazine and an 8-round extended magazine. The front sites allow for a quick sight alignment in low-light. It is easy to find a holster for the XD-S from most respected vendors.

How about consideration for revolvers? Smaller-frame revolvers have greater recoil. The larger-frame Smith & Wesson 67-5 may work for shooting. However, if you like a revolver for its reliability as a concealable wheelgun, then keep your revolver. Please consider the Chiefs Special. Bottom line is, before you buy a revolver, please shoot it first and then you make the decision.

In the article “The American Rifleman Ladies Pistol Project”, released August 21, 2017, they showed some preferred semi-automatic weapons by hand size.

Small Hands

  1. Walther CCP
  2. SIG Sauer P238
  3. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
  4. Glock 43
  5. Springfield EMP4

Medium Hands

  1. Bersa Thunder 9 Pro XT
  2. Walter CCP
  3. SIG Sauer P238
  4. Glock 43
  5. SIG Sauer P320 Compact

Large Hands

  1. SIG Sauer P238
  2. Heckler & Koch VP9
  3. Smith & Wesson 67-5
  4. SIG Sauer P320 Compact
  5. Browning 1911-380

In the article “Results: American Rifleman Ladies Pistol Project II—Concealed Carry Pistols, released September 8, 2017, they showed some uniquely different preferences.

Cumulative (All Hand Sizes):  

  1. Glock 19 (9 mm)
  2. SIG Sauer P238 (.380 ACP)
  3. H&K VP9SK (9 mm)
  4. Walther PPS M2 (9 mm)
  5. Glock 43 (9 mm) 

Small Hands:

  1. SIG Sauer P238 (.380 ACP)
  2. Glock 19
  3. Glock 42
  4. Bersa BP9cc)
  5. Ruger LCP II

Medium Hands: 

  1. Glock 19
  2. Glock 43
  3. Walther PPS M2
  4. H&K VP9SK
  5. SIG Sauer P238

Large Hands:

  1. Glock 19
  2. SIG Sauer P238
  3. SIG Sauer P938
  4. H&K VP9SK
  5. Springfield XD-S4”

The Glock 19 had the highest averages of the 24 pistols. Overall, the women showed an equal preference for the placement of features on the SIG Sauer P238, the Glock 19 and the SIG Sauer 938. For ease of use, the Glock 19 fared the highest. In terms of comfort and feel, the women chose the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield (Performance Center model), as well as the Walther PK380. The pistol that more women said they would purchase and carry is the Glock 19.

In both studies, the data shows that women prefer a larger handgun in terms of weight and barrel length. Thus, when fitting a handgun to a particular woman, consideration much be given to the specifications of a pistol as opposed to which specific pistol the women preferred.

Most women prefer semi-automatic pistols to revolvers, debunking one of the most common schools of thought about what constitutes the ideal firearm for a woman. Data also show a preference for striker-fired pistols, with barrel lengths between 3.25” to 4.2”, and pistol weights between 20 to 20 ozs.

Gift Certificates are available for public and private classes. We will assist you with the selection of your next handgun, taking into consideration all the above research.

Contact us