Tuesday, November 27, 2007

wish list

Bitter of The Bitch Girls has wondered what gun we'd ask Santa to put in our stocking this year. And since I am in the midst of shopping for my very own (& my first!) little boomstick, it's got me thinking of the features I want in a handgun. I kind of know what I want, what I feel comfortable shooting, but don't know what brands or models to look at specifically. So here is my letter to Santa. And, please, feel free to offer suggestions, especially you girls. I'd like to know what other women are carrying.

Dear Santa, I'd like:

1. a 9mm semi-auto
2. Safe. I'd like a safety plus a double action first shot, with single action subsequent shots.
3. Compact, easily concealable. This is me, wearing a .38 snubby and it seems huge and chunky. No likey.
4. Single stack magazine, to fit securely in my hand
5. Nonpolymer. I don't like the plastic feel of it, I don't like the weight of it. I'd prefer something a bit heavier, anyway, to absorb recoil.

Oh, and Santa? I know I talk about pink guns a lot, but I don't really mean it. However... if you really insist on getting me something pretty, something like this will do very nicely (and how!)

love, Breda

p.s. I've been a very good girl this year. Honest.


Clint said...

Okay, I'll jump on this one.

For an extremely reliable 9mm, I would recommend looking at some of the CZ line. I carry a P-01 day to day and Margie carries the CZ 83 which is actually a .380. I do not know if they make a single stack design but both are fairly compact. The 83 has an ambidextrous safety and the P-01 uses a decocker. I also own a CZ 75 retro that is my "best" semi-auto but the size makes it difficult to conceal. Here's a link to their site: CZ Handguns

You may find the rubber grips on the P-01 a bit tough on the skin under your shirt but I found a couple good suppliers that are very reasonable. Margie's picture on the People of the Gun site has her holding her 83 with custom grips as well. They really make the gun a showpiece.

I really like the CZ's a lot. They never jam, they're accurate, and they don't break the bank. I suspect I will own quite a few more within the coming years. I already have a .40 Compact on order.

Tam said...

Compact single-stack metal-frame DA/SA 9mm?

A)SIG P-239
B)S&W 3913/3913LS

Both are excellent, and are really the only pistols on the market that meet all of your criteria.

(PS: Hey Clint, CZ's are indeed nice guns, but they don't make any single stack 9mm pistols.)

(PPS: According to the First Rule of Internet Gun Fora, someone will be along shortly to say "Get a Glock!" When you post a question on what gun you should get, no matter how tightly you define your criteria people seem to respond as though you'd asked "What's your favorite gun?" It's weird.)

mikew said...

I'd recommend a Sig P225, but then I'm biased and a newb. Other than the heavy DA trigger I've never heard anyone say anything bad about them.

It meets your criteria, but I don't know if you were looking at used pistols.

srone said...

I hate to ask, but have you ever held or shot an East German Makarov. Metal Frame, 9x18mm (right between a 308 and a 9mm), single stack (8 round mag), DA/SA w/ decocker. Retails for about $325. For a cheaper version, the Bulgarian model is about $150, but it will need a little trigger work. I have both a Bulgarian and a E. German and they are great. The only complaint I have is the abbreviated mag size. I would really like Santa to bring me a CZ-82, same caliber with a 12 round mag.

Look on the following site, courtesy of Kim du Toit, for more info: www.gunthing.com and then scroll down a little and look on the left.

Good Luck.

Less said...

WHAT ABOUT A GLOCK?! (Just Kidding!)

I always found the SIGs, well, a touch clunky and big-ish...

I know this isn't the right caliber, but the wife seems to dig the Walther PPK; Small, single stack, DA/SA, steel frame.

Only downside is the fact that it is .380...

Sig makes the 232, which is almost the same without a safety and a Euro-Style mag release...

From the looks of that picture (which is pretty hot!) I'd venture to guess that if a .38 snub is "huge and chunky" a smaller .380 might really fit the bill.

Bitter said...

I would second Tam's suggestion of a Sig P239. It's my carry gun and I love it. It was also my first gun.

I have to admit that on the rare occasion I do carry, it's in my Coronado purse, not on my body. I haven't found a comfortable way to carry on my person, so I opt for purse carry. There's no imprint or anything. It's got enough weight for me to know when it's there and to absorb some recoil.

Robb Allen said...

You're lucky. If I were to peel up my shirt to show off my firearm, Santa would probably end up bringing me a copy of "Abs of Steel" on DVD instead.

The Duck said...

Smith also had the compact single stack 439

Jack Gordon said...

I think a Beretta 92 Compact Type-M, if you could find one, would fit all your criteria. That said, in my experience a j-frame revolver prints far less than even the small semi-autos, regardless of "feel." Just my $0.02.

Arcticelf said...

I'd second Lady Tam's suggestions. With the caveat that if the S&W is too big and clunky the sig likely will be too.

One comment on the .38: take the laser grip off and put the small Houge grip on, the one that only gets 3.5 fingers on the gun, it may make a difference (in how it conceals) you may not like the difference it makes in handling the gun.

You might also check out Kahr arms: http://www.kahr.com/PA-1_9mm_mk.html

They make an pretty good gun, I know some one who uses one to great effect for IDPA. I prefer their polymer frame to the metal, but you have have either (both perhaps:).

Finally I'll violate your caliber request and suggest the LWSeecamp .380ACP http://seecamp.com/photos.htm Its seriously small, and probably mean as hell to shoot, but its small.

Good luck.

Wild Deuce said...

My wife carries (in order from most frequently carried to least frequently carried):

1) S&W 442 with Speer GDHP (Short Barrel) 135gr .38 Special +P.

2) S&W 340PD with Speer GDHP (Short Barrel) 135gr .38 Special +P.

3) Springfield Armory EMP with Federal Premium 124gr HST 9mm

The J-Frames are her favorite because they slip into her pocket and only require a pocket holster. They are also equipped with CTC Lasergrips. These guns do require a complete and total commitment to regular training due to their size. Certainly all defensive firearms require training but sometimes people have expectations of a snubby that can only be met with committed training.

I've been reading your blog for a little while and it seems that you have been around firearms for a little while at least. Still, I will warn you to beware of the salesperson that looks at you and treats you like your head is empty simply because of your gender.

If you want to ask about her firearms, let me know and I will supply my wife's email or phone number. Hopefully you have someone physically closer that can save you the grief and expense we went through before settling on our carry weapons.

Mulliga said...

I think most here would agree that more safeties do not make a gun more safe. Decocker-only DA/SA guns are perfectly serviceable IMHO - I think a manual safety on these guns is redundant.

In my experience, almost none of the guns people have mentioned are smaller than a .38 snubby with boot grips. A SIG P239, while a fine gun, is not as easy to carry in a pocket or small purse (10 ounces heavier, and bigger in almost all dimensions). An alloy framed snubby should also feel almost weightless in a typical belt holster (or even an exotic holster - like a shoulder, belly band, or ankle holster).

I carry a CZ P-01 and a S&W 642 snubby, both great guns, BTW.

Wild Deuce said...

I wanted to add that I did see you wearing a snubby and I did see that you have mentioned previously that you own one. I was just listing what my wife carries (you asked). I stressed the training issue because my wife also wanted "something else" and we ended up buying a few other guns before she came full circle and decided to stick with the snubbies. The EMP was one of those "AHHHH" moments. She loved it the instant she picked it up. When concealment and "printing" are not an issue, this is the gun that rides on her hip. There's more to this EMP but I will not burn up your blog with endless typing.

Trebor said...

I agree with Tam (of course).

The Sig 239 or S&W 3913 really meet your criteria the best.

The Sig 239 is available as a DA/SA with a decocker or in a double-action only version called the "DAK" version.

On the DA/SA 239 the decocker is a decocker only. There is no manual safety. You really don't need one though as the first DA trigger pull is long and heavy enough to prevent an unwanted discharge.

On the DAK version of the 239 there is no decocker as the hammer automatically decocks with every shot.

The S&W 3913 is a DA/SA with a "decocking safety" mounted on the slide. After loading a round you move the "safety/decock" lever DOWN to lower the hammer and put the pistol on "Safe." To fire, you must first push the lever UP to "Fire."

Many shooters find that counter intuitive and awkward when compared to a frame mounted safety (like on a 1911) that goes DOWN for "Fire."

I have a 239 in 9mm and it's a good gun. It's definitely worth considering if it fits your hands.

Trebor said...

Btw, have you checked out Pax's site at:


It's a great resource for gun stuff for women, and men.

Roberta X said...

I tend to carry [cheap older guns] classics, but they come close to fitting your criteria.

* A Colt Pony Pocketlight (.380) is my most-common carry. Small, single-stack, but DAO and it has no safety. (Other than your trained reflexes!) Trigger pull is heavy but smooth. This is the nicest pocket .380 I have shot, period.

* Stars, the BKM (9mm Para.) and PD (.45 ACP): small, single-stack, very effective safety, controls operate like a 1911 but the mechanism locks the hammer. Like a 1911, carried cocked'n'locked.

These are not modern designs but have been very reliable for me at the range. All have aluminum frames. When the Stars can be found, they're inexpensive; the Colt has That Name on it, so expect to pay more.

TJH said...

Since you expressed interest over this particular color, this might fit the bill:


You could even get it laser engraved with your favorite three-word title.

You know, "The Breda Fallacy". It wouldn't fit on a snubby barrel, but it was fit on a slide.

Martini said...

Hey Brenda,
check out the Kahr Arms MK9 it's small, compact, single stack, all steel, only thing on the list it's missing is the da to sa transition. it is DAO, not like a springfield or glock, it will hit the primer a second time if you get a bad round. no partially cocked striker here. I will be getting it or it's polymer twin once my CCW comes in in the next few weeks.

Civis Proeliator said...

If you can, check out the Bersa Mini Thunder 9.


I highly recommend the Bersa product. I have one of their .380s, and it has never malfunctioned and shoots great.

Less said...

There's one more that hit me as I was falling asleep last night...

HK P7.

They are 9 milly, extremely small, have the neat-o squeeze cock (snicker, snicker...) mechanism, accurate as all get go, reliable, single stack, and made of good GERMAN STEEL! JAWHOL!

The downside is that finding a holster is tough, they are expensive (but totally worth it), and you have to drink HK Kool-aide in order to deal with their shitty customer service.

Check 'em out:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you want the DA/SA and manual safety? Guns with consistent trigger pulls tend to be easier to learn to shoot well and manal safeties aren't fullproof. If this isn't a MUST, I'd second the Kahr MK along with a Don Hume holster. Very nice, if pricey, guns.

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