Last week, I was flattered by this email from a reader:
Found your blog. Am retired (female). Looking for suitable sidearm for defense -- possible ccw.
DA .38+P revolver suggested; also .410 long gun. Am familiar with long guns, but not pistols.
Recommendation(s)? Thank you.
Imagine! Someone asking me for gun recommendations! Anyway, I gave it some thought and this was my response:
Hi, thanks for writing! Whenever anyone asks me for a gun recommendation, I always suggest you first try shooting a wide variety of guns before you decide on a purchase. Choosing a gun is the same as buying shoes - you have to try them on for size.
It's very common that someone suggests a .38 revolver for women - for some reason women are though to be too weak to rack the slide on a semi-automatic and that semi-auto pistols and all their parts are "too complicated" for us. It's insulting, really.
So go out to a range with a friend who has a lot of guns, or rent a few different types, and try them all. I carry a Bersa Thunder .380 (semi-auto) because it was a good compromise on size, concealability, and caliber.
I wish you the best of luck!
For the life of me, I've never understood the double action .38 +P revolver recommendation for a woman's first gun - probably because it was my first experience with a gun and I hated it. The trigger pull was heavy and hard to manage accurately, there was a good bit of smacky, stinging recoil, and a bright enough muzzle flash to scare the bejeezus out of a newbie. If it weren't for my sheer stubbornness, I might have set down that pistol, decided that shooting was awful and never gone to the range to try again.
But go to most gun shops or outdoor superstores and that's what they'll recommend, and very frequently in pink. They will tell you it's light and easy to shoot, a perfect purse gun. You know, because ladies like pink and only ever carry their guns in their handbags, right?
They'll also tell you that revolvers are so much simpler to clean and load than semi-automatics - heaven forbid you should worry your pretty little head about all those pesky moving parts. But haven't any of these men ever used a sewing machine? I can load and shoot a M1911 but Lord help me, don't ask me to thread the needle on a Singer. And that whole business with the bobbin? Don't get me started, I almost failed Home Ec.
So, in short, there is no best gun for a woman...but there is a gun for everyone.