You are in a discussion about guns when one of your female friends says she wants to get her first gun. The “gun guy” in the group immediately chimes in and tells her to get a subcompact in .380 Auto. This is an almost cliché response to women buying guns, and you know there may be better options. What do you do?
Finding the Best Guns for Women
One of the biggest demographics entering the firearms world is women. Ladies have been buying guns at a record pace for a variety of reasons. At the top of that list though is personal protection. With that being said, it is important that we provide them with the best information possible when it comes time for them to buy their first gun. Falling back on to the “Hey little lady” cliché is not only arrogant, but also dangerous.
The idea that women should automatically be pushed towards a micro gun, or a light revolver has no basis in reality. In fact, I would go further and say that it demonstrates a lack of firearms and personal defense knowledge. Firearms are not gender-specific. A woman’s hand is mechanically the same as a man’s hand. While many ladies have smaller hands, I know a large number of men with small hands as well.
A second point we need to look at is the snappy nature of subcompact guns. The laws of physics are real, and a small gun will have more felt recoil. To a new shooter, this makes for a generally unpleasant shooting experience and will begin to influence how much they train. Advanced shooters can work with this, but even they notice the recoil and effects on their shooting during training sessions. Smaller guns are also more challenging to be accurate with. They have a short sight radius and, in many cases, have less than spectacular triggers.
Small Doesn’t Equal Best
The main argument I hear though is that these guns are easy to carry and conceal. They are much more comfortable to have on you for your everyday carry. The ultimate truth on this matter is that a concealed carry handgun is supposed to be comforting – not comfortable. There is obviously no need to be a pain when you carry, but that issue has more to do with your carry setup as opposed to the gun. If you are serious about EDC then you need to dress around your gun. I see this trend towards micro blasters even in large men who can easily carry a full-size gun if they choose.
In the end, it comes down to fit. We should direct new women shooters (and any new shooter) to a gun that fits their hands well. I encourage everyone to carry the largest handgun they can conceal effectively. The benefits are a longer sight radius, better grip surface, easier recoil management, and a higher magazine capacity. Get a good holster and find out what works best. It is my personal belief that it is our responsibility to provide new shooters with the absolute best information possible and help them make their choice. The choice may actually end up being a sub-compact pistol, but be the best guide you can and help them find the right gun.