I frequently get asked which gun I think is the best gun for a woman. Of course, this is a difficult question to answer, and my first response is usually “Guns are like shoes, one size does not fit all”. And then I ask “What is the gun going to be used for?”. Often times, first time gun owner’s are not sure if they are ready to carry a gun, but would like the option. In order to satisfy a potential CCW recipient, a compact gun is usually the best choice. However, the smaller and lighter the gun, the more felt recoil. There is the dilemma. Based on the feedback I have received over the past year and a half, the Sig P238 in 380 caliber is the best liked, easiest to shoot, small, compact, concealable handgun available on the market today. It’s reliability has been proven, it has a nice trigger, is easy to clean, and comes in a variety of styles and colors to match just about anyone’s taste. And, the extended magazine makes it even easier to shoot without sacrificing concealment options. Sig also makes a 9mm in a similar configuration, (P938), but it does have a bit more recoil than the smaller .380. I have taken a close look at the newly released Colt Mustang, but am not as impressed with it as I am with the Sig P238. Interesting, since the P238 was modeled after the Colt Mustang.
As far as other .380 caliber handguns available today, Ruger makes an LCP and an LC380. The LCP is by far the easiest gun to conceal out of anything I have tried. But the recoil is felt by many to be too sharp, and even painful at times. The larger framed LC380 if more pleasant to shoot, but the larger size makes concealment less convenient. Both are striker fired, polymer guns and have long trigger pulls. The price is, however, considerably less than the Sig P238. Then again, you get what you pay for in most cases.
Another option I am frequently questioned about is the revolver. Many women have been told by men in their lives that a revolver is better suited to a woman because it is “simpler”. This almost seems like an insult to me. While a revolver is, in some ways, simpler than a semi-automatic, I don’t believe that it should be implied that a women is not capable of handling a semi-automatic due to this fact. Quite the contrary. Women are very detail oriented. Never the less, the revolver may be an excellent choice for some women. I, myself, often carry one, a Smith and Wesson .38 special, Wyatt special addition. It is 5 shot, light weight gun with a very smooth trigger. But it is not my favorite gun to shoot. The recoil is sharp, and although my groups are quite acceptable, it is challenging to be as precise as I would like to be. I do find myself going back to it as my everyday carry gun as it is so light, and has this wonderful grip with a built in hook for my waist band. (No belt required:) And occasionally, I do put it in my concealment purse. (Revolvers really are the best choice to carry and shoot in a purse.) Bigger really is better when it comes to target practice at the range. I prefer an all steel 1911 in 9mm when I want to shoot for pure pleasure.
Most important, try before you buy, whenever possible. Many ranges have rental guns available to try. It’s worth the money to rent and buy ammo, then to buy the wrong gun. Come in and see me at Federal Way Indoor Range on Tuesday evening, ladies shoot free, and I will be happy to help you pick out a couple of guns to try.