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Best Handguns
for Women (Page 1)
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By Dan S. Defense

When men buy guns for women, they typically buy a gun they like, and then bring it home with a smile that soon disappears. More often than not, the gun that men bring home as the "perfect gift", is deemed unsuitable and complete waste of money. What started with good intentions turns into an unwinnable argument.

To avoid this lose-lose situation, folks need to understand that women have different requirements for handguns than men. This statement is based on physiological differences as well as observation of several female shooters over time. That and mistakes I made over the years, and fortunately survived to learn from.

Women tend to prefer certain types handguns and seem to prefer certain general characteristics, which we will cover here. We'll also try to understand these needs as we address them. After looking and explaining the requirements, we'll proceed to a list of five specific firearms, to create a list of the five "best handgun for women".

First, let's look at the requirements for "best handgun for women". Women typically have smaller hands, so we need a handgun that has a grip that works well for smaller hands. Women typically dislike very noisy guns. My wife dislikes my 45 ACP 1911, despite its proper grip, because it makes too much noise. I have heard that complaint repeatedly, and often with an additional disclaimer which says that it's way too big. So too noisy or too big are two more things that we need to avoid, as we seek that perfect "best handgun for women".

Finally, there's the question of recoil or perceived recoil, since my observations note that this is an area of significant concern for women as well as new shooters. Most women have smaller frames, and it is therefore generally harder for them to deal with recoil, unless they are well trained. A handgun that produces significant recoil, due to its caliber, or very light weight, needs to be excluded from our "best handgun for women" list. Finally, not being too ugly helps too, but I'll leave that one up to you to figure out.

Spelling Out the Requirements

We'll start by translating these verbal requirements, into actionable data points. These will lead us to specific choices for our "best handgun for women" list. For semi-automatic handguns we'll prefer a single stack magazine, but also consider handguns with a very slim double stack magazine.

Revolver grips are mostly fine, as far as hand size is concerned, as long as it is a full hand grip. Because we need to avoid large handguns, such as my full size 1911 semi-automatic, or large "N frame" revolvers, we'll look at compact or sub-compact semi-automatics and mid-sized frame revolvers, such as the "K frame" or "L frame".

To avoid the problem of too much noise, we will avoid large calibers such as my favorite 45 ACP as well as calibers that typically come with high velocities, such as the .357 Magnum in revolvers and the .40 S&W in semi-automatics. This will also help with ammo generated recoil, which is a good start, in addressing the complaint of "this gun kicks too hard".

The second step in addressing recoil is ruling out handguns that are too small or too light, which eliminates some of the air-weight "J frame" revolvers and ultra-small 380 ACP pocket guns such as the Ruger LCP, which are small and light but kick too much. Now that we know what we want and what we need to avoid, let's proceed to the top 5 list, which ought to have something for everyone.

I'll leave out several great guns, because I think that they won't appeal to most folks, for example the Nighthawk Custom Lady Hawk, which is a great handgun but also very expensive.

Any of the following can qualify as the "best handgun for women". Please note that the list is not sorted by priority.

SIG SAUER P239 9mm

The P239 is a solid and reliable self defense handgun. It is chambered in 9mm which is a versatile caliber, which gives the user great latitude in ammunition selection. Despite using a double stack magazine the P239 grip is sufficiently narrow for a typical female hand, and the standard, "out of box" grip helps in absorbing some recoil.

The P239 can be fitted with a laser (such as the Crimson Trace Lasergrip) and has night sights for use in the dark. This handgun is used by Homeland Security and several other Federal agencies, which means it was thoroughly vetted for reliability. The preferred model is the P239 SAS, which is the model I got for my wife for self defense and home defense.

If you want to learn more about the P239 SAS, you can read this in-depth review and then decide if this is your choice for "best handgun for women".


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