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Subject: Female needs advice on buying a handgun
NavyGator    9/9/2007 11:56:14 PM
I'm a 23 year old female, in college and the military who needs some advice on purchasing a handgun. I've had experience with a wide range of weapons, .50 cals, shotguns, sniper rifles, an old German luger, and some old loud heavy handguns. I want this gun for personal safety as well as target practice. I don't want anything that will make me too deaf to call 911 if I have to, and I don't want a big kick either. I already know that a .22 or a .25 is too small for me. Everytime I go to look at purchasing a firearm they try to push those two on me and I don't like them. I have a very small grip but I'm stromg enough to handle a gun safely and accurately. I want something reliable, accurate, and comfortable. It will get use. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
 
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displacedjim       9/10/2007 1:58:19 AM
Ruger SP101 5-shot revolver with 3" barrel in .357Mag.  Small grip and small but heavy steel frame with .38Special +P loads will be comfortable, controllable, reliable, and affordable.  Granted the small fixed sights are designed for self-defense at 10feet, not for target shooting.
 
 
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dcmo       9/10/2007 12:23:56 PM
There are several Glock models that work for small hands (me too).  The most important thing you can do is find a range that rents guns and try any model you're thinking about buying.  Make sure the firearm and caliber work for you before buying.
 
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RockyMTNClimber    Small Hands   9/10/2007 12:39:34 PM
My daughter is very petite (trained ballerina) and she is a terrific shot. Her favorite handgun is my Glock 19 which is a 9mm luger caliber. My biggest suggestion to you would be to have someone let you shoot several models of weapons like DJ's .38/.357, my Glock, and others. Smith & Wesson does have a lady's model of the .38 special revolver that has a shorter trigger pull and should fit your hand well.
 
The only way you will know which one fits you best is through experience. If a gun shop shoves something at you instead of acts to find out what you will like, move on. See if you can find a local gun club that has some families that might let you work with different types until you find one that fits you. I'd say .38 special and higher power are a minimum (my opinion).
 
Your instincts appear to be good so find some new friends and have fun.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
 
 
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bob the brit       9/10/2007 5:16:12 PM
the other recommendations are good, but you should try the SIG sauer P-239, comes in three calibres (so take your pick):
9mm parabellum (the 9mm luger round rocky referred to); .40 S&W; 0.357 SIG (pretty nifty round that).
it's pretty compact ('bout six or seven inches) and just shy of two pounds weight (so if all else fails, throw it at them)
9mm mag holds 8 rounds, and 7 for both the .40 and .357. pretty safe gun too with all the bells and whstles. a decocking lever allows the hammer to be locked in the forward position when a round is chambered (often a useful feature). all in all it's very similar to the P-229 but with a few extras and it's a bit slimmer. hope you enjoy whatever one you pick. oh and the others had good advice saying you should try lots out first.
 
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bob the brit       9/10/2007 5:20:17 PM

the other recommendations are good, but you should try the SIG sauer P-239, comes in three calibres (so take your pick):

9mm parabellum (the 9mm luger round rocky referred to); .40 S&W; 0.357 SIG (pretty nifty round that).

it's pretty compact ('bout six or seven inches) and just shy of two pounds weight (so if all else fails, throw it at them)

9mm mag holds 8 rounds, and 7 for both the .40 and .357. pretty safe gun too with all the bells and whstles. a decocking lever allows the hammer to be locked in the forward position when a round is chambered (often a useful feature). all in all it's very similar to the P-229 but with a few extras and it's a bit slimmer. hope you enjoy whatever one you pick. oh and the others had good advice saying you should try lots out first.

oh forgot to mention that the rounds are single stacked in the mag so that gives for a smaller pistol grip already.

 
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Horsesoldier       9/10/2007 7:11:09 PM

I'm a 23 year old female, in college and the military who needs some advice on purchasing a handgun. I've had experience with a wide range of weapons, .50 cals, shotguns, sniper rifles, an old German luger, and some old loud heavy handguns. I want this gun for personal safety as well as target practice. I don't want anything that will make me too deaf to call 911 if I have to, and I don't want a big kick either. I already know that a .22 or a .25 is too small for me. Everytime I go to look at purchasing a firearm they try to push those two on me and I don't like them. I have a very small grip but I'm stromg enough to handle a gun safely and accurately. I want something reliable, accurate, and comfortable. It will get use.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?

First and foremost -- +1 on the various suggestions that you find a range (or someone you know) that can provide you a chance to both handle and shoot a number of different pistol makes and models.  Pistol ergonomics are very subjective, and even for someone with similar sized hands to yours, their preferences may differ from your preferences.
Second, you may want to check out this website:  http://www.corneredcat.com/  ; which is a blog by a female shooter and firearms enthusiast.  She looks at various gun-related topics, including selecting your first handgun, from a female perspective.  Might be helpful stuff.
 
Third, I'd personally avoid the advice of 99% of the gun store employees out there.  As a rule of thumb, you're lucky if half of them have a clue about firearms related topics at all.  And, as a woman, most will assume that you're not strong enough to handle any recoil at all, and not mechanically inclined enough to operate something as sophisticated as a pistol.  (It sounds like you've had some of this experience already.)
 
All that said, your basic question would benefit from some additional elaboration.  Most importantly, are you looking for a handgun to have at home and perhaps in your car for self-defense, or are you looking at getting a concealed carry permit and carrying the pistol with you.  If concealed carry is not an issue, then overall size of the pistol you select less relevant and you have a broader field of options.
 
Either way, do look at getting a pistol with tritium night sights on it.  You do not absolutely need them, and they typically raise the cost of the pistol somewhat, but they are helpful for firing in low-light conditions.  The odds are pretty good that if you need a pistol for self-defense, it will occur under conditions of limited visibility. 
For caliber (assuming a pistol and not a revolver), I'd say try the "big 3" of handgun calibers -- 9mm, 45 ACP and 40S&W.  All three of them have their pluses and minuses in terms of magazine capacity versus thump and such, but all three are reputable and proven stoppers with quality defensive ammunition.  9mm is the lightest recoiling of the three, but there's no reason a woman can't handle the other two calibers.
 
As for specific makes and models to consider, I'd personally suggest looking at some of the following (some of these may have already been suggested by previous posters): 
 
A) Walther P-99, Smith and Wesson M&P, and Heckler and Koch P2000, Beretta Px4 -- I put these out there as a block because all of them feature modular inserts that let you adjust the grip size to some extent.  If large magazine capacity pistols are big for your hands, the ability to reduce the grip size may help with that.
 
B) Glock 19, CZ75 P-01, Sig P228/229, HK USP Compact -- These are all proven and reputable handguns as well, I'd put them in a seperate category simply because they are not adjustable for grip size.  If they fit your hand well, it's obviously not an issue.  All of the above are compact pistols which gives you good barrel length and performance while still being concealable on your person if that's an issue for you.  The Glock 19 has the simplest controls of the bunch, making it very easy to learn, but none of the above (or anything else on this list) is overly complicated.
 
C) Sig P239, Commander-size M1911s (various manufacturers):  These both have lower magazine capacity, but their single-stack magazines make for slimmer grip profiles.  1911s can be had in a range of cal
 
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Horsesoldier       9/10/2007 7:13:06 PM
To which I should add:  I don't have any revolvers in my suggestions list.  This is not because I don't think they're a viable idea, but simply because I'm not much of a revolver shooter and other people can offer better advice on that topic than myself.
 
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ChdNorm       9/10/2007 11:32:14 PM
In general, I always recommend a good revolver to start with. It's tough to beat a 4" barreled Smith & Wesson in .38 Special to start out on. You can pick up one in good condition at your corner gun store for around $200. With something like a Model 15 you get good sights, a good trigger, and good accuracy. Nothing but .22LR will be as cheap to practice with either. But, when loaded with a decent 158gr SWCHP+P it performs about as well as anything else out there. In my opinion, anything above and beyond that is just for show. Until a shooter can run thru a qual at 90% or above they can't take advantage of more complex and complicated designs anyway.
 
I've seen a whole lot of female trainees that have trouble handling most autos, and it's not always just about trigger reach and grip circumference. The controls as often as not are the real obstacle to true proficiency. For that reason, I have to disagree with everybody that recommended the Sigs. We run everybody thru our academy on the P-226, and even the smallest hands can handle the actual grip (especially the short trigger modified conventional DA/SAs and the DAKs). When it comes to the decocker and slide release, they force smaller handed shooters to pretty much completely give up any sort of control of the pistol. Slide mounted safeties like you see on S&W autos, Rugers, and Berrettas complicate the issue even more.
 
One of the greatest benefits of choosing something like a basic K-frame Smith & Wesson is the huge selection of aftermarket grips available. The grip frame for the Ks is so small to begin with, that even the smallest hands can find a grip that fits correctly.
 
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theBird       9/17/2007 6:08:26 PM
For carry I like my kel-tec p32.  I orginally intended it as a backup gun, but as I usually don't like wearing the bigger shirts or multiple layers I'd need to conceal my glock its become my de facto primary carry gun now.  Its 32 cal so its a bit bigger than a 22 or 25, and its really small and light (9 oz fully loaded) and i've never had any trouble with reliability with fmj's, though i have heard that some can have trouble with hollowpoints though.  On the downside Trigger pull is pretty long since its double action only and accuracy isn't too great on account of it's 2 inch barrel, and while it is cheap (around $200), the ammo isn't (around $17 for a box of 50).
 
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theBird       9/17/2007 6:10:01 PM
As with almost all sub-compact guns the kel-tec is good for people with smaller hands, too
 
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