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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 11/25/2003 12:00:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2003 1:28:43 PM EDT by G-CODE]
I’m looking for a handgun for my wife. The gun will be used for personal defense against (rapist, muggers, etc) when she is away from home. It will be carried in a purse or winter jacket depending on the season. The wife has very limited experience with handguns but is willing to learn with my help. I’m looking to spend less than $400 $800 on the gun (preferably a lot less). New, used, surplus, C&R it doesn't matter.

I’ll gladly take advice on the type of action (semi-auto or revolver) and caliber. This will be kind of a one shot deal, meaning that we really don’t have any place close to handle many different types of guns before we buy. With my own limited experience of handguns I felt I’d better ask here first. I hope I came to the right place.

edited to increase budget
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:22:19 PM EDT
I'll put my vote in for a snub-nose 38. Easy to use for someone who doesn't get much range time. Enough punch but not much recoil. A Lady Smith is even made for female hands.

My $0.02.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:27:45 PM EDT
Something simple and low recoil, along the lines of a S&W 640 or a Kahr Arm P9 (used most likely in your price range).

No safeties or decocking to worry about, and both very compact, the snub .38 being particularly suited to defeating muzzle grabs.

Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:32:42 PM EDT
My wife has no hand strength to operate a slide, so she has a S&W Lady Smith 5 shot . 38 spec. It is easy to operate in a near panic, and enough gun to be used for protection.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:37:23 PM EDT
make sure she has the strength to pull the double action trigger on a Snub .38 a lot of girls don't. also, cute little guns like baby Glocks and compact 1911s have a super strong spring in the slide that will make it hard for someone with weak hands to manipulate. if she can't load it she can't fight with it. 150 years back a popular weapon was the derringer.
two rounds of .44 special or .45 colt will stop most fights
. again look at her hand strength
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 12:42:46 PM EDT
A great deal depends upon how serious your wife is about learning...and keeping her practice / training up to date. Intellectually, there is no reason she cannot understand how to operate a semi-auto...but will she work with it enough that she can use it correctly under the stress and brief time frames of an actual encounter? I don't know the answer to that for you, but I DO know that lots of well-intentioned men and women just are not able to get to the range and shoot or do some situational training in the vehicle or at home, etc. as they would like to be. (Ya know, we're gonna have to get back to the range one day!)

Another factor is strength...is she strong enough to operate the weapon correctly? (You probably won't be there when she needs it for real) It does not take a whole lot of strength...but it does require some. What is she most comfortable with? I know women who, while they may prefer to actually shoot an auto, will choose to carry a revolver for its' simplicity..."point gun, pull trigger" is still done better IMO by the wheelgun than any auto...no malfunctions if the shooter "breaks the wrist", works even when pushed hard into the assailaint, no magazine to lose, no safety to remember to disengage, etc.

The auto also has some advantages as well...more ammo, usually less recoil for a given power level, faster to reload, etc. and more fun to shoot...thus more shooting will usually be done. 50 rounds from a .38 Spl airweight is a serious workout...from a Glock 26 it's just fun!

Take HER choice...not yours...just use your knowledge to guide her.

Everyone has a budget, but don't skimp on this item, nor on good ear and eye protection, nor on practice time and ammo...cut out something else to make up the difference, or go into a little debt if absolutely necessary. See Marinegrunt's post tacked to the top of the Gen. Discussion board...and imagine if that was your wife.

If you have the time and resolve, I personally like the "baby" Glocks in either 9mm or .40 if she can handle it. If she insists on something smaller/lighter, I would go with an airweight S&W .38 Special in 5-shot persuasion and use the lightest loads I could find for practice...I am NOT a fan of the various .32 or .380 caliber guns.

Good luck
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 1:07:31 PM EDT
I strongly urge you to get her out shooting several different types before you buy her one. She might LOVE a S&W airweight in the shop but not like the recoil at the range or vice versa.

Used guns could also be a good option given your budget concerns. KY Imports has a good selection on used S&Ws.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 1:25:25 PM EDT
Thanks for the responses guys. This gives me someplace to start some more questions that she will have to answer. Price is really not an object, I just stated $400 to narrow the choices which may have been a mistake on my part.

I do like the features of the revolver. It's safe, reliable and if you pull the trigger it shoots. Like was mentioned, I do have concerns on the trigger pull of a revolver. I do beleive she is plenty strong enough to pull the trigger, but will the trigger pull affect accuracy too much is something I wonder.

She does shoot my CZ-75B in both DA and SA fine (other than being a bit of a reach to the trigger) and really likes semi-auto. She would probably prefer a semi-auto gun but I too question the safety of carry and her ability to operate one in a time of crisis.

The snubby S&W 38 special is something I'll take a look at. I also like the idea of the baby Glock in 9MM. Are there any other semi-autos out there that anyone could suggest?
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 1:26:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 3:17:48 PM EDT
I bought the GF a Colt Gov't. model .380, and it's a REAL NICE shooter. Slide is a breeze to pull back and the gun has NEVER hiccuped. HOWEVER, it IS a single action, and though she gets plenty of practice, I worry about IF she ever needs to use it, she may forget to pull back the hammer before she points it. And NO, she just won't carry it in battery. A small DA similar to this might be the ticket.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 3:29:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By C_Sly:
I'll put my vote in for a snub-nose 38. Easy to use for someone who doesn't get much range time. Enough punch but not much recoil. A Lady Smith is even made for female hands.

My $0.02.

I agree w/the .38...I got my wife a .38snubbie Titanium Taurus. She even got the opportunity to pick the color (matte blue). Light enough to have no excuse for leaving it home.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 5:07:45 PM EDT
I took my 19 year old daughter out shooting a while back, she never had any interest before, now that she is living away she asked about it. Started her off with a Colt Trooper with light loads in .38, single action, then stronger .38s, next my BHP, then a Blackhawk in .45acp. Nothing spectacular, but decent. Pulled out my Walther PP and it was like magic. She was really doing well. The slide is easy to pull due to gun size, she had no problem in double action either. And she liked the way it looked.

Link Posted: 11/25/2003 8:14:04 PM EDT
If she's willing to practice, she can shoot anything. If she's not willing to practice, should she be carrying a gun or will it be more of a danger to her or an innocent bystander?
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 8:58:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2003 10:22:11 PM EDT by dcross]

Originally Posted By G-CODE:
She does shoot my CZ-75B in both DA and SA fine (other than being a bit of a reach to the trigger) and really likes semi-auto. She would probably prefer a semi-auto gun but I too question the safety of carry and her ability to operate one in a time of crisis.

The snubby S&W 38 special is something I'll take a look at. I also like the idea of the baby Glock in 9MM. Are there any other semi-autos out there that anyone could suggest?

My wife just bought a CZ P-01 and loves it! (So do I, actually). She handles it well and is really starting to get some good groups with it. We really did our research before we bought it, and couldn't find anything that would beat it for the price point (~$450).
Whatever your wife decides, make sure she gets as much range time with it as she can. Besides, it's fun!
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 4:26:14 AM EDT
What ever you decide upon, don't just hand it to her and say "here, use this".
If you spent the time and money to get her a good gun, allow her the means to become "one" with it.
You state you have limited experience yourself, maybe take a shooting course with her?
As Lumpy is usually right on, and I agree, the 640 or 649 S&W revolver would be a good choice, stainless construction and no hammer to snag coming from a pocket. The Kahr is snag free too.
Those are not the final answers to an open question, just a starting point.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 5:29:09 AM EDT
Thanks for the info and advice guys. Maybe this weekend I'll see if we can make it to the city and check out some of the guns mentioned here.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 8:44:33 AM EDT
Taurus 85CH in stainless steel. It's a five-shot revolver in .38 Special and is hammerless, which means nothing to snag. I got mine new for about $210 a few years back.

Regarding hand strength for cycling the slide, Beretta make a .380 semi-auto with a tip-up barrel to address that very issue. The barrel tips up, you insert bullet, rotate barrel closed, and it's ready to go. The rest of the rounds are in a conventional magazine in the grip. The drawback is that it's a fairly large gun for its .380 caliber, but then Berettas typically are large guns.

Best of luck. I'd second the thought of taking her to a range and renting a number of different guns for her to shoot or have a buddy with lots of handguns take her out plinking.

Link Posted: 11/26/2003 9:31:37 AM EDT
My wifes carry gun is a S&W 640 Centennial .38. She shoots IDPA with a Glock 17. Whatever she carries she needs to practice, practice, practice. You get the point. My wife carries in a belly band or a custom holster from Tauris Leather. I would borrow some guns from friends if possible for her to try. Make a day of it at the range with some friends that shoot. Make it fun for her. Let her make the decision, she's the one who's gonna carry it, and she'll be more inclined to carry if she makes the choice. Good Luck.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 2:15:47 PM EDT
Have her try a S&W 3913 or 3914 single stack 9mm.
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 4:00:00 PM EDT

Just picked up a stainless Charter Arms "Undercover" .38SPCL w/ 2" bbl new for $248.00 for my wife. My wife has been shooting with me for years and is use to the recoil of different handgun calibers. If you guys decide on a snubby, take the advice of the other posts and take her to a range for some "live fire". Check around in your area for a dealer that also has a range. The dealers usually have used revolvers/pistols that you can try (if they believe your serious in purchasing).
If you have a C&R license, you can pick up a French made "Manhurin" Walther PP in .32 ACP in excellent condition w/ holster and spare mag for around $249.00 + shipping. I can't remember the dealer who's selling these offhand (Century, Inter-Ordnance, AIM)?

Good Luck
Link Posted: 11/27/2003 8:19:36 PM EDT
I agree w/ the .38 spl. snub of decent mfg. S&W, Taurus ect. If things happen to go wrong & all she hears is click when the trigger is pulled, the repeat strike & fresh round capability is not a bad place to be when defaulting to her limited level of training.

Link Posted: 11/27/2003 8:52:22 PM EDT
My wife loves her Glock 19C

The compensated barrel and slide do make a big difference with the recoil and control of the gun, and she likes to know there are 14 rounds in the mag plus one in the tube.

Link Posted: 11/27/2003 9:21:24 PM EDT
Hie thee to a rental range.
Link Posted: 12/6/2003 11:27:38 PM EDT
Checked out a S&W 360 (?) today. 5 shots, 38/357 2" Scandium frame, titanium cylinder. Had the slightly longer combat grips. Really seemed to fit my hands well, a real plus in firing a gun that light. and I really liked the red dot front sight. With the way my eyes are now, it seemed to really jump into a good sight picture. I didn't dry fire it since I wasn't in the market but felt like it wouldn't twist while firing DA.

The weight was great and size right so it would be easy to carry all the time. A lot of people leave their carry guns home when too big or heavy.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 12:24:55 AM EDT
If she has a hard time reaching the CZ trigger, she'll have the same problem with most of the other DA autos.

The Glocks, Springfield XD, and Walther P99 are all good ones to look at. They seem to have a more reachable trigger, and the slides are easy to operate.

Now that you've increased the budget, I'd recommend you look at the HK P7M8 as well. You can get used ones if you look around, and if you don't mind a heel mag release, you will easily find a P7PSP in your price range.

They have the advantage of being as brainless as the revolver to use, with the advantages of being an auto. Squeeze, shoot, release. That's all there is to it. It takes more force to squeeze cock it than to keep it cocked, so it doesn't wear you out to have it cocked. The weight of the gun itself is enough to keep it cocked. The cocking system though doesn't allow the weight of the gun to cock it. That acutally takes you squeezing it. Once it's cocked though, the force required is much less. To render it completely safe, all she has to do is release the lever.

They are gas retarded. Gas is bled off and used to keep the slide closed, so the recoil spring doesn't need to be heavy and is easy to work against to operate the slide.

The gun is also one of the most accurate guns made today. Of all my guns, my HKP9S is the only one that can outshoot my HKP7M8 (I don't own a Sig P-210, yet).

They are made of steel and recoil is very controllable. At the same time they are small and flat, so they are fairly easy to carry.

Other than that, the Walther P99 would be my choice.

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