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Posted: 9/13/2010 7:52:30 PM EDT
Looking for recommendations. Price range hopefully around 400, can't put a price on her safety but trying to keep it reasonable. I'll take her to a shop and have her handle some, but I'd also like to know what to look for when I get there.

She's somewhere in her early 50's (yes, I'm that bad with birthdays), small framed, about five foot five

I've mentioned helping her pick one out and taking her shooting so she could carry before, and she's open to the idea. For reference I had her see how my XD9 4'' fit in her hand loaded, she didn't like the weight, and the grip was too wide. I'm thinking single stack would be best.

My first thought was an LCP, but I'm not sure if she would be comfortable with the recoil. I've also glanced at Walther PK380's, but I don't know anything about them. She will be moving around with it a lot at work, so if it's uncomfortable it will be staying in her purse unless she wanted to do a fanny pack or something

Thanks in advance.

Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:54:56 PM EDT
best bet would be a medium or compact 9mm. I would avoid the compact revolvers...the recoil can be a bit much.


i don't own any 9mm handguns so I can't really help you there.


or maybe a 380...
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:56:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 7:57:42 PM EDT by The_4th_Horseman]



First thing that popped in my head. Sorry.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:58:02 PM EDT
My wife isn't strong enough to rack the slide on my M&P, so she's getting a S&W 640
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:58:29 PM EDT
PPK in .32 would be my suggestion. Plenty of grip, not plenty of recoil.

Or PPK in .380

Both guns are great IMO.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:58:34 PM EDT
If she is just going to shoot it and put it in the nightstand, get a J-frame smith. If she plans on doing some shooting during the year, as in staying proficient, a 9mm works well.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:00:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:02:03 PM EDT by IDK]
I would look at an older k-frame S&W .38. Good trigger pull and easy to figure as to loaded or not. Easy to load and unload for dry-fire. Presents a high-profile gun image to potential threats. Lots of women(casual users. I know, everyones GF has a small frame 1911/Kelltec who can rack the slide like mad...) don't have the hand strength to manipulate semi's easily. Manual of arms is straightforward for a revolver.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:01:51 PM EDT
Glock G19
It's userfriendly. There is no safety to forget. It goes bang every time the trigger is pressed.
Show her the cool night sights and splurge for the additional expenditure.

More importantly, get her to a good introductory class on personal defense/situational awareness.

(Thread should now be over, except for the elaboration on and reaffirmation of the advice provided immediately above.)
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:02:35 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Switchh:
PPK in .32 would be my suggestion. Plenty of grip, not plenty of recoil.

Or PPK in .380

Both guns are great IMO.


This is my moms favorite, hand strength & all
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:03:13 PM EDT
M&P 9 - simple, easy to operate, soft shooting.

Maybe Sig P239.

-Sven
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:03:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By IDK:
I would look at an older k-frame S&W .38. Good trigger pull and easy to figure as to loaded or not. Easy to load and unload for dry-fire. Presents a high-profile gun image to potential threats. Lots of women(casual users. I know, everyones GF has a small frame 1911/Kelltec who can rack the slide like mad...) don't have the hand strength to manipulate semi's easily. Manual of arms is straightforward for a revolver.


This. Model 10's are a dime a dozen and easy for new or infrequent shooters to handle.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:04:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By IDK:
I would look at an older k-frame S&W .38. Good trigger pull and easy to figure as to loaded or not. Easy to load and unload for dry-fire. Presents a high-profile gun image to potential threats. Lots of women(casual users. I know, everyones GF has a small frame 1911/Kelltec who can rack the slide like mad...) don't have the hand strength to manipulate semi's easily. Manual of arms is straightforward for a revolver.


just what I was thinking

my Grandma who is 67, now uses my S&W pre-10 M&P 38spl for home defense. Since due to arthritis, she could no long pull the slide back on her PPK/S 380
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:06:21 PM EDT
Thanks for all the replies so far.

Horseman - Looks like a terrible movie

I'm not sure about the revolver idea because I don't know how she would do reloading one under stress, even with practice.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:09:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:29:07 PM EDT by angus6]
Originally Posted By hondaciv:
My wife isn't strong enough to rack the slide on my M&P, so she's getting a S&W 640


Sure she can if taught proper technique , theres a great web site out there for the ladies explains a lot of stuff that sometimes they just don't want learn from us
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:11:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Switchh:
PPK in .32 would be my suggestion. Plenty of grip, not plenty of recoil.

Or PPK in .380

Both guns are great IMO.

I was going to recommend a .380 PPK as well. It has some weight to it to manage the recoil, while still being relatively small.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:25:41 PM EDT
K frame. J frames are too small for novice shooters to use effectively.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:27:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:28:27 PM EDT by Smead]
S&W PPK's have had issues recently, involving recalls...like failing to fire after their fix...it's also unforgiving of limp wristing and jam prone if mishandled; they have always been ammo picky.

.38 special is better than .32/.380 for self defense...revolver is simpler in a stressful situation...DAO variant for as simple as possible and snag free. Excessive weight might encourage someone not to carry at all times.

I suggest the S&W 638 or 642...you don't need to have her throwing +P downrange...both weigh about 15oz...$419/$429 respectively at Bud's line...a good price generally since it includes shipping.

If you don't have a cheap FFL, go to Gunbroker and use the "Find a FFL" service for one in your area.

S&W is also offering a $50 rebate until the end of this year.

Bud's

Rebate J-Frame

I suggest a shop with a range and trying them out, even if you have to rent one.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:27:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:30:21 PM EDT by angus6]
summit49 sounds like your moms kinda close to the wife 5"7"/130125/55 got small dainty hands. Ann hasn't liked any of the small pistols , hates a revolver , what she has found that she likes the most is a small framed Tanfoglio in 9mm, they come in steel and poly next is a CCO that I built her , but she really likes the Tanfoglio
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:44:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By angus6:
summit49 sounds like your moms kinda close to the wife 5"7"/130125/55 got small dainty hands. Ann hasn't liked any of the small pistols , hates a revolver , what she has found that she likes the most is a small framed Tanfoglio in 9mm, they come in steel and poly next is a CCO that I built her , but she really likes the Tanfoglio


Looks like it wouldn't be a bad option. How much resistance does the slide have?
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:44:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:45:41 PM EDT by seven-six-two]
If an XD9 does not work because it's too heavy, and the grip too big, then that really narrows the field.

A Browning Hi-Power would probably fit her well, but she might not like the weight.

A problem with a light single stack is that the perceived recoil will be higher due to lighter weight and narrower backstrap.

Pistols I would try:

XDSubCompact - see if the weight is bearable, and if she can reach the trigger
Browning Hi Power - excellent ergonomics, but not a cheap pistol.

then you move into single stacks.

Kahr 9mm's in either metal frame, or the "p" variants with polymer. I don't advise the P variants for newbies unless there's a grip and trigger reach issue as the slim backstrap usually makes for somewhat nastier recoil. My wife has very small hands and can't reach the trigger of a J-frame, or a Glock, or an M&P, or an XD. So she has a Kahr TP9.

Walther PPS (I've never shot one, only handled it) might work.

A revolver isn't a bad idea if your mother can shoot it double-action, but a snub-nosed revolver is hard to control and shoot with, and larger ones weigh more, so you start meeting that constraint.

Hard search.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:48:49 PM EDT
Something in SS, 4".....maybe this:





Seriously though, a Smith 4" K frame with some .38spls would fit the bill nicely.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:50:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Switchh:
PPK in .32 would be my suggestion. Plenty of grip, not plenty of recoil.

Or PPK in .380

Both guns are great IMO.

This, except they are pricey.

Try Kahr.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:53:55 PM EDT
I've never had much experience with airweight revolvers such as the bodyguard. I would assume there's a high amount of recoil involved, correct me if I'm wrong

I'm reading on walthers site that the PK380 has a low resistance slide. Does anyone have any experience with them? I would assume they're built better than P22's, but I could be wrong.

The PPK looks like a nice option as well.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:54:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:55:40 PM EDT by RIA45ACP]
My Mom is 58, used a 2.5" 357 Mag for along time, about 5 years ago I bought a Sig 239, it fit her hand so well and she liked it so much she promptly made my Dad buy it from me. Its not to small, not to big, recoil in the 9mm version isn't bad at all, but my Mom has been shooting for along time, so her opinion of the recoil might differ from someone less experienced.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 8:57:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:59:59 PM EDT by GHILLIE]
PPK's are hard to pull back, due to the stiff spring needed for the straight blowback action, and the double action pull is quite heavy. Great guns, not the best choice for arming your Mom.

CDNN and BudsGunshop.com regularly have police trade in revolvers for a decent price.

re: the PK380...it feels 99% as cheap as the P22

edited to add: I missed the part about her carrying it. I would recommend a snubbie then
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:18:58 PM EDT
m&p compact - 9 or .40, (not sure if they have in .45) - less felt recoil, easier to handle, no safety/decocking levers to meddle with.. backstrap grips are interchangle (3 sizes)!
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:52:54 AM EDT
Originally Posted By summit49:
Originally Posted By angus6:
summit49 sounds like your moms kinda close to the wife 5"7"/130125/55 got small dainty hands. Ann hasn't liked any of the small pistols , hates a revolver , what she has found that she likes the most is a small framed Tanfoglio in 9mm, they come in steel and poly next is a CCO that I built her , but she really likes the Tanfoglio


Looks like it wouldn't be a bad option. How much resistance does the slide have?


Slides are not a big deal , with proper technique,ie: push the /hold the slide , instead os trying to pull the slide.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:06:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2010 5:19:57 AM EDT by mrozowjj]
My mother has a S&W M&P9 with a manual safety. She almost bought the pink edition but she insisted on having the lever on the side; she felt more comfortable having a loaded gun on the nightstand with the manual safety.

My parents live in PA and I live in MD so I've only been able to take her shooting twice but given that she handles it well for someone that has almost no experience shooting a gun.

My mother graduated high school in like 72-73 so she's similar age and similar stature to yours.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:17:04 AM EDT
Pimped out Desert Eagle in 50AE of course.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:21:52 AM EDT
Most moms are tougher than they look. Use enough gun!
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:42:44 AM EDT
We bought my mother a Wather PK380 back in June. She seems to like it. Easy to manipulate the slide, relatively easy to operate, low recoil, fit her hand great. She picked up a lot of guns and considering she broke her wrist a couple years ago, she didn't find too many that fit the bill. She is comfortable with it (even though I'm not). I would have liked to see her get a Glock or even a Kahr but thats the one she picked out.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:44:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2010 5:45:31 AM EDT by skunk-ape]
no semi auto, get her a light weight revolver in a decent caliber like .38 or .327 ....
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:49:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
K frame. J frames are too small for novice shooters to use effectively.


No one ever seems to consider this when choosing a gun for a woman. Its almost like woman = J frame no matter what.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:54:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By -RTC-:
Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
K frame. J frames are too small for novice shooters to use effectively.


No one ever seems to consider this when choosing a gun for a woman. Its almost like woman = J frame no matter what.


Sooner or later I'm going to write an article about that. If I put pictures of my friend Heather in it I know everyone here will pay attention...

But people need to think about this shit. Most women can't pull he trigger on a J with a firing grip.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:56:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By hondaciv:
My wife isn't strong enough to rack the slide on my M&P, so she's getting a S&W 640


Yes she is. With a firm grip on the frame of the gun, bring the gun in close to her chest. With all 4 fingers of her left hand, grip the top of the slide firmly. Push away hard with the right hand and pull back hard with the left hand.

There are youtube vids of an 11 year old girl running a Glock 19 at a Tactical Response class, your wife can run a slide of a handgun.

To the OP, there are always too many limiting factors it seems. The normal one is the $400 price range. The majority of handguns are in the $450-600 price bracket so you’re losing 50% of handguns right off the bat.

It’s been mentioned but I would look at a smaller 9mm, maybe the S&W M&P9 compact. The interchangeable back straps can help with grip size and the gun isn’t too heavy. Might also look for a good deal on a Walther PPS if you think single stack is a better option. The little extra money will make a lot of difference in the amount she will want to use the gun. Just my .02.


Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:59:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GHILLIE:
PPK's are hard to pull back, due to the stiff spring needed for the straight blowback action, and the double action pull is quite heavy.



My wife, who is tiny, has no problem running my PPK. Overhand grip, push with one hand and pull with the other. To the guy who's wife 'can't' run a M&P, well, she either needs to (1)work out because she has 0 strength at all or (2)stop being delicate and run the gun. There is not a semi auto pistol on the planet that a woman cannot operate.

My wife does hate the DA trigger on my PPK though. She seems to be moving towards an SAO gun for her first pistol.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 5:59:54 AM EDT
This post again. Let's see... First thing would be to take her to the range and let her shoot a few different ones. With women, and most guys, if it doesn't feel good to shoot, they will NOT practice or feel comfortable enough to want to use it in a defense situation.

Revolvers seem the gun of choice for most novice/female shooters. Let's be honest though, most women probably react how you would expect under pressure, so a "complicated" series of events, like flipping off a safety before shooting, might be forgotten in the heat of the moment.

My recommendations are as follows: G19 if you're going for a pistol. If she can learn to do a mag change, then really that's the most complicated thing she will have to do in a fight (minus clearing any stoppages, but with a Glock that's almost never an issue). S&W or Taurus revolver in something like .38+P would be easy to handle and immune to stoppages. Those are the only two I would recommend to a novice or "bedstand only" gun user.

Hope that helps.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:01:07 AM EDT
Bersa .380.....look into it. It may be what you're looking for.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:02:33 AM EDT
Originally Posted By junebug68:
Bersa .380.....look into it. It may be what you're looking for.


This too, though my personal experiences with owning a Bersa really turned me off to the brand. Jam-o-matic, or at least the one I had.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:11:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ar10er:
If she is just going to shoot it and put it in the nightstand, get a J-frame smith. If she plans on doing some shooting during the year, as in staying proficient, a 9mm works well.

I gave my mother-in-law my 10-5 for Mothers Day. Easy to use, cheap, and reliable. She really liked it because her father had one that was very similar.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:18:47 AM EDT
I think a revolver is the way to go. Check out any revolver they have exactly one button/switch on them. Semi autos have several buttons/switches, also racking the slide clearing a jam etc...
With a revolver you just gotta pull the trigger until it goes click.
One of the .32 mags might be good, very little recoil and pretty good velocity.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:32:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2010 6:36:11 AM EDT by machinisttx]
Originally Posted By summit49:
I've never had much experience with airweight revolvers such as the bodyguard. I would assume there's a high amount of recoil involved, correct me if I'm wrong

I'm reading on walthers site that the PK380 has a low resistance slide. Does anyone have any experience with them? I would assume they're built better than P22's, but I could be wrong.

The PPK looks like a nice option as well.


Snubbies, especially the airweights, are a poor choice for anyone who doesn't practice regularly. My mother has rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and shoots/carries a 642, but standard pressure loads are not comfortable for her to fire. ETA: they have more bark than bite if you can find a set of grips/stocks that fit the shooter's hand. I found a set of wood boot grips for mom's 642 that work better for her than the crappy factory rubber grip.

In general, the smaller the gun is, the more effort will be required to operate the slide.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:38:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By -RTC-:
Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
K frame. J frames are too small for novice shooters to use effectively.


No one ever seems to consider this when choosing a gun for a woman. Its almost like woman = J frame no matter what.


That's because they never bothered to consider it isn't them who will be firing it(and they probably only put a box of ammo a year through their J frame)
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:32:49 AM EDT
I bought my mother a Lady Smith revolver years ago in 38 special .I had the trigger rounded and the springs cut with a trigger job.It's a smooth shooter and the 38 is not to much recoil for her.She could not pull the slide back on any pistol that I showed her ,so revolver it was.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:20:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hilljb:
This post again. Let's see... First thing would be to take her to the range and let her shoot a few different ones. With women, and most guys, if it doesn't feel good to shoot, they will NOT practice or feel comfortable enough to want to use it in a defense situation.

Revolvers seem the gun of choice for most novice/female shooters. Let's be honest though, most women probably react how you would expect under pressure, so a "complicated" series of events, like flipping off a safety before shooting, might be forgotten in the heat of the moment.

My recommendations are as follows: G19 if you're going for a pistol. If she can learn to do a mag change, then really that's the most complicated thing she will have to do in a fight (minus clearing any stoppages, but with a Glock that's almost never an issue). S&W or Taurus revolver in something like .38+P would be easy to handle and immune to stoppages. Those are the only two I would recommend to a novice or "bedstand only" gun user.

Hope that helps.


This post is crap after the first three sentences.

Women are not stupid delicate flowers. If a woman can operate a car then she is smart enough to be able to operate the rather basic controls on a pistol. She may even be able to learn to do a mag change!
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:21:36 AM EDT
My mom likes my 1911 in .45 ACP and my Glock 23.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:23:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
K frame. J frames are too small for novice shooters to use effectively.


Yep. If you go for a wheelgun, go for a 4 inch K frame.

If she can operate the slide, the Glock 19 is a good choice, if not, maybe try a Smith 3913 or the like (the missus has trouble working a Glock, but her 3913 is no sweat for her, for instance,) or look into the .380 Berettas with the tip up barrels.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:25:37 AM EDT
Originally Posted By summit49:
I've never had much experience with airweight revolvers such as the bodyguard. I would assume there's a high amount of recoil involved, correct me if I'm wrong

I'm reading on walthers site that the PK380 has a low resistance slide. Does anyone have any experience with them? I would assume they're built better than P22's, but I could be wrong.

The PPK looks like a nice option as well.


Meh. PPKs, like short barrel J frames, and good backup weapons for experienced shooters––-not so much a good idea for a novice. The DA trigger and possible reliability issues for the PPK stand out as cons for it, for instance.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:25:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Zoomer302:
Pimped out Desert Eagle in 50AE of course.


Wit da beamz, of course. That's how my mom rolls.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:26:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DarkNite:
Most moms are tougher than they look. Use enough gun!


He said it is for his mother, not his mother in law.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:37:28 AM EDT
Originally Posted By summit49:
I've never had much experience with airweight revolvers such as the bodyguard. I would assume there's a high amount of recoil involved, correct me if I'm wrong

I'm reading on walthers site that the PK380 has a low resistance slide. Does anyone have any experience with them? I would assume they're built better than P22's, but I could be wrong.

The PPK looks like a nice option as well.




I have a Walther PK380 that I bought specifically for the low resistance slide. It is the only Semi-auto handgun that my wife can easily operate, and we have several including a Bersa Thunder 380, several 1911's, Walther P99s, etc. The PK380 so far has been a very good handgun with no troubles at all.


Bryan
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