I helped out recently at a class for new shooters, many women. Every woman showed up with small pistol that they had either been sold by some piece of gun shop crap, or given by their ignorant husbands or boyfriends. Some of the women could not even work the slide on their “little lady guns”.
<Want to screeeeeem!>
Most guns are too big in the grip for women. Hell, I have dead average size hands for a man (in the U.S.) and most double stack pistols are too big for my hands.
Many women can’t reach the controls of most handguns easily – a design issue with the blame at the feet of the manufacturers, not a consequence of physics.
All new shooters are surprised to learn that big guns are easier to shoot, easier to manipulate, and have less recoil than small guns. The gun shops are responsible for selling them the small guns that are useless. Curse them! Further, even if you carry a small gun you should do most of your skill development with a full size one (see post somewhere below on this).
There is no acceptable gun for most woman to learn on and/or carry on the market. A tuned steel revolver in K-frame size with small stocks and light loads would be good to learn on…but what would she carry?
“Practice” and “skill development” or, if you really are a macho idiot, “strength gains”, are not the answer for women. Sure everyone needs a good dose of these, but why should women have to be at a disadvantage to men here – why do they have to work impossibly hard at it? Remember that most women, like most new shooters, are not going to make this their passion in life – they just want to get enough skill to defend themselves; they are not shooting junkies nor will they be.
Small revolvers, and ones with hard triggers (which is almost a small ones) have a trigger that’s way too heavy.
SA guns, in any size, are not a beginner’s gun.
DA/SA guns are not only not a beginners gun, they suffer from all the issues above (trigger weight, control reach), and are generally kinda stupid to begin with (they can be mastered, but really, why go through the extra work?).
.22 revolvers or pistols are not the answer because .22s are such unreliable rounds.
So herewith my plea to the industry, and industry by the way that knows that women are the fastest growing segment of the market: make a gun that’s both suitable for a small statured, small-handed, not-too-strong person to both train on and carry. Design a new one – don’t plate an existing one pink. I have two suggestions:
- A tip-up barrel .380 auto, striker-fired, DAO. Big enough that the recoil of the blowback design is minimized; small enough to carry. Smaller than the SIG .380 (can’t recall the model number), but bigger than a Beretta Tomcat. Work with the ammo guys to come up with a truly suitable, maximized .380 defensive round.
- A smallish revolver in a reasonable cartridge, with a smooth, easy-to-pull trigger that’s reachable. Something along the lines of a 3-inch j-frame in steel, maybe a little larger. Work with the ammo guys to come up with a standard-pressure .38 cartridge that’s defense-optimized and such that the whole package is recoil-friendly. Or hell, go the .40 S&W or .357 SIG route and invent a while new cartridge – there’s the entire female market to sell it to!