Best Handguns for Women [2022]

by Travis Pike

January 4, 2022

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The reason I chose, as a man, to write an article on the best guns for women is that, for the most part, these articles are rubbish. They are often whipped up with not much thought and are targeted for clicks. The people writing them are exploiting search engine optimization, and they typically offer silly outdated advice. I’m not saying they are written with malfeasance; they are just written lazily most of the time.

I’ve read these lists, and yet none of the women I know who shoot, carry a pink 38 special.

So, “who am I to tell you the best guns for women?” That’s a good question and one you should be asking any time someone suggests anything. I teach a few different firearm classes and most are aimed at beginners and new shooters.

Women occupy the majority of my classes, with classes often being nothing but women. Once a year, I team up with a non-profit group of women to teach an exclusively female class. I’ve seen lots of women with lots of different guns. I’ve seen and worked with a wide variety of women wielding a wide variety of guns.

That being said, a gun that doesn’t work for a female beginner will rarely work for a male beginner either. S&W 29s rule, but if you are a beginner, your gender won’t stop you from getting bonked by 44 Magnum recoil.

That’s one qualification, but I don’t want you to just take my word for it. The Well Armed Woman has released the results of a survey they conducted of 5,900 women on what guns women are carrying.

The guns women carry is valuable information—more so than the guns women buy. If someone carries a gun, they likely train and shoot with it, so it’s more than a purchase and forget. We are going to use the results of their survey to guide our list and I’ll provide commentary on the selections to help you find the right choice.

Introducing The Well Armed Woman

Carrie Lightfoot started The Well Armed Woman after escaping a violent and abusive relationship. Her goal is to educate, empower and equip women with firearms, as well as provide training and the skills to navigate conflict.

Their website is the best resource for women looking to find the right skills, gear, and guns for concealed carry. There is an absolute ton of information for women looking to conceal carry. It’s written for women, by women and can tackle the unique challenges women have with concealed carry.

If you are a woman looking for information on concealed carry, they are a great place to start.

Best Handguns for Women

Best Guns for Women

SIG P365

Best Carried Handgun

  • Excellent Size to Capacity Ratio
  • Ergonomic
  • Modular
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Glock 43
  • Compact
  • Highly Reliable
  • Massive Aftermarket
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SIG P238
  • Easiest Shooting Pocket Pistol
  • All Metal Design
  • SAO Only Design
Check Price
M&P Shield EZ 380

The Easiest Shooting Gun

  • Easy to Manipulate
  • Soft Shooting
  • Larger than most 380 ACP’s
Check Price
M&P Shield
  • Proven Reliable
  • Ultra Affordable
  • Easy to Conceal
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M&P Shield EZ 9mm
  • Easy to Manipulate
  • Low Recoil
  • Accurate
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Glock 19

The Biggest Gun Carried by Women

  • Perfect for Multiple Roles
  • Rail For Attachments
  • Very Easy to Shoot
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Ruger LCP

The Smallest Gun Carried by Women

  • Superbly Small and Light
  • Packs 6 Rounds of 380 ACP
  • Easy To Conceal
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Glock 42
  • Glock Reliability in a Pocket Pistol
  • Large Sights for a Small Gun
  • Massive Aftermarket
Check Price
Ruger LC9/LC9s
  • One of the smallest 9mm’s
  • Easy to Conceal
  • Discontinued
Check Price

Best Handgun Specs

Below we have outlined the Specs for each of the handguns above.

PistolCapacityWeightLengthHeight
SIG P36510, 12, 1517.8 ounces5.8 inches4.3 inches
Glock 43617.95 ounces6.26 inches4.25 inches
SIG P2386, 715.2 ounces5.5 inches3.9 inches
M&P Shield EZ 380818.5 ounces6.7 inches4.98 inches
M&P Shield7, 819 ounces6.1 inches4.6 inches
M&P Shield EZ 9mm818.5 ounces6.7 inches4.85 inches
Glock 1915, 17, 3321.16 ounces7.36 inches5.04 inches
Ruger LCP69.4 ounces 5.16 inches3.6 inches
Glock 42613.76 ounces5.94 inches4.13 inches
Ruger LC9/LC9s717.2 ounces6 inches4.5 inches

1. Sig P365

SIG P365

Sig P365

The Sig 365 set a new definition for what a great concealed carry handgun can be – it quickly became the go-to 9mm for many shooters.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 75 Reviews

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SIG P365 Specs

  • Capactiy 10, 12, 15
  • Weight 17.8 ounces
  • Length 5.8 inches
  • Height 4.3 inches

Women carry the P365 more than any other gun and truth be told, that comes as no surprise. Men likely carry the P365 beyond any other gun and it’s a top-rated firearm here at Gun University. SIG killed the single stack 9mm with the P365 by shoving a double-stack capacity into a gun the size of a single stack. An impressive feat, to be sure, and their innovation brought the gun massive success.

I adore the P365, and it’s my carry gun of choice 99% of the time. SIG Sauer unleashed a monster with the P365 and packed it full of features. We get high visibility metal night sights, an outstanding trigger, multiple magazine sizes, an easy to rack slide and outstanding ergonomics. The flush magazine holds ten rounds of ammunition but 12 and even 15 rounders are available.

SIG Sauers little P365 became an instant hit and now has a massive aftermarket to provide holsters, sights, triggers, and more for those who like to tinker. However there is no need to, because out of the box, it’s a ready-to-carry weapon.

SIG Sauers P365 Pros and Cons

  • Easy to carry
  • Excellent size to capacity ratio
  • High-quality features
  • So popular it’s hard to find

SIG P365 Gun Deals

2. Glock 43

Glock 43

Glock 43

The Glock 43 is their single stack, subcompact 9mm that’s quite small and carry friendly.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 10 Reviews

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Glock 43 Specs

  • Capactiy 6
  • Weight 17.95 ounces
  • Length 6.26 inches
  • Height 4.25 inches

Glock, Glock, Glock, everyone loves Glock. They make boringly reliable firearms for every task imaginable. The Glock 43 is their single stack, subcompact 9mm that’s quite small and carry friendly. The Glock 43 became an instant hit upon release because people know Glock. When you say Glock, people know they are getting an incredibly reliable gun you can depend on.

There’s no doubt about it; when you carry a gun for concealed carry, you most certainly depend on it. The Glock 43 gives shooters a lightweight and thin carry gun with Glock’s famed durability and simplicity behind it. Surprisingly the Glock 43 isn’t a snappy gun and is rather mild when you start slinging lead downrange. The slightly wide grip provides a little more cushion for the 9mm’s recoil.

It’s no surprise the Glock 43 is the second-place selection. Prior to the P365, there wasn’t a better gun for concealed carry purposes. If you need a small, dependable, and easy-to-shoot gun, the Glock 43 is one route to take. When you need a gun, you can buy and carry it out of the box. The Glock 43 gives you that plug-and-play experience. No mess, no fuss, no drama.

Glock 43 Pros and Cons

  • Slim and lightweight
  • Soft shooting
  • Affordable
  • Limited to 6 rounds

3. Sig P238

SIG P238

Sig P238

The SIG-Sauer P238 is a single-stack, single-action, sub-compact .380 ACP pistol

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics C
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value D

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 21 Reviews

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SIG P238 Specs

  • Capactiy 6, 7
  • Weight 15.2 ounces
  • Length 5.5 inches
  • Height 3.9 inches

I’m not a huge 380 ACP fan, but if I had to pick one, it would be the SIG P238. Pocket pistols this size are usually tough to shoot and super snappy, but SIG made the P238 just plain pleasant. Maybe it’s the all-metal design or 1911 like ergonomics; maybe it’s New England magic, I don’t know. It’s just easy, accurate, and pleasant to shoot.

1911-lite describes this pocket pistol best. It’s a single action-only gun that uses a miniature 1911 frame and slide to mimic John Browning’s favorite gun. Trigger wise it’s hard to beat a single action-only design. It’s super crisp and light, for accuracy’s sake. A good trigger goes a long way with such a small gun. SIG’s magic is in full effect here.

Sig pops on some proper sights that are both metal and night sights. Ringing steel and punching paper accurately is quite easy with these big sights. In my classes, the SIG P238 and 938 series are incredibly popular, and their users often shoot them quite well. That being said, I’m not a huge fan of manual safeties on my carry guns, but an SAO design requires it for safety’s sake.

SIG P238 Pros and Cons

  • Easy to shoot
  • Accurate
  • Excellent trigger
  • Manual safety is a must

4. M&P Shield EZ 380

M&P Shield EZ 380

M&P Shield EZ 380

Built for personal protection and every-day carry, the M&P380 Shield EZ is chambered in 380 Auto and is designed to be easy to use.

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  • Shootability B-
  • Reliability C
  • Accuracy C+
  • Ergonomics B
  • Value B

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 8 Reviews

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M&P Shield EZ 380 Specs

  • Capactiy 8
  • Weight 18.5 ounces
  • Length 6.7 inches
  • Height 4.98 inches

The Shield EZ 380 is the first of many M&P Shield models on the list. The EZ 380 is one of the best newbie guns for a man or woman. Anyone with decreased hand strength will appreciate the Shield EZ 380. It’s superbly easy to rack, and anyone can do it. A lot of people with bad hand strength have issues with the slide of a pistol, but that’s not a problem with the EZ series. You also get a Picatinny rail for attaching accessories like lights.

Loading the magazines takes no effort, and a small nub pulls the follower down with the support hand to easily fit rounds into. Again, it’s effortless and lives up to the name EZ. Most 380s are small, but this particular model is a bit larger than most. That’s not a bad thing when it comes to recoil management though.

The bigger the gun, the easier it is to control. Shooters will easily ring steel with the S&W M&P Shield EZ 380. Big high visibility sights make their nest on the slide and catch the eye with ease. Controlling the weapon with a single hand is surprisingly easy and certainly a consideration for concealed carriers. As far as easy to use guns go, this is the clear winner.

M&P Shield EZ 380 Pros and Cons

  • Easy to load and rack
  • Accurate
  • Easy to control
  • Rather large compared to other 380s

M&P Shield EZ 380 Gun Deals

5. M&P Shield

M&P Shield

We took the power and features of our full sized M&P pistols and put them into a slim, lightweight pistol the size of your hand.

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 23 Reviews

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M&P Shield Specs

  • Capactiy 7, 8
  • Weight 19 ounces
  • Length 6.1 inches
  • Height 4.6 inches

Smith and Wesson’s Shield was the first gun to kick off the 9mm single stack craze. In 2012 these things went like crazy and people were buying them for well above MSRP. These days they are one of the best cost to quality ratio guns on the market. Millions of these things must have been sold by now. I see tons of Shields in my classes and they also succeed and provide most female shooters with a well-sized gun.

As a member of the M&P series, you can expect M&P performance. This is to say the trigger is okay, reliability is outstanding, and the ergonomics accommodate a wide variety of shooters. As a subcompact pistol, the Shield makes concealed carry easy. Stick it in a holster, slap it on your belt, and get on the move.

You don’t get anything fancy with the Shield, but it doesn’t need to be fancy. It shoots straight, chews through ammo reliably, and can be had for a real killer price. With so many made, it would be bizarre to not see it on this list.

M&P Shield Pros and Cons

  • Superbly reliable
  • Well Proven
  • Affordable
  • Spongy trigger

6. S&W Shield EZ 9mm

S&W Shield EZ 9mm

S&W Shield EZ 9mm

Smith and Wesson’s bold combination of the .380 shield platform in 9 mm.

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  • Shootability B-
  • Reliability C
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy C+
  • Value B

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 6 Reviews

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M&P Shield EZ 9mm Specs

  • Capactiy 8
  • Weight 18.5 ounces
  • Length 6.7 inches
  • Height 4.85 inches

A third Shield has hit the list in the form of the Shield EZ 9mm. Like the 380 variant, the 9mm version is easy to rack, easy to load, and easy to shoot. As this 9mm barks shooters experience very little recoil, more so than the 380 ACP version, but still very little recoil in general. If you can take that extra recoil, the 9mms ballistic potential is well worth it.

As the chosen choice of military and police forces worldwide, the 9mm round is a proven man stopper. Plus, the 9mm offers tons of defensive round options. Training rounds are even cheaper than 380 ACP rounds. The slightly larger nature of the gun allows for a Picatinny rail, which means attaching a light is plenty easy.

Big sights and ambidextrous controls ensure the 9mm EZ appeals to all. You poor lefties aren’t left in the cold by any means. Unlike the 380 ACP version, the 9mm is the size you expect from a single stack 9mm. A tiny bit bigger than the Shield, but far from tough to handle.

M&P Shield EZ 9mm Pros and Cons

  • Low Recoil
  • Easy to operate
  • Rail for lights
  • A little larger than most single stack 9mms

M&P Shield EZ 9mm Gun Deals

7. Glock 19

Glock 19

Glock 19

The GLOCK 19 in 9 mm Luger is ideal for a versatile role thanks to its reduced dimensions when compared to the standard sized option.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 17 Reviews

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Glock 19 Specs

  • Capactiy 15, 17, 33
  • Weight 21.16 ounces
  • Length 7.36 inches
  • Height 5.04 inches

If Glock had a flagship firearm, it would be the Glock 19. This 9mm Glock dominates the market. Size-wise it’s perfect for a variety of tasks. You can conceal it, but it’s big enough to shoot accurately as well as easily. 15 rounds of 9mm give shooters plenty of defense capability. It’s a little bigger than average and will take someone dedicated to conceal carry to pack it every day. 

Modern Glock 19s wear Picatinny rails for light options, and the MOS series offers you the option of a red dot. The addition of either will increase size but also increase the gun’s capability. Once you start slinging lead, the larger size comes in handy. Recoil is minimal and anyone can control the gun. 

Glock 19s are easy to customize and the popularity has created a massive aftermarket. When you start shopping for holsters, you’ll find nearly every holster manufacturer makes a Glock 19 holster. While the Glock 19 isn’t for everyone, I certainly see the appeal. Glock 19s are well proven with Special Operations soldiers, Federal and local police forces. 

Glock 19 Pros and Cons

  • Reliable
  • Customizable
  • Works for concealed carry and home defense
  • Glock plastic sights

8. Ruger LCP

Ruger LCP

Ruger LCP

Rugged construction with through-hardened steel slide and one-piece, high-performance, glass-filled nylon grip frame.

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A-
  • Ergonomics B-
  • Accuracy A-
  • Value A-

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

C-

Based on 6 Reviews

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Ruger LCP Specs

  • Capactiy 6
  • Weight 9.4 ounces
  • Length 5.16 inches
  • Height 3.6 inches

When you need a reliable pocket pistol, then the Ruger LCP is who you turn to. Getting smaller than the Ruger LCP takes you into rimfire territory. A 380 ACP gives you much more oomph and reliability than any rimfire. It takes a lot of practice to be good with a gun this small. Ruger’s LCP weighs 9.4 ounces, and that ensures you feel every little bit of recoil. 

When I say it’s “snappy,” I mean it. It’s not always pleasant and not a gun I’d suggest for new shooters by any means. The sights are diminutive and tough to use at any range beyond close. The trigger pull is rather long, but the later models have gotten a little better trigger pull-wise. Even so, this is a close-quarters gun, which is fine because concealed carry is a close-range affair 99% of the time. 

My experience with the LCP taught me it’s a reliable gun that goes bang every time the trigger is pulled. The LCP has been in production for over 13 years now, and it remains a popular choice due to its small size and big reliability. It’s not my first choice, but I understand the appeal. Ruger’s little gun is perfect if you have to dress in formal wear and need a small gun that’s easy to carry while wearing tucked-in shirts, skirts, and the like.

Ruger LCP Pros and Cons

  • Ultra Small
  • Lightweight
  • Packs 7 + 1 rounds
  • Snappy
  • Small sights

9. Glock 42

Glock 42 Review

Glock 42

The G42 packs all the features GLOCK customers have come to appreciate – from the GLOCK SAFE ACTION system with its multiple integrated safety features to the brand’s proven reliability and durability.

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  • Shootability B+
  • Reliability A-
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C+

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 15 Reviews

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Glock 42 Specs

  • Capactiy 6
  • Weight 13.76 ounces
  • Length 5.94 inches
  • Height 4.13 inches

Glock’s first single stack came in the form of the 380 ACP Glock 42. Glock took their plain black gun and shrunk it. Seriously, Glock may lack imagination, but like an AK, it seems to work in all size configurations. The little Glock 42 proved to be a pocket pistol-sized gun perfect for concealed carry. 

Small guns are easy to carry but often hard to shoot. The Glock 42 is slightly snappy but not completely punishing like the LCP. Big sights help ensure you can accurately shoot the gun. No nubs here; you get actual three-dot sights. Still, they are average at best plastic Glock sights.

Like any Glock, it runs like a reliable clock. When you need it to pew, it’s pews; it’s small, easy to carry, and I can see why the appeal exists. It’s a little small for me, but if you are a small person, it’s easy to carry. It’s also very easy to conceal in formal and professional attire where shirts are tucked, and clothes are often far from baggy.

Glock 42 Pros and Cons

  • Reliable
  • Useable sights
  • Affordable
  • Somewhat snappy

Glock 42 Gun Deals

10. Ruger LC9s

Ruger LC9s

Ruger LC9s

The Ruger® LC9s® Semi-Auto Pistol is a simple and instinctive pistol which utilizes a striker-fired mechanism with a short, light trigger pull

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A-
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 4 Reviews

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Ruger LC9s Specs

  • Capactiy 7
  • Weight 17.2 ounces
  • Length 6 inches
  • Height 4.5 inches

Finally, we get to the 10th and final gun on this list, the Ruger LC9, and LC9S variants. These little guys come from the same family as the LCP but are slightly larger and in 9mm. They’re quite popular, and it’s not a surprise that people still carry them. 

Unfortunately, both the standard LC9 and LC9S were discontinued. With so many produced, they’ll likely still be on the market for some time to come. As pocket 9s go, these things hit hard on both ends. The thin handle gives you a good smack after every shot and lets you know you are handling a 9mm. 

The S variant is a striker-fired gun and has a much smoother trigger than the DAO LC9. Both models are reliable firearms and thin and light enough for daily carry. So it begs the question, if they are so great, why were they discontinued? Well, they were replaced with the EC9s, which are cheaper to produce and just as reliable and easy to carry as the LC9 series. 

Ruger LC9s Pros and Cons

  • Small and thin for a 9mm
  • Lightweight
  • Reliable and robust
  • Very snappy

Best Handguns for Women Buyer’s Guide

Well, first and foremost, there are no pink revolvers or revolvers in general. There is some old fudd lore out that claims all a lady needs is a 38 Special, as if women can’t handle semi-automatics. I don’t dislike revolvers, but snub nose revolvers are expert weapons. 

Look at this top ten list and tell me what you don’t see. 

Women can certainly be revolver experts, but the average woman or average man likely isn’t. It takes a lot of time and effort to get good with a snub nose revolver. You can spend that same time and ammo on an automatic and get exceptionally good at it. 

Chic Gaylord Quote

Chic Gaylord, master holster maker, once said, “No one should carry a snub-nosed revolver having a barrel of two inches or less without an average of 100 rounds a week in practice.”

In 2022 and you can carry a five-shot revolver with a 1.875-inch barrel and five shots, or a smaller SIG P365 with a longer barrel and ten rounds in the magazine. 

No 40 S&W either! 

Good ole 40 S&W doesn’t get any love these days. Police around the country are dropping it, and clearly, concealed carriers are dropping it like it’s hot. 40 S&W isn’t a bad round, but it’s a very snappy concealed carry cartridge. If you ever need a cheap gun, check the used section, and you can find lots of gently used Glock 27s. 

The Basics of Finding a Good Gun

When shopping for a handgun, there are many things to take into consideration. From price and quality to availability in your area or online. It can be quite tricky deciding what is best suited towards meeting all of those needs with one purchase!

Here I have 4 important points that you should consider before making any purchase.

Purpose – What are you using the gun for? 

A home defense firearm can be as large as you want it to be. You’ll likely want a rail for a light and nice big sights that are easy to see. 

For daily carry, small guns are often better and easier to carry. Don’t go so small that you cannot reliably handle the gun. That being said, you’ll have to find the right balance for you. 

Reliability – Does the gun go bang every time the trigger is pulled? You want a gun that’s not ammo picky, that can fire and cycle without issue. A reliable firearm should also be able to withstand a relatively high round count as well. Hopefully this article will help you decide on a reliable firearm but if you’d like to do extra research, look for more reviews here at Gun University and similar unbiased websites. 

Ergonomics – How does the weapon fit your hand. Can you easily manipulate the weapon? Can you access the gun’s controls and load, unload, clear, and fire the weapon without difficulty? If not, maybe the gun is too small or too big for you. Poor ergonomics can lead to poor accuracy and even an unsafe experience. 

Ease of Use – Concealed carry guns should be easy to use. Nothing overly complicated built into its design. For me, that means no manual safety or magazine disconnect. For you, it might mean a button magazine release over a trigger guard magazine release, or maybe an easy to rack slide. Handling your firearm shouldn’t take an engineering degree. 

Armed Up

When I suggest a gun for a woman, I never suggest a gun I wouldn’t suggest for a man. You see, generalized selections based on gender are somewhat silly. The best way to find the best gun for you is to go and try some out. 

Go to a rental range and see what fits your hand, what you can accurately and safely shoot, and what you can effectively carry and conceal. Everyone’s different, so it’s important to get out there and try some different handguns. 

Men are not inherently better than women at shooting. I’ve seen Tatiana Whitlock, Jenn Jacques, and Lena Miculek outshoot me by a mile. Admittedly, guns are mostly built for men, and most people who buy guns are men. 

That’s why I see the above list being so valuable. It takes experience from women choosing guns in a male-dominated industry that can provide a starting point for new female shooters. The guns on the list are great places to start. None are bad guns and all have excellent reputations. 

Get armed, get trained, and carry all day, every day. 

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I will respectfully disagree with your selections, at least for women who are new to firearms. As a small-framed man, I understand recoil sensitivity. At 135 lbs, with wrists less than 7″ in diameter, my hand and forearm strength is not the same as a 200 lb man with 8″ wrists. Women weighing 100-125 lbs can be even more recoil sensitive.

    So what mitigates recoil? Among other things, it’s the type of action, weight of the gun, cartridge caliber, and specific load.

    Blowbacks have far more recoil than locked breech. Since handguns chambered in anything greater than .380 ACP are locked breech, finding the right action won’t be an issue for 9mm. I’ll assume 9mm is the desired chambering. Some handguns chambered in .380 ACP are locked breech, but some are blowback. And .380 ACP in a blowback can be too snappy for some people with small frames.

    The weight of the gun is the most counterintuitive factor. People think, “Women are generally smaller and lighter than men so their guns should follow suit.” Only if they want more recoil. A heavier gun will reduce the recoil. When it comes to range shooting, I recommend an all-metal, full-size handgun for maximum recoil dampening. It could be a Beretta 92, CZ-75, SIG P226, or one of their clones. A 9mm 1911 is also an option. The difference in recoil between a Glock 17 and Beretta 92 is tremendous when you are recoil sensitive.

    For a carry firearm, compact variants of those firearms work well. Yes, they are heavier, but that’s the point. This will be a deal-breaker for some women. But for some, shooting comfort outweighs carry comfort.

    We’ve already determined that 9mm is the target caliber, but for women who are extremely recoil sensitive, I have no problem recommending .32 ACP or even .22 LR. They can carry smaller, lighter guns when the power is reduced. For less powerful calibers, load selection becomes very important. There are several loads of .32 ACP and .22 LR that meet the FBI guidelines (12″ penetration) even out of 2″ barrels.

    There are a decent number of 9mm loads that surpass the FBI guidelins and provide lower recoil. Heavier loads typically have lower recoil, so 147gr 9mm is the way to go. Winchester, Federal, and Hornady have specific loads that reduce flash and recoil. But any subsonic 147gr round will have lower recoil than most other 9mm rounds.

    If women are already familiar with guns, have spent time training, and want a lightweight carry firearm, that’s great. If that’s not the case, a woman getting a small, lightweight handgun may work as a deterrent to getting her to train. She’s better off with a heavier lower recoiling gun or a small light gun in a lower caliber. If she enjoys shooting, she’s more likely to train. More training leads to better shot placement, and shot placement is the number one factor in stopping an attacker.

    1. “The Well Armed Woman has released the results of a survey they conducted of 5,900 women on what guns women are carrying.”
      “We are going to use the results of their survey to guide our list and I’ll provide commentary on the selections to help you find the right choice.”

      It isn’t ‘his’ selections. It is the selections of women that are carrying. He is only commenting on the firearms that women have already chosen.

      1. I apologize for the misstatement. As I mentioned, for women who are already experienced with firearms, the list makes sense.

  2. The MP 380 EZ pistol is basically just that. It’s easy to load and easy to rack. It shoots well but it’s a fairly large 380. I prefer the regular MP Shield because it doesn’t have the grip safety. The grip safety tended to cause me to be less accurate than when shooting a regular Shield pistol. I prefer a wider grip safety similar to a 1911. Other people may not have an issue with it but I found it a tad uncomfortable. I had no reliability issues with a few different types of ammunition. Read your safety manual and happy shooting.

  3. Consider a Glock 43X rather than the 43. The grip is so short on the 43 that when I hit the magazine release, the magazine stopped on the heel of my hand. I am not fat – 6′ and an even 200 lb. I sold the 43 and opted for the Ruger LC9s.
    BTW, my petite daughter (5′ 3″ & 115 lb.) chose the Glock 43X and shoots it well even with +P carry loads. However, she is a former track and gymnastics letter-earner at the collegiate level and maintains great condition even after bearing 3 children.

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