For women, carrying a concealed weapon provides a unique set of challenges. Women tend to be smaller framed and have smaller hands than men. Since most handguns are designed for the average male body, this can pose a challenge when manipulating and shooting a weapon safely.
According to Debbie Block, the owner of US Firearms Academy in Reno, women are the fastest growing group of handgun buyers today. In fact, 20 percent of Block’s first time handgun buyers are women. US Firearms Academy is one of the largest independently owned firearms retailers and training schools in the Western United States. More than 25 percent of Block’s students for concealed carry classes are women.
“A lot of revolvers have been sold to women, but as we know, women do not like the harsh recoil and they do not train with them very often,” said Jay Hawkins, a Concealed Carry Instructor with US Firearms Academy. Block also echoed his statement, adding, “Unfortunately many men push women to revolvers because they think the learning curve is easier. Women need to try a variety of styles and make their own decisions.”
“What good is any handgun if you will not shoot it in order to become proficient? Women need a gun they will use,” said Block. According to shooting legend Ed McGivern, “Shooting a double action revolver fast and accurately is one of the most difficult skills for any shooter to master.”
Fortunately, gun manufacturers are accommodating the fast growing female market with new or improved models of popular handguns. Block advised women gun buyers to first try the most popular guns used by women before looking at other models. Some of the most popular and well-suited handguns for women, recommended by US Firearms Academy, include:
- The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield leads the pack and is offered in 9mm and 40 S&W. This striker-fired polymer framed pistol measures less than an inch from side to side and has an overall length just a hair over 6 inches. It weighs in at 19 ounces unloaded and for a woman forgoing a belt and a holster it can easily be concealed in a purse holster. “Concealed carry purses are designed specifically for these types of guns,” said Mary Buckingham, owner of GunHandguns.com, an eCommerce store specializing in concealed carry handbags.
- The Ruger LCP is a polymer framed double action only handgun chambered in 380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol). Although the round represents the bare minimum for personal protection, the pistol is very small and weighs a mere 9 ounces. As a result perceived recoil can be sharp, but the design has proven to be very popular with female shooters. Not much larger than a smart phone or an IPod, it can be hidden yet accessible in concealed carry handbags such as a Raven Shoulder Pouch made by Gun Tote’n Mamas.
- The Beretta Nano represents a compact polymer framed 9mm handgun with interchangeable back straps to better conform to a shooters hand. The magazine release is easily removable and can be switched to the right side for left handed shooters.
- The Ruger LC9 is the big brother (or big sister) to the Ruger LCP and chambered in the more potent 9mm cartridge. Surprisingly the felt recoil is less than that of the LCP, due mostly to the slightly larger size and weight of the LC9. With an unloaded weight of 17 ounces, the appropriate home for this pistol by the Arizona gun maker might be in a Concealed Carrie Smooth Aged Leather Satchel concealed carry purse, a bag popular with lovers of western wear and a best seller at GunHandguns.com.
One of the newest handguns that will be clawing its way to the top of the list (as it has only been available for a short time) is the Springfield XDS in 9mm. Sales have been brisk, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from female shooters about this pocket sized pistol. The addition of a grip safety makes the trigger pull of this handgun the smoothest of the five handguns recommend by Block.
All of these guns are well-suited for the physical characteristics of women. Additionally, these guns are well-suited for conceal carry purses while being comfortable, easy to draw and easy to shoot.
This article was written by Guest Author Mike Searson, a Freelance Writer. Mike specializes in a number of fields such as MMA, Boxing, Traditional Martial Arts, Firearms, Knives, Endangered Species, Reptiles, and Extreme Fitness. He is currently the Firearms, Gun Rights, Fight Sports (Boxing, MMA, and Collegiate Wrestling) and Martial Arts Examiner for Northern Nevada for Examiner.com.
Mike has written articles for Blade Magazine, Gun Digest, Tactical Gear, American Cop, and SWAT. He is an NRA Certified Instructor and offers lessons in the safe use and handling of pistols, rifles, and shotguns.