Thoughts on a type of small handgun that is relatively easy to use for a beginner

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by lilpocky, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. lilpocky

    lilpocky New Member

    I'm a female in my mid-20s and am from a long line of sportman-type/farmer men in my family. Only thing is, I've never owned my own gun.

    So, for a defense-type handgun, any suggestions on a small, quick, relatively safe, and relatively easy to use handgun. I would prefer a relatively light gun, but weight doesn't bother me. I would like to be able to carry it on my person from time to time for defence, as I am intending to get a permit to carry.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
  2. Win73

    Win73 Member

    From what you say, and if you have been shooting before, I would recommend a .38 Special snub nose revolver. If you haven't done much shooting, it might be better to start with a .22 revolver to learn trigger control and sight alignment. A .22 is much cheaper for practice.

  3. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    For what you've described I would point you towards a revolver chambered in 357 Magnum. I would go for the 357 Mag because it will also shoot 38 Special which is a light recoil round that would allow you to learn to shoot well and when you're ready you can step up to a 357 round that packs a little more punch.

    Revolvers are easy to use and shoot so you're covered there. I would recommend a 4" barrel or something close to it. That barrel length combines fast pointing(for self defense) with easy accuracy. It also it relatively easy to conceal should wou wish to do so.
  4. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

  5. pistolero_loco

    pistolero_loco New Member

    Kahr PM9 or P380?

    I like semi auto's so I like the Kahr alot for a CCW. My daughter however has some difficulty with semi autos. Therefore I like the suggestions of revolvers by the other posters. Smith and Wesson makes a nice bodyguard revolver with a laser built in. I would check Ruger as well. The Kimber Solo (semi) is very very nice, it is 9mm and has a safety on it, but it is new and hard to get. Be safe, practice a lot. Enjoy.
  6. 995

    995 New Member

    A nice snub nose 38spl is what I would go with .
  7. WDB

    WDB New Member

    Swing by the intro section, tell us more about yourself. Lots of good choices, find a range that rents, shoot several and find the one that fits you the best.
  8. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Revolver - Smith and Wesson Model 36 (blued) or 60 (stainless)

    Semi-Auto - Look at the Berettas with the "tip up barrel" feature ie; Bobcat, Tomcat, Minx, etc. Easy to use for small pistols.
  9. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

    I'll go against the grain and say a Glock19.


    1) It has a 5lb trigger instead of a 10-12lb DA revolver trigger, which will make it MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH easier for someone with smaller and possibly weaker hands to shoot. I think this is way too often overlooked (a DA trigger + snubnose = frustration for most new shooters when they can't hit anything). I'm at the range a lot and have too many times seen good-intending husbands and fathers trying to get their ladies to shoot some .38sp revolver, and watching the light-weight muzzle waver back and forth as they squeeze through the heavy trigger. I had my ex try dry-firing a revolver once, and the muzzle would move half an inch every time she pulled the trigger. I was pragmatic enough to know she wouldn't have the dedication to sit around dry-firing 50 times a day, so we stuck with autos and got her something she enjoyed shooting (a Walther P22) and she actually liked it enough to pretty regularly request range trips herself.

    2) Ammo is a good 50% cheaper than any other centerfire caliber (including 38sp). So 100 rounds is $20 vs $30, etc.
    3) Still no external safeties to worry about compared to most other service-sized autos (and it will take all of 10 extra minutes to learn how to make sure its loaded, etc).
    4) 3x the capacity of a snubby (yeah I know odds are she won't need more than a few shots, etc etc, but IMO, relying on odds is silly when we're already preparing for something that is extremely unlikely to occur in the first place...).

    Yes, Glocks are ugly as hell ( :p ), but they are fantastic designs. They are about as simple as you can get in a modern auto, and also about as reliable as you can get in a modern auto. Hard to ask for more for a practical defensive firearm.

    Now, understand that this is all coming from someone who daily carries a .44 Magnum revolver, so there is absolutely no bias coming from here. But, I practice quite aggressively for hours every week, both on increasing proficiency with the DA trigger, and on reloading, which is an obvious weak point with revolvers. A G19 will be more fun to shoot and practice with for most [new] shooters, and will serve her better once she learns how to use it.

    *edit to add pic*

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  10. utf59

    utf59 Member


    The best thing you can do for self-defense is to move out of D.C. :D

    OK, now that's out of the way. As someone else mentioned, do please drop by the Introductions section.

    How often do you plan to practice? I always think simpler is better, but if you aren't going to practice much, simple is downright vital!

    Look for an introductory class in your area (northern Virginia is probably your best bet). You should be able to find one that will let you try, or at least handle, a variety of guns. That will give you a better idea of what you will like than all of us on this board put together. Then once you've narrowed it down, you can almost certainly find someone here who has owned one and can tell you more about it.

    Finally, here's a website that's written by a woman who has excellent advice for women shooters, including an article on how to judge whether a gun really fits your hand.

    Happy shopping!
  11. orangello

    orangello New Member

    You want to "try on" some different handguns to see which you can get a comfortable grip on.

    Generally, a heavier handgun will not "kick" or recoil as much as a heavier handgun, particularly with a bit longer barrel. For example, i have a ruger GP100 .357magnum with a 6" barrel and a snubnosed (short barreled) .38 special; with the same .38 special ammo, the snubnose "kicks" MUCH harder than the longer heavier GP100. This effect is made more noticeable by the tiny grips on the snubnose.

    The Bersa Thunder .380 that was mentioned is what lives in my sister's purse pocket. The .380 is not the biggest or most devastating round; it is like a 9mm "short". The little Bersa has reasonable recoil for a handgun due to the lighter kicking .380. It is definately one to "try on".
  12. Firearms4ever

    Firearms4ever New Member

    Like orangello said "try on some different handguns". Look for what's comfortable to you that's the key thing. For a starting point I recommend looking at 9mm, .380 ACP, and .357 magnum/.38 special. Some of the manufacturers to look at would be Ruger, Glock, Springfield, Kahr, Bersa, Beretta, Sig Saurer, Smith and Weson, CZ, and FN.

    I carry the Ruger SR9c as my primary and the Kahr PM9 as my back up, but I'm currently switching over to .40.
  13. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

    A revolver in .357 or .38 special. You can shoot .38 long colts or .38 short colts in these revolvers also for even less recoil. A very short barrel (snub-nosed) would make a very easy carry piece. You can go very light weight like a S&W model 37. A very safe and very uncomplicated gun. Rule of thumb is the lighter the gun the lighter the bullets. You can get different bullet weights in each caliber(lighter bullets recoil less). I use 115 grain bullets in my 38.
  14. Firearms4ever

    Firearms4ever New Member

    I thought you couldn't shoot those in a .357 magnum revolver or .38 special revolver because I thought the diameter of them were .361 and not .357/.358.
  15. Buckeyeborn

    Buckeyeborn New Member

    357 revolver shoot 38 specials leave no cases
  16. StanDJ77

    StanDJ77 New Member

    What i would consider

    I agree with firearms4ever; do some studying and explore. The one i would really think about is the Glock 26;) Its very concealable, good firepower, famous Glock reliability, and most of all its very simple. Some dont like Glocks because of the "no safety" issue but, use the best safety you have(your brain) and a nice holster and you will be find:) Keep us updated once you decide!!
  17. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

    Yes you can the case diameter is the same. I do think some(all?) of the 38 colts had a larger bore size but the bullets were all .358 diameter. many of these bullets were skirted or had hollow bases to fill the larger bore.
  18. truth247

    truth247 New Member

    Snub nose .38

    My wife loves shooting her Glock 35 but enjoys carrying a S&W airlite .38 snubby.
  19. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 Active Member

    i may suggest a ruger sr9c. they are semi light and fun to shoot. has mor power than a .380 and. but go with what fits you rhands best. or "feels good" to shoot. go to a range where you can rent different guns, try a .380, 357 mag, or a 9mm. i think anythign highpowered tha those choices might be to much recoil and causer too many bad habits when practicing
  20. sweeper22

    sweeper22 New Member

    I would suggesting investigating a compact 380acp or 9mm.

    For 380, I think Bersa offers a really good gun for the price.

    For 9mm (more powerful, more affordable than 380acp)...
    Steel: I would advise a CZ 75b compact.
    Polymer: Compact versions of Glock, Springfeld XD, S&W M&P, FNP, Ruger SR9, etc.
    Alloy: Sig P228, P229, P239, and CZ 2075 RAMI

    These are all good guns. Which fits your hands and your needs is for you to determine.