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Thread: Female friendly semi-auto for small hands?

  1. #1
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    Female friendly semi-auto for small hands?

    My wife is looking for an reliable semi for her small hands that doesn't require a lot of strength to release the slide (she cannot deal with my G17's slide) and is pretty easy to manage from a recoil standpoint. We do plan on spending many weekends shooting as many varieties as possible (and have begin the process), but given the multitude of choices out there I wanted to see if anyone could point us in the right direction.

    So far she likes the older P228, P238, P239 and Walther PPS and PPK (in 380). Glocks seem to be too wide for her hands.

    Her final requirement is that it has suitable stopping power. Now I'm not sure a .380 fits the bill, but she seems to like a lot of these already. I would like it to be 9mm given the stores of ammo I've been "collecting", but I guess I can start buying something else if necessary. Don't really have a price-point, but we probably don't want to spend more than $1,500. Less is certainly better since she'll need lots of training courses. Heck, I can use some too.

    Thanks in advance.

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    M&P9c with the small grip insert should fit her bill just fine. Small gun, more punch than the .380 and a decently sized slide release for smaller hands or weaker thumbs.
    A man with a gun is a citizen. A man without a gun is a subject.

  3. #3
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    check out the hk p7. squeeze the grip to release the slide. single stack, points amazingly well. intuitive and inherently safe manual of arms.

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    Check out this website. Its a good resource for women shooters
    http://corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx#FirstGun

    My wife went with an M&P 9mm with the small grip inserts. Like most people, she found it easier to shoot well than the subcompact version. I'd be wary of certain .380's. Blowback single stack autos like P232 and PPK can have sharp recoil impulse that some don't like. Double stacks like a Beretta or CZ83 are very easy to manage though.

    Instead of using the slide lock have her use hand over slide method while she pushes the frame forward. See Cornered Cat link http://corneredcat.com/RunGun/rack.aspx If she can't for whatever reason then she can't properly manipulate the firearm anyways. That's when maybe a revolver may be a better choice.
    Last edited by Ian111; 04-29-10 at 03:09.

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    I'd say--go with what she can shoot accurately. Stopping power = shot placement. A couple of well placed hits from a smaller caliber gun will beat a miss from a larger caliber gun.

    It's how the gun fits her and how she shoots will determine what is best for her...not so much the caliber.

    Good luck!

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    skyugo already beat me to it on the P7. It's small but recoils surprisingly gently due to it's gas-retarded design, steel frame, and VERY low bore axis and is 9mm. It's also pretty simple to use.

    That said, obviously a .380 she likes and can shoot well is better than a 9mm she doesn't.

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    Glock 19 with extreme grip reduction from Boresight Solutions.

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    Glock 19 with extreme grip reduction from Boresight Solutions.
    Not that it's a bad suggestion, Rob (in fact, I think it's a great suggestion), a lot of folks (myself included) have a difficult time buying a gun they don't like as is on the faith that a gunsmith will turn it into something they'll like when they haven't had the chance to handle the gunsmithed product.

    I've actually been struggling with this issue for the past several months, given that I love everything about the Gen3 G19 but the damnable finger grooves, but am concerned that if I send one in for a finger groove removal, I'll find the stippling job that goes with it too aggressive. Anybody in northern DFW got a Boresight G19 I can fondle?

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    FWIW, Boresight can tailor the level of roughness to you. The gun he did for me was actually for my girlfriend and knowing that it was for a female he knocked down the sharp edges, more aggressively reduced the grip size, etc.

    If you decide to go that route talk with him before you send the gun in and he can help make suggestions.

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    Another vote for the M&P9c with the small grip installed.

    Mine shoots like a full size pistol.

    Depending on just how small her hands are,she might actually prefer the flat base late on the magazines.

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    FWIW, Boresight can tailor the level of roughness to you. The gun he did for me was actually for my girlfriend and knowing that it was for a female he knocked down the sharp edges, more aggressively reduced the grip size, etc.

    If you decide to go that route talk with him before you send the gun in and he can help make suggestions.
    Good to know.

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    Many consider the Browning P-35 a good small hands pistol.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian111 View Post
    Check out this website. Its a good resource for women shooters
    http://corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx#FirstGun

    My wife went with an M&P 9mm with the small grip inserts. Like most people, she found it easier to shoot well than the subcompact version. I'd be wary of certain .380's. Blowback single stack autos like P232 and PPK can have sharp recoil impulse that some don't like. Double stacks like a Beretta or CZ83 are very easy to manage though.

    Instead of using the slide lock have her use hand over slide method while she pushes the frame forward. See Cornered Cat link http://corneredcat.com/RunGun/rack.aspx If she can't for whatever reason then she can't properly manipulate the firearm anyways. That's when maybe a revolver may be a better choice.
    That's a good reference, thanks.

    She doesn't seem to have a problem manipulating some of the other slides. I think part of her difficulty is the smallish slide release lever on my Glock (it's stock). I just had her try pushing the frame forward- that seems to be pretty easy for her to do. Thanks for that as well.

    We have enough revolvers for now, wife wants to try semi. I think she's wanting to take some carbine classes with me too, so now I'm building her a lightweight AR. Sheesh...

    This is a woman who too me rock climbing on our first date and who used to race in the SCCA with/against me. Definitely a cool chick!

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    Given any thought to the "fullsize" Kahr? Expensive and low-capacity, but also very trim grips and the "big" ones can be pretty reliable from what I've seen.

    If I could have found one for the GF to try I might have wound up going that route with her. Probably in Polymer frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gfelber View Post
    doesn't require a lot of strength to release the slide (she cannot deal with my G17's slide)
    Just asking, is she strong enough to work the slide to put a round in the chamber or clear a malfunction?

    If not a good J frame revolver with a trigger job my be your best bet.

    I know, changing a woman's mind is hard but it can be done. Take her to the range, use snap caps or something and do some malfunction clearance drills.
    Last edited by Tomahawk_Ghost; 04-29-10 at 09:58.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s View Post
    Given any thought to the "fullsize" Kahr? Expensive and low-capacity, but also very trim grips and the "big" ones can be pretty reliable from what I've seen.

    If I could have found one for the GF to try I might have wound up going that route with her. Probably in Polymer frame.
    Rob,

    To be honest, I don't know much about Kahr. I'll see if I can locate a range that has some we can try out here.

    And thanks for the Glock grip reduction suggestion. I have a friend that had this done on a 19 and was very happy with the results. Have to say, however, that the wife hasn't exactly warmed up to Glocks at this point so I'm not sure if we'll pursue this.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomahawk_Ghost View Post
    Just asking, is she strong enough to work the slide to put a round in the chamber or clear a malfunction?

    If not a good J frame revolver with a trigger job my be your best bet.
    Yes. Again, I think the issue is the Glock's release lever and lack of familiarity with the action of the release. She had zero problems with some other semis she has looked at, so naturally I'm inclined to suggest one that seems to work better from the start.

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    sig 225/p6- some good deals on the used german police ones- a great compact 9mm with single stack comfort in the grip for under 400 bucks. I have a sig 9mm 220 which is very comfortable for my wife to operate as well.

  19. #19
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    My lady appropriated my Browning Hi-Power.
    We ( ok I ) got her a Glock and while she could shoot it,
    she wasn't comfortable with it.
    She knew she liked the Browning so one day it moved from
    my side of the bed to hers. Apparently it has no interest in
    coming back to me. Something about "beside the couch".
    This soldier should not be allowed North of the Light Line.
    CPT HM

  20. #20
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    I think we've all been here at some time. When my fiance wanted to get a handgun I first made her go with me to a few gun shows and I had her pick up and handle EVERYTHING. After taking her shooting with several handguns and after she felt what fitted her best she chose my G19.



    “We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."

    ― Ayn Rand

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