This page tries to set out what is the best handgun for a woman to carry. Women are more prone to get attacked on the street then men and a serious criminal would rather try to disarm a woman than go to jail for fifteen years knowing it was woman who sent him there, as a lot of criminals can be misogynistic in that they don't like women being in control.
It has always been professed that a woman should carry a small caliber handgun like a .22 revolver or a .25 or .32 caliber automatic, but in the real world a small caliber handgun isn't guaranteed to stop a two hundred and fifty pound attacker, who might be high on drugs, and getting shot by a punitive .25 would instead probably just make the attacker more prone to attack and hurt the woman. So a larger caliber gun like a .38 Special as seen below is really more of a necessity than of choice.
Over the years is has been illustrated that women get tired of carrying big guns around with them all day like magnums, that are too heavy, too bulky and too powerful, or .45 caliber guns that are also too heavy for a woman to tote around all day and maybe too much recoil too.
Below is a .45 caliber Springfield Armory 1911-A1 semi-automatic pistol. It looks nice and business like, but heavy to tote around all day and more difficult to operate than a revolver...
...automatics can jam up solid, then your in big trouble. From a woman's perspective, they also have fiddly safety catches and are more technical to shoot, having to load the magazine, operate the guns slide mechanism and then operate the safety catch. So these types of gun are out, the best handgun would have to be a smallish revolver but with a bit of power behind it.
Firearms dealers have stated that the most popular handguns that are being bought by women are the lightweight .38 Special snub nosed revolver variety with the two inch barrel. The short barrel means that the gun is a lot easier to carry in a purse or coat pocket and the Smith & Wesson Centennial 442 Airweight as seen below, is a very popular choice.
I have found a nice Youtube video of the Centinnial CT to better show the gun in perspective. This model is the CT or Crimson Trace, it gets its name from the side mounted laser in the grip.
The .38 Special. Smith & Wesson Centennial 442 or 642CT Airweight is a powerful, easy to conceal and carry revolver that comes in a matt black or satin steel finish that doesn't reflect light so much and is therefore less conspicuous.
The .38 Special cartridges that these guns fire are quite powerful bullets, producing adequate muzzle energy to stop an attacker. The .38 Special is more powerful than a standard .38 and also the common 9mm bullet but not as powerful as the heavy duty, wrist wrenching .357 Magnum. All .357 Magnum revolvers can chamber and fire any and all .38 or .38 Spl or .38+P cartridges even though it is not stated on the gun.
The .38 Special snub nosed revolver is not too bulky for you to carry in your purse or in a concealed holster. It would probably be best to be a "hammerless" type in that there is no protruding hammer to snag any clothing and can be fired through a coat pocket or purse if needs be, without the need to extract it and point.
A "hammerless" revolver still has the hammer that fires the bullet, but it is shrouded within the gun. Internal hammer would be a better description. There is no ability to cock the hammer before firing the gun, you just have to put the bullets (also called rounds) into the cylinder and pull the trigger to operate it. Simple and very effective.
There is no safety catch on a revolver so they have to be handled with great responsibility. Revolvers however are easy to load, just open the cylinder on the side and push the bullets in, then close it and its ready to fire.
With no safety catch on these guns, you should not worry about accidentally firing the gun, as they need a firm, positive and long squeeze on the trigger to fire, they wont go off if you were to drop the gun either, it would be very, very rare for this to happen.
It has also been proven that one of the hardest guns to snatch or grab out of someone's hand is a one and a half inch barrel or two inch barrel snub nose revolver. The snub nose .38 Special's recoil has a bit of attitude but its not too violent and wont hurt your hand or wrist.
The .38 Special snub nosed revolver is not very accurate on a fifteen yard firing range, but as you would be firing almost point blank at your attacker then firing range distances are irrelevant.
You will not be in a combat shoot out, firing at an attacker on the other side of the street or into a vehicle. You will instead be defending yourself at short range, with the attacker who will be in your face, at arms length or at least, just a few paces away. So what types of revolver are available? Below are some popular choices for...
THEN BEST GUN FOR A WOMAN
Please note that due to how I scanned, copied, pasted some of these photos, they are not to scale with each other. So some guns may look bigger or smaller than others, but generally they are all the same size. The gun images are not actual size.
Below is shown a .38 Special Smith & Wesson Model 64. Although not of the "hammerless" shrouded hammer variety, this is none the less still a good, ultra reliable and robust revolver.
Fitted with non slip pachmeyer rubber grips so it won't slip around in your hand. Like all of these small revolvers, there doesn't appear to be a sight on the back of the gun, but there is...in the shape of a groove that runs down the center of the top of the frame.
Sights are not really needed over the distances that these guns are designed to be fired over though, so its not a problem.
Below is shown rather trendy and designer looking Charter Arms Pink Lady .38 Special 38SPC DAO. It is of the hammerless variety and consequently know as the Double Action Only revolver. It hold five rounds and has a lightweight alloy frame, rubber grips and a short two inch barrel.
Below is shown another rather trendy and designer looking snubby, the Charter Arms Lavender Lady .38 Special 38SPC. Not of the hammerless variety, it holds five rounds, has a lightweight alloy frame, rubber grips and is fitted with a short two inch barrel.
Note: Sometimes a revolver with a visible hammer can have its advantages, such as the deliberate cocking of it whilst pointed at an attacker, this alone can be enough to frighten them away.
Below is shown a . 38 Special Charter Arms Undercover Model 13820. This revolver is quite compact and is a bit less expensive than a Smith & Wesson. The rubber grips are a bit shorter and more suitable for a woman's smaller hands, very easy to conceal and carry around all day.
Below is another Charter Arms revolver, the "hammerless" .38 Special Off Duty Model 53811. Featuring a heat treated aluminum casting enabling this five shot revolver to weigh in at only twelve ounces, this is a very light gun to tote around all day.
Below is shown a .38 Special Smith & Wesson Model 40. A popular concealment revolver from S&W with a special and very unique grip safety that has to be depressed before the gun can be fired, this eliminates accidentally firing it.
The small wooden grips that are quite adequate for a woman's small hands can be changed for rubber ones if desired.
or in a nice blued finish...
Note: When a gun is said to have a " Blued " finish, this relates to the manufacturers chemical process that dyes the metal for anti-rust properties. The gun is not blue but is indeed black.
Below is the .38 Special Smith & Wesson Model 438 bodyguard. Anodized matt black finish, synthetic non-slip grips, quite light and very easy to point and shoot. Smith and Wesson revolvers are upmarket, hence they are expensive but with price comes superb fit and finish to all the parts.
This revolver allows the shooter to cock the hammer for single action fire, as the top of the knurled hammer is just slightly visible. The hammer is just shrouded to stop it from snagging on clothing as you draw the gun out. This popular anti-snag system is very relaible for fast drawing of the revolver without it getting hung up on pocket linings etc.
Below is a YouTube video about the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard revolver...
Below is shown a .38 Special Taurus Model 65 CIA protector. Quite a smooth and sleek design from Taurus, also of the hammerless variety, and is fitted small rubber grips. Again, this revolver is suitable for the pocket or purse and also has the ability to be cocked for single action fire similar to the one mentioned above. The top of the hammer is just slightly visible in the image.
Below is shown the Ruger LCR .38 Special+P a lightweight and hammerless revolver. The revolver weighs thirteen and a half ounces and is made from an aluminum polymer mixture, it has been made specifically for concealed carry and can be carried around all day without any discomfort.
The trigger pull on the Ruger LCR is quite light and smooth, as most of the other guns on this page that requires the woman to squeeze the trigger with a bit more force. However it is a very nice, easy to carry and conceal firearm and is more then adequate for self protection and home defense.
The Best Gun For A Woman continues on Page II and can be accessed by clicking on the image below.
Page created April 27th 2009. Updated 25th 2012