Marti Davis tries to help our reader by offering several recommendations of tried-and-true, good handguns. See what you think about the lineup.
I’ve decided I want to purchase a handgun. Which one should I buy?
Hannah in Hoboken
When it comes to a handgun, what fits one shooter might not fit the next. While I can’t tell you for sure which handgun would suit you the best, I can give you some recommendations. In fact, I asked several female handgun owner friends of mine what they carry and what they target/plink with, since you didn’t state whether this pistol would be for concealed carry or target shooting. The best thing to do is get your hands on as many handguns as possible. You can tell a lot about a gun’s fit just by gripping it. Then, if possible, go to the range and try some out.
Stacy Bright, the leader of the Southwest Missouri chapter of The Well Armed Woman likes plinking with her Walther P22. The P22 has a rounded grip that fits her hand very well and is just a fun shooter. This double-action/single-action polymer pistol weighs 1.1 pounds with an empty magazine; its MSRP is $319.
Rebecca Green, a self-proclaimed rookie shooter, received a new handgun for her anniversary back in February. After trying “many, many guns,” Rebecca found that the Ruger SR22 was the only one that fit her and that she could easily pull the slide back on. “It’s not necessarily a powerhouse,” says Rebecca, “but it’s easily controlled, and I’m fairly accurate with it.” The SR22 is a polymer-framed pistol with two interchangeable rubberized grips (no tools required). It weighs 17.5 ounces; its MSRP is $415 to $449.
Ellen Benitz, retired Women in the Outdoors director for the National Wild Turkey Federation, enjoys shooting at targets and practicing her form with a Ruger Mark III .22 pistol. Ellen says, “I like the narrow grip. It fits my hand, and it’s lightweight as well.” The Mark III is available in either an alloy steel or stainless steel, with either a blued or satin stainless finish. It weighs from 42 to 43.2 ounces (depending on model), and its MSRP is $475 to $589.
Conceal and Carry pistols
My personal everyday carry is a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm in a CrossBreed Super Tuck IWB holster. When I first started carrying, I chose a Ruger LCP. When I decided to move up from an ultra-compact carry pistol, I did a side-by-side comparison on the Shield and another compact single-stack 9mm. While the narrow grips of both guns fit my hand, I liked the Shield better. The trigger pull was one of the main factors.
Amber Cobb, a pro staff member at Just for Does, carries the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 pistol. “I have very small hands, and this gun is a great fit for size and weight,” says Amber. “I’m able to hold it with a steady and secure grip.”
Julie Garner, an avid hunter, shooter and concealed-carry permit holder, carries a Ruger LC9. “I like how it fits in my hands, and the weight of it,” says Julie. When I spoke with Julie, she said she was looking for another carry pistol; hopefully this column will help her choose one.
Elaine Sawtell has carried a Smith & Wesson airweight .38 revolver for years—either in an IWB holster, the pommel bags on her saddle, or in her purse. The Smith & Wesson J-Frame has become the most popular small-frame personal-defense revolver on the market. It has been around for decades due to its reliable performance, and is available in several different calibers. Elaine simply states, “I love it.” Our publisher carries the 642 in .38 Special.
Stacy already shared her favorite plinking pistol; for her carry piece she prefers the Walther PPQ M2. Like the P22, it has the rounded ergonomic grip. Another feature she really likes is the trigger—it has a short reset making for quick follow-up shots. The PPQ M2 is a double-action, polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol. Its MSRP is $649.
Ellen carries the Ruger LCP .380 or a baby Glock .40 pistol. “I would like to carry the Glock more often, but it is so much heavier than my LCP!” she says. Both pistols are a good fit for her small hands and short fingers. The LCP is a high-performance, glass-filled nylon frame with an alloy steel barrel; its MSRP is $389–$575. The Glock 27 is a polymer-frame pistol that weighs less than 22 ounces unloaded, or 27 ounces with a loaded magazine. The Glock 27 sells for $529 at one of the big outdoor stores.
This list of guns that the ladies have shared with us should give you a good starting point for your handgun shopping trips.