WON Landing Page March 2022

Women’s Choice – The Top 10 Handguns of 2016

A recent article published by The Well Armed Woman, titled “The Top 10 Guns Women Purchased in 2016” reveals what American women buying in order to be self-protectors. This list was compiled using a survey of 1100 women, and from The Well Armed Woman holster sales of 2016. One of the key points that Carrie Lightfoot, founder of The Well Armed Woman, noted in this article is, “We all know that there is no one right gun for all women, but I think knowing what women across the country are buying, at a minimum, can help to narrow down the possibilities and help to create a great list of guns to try, or at least start with.”


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After reading this article, I wanted to dig in deeper to find out why these specific guns are popular, and why women liked them. I researched online reviews, from The Well Armed Woman’s website and its gun forum, as well as other resources. Here’s what I found.



#10 – Glock 19

The Glock 19 is considered a compact pistol. The size of this gun is small enough that many women find it easy to conceal, yet still provides a 15 round magazine capacity. Because the frame of the Glock 19 is larger than some of the smaller “pocket pistols,” the recoil is felt less and makes the gun more pleasant to shoot. The G19 is also a favorite among men for concealed carry as well.


s&wbodyguard#9 – Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380

The most popular aspect of the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is its concealability. The magazine has a 6-round capacity, similar to most other pistols of this size. The Bodyguard is a hammer-fired, double-action-only pistol that also brings with it a long, heavy trigger pull. However, it does carry the reputation of Smith & Wesson, and is controllable and reliable.

#8 – Springfield XDS

According to the women in the survey, the Springfield XDS is one of the easiest pistols to take down and clean. It’s a 4-step process that makes disassembly fast and painless. Beyond that, the XDS has a slim design and feels good in the hand. It also has interchangeable backstraps, for personal preference. Another key feature was the fiber optic front sight that comes standard on the XDS, for high visibility.

#7 – Sig Sauer P938

The Sig Sauer P938 is a 9mm, single action only pistol that’s about 6 inches in length. Ladies of all ages love this gun, especially due to the easy ability to rack the slide. One woman even described the slide, writing, “It almost feels like it’s on a ballbearing track.” The P938 also comes with SigLite night sights. The trigger is described as light and the recoil is manageable.


#6 – Ruger LCP

Extremely compact at just 5.16 inches long and 3.60 inches tall, the LCP is widely popular, again due to its concealability. Even though it’s a small-frame gun, which also brings less mass to absorb the snappy recoil, women are choosing the LCP for personal protection. Whether it’s a day of work, or hiking the trails, the LCP is lightweight and easy to carry all day long.


#5 – Glock 42

The G42 was first introduced in 2014, and was Glock’s smallest model to date. One of the popular aspects of this pistol is that it’s a .380, but doesn’t have the “mousy” feeling of the smaller pistols in the same caliber. The sights are prominent and easy to see, and the felt recoil is minimal and not “snappy.” The grip texture is comfortable, and allows a secure feeling when shooting. The overall opinion was that the G42 was small enough to carry, yet big enough for a day at the range.

#4 – Ruger LC9s

The Ruger LC9s is the bigger brother to the LCP. Taking a step up in frame size, caliber and magazine capacity, the LC9s is a 9mm, single-stack that holds 7 rounds in its standard magazine. Ruger has improved the trigger on this striker-fired pistol by making it much shorter and crisper, fixing those complaints about the original LC9 and it worked on the slide – making it easier to rack.

#3 – Sig Sauer P238

The Sig Sauer P238 is a single action only, compact .380. Just like the Sig P938, the P238 has an easy-to-rack slide and comes with the SigLite night sights. Despite its small size, the consensus is that this firearm is easy to shoot and comfortable in the hand, with little felt recoil. This pistol’s popularity continues to grow.

#2 – Glock 43

Glock’s reliability and reputation have brought the G42 & G43 to the spotlight throughout the gun industry. A year after the G42, the G43 made its debut. Women who loved the size of the G42, but were wanting a 9mm, are now rejoicing! With almost identical specs, the G43 has surpassed the G42 in popularity. My guess is that this gun will likely make the number one spot on this list for 2017.

tritium night sights

#1 – Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield

With a slightly larger frame, the Smith & Wesson Shield accommodates those with small or large hands. Many of the women in the survey stated that they appreciated how sturdy it feels, yet is slim enough to conceal easily with its single-stack magazine. The biggest complaint is the difficulty in racking the slide. The reliability and accuracy of this pistol earn it the #1 spot among women in 2016.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to what YOU are looking for in a firearm. There’s not a “one-size-fits-all” gun. Do your homework, ask questions, and try different options, if possible, before you buy.

Did your favorite guns make this list?

We’d love to know what your favorite handgun is, and why!

  • About Stacy Bright

    Freelance writer Stacy Bright holds instructor certifications from the NRA in Pistol & Rifle, as well as being an Range Safety Officer and Refuse to be a Victim instructor. In addition to her NRA credentials, she also is a Missouri CCW instructor and teaches various other home and personal defense courses. “In a field dominated by men, I feel I bring a unique perspective to firearms and training, especially to women. I'm passionate about educating, empowering and developing confidence in those I train. In November of 2014, I started the Southwest Missouri chapter of The Well Armed Woman,” said Stacy. Stacy lives in southwest Missouri, and has been married for 20 years. Visit TWAW Facebook page: The Well Armed Woman-Springfield, MO Chapter.


The Conversation

  • Jill Robertson says: June 2, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Yay! Love my Glock 43!

  • Roseanne Bailey says: May 30, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I have a Glock 43 and love love it. Conceals well, easy to handle and clean and the power of a 9MM with Glock reliability.

  • Cindy Galen says: May 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    My go to is my custom Pro Aegis Ii (Kimber 9mm 1911). Great for small hands, has night sights, and the trigger is incrdible. A little heavy for concealed Carry but once you get used to it u cannot beat it. Nothing like a Kimber!!

  • LaDawn says: May 29, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I have two S&W 9mm’s, one is the M&P shield with a laser sight. Love it. Will be getting my CWP next month and it will be the perfect size to carry.

  • Jan Allinder says: May 28, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    I love my Shield. I bought it because of the rave reviews in TWAW forum. I changed the trigger and sights. It’s my everyday carry gun. I practice live fire with a Copley of my handguns weekly. I shoot the Shield monthly. Dry fire from concealed carry is a must for me with the Shield. Fits my small hands nicely. It doesn’t print (I carry mostly AIWB). Great little gun for concealed carry.

  • Barbara Kaufer says: May 28, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Don’t know if you have seen the Taurus Spectrum. I have it on order it is light weight, under a pound, unloaded and is much smaller than my Gen11 9mm and easier to conceal.

  • Cindy says: May 28, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I totally agree. I have 2 9mm Shields, one is the ported model and 1 Sig P238 and I love them all to carry. Also have an SR22 and am SR 1911 .45 acp. Love to shoot them all.

  • Cindy Semenik says: May 28, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Yes! I have a Glock 42 that I love, and a Sig P238 which I also love! I love my guns 😍

  • Cindy Semenik says: May 28, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Yes! I have a Glock 42 that I love, and a Sid P238 which I also love! I love my guns 😍

  • Sandra Milholland says: May 28, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Just for fun I asked a police officer at our training academy which pistol he considers best for men or women with smaller hands. I was surprised–and delighted–when he said, “the Glock 43.” That’s my EDC and I love it!

  • Cathy P says: May 28, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I like the weight of revolvers along with the longer barrels, but realize the size makes concealment more difficult. ( I’m having a love affair with a S&W 686 with a 6″ barrel ) Is there something equally heavy but smaller? My main concern is the recoil.