Ladies, if you’ve recently decided to take initiative and arm yourself for the personal safety of you and your family but you’re not sure where to start, look no further. It can be overwhelming when buying a new handgun because of all the options available on the market today. But once you know what features you’re looking for you can significantly narrow down your options and then shoot each until you find the perfect fit for you. The key in finding the perfect fit is the actual process of handling and shooting the gun, so the first step will be to find a local range with gun rental options, or if you have a family member with a decent arsenal you can always ask to shoot theirs.
Every person, man or woman, is different, what is right for one may not be right for another. Don’t get too hooked on the idea of a female specific handgun as you might find certain features less important than others. You are just as unique as the pistol you carry so make sure it fits you according to you.
Features to Consider
The size and dimension of a pistol matter in consideration to the size and strength of your hand and the intended use of the firearm. If you will only be using your handgun for range shooting but not self-defense and concealed carry, then you don’t need to worry as much about the size of the frame as long as it fits, or can be customized to fit, your grip requirements. When it comes to concealed carry you’ll want to find something with a smaller frame and softer recoil, making it consistently effective and easier to conceal.
Pistols with smaller frames, like a compact, subcompact or ultra-compact, are easier to conceal and significantly lighter than full size options. There are some drawbacks to a smaller frame, the biggest one being the lighter weight naturally intensifies the feeling of recoil. However, most cons do not outweigh the pros of a smaller frame since aftermarket modifications are available for many of these models making them highly customizable for almost every shooter. Certain models allow for modifications and grip swaps so if you love the way a handgun shoots but the grip doesn’t fit your hand correctly, you can sometimes work around this by altering the grip itself.
You’ll notice that all of the handguns listed below are chambered for either 9mm or .380 ACP, the reason being their softness of recoil. The 9mm’s recoil is stronger than that of the .380 ACP and, although both are manageable, it’s important to note that the effects of recoil can be easily decreased by a heavier handgun. Naturally, compact and ultra-compact pistols aren’t very heavy so recoil becomes a bigger issue. Once you find a handgun with the dimensions and weight you’re comfortable with you can then pick the model chambered for the cartridge best for you.
Recoil that feels too heavy in a shooter’s hand will impact their ability to shoot accurately and effectively both on and off the range. If the recoil of a handgun chambered for 9mm doesn’t rock your world then you don’t need to worry much about recoil. But if the recoil of a 9mm feels like too much for you to shoot accurately, or for you to comfortably practice with at the range (your hands get tired), then you might be better off looking at 9mm with a heavier frame to counter the stronger recoil or at a model chambered for the less intense .380 ACP.
Popular handgun options for females include: Smith & Wesson Shield (9mm), Smith & Wesson Bodyguard (.380 ACP), Glock 19 Gen 4, Glock 43, Sig Sauer P238 .380 ACP, Sig Sauer P320, Ruger LC9s (9mm), Ruger LCP (.380 ACP), Springfield XDs (9mm).
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you find the best possible pistol for you and your specific needs it’s time to head over to the range and get to work. There is no point in owning a firearm if you can’t hit anything with it. The more you practice the more you will feel comfortable with your firearm and accurate with your shots, even in high-stress situations where an attacker could be involved. The best things to practice when first starting out with a handgun are aiming and trigger control. These two aspects of shooting make up the fundamentals of marksmanship.
Fundamentals of Marksmanship
When aiming, keep both eyes open to provide as much visual information to your brain as possible. Tracking a moving target with both eyes open will help your mind instinctively decide the best placement for your shot and enhance your perception of the situation. Trigger control is another fundamental skill to work on while at the range. Before you pull the trigger back you should first make sure that your grip allows your finger to pull straight back in a natural movement, this will allow you to hold the sight picture as steady as possible without creating any excess movement while taking the shot.
Firearm Safety 101
The more you practice the more natural shooting will feel to you. You can practice different stances, drills, even different ammo in order to find your specific preferences as a shooter. People who are responsible gun owners know that carrying and shooting a firearm is a lifestyle choice. You are assuming responsibility of your weapon and your actions with that weapon, you should always practice firearm safety and respect the instrument in your hand for what it is. The best mindset you can have concerning firearm safety is simple, every gun is a loaded gun. End of story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fake gun with nothing in it, you don’t point guns at people or anything else you do not wish to harm.
Alright ladies, now that you know what to look for when filtering through your handgun options, you should find the whole process a little less daunting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to shoot something you may not have considered at first, often you will be surprised at the insight it will provide. Give yourself the credit of knowing what you like and don’t like. The more you shoot the more your individual nuances as a shooter will begin to show. Trust those preferences and make sure you don’t settle until you find a gun that is comfortable to shoot, conceal or compete with depending on your intended use.