Wednesday, April 14, 2010


So my brother wanted me to offer up a recommendation for a co-worker. A work buddy's wife wanted a gun. So what did I recommend for her? A Smith and Wesson J-Frame revolver.


Now hear me out.

Sure sure, the biggest mistake a gun shop does when a woman wants to buy a gun is to recommend the double action only J-Frame Ladysmith .38 revolver. With pink grips. It's a hard gun to shoot well because of the double action and not a pistol that will instill confidence in your ability if it's your first one ever. There are much better guns to offer to first time gun purchasers, and that applies if you are male or female, large or small.


That said.

My brother's caveat was this woman grew up shooting, and her dad had quite a few guns at home. So with that assumption, a J-Frame revolver might be perfect for her.

Other caveats given: She is sorta leaning toward a 9mm as her husband's XD40 is a bit too big.

I mentioned that XDs can have a reputation for a stiff slide spring to operate, if she has weakish arms and/or hands. Not something that is hard to overcome with practice, but it may impact a decision. But an XD9 might be just fine, as are the other plastic guns like Glock or M&P or even something by Kahr, But all have thickish grips if her hands are small.

SIGs have even thicker grips. So if the XD40 is too big maybe NONE of those double stack 9mm's are for her.

I then mentioned the 1911 has a bigger bullet (but you can GET 9mm...) but thinner grip, or she might consider a Browning Hi-Power. That's if their all-metal weight isn't a problem.

The other options is to step down to .380s and get either the small Walther PPK or Bersa Thunder. Or, go even SMALLER and get the KelTec or RugerLCP .380s. I'm waiting to hear back if she needs the list narrowed down better.

But you see how a J-Frame might actually be hunky dory is this one case, right?

This all assumes she is a good shot already and will practice a bunch with the new revolver at first then practice at least monthly thereafter. With only 5 beans in the barrel, and smallish beans at that, and reload times being slow, shot placement sharpened by regular practice is important. It's something I worry about for my own self and limited talents with marksmanship.

Hmmm, probably the BEST way to recommend a pistol for her is to ask "which of your dad's smallish concealable handguns did you shoot best?" Get something similar to that answer.

And if I hear NOTHING back, not her preferences not her true skill level, not her hand or body size, and had to decide on a top recommendation right now? Get a Bersa Thunder. Especially if you said "A REVOLVER?" when I suggested a J Frame. I saw a Bersa side by side with the Walther at my gunshop today. I like the Bersa better. I kinda want one myself a little bit. It's a good size. Breda likes hers.

Get a good holster with it. But that's a whole nother can o' nemotodes.


Arthur said...

I wouldn't recommend 380 to anyone right now. They'll need to practice and buying ammo can be a real problem if you don't reload your own.

A 9mm with replaceable backstraps like the S&W M&P might not be a bad place to start

Crucis said...

A few years ago when I acquired my CCW, my wife and I went to the range. I took ALL my pistols with us except for my .22. I asked her to try them all out and tell me which one she liked.

She liked my revolvers. The autos were easy to shoot---once someone else racked the slide. She had difficulty racking the slide on all my semi-autos regardless of the caliber.

Strange as it may seem, she's a recoil junky. She loved shooting full load .357s out of my M19. But the pistol she truly loved was my DAO S&W M442.

So I bought her one just like mine.

I've wondered if I left mine next to hers in the safe, if they'd multiply?

Boat Guy said...

If you can still find one a SIG P225 (aka "P6") might fit. Single stack 9mm. There were a number of them around as German cop turn-ins a couple of years back.
Magazines can be hard to come by since ONLY the original SIG mags are worth a damn.
El Paso Saddlery will make NICE holsters for these pieces.
My soon-to-be daughter-in-law is a tiny thing who shoots pretty well and she's been well served by a S&W Mod 10 (HK cop turn-in) 4"

Anonymous said...

I don't think Kahr has thick grips at all. They are down right svelte. That's usually the first place I send someone with smaller hands who wants something in a more potent caliber.

The smooth trigger pull is another reason. DAO and long, but very smooth.

Also the perceived recoil is much nicer on the Semi 9mm as opposed to the .38spl wheelgun.

The only drawback is the springs are tight, but not overly so. Once they wear in a bit, it's not hard to run them. A friend of mine with RA can work them although it's not pleasant for her.

Arthur said...

"She had difficulty racking the slide on all my semi-autos regardless of the caliber."

Cornered Cat has a page describing methods people with lower hand strength can rack a slide.

Crucis said...

Arthur, I printed out that page from CC, but she still likes my wheelguns best.

Unknown said...

i see the snubbies getting a lot of air time but what my daughter and daughter in law always lean toward is my four inch model 10. this is a great gun and is almost as easy to conceal as a two inch. whats more it shoots great and is very accurate. if i'm not mistaken this gun was offered in a three inch at one time.
just something else to consider as these guns are readily available used and at good prices if you look around.

Mike W. said...

Sig P225. The Bersa would be great if not for the .380 situation right now.