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  1. #1
    CB4032 is offline Junior Member
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    Good first handgun for a petite woman

    Hello all,

    After a year or so of going out shooting with my boyfriend, (I mostly shot a rented Walther P22 while he shot his CZ100/S&W M&P 9mm/SIG P6/225), I have decided I want a handgun of my own to shoot for fun (and fairly often), but also for self protection. I want a compact gun, but not one of those super tiny ones. I am a very petite woman so I want something that will fit my small hand and won't be too hard to rack the slide. And I realize there is always going to be recoil, but something that doesn't have TOO much. I have been looking around at various stores and armories and I came across a Walter PK380 and absolutely love how it feels in my hand. I've never shot a 380, but I have heard people say they arn't that great for self defense. And also ammunition is hard to come by and when you can get it, it's expensive. But I have also read online that its a great gun and women love them and it's reliable and accurate. Most people recommend a 9mm, though, which is fine. I've been looking at S&W M&P 9mm compact and also a S&W 3914. My boyfriend thinks we should get "his and hers" (lol...he cracks me up) matching CZ P07 Duty. (He is planning on buying one soon and he says its slimmer than pretty much any double stack he's ever held.) I just really like that PK380...sigh. So, I guess I just want opinions, especially from the ladies, about which guns they really like, are fairly easy to handle, and not too expensive (like not over $600 range). After looking at so many guns it just starts to become a blur of hard black objects in my hand. lol. Thanks for any advice/recommendations!

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  3. #2
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Senior Member
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    Dear lady you have already answered your own question. Get the pistol you want, and not the one they may say you need. It is yours so practice with it often, and set modest goals. Know your pistol and be able to clean and lube it on your own. Live with it and enjoy it. Take some lessons on self defense and you will be secure in your abilities. Good luck.

  4. #3
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is offline Senior Member
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    In the end it is what you like and can learn to shoot that is important. I would suggest also looking at good revolvers and not just autoloaders. Keep the desire to learn, not just be taught. Enjoy shooting, you will learn what is best for you.

  5. #4
    Rupert's Avatar
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    My wife can be described as petit, and I bought her an M&P 9mm and it works perfectly for her with the small back strap.

    Some advice for you that I taught to my wife...

    Don't try to use a finger or your thumb on the slide release, just grab the whole slide with your hand and pull it back.

    Don't practice till the point where you are tired of it, leave the range wanting to shoot more, otherwise you will start to shoot sloppy and leave frustrated and in-confident in your weapon.

    Don't shoot to the point where it isn't fun anymore.

    Always aim center mass.

  6. #5
    flieger67's Avatar
    flieger67 is offline Member
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    Definitely do not let your boyfriend push you into a particular gun. You must be the one to make the decision based upon how the weapon feels in your hand and how it shoots for you. Obviously, renting or borrowing any guns that you are considering is highly recommended. Be sure to pay attention to the size of the pistols that you are thinking about: smaller guns are typically easier to conceal and weigh less but can recoil a little harder.

    If you are set on choosing a semi-auto, you might also research about different trigger types. Specifically, some guns are single-action only (like a Colt 1911), some are single-/double-action, some are double-action only and some, like Glocks, are striker-fired and technically fall somewhere between single-action and double-action. You might prefer one, consistent trigger pull or you might be comfortable with a pistol that will have two distinct trigger pulls. Only you can answer that.

    9mm is a good choice for self-defense use. There are a number of loads available with various bullet weights and powder charges (such as "+P").

    Good luck with your choice and I'll be interested to hear what you end up selecting. My wife is currently shooting a Beretta NEOS (a .22LR pistol) and after she takes her CCW class later this year, she'll be looking at a self-defense pistol for herself. I'll let her know what you selected for yourself.

  7. #6
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    Choose the gun that you are comfortable with. If it's difficult to rack the slide, you might try this...

    If you're right handed, grip the top of the slide with your left hand. Point the gun down in a safe direction. With your left hand and arm braced against your body, grip the gun with your right hand and shove it forward. My girlfriend can rack the slide on anything using that method.

  8. #7
    recoilguy's Avatar
    recoilguy is offline Senior Member
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    So far you have been given some very good advice. The PK380 is a nice weapon. Get the one you want and that feels good for you. If your boy friend wants you to have matching P-07's let him get you one of them...too. You have to be comfortable and confident with the weapon you choose for protection.

    I would suggest looking at a Kahr CW9 as a 9mm option to consider. It is not too smal but very easy to conceal. Recoil is very manageable and it shoots very accurate. However it is not a .380 it is a 9mm. This is a sport to be enjoyed so get a gun you will enjoy to shoot! Good Luck on what ever you pick!

    RCG

  9. #8
    hogger129's Avatar
    hogger129 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB4032 View Post
    Hello all,

    After a year or so of going out shooting with my boyfriend, (I mostly shot a rented Walther P22 while he shot his CZ100/S&W M&P 9mm/SIG P6/225), I have decided I want a handgun of my own to shoot for fun (and fairly often), but also for self protection. I want a compact gun, but not one of those super tiny ones. I am a very petite woman so I want something that will fit my small hand and won't be too hard to rack the slide. And I realize there is always going to be recoil, but something that doesn't have TOO much. I have been looking around at various stores and armories and I came across a Walter PK380 and absolutely love how it feels in my hand. I've never shot a 380, but I have heard people say they arn't that great for self defense. And also ammunition is hard to come by and when you can get it, it's expensive. But I have also read online that its a great gun and women love them and it's reliable and accurate. Most people recommend a 9mm, though, which is fine. I've been looking at S&W M&P 9mm compact and also a S&W 3914. My boyfriend thinks we should get "his and hers" (lol...he cracks me up) matching CZ P07 Duty. (He is planning on buying one soon and he says its slimmer than pretty much any double stack he's ever held.) I just really like that PK380...sigh. So, I guess I just want opinions, especially from the ladies, about which guns they really like, are fairly easy to handle, and not too expensive (like not over $600 range). After looking at so many guns it just starts to become a blur of hard black objects in my hand. lol. Thanks for any advice/recommendations!

    If you're just shooting for fun, go with a .22. Just for the reason that it is inexpensive. If you plan on getting something you can also use as a carry weapon.... Me personally, I would never go with anything smaller than a 9x19. I have a .45. I can find FMJ ammo for the range at decent prices. Not cheap, but it doesn't clean out my wallet. When I am not on the range I only load it with 230gr JHP. But the Walther P22 is a fun and comfortable gun for fun target shooting. If you have the money to spend, maybe look at a 1911 and get a .22 conversion kit for it. That way if you carry, you can use the .45 stuff on it, and if you go to the range, you can put the .22 stuff on it.

    I would definitely give thought to a Commander-size of Officer-size 1911. .45 may be a little bit too much recoil, but that's what I have and I think it's arguably more accurate than a 9mm, it's a proven man-stopper, the ammo is pretty easy to find, not extremely expensive, you can find almost any replacement part with ease for it, it's comfortable, they are reliable and I think the only downside is that you only have 7-8 rounds and a little more weight. I might suggest trying out the Springfield EMP or some of Kimber's 1911s designed for CC.

    ====

    The biggest thing to consider is what fits you best. I would say go on a range that rents guns, try out a few and decide from there. Try out a few different calibers like .380ACP, 9mm Luger, .40S&W, .45ACP... Maybe even .38 Special or .357 Magnum if you are open to a revolver. I happen to shoot very well with .45ACP and 9mm Luger, so those two fit me very well.

    You want something that you can understand how to break down and clean, something that fits comfortably in your hand and in a caliber that you feel comfortable protecting your life with. The 1911 meets all those things for me, which is why I own one.

    --I might suggest a Beretta Cougar. (I think it's called the Stoeger Cougar now). Anyway, it's a little .380 Beretta. I have a buddy who has his military-issue M9, and I always thought Berettas had the smoothest slides there were. If racking the slide is hard for you, I would try out that little .380 Beretta. Good luck.

    -Mike

  10. #9
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    first gun

    you should get the one that fits your hand that you like so much
    the 380 is fine for self defense especially with the special self defense ammo now available
    practice with the FMJ round nose

    personally i like the Sig P238

  11. #10
    Popeye's Avatar
    Popeye is offline Junior Member
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    My wife LOVES her P3AT, even though she has tiny/weak hands. She can hit the 'x' on a Q-target at 30 ft... better then me on the same sidearm.
    However, she only put one mag of ammo through it every 2 months or so.
    She does her practicing on her Walther P-22, which obviously carries over to her .380

    Since self-defense range is under 12 ft, I am confident in my wife's .380 protecting her.
    She walks through parking lots with her hand in her purse or pocket, so it is VERY unlikely a BG will menace her.
    If so, she has the mindset to shoot without hesitation.

    The Walther PK380 should be adequate for public or answering the door at home and being able to pocket the thing before scaring the wits out of someone. Home defence is same room distance, so it should do well.

  12. #11
    totingma is offline Junior Member
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    Harry Potter moment

    I agonized over choosing my first handgun. Went with the Sig P238. The first time I held it was like Harry Potter picking out his wand! I've fired 200 rounds thus far and it is a fun gun to shoot. Not too much for me and very comfortable. I have had some trouble with jamming but since I'm new at this I wonder if its the way I hold it or something. I love the gun even with the jamming issue unresolved (and it WILL be resolved) and would recommend it to any smaller handed person.

  13. #12
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by totingma View Post
    I agonized over choosing my first handgun. Went with the Sig P238. The first time I held it was like Harry Potter picking out his wand! I've fired 200 rounds thus far and it is a fun gun to shoot. Not too much for me and very comfortable. I have had some trouble with jamming but since I'm new at this I wonder if its the way I hold it or something. I love the gun even with the jamming issue unresolved (and it WILL be resolved) and would recommend it to any smaller handed person.
    In your case you have the right pistol. You just need a little help with it. Try looking at this link as it may help you some. Good luck....

    Hand-Guns

  14. #13
    Freedom1911's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with the 380.
    It is the 9mm short. Yes it has less power than a 9mm but is you are comfortable with it and shoot it well THAT is what matters.
    Heck many will disagree with me on this. But you are better of with a 22lr if you can shoot it well than you are with a gun that you cant shoot for crap.
    You need to hit your attacker with whatever you carry. And you are better to hit them with a 380 than you are to miss them with a 9mm, 40sw or 45.
    I hear that the PK480 from Walther is about the same size as the P22. Maybe a pinch larger.
    If you are use to the P22 try to rent the PK380 and shoot it. Just be sure that whatever it is you buy, that you are comfortable shooting it. If you can't shoot it right, the gun does you no good.

  15. #14
    totingma is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldy View Post
    In your case you have the right pistol. You just need a little help with it. Try looking at this link as it may help you some. Good luck....

    Hand-Guns
    Thank you much!

  16. #15
    Ledgehammer's Avatar
    Ledgehammer is offline Junior Member
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    I used to have a pk380 and I loved it. If you like the p22 it's almost the same system. A touch bigger with a liitle bit more recoil, still a real soft shooter and I didn't have one jam out of the 500 I put through it before selling.

    What I didn't like about it was the takedown key. It didn't always work right and felt like it stripped out easy. The barrel seemed to get scuffed up immediately. And of course the price of 380 ammo was also a factor. I like to shoot - so putting a hundred rounds through it cost about 60 bux. I can shoot 9mm for 10 bux a box.

  17. #16
    GatorDude is offline Junior Member
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    +1 on Ammo Prices! Otherwise, I'd say go for that PK380 if it feels comfortable for your hands! You've got to think about the mission of your handgun:

    Are you going to get a concealed carry permit?
    Where will you carry it?
    How often are you going to go shooting?
    Is it primarily for fun at the range?
    Is it primarily for self-defense?

    Ultimately, you should probably get that PK380 and if you find yourself shooting a lot you might pick up a .22 somewhere along the way. Have fun!

  18. #17
    Bisley's Avatar
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    I think you have made your choice, and that's fine, if you are locked in on it and won't be satisfied with anything else. If that is the case, practice a lot and get all the help you can with training, etc.

    But don't forget the main point of this exercise, which is to defend your life. The .380 can be used successfully for this...if a lot of factors come together in your favor. If you can put multiple rounds into a small area, with a fair amount of speed, you are halfway home. All you need, then, is for your attacker to give up and fall down, after he figures out what has happened to him. But, if he is large and muscular, or very fat, or if he covers his chest with his arms, or if he is wearing very heavy clothing, or if he is zonked on some kind of drug that removes his pain and fear...then your choice of the .380 may suddenly seem very foolish to you, because it is a marginal self defense round, and has a much harder time overcoming these obstacles than a more powerful round.

    Don't take this wrong. I carry a .380 sometimes, but only when it is either that or nothing at all. A bad guy may just run away when you start shooting a gun of any kind into him, but you can't count on it, and it's better to be a little over-gunned than under-gunned.

    Personally, I would recommend a 9mm (9x19) Kahr. It is sized to fit a medium or small hand, is well made, and packs considerably more punch than a .380, without being overpowering. A Baby Glock (G-26) is another good choice, but may be slightly harder to conceal.

    Good luck and practice a lot.

  19. #18
    TOF's Avatar
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    One thing that isn't mentioned often enough is: If you think you like it today and in a few weeks you become convinced you bought the wrong one you can sell it or trade it in on something else. They don't go to zero value overnight.

    Good luck.

  20. #19
    Freedom1911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bisley View Post
    I think you have made your choice, and that's fine, if you are locked in on it and won't be satisfied with anything else. If that is the case, practice a lot and get all the help you can with training, etc.

    But don't forget the main point of this exercise, which is to defend your life. The .380 can be used successfully for this...if a lot of factors come together in your favor. If you can put multiple rounds into a small area, with a fair amount of speed, you are halfway home. All you need, then, is for your attacker to give up and fall down, after he figures out what has happened to him. But, if he is large and muscular, or very fat, or if he covers his chest with his arms, or if he is wearing very heavy clothing, or if he is zonked on some kind of drug that removes his pain and fear...then your choice of the .380 may suddenly seem very foolish to you, because it is a marginal self defense round, and has a much harder time overcoming these obstacles than a more powerful round.

    Don't take this wrong. I carry a .380 sometimes, but only when it is either that or nothing at all. A bad guy may just run away when you start shooting a gun of any kind into him, but you can't count on it, and it's better to be a little over-gunned than under-gunned.

    Personally, I would recommend a 9mm (9x19) Kahr. It is sized to fit a medium or small hand, is well made, and packs considerably more punch than a .380, without being overpowering. A Baby Glock (G-26) is another good choice, but may be slightly harder to conceal.

    Good luck and practice a lot.
    While I agree with the 9mm recommendation. 9mm is a bit to much for some people.
    She has been shooting 22lr and says ("I've never shot a 380,") So shooting a 380 may be pushing the limit for her. Then again she may be fine with it. I know felt recoil on the 380 is different for each gun. I own a Diamondback380 and the felt recoil from it is half that of a 380 Sig I rented a month back.
    If she goes to 9mm she may have to go in steps. My niece started out with my old 22lr and now wants to try something larger. She thinks she can handle a 9mm now, but was very uncomfortable with the recoil when I first took her shooting.
    She too may need to step up to 9mm through 380.

    While larger calibers are better. Being able to hit your target is most important.

    To Original Poster.
    Stick to what works best for you. Be sure you can hit your target. Otherwise you have spent hundreds on a paper weight that goes bang.

  21. #20
    Bisley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1911 View Post
    While I agree with the 9mm recommendation. 9mm is a bit to much for some people.
    That is kind of a blanket statement that does not take into account which platform or which particular ammo is used in either pistol.

    A PM-9 with 115 grain ammo is probably at least as pleasant to shoot as an LCP or P3AT, and probably not much worse than the Sig in .380. Besides, it has been my experience that 'petite-ness' has very little to do with whether or not a woman can shoot a pistol well.

    While I am one of the staunchest admirers, defenders and supporters of 'genteel femininity,' it's time to put all that on the back burner and get tough, when a lady is preparing for the possibility of needing to discharge a firearm into an attacking 'brute.'

    Even if she is 4 feet tall and weighs 98 pounds, she can learn to shoot a respectable self-defense handgun, in a pinch, and can probably even learn to enjoy it, with practice ammo.

    I just hate to see anyone choose a self-defense weapon because it is 'cute.'

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