What would a good first handgun be for a girl?
I am new to this site and also new to shooting guns in the first place. I just received my CPL, and am looking into buying my first handgun. I really need some help with this...and I have a couple ideas as to what I want. First I am a girl, so I would like something compact, and not too heavy to be able to carry in my purse if I would like. I tried a Smith and Wesson M&P Compact 9mm that I really liked... so opinions on that would be great, I think I am pretty set on a 9mm. Lastly, I would really like it to have a manual safety of some sort, I know there are big debates about them, but I think with it being in my purse it would be a good idea. Thanks, and any opinions I can get would be great!
Don't worry about getting a good handgun "for a girl'; just get a good handgun for YOU. If you've tried the 9mm M&P Compact and liked it, I don't know any reason why it should be considered a bad choice. Go for it!
I would, however, HIGHLY suggest a special-made holster-purse, or a holster secured to the inside of your existing purse. A holster has several purposes which are important; first, it keeps the weapon in exactly the same place and at the same angle, so if you need it in a hurry, you know exactly where to go to find it and grab it, even in the dark. Second, it protects the gun from bumps, impacts, and getting tangled-up with other objects. If you just drop a loaded M&P in your purse, it's not a matter of IF you will have an accidental/negligent discharge, it's a matter of WHEN. For instance, you toss your purse on the car seat and the cell phone bumps the pistol's safety off; you grab the purse and one of your car keys pokes into the trigger guard; then one more bump and BANG!, someone gets hurt/killed. Even putting the gun in its own compartment in the purse will not prevent this type of problem, and it certainly won't prevent it from turning upside-down (the slide is heavier than the frame, so it will end up at the bottom, eventually; same thing happens when people carry a gun loose in a coat pocket).
Hope the above info has been helpful. I do not wish to discourage you from buying/carrying, but I don't want to read about your accidental shooting in the newspaper, either.
"Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
(RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)
The M&P is a nice gun. I can't see why you shouldn't go for that. I also like the Springfield XD and they have a nice compact as well. I don't actually have either of these although I've used the XD a few times. Compacts are not allowed here and the XD is sold under a different name.
The advice on holsters in handbags is very good advice and worth thinking about. You will find there are a few carry options out there either as something you can put in your hand bag like a simple sandwhich or paddle holster that can go in what every bag you are using or you can buy purpose made bags. A bag with a side pocket that the gun fits firmly into would be good. I guess styles the thing though.
I agree with DJ Niner. how ever you do it, I think its best to avoid the need to rumage around. You should be able to reach for, find and present your gun with the minimum of fuss. Practice will make this seamless but keeping things out of the way will make that easier.
I can't imagine anyone would casually toss a gun, holster with a gun or a bag with a gun onto a car seat etc but I guess it could happen. It's easy enough to get distracted and forget I guess. I'd like to think anyone carrying a gun is going to be conscious of it all the time even if it's not your primary focus most of the time.
Congrats on your CPL and good luck.
The M&P is fine, but I would prefer the XD subcompact, personally. It does not have a lever type safety, but it does have a grip safety. This, along with the split trigger safety, would prevent a negligent discharge being caused by it bouncing around in your purse, but would still allow you to simply grab the pistol normally and pull the trigger.
Also, you should probably have a purse that can be worn with a strap across the chest that is strong enough that a thief cannot snatch it by breaking the strap. Purse carry is one of the worst ways to carry a gun, but I understand that sometimes it is the only option. You just have to be very diligent about securing the gun.
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Thanks for all of the great information. I never thought about a purse specifically designed to carry my gun. I think I may get the M&P 9C, because I found one with a thumb safety, but I also heard that the safety on this model is somewhat loose? I was also looking at Sig P250 compact, but I've heard some conflicting opinions on Sig overall. Any thoughts?
Get a .22.
Go to the range.
Shoot it some.
Tell every guy at the range what gun you're really looking for. 9mm small with a manual safety.
They'll be throwing gun at you to try.
Go to a gun show.
Pretend your a guy in a strip club.
Fondle everything in sight.
Accept the fact the first gun in 9mm you buy will NOT be the last.
Don't let any male tell ypou what you should carry. My wife made me add that
Welcome to shooting
As mentioned there are no gender-specific weapons (though some are marketed with "girly" colors from Charter Arms).
The only way you can really determine if the weapon is suited to you is to actually shoot the thing. I favor the Walther PPKs as a first weapon. It has been around a long time (since 1931) and it's reliability is legendary. It has a full-sized grip; it is small enough to fit in a purse (and I agree a dedicated pistol-purse is best). It fires the lighter recoiling .380 caliber ammunition and if you have not shot a good bit this might make a better choice for a first weapon. You would never need to dispose of this even if you move up to a larger caliber as it makes a fine ankle holster weapon.
The Walther is a steel framed weapon and the additional weight will reduce the perceived recoil.
My issue with starting with a larger service caliber is that there is a reasonable chance (not gender related) that by starting with the larger caliber that you might develop a recoil/noise induced flinch. This is less likely to happen with the heavier steel-framed weapon and the lower recoiling .380 than it is to occur with the 9mm (especially a light weight polymer framed weapon). Flinch, once ingrained, can be difficult to overcome.
When shooting it is not uncommon for a beginner to place the first round in the black and then subsequent rounds are scattered all over the place. That is recoil flinch at work. (The first shot is not affected as the shooter is unprepared for the intensity of the sound and the recoil.)
In any event, I would make an effort to handle and shoot several weapons before making your purchase.
The only thing that is a near certainty is that your first choice is likely to be replaced by another choice at some time in the future. Except for law enforcement officers who have a mandated choice for weapons, most people go through several before setting on the "perfect" weapon.
I really agree with Packard--starting out, go with something that will be comfortable to shoot and will develop good habits. My business partner, a smallish woman, was convinced to get a Glock 40 (not by me). She does exactly what Packard says--first one dead center, the rest, very low. The flinch destroys her accuracy. As a note, she remarks that the recoil doesn't hurt--it's just startling.
Thanks again for all the great information, I guess I should hold off on buying one right away and go try out a bunch of them at the range, I thought I knew what I wanted but now everyone has some great points, maybe I should try out a smaller caliber first... There is just soo much to choose from and so many options out there, but I want the best "bang" for my buck
Yeah, the choices are really staggering nowadays. When I started shooting you basically had Smith & Wesson and Colt revolvers (no Ruger yet) and Browning and Colt autos. And even with so few choices it was still a quandary and I've lost count over all the weapons I've bought and sold.
Note: There were others obviously-- Beretta had a 380 double stack, and Walther had the PPKS, etc., and High Standard had the over/under derringer in .22 mag. and Star PD in .45. , etc. But the array was not nearly as daunting.
So take the attitude that you will buy a well-reasoned choice and if you are not happy with it you can trade it in on something else. Or if you choose something quite small like a J-frame or a .380 auto that it can be your ankle-weapon or pocket weapon and you can keep it for a back up.
This is not a marriage ("til death do us part"), it is more like a lover that you keep for as long as it suits your mood.
Loaded question...no comment!
I have two carry guns.
Originally Posted by Ashleigh
A "simple" .38 Special snubby revolver, but only five rounds. Time-consuming to reload. A "complex" 9mm semi-auto. Six round magazine, one in the chamber. Extra six round mag, easy to reload.
I bought a Sig P290 Special Edition this March. It's a "pocket 9mm". Slightly smaller (and three oz. heavier) than the Ruger LC9 mentioned above.
I can't recommend the Sig. It is very expensive, $670. The LC9 offers the "same deal" pocket 9mm for about $400. I can recommend this Ruger.
For any size semi-auto, I think the "dedicated purse" is a great idea. Or, put it in a DeSantis "Super Fly" pocket holster inside a regular purse.
The "main choice" in a semi-auto "pocket carry gun" is between .380 ACP (slightly smaller, less recoil) and 9mm (slightly larger, more recoil, cheaper practice ammo).
Many people like the Kahr pocket nines (expensive, but they have a new less bucks model).
My second gun is a "pocket snubby" revolver. Mine is the S&W Centennial. Aluminum frame, 2 1/2" barrel, concealed hamer, .38 Special. Weighs 15 oz. The "famous" S&W J-frame.
I added a Crimson Trace laser sight soft rubber grip. This makes dry-fire practice and actual shooting MUCH better.
The "pocket snubby concept" has been popular since before WWII. I have a lady friend who has the "new" Ruger LCR .38 Special. Light Compact Revolver.
13 oz. About the same size as my S&W. Uses polymer in the frame. For less than $400. It can be had with factory installed laser sight for some more money. Do that.
Revolvers are "easy to learn to shoot, easy to clean" compared to semi-autos.
I've fired both snubbys a lot. And, I recommend the Ruger. Get that DeSantis "Super Fly" pocket protector holster.
So, lots of choices. Revolvers have only five rounds. Semi's can do around six in a mag, one in the chamber, plus spare mag.
All of the above is just my opinions, YMMV, and so will others.
Have fun looking and hopefully firing stuff you find interesting.
And most of all, welcome to the I'm taking control of my self-defense options club.
DJ NINER has it right. Get the gun you like best. If it feels right in your hand you will do better than if you let someone tell you what to use. My wife and my mother are a great example, My mother even at 81 goes to the range twice a month to shoot her 1911 US army issue colt but, my wife will not shoot anything but her Walter PPKS in.380. Get what seems right for you.
I have taken everyones opinions into consideration and tried out the new Ruger LC9. I loved how it felt and how it shot! I snatched up the last one my Gander Mountain had, and I'm happy I did. Thanks everyone for the information! I found my perfect first gun.
You have probably made a good choice, having shot the gun. The only question I had on the Rugers was their trigger. I bought a MP40 recently. It has a good trigger but a big recoil and puts out some smoke and noise. The other day I was at the local range and three ladies were there having dared each other "to go shoot a gun" for the first time. The range is set so people can watch safely from a hall outside the actual range without hearing protection. They waited for me to leave before they went in. The smoke from my cheap loads (Federal Champion) was so bad I sometimes had to wave to clear a path to see the target. I drove away two men beside who were also shooting large cal pistols (better ammo). The ladies came in as I was leaving. I wished them luck and pointed out the better head gear. The guy who needed the luck was the range master who was going to show each of them how to shoot!
Small Pocket pistols can be a bit of a handful. My Wife's PPK/S isn't horrible, but it's not really a good gun to learn with. I think the M&P compact is actually a pretty good choice. Small enough to reasonably be concealed, but large enough to be a decent range gun. Another option that might be worth a look: CZ75 Compact. Similar price (+/- a few bucks), Safety.
Also, rumor has it that some XDs are available with a thumb safety. I've never actually seen one, but they were listed on Springfield's site at one point.
Cool... Glad I finally checked back on this string... Thanks for letting us know Ashleigh... Glad you're happy with the LC9!
Now that you have the gun Ashleigh, you need to get some good training, practice, and find a good defense load to carry. If you are carrying it in your purse, I would recommend a purse designed to hold a handgun or a holster to put it in when it's in a regular purse. Letting a handgun float around in a purse without a holster is a recipe for a negligent discharge. Buying the gun is actually the easy part. It's just snowballs after that. I do hope you are enjoying the experience.
Hud said to check on a holster purse. That is a good idea. My mom recently got one and the holster had velcroe on the outside of it. She can take it out and use it in her other purses with a cloth interior. But, it stays secure inside and she knows where it is when she goes in after anything. Shoot all you can and decide which is right for you.
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