Lunde Studio is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

How to Choose a Handgun for a Woman (2022) Full Guide

how to choose a handgun for a woman

Ladies, the lack of reliable resources is noticeable when choosing a handgun, and we don’t want you to waste money on the wrong item. While guns are predominantly men’s business, this doesn’t mean you have to venture blindly. 

Whether for self-defense, a new hobby, or an upcoming competition, if you want the best handgun that will fit your needs, here is the best guide on how to choose a handgun for a woman.

6 Steps in Choosing a Handgun for a Woman

1. Determine Your Purpose

One of the most important factors to consider as a future gun owner is its purpose. Identifying this will narrow down the smorgasbord of choices out on the market. 

The Glock 19 9mm has been out since 1988, and it continues to be a fan-favorite today, whether as a defensive handgun or for competitive shooting. It’s also beginner-friendly for those eyeing this as a first gun, requiring minimal controls to operate effectively.

2. Find the Right Size

Visit a gun shop, gun show, or any venue where you can size the weapon up (remember to apply safety rules). Here are the standard gun sizes and their characteristics: 

  • Full-size pistol – barrel length: 4.5 inches and longer; best for people with larger hands 
  • Compact pistol – barrel length range: 3.5 to 4.5 inches; best for concealed carry
  • Subcompact pistol – barrel length range: 3 to 3.5 inches; the magazine having a form of grip extension 

The CW9 by KAHR Arms is one of the first concealed carry guns. Because it only has a seven-round single stack magazine capacity, this sub compact is slender at only 0.9 inches — a popular choice to carry concealed. This small-size firearm is also relatively affordable, although the slide catches at times. 

Size probably won’t matter if the gun will be used for home defense (full-size sidearms are also better at accuracy for a new shooter). The Glock 19 comes with swappable backstraps, grip panels, and other accessories for easy customization and can house up to 33 round magazines if you need more ammo.  Learn what’s the best Ruger 10/22 trigger here

3. Determine the Gun Caliber

If the pistols are for self-defense, consider the caliber. Most people agree that a 0.22 won’t stop a large assailant.

The majority of small firearms are chambered for .380 ACP or 9mm ammunition which are sufficient to stop attackers. The classic SIG Sauer P238 is a firearm chambered at .380 ACP with an all-metal frame. This is an excellent choice for a woman with small hands as it is only 5.5 inches overall yet doesn’t compromise on power, and it can easily fit inside your purse.

4. Check If the Recoil Is Controllable

The higher the caliber, the stronger the recoil [1]. The more combustible material is required if the ammunition goes up in size, and the more combustible material there is, the larger force created which is the recoil you feel when you fire. 

The good news is, this is controllable — a good grip and the right stance is key.

Generations 4 and 5 of the Glock 19 have a dual recoil spring system that reduces the force, making shooting comfortable.


5. Check the Trigger, Grip, & Controls 

The grip should be a comfortable width with your palm and wrists in line with the firearm. Measure the feel of the firearm as if you were to use it and nudge the trigger with the weight of your finger. Test the magazine release and inspect safety features such as protection against accidental firing while you’re at it, too. 

6. Test Shoot It

When shopping for shoes, you try them on and walk around to see how they feel, right? Why should guns be any different? First-time shooters (and even those with experience) should visit a gun range to practice some rounds before making the final purchase.

Can Women Use Handguns For Men?

The best handguns for men are also excellent pistols for the ladies, but because a woman typically has smaller hands and weaker upper body strength, the guns you choose should be more lightweight. It’s difficult to steadily shoot heavy guns with weak arms.

Related Posts:

Other Factors to Consider


Is It Wearable? 

Ladies’ clothes are typically lighter and tighter; therefore, small guns are ideal. If you plan on bringing the firearm daily — whether concealed or open carry — you must be comfortable with the weight of the one you ultimately choose. The holster should also feel secure. 

Read: Best Pocket Holster for SIG P365

Is It Reliable?

A lot of practice is required in using a gun efficiently, and it’s important to be armed with a reliable gun and ammo in stressful situations. There’s a reason why S&W, Glock, and HK are major manufacturers of notable firearms — their guns work without fuss – very ideal for a woman. 

Does It Have an Effective Stopping Power?

Ask any gun experts’ opinions on which caliber suits your needs. If your firearm is for defense against attackers, effective stopping power is crucial (some calibers would only make a pursuer angrier, which you don’t want). 

Is It User-Friendly?

There’s no other way to find out if a gun is user-friendly other than testing it. Study how it works: see if you can rack the slide and pull the trigger by yourself, and test out different ammo.


Absolutely! Women need to personally check the handgun. Just like shopping for clothes or shoes, you wouldn’t rely on someone else to do it for you — personally checking it is necessary, especially if it’s your first gun. Handguns are personal, and only you can tell if it’s a great fit for you. Here’s how you can buy military surplus

It depends. The trade-off for larger pistols is that they’re easier to maneuver and shoot accurately. At the same time, smaller, compact firearms are great as portable weapons yet are generally more challenging in terms of accuracy.

Ladies, This is How To Choose A Handgun

Choosing a gun is a personal choice, and there is no “one size fits all” or “the best gun” for ladies out there. Whether it’s a Glock, a Luger, or an S&W, it’s important to be armed with the right information when it comes to choosing a handgun best suited for its purpose (just like with any other buying process). 

Do your research, consult enthusiasts, and run a few magazines with the weapon you’re considering. And if you want multiple handguns, by all means, go for it. Uphold the second amendment in style!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.