Firearm for women

What firearms have you all found to be effective for home use for your wives/daughters? Many women can’t rack a slide on a semiauto and so revolvers seem to be a good way to go.

Would live to get the thoughts of the community here.

Anytime wives or daughters have tried to get into my home, I’ve been able to fend them off with knives or blunt objects. No guns required.


Revolvers are great. For men also.

For autos, I hear the M&P Shield EZ is designed to be easier to rack.

Training and practice can overcome a lot of apparent hurdles. There are techniques that help with racking the slide.

1 Like

We’re gonna turn Sanityville into a gun forum if we’re not careful. :slight_smile:

So, I have some experience in this.

First of all, it must be acknowledged that there is no substitute for your wife/daughter/mother actually being familiar with guns and shooting in general. It isn’t enough to just spec a theoretically ideal weapon for them if they never actually become familiar with it.

With that backdrop, here’s my experience. A few years ago, after my dad died, Mom wanted to keep a gun in the house – either a handgun in her nightstand, or maybe a long gun in the closet. She has been around guns her whole life, and did some shooting with Dad back in the day, but she’s never really handled loaded guns on her own. Her experience had more been the kind of shooting where Dad loaded the gun for her, etc.

I sold off most of Dad’s guns to help support my mom, but one of the guns we kept around was an old 9mm Marlin Camp Carbine. As semi-automatics go, it’s a very straight forward action to operate. I took Mom to the range to shoot it, and spent time teaching her how it works, etc. But one thing that became clear to me is that the semi-automatic action made her very anxious. She was worried about being able to confirm if it was loaded, make sure she unloaded it properly, etc.

So we looked at double action revolvers together. One of the great things about DA revolvers is that they give the user the best visual piece of mind to know the gun has been made safe. If the cylinder is open, the gun is out of battery, and there’s no guesswork to be done at a glance. This gave her piece of mind.

The next problem we encountered though was the issue of her physical strength. My mother isn’t feeble, but she has some of the normal wear and tear that a 60 year old woman typically does. Between arthritis and simply never having the need to develop certain hand muscles, a double action trigger pull (on any stock revolver, anyway) was simply difficult for her. We also had to factor in what she could handle for recoil, the need for a positive grip, etc.

We ultimately ended up with a 3" Taurus Judge, for a few reasons. First, she liked the heft of it, and the way she was able to grip it. Second, she was able to shoot it very well and with good confidence in single action mode. Third, I handload .45 Colt, so that gives her something to practice with.

The problems this left us with though are some of her underlying confidence problems with guns. For example, if she cocks the hammer into SA mode, she is deathly scared of how to lower the hammer without firing. Moreover, she maintains an irrational fear of handling a loaded gun – no matter how much I assure her and explain the physics that a DA revolver with a transfer bar is about the safest mechanism for a gun to be at rest that one could conceive of. I am glad she has a proper respect for a loaded gun, but it’s debilitating to her. So she keeps it in a drawer in her nightstand, but she waits until I come over to get it out and have me help her unload it.

My goal, ultimately, is to convince my mother to come move in with our family. She isn’t quite there yet though.

As for my wife, I used to have a snub-nosed SP101 that was kept loaded in a safe in the closet. But even with my wife, the DA pull was too heavy. This could have been overcome with more range time, no doubt, but we simply don’t have a lot of that. I installed lighter springs as well (as light as I am comfortable going in a defense gun, anyway), and it was still bothersome to her.

I ended up getting rid of the SP101. It had some issues with cylinder locking up if you half-pulled the trigger and released, requiring the cylinder to be manually manipulated to bring the gun back into battery. I sent it in to Ruger, and they fixed the issue, but it created some trust issues with me. More notably, the gun was simply a bore to shoot at the range.

Another thing to consider is that full-sized guns are going to handle better for women. Don’t make the mistake of thinking “women are little, so they need a little gun.” It’s actually the opposite that applies. It takes more strength and more practice to shoot smaller guns.

I replaced the SP101 with a 4" S&W 66-8. Great gun; shot very well. However, I ended up selling that out of frustration with an engineering decision that S&W had made on that new K-frame. I won’t bore you with the details, but they had made a design improvement with the cylinder in the late 70’s which addressed a problem with the K-frame guns. Unfortunately, they reverted back (in part) to the pre-70’s design in their newer K-frames, which brought with it some of the old problems. In my case, this was excess fouling getting caught up in the cylinder yoke rod, causing the cylinder to bind up after 30-60 rounds. I could have probably solved the issue by developing a cleaner burning handload for it, but again, it created trust issues.

Which brought me back to where I had been originally: Just get a Glock 19 and never look back. Teach her to rack the slide; teach her not to limp wrist it; and teach her the basic principles of firearm safety. Limp wristing is the enemy of automatics, and the main issue with women shooting them, in my experience. Reliable feeding depends on the shooter providing positive resistance to recoil.

It used to be true years ago that “revolvers are more reliable than automatics.” But I don’t believe this is true today. Most modern 9mm striker-fired designs from the “big name” quality manufacturers are incredibly reliable with any decent factory ammo. But no limp wristing!

The catch 22 is that the kind of person who limp wrists an automatic is the same kind of person who isn’t strong enough to do a DA revolver trigger pull.

Anyway, there’s my 2 cents.


Well, don’t throw me in the briar patch.

@jander offers very sound advice. I will echo @projanen as well, that the M&P EZ is the bee’s knees for easy-to-rack, and the .380 is dead easy to shoot. It’s a .380 that you can get a full firing grip on, which tames the .380 quite nicely. (Many .380s are very small or use a blowback design that make them a real handful to shoot.)

I will say that most healthy adult women can be taught to rack a slide: it’s mostly technique. Whereas most adult men have the grip strength to rack a slide any which way they please, many women will need to pull the firearm in close to their sternum, point the pistol along her stomach, grab the top of the slide with a full grip (thumb on one side of the slide, four fingers grasping on the other side) and use both arms to push opposite each other to rack the slide.

Revolvers are easier to shoot but semiautos are easier to shoot well. Even for folks without serious grip strength problems, a 12 or 15 pound double-action trigger is not going to do good things for accuracy.

Revolvers are more tolerant of neglect (sock drawer guns) but semiautos are more tolerant of abuse (droppage, higher round counts between cleanings). If the main goal is to have a gun so someone can shout into the darkness, “I have a gun” and not be lying, then the revolver is it. If the individual is willing to put in some training and some minimal practice (say, 50 rounds per year or so), then I’d recommend a semiauto.

A few things not to overlook:

  • Don’t overlook the pistol-caliber carbine. They are relatively inexpensive, relatively easy to shoot and relatively low recoil.
  • Don’t overlook a semiauto .22 carbine. A 10/22 with a factory 25-round magazine and a red dot sight is a fearsome tool.
  • If you go shotgun, strong recommend for 20 gauge or .410 bore. It’s possible to do “reduced recoil” 12 gauge, but just cut to the chase and go 20 or .410.
  • Don’t overlook mindset. If someone isn’t willing to defend her life with lethal force, then better not to have the gun in the first place. Self-defense is something with moral, legal and theological ramifications. It should be approached soberly.

Well done, sir. :grin:



I’m a huge fan of pistol-caliber long guns. They are a fantastic way to go, for all the reasons you cited.

Years ago, I used to shoot cowboy action with my dad and grandpa. I’ve done a lot of mileage with various lever action rifles. My own “closet gun” is a 16" Rossi 92 in .45 Colt.

I’ve owned a number of 9mm carbines, and been happy with the performance of each of them. For awhile I had a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 which took standard Glock 19 magazines. The idea was that my wife could use the carbine and I could take the Glock in the event of a home defense situation. Sure folded up nice and handy and was easy to clean. I ended up selling it to my brother. Can’t remember exactly why. More recently, I had a Ruger PC9 carbine that functioned just wonderfully, but ended up selling it for a small profit during last year’s gun buying craze. Really tough to go wrong with either of these.

The thing is, as well as these 9mm carbines functioned, I found them terribly boring to shoot. Like the Glock 19, I found them so boringly reliable that there’s no fun to taking them out to the range. I take the Glock 19 out and shoot it every now and then just to make sure the gun and my magazines are still functioning, and maintain some muscle memory, but I have little interest in dumping magazine after magazine down range. I’m just counting the dollars flying out of my muzzle at that point. “Yup, still works. Yup, still hits what I aim at. Can I go home and clean now?”

From a purely utilitarian perspective, I am convinced that the Glock 19 is the best handgun ever made. It’s the one that leaves the house with us most often, and the one I’d prefer to grab in the middle of the night. It’s also ironically just one of the least interesting guns to shoot.

I definitely second this. The most useful shotgun I’ve owned is probably a single shot 20 gauge, if for no other reason than the fact that I am not the only one who can operate it. You really don’t need a 12 gauge for home defense. There is nothing magical about the number 12. Don’t believe the internet hype.

Also consider the fact that depending on where you live, you can’t necessarily practice with shotguns the way you can with pistols and pistol-caliber carbines. Most of the shooting I am able to do nowadays is at an indoor range, and they won’t allow shotguns or high powered rifle. All rifles must be rimfire or pistol-caliber.

Freaks them out when I show up with my 12 gauge side-by-side and a couple .22 LR chamber adapters. :smiley:

This is a good way to put it. It’s a popular thing to think that revolvers are “simpler” than automatics. I’ve come to disagree. A double action revolver is actually a fairly complex machine when you think about what goes into creating proper timing.

Automatics are more prone to reliability issues relating to ammunition and the shooter’s grip, but the revolver is definitely the more complex machine in and of itself.

I found myself in a similar situation a few years back: I shoot. It’s fun, I enjoy it. But what’s the point? Am I getting better? Worse? Do I perform acceptably? Anyway, that took me down a path of doing something other than just popping primers for the sake of it. DM me if you want some suggestions.

Glock 19s are great. They are a touch large for concealment, at least for my frame and climate, but the reliability and level of aftermarket support are unbeatable. The reach from the backstrap to the trigger is a bit long for most women, however. The S&W M&P is a bit better on that front.

I stole that from something I read quite recently, though I can’t remember what. I think it was in last month’s Shooting Illustrated.

No one who has ever had the side plate off a revolver would ever think it is simpler than a semiauto. Revolvers are simpler to operate than semiautos, and much simpler to disassemble for simple maintenance, but the mechanisms are small and finicky.

No question. You can also think of it in terms of how many moving parts need to function correctly to get the first shot off. For a revolver, it’s probably a dozen or two. For a semi-auto, it can be a pretty low number.

A poking I hope is helpful, here: What I think would also be instructive is a thread on purses for sons and husbands.


I’m sitting here wondering, “What does he mean?”

Is the inference that we should all check ourselves and consider whether it’s fitting to even consider women in the context of something that’s properly understood as masculine, like guns and protection?

Or is he serious, and he’s making the inference that men would do just as well to consider where they would do well to “flex” into things which are regarded as feminine, such as carrying a bag?

Because I could go either way on this one. I’ll have you know that I’ve carried a Maxpedition Versipack as a “dad bag” for years now… :wink:


I said purse, not pursivac. I don’t think husbands should arm their wives and teach them to kill any more than I think homeschooled daughters should do internships in D.C. and pass the bar. All the discussions and pics of daughters with guns standing next to their dad with his gun make me regurgitate. It’s culture deforming the church rather than the church reforming culture. Imagine Augustine responding to the sacking of Rome by calling the Church to arm her wives and daughters. Love

PS AGAIN: BTW, since I’m irritating youse guys with my comments today, I should mention that I’m sure there are quite a few women in our congregation who carry and/or shoot, and that’s fine with me. I think disagreements are the spice of life as long as they are lesser issues. In other words, I love everybody.


I appreciate that.

I agree with you when you frame it like that, but do you believe that arming our wives in the sense of preparing them for combat (or the workforce) is the same as trying to take some level of precaution for them to be equipped to defend themselves or their children in the absence of their husbands? Is this in any more danger of being feminist than a husband carrying a diaper and wipes and his kid’s EpiPen in his man bag?

It seems to me that we should be able to affirm that certain functions are masculine, and certain functions are feminine, but at the same time grant that providence may at times call those roles to flex a bit without compromising the truth of manhood and womanhood, no?

I agree with this. I find this kind of gun culture equally distasteful. Fathers who teach their daughters to be “strong” and “self-sufficient” are not serving their daughters well, but are just feeding them a conservative spin on the same feministic poison that will destroy their souls. What she needs is a husband, and Lord-willing, one day sons to care for her when she is widowed.

But does it follow that a Christian father must not teach is daughter any level of self-defense – at the same time, by the way, that he is teaching his sons to protect their mother and their sisters?

I struggle to navigate the eschatological line between an anabaptistic pacifism that believes Christians ought never resist the evildoer, versus the more post-millennial line that would view the civil rights of gun ownership and self-defense as some form of common grace outworking of the gospel. But I certainly don’t want to be informed by the culture here.

Do you believe it is possible to reject gun-totin’ American evangelicalism, and all of its feministic ties, while also having a thoroughly Christian view of defending one’s family?



I agree with you here. The gist of my main question is which gun should I keep in the house in case I’m not home and my wife hears a broken window. She should hopefully be able to use it in a defensive situation.

I agree about all the gun toting women. The recent Lt. Governor for VA had me nearly regurgitating. Not only a woman magistrate but now toting an AR 15. And social media conservatives glowing over it. Lord have mercy on our wicked society.

Nor do I mean my wife carrying a 9mm under her tichel such that if she lets her hair down it will be the last thing you see.

Just point and shoot at an intruder. But @tbbayly are you opposed to a lady picking up her husbands firearm off the dresser to defend her children if dad is out of town?

I guess the distinction is a culture of women gun toters vs the one off need to defend the kids.

I think this is a valid comparison. In the same way that I might carry a purse or change a diaper if the situation called for it, but I’d have the decency to be ashamed of it, so I think women should be armed: as part of being a competent adult, but no pictures, please.

I view my arming of my wife as an extension of my protector role as a husband. I can’t be home all the time, or at all places in my home at all times, so I ask her to do it for me in such cases.

Good challenge. There is lots that is gross about American gun culture as it relates to women. I helped teach classes at a shooting range for a while, and while I have no theological concerns about teaching a woman how to safely handle a firearm or to draw and fire from a holster, there were some things that I was uncomfortable with. There was a women’s group that bent rather lesbian, and one of the instructors was giving private lessons to a teen girl who wanted to train to be a police sniper. I am thankful that I wasn’t asked to take on that job as I would have declined it.

Frankly, American women and gun culture is a place where I became very cynical about capitalism.


Tim and Nathan had me rolling. Thanks guys.

It’s the same comedic genius that gave us the CeliBed and single guy Elder Scroll reviews.


… Fathers who teach their daughters to be “strong” and “self-sufficient” are not serving their daughters well, but are just feeding them a conservative spin on the same feministic poison that will destroy their souls. What she needs is a husband, and Lord-willing, one day sons to care for her when she is widowed.

I know that this is the exception which proves the rule; but there are in our churches significant numbers of single women, so what would you say in that instance?

1 Like

I also love everybody. My nine-month-old daughter is definitely not allowed to play with guns. For that she would have to be my nine-month-old son.

That said, I did catch her playing with my Rugar SR-556 the other day. I guess my wife left the gun cabinet open after defending herself on her latest trip to the grocery store. Luckily, before the baby could do any damage with the aforementioned weaponry, I managed to shoot it out of her hands. I used a Smith and Wesson, although when my wife has to shoot guns out of the hands of misbehaving children, she generally uses the Beretta 86 that she keeps in her purse. I have tried to talk her into using throwing knives as a more feminine option, but those marital arguments usually end with me facing the barrel of a Magnum 44.

Women! What are you going to do, amIrightfellas?


Thanks for that dramatic soliloquy.

Was this post aimed at condescension? Are we to understand that you find this whole topic to be simply mockworthy? If so, I’d be interested to hear why you think that.

1 Like

It depends. Who is the woman I am talking with? Is she single and living under her father’s roof? Is she single and off living on her own. If so, why is she living on her own? Is she estranged from her parents because of sin? Are there worldview tenants that she clings to concerning the inherent goodness of being single and living on one’s own? What lies is she believing that need to be addressed concerning God’s design for her life? Let’s talk about those things first with a single woman before we concern ourselves with talking about guns and self defense. I am not interested in talking with young 20-something women about what gun they should buy for their apartment. I’d rather talk to them about their need to be married or to live in their father’s home.

I don’t think anyone who had been participating in this discussion (prior to its apparent descent toward mockery) holds a view that we all just need to arm all the women so they can be good strong feminists. I think we all recognize that sinful worldviews concerning manhood and womanhood threaten a person’s soul and their eternity. This is the greater enemy to be dealt with than the theoretical home intruder who threatens the body only, but is powerless to cast the soul into hell.

If anybody felt mocked, I’m sorry. I only wanted them to feel kidded. Sometimes I think a topic is truly worthwhile, but better not to take too seriously.

As Pastor Bayly said, I could name women in my life who pack heat or practice self defense for various reasons, and I have no problem with that choice.