What are the best guns for women? Whether you’re buying a handgun for protection, competitive shooting, or recreation, you want something you feel comfortable carrying as a concealed weapon.
Men and women biologically have different physical builds, and the type of firearm that fits their body best is also unique. Here are what women should consider when buying a gun and the six best choices on the market.
Reasons for Women to Carry a Concealed Firearm
One of our favorite quotes from gunmaker Samuel Colt is: "God created men and women, but Samuel Colt made them equal."
In other words, with the right pistol and good training, a 90-pound, 5-foot-tall woman doesn't need to live in fear of a 200-pound, 6-foot-tall assailant. This is the beauty of handguns for women or girls.
There are many reasons for women to carry a concealed firearm, and here are a few of them:
- Increased security - Having a handgun or revolver when traveling in small groups or traveling alone will significantly increase your security.
- Confidence - Being less vulnerable will likely make you more confident.
- Increased situational awareness - Carrying a concealed firearm could increase your situational awareness as you learn to live life in "condition yellow" or a heightened state of awareness.
- Effectiveness in defense - If you train and then carry concealed properly, you should be more effective in defending yourself and those around you.
With so many handgun choices, you're bound to find the concealed carry gun for your needs.
Today, there are many different handgun brands and models on the market, many of which are excellent guns for women. When it comes to the best-concealed carry guns, here are some points to understand:
- Women are a fast-growing demographic in the world of firearms.
- There are a few unique considerations for women in the market for a new weapon which we'll explore below.
- A weapon that fits comfortably in your hands.
- A handgun that has enviable stopping and shooting power.
- A weapon with manageable recoil, safety features, and reliability.
The last and least important consideration should be aesthetics. Of course, you want to like your handgun’s look, but it should be secondary to safety features and reliability. Besides, once you put your gun in an awesome holster, that will ultimately be the ‘wow’ factor aesthetically.
Desirable Handgun Features for Women
What are the most desirable features of a concealed carry or defensive handgun for a woman? The simple answer is that women want it to do what any gun must do: stop an attacker and end the threat they're posing! Note: concealed carrying is often known as "CCW,” “CCL,” “CHL,” and many other terms, depending on the state you’re in.
The number-one feature women should seek in a handgun is a wearable one. By "wearable," we mean that whatever handgun you select for concealed carry purposes, you must be able to carry it throughout your daily routine comfortably.
Think about this:
Leaving your concealed carry pistol at home on your nightstand because it's too heavy or cumbersome defeats the purpose of concealed carry.
You can have the world's best concealed handgun equipped with every feature known to gun designers, but if your gun is sitting at home and someone starts to threaten when you’re leaving the store and walking to your car, what good is your "best-concealed carry" pistol at that point?
The question of just which pistols make for the best concealed carry guns for women comes down to a few considerations, including:
- Women tend to wear a wider variety of clothing styles than men, and some clothing, especially summer clothing, has a lot fewer options for easily concealing a handgun.
- Women's clothing is often more fitted than men's clothing, making it harder to conceal the gun’s print under your clothing.
Wearing a Handgun Well
With the above advice in mind, here are some pointers to ensure you get the most-wearable concealed carry handgun possible:
- Your concealed carry gun should be of the correct size and weight for your body frame, and you should be able to carry it for a long time.
- Any extra features on your pistol that add more weight than you're comfortable carrying or features that make it more difficult to use your weapon should be discarded.
- Your handgun should be relatively easy to conceal and carry and then deploy, after all, and its features must support those characteristics.
- Lights, laser pointers, high-tech sights, optics, and other "tactical" features can look good on a handgun. Still, if they take away from your ability to deploy your weapon against an attacker effectively, you should rethink adding them to your gun.
- Think of your handgun as part of a system along with your holster and gun belt, especially if you choose to conceal carry on your waistband. Guns and holsters must work well together to enhance their effectiveness.
- Whichever concealed carry handgun you choose, and you must regularly train with it, know all its features, and practice drawing and reholstering.
- If you have physical limitations, you need to compensate for inflexibility or missing or paralyzed limbs. Look for a handgun with features that allow you to smoothly draw your weapon from an unaffected part of your body.
The recoil of any handgun is determined by its caliber, weight, and size. A strong recoil can tire out the shooter’s arm and make any follow-up shots less accurate. Lighter and smaller guns may have a softer recoil, but this isn’t always the case. The best way to test the recoil of a weapon you’re considering purchasing is to try it yourself.
The two calibers used most commonly in smaller handguns are the 9mm and the .380 ACP. The 9mm usually has a more intense recoil, but it is also more versatile and used in a wide variety of handguns for competitive shooting or defense. Both calibers are strong enough to derail a threat but light enough to handle.
You need a handgun with a reasonable amount of recoil but not too heavy to make carrying and shooting cumbersome. Recoil sometimes depends on the caliber, yet some lighter pistols have an intense recoil, while a heavier one may be more manageable. If you’re carrying concealed, the weapon should be light enough that it is comfortable to carry throughout the day.
If you’re looking for a handgun that you can carry concealed, you want a compact or subcompact frame. These pistols are smaller and can more easily fit into a custom holster.
> MAGAZINE CAPACITY
For competitive shooting, you may want a larger capacity, and some compact pistols have double-stack capacity. However, if you're carrying concealed, a single-stack will suit you fine.
Your chosen handgun should be reliable in all situations. When you need it the most, you want to deploy your weapon and fire in one smooth, easy motion.
> SAFETY FEATURES
Certain features are there to prevent your firearm from going off accidentally, like when it’s dropped. A manual safety and a heavier trigger pull make mistakes less likely, and adequate training and practice can reduce the possibility of accidental firing.
BEST GUNS FOR FEMALES
Smaller pistols or revolvers are better for concealed carry, and they often conceal more effectively under fitted clothing as well. For these reasons, most women would point to a subcompact or compact pistol as the best concealed carry gun.
Here are the six best choices of handguns for women who would like to carry concealed with these considerations in mind:
1. Glock G42
This .380 ACP compact handgun is ready to go right out of the box and has fewer jams than other pistols. It has a dual-recoil spring that helps soften the recoil and has a trigger to curtail accidental firing. The polymer grip on the Glock 42 is excellent for smaller hands, and the sleek silhouette fits underneath fitted clothing. This is why the G42 is often considered the best Glock for CCW.
2. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
This is a fan-favorite because it is only 1” thick, making it perfect for concealed carry. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield's 9-round capacity for 9mm ammo provides a lot of shooting power for a slim weapon. With low recoil and striker safeties, many gun enthusiasts feel like a full-sized pistol in a smaller gun body. The M&P Shield is consistently rated as one of the best CCW 9mm handguns on the market.
3. SIG Sauer P238
The Sig P238 only measures 5.5” in length and is a single-action handgun with very light recoil. It is modeled after the 1911 beaver-tail style frame and is an excellent choice for .380 ACP shooters who might have trouble racking the slide or prefer a gun with a smaller grip for comfort. There is no doubt that the pocket-sized P238 is considered one of the best .380 pistols for women looking for concealed carry.
4. Walther PPS
This handgun has a slim silhouette and measures 6.3”, which is ideal for concealed carry. The Walther is the perfect handgun for small hands with its 1” width, and it offers different grip lengths to experiment with. Available in both 9mm caliber or .40 caliber ammunition sizes and weighing in at 21 ounces, the Walther PPS is heavier than some others but has a 3.2” barrel for snug shooting.
5. Ruger LC9S
The 9mm Ruger LC9S resolves some of the issues surrounding trigger quality while maintaining the excellent utility and shootability of the Ruger LC9. It has a smooth trigger pull weight of 4.5 pounds, which is ideal for smaller hands to handle. It measures 6” and weighs 17.2 ounces, putting it squarely in the smaller pistols’ mid-range. There are many safety features for this 9mm chambered gun, including magazine disconnect, integrated trigger safety, and manual safety.
6. Beretta Nano
Made of fiberglass-reinforced technopolymer, this 9mm handgun’s design is super sleek. It doesn’t have a protruding slide, and its sights are smooth, so it won’t snag on clothing or anything else when you draw it from your holster. One of the most substantial assets is that you can use the Beretta Nano with either hand, and it has a reversible magazine release.
The Final Word
There are many styles of handguns to choose from if you’re a woman who would like to carry concealed. Weight, recoil, size, safety features, and magazine capacity contribute to how you carry, draw, and fire a weapon. If the handgun is too heavy, it can take extra time to relieve it from its holster. If it’s too light, it may have a more substantial recoil, which can eventually tire you out.
The best way to choose a handgun to carry concealed is to try them out first. Any good gun store will allow you to spend time checking out their handgun offerings, so finding the best concealed carry model is just a matter of time and patience. You will also need high-quality, gun-appropriate accessories, like a custom-made holster, to make sure that you are the most prepared you can be.
At We The People Holsters, we know guns, and we know holsters, and our products are always made in America. We are proud to offer gun products that will suit all gun enthusiasts - men, women, boys, and girls. Visit our site to check out our holsters, shirts & hoodies, gun belts, and a wide variety of must-have accessories.