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Wed Jul 18, 2012, 04:47 PM

Need some recommendations: compact, concealed carry weapon for a petite woman.

Extremely short version here: A friend of mine is looking to acquire a concealed carry weapon for protection against the suddenly psychotic soon-to-be-ex-husband who recently tried to murder her. She's asked my recommendation on something small, suitable for her purse or a pocket. Cost is also an issue, as she's got a lot of expenses on her plate right now.

After a swift look around, my preliminary thought is to suggest a Ruger LCP in .380. It's compact, light, an adequate caliber, and can be had for $300. I'd looked at the Kel Tec PF9, but I was put off by some of the reviews suggesting that it needed a lot of breaking in and preliminary maintenance. My friend isn't in the position to do regular range runs, and the thing HAS to work, because if she needs it it's probably because her ex is trying again to kill her. I'm also reluctant to suggest anything more powerful than a 380. She's not entirely inexperienced with guns, but she's not a very large woman.

Any thoughts?

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Reply Need some recommendations: compact, concealed carry weapon for a petite woman. (Original post)
TheWraith Jul 2012 OP
marybourg Jul 2012 #1
TheWraith Jul 2012 #2
sarisataka Jul 2012 #8
ileus Jul 2012 #27
GreenStormCloud Jul 2012 #3
spin Jul 2012 #19
GreenStormCloud Jul 2012 #28
spin Jul 2012 #30
DWC Jul 2012 #37
atreides1 Jul 2012 #4
safeinOhio Jul 2012 #5
TheWraith Jul 2012 #11
gejohnston Jul 2012 #18
Lurks Often Jul 2012 #6
TheWraith Jul 2012 #7
sarisataka Jul 2012 #9
TheWraith Jul 2012 #12
sarisataka Jul 2012 #21
shadowrider Jul 2012 #10
DonP Jul 2012 #13
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #14
Simo 1939_1940 Jul 2012 #31
Clames Jul 2012 #15
littlewolf Jul 2012 #16
spin Jul 2012 #23
littlewolf Jul 2012 #32
OneTenthofOnePercent Jul 2012 #34
PavePusher Jul 2012 #17
littlewolf Jul 2012 #20
spin Jul 2012 #22
OneTenthofOnePercent Jul 2012 #24
ileus Jul 2012 #25
brewens Jul 2012 #26
sarisataka Jul 2012 #29
jeepnstein Jul 2012 #33
moroni Jul 2012 #35
justanidea Jul 2012 #36
krispos42 Jul 2012 #38

Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 04:48 PM

1. Surely the NRA website would be an appropriate forum for this question.

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Response to marybourg (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 04:52 PM

2. DU has an appropriate forum for this question.

You're in that forum right now. Anything positive to contribute?

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Response to marybourg (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:06 PM

8. Two points

1-the NRA does not have a forum
2-Purpose on this group Discuss gun control laws, the Second Amendment, the use of firearms for self-defense, and the use of firearms to commit crime and violence.

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Response to marybourg (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 11:07 PM

27. This is the proper place to discuss progressive women

that take personal safety and responsibility into their own hands.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 04:53 PM

3. Smith & Wesson 642.



It is .38 caliber. My wife is 4'10", and uses that for her carry gun.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #3)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:50 PM

19. That's my carry gun and I feel it is a good choice for me but ...

it might not be the best weapon for a beginner with little experience at shooting.

This snubbie has a fairly sharp recoil which may make practice difficult. It is also double action only with a fairly stiff trigger pull.

Often when I was at the range another shooter would ask if he could try my S&W 642. None ever said that they were so impressed that they wanted to buy one and when I would offer my shooting friends a second chance to fire this weapon they usually declined. It is not a fun gun to practice with.

I also have a S&W Model 60 which is basically a heavier model of the sized weapon with both a single and double action trigger pull and can also handle both .38 and .357 magnum ammunition. My model has a 3" barrel and excellent sights. The shooters at the range had a far different view of this firearm when they tried it and a couple said that they were considering buying one.



But I carry the Model 642 far more than I do the heavier Model 60. I just grab it and its pocket holster and slide both into my pants pocket on the way out the door. If I decide to carry the Model 60 I have to put a holster on my belt and conceal the weapon with a long shirt or jacket. Its not a big deal but I like the smaller and lighter weapon for carry and the heavier and far more powerful firearm for target practice at the range. If I had any real reason to expect serious trouble, I would carry one of my .45 auto pistols and the Model 642 as a backup.

Out of curiosity does your wife practice often with her Model 642 and does she have a background in shooting?















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Response to spin (Reply #19)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 11:49 PM

28. I had to teach her how to shoot a pistol when she got her CHL five years ago.

The insturctor of the CHL class was extremely confident that she could pass the live-fire part of the test, even though she had never fired a handgun. She was loaned a GLOCK 9mm. The very first shot the hot brass went down her blouse and into her cleavage. She developed a horrible fear of shooting and the worst case of flinch I have ever seen. It took a couple of months of work to get over it. First I started her dry-firing (Used snap caps) with the laser on the wall. Keep doing it until the dot didn't jerk when she pulled the trigger. Then aim at a spot on the wall using sights, pull trigger until the dot didn't jerk. Then range work (We had a friend with open land.) with a Walther P22 (22LR) until she was comfortable (About 800 rounds), then a few boxes of .380 by a Bersa Thunderer. Then qualification test again using the .380. (In Texas if you test with a revolver you can only carry a revolver, but a semi-auto test allows you to carry either.) She passed. Then range work with the .38 at short range, 21 feet or less.

Her two incidents happened a few weeks after that. We had gotten her ready just in time.

While the 642 is accurate at ranges beyond 21ft, the sight radius is too short. I have tried to train her to point-shoot using an air-soft pistol. About 25 years ago I was plinking and accidently discovered a method of point-aiming that is surprisingly accurate. My own practice is mostly point-aim. The gun is equipped with a laser as an aid.

There is a range that we go to occasionally. Not as often as I would like to go, but just barely enough to keep up basic proficiency for her.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #28)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 02:34 AM

30. Sounds like you did an excellent job of training her. ...

I have had two females that I took shooting experience pain from hot brass landing inside a loosely fitting blouse. Now I instruct everybody that I introduce to shooting to wear tighter fitting upper body clothing.

I sometimes practice with a Beeman P1 air pistol at home. It's only a single shot but using it for practice does improve my shooting when I go to the range. I don't go shooting as often as I wish as since I moved from the Tampa Bay area and now live within the city limits, I have to journey a considerable distance to find a range or get someone's permission to shoot on their property.

I hope to sell my current home when the market improves and buy a piece of more rural property large enough to set up my own range.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 02:00 PM

37. Excellent choice +

 

it can be shot out of a purse without jaming. .

Semper Fi

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 05:17 PM

4. Here's a possible choice.

M&P40 SHIELD™
.Caliber: .40 S&W
.Capacity: 6 Round & 7 Round
.Action: Striker Fire
.Barrel Length: 3.1" / 7.874 cm
.Front Sight: White Dot
.Rear Sight: White 2-Dot
.Overall Length: 6.1" / 15.5 cm
.Frame Width: .95” / 2.413 cm
.Overall Height: 4.6” / 11.684 cm
.Weight: 19.0 oz / 538.7 g
.Frame Material: Polymer
.Barrel/Slide Finish: Black Melonite® 68 HRc
.Trigger Pull: 6.5 lbs. +/-
.Sight Radius: 5.3” /13.3 cm
Retails for $449

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 05:48 PM

5. Tarus pt 22

is all she needs. $249 at most. Cheap to shoot, loud for a 22 and not the recoil of a 380. The idea is to get off a couple of shots and get away. I carry that or a Seecamp 32. A little more expensive but very small and easy to conceal.
Get a PPO, stay alert and keep as far away as possible.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:10 PM

11. I hesitate to suggest a "fright" gun.

From the way she describes it, this guy is seriously not in his right mind. I wouldn't be sure what might actually dissuade him.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:38 PM

18. PT 22 is a piece of shit

my daughter's fell apart at range in the first box of shells. If you are going to get a Beretta clone, get a real Beretta. The Bobcat is about the same price as the LPC, and is much better. For a Seecamp style, the NAA Guardian would be a possibility, but a bit more expensive.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 05:51 PM

6. Since she isn't going to be able to go to the range a lot

then the S&W 642 or perhaps the Ruger LCR in 38 Special is probably the best choice. My personal choice between those two would probably be the Ruger and unless she lives in NJ or some other area that specifically prohibits hollow points, I'd suggest that CCI 135gr +P Gold Dots would be a good choice.

A double action revolver is very simple to use. While I personally prefer a semi-auto in 9mm or bigger, I also get to the range a lot. Most .380's tend to have a snappy recoil and a stiff recoil spring making it difficult to chamber the first round for some people.

Also remind her that while she may have a lot on her plate, picking a gun in these circumstances is NOT the time to go cheap.

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Response to Lurks Often (Reply #6)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:04 PM

7. She's a New Yorker.

And she's not trying to go cheap, I'm just cognizant of not trying to suggest a $600 carry piece to her.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #7)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:07 PM

9. NYC or elsewhere?

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:10 PM

12. Elsewhere upstate. About 20 miles from me. nt

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #12)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 07:47 PM

21. I was hoping to find...

a reference to a good instructor or shop but nobody I know is from there.

I would point her to Cornered Cat http://www.corneredcat.com/Contents/
it is a great website for any carrier but is particularly addressed to women.

Given the criteria you posted I would recommend a .38. Easy to carry, proven over many years, point and shoot. IMO .357 is no better than .38+P in a small revolver.

For ammo (as important or more so than the gun)-

Standard Pressure Short Barrel Low Flash Heavy .38 Special Pistol and Handgun Ammo
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=110

Or the .38 Special +P 135Grain Speer Gold Dot?
http://www.speer-ammo.com/products/short_brl.aspx

Personally I would give the nod to the Gold Dot

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Response to Lurks Often (Reply #6)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:08 PM

10. I have a Taurus PT140, .40 cal

small subcompact with a grip that she may be able to handle. I've put 1500 rounds through mine with zero jams. Get them new for about $325. Helluva kick though.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:17 PM

13. Any 5 shot S&W J frame revolver that takes 38 Spcl +P

Last edited Thu Jul 19, 2012, 01:12 PM - Edit history (1)

The youngest stepdaughter is about 5'2" and weighs maybe 103# with two rolls of quarters in her pocket to hold her down in a high wind.

If budget is an issue, a Taurus 605 in .357 also handles .38 Spcl and +P. I bought a used Taurus 605s with Crimson Trace grips and a few scratches for $250 for the daughter mentioned above. She only shoots .38s from it, but it's easy to handle, clean and she practices with it more than she thought she would.

A .380 semi auto is always an option, but might take more training and practice than she might be willing to commit to. The new Colt Mustang Pocketlite in .380, is probably near the top of the heap for a lot of the .380 options, if you can find one.

Sorry to hear about your friend.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:19 PM

14. If you criteria includes virtually 100% reliability as well as small, in a caliber that she can

 

probably handle with sufficient stopping power, and relatively inexpensive, the recommendation made by GreenStormCloud in #3 is a good one.

With the Smith & Wesson 642, she should be able to carry .38 special hollowpoints which will have sufficient stopping power for most people.

In contrast to revolvers like the S&W 642, automatics can jam when fired by inexperienced shooters who do not have and who do not intend to gain sufficient experience to avoid shooting with a "limp wrist." See Wikipedia for an explanation regarding limp wristing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limp_wristing

Automatics can also jam, even without limp wristing, when a shooter loads hollowpoints instead of ball rounds. The length of the two different types of ammo can be different with the hollowpoint being slightly shorter. (Google, for example, jam hollow points automatics)

The S&W 642 is hammerless so that no hammer will drag or catch on anything inside of a purse or a pocket.

Since you mentioned that money is an issue, she might consider buying a used gun like a S&W 642 off gunbroker dot com. If she wants to buy a new one off a local gun dealer (preferably one with a range), she might mention to the gun dealer that she is thinking about buying one off gunbroker, ask if the gun dealer could handle the transfer if she decided upon a used one, and ask the gun dealer what his best price would be for a new one. She can also mention that she is thinking about buying other items such as ammo before asking about his best price for a S&W 642.

Regardless of what she decides on, new or used, she should buy some ammo (the same kind that she will carry) and practice with it. Even if she buys a new gun, she should not assume that it will work out of the box. It should. But nothing is 100%, and she should not assume that. In addition, she needs to hear the sound and feel the recoil a sufficient numbe of times so that she is not going to be inhibited about pulling it and, if necessary, shooting it. Some gun dealers with ranges have rental guns. If she wants to fire a .38 special before deciding to buy one, she might consider that as well.

Even with money being an issue, she should consider spending a few dollars and adding a laser sight like one from Crimson Trace. This is not only for her control over the gun but also, if she needs to pull the gun, to display a warning which may be sufficient to inhibit her ex (depending upon his personality). (She would know whether she would want to warn her ex, or whether doing so would just make him angry and cause him to come back and retaliate.)

If she wants a reliable small gun with sufficient knock-down power (although barely for some shooters), she'll have to spend some money and may have to spend more than the $300 that she is thinking about. A S&W 642 would be a good choice.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #14)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 04:04 AM

31. Good comments regarding limp wristing by inexperienced shooters........


That being said, I really love my Kahr P9. Light, slim, accurate - and for me extremely reliable. On top of that, it has handled +P ammo without a hitch and is available with tritium sights.


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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:21 PM

15. Quite a few choices.

 

Ruger LCP (.380 ACP)
Ruger LC9 (9 mm)
Kel-tec PF-9 (9 mm)
Kel-tec P-11 (9 mm)
Kel-tec P3-AT (.380 ACP)
Beretta Nano (9 mm)
Walther PPS (9mm & .40 S&W)
Kahr CM9093 (9mm)
CZ CZ83 (.380 ACP)
Taurus TCP 380 (.380 ACP)


That's just a short list of very compact semi-autos you can find for $400 or less depending on how hard you look.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:22 PM

16. Ruger SP101

2 1/4 bbl ...
5 shot
hammerless
nice little carry ..
.38/357 ....
this will be my next revolver ...

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Response to littlewolf (Reply #16)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 10:11 PM

23. I owned an SP101 and it was a damn good little revolver. ...

However I replaced it with an S&W Model 60 with a 3" barrel.

It is probably personal preference but I find that S&W revolvers often have a better and smoother trigger pull than Ruger revolvers. Rugers are built like a "brick shit house" (A term you might understand if you were my age.) Basically that means they can handle far more powerful rounds than most other revolvers. I also find S&W revolvers easier to break down and clean than Rugers.

One drawback to the Model 60 is that it is not "hammerless." I personally believe that it's best to practice self defensive shooting by using the double action feature on a revolver (if available) rather than cocking the weapon and firing single action. The single action method of shooting is far better suited for target practice at longer ranges. It's far more challenging to use double action on a revolver for target shooting, but with practice it is possible to place your shots with a high degree of accuracy on a target at 25 yards. (Of course legitimate self defense shootings at 25 yards or even 15 yards are extremely rare as they usually occur within 7 yards and less.) I should also point out that any snub nosed revolver is not suited to long range shooting as it lacks the necessary sight radius to be efficient. Snubbies are often called "belly guns" for good reason.

S&W offers a number of small framed handguns similar to the Ruger SP101 and some are "hammerless" which means that they contain an internal hammer. One is the Model 640 with a 2.125" barrel which weighs 23 oz empty as compared to the Ruger SP101 Model KSP-321XL which has a 2.25" barrel and weighs 25 oz empty. The Ruger has a list price advantage of approximately $90.

My favorite revolver for concealed carry is a S&W Model 642 Airweight with an 1.875" barrel that weighs only 15 oz empty. This very light "hammerless" revolver will only handle .38+P rounds which is adequate, in my opinion, for self defense in most emergencies. It does have a significant amount of recoil because of its light weight and consequently is not a fun gun to practice with. It is however very easy for me to carry in a pocket holster in my pants pocket. I have absolutely no reason to believe and no wish that I will ever have a reason to use a firearm for self defense. I have found that it is very easy to leave my carry weapon in the safe if I just wish to go to a local store when I have to put a holster on. The Model 642 is extremely light and comfortable to carry and on the way out the door I can just grab it and its pocket holster and slide both into my pants pocket. As the Model 642 is a "hammerless" revolver it is a far better firearm to chose for pocket carry as it will not snag on the pocket when drawn and if carried in a jacket it can be fired through the pocket without even drawing it at extremely close range.

S&W also makes a similar weapon that will handle .357 magnum ammo named the Model 340PD. This EXTREMELY light weapon only weighs 11.4 oz. I have never had the opportunity to fire one of these handguns but if loaded with .357 magnum ammo, I would imagine that the recoil would be oppressive for extended practice. I'm not a masochist and I do like to practice with any handgun I carry, therefore pulling the trigger on a handgun that would make me think that it was somewhat similar to holding a hand grenade with the pin pulled is not something that I would imagine that I would enjoy in the least. I will admit that under the stress of an actual life or death situation, recoil will probably be the last thing I worry about. Of course placing accurate follow up shots with a handgun that has considerable recoil is difficult and not as quick as with a weapon that has far less recoil.

You can view the selection of S&W small frame handguns at: http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757768_-1_757767_757751_image

I should point out once again that I have no serious problems with the Ruger SP101 as it is indeed an excellent firearm. However if given a choice many experienced shooters prefer S&W revolvers over Ruger. It is my opinion that Ruger makes the superior semi-auto firearm.

Of course opinions are a lot like assholes as everybody has one. All I suggest is that you consider my advise and talk to others. If you do decide to buy a Ruger SP101, I'm sure you will be happy. It's a lot like the decision of between buying a Ford or a Chevy.

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Response to spin (Reply #23)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:45 AM

32. Thank you

I will certainly take a look at S&W ....
I like Rugers because they are "built like a brick shithouse"
( and I am 55 and know exactly what that means )
I never foresee the need to use 357 ammo in a short bbl gun
I would be getting it because of the sturdiness of the gun
not sure I want an airweight weapon because I like to
practice ...
I have a redhawk 45 Longcolt in single action 7.5 in bbl
I have deer hunted with it .... so I understand how stubbies
are indeed belly guns
thank you for a very interesting opinion
I will certainly take a 2nd look at Smiths ....

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Response to littlewolf (Reply #16)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:37 AM

34. Another vote for SP101, here.

 

The most recent gun I bought several months ago was a small revolver for my wife to learn to shoot with. We were looking for more of a nightstand gun, than anything. As we tried different guns she simply was not competent or practiced enough to proficiently work with an autoloader. Although an M&P9c or Glock 19 would have been a good choice here had she wanted an auto.

The Airweights & LCR type revolvers were simply not good for a novice. The light weight and short barrel made accurate fire too difficult and follow up shots were hindered by sharp recoil. And it seemed that the concussion of the short barrel was too unsettling to her as well. She also did not like the larger medium frame guns... the heft and grip were not a good fit for her, although she commented the actual shooting of the gun was more pleasant.

The choice came down to a used S&W Model 60 Pro versus a new Ruger SP101 3". Both were small J-framed sized but are all-stainless and had more barrel to work with than a snub nose. This makes sort of like a cross-over revolver - small, but more substantial. I really reccomend taking a serious look at the Stainless Model 60 or SP101 revolvers. We ended up going with the Ruger due to the price difference. The used Smith did have a better trigger, but after polishing the Ruger's fire controls & spring surfaces with 2000 grit paper and lowering some of the spring weights, the Ruger had the better trigger pull.

The next step was trying various JHP ammo with her. This is real beauty of getting a revolver for a novice shooter (load availability). Unlike risking malfunctions in an autoloader, a revolver can fire reduced or enhanced loads with ease to suit the shooter. We tried low-recoil .38spl, regular .38spl, .38spl+P, and .357 magnum (she actually never tried the magnums after seeing me shoot some - LOL). Regular +P Loads were above her comfort level but we eventually settled on some .38spl+P Remington Golden Sabers for her... the Rem GS have always been a bit mild in all their loadings so it is really more of a stout standard load rather than a true +P load. Personally, when I shoot it, I usually use the milder Magtech .357 SJHP or mild Remington .357 Golden Saber.

My vote for your lady friend is a Model 60 (2.125" or 3") or SP101 (2.25", 3" or 4.2")... don't underestimate the concealability of a 3" gun. The big factors in concealability are width, grip length, and weight... barrel length is usually a very minor factor.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 06:34 PM

17. STRONG RECOMMENDATION: NOT A "PURSE" GUN!!

 

If she gets seperated from the purse, she's lost her defensive weapon. It must be carried on the body, and she needs to get instruction and practice on drawing it, and she needs this immediately. As in, start training even before the purchase. No pocket carry unless she's willing to wear clothing with pockets she can actually draw from effectively. And training!! Find a holster that is secure and easy to operate for her. And practice! Did I mention training?

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 07:44 PM

20. S&W and Ruger are both good choices ...

I am a Ruger fan cant help it ..
but S&W is a fine weapon ...
but as others have said ...
training and practice ...
lots of it ....

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 08:11 PM

22. If she uses a purse to conceal the weapon she has a larger choice of weapons ...

She just has to find a larger purse than many women use. The purse should have a separate pocket for the firearm. Some purses are actually designed for concealed carry but they are often expensive.

For an inexperienced shooter I would recommend a revolver. Revolvers are simple and reliable. In an emergency you just grab the weapon, point it at the attacker and pull the trigger. No safeties to worry about, no slide to pull back to load it.

Often a used S&W revolver in .38 caliber can be obtained for a very reasonable price. Often people own such weapons for self defense and rarely shoot them. Providing the firearm has had some reasonable maintenance it can be in like new condition. The recoil of a .38 S&W in any size with the exception of the extremely light models can be easily managed by even small women with little experience in shooting. I've watched small women who had some experience with shooting handle .357 magnums and even .44 magnums and enjoy the experience.

As far as holsters and gun purses for women check out this link:

http://www.usgalco.com/Women.asp

An interesting link that I found for concealed carry clothing for women is at:

http://pinterest.com/packingpretty/gun-friendly-fashion/

For some excellent info on many topics that largely deal with concealed carry for women visit this site that I often recommend. This is possibly the best site on the web for women who have any interest in owning or carrying a firearm for self defense and also contains some very valuable info that male shooters can learn from.

http://www.corneredcat.com/Contents/

The Cornered Cat site has an excellent article concerning the best type of firearm suited for a woman:

http://www.corneredcat.com/SemiAuto_or_Revolver/





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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 10:48 PM

24. I'd reccomend LCP, LC9, or a Small Kahr over a small revolver to MOST people.

 

The modern baby .380 and 9mm pocket pistols have come a long way than the old pocket pistols of yesteryear. Simply superior to pocket revolvers in terms of capacity and concealability. But given your statement that she is not very experienced and may be caliber sensitive... I might say get a small revolver. In addition to being absurdly simple in operation, a revolver can let you fire anything from reduced-recoil .38 to nuclear .357 magnums. With an autopistol, especially short action auto-loaders, you MUST fire nearly full power loads for reliable function.

The S&W are not price-friendly... but the Ruger SP101 revolvers come in 2.25", 3", and 4.2" and are all stainless. In and of itself, this soaks up recoil nicely unlike the lightweight Smiths. They are small frame just like the comparable to the J-Frames but are much more robust due to the brick-shithouse construction (stronger top strap, stainless frame and thicker forcing cone). Due to this, unlike alot of the J-Frames, the Ruger's can handle full house .357 magnums. They are a bit cheaper and a simple home trigger job (hone, polish, & springs) gives you a trigger rivaling any S&W factory trigger. I love my SP101.

Disclaimer: Just because a small frame revolver can fire .357 does not make it a good idea to feed it nuclear loads. I'm a recoil junkie... I love me some primer-flattening 10mm out of my Glock 29. After about 2 boxes of 10mm there is a bruise in the web of my hand - yeah baby! I threw some buffalo bore .357 (125gr/1,700fps) through my small SP101 for shits and giggles and it WAS NOT FUN. After 10 shots I was done... never again.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 10:55 PM

25. My wife took her CHP class yesterday.

She come home insisting that she get a S&W airweight with CT grips.

In class her NRA instructor had a whole host of pistols for her to look over...I only have pistols no revolvers. The instructors wife showed her the revolver and she fell in love.

Simple, somewhat small, light weight, and with plenty of punch.

I'm going to borrow one because I know how she reacts to the 9mm and 40 which she dislikes both because of the recoil. I know she'd hate my LCP.

I worry the 38 in such a small package may be too much considering she's somewhat recoil sensitive. I'm thinking they make reduced loads for the 38...so I may pick up a box of those for her to try.

If she doesn't like the 38 it'll probably be a 22lr LCP.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 10:56 PM

26. A poison gas compact? n/t

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 01:56 AM

29. Rec from a friend of a friend...

Another instructor with connections in Rochester passed this testimonial on. He does not belong to this group so it isn't a commercial.

Rochester personal defense is probably the best carry class around, and they have classes for beginners as well as advanced shooters.
Make sure she is legal to carry, as most counties in upstate NY will not allow carry permits, such as Onondaga. Its up to the county judge to make the decision whether or not citizens are able to protect themselves or not. As far as guns go, have her carry whatever she feels she can shoot accurately, and make sure she plans on using it if she ever brings it out... if she is unsure of herself, the gun may be turned on her


If she is looking at an auto several instructors recommended the Bersa Thunder .380. It has a bit more weight than an LCP so is less of a handful to shoot, they say. I have no personal experience with that gun.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 09:49 AM

33. When it absolutely, positively, must go bang every time...

Smith and Wesson J Frame. Choosing a fighting gun based on light weight designs and low recoil is a road to failure. The .380 is barely up to the job and you have to have really good shot placement for it to work. All firearms are not equal. She needs something that can get the job done reliably.

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Response to jeepnstein (Reply #33)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 09:06 AM

35. Reliability is key

 

Last edited Tue Jul 24, 2012, 08:43 AM - Edit history (1)

I would have to agree with this J frame recommendation. A model 60 is relatively heavy in comparison with the air-weight and Ti framed revolvers. If she is recoil sensitive, the model 60 with 38 special ammunition is very manageable, "practicable", and very reliable. I have one of these for my wife and she shoots it well at the range (and likes it). Under stress is a different matter of course. That being said, if she is familiar and comfortable with it at the range, she should be able to use it under extreme circumstances. Practice ammunition is just that, for practice. Defensive ammunition is available from a variety of manufacturers. As an example, Buffalo Bore manufactures ammunition for short barreled weapons and is well thought of. It is in 38 special and .357. Designated "tactical", it can be had in a low recoil (?) low flash round.

There are purses designed for concealed carry and they work well. If she puts her purse down (off body carry) the she no longer has access. There are holsters designed for women where concealed carry is practical although concealed carry is hardly ever comfortable.

Finally, practice is absolutely necessary. Confidence will certainly help when making instantaneous decisions.

Blessings to all,

m

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Mon Jul 23, 2012, 01:29 PM

36. How compact do you want to go?

 

I had a Ruger LCR. 357 and it was an awesome little gun. I have since replaced it with a LCP and thay has been great as well. Little recoil, accurate, and very reliable.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Tue Jul 24, 2012, 12:45 AM

38. Ruger SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum

Which can also shoot milder .32 H&R Magnums and the even tamer .32 S&W Long cartridges. Excellent for training and practice, and also packing a decent wallop for self-defense.

It's a 6-shot compact revolver, double-action. Pretty fool proof. All stainless steel, which means it's a tad heavy for its size, but the extra weight will help soak up recoil.

Price might be over $400, but that's not too bad.

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