The day finally approaches...
This is a discussion on The day finally approaches... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know this has been discussed many times here before, but I think it's been awhile, and finally the discussion is pertinent to me and ...
February 19th, 2007 12:56 PM
The day finally approaches...
I know this has been discussed many times here before, but I think it's been awhile, and finally the discussion is pertinent to me and mine... shopping for a CCW for my wife.
My wife is finally on the verge of getting her CWP (for the same reasons most other people get one). Took her to the range yesterday to try to get her up to speed on pistol basics, at least well enough for her to be able to pass the shooting part of a local CCW course. (This was maybe the 3rd time in her life that she's held or shot a gun of any kind let alone a pistol).
Her hand/wrist strength isn't terribly strong, so I have a feeling a wheelgun in .38 or perhaps .357 might be the thing. She had a lot of difficulty in working the slide/slide catch on all of my autos, even the little Bersa T380. I'd been thinking previously that maybe a KelTec P3AT would be good, but the slide on that thing can be a PITA so I kind of doubt now that would work well. She did really well shooting with my Rossi R462 (.357 2" 6-shot) loaded with .38, mechanically simple and not difficult for her to operate.
The R462 is kind of heavy (something like 25+ oz) which is good for recoil, but I don't know about how that's going to carry on or near a small-to-medium framed woman. I had hoped for a small auto that could be carried IWB on casual women's clothing (like a P3AT with the pocketknife style belt clip attached to the slide) but we may be looking at a revolver.
Anyone want to give their $0.02 about what they think she ought to consider in a CC piece? Here's your chance to (re)educate me and my wife.
My thoughts so far are along the lines of
-revolver for ease of use, probably DA/SA but willing to consider shrouded hammer DAO
-for revolvers I don't quite feel comfortable giving her my Rossi for EDC (several old threads from last fall when I debated jettisoning it after it had problems requiring factory service). If we go revolver, either S&W or Ruger, for a reliable, quality product?
-at least .38 special and almost certainly rated for .38 +P, maybe even .357mag if she can handle the recoil
-small for concealment
-despite small, greater weight/mass might be better for lower recoil
or, some sort of highly recommended auto, if you have or know of one that you think is great stuff. Thanks in advance for advice, I didn't think my wife would get to this point so I'm quite happy to vicariously enjoy the shopping process for her!
February 19th, 2007 12:56 PM
February 19th, 2007 01:35 PM
You can't go wrong with a .38 snubnose. Get one you can stock with +P's so that it has a bit more umph for her carry.
I don't know how you feel about .32acp, but if you're not against it, the Beretta Tomcat is a great handgun for people with lower grip strength. The tip-up barrel system makes it easy to load and unload (chamber) a round without racking the slide. Just another idea anyway.
...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller
February 19th, 2007 01:46 PM
In a semi-auto, you might want to look at FN's P9M. This is the compact version of their popular FN-P9, also marketed as the Browning Pro 9. My young bride has the FN-P9 and shoots it really well. The slide is fairly easy to rack, with a good gripping surface. Another plus is the interchangable grip panels, which can assist in fitting the pistol to the hand. It's also easly adapted to a left-handed shooter. Function is smooth, reliable and accurate. Like a lot of semis, this one is double-action for the first shot, single-action for follow-ups. DA trigger pull is pretty good and SA is quite good. It's got a decocker for safely lowering the hammer. No problems with using popular JHP loads. We usually load Winchester Ranger SXT.
You might also consider a compact 1911. My wife, small hands and all, has no problem handling and shooting my Kimber Ultra CDP II in .45acp. It's comfortable to shoot, lightweight, accurate and reliable. Also easily used by a left-hander, should that be important.
A couple of 1911 options in 9mm, which I especially like, although I've not had the opportunity to shoot them, are Springfield's EMP and Kimber's Aegis. I tend to lean toward the EMP because of it's ambidextrous safety. My wife is a lefty, and I've always got that consideration in mind.
As far as the Kel-Tec P-3AT, it's a very good choice for pocket or purse carry. Very lightweight and slim. DA trigger pull is a bit heavy, but you want that for DA-only weapon. My young bride and I both have them. Ours are quite reliable, typically loaded with Speer Gold Dots. They're functionally accurate under 10 yards, which is about all you should expect of a weapon of this size. .380acp is the smallest caliber I personally would want to consider for a self-defense weapon. I consider it a great back-up.
I intend to look at Kel-Tec's PF-9 as soon as I get the opportunity. It looks like it could be a good choice for a back-up in 9mm.
Most importantly, make sure your wife gets the chance to try out several top-quality firearms. It'll give her the chance to find out what feels best.
Last edited by rodc13; February 19th, 2007 at 01:58 PM.
"We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters
February 19th, 2007 01:54 PM
I recommend the ever popular smith and wesson 642 .38 special +P revolver. It's an airweight, but it isn't the lightest one they offer. It's (what I consider) a perfect compromise between recoil management (more weight) and carry-abilitiy (lighter than regular snubs). There's no hammer to worry about. Just point and squeeze. It goes bang every time...no worries about limpwristing.
February 19th, 2007 02:32 PM
Close To Scheck's...
I got my wife a S&W 637 (with hammer)...I added a laser to the grip!
She loves the gun and I having her shoot a light load for now.
Just today she asked me about an IWB holster...and I ordered two for her from FIST, Inc.
You can't go wrong with a SW snubby for the wife, easy to shoot and easy to load (weak wrist makes 'racking' tough for some)...
"That I cannot do."
"Give this to, uh, Clemenza. I want reliable people, people who aren't going to be carried away. After all we're not murderers in spite of what this undertaker thinks."
Certified Glock Armorer
NRA Life Member
February 19th, 2007 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by sheckigreen
As my wife and I have been shopping for her first, she has really enjoyed the 642. We still haven't decided on it 100%, but it's getting the nod so far.
When the messenger arrives and says 'Don't shoot the messenger,' it's a good idea to be prepared to shoot the messenger, just in case.
February 19th, 2007 04:32 PM
I won't pretend to educate you, just some thoughts about what my wife and I ended up with.
Started with the S&W 642, only criticism is trigger pull. My wife found it difficult, 10lbs if my memory serves me correct.
Kahr pm9 was next
Issues: Felt recoil, slide operation was almost impossible.
Considered Kel Tec, NAA: After consideration of these smaller caliber guns we concluded that pocket carry was not going to be possible with most of her clothing. The idea of a .32 or .25 as a primary defense handgun should only be used if there are no other options, IMO.
She ended up with a Glock 26. She can operate every aspect of the gun including take down cleaning, loading clips. The gun is very accurate, reliable and packs a lot of firepower in a small package. My wife shoots it very well; she is 5'4 110lbs.
Methods of carry: DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster in cargo pants.
Fanny pack holster
Purse holster, (not my favorite)
She also trains with a Saf-T-Blok external safety.
My recommendation would be
S.W. 642 or the likes if your wife is only going to practice enough to learn general shooting skills.
Glock 26 if she will be spending more time at the range.
Good Luck and enjoy the time together.
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything
February 19th, 2007 05:03 PM
My wife's progression started with a Taurus M85CH, good little revolver. Then a S&W442, lighter weight and a trigger job, great little gun. As her interest increased, she wanted an auto. It came down to a Kahr P9 or Glock26. She had less trouble with the slide and trigger pull on the Glock and shot it better. She hasn't looked back. Just my personal opinion, the small .38s are the way to go for first timers. If her interest increases to the point she wants training and lots of practice, she can always progress to an auto. That way you have a snubbie for yourself later. Just my .02, though.
February 19th, 2007 05:26 PM
I like the Glock 26, if she can work the slide. In addition to the features already well described by js, you can use the magazines with a built in extension, giving a 12+1 capacity. Of course, even with regular macazines, you have a 10 round magazine. It's a great little gun, very manageable recoil. I also use the Nemesis pocket holster js described, a great option for cargo pants. I even use the combimation with Dockers.
February 19th, 2007 05:36 PM
IMHO, it depends on how much she will dedicate herself to practicing/training. If her hand strength and/or skill sets will not be up to the task of performing malfunction clearances, she will probably be best off with a revolver (or two).
I would take a look at the Smith 442/642, and this site:
Last edited by gunmetal; February 19th, 2007 at 05:39 PM.
February 19th, 2007 10:27 PM
My wife carries a S&W 642 most of the time, and also has a Sig P239 available. I assure she can shoot the 642 w/+P, then she can use the lighter stuff to practice more with. Now, getting her to carry everywhere she goes is my next challenge. BTW, she is only about 5' and 120lbs, so she is not big either.
I know, I know, you are smarter than me..just ask you..
February 19th, 2007 10:40 PM
When I was first teaching mine to shoot she simply couldn't operate the slide on any auto I owned. She loved to shoot them, but it wouldn't have been safe for her to use it in a defense situation. But, after reading on Pax's website about the best way for a woman to operate the slide she hasn't had any problems.
"The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
- Lt. Col. Oliver North
February 20th, 2007 04:05 PM
I agree with you just can't go wrong with a light weight snubby especially a concealed hammer. Steve48
February 20th, 2007 06:12 PM
A Smith 642 or LadySmith J frame gun would be a great choice.
Make certain it's rated for +Pammo. The flips side is, you can also get a J frame Smith 357 mag and utilize 38 +P ammo it it for her to carry. When the time arrives, she can also use 357mag in that same little gun.
Personally, I'd get the S&W J Frame 357 mag so I can have the choice of loads.
Why Waltz when you can Rock-N-Roll
February 20th, 2007 08:32 PM
Thanks all for the responses so far. I think I'll take her around to some local shops and see what she thinks of snubbies like the 642. I'll also show her the appropriate part of Pax's wesite on working an auto slide. If we got her a G26 maybe I could shoot it every once in a while...
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