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Discussion Starter #1
Needs some input from the board on our adventure to find a good pistol for the Wife. Go to the end for my question.

To quickly catch you up:
- Wife is showing interest in getting a HD, possible carry gun. She is petite with VERY weak grip strength.
- been to range several times to try different type/caliber guns. Still somewhat recoil shy but getting better.
- DOES NOT LIKE: very light mouse guns, S&W airweight revolvers, heavy DAO guns (weak hands)
- LIKES: Up till then, SP101 (but too heavy); warming up to semi-auto, as she gets more comfortable
- WHAT'S NEXT: signing her up to a woman-only class for defensive shooting

So that brought us up to last weekend. We went to the range with a variety of pistols to try. We had a great time. We worked on different technique for racking the slide on semi-suto, stance/grip. With more familiarity with guns in general, she was able to give much better feedback on what she likes and what she didn't like. Her previous feedback was "I didn't like that one", "that was scary", "this is ok".

This time, we tried my semi's - P238, P6, SP2022, CZ75 (Trigger job), CZ P-01. She really like the CZ75 since it has the least recoil and lightest trigger. She didn't like the P6 for it's heavy trigger and SP2022 for it's trigger feel and bulkiness.

In the end, she likes the P238 the best. It's a nice shooter with a slightly stiff trigger for her liking. So my quest is: Would you recommend a P238 (SAO) to a new shooter, granted, she will be taking some course on defensive shooting. For her, carrying in Condition Three would be a good option. She can draw and the rack the slide. She doesn't have to worry about safety and hammer, etc.

What other pistol options would you recommend?
 

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Something similar is going on with me and my wife. She's expressing interest in getting a CWP. All of my pistols are too big and the slides too stout for her to even budge... so we went looking the other week.

She liked how the S&W 5 shot .38spcl revolver fit her hand and the hammerless model appealed to her.
She also tried and liked the fit of the S&W Bodyguard .380. It fit her hand nicely and she was able to cycle the slide without trouble. It was a range rental so it was broken in some already...

The next thing we'll be doing is having her shoot the 2 pistols and see which she likes.

She tried the other compact pistols available as well but couldn't operate them... at all.

I'm thinking she's going to wind up getting the Bodyguard but it'll be her decision. I'm hanging back so I don't influence her unduly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Join the club, Scorpion. My wife did like the Lady Smith (with hammer). I think it has the best combination of weight and shootability. As far as racking the slide, I have no idea how much trouble she would have until I see it with my own eyes. One trick I showed her (advice from this board) is to grip the slide with all four fingers from the top of the slide, push the weak hand against her body (so the gun wouldn't move), and push the frame forward with her strong hand/arm.

The bodyguard might be a good option. I will bring that her and have her try it.
 

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You might be in for two guns here. Smaller guns are harder to shoot. Small sight radius, snappy recoil and so on. Get them use to handling, shooting the weapons. Fundamentals are very important. Get that down first. Carrying a gun with out one in the chamber IMO is wrong. In a SD encounter there is no time to rack the slide. I would not put that in my wifes hands....
 

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Yah know, you might suggest to the wife to build some hand strength up. I even know what you might suggest for exercises she could do that would be both fun for her and for you :D Or you could buy her one of these first.

346553-41016-21.jpg

But in all seriousness. Try a Sig p238 for her.
 

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Interesting combination of limitations, preferences.

Might consider a lighter snubbie revolver, but where you have a longer barrel installed. Can't see why any of the ~15-21oz S&W J-frame revolvers couldn't be modified in this way.

An all-steel variant could also help reduce her "airweight" concerns.

Keep in mind that any of these revolvers can generally have the pull-weight lightened and smoothed, I'm betting sufficiently so that any concerns she previously had about pull-weight would evaporate.

SIG P232 .380ACP might be an option. If she likes the CZ P-01/PCR, IMO the P232 feels similar in the hand but in a significantly smaller package. Ergonomic, decocker, no manual safety, relatively easy to rack the slide. Lighter than the Ruger SP-101, overall, roughly similar to the steel S&W J-frame snubbies, weight-wise. IMO, very easy on recoil. Can opt for the stainless ~23oz variant or the blued ~19oz variant.
 

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hmmm... I would be concerned that at least with my wife that she might hesitate and that her gun might be used against her. The more I see how effective these tactical flashlights are at disorienting the bad guy, the more I'm convinced that might be the right tool for her ... and me for that matter.
 

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My wife carries a P238. It's an excellent weapon for a woman. Her biggest concern was her ability to rack the slide. She also considered a Beretta Tomcat. It's a .32 caliber but it has a tip-up barrel that allows you to load a round directly in the chamber without having to rack the slide. Other than that it works just like any other semi-auto with a 7 round removable magazine. It's light and and has an easy recoil since it's a .32. Might be worth looking at for her.
 
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Well my train of thought was when my wife wanted to get her CCW I took her to the LGS let her sold several than tried them at a range. When she ask which would be best for her I said you find what your good with and you feel that its the one that could save your life and I do not care what it cost. I have to say she handles her 38 very well and is happy with HER choice
 

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A few key points.....
1) If your wife lacks the strength to function a weapon properly, then that is also a skill that needs to be worked on. A light trigger is not for persons with reduced grip strenth, they are for highly trained operators and those who practice consistently and constanly to use them under duress. You dont want your wife to accidentally pop off a round because her weapon has a 3.5 lb trigger and go to jail, or worse. Get her a grip squeezer so she can strengthen her grip, do wrist curls, something.

2) carrying with out a round chambered would be very bad for your wife. You said yourself she has weak grip strength. Most guns require sufficient grip to rack. Will she be able to rack the slide, consistently and forcefully, on the draw, under extreme duress, everytime? What happens if she is attacked from behind and the BG has her by the free arm? what if her free arm is disabled before she can rack the slide? What happens if she racks the slide but she is unable to pull it far enough to the rear to fully enter battery, stopping short? Those are an awful lot of what ifs. Teach her to safely carry locked and loaded, she will be better off for it everytime.

As far as guns go, I would look at glocks. They have one of the easiest slides to rack, the trigger is a very reasonable 5.5 lbs, and they are dead nuts reliable. How easy is it? Find anyone with a KAhr, and have her try to rack the slide. If she gets it halfway back, I will be impressed. I had a hard time racking the slide on my kahr sometimes, and I have been shooting for 20+ years. Then rack a glock and you will see what I mean.

As far as a SAO for first timers, as long as she is taught properly any gun is safe. The question is, is she going to practice regularly to become proficient, and maintain that proficency, as required to shoot a SAO safely and without thinking in a SHTF situation?
 

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My wife carries a P238. It's an excellent weapon for a woman. Her biggest concern was her ability to rack the slide. She also considered a Beretta Tomcat. It's a .32 caliber but it has a tip-up barrel that allows you to load a round directly in the chamber without having to rack the slide. Other than that it works just like any other semi-auto with a 7 round removable magazine. It's light and and has an easy recoil since it's a .32. Might be worth looking at for her.
The Berettas with tip-up barrels would actually be ideal for this situation, I think. I had a chance to fondle one at the last gunshow and they're surprisingly comfortable in the hand for such a small gun. Didn't feel like most "mouse guns" to me, in that I could actually get a decent grip on it. No racking of the slide to chamber a round, just pop the barrel up to insert a round in the chamber and then load the magazine. With them being in a smaller caliber that will cut down on perceived recoil also. They are double-action, so if she needs to use it, just draw and fire.
 

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Maybe I missed something from the earlier post, but the more I read the more I think a revolver may be the answer...but again I may have missed something.

As far as semi-autos go...The Sig 238 is a fine pistol but I think she should consider the fact that if she does decide to carry it Condition one that she will need to carry it cocked and locked and some people have a stigma about that that can make it more difficult to do. Not saying its right or wrong, just saying that it happens.

For a semi, I would consider looking at a S&W Shield or M&P 9c mainly for their shootability and aggressive checking on the slide that makes for slightly easier racking. The shield comes with a thumb safety and the 9c comes with an optional thumb safety if that would make her feel more comfortable carrying condition 1.

Normally if someone feels comfortable carrying Condition 3 I wouldn't try to persuade them otherwise, but her weak grip makes condition 3 a bit more tougher to pull off.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
One clarification - She is capable of racking the slide on my P238. I showed her to grab it from the top of the slide with 4 fingers and push with strong hand. She is getting to be pretty good with it. The SP2022 is fine, too, but it's too bulky. She has small hands. She is PETITE!

She does like the J-Frame Lady Smith. But the DA is very stiff. She can barely pull that trigger. Cocking the hammer is a bit troublesome for her since she has to change the grip and fumble with her thumb to pull the trigger. Again, small hands.

It's very interesting to hear your concern with carrying in Condition 3 - full mag, not chambered. After thinking thru all different way of carrying, I thought Condition 3 might be the best for her. She could draw the weapon, move toward her weak hand which would grab the top of slide, rack, and then point/aim. For HER, I think this might be the best option. Ideally, a DA/SA in Condition 2 would be good, IMO. But she dislike the long stiff DA trigger. Perhaps training is what she really need.

P232 would be a nice option. Even a P239. I thought she would like the P6, if I lighten up the hammer spring (P225). The P6 does have a heavy DA (but I like it's DA/SA).
 

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I finally got my girlfriend to pick out a gun of her own, and she went with a Bersa Thunder .380. She had tried all of my handguns and liked the BT380CC the most. She likes the lighter recoil of the .380ACP, the larger size of the Bersa's, and for some reason she likes the DA/SA trigger.

I found a duo-tone in great shape for a good price at a pawn shop and got it for her. She's put a few magazines through it so far and likes it. She has pretty weak arms still (just started weight training finally) and can rack the slide easily. She just had to get past the "fear" or "nervousness". Once I explained she couldn't hurt it, she became less timid with it.
 

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Give the CZ P-07 a try. Lighter than the 75 or P-01 at 1.7 pounds. Good ergonomics. Soft shooter and with the new Omega trigger system very smooth trigger.
 
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I agree with the CZ idea, but I recommend the CZ2075 Rami. Double the capacity of the P238.
 

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Dont listen to people saying 642 snub has a bad recoil it dosent all my wife wanted was the trigger face polished an i sent it to actions by t had a complete action job done an she loves it shoots great i even throw it in my pocket for fast trips to the store but she makes sure she gets it back
 

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How about a .22 magnum revolver?

This is where my wife and I fell during that same decision process with a similar set of constraints.

Positive side: low recoil, powerful enough (imho), easy to get back on target, and quick to place all shots accurately. she can get off 3 or 4 shots of 22 mag in same time as 2 shots of 38 special (not even +P)... this means that her chances of getting a hit are roughly doubled, and my thinking is that 2 22 mags is better than 1 38 special.

you, and others, may feel differently and YMMV.
 

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In the end, she likes the P238 the best. It's a nice shooter with a slightly stiff trigger for her liking. So my quest is: Would you recommend a P238 (SAO) to a new shooter, granted, she will be taking some course on defensive shooting. For her, carrying in Condition Three would be a good option. She can draw and the rack the slide. She doesn't have to worry about safety and hammer, etc.
I'm probably swimming against the tide here, but I think a single action (in either revolver or semi-auto) is the best action with which to begin training a handgunner. Why? First - the trigger has ONE function, to drop the hammer. This helps the beginning shooter with accuracy and minimizes distractions from long, creepy, heavy trigger pulls. Second - administrative handling of the gun necessarily reinforces keeping the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. The new shooter must learn to lower the hammer safely on live rounds without discharging the gun. There is no heavy or long trigger pull to "save" the new shooter from a ND, so reliance on specific gun characteristics does not become part of the gun handling mental processes. This might be a "Darwinian" approach, but I think it results in safer gun handling overall.
 

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My girlfriend picked out her own and chose an SR9 fullsize! :danceban: Get your lady the SR9c, they are the best 9 I have ever fired.
 
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