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I taught a brand new version of my Ohio Concealed Carry Certification class to four fairly new shooters today. Two were twenty-something woman, on middle-aged woman and one middle-aged man. This course includes six hours of instruction and two hours of live-fire range time. Again, these are all fairly inexperienced handgun shooters.

Each student used my guns during the live-fire portion. The guns they all fired were:

a Gen4 Glock 19
An S&W Model 19 firing .38 Special range ammo, DAO
A Beretta 92S
A 1st generation S&W Shield 9mm
An S&W .380 EZ M&P

As soon as we were done shooting, I asked them which ones they liked. The results were:

A complete lack of love for the Glock 19 among all four;
Two "it's OK, I guess" and two "no thanks" for the Model 19 Smith.
One like (the man), one "it's OK", and two "no, thanks" on the Beretta
"I really like it" across the board with the Shield 9mm
"I like this one the best" from the three woman on the .380, and "I like it, but not as much as the Shield" from the man.

I provided equal amounts of familiarization, instruction and dry fire on each platform prior to the live fire, with absolutely no indication of personal preferences for any of them.

In terms of accuracy, the Beretta, Shield and EZ were all about the same. The DAO revolver and Glock 19 were a bit less effective for them.

This AAR is by no means scientific or proof of anything. Just some observations on my part.
 

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My late hunting buddy back east was an NRA handgun instructor and successfully started a shooting club at work (defense contractor) around 2000. As it turned out, at least half of his classes were women. I routinely provided a Ruger Mk II pistol for his live-fire work, and he also used a .38 J-frame and a GP100 with .38 as well as .357. He said his women students overwhelmingly preferred the GP100 with .357s!
 

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I let my wife shoot my: Glock 30 with a .22 Advantage Arms adapter; the Glock with full-bore 230-grain SD ammo; and my 6906 9mm with my range reloads.

Her preference was--naturally--the G30 with the .22 adapter. The full-bore 230-grain .45s about got away from her on the first shot, despite my warning to hold firmly. The 6906 was preferable over the .45. She shot all three surprisingly well regardless, even the 45s.
 

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It stands to reason most people, especially with smaller hands would find a single stack more to their liking than double stacks.

Most people will go on and find they prefer other firearms as their familiarity, confidence and hand strength increases if they stay at it long enough.
 

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No surprises there. A DAO revolver takes developed trigger skill and double stacks are just plain cumbersome to most people.
Single stacks are very nice to carry and easy to control shooting for those with less than giant hands.
 

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Yes hand size is big, especially if they are small. That’s why the 45 Shield and my 220 work so well for me. Small hands and single stack.
With that said, once I put grips with enough gription on my 229, I was able do deal with the extra width.
I have shot several Glocks, they just don’t fit me well enough. With some mods, maybe, but at that point I buy something else.

I have friend who shoots a good bit with his wife, but 22lr only. When asked what they should buy for defensive pistol, I gave all the normal disclaimers. But I did mention my 45 Sheild and suggested they look at 9mm Shields. They ended up with a 380 EZ.
They both loved it so much he went and bought the 9EZ when it came out.

So much goes into the decision of what works best for you. And then, if one continues shooting, what works today may be different later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It stands to reason most people, especially with smaller hands would find a single stack more to their liking than double stacks.

Most people will go on and find they prefer other firearms as their familiarity, confidence and hand strength increases if they stay at it long enough.
All true.

When I'm working with inexperienced or brand new shooters seeking their Concealed Handgun Licenses, or familiarity with their first-time firearm purchase, it is with the understanding that most of them will not go on and stay with it long enough do develop anything beyond novice skills. That understanding is based on my experience in working with such people. The ten-hour (now six plus two) required handgun class is the only formal training most of them will ever undergo.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes hand size is big, especially if they are small. That’s why the 45 Shield and my 220 work so well for me. Small hands and single stack.
With that said, once I put grips with enough gription on my 229, I was able do deal with the extra width.
I have shot several Glocks, they just don’t fit me well enough. With some mods, maybe, but at that point I buy something else.

I have friend who shoots a good bit with his wife, but 22lr only. When asked what they should buy for defensive pistol, I gave all the normal disclaimers. But I did mention my 45 Sheild and suggested they look at 9mm Shields. They ended up with a 380 EZ.
They both loved it so much he went and bought the 9EZ when it came out.

So much goes into the decision of what works best for you. And then, if one continues shooting, what works today may be different later on.
My personal carry/training journey has brought me full circle on carry/shoothing preference.

Glock 19!!!! was the cry I heard first and loudest when it came time for me to up my carry and training game. Of course, I followed it. Despite many thousands of rounds through it and several advanced classes at Tactical Defense Institute, I remained at best a middle-of-the-pack shooter. Eventually, an instructor who solved many of my shooting issues for me got me behind an M&P. Several Glocks and M&Ps later, my Glock 19 remains the carry gun I am least effective with.

Former member here, Robin Brown sang the praises of the .45 Shield shortly after it came out. Eventually, I came to own three of them, and they are the guns I carry almost exclusively. I shoot them more accurately than any of their double stack counterparts. They carry and conceal more easily. They easily keep up with the instructor-recommended guns in the tactical classes.
 

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When I was teaching the State of FL CCW classes for a fairly large company most of my classes had 25-30 in them which makes it tough to have students shooting different handguns with time constrains. I had all of them use my S&W M&P 22 Compact which worked out well for the students who were mostly all novice shooters. I did have a variety of other handguns similar to Mike1956 for them to handle safely. Most seemed to feel that the Shield 9 was very close in size and operation as the M&P 22 Compact. Many told me that that planned on getting a Shield 9mm when they completed the class.
 

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I really wanted to like the Shield (9mm) it felt good in my hand and I actually shot very well. However, it was the most unreliable hand gun I have ever owned. Even after several repairs and a trip back to the mother ship I lost confidence in it and moved to the XDS 9mm which I still carry along with a Glock 43X and G30s . I just ended up with a bad one as most people sing their praise of reliability, accuracy and ease of carry.
 

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I didn't really know much about any other brands other than Glock when I decided to take the course to get my conceal pistol permit. The first pistol I shot was a Glock 26 which is what I chose to rent for the class. Then I went to my LGS and purchased a G26 that I didn't keep long. Glocks are among some of my least favorite pistols now. My taste have moved more towards metal framed pistols; however, I've been very impressed with the APX.
 

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One of my LGS's has a course they offer every month called "Handgun Selection." They have a lot of rental guns, pretty much all the popular models, and they let people shoot as many different ones as time allows, with instructor supervision. I think that is really smart. It would be interesting to know what their experience has been. I will ask them next time I get the chance.

I do think that if people had that experience, the choices would be significantly different than when people buy off of just reading about a gun and handling one at the counter.

I went in once looking for a certain type of gun and shot several rentals of that general type. My favorite did not turn out to be the one I thought it would be.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I didn't really know much about any other brands other than Glock when I decided to take the course to get my conceal pistol permit. The first pistol I shot was a Glock 26 which is what I chose to rent for the class. Then I went to my LGS and purchased a G26 that I didn't keep long. Glocks are among some of my least favorite pistols now. My taste have moved more towards metal framed pistols; however, I've been very impressed with the APX.
I got my Glock 19 based on the recommendation of a custom holster maker who, it turned out, has long-winded opinions on a host of topics. Experience and more expert input later moved me in other directions.
 

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All of this is most interesting as I have a 70ish female friend who wants a handgun and has asked for my assistance. She is a novice with no training. So far I have focused on which sort of gun she has the hand strength to manage. Due to her general lack of familiarity and weak hand strength, I am leaning toward a lightweight revolver with a smooth trigger pull. Shooting practice will help determine what her preference is.
 

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Of all the 1st time shooters, the class favorites seem to be.
Any reliable 22
S&W 380 EZ (have not shot the 9)
P320
An oddball that new shooters like, a DP51.
 

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As newbie I read it was best to start with a .22 so bought a SIG and didn't like it . It was just a plastic shell and large grip ,sold it and bought a S&W .22 Compact . I did gain some experience and .22 ammo was cheap to shoot the target up till learned to handle a pistol better. After the .22 moved on to a S&W469 and 9mm Shield which was a challenge at first but the best accurate with now.
 

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I think time spent familiarizing students with the weapons, just handling them, getting to "feel" the trigger, makes for a better "level" for them to really know which they like better. I've seen this with others, but my wife illustrated it very well. She first shot her .380 EZ with only a couple of minutes of familiarizing. It was an unplanned range trip, just let's go and we went. She did not do well with the weapon, and did not like it. The second trip, she spent time with it beforehand, handling, dry fire, etc. It was like she had a different weapons the second time. She shot it well, handled it easily, and liked it - a lot. The time becoming comfortable with it before the second trip was the difference.
 
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