There comes a time in every woman’s life when she is confronted with the prospect of purchasing a firearm for self defense. Inevitably, she is steered to an array of so-called “lady guns” – reduced size, small caliber handguns often finished in bright and cheery colors, as if a pink gun represents the ultimate fashion accessory.
There’s a lot to be desired, however, in most handguns marketed towards women. While any gun is better than being unarmed, we still feel that most dedicated lady guns are still a bad choice for most female shooters. Here’s why:
Wimpy Calibers: .25 ACP and .32 ACP are calibers that were originally intended for “pocket pistols” and have been around for decades. They are the original caliber for both pocket guns – and purse guns. While there are still an innumerable amount of these little pistols out there, most small gun manufacturers have mostly switched to .380 for things like backup guns – as well as lady guns. Therefore, most women, when presented with a range of firearms chamberings, will usually be starting their selection process with a selection that is entirely composed of underpowered cartridges.
The reason often cited for these calibers is that heavy recoil will often dissuade female shooters, induce flinching, and generally cause them to not want to shoot the gun. There’s lots of validity to this – but what happens in a self-defense scenario? If confronted by a vicious attacker, do you want the first shot to be a meager .32 ACP bullet, or a .357 Magnum?
Sure, recoil is a consideration, but there is no recoil until after you pull the trigger. After, that is, the round you just discharged is safely in the center mass of the attacker. What you want in a “lady gun” is a caliber that is strong enough to protect that lady from further attack, and this means, at a minimum, a 9mm or greater.
Ultra Short Barrels: Short barrels are nothing new; they have been around since the firearm was invented. Short barrels coupled with wimpy calibers as stated above, however, result in a handgun that not only lacks a punch, but can’t reach out and touch someone. Again, why impose this handicap on those that need protection the most? We understand that the female hand needs a smaller and more compact form factor to safely and effectively grip the weapon, but this does not necessarily mean that the pistol needs to sport a 2” barrel. A 3” barrel is still very concealable and will result in a greater sight radius, more velocity, and essentially more accuracy.
Whimsical Paint Schemes: Many a lady gun has been painted (often by the manufacturer) with whimsical colors and motifs that are intended to appeal to the female sense of fashion and design, as if a defensive handgun is merely a fashion accessory. There is a danger in this, however. Consider that presenting a pink handled gun with a Hello Kitty motif basically tells the world that you are less than serious about self-defense. Your defensive handgun needs to tell the world that you mean business, and are deadly serious about protecting yourself. A woman has many opportunities to express her fashion sense with clothes, shoes and purses. Keep the handgun serious!
Remember, a handgun is a defensive tool that you’ll be trusting your life to. Get the one that fits your hand, yet delivers a punch an attacker will never forget!