Women are becoming more and more involved in the shooting industry. Where once guns were a “man’s thing,” now women have firmly taken hold of their own corner of the market. You can easily find blogs, reviews, and products geared specifically for the female shooter. Unfortunately, this still also a plethora of videos or stories out there of women who just look absolutely incapable with firearms in their hands. Remember the videos of women with 12 GA shotguns after Vice President Biden’s whole “just fire off a couple rounds” thing? I realize it was to make a point, that shotguns aren’t necessarily that easy to shoot, but realistically, it probably shouldn’t knock you on your rear end if you’re holding it correctly and at a proper stance. That is exactly why it’s important as a female shooter to find a firearm that works for you and to become proficient in the use of it.
Many women concealed carry- thanks so many great holster on the market geared towards women’s bodies- for reasons such as personal protection and to protect their families as well. However, if you’re going to carry a gun, you need to make sure it’s once that is both appropriate to be carried and can be properly concealed.
First of all- you need a caliber that’s going to work. That means do not use a little .22 LR pistol as your defense weapon! The .22 LR cartridge, although awesome for plinking, is not designed as a defense round. It just does not pack enough punch, and you’ll find in almost every carrying blog out there that the consensus is the same. It might be tempting to go for something like a Walther P22 as a carry gun because it is lightweight and has a small frame, but the caliber is just not adequate. You should choose a gun chambered for at least a .380 ACP, but definitely don’t be afraid to go up to 9 mm or .40 S&W. If you’re an advanced shooter, there are a few manufacturers out there who make a slim frame .45 ACP. One thing to keep in mind is that, the larger the caliber you go, the fewer rounds you’ll be able to fit in one magazine (assuming the size of the magazine remains the same).
The second factor to look at is the size of the gun itself. Personally, I love my Glock 23. But am I going to try to conceal that thing on my 5’ 4” 120 pound frame? Probably not without a giant hooded sweatshirt which would likely just get in my way as I was unholstering. The frame of the gun should be small enough that it can be concealed on the body without sticking out in weird places, but not so small that you can’t get a good grip on it. Another thing to consider with the size of the gun is the recoil in relation to the size. For example, a Glock 19 is going to have less recoil than a Ruger LC9 simply based on the size difference of the two guns. It’s entirely likely that your carry gun is going to kick a little bit, but it shouldn’t kick so much that you can’t control it. If that’s the case, you may be considering the wrong gun. The best way to find out what’s going to feel good in your hands, as everyone is a little different, is to go test a few different models out at the range.
So what models should those be? I personally carry a Kahr CW9. It’s getting into the top end of size for a carry gun, but it’s a model that fits my shooting style well. It can hold 7 rounds of 9mm, and I can fit both of my hands comfortably on the grip, which is a requirement for me. The model similar to it, the Kahr CM9, is basically the same thing, but with a shorter grip. That makes it great as a concealed gun as well. A couple other options are the Ruger LCP or Ruger LC9. They are both compact models which make them easily concealable. The LCP is a .380 and the LC9 is a 9mm. One thing I noticed when shooting both guns is that the trigger pull is very long, and they both have a pretty good kick. Those are both aspects which can certainly be mastered with practice. Another option is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. The Shield is available in both 9mm and .40, which means you can choose the caliber that’s right for you. It has a 1” profile, so you can easily conceal it on your person. Finally, for the Springfield fans, there is the XD-S model. It is available in 9mm and .45 ACP. Once again, this model features a slim line profile, making it easy to conceal. One word of caution on the XD-S line- they recently had a pretty hefty recall of their XD-S line.
No matter which gun you choose are you concealed carry firearm, you’ll need to practice with it until you feel comfortable. Be sure to not only target practice, but also get good at un-holstering and re-holstering your firearm. A gun is only as good as the person operating it.