Gone are the days when firearms were perceived as masculine tools.
Today, women stand at the forefront of various fields, from sports shooting to military service and law enforcement. As such, handguns have become a valuable asset for competition and self-defense among women.
Nonetheless, with numerous available options, opting for the right tool can be daunting.
Whether you want to invest in used guns or seek to purchase a brand-new firearm, our recommendations focus on effectiveness, reliability, and comfort.
Dispelling stereotypes, we seek to support women on their journey toward security by engaging with firearms confidently.
What to Look For In a Handgun?
Considering a few factors before purchasing a handgun is essential to make an informed and responsible decision.
For instance, one must be clear about the intended purpose of the firearm - whether it’s for recreational shooting, concealed carry or home defense. This will help them choose their firearm accordingly.
Here’s what to consider when buying guns for women.
The caliber refers to the internal bore of the firearm’s barrel or the bullet’s diameter.
Choosing the right caliber is critical because it affects the handgun’s precision, performance, recoil, and suitability. Think about the following when evaluating the caliber of a handgun.
Purpose of purchase. Those buying it for self-defense require manageable recoil and sufficient stopping power. Contrarily, competition or target shooting requires a caliber that allows consistent shots and precision.
Experience. Those with limited shooting experience should consider small calibers for training and plinking because they produce less recoil, making them easy to manage. As they gain skill, they should move onto larger calibers, which are suitable for defense situations. We recommend this because large calibers are more challenging to control but offer better stopping power.
Capacity. The caliber also affects the handgun’s magazine capacity. In other words, smaller calibers allow for more rounds in a magazine, allowing for more shots before reloading.
9mm is a great all around round. It is powerful enough for self defense situations, but is also controllable for most people, ensuring safe and effective usage. Therefore, all guns on our list are chambered in 9mm.
Because the size directly impacts the usability and practicality of the gun, it is important to consider it before purchase.
A shooter’s form, experience, and purpose can affect the choice.
As a beginner, you may have an instant urge to purchase a small handgun, thinking it’s easier to operate, but as you dig into the firearm world, numerous implications follow.
Generally, heavy firearms and long barrels result in less recoil and hassle-free tracking, making full-size handguns a preferred choice for competition shooters.
Besides, small guns might be suitable for concealed carry, but they aren’t ideal for extended sessions due to their snappy nature.
The strong recoil of a small gun can cause the gun’s muzzle to rise rapidly, making it harder for the shooter to maintain proper aim and reacquire the target for follow-up shots.
Check out our article that explains the difference between a compact and subcompact pistol.
Feel & Comfort
Comfort is subjective. Each shooter has a different shooting style, hand size, and grip preferences.
Although women tend to have smaller hands, it doesn’t dictate their choice of handgun.
Oftentimes, full-size handguns are ideal options as long as they’re comfortable for the shooter. Here’s why it’s important to consider comfort when investing in a handgun.
Comfort ensures reduced strain, better control, and improved accuracy
The right handgun is easier to carry and aim for extended periods
A handgun that feels comfortable boosts the confidence of the shooter. Besides, it also fosters positive learning experiences for beginners
Personalization & Ergonomics
Thankfully firearm manufacturers have introduced numerous innovative features like interchangeable backstraps and adjustable grips to offer a delightful level of customization.
These thoughtful options empower women to tailor their firearms to suit their hand sizes and preferences.
With personalization possibilities at their fingertips, shooters can optimize their control, grip, and overall shooting experience.
Make sure you invest in a handgun that allows personalization to boost your skill and confidence at the range.
Our Picks for Best Handguns for Women
With a myriad of options available on the market, choosing the best gun for women can be overwhelming. Therefore, we’ve rounded up our best picks to help you make the right choice.
1. Glock 43X 9mm
Meet the Glock 43X 9mm – a pistol that nails the sweet spot between versatility and comfort. Whether you're a seasoned shooter or just starting out, this gun fits the bill.
It's got a sleek slide and a compact grip that team up with the trusty Safe Action system, ensuring shooting is a breeze for everyone.
Safety is a big deal, and the Glock 43X doesn't skimp on that. It packs three separate safety features in its trigger system. When you pull the trigger, they kick in one after the other, and when you let go, they're right back on. It's like having an extra layer of confidence.
Built solid yet not a burden, the Glock 43X rocks strong steel guides along with a lightweight polymer frame. And the grip angle? Well, they've got that dialed in perfectly for easy handling, which matters a lot, especially if you're a woman seeking comfort and control while you shoot.
Now, if you're all about making it your own, check out the MOS version. It lets you hook up optic sights, so you can fine-tune it just the way you like. That means more accurate shots that suit your style.
To sum it up, the Glock 43X 9mm is a smart, dependable piece of design. And for women, it's got the whole package for concealed carry – think comfort, control, and the confidence to take your shot. Plus, it's got a solid 10+1 capacity and a manageable weight, so you're always ready. The 43x is one of our top Glock models for concealed carry. The 10+1 round capacity can be easily upgraded to 15+1 with the Shield Arms S15 magazine and mag release and is our favorite upgrade for the 43x and 48.
2. Smith & Wesson Equalizer 9mm
The Smith & Wesson Equalizer 9mm has been designed with accessibility in mind. Its easy-to-rack slide makes it an optimal choice for those who struggle to handle other pistols.
The Equalizer also boasts a crisp trigger with minimal take-up, making each shot accurate and seamless.
Besides, since it’s equipped with a Picatinny-style rail, you can easily install lasers or lights for better precision.
It comes with 3 magazines of different capacities, accompanied by a convenient magazine loader.
The best part? All equalizers are optics-ready. In other words, you can personalize them to fit your shooting style.
Also, the magazine release is reversible, accommodating different shooting preferences and empowering shooters of all skill levels.
3 and 4. Walther PDP F-Series 9mm 3.5 and 4 inch
The Walther PDP F-Series 9mm 4in emerges as a remarkable firearm, excelling in concealed carry, versatility, and performance. Its strategic design and technical capabilities make it an exceptional choice for women seeking reliability in various scenarios. Boasting a 15+1 round ammunition capacity, it strikes a perfect equilibrium between firepower and compactness, catering to self-defense requirements while maintaining concealability.
With its 4-inch barrel, the PDP F-Series masterfully balances accuracy and maneuverability, making it suitable for both close-quarters engagements and precision shooting scenarios. The unloaded weight of approximately 25.6 ounces ensures a lightweight yet substantial feel, ensuring comfortable handling without compromising control.
The ergonomic grip, complemented by customizable backstraps, ensures an optimal fit for diverse hand sizes, contributing to confident handling and accurate shooting. The trigger system, known for its smoothness and consistent pull, aids in shot precision.
However, when comparing it to the 3.5-inch model, the 4-inch version might sacrifice a touch of concealability due to the slightly longer barrel. Yet, this trade-off is met with enhanced accuracy potential at longer ranges, making it suitable for both concealed carry and general shooting purposes. Additionally, the 4-inch model can be more comfortable for shooters with larger hands, given the additional grip space.
Both models offer optics-ready capabilities, further enhancing the PDP F-Series' performance and allowing for personalized enhancements. Embodying Walther's commitment to quality and innovation, the PDP F-Series assures reliability and ease of maintenance. Its adaptability to accessories and its sleek design align with concealed carry needs. This positions the Walther PDP F-Series 9mm 4in as a compelling and versatile choice for women seeking a harmonious blend of reliability, adaptability, and performance across various shooting applications.
5. Sig Sauer P365
The Sig Sauer P365 emerges as an ideal choice for women seeking a concealed carry firearm due to its compact design and advanced features.
Its slim profile and lightweight construction offer unparalleled concealability, ensuring comfort and ease in carrying.
Women can confidently tuck it away, without sacrificing style or comfort.
The P365 defies expectations, providing an impressive 10+1 or 12+1 round capacity in a petite frame. This means enhanced peace of mind and the ability to respond effectively to potential threats.
Its intuitive controls, like the easy-to-manipulate slide and user-friendly trigger, make it accessible for shooters of all experience levels.
Designed with ergonomic considerations, the P365 offers a comfortable grip that accommodates various hand sizes. Enhanced sights, like night sights, are available, providing visibility in low-light scenarios. There are many versions and configurations of the p365 available. Our pick of the P365 also includes the P365X and P365XL, as they are all great guns and allow the shooter to choose the size that they prefer.
The P365's versatility extends to accessory compatibility, allowing women to personalize their carry experience. The option to mount accessories like lights or lasers boosts overall preparedness. Built on a reputation for reliability, Sig Sauer's P365 can be trusted for everyday concealed carry, aligning seamlessly with the lifestyle and self-defense needs of women.
6. Glock 19 Gen5 MOS 9mm 15rd
The Glock 19 Gen5 MOS 9mm proves to be a versatile and dependable choice for women, excelling in concealed carry and all-around use, thanks to its blend of technical features. Its compact frame, housing a 15+1 round magazine capacity, strikes an ideal balance between concealability and ample firepower. With a barrel length of approximately 4.02 inches, it ensures both accuracy and maneuverability, making it suitable for close-quarters encounters and precise shooting scenarios.
Weighing around 23.63 ounces unloaded, the Glock 19 MOS offers a lightweight yet substantial construction. Its ergonomic design, combined with Glock's signature Safe Action trigger system, provides a comfortable grip and consistent trigger pull.
The MOS (Modular Optic System) configuration grants the option to mount various red dot sights, enhancing target acquisition and overall accuracy.
This Glock variant's durability, ease of maintenance, and renowned reliability make it an excellent choice for all-around use. Its adaptability extends to accessories, with a wide range of aftermarket options available, allowing women to personalize their firearms to suit their preferences and needs.
We are pretty big fans of of the Glock 19 for concealed carry. The Glock 19 MOS seamlessly marries technical excellence with user-friendly features, rendering it a capable and versatile firearm choice for women seeking confident concealed carry and diverse shooting applications.
7. Shadow Systems MR920 Combat 9mm
The Shadow Systems MR920 Combat 9mm is a fantastic little powerhouse. It fires 9mm rounds, making it a reliable choice for concealed carry and self-defense.
It’s a compact semi-automatic pistol with a sleek black frame and barrel, weighing around 21.5 ounces - perfect for hassle-free handling.
Besides, it can hold 15+1 rounds, so you don’t need to worry about running out of ammo while shooting.
The grip offers superb control due to its aggressive texture. Also, you can customize it with interchangeable backstraps to fit right in your hand.
The best part? It includes an optimal mag-well, making reloading a breeze. You can count on this comfortable and robust pistol to protect yourself and your loved ones. Check out our article where we compare Shadow Systems with Glock and decide if the Shadow Systems is worth the extra money.
8. Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus
Meet the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus – a firearm that goes beyond categorizations, catering to a wide range of preferences and needs, and holding a special appeal for women.
Designed with a focus on comfort and performance, the M&P9 Shield Plus boasts a lightweight and slim design. This aspect speaks to everyone, as it offers a comfortable concealed carry experience without compromising on power.
One of its standout features, the sear deactivation system and take-down lever, makes maintenance a breeze – no need to pull the trigger for disassembly. This innovation enhances safety and ease of use, qualities that everyone can appreciate.
The flat face trigger design adds a touch of precision to practicality. It promotes consistent accuracy by providing a comfortable finger placement. This aspect, in particular, caters to shooters of various skill levels and preferences.
For women, the M&P9 Shield Plus takes a step further with its improved grip texture. This feature ensures a secure hold and better recoil management. It's an aspect that resonates with those who prioritize control and comfort.
In essence, the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus offers an inclusive solution that's tailored to the needs of everyone. This firearm blends comfort, precision, and reliability in a way that feels natural, making it a solid choice for anyone seeking a dependable companion for concealed carry and everyday protection.
It is crucial to prioritize ease of use, ergonomics, and recoil management when choosing the best handguns for women.
We hope you’ll find your ideal option on our list to exercise your passion or right to self-defense comfortably.