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My daughter is considering work as a parole officer working with juvenile offenders and she may be required to carry... I am not a handgun guy... much prefer a good cheek weld on my fire arms and find that difficult with a short barrel:flute:

My girl is small in stature and big in spirit and I'd like some recommendations for a carry/personal defense side arm that is reliable with enough oomph to get the job done...

I know she will be undergoing instruction on proper use by those who know better than I, but I sure would like to take part in her first steps with a firearm...

the recommendations of the fine folks on this site carry a lot of weight with me and any suggestions are greatly appreciated...
thanks in advance
 

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There are number of good options today. Probably the two most important issues will be to find one that fits her hands well and one with manageable recoil. The Ruger LCR series are small good guns. If her hands can fit the gun, the mid or small Glocks in 9mm would be a good option. I love the small single stack 1911 style guns in 45 ACP, but that would only be best if he spent extra time on the trigger to learn the gun (which she certainly should do with any choice, but many people don't). She may also want to look at the Springfield XDS in 9mm. I have an XDS in 45 ACP and love it for everyday carry.
 
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I cycled a few autos through my wife's hand. She's a smaller scale gal and she couldn't reliably work the slides on the small autos. She can however jack my kimber 45 but she ain't getting that one. I believe we tried a kimber solo, a sig, kel tec, glock etc and those smaller ones tend to have a stiffer main spring. May not be a issue for others. She's always been a wheel gun gal anyway.
 

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I always go back to the Kahr pistols... single-stack semi-autos. My daughter shoots my CW9 with ease, and I carry it or the smaller CM9 every day. They also make them in .40 (which I don't normally recommend because of the 'snappy' recoil of the .40,) and .45. I have a P45, Kahr's premium pistol... it's quite small for a .45; I would probably carry the P45 more, but the 9's just pack better. Similar to the Glock, it has no external safety, but the long (albeit very smooth and linear) trigger pull takes a little getting used to, and some amount of range time to master.

I would recommend she handle and shoot as many appropriate pistols as she can... there are a BUNCH of reasonable handguns that might serve her, it might take a bit of work to find one that fits her.
 

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Keeping it simple is the key.

Glock 19 will fit most female hands. Simple to use, no external safeties to have to train herself up to. M&P compact and XD(m) 3.8 are comparable. All are bulky and difficult to fully conceal on smaller framed folks.

M&P Shield, Springfield XD(s), and Ruger LC9 are the next size down. Single stack and easily concealable while still being substantial enough for easy access and use. The idea of a J-frame sized wheelgun is also an option.

As always, DON'T make the decision and go out and buy something for her. Borrow and rent everything possible on your list, grab a few boxes of ammo and take her out to test fire everything she can wrap her paws around. The agency's firearm trainer can probably help you out here and is worth the consultation.

Remember that the smaller the gun, the stronger the recoil spring (since it has to compensate for loss of mass on the slide). The trick to overcome this if cycling the slide becomes difficult is easy. Grasp the slide firmly with the off hand. Push the gun frame away from the body with the strong hand. Works every time.

Avoid external safeties unless she is an avid shooter that will be practicing often, including practicing drawing from concealment. There are a lot of good firearms options out there and finding a few that should serve her needs shouldn't be any big trick. The problem will be finding and appropriate holster for her needs. I wouldn't recommend purse carry for parole agents.
 

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My wife, and one of her small frame friends both carry S&W 642LS. The semi-auto slides are too stiff for them to rack. Regardless if it is a Glock, Beretta 92, 1911, etc. And it seems their wrists just can't cope with the additional recoil force created by the slide action. They both treasure their 5 round wheel guns. Just be careful if asked to retrieve something from their purse for them.
 
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A small smith and wesson 642/442 or lcr is a good choice. Both are very nice. The small glocks are nuce as well. My 26 is very easy to shoot. The larger 19 is even easier. I would probably stick with the small revolver.

Or better yet. Take her out to a couple shops and let her pick. Whatever feels best. In hand, trigger pull, and what she can work. Some of the smaller semi autos can be tough to work the slides.
 
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I will say a small frame double action 38 cal revolver. Simple is key here and if she is new to shooting and a hand gun the more reason to go with a revolver. Only 2 things to do with a revolver, point and shoot. A semi auto can be to complex and difficult for some small people to pull the slide.
 

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In my opinion, a small frame .38 would be a good starting point. If she is new to firearms or specifically handguns,she may be more comfortable loading, unloading, and in general handling a revolver.

Based on experience with my girlfriend, who has shot most of my handguns, including 9mm, .38 spl, .45acp, and even .357 and 10mm, she likes the feel of the revolvers best. She shoots a 1911 the most accurately, and shoots all of the Glocks equally well, regardless of caliber (except maybe the 10mm).

The biggest difference she finds in shooting the 1911 is the 3dot sights, all of my Glocks have Heinie straight eights, and it takes her too long to get on target with them. Also, it takes her FOREVER to load a double stack magazine.

So a few things to consider are recoil, the way the grip feels, confidence in operating the firearm, and what sights she prefers.

Obviously, the only way to determine these things are to go and try several different platforms, and different calibers. There are ranges that rent a wide variety of handguns, and a few that offer good beginners lessons if she has never, or has only rarely shot handguns.

With that being said I would probably start with trying out a couple of different small revolvers, and a good simple, easy to operate auto ( Glock, Springfield XD, Smith M&P, etc).

Hope that helps a little and, good luck.
Matt
 

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Everyone is different - - women, in particular. How much experience does she have with any handguns? The best you all could do is to spend the time and money to slip to a range with a bunch of borrowed (or rented) firearms, and see what she likes. Revolver or semi-auto? Chambering? Fit? Concealed or open-carry?

The real question becomes what does she like that she can shoot comfortably and accurately, and have butt-loads of self-confidence in her own level of competence. Perhaps, check with the local chapter of the 2nd Amendment Sisters. Often times, they will hold Ladies Shoots where your daughter will be able to handle several different firearms, shoot quite a few of them, and get an idea of what she likes, or think she likes the best. Another possibility is some ranges have rentals or loaners that you can use while paying for range time and their ammo. Short of that, talk to all your buddies that shoot a lot of handguns and work a deal with them.

See what fits her best, what she likes the best, which chambering is the most comfortable for her, and which mechanical functions she can manipulate with ease... Everything else after that is practice, repetition, more practice, more repetition, and then building skills.

EDIT: I have volunteered as a Range Safety Officer for the local 2nd Amendment Sisters Ladies Handgun Shoots for over ten years, and during that time, have seen probably close to 1,500 women receive instruction on handling handguns. It never fails... At least twice per year, some well-intentioned husband (or boyfriend or father) will tell his daughter what to shoot (revolver this or semi-auto that and which specific caliber), how to shoot, and so-on. It usually doesn't end well for anyone involved. Number One is the firearm has to fit HER hand. Number Two is the chambering has to be commensurate with HER level of experience or tolerance. Number Three is the firearm must be capable of manipulation based on HER abilities. Number Four is the particular firearm must be something SHE likes, or she simply won't handle it, become familiar with it, become comfortable with it, practice with it, or even carry it. Of course, safe handling is paramount throughout the process.

Picking a firearm for a female is something best left to the female, according to her experience, abilities, and comfort level. The best a Father can do during this process is act like a guard-rail and keep her on the pavement, so to speak - - but let her do the driving.
 

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Keep it simple is good advice. Many women lack the strength to rack the slide on an automatic so look at revolvers. My wife chose a S&W airweight with the crimson trace laser. Really nice little gun that fits her well and is easy to carry in a purse or concealed. A .38 will get it done if she does her part.
 

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I prefer a hammerless DAO revolver for new shooters.

I purchased a S&W 442 for my daughter and wish I'd purchased the Ruger LCR. The 442 has a really awful trigger. Even her CCW coach hated the 442's trigger. The factory Ruger LCR's trigger is great. Suggest she try the Ruger LCR before she makes a purchase. Perhaps you can take her to a range where she can rent some different guns so she can make an informed decision?

Just my .02

Good luck in your search
 

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You mentioned she may be required to carry a handgun. You should research that. If she is required, it is likely to a government issued piece, or one of a limited number they will approve, that she will likely have to qualify on. Lots of good advice here,by others on possible choices of weapon. If handgun training is part of her training, better to get her a head start. Many females, and males for that matter, find required academy fire arms training stress full if they have no previous adequate quality training. A pair of hand grip exercisers, as well as moderate weight training for the arms and shoulders is also a very good idea, this to build the strength to dominate a handgun. Most if not all women can operate a semi, by holding the slide, and pushing the grip forward, which is the opposite of what most men do.

And while it was not mentioned, the body is a weapon, sometimes quicker in CQB than a handgun. As a law enforcement professional, one should seek and maintain a very high degree of physical and mental fitness, and martial arts proficiency such as mixed martial arts. If nothing else, martial arts helps builds the right mind set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks all... lots of good info and recommendations... I knew the MO family would have a lot to offer...

I learned a long time ago, raising two precious daughters with my high school sweetheart wife that it is always best to let the girls decide what they like... figured if it was the rule for shoes and clothes... it'd be good for handguns as well... I also understand that she may have an agency issue firearm to work with... I want to start the process by getting her out to a few LGSs so she can become familiar with the different types of handguns and work with the folks at the shop in finding what she likes... even is she has to use department issue, I'd like her to have a personal firearm to get her started...

have one LGS in mind.. I took my wife there before she started shooting.. walked her around for a bit and told her what I liked and why a firearm is such a personal choice... then she approached one of the folks at the counter and I just stood by to nod encouragement as suggestions were offered... the folks there took real good care of her and were very helpful with suggestions... after that experience we have decided that most if not all of our firearms purchases will be made there... reasonable prices and good folks willing to help someone new to the sport...

regardless if my daughter gets into working as a PO, I will be encouraging my girls to train, be comfortable and proficient with the firearms of their choosing... I'll have to see if I can find a local range that rents fire arms or get her to a beginners class so she can try out what is available...

the good part.. I now may have yet another reason to get a reloading press... but the best reason... I hope to have a good hobby/sport we can all enjoy as a family...

thanks again all!!!
 
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