It is no secret that firearms are more popular amongst men, but that doesn’t mean that women don’t have a passion for shooting and guns, too. However, there are some considerations that come into play for female shooters. Let’s take a look at them, so you can be sure to get the perfect firearm for you and your needs.
When deciding on a handgun, it’s important to remember that smaller isn’t always better. You want the gun to fit your hand so you can get a good grip on it, but if the gun is too small, it will recoil more and be harder to shoot. A larger gun has more mass to help tame that recoil impulse and tends to have a longer sight radius and more room to grip to help you shoot more accurately.
Female shooters looking for a handgun for duty or home defense would benefit from taking a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P Compact. This is one of the most popular firearms and is large enough to handle easily, but is more compact and manageable than the traditional full-size M&P.
If the grip is too wide, the GLOCK 43X or 48 may be a good option. These are thinner than the standard-frame GLOCKs, but have enough room for a full grip. Smith and Wesson also makes the M&P Shield EZ model in both 9mm Luger and .380 ACP that features an easy to rack slide, several safeties and is in roughly the same size range as the slimline GLOCKs.
If you are looking for something more compact for concealed carry, the SIG Sauer P238 in .380 ACP and P938 in 9mm Luger are extremely compact, feature a manual thumb safety, good sights and a crisp single-action trigger. This, combined with the added weight from the aluminum frame, makes these firearms relatively easy to shoot for their size. Finally, if recoil is a huge concern, a handgun chambered in .22 LR may be the best choice. The Ruger LCP II Lite Rack has an easy to manipulate slide and is a great compact option for concealed carry.
When deciding on rifles for female shooters, it’s important to find a firearm with the right fit for your body size and style. Additionally, excessive recoil tends to be more of a concern, so you should select a caliber you’re comfortable with.
The LWRCI Lady DI AR-15 rifle chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO was designed with components made to fit female shooters. It has a slim handguard and pistol grip that are easy to grip even with smaller hands and the adjustable stock allows you to quickly fit the rifle to the shooter.
For long-range shooting, the Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor offers a lot of promise. It has a fully-adjustable stock and enough weight to tame the recoil. 6.5 Creedmoor also offers similar ballistics to .308 Winchester, but has less felt recoil. If you’re looking for a rifle for hunting or field use, a lever-action rifle chambered in .30-30 Winchester has done a great job for decades. These rifles are lightweight, easy to use and offer enough power to handle most tasks effectively.
For target practice, plinking at the range and small-game hunting, the Ruger 10/22 is a great platform in its basic form and offers a lot of opportunity for customization. Chambered in .22 Long Rifle, it is a breeze to shoot and is an exceptional option for learning marksmanship fundamentals.
When picking a shotgun for a smaller-framed female shooter, it will be important to find one with a shorter length of pull (the distance between the center of the trigger and the back of the stock). This can be found on most 20-gauge and .410 Bore options, but if you are looking for something in 12-gauge, take a look at the Franchi Affinity Catalyst. This shotgun was designed to fit the female figure better than traditional shotguns. Another great choice for a semi-auto 12-gauge is the Remington VersaMax. This shotgun has an inertia-driven operating system that reduces felt recoil substantially. In the 26-inch barrel configuration, it’s a light, fast-handling shotgun that is great for hunting or sporting use.
If 12-gauge recoil is still too much, you may want to take a look at a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 in 20-gauge. These shotguns tend to be smaller and have a shorter length of pull, making them easier to handle for small-statured shooters.
They are incredibly easy to operate and with a little range time, everyone can learn to rack, load and fire a pump-action shotgun. If you’re looking for a more compact design that is easier to maneuver, try out a bullpup shotgun like the Kel-Tec KSG. These shotguns place the action in the rear, allowing for a longer barrel length in a shorter overall package. This design can also help reduce felt recoil.
.410 Bore Break-Open Shotguns offer the ultimate simplicity. Additionally, the .410 cartridge provides the least recoil, but is still effective for personal defense and hunting certain game. Whether you’re interested in semi-auto, over/under or single-shot shotguns, they are simple to load, fire and clear. They also tend to be lighter weight than other shotgun platforms, making them easier to handle for longer periods of time.
For female shooters looking to get into concealed carry, beyond the common holster options, there are some female-specific holsters that should be considered. These holsters are designed to work well with the female body type and conceal easily. There are bra and thigh holsters that work well with feminine clothing like dresses and skirts.
Many female shooters who conceal carry, turn to off-body carry. This is probably due to two reasons: women tend to wear more form-fitting clothing, making it harder to disguise a firearm in a conventional holster, and most women carry a purse with them everywhere and it is easy to just carry the firearm in there. Unfortunately, this method of carry isn’t the best. If being robbed, the purse is usually the first thing that’s stolen, leaving you without your firearm. Additionally, drawing a firearm from a purse can be slow and cumbersome.
When selecting a firearm for concealed carry, women especially, will want to consider firearm thickness and the grip length. Smaller hands may have trouble getting a good grip around thicker pistols, and thicker pistols with a longer grip will be harder to conceal.
Female shooters may also want to consider looking into adding a rubber grip to their firearm. Hogue offers a ton of different options for almost all firearm models, so finding one that fits your gun should be a snap. Rubber grips can help absorb the shock created by firing the gun and reduce felt recoil.
Female shooters will also want to consider the overall length and weight of their firearm. In general, women tend to have shorter arms and prefer guns that are more compact and lightweight. Try out a few firearms before you buy and make sure the gun you choose fits you and your needs.
If this is your first firearm, or you have not received it before, you may want to consider attending some sort of training class. Training can be a big help with learning firearm manipulation and shooting skills. Further, women may benefit more from taking training classes from a female instructor. They understand female-specific issues and can draw upon personal experience.
Whether you’re looking for a new handgun, rifle or shotgun, after taking these considerations to heart, you should be able to find the perfect firearm that will work well for you as a female shooter.