I’ve “lost” perhaps six or eight S&W .38 Airweight hammerless J Frames over the years. My mom, aunt, sister in law, sister, daughter (twice), a friend, etc., all women, all fell in love with the little lightweight hammerless. It’s NOT the gun I’d have recommended to any of them. However, with Pachmyr grips none of them, all small women, had a problem shooting the pistols. My sister, at 105 pounds and 5’1" loved it with boot grips!
They all loved that it was:
- Easily concealable,
- Could be shot from inside the purse due to the hammerless design,
- Had a long (smooth - they were all tuned) trigger pull so they did not feel they would “accidentally” go off, and,
- Had no “controls” to deal with.
Since the first rule of gunfighting is, “Have a gun”, I just relinquished the pistol on every occasion and bought another. And yes, I am well aware of the “don’t carry off the body argument”, but my mother and aunt in their fifties (at the time) were NOT going to wear jeans to church so they could carry a holster. Deal with it.
Given the opportunity I helped a few of them move “up”; my daughter now has a 9mm Shield in addition to a J Frame, but most aren’t “gun people”. My aunt, a friend, mother, sister, and sister in law never got another gun. You may have heard that you should fear the “woman” with only one gun. So, for several decades those women have trained with exactly one gun when they do train. There is something to be said for that.
I just gave a handful of pistols and rifles to my kids because they live in riot “hot zones” and am “down to” a Sig P225 which was a closet queen, but is now off at The Sig Armorer for a Carry Action tune and will become my primary CCW, and a 1911A1 in .45ACP which is my house gun. Every single woman I’ve introduced to the 1911A1 in .45ACP for over thirty years has loved it.
I’ve seen women that simply cannot shoot a full magazine through a Glock without getting “limp wrist” failures, although I have never been able to reproduce that with exactly the same pistol and ammo no matter what I tried!
I know there are more modern guns than a J Frame Airweight and 1911A1. I actually gave my daughter two 9mm Shield PC models with a TLR-6 on each (I prefer to have a backup to my CCW weapon), and she likes them a lot, although my son in law seems to like them even more than the SR1911 10mm I gave him!
I also think that a lot of the “women’s guns” hype is misguided. Take her out to the range a number of times, rent her a dozen different guns, and let her pick what she’ll shoot and carry. Maybe it’ll be a Springfield Hellcat, maybe a J Frame in .357. As long as she likes it and will shoot it, and it’s in a caliber that has good defensive ammo available, that’s the right gun for her. And just hope she doesn’t fall in love with a Wilson Combat at four grand!