When a woman goes to buy her first gun, she usually tries to get the advice of her boyfriend/husband/father, because she assumes they know what is best for her. More often than not, I see men suggesting a gun that they think would be right. This is admirable, but misguided. Buying a gun is like buying a mattress. No one else can tell you what you need in a mattress; you know what you need to feel comfortable. It’s a very personal decision, and you should try it out before you buy. It’s the same with a gun; no one can tell you what would be the most comfortable for you, and I would highly suggest you try out a gun before you buy it if you can.
There are several factors you should consider. The first thing you need to decide is how you are going to use it. Is it for sport or for personal protection? If it’s for personal protection, is it for your home, car, or to carry on your person? Answer these questions first, and then you can move on to the next considerations.
Your next consideration is if you want a revolver or a semi-automatic. If your gun is for self-protection, your best bet is probably a revolver. Revolvers don’t take a lot to operate, and when you’re in a high-stress situation like defending yourself, the less you have to think about, the better. Semi-automatics have a magazine to worry about. You have to make sure the slide is racked so you have a round in the chamber. You also may have a safety that you have to make sure is in the “fire” position. Revolvers are pretty much point-and-click.
Something to also consider is caliber. I’ve heard so many men who say you need “knock-down power” so you have to go with a large caliber. This is not necessarily true. What you must realize is the larger the caliber, the stronger the kick. If you’re not comfortable with the recoil of your pistol, you most likely will not practice. Practice is more important that “knock-down power.” If you practice with a .22 caliber, which has very little recoil, but you can place your shots exactly where you want them, you will probably stop the threat. However, it may take more shots to stop the threat. What I want to stress is that you don’t have to get a .45 caliber that you’re afraid to shoot to stop the threat.
The last thing I think you should consider is size. I’ve seen so many women get a gun that is small and cute. The smaller the pistol, the less mass it has to absorb the recoil. Smaller guns can be pretty painful to shoot! Large pistols will have less recoil, but can you conceal it comfortably if you are carrying it on your person? Or will it add a bunch of extra weight to your purse? Look for something in the middle, but also make sure it is comfortable in your hand. I have shot pistols that are the same size, but the grips were different, so one was a little uncomfortable for me.
I can’t stress enough to try before you buy. There are a lot of ranges that will let you rent guns, and some will let you try several out in one session. If you don’t have access to a range like this, ask your friends if you can try out their guns. Most guns are pretty expensive these days, so be sure before you drop the cash!