Handguns For Women


This is not a trade offer. Rather these are my thoughts on how firearms manufacturers seem to be missing the boat when it comes to firearms geared to the women shooters market.

Women are one of the, if not the, fastest growing demographics in the firearms market. Some women are getting interested in target shooting, some are getting interested in hunting, and some are getting interested in handguns for self defense. No matter what their interest firearms manufacturers are starting to market to women. I’m only going to talk about handguns today.

This post came about because of some comments on firearms owner Internet forum. One poster asked about the relatively new, but not very popular, and probably soon to be discontinued .327 Federal Magnum. The round and the guns that were made for it were intended for people who wanted a small framed hand gun, with six rounds, that could be used for self defense. Unfortunately, there are already rounds and handguns that fill that niche… for men. So far is seems that the major firearms manufacturers have limited their designs to lighter versions of the guns marketed to men, usually with some pink, purple, or other colored grips and highlights. Smith & Wesson has long had  “Lady Smith” line of revolvers and semi automatic pistols. They are generally lighter than the regular versions of those handguns, which I think is counter productive. A lighter firearm generally has more recoil than a larger one. They are easier to carry, but not very pleasant to shoot. I carry an allow framed semi auto most of the time because it’s more comfortable to carry. It’s not uncomfortable to shoot, but my much heavier all stainless steel S&W 5906 is much more pleasant to shoot. As a result, it’s also more accurate in my hands than a lighter carry firearm.

Extrapolating a little bit because I haven’t done a lot of research outside of watching some women I know shoot, my thought is that a lighter firearm firing a round with less recoil, but still enough energy to make an attacker rethink  his negative social activities would be a large seller. Hand guns in .327 Federal can fire a wide variety of ammunition which has less recoil and thus women and even men who don’t like a heavy recoiling handgun would be inclined to practice more.

I think that the major hand gun manufacturers are under estimating and under serving the growing female shooter market and build more firearms that are, if you’ll excuse the expression, targeted to female shooters.

While I’m reinventing the firearms industry, I’d also suggest that there should be more firearms targeted to left handed shooters. Yes, that’s only 10% of population, but I know a lot  of women who are left handed and have a hard time firing handguns designed for righties.

OK, that’s today’s firearms wisdom.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. I’m a woman and my favored defensive handguns are a Ruger Blackhawk (not exactly a petite purse piece) and a Taurus .38 double action. The Blackhawk is a lot easier to be accurate with, because of that greater mass and better balance. I’ve tried one of the “women’s” pistols and I do not like the size or the colors. So I’m out of the target market for pink/lavender/baby blue/petite bang sticks.

    • From what I have seen, you are not typical. Most women really don’t like heavy recoil. At least not from what I’ve seen. I do know some women who are definitely NOT into the pink, lavender, whatever thing. They think it’s demeaning and undercuts the serious nature of owning a gun. I tend to agree, but there are other women who like it. My wife likes the revolver necklace that I bought for her when I was at the NRA Show, but she still doesn’t think that Pandora will introduce a line of firearms charms any time soon.

      I have no doubt that women shooters are as varied in their likes and dislikes as are men. Still, there is a distinct market for women and the manufacturers should look at it in a serious manner.

    • I do remember. In fact from my reading, they’ve done it a number of times, going back the the late 19th century. The problem, I think, is that they haven’t looked at building firearms around smaller caliber, but effective, rounds for self defense. Rounds like .22 WMR, 32 H&R Magnum, the .327 Federal Magnum, can all be effective self defense chamberings and still be manageable for smaller shooters. In my years in EMS I never heard anyone shot with any caliber of firearm say that it wasn’t that bad. Every one of them that were still capable of speaking told me that it hurt like hell!

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