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Best caliber for a ladies revolver?

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  • Best caliber for a ladies revolver?

    I need some help on this one,my lady wants to have her own pistol for self defence.She prefers revolvers and its primary role would be concealed in her hand bag or holster attached to the car seat.I feel that a five shot .44 special might be the best choice.I believe that .38spcl is a bit on the light side,experts please help.

  • #2

    Our stock answer is always...the largest she can control and shoot well. A miss with a 44 mag is much less effective than a hit with a 38+P. It sounds like she is intersted in a pistol for urban carry as opposed to something to turn a bear? I think the best set-up in a 44 might be the Smith & Wesson titanium. It is small and light for a 44 and easy to carry. NOT a lot of fun to shoot. If she is familiar with firarms and likes to shoot, that might not be a problem. If she is not a shooter I would suggest something smaller that she would enjoy shooting on weekend hikes etc. to stay familiar with handling, loading and hitting fairly close targets. We do a home-defense course and most of the women will settle on a 357 and use 38's for shooting the course and plinking. In home targets will be within 3 to 7 yards and in driving/ city situations within arms reach almost. Long range accuracy is not needed, but short range accuracy and control are stressed.

    A revolver is usually the action of choice as it is ready to go without having to remember to work a slide or release a safety. Semi autos take much more training to make functioning become habit.

    Have her get something that fits the structure of her hand, that points naturally, and that she will enjoy 'just burning powder'. She will stay more familiar with a comfortable shootin' iron, and will not have to force herself to practice.



    • #3
      Best bet is to let her shoot lots of different guns, even if you have to borrow them, then let her choose. Start her out on a 22 for a few range trips to get the basics down, then work up the caliber scale. She'll do much better with the whole thing if she gets to pick the gun for herself. Then adjust to give her the best possible defensive load.

      My wife settled on a Smith 357 snubbie, but with 38's. She liked the bulk and shot it well with 38's, but hated 357's and even +P 38's. We settled on hollow base wadcutters loaded backwards @ 700 fps. I popped a deer with one of them out of my own 6" revolver. Gotta say, it might land at .357 diameter, but it isn't going to stay that way long. NASTY!!!!

      Best part is, she really likes shooting the gun and is good at it now. Confidence and practice are about 90% of shooting well. She recently tried 44 specials out of my 4" 629, but still goes back to HER gun. How can I argue?
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard


      • #4
        Ladies Gun

        Get a 2" J Frame S&W revolver with an internal hammer. Put a set of Craig Spegel Boot Grips on it and a Xpress Sight Systems white dot with a tritium insert on front. Buy thousands of rounds of .38 ammo and shoot the heck out of that pistol from point blank to 10' away. They make this revolver out of steel and other lighter weight materials. Paper plates are cheap targets. A cop named Jim Cirillo was in more gun fights with a .38 Special then anyone I know of. She will need some speed loaders and a Surefire light. Lots of good .38 loads out there. Oh yeah, she needs a good folding knife. Since you care about her spend a few bucks and send her to a handgun class. I am so full of advice. Have fun!!!


        • #5
          I would recomend a 3 inch S&W model 60. in .357, easy to shoot with .38's and option of .357. I also think a .22 trainer is a good idea.


          • #6
            Lady Smith

            My mother in law has a Lady Smith in .357 which is a sweet little gun. It is obviously made for smaller hands and looks nice too. The .38 option is nice for targeting, then when she carries it in the car she loads it up with .357 rounds. You can never out guess the women though.... My wife really liked to shoot my Ruger Redhawk in .41 mag and she shot it very well to boot. I recently sold it and bought a S&W 629 in .44 which she hasn't shot yet, but she will probably like it as well.

            The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


            • #7
              I agree with Brown Bear. Let her borrow and shoot lots of guns.

              My lovely bride is former Army (13 years), in fact I met her on a military shooting range. She can shoot an M-16A2 pretty good. But she hated the M-92 Berretta...good for her.

              So one day she gets talked into a 9mm lady Smith 3913. The first time she tried to shoot it, we found out the firing pin was broken from the factory.... So later after it was repaired she discovered that she HATED that gun too.

              One day we took her out to the range, she was shooting 1911s, Glocks, S&W revolvers and Sigs. All in smaller calibers at mine and some other guys suggestions...She was not having a good time..

              WELL, she wanders over and wants to try my 4.75 inch USFA Colt SAA clone, in 45 Colt.
              OK, not what I was thinking of but...

              ... while I was trying to explain the whole thing she puts a 45 caliber hole through the ten ring at 15 yards.
              I make a stupid comment about beginners luck while my buddies giggle nervously..

              Then she puts the next 4 rounds into a clover leaf around the first shot.
              Shooting western cowboy style...(must be from watching movies)
              It appears that the Colt SAA grips and angle are just perfect for her.
              I can't shoot that gun one handed to save my butt,,,, she can.

              Is it really a practical self defense gun.??? Probably not. And I would never suggest one...

              But when we got home I found her upstairs in front of the big mirror wearing one of the smaller western gunbelts I got in a trade. She had that Single Action Colt clone holstered up and was practicing her draw.
              Complete with her ladies cowboy hat no-less.
              She was embarassed when I stumbled in.... but she was practicing on her own,,, something she had not done for years...

              She can dance a can at 25 yards,,, with 1873 technology... I guess I won't make fun or suggest anything else for awhile...

              Float-CFI, Photo Guide, Fishing Guide, Remote Kayaking
              Guest Cabin, Flight Reviews, Aerial Tours


              • #8
                Ladies pistol

                I too had the problem of finding my wife a handgun that fit well and also one that she could shoot well. She has tiny hands and isn't a real strong (physically) person, she's pretty girly. Yet, she was very adamant about getting a pistol for home/self-defense because of my travelling work schedule.

                We tried the Glocks in various sizes and calibers. The LadySmith, Colts, Rugers and other revolvers and autos as well. She said that they didn't "feel good" to her. Of course since they didn't feel good, she didn't shoot good. So in between rounds of shooting, she says, "Hey, let me shoot your Kimber". I have a Stainless Pro Carry in .45 ACP that I adore and don't let anybody shoot because it's my baby. So I relunctantly let her take a few shots with it while thinking the whole time, "this won't take long, it's a little too much for her and her accuracy will be crap". I'm very thankful that she couldn't hear me thinking, cause man was I wrong. It fit her like a glove and she shot it "too good", if you know what I mean.

                Well, HER Pro Carry rides nicely in HER purse and isn't far from HER side of the bed. She now also has in her possession a certificate from Alaska Tactical for the level 1/ Basic Defensive pistol course. I've created a monster!!! She told me that I could get another Kimber, so that Kimber Stainless TLE II is what I got for a replacement. Oh, I suppose now that I look back on it, it was a pretty good trade-off. <GRIN>


                • #9
                  My wife carries a .38spl air weight, but she shoots a .45acp Springfield much better. It's a weight issue. At home it is a S&W 1911 though, cuz size and weight don;t count.


                  • #10
                    Thanks guys

                    I've read all your replies to my question and have taken it all in.We are off to the gun show today for her to handle a few more pistols,I have a feeling that its going to be a S&W Cheifs special though,thats the one she kept picking up and shooting well.But its not my decision at the end of the thanks to you all for the advise.


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