woman shooting glock

If you’re a woman who is buying her first gun, then congratulations! Welcome to the world of responsible gun ownership. You are exercising your right to own a firearm, and defend yourself from any threats that may present themselves to you. Maybe pepper spray is good enough for other people, but you know that only a firearm will give you the assurance that you can defend yourself from anything. We created this list of the best handguns for women in hopes of helping those who might be first time buyers, as well as women who are looking for a new gun. Before we go into more detail about each gun, here they are from lowest to highest price, broken down statistically.

Handgun MSRP Weight Length Magazine Size
Kel-Tec P-3AT $338.18 8.3oz 5.2in 6 rounds
Ruger LC9 $429.00 17.2oz 6in 7 rounds
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield $449.00 19oz 6.1in 7 or 8 rounds
Glock 19 $599.00 23.65oz 7.36in 15 rounds
Ruger LCR .357 $619.00 17.2oz 6.5in 6 rounds
Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact $650.00 26.1oz 6.22in 10 rounds
Springfield 1911 EMP 9mm $1100.00 27oz 6.6in 9 rounds

Unfortunately women gun owners are a bit of minority, as women are only a third as likely to own a firearm as a man. However women are breaking that trend everyday, smartly opting for a firearm that will make them feel safe. Whether it’s for self defense in your home, or concealed carry options for day to day life, we’ve rounded up what we believe to be the best guns for women, broken down price, quality, and experience level.

Can’t Women Shoot Any Gun A Man Can?

Now as a disclaimer, before anyone says, “This is sexist, what is a woman’s handgun anyways? Women can shoot any gun a man can” just know that we agree 100%. However, not every woman who wants to defend herself will be capable of handling a very powerful handgun, especially in an instance where accuracy can mean the difference between life and death. When it comes down to the difference in upper body strength between men and women, studies have shown that the female sex is only 52% as strong as males are. Again, there are incredibly strong women, and there are extremely weak men, but when it comes down to your genetic makeup, you have to take any physical limitations into account when purchasing a firearm. You want to be able to handle your firearm comfortably, as if it is a second nature to you. If a gun is too powerful for you, not only will your accuracy suffer, but your speed as well.


What Criteria Did You Use For This List?

What are some of the traits we took into account when figuring out what guns are best suited for women? The weight of the gun for starters. These are all lightweight handguns, with the heaviest weighing less than two pounds. We also took the size of a woman’s hands into account, as these guns are all very compact and easy to handle for people with small hands. Other factors taken into consideration were recoil, clip size, trigger pull and more. Every gun on this list would be good for either concealment or home defence, thanks to their smaller size. There are unfortunately too many stories told by women who say they wish they would have had their carry on them when they were assaulted, so check out the guns below and make sure you’re always ready to defend your life.


1. Glock 19 (MSRP $599.00)

Weight (Unloaded): 23.65oz
Weight (Loaded): 30.18oz
Length: 7.36 inches
Height: 4.99 inches

The Glock 19 is not only one of the most popular guns in the world, but it’s also a great handgun option for women. In fact, Glock’s website specifically recommends the Glock 19 as an option for women who are buying a gun. At a weight of 30oz (1.8lbs) loaded, the Glock 19 will be a bit heavier than some of the other handguns on this list, so if you don’t have a lot of confidence in your physical strength than maybe this isn’t your best option. However if you’re comfortable handling a Glock 19, there are many benefits to owning one of these great guns. Your Glock 19 can definitely be used for concealed carry, but you would more than likely be using it for home defense. 

One benefit of owning a Glock 19 is that it’s one of the most accessorized guns in the world. What does that mean for you? Well, if you ever need to replace a part, such as your barrel, springs, slides or anything else, you will be able to find products with ease. The Glock 19 comes with a standard 15 round magazine, but is probably one of least “beginner guns” on this list. Train with it, get comfortable, and you will have a very powerful means of defense right at your fingertips.


 2. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm (MSRP $449.00)

Weight (Unloaded): 19oz
Weight (Loaded): ???
Length: 6.1 inches
Height: 4.6 inches

With a thickness of only 0.95 inches, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is great for concealed carry, especially since its barrel and slide are both stainless steel. If you’ve got a gun pressing up against you all day, you’ll be thankful that it’s slim and stainless steel. It’s just barely over 6″ in length, so you won’t feel over encumbered or awkward carrying the gun on you. 

 One of the best features of the striker-fired M&P Shield is the trigger pull. You will have no problem getting multiple shots off rapidly, as the movement feels extremely smooth. The Shield also comes equipped with 3-dot iron sights, which should greatly help your accuracy if shooting at a distance. The 9mm Shield comes with two magazines (7 and 8 rounds), the latter being extended capacity for full grip. It’s well designed, shoots smooth, and costs less than $500, so it had to be included on this list.


3. Ruger LCR .357 (MSRP $619.00)

Weight (Unloaded): 17oz
Weight (Loaded): ???
Length: 6.5 inches
Height: 4.5 inches

The idea of a woman using a snub nose revolver is kind of cliche, but it’s honestly not a terrible option, especially if you don’t want to commit yourself to learning a lot about firearms other than the bare essentials. Many people will swear by their life that a revolver is a better carry option over a semi-automatic, citing that revolvers are more reliable, less prone to error, more simple to operate, and the list goes on. While some of that is debatable, it can’t really be disputed that revolvers have a smaller learning curve than semi-automatics. There is no magazine, and you can honestly learn how to use one in about 2 minutes. Like we said, if you are a stay at home mom and want something for emergency situations, but you don’t have the time or desire to learn a lot about guns, then a revolver like the Ruger LCR is probably what you’re looking for.

The Ruger LCR is very similar physically to the S&W Shield discussed just before this, with the only real difference being that the LCR is slightly longer in length. Still though, this is a small gun that many consider to be the perfect carry gun, especially since it’s great for pocket carry. The LCR is both beautiful looking and built to last, with a stainless steel barrel and a U-Notch Integral rear sight. 


4. Kel-Tec P-3AT (MSRP $338.18)

Weight (Unloaded): 8.30z
Weight (Loaded): 11.1oz
Length: 5.2 inches
Height: 3.5 inches

For those of you who are really looking for a nice gun that is ultra small, take a look at the Kel-Tec P-3AT. At a height of 3.5 inches and an unloaded weight of 8.30z, this is by and far the smallest gun on this list. Kel-Tec markets the P-3AT as the “lightest .380 Auto pistol ever made” so take a look at this gun if you have really small hands or trouble with heavier firearms. Kel-Tec specifically mentions on their website that this gun is ideal for female shooters, thanks to its small grip size and light trigger pull.

Because of it’s compact size, we would strongly recommend this as a concealed carry handgun, rather than for home protection. It is of course capable of stopping a threat, but if you’re defending yourself in your home you might want something that packs a bit more power. This gun’s magazine only holds 6 rounds as well, giving you a small margin of error when defending yourself. That being said, keeping one of these in your home is certainly better than nothing, and if the size and price appeal to you, then we’re certainly not going to say don’t buy one for your home.


5. Springfield 1911 EMP 9mm (MSRP $1100.00)


Weight (Unloaded): 27oz
Weight (Loaded): ???
Length: 6.6 inches
Height: 5 inches

A smaller version of Springfield’s 1911 model, the 1911 EMP 9mm can be a great choice for women who are a bit more experienced handling a firearm. It weighs in at 27oz unloaded, making it the heaviest handgun on our list, so make sure you’re comfortable with its heft when making your decision. Compared to the original 1911, the EMP’s action is 1/8th shorter, resulting in an even more comfortable shooting experience. Springfield boasts “You have to shoot the EMP to believe how controllable it is”, and the women I have talked to about the 1911 EMP have agreed.

Some of the 1911 EMP’s features include combat 3-dot tritium night sights, which are really nice for a factory feature. There are safeties on both the left and right side of the gun, supporting ambidextrous users who shoot with both hands. The gun’s trigger can be adjusted for over-travel, and breaks at about 5-6 pounds out of the box. If you’re into packaging the gun comes with a lot of nice extras, including 2 extra magazines. The only negative about this gun is it’s price, as it retails for around $1000. However you are getting what you pay for, and this is a really quality handgun that you can justify spending a little extra on.


6. Ruger LC9 (MSRP $429.00)

Weight (Unloaded): 17.2oz
Weight (Loaded): ???
Length: 6 inches
Height: 4.5 inches

If you’re a woman who’s looking for a great concealed carry option, the Ruger LC9 is a fantastic option for several reasons. For starters it is very lightweight, weighing in at only 17.2oz unloaded. It comes with very nice adjustable 3-dot sights, which are exceptionally nice for a concealed carry weapon. It’s just slightly taller and longer than the original LCP, only by 1 inch in both measurements, and the recoil of the gun is very minimal. 
Aesthetically the finish on the gun is beautiful, with incredibly smooth lines and really nice detail in the barrel and grip.  The grip itself is checkered and feels really nice in your hand, especially with the recesses that fit your fingers perfectly. Be aware that the trigger pull on the LC9 is longer than most of the other guns on this list, but it’s also one of the smoothest. It is double action only, and is hammer fired as opposed to striker fired. For the price it’s a really good option on this list, especially if your budget is $500.


7. Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact ($650.00)

Weight (Unloaded): 26.1oz
Weight (Loaded):
Length: 6.22 inches
Height: 4.8 inches

The smaller version of the PX4 Storm, this gun packs quite a punch while still offering a size that is very concealable. At 26.1oz unloaded it will be heavier than most of the other guns on this list, but with Beretta emphasizing the minimal muzzle-jump on the PX4 Storm Subcompact, you’ll probably find that the recoil is nothing that you can’t handle. The company advertises this as a “soft-shooting subcompact” but you’ll have to shoot it for yourself to see if it’s the right gun for you.

One great aspect of the PX4 Storm Subcompact is it’s interchangeable back straps, which are specifically included so that both and women can feel comfortable with their grip. Another great feature on this handgun is the latch at the bottom of the magazine, which you can flip down to get a little more real estate on your grip. If you happen to have larger than average hands, this is a great option to have, especially if you’re using the gun for concealed carry.

The PX4 Storm Subcompact is also very easy to maintain. Disassembling the gun is extremely fast and easy, and you don’t need any tools to do so. With an MSRP at $650.00 you will be definitely be spending a little more money, but rest assured that Beretta makes quality guns that are built to last.

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