Guns, Firearms, Projectile Weapon Sports/which handgun?


Hi; thanks in advance for your thoughts!

I'm a 57 yo woman who is thinking about a weapon for self-defense. I have been on a range a few times and done some shooting with a .22, which I was advised to do in order to get some 'muscle memory', and have moved up to a 9 mm, and done pretty fair for a beginner.

I'm mostly concerned with being safe in my house while my husband is traveling. I am somewhat hard of hearing. I live in a college town in Indiana, and the crime rate is increasing because of drugs. I do not have a security system or a dog. Can't afford the former, not sure I really want the latter, as we travel. Crime is not a big deal near my house, and we are somewhat hidden in this neighborhood, so I'm not truly worried, but would like to be prepared.

1. I am a leftie. Does that make a significant difference? I used a right handed 9mm, but I wasn't in a hurry or threatened, either.
2. Don't want jamming problems if I can minimise them. What models are best?
3. Cost is a factor. I know you get what you pay for, but I can't afford a Mercedes, you know? That goes for ammo too. Suggestions and advice appreciated.
4. Is there a good model with a laser sight? I figure a red dot on the chest might be a nice deterrent.
5. What is an optimal practise schedule for a beginner? There is a good range in town.

Thanks again!

1. the main consideration on a handgun for a leftie would be to make sure that there is an ambidextrous safety, or a safety that can be operated by the thumb of your left hand.

2. all auto-loaders have the possibility to jam. It also depends on the power loading of the cartridge and the bullet shape. Try different cartridges to find the best match for the gun. But the sure way to avoid a jam is to use a revolver.

3. it would be best for you to have a friend from your local shooting range to go with you to a gun store to check out the prices on various models.

4. most handguns can have a laser sight added.  But I don't use laser sights, and can't offer specific help.

5. this depends a lot on the individual shooter, and is best for you to discuss in person with a friend from your local shooting range.

6. many people use shotguns for home defense.

7. Many women and men with smaller hands have trouble racking the slide on an auto-loading handgun, and many models have triggers that are difficult to press.  The Sig P238 has low slide force, and a good trigger, a model with night sights is best. (but the Sigs are somewhat expensive).  

Hope this helps!


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Dave Nyce


Please, no questions about gun value or age. I have been an NRA certified pistol instructor for over 15 years. Was a pistol team captain in Pennsylvania for 5 years. Had a carry permit in PA, now have one in NC. I am a NC certified CCW (concealed carry of weapons) instructor. Also hunt using handgun, rifle, shotgun, bow and arrow, muzzleloader. I can answer questions on safety and shooting skills, recommend types of equipment (but not specific model numbers or prices), and answer questions on shooting competitions and hunting. Sorry, please don't ask me about the price or value of guns or other equipment, manufacture date, how to repair, how to get parts, or to provide any info on antiques.


NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor. North Carolina certified instructor for concealed carry permit. Boy Scout shotgun merit badge counselor. Have Federal firearms license (FFL) and class 3 SOT. Member of 3 gun clubs. Licensed Radio Amateur (Technician), Licensed airplane and helicopter pilot.

Life member of: NRA (benefactor), NC rifle & pistol assoc., Grass Roots NC, US Parachute Assoc., Experimental Aircraft Association, and National Trapping Assoc. Member of: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assoc., San Lee Gun Club, Sir Walter Gun Club, Lower Providence Rod & Gun Club, Tripoli Rocketry Assoc., National Association of Rocketry, US Hang Gliding Assoc., A.F.& A.M., Shriners, York Rite, Scottish Rite, B.P.O.E., The Planetary Society, Apex Historical Society (board of dir.), The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Acadamy of Model Aeronautics.

Authored numerous technical articles on sensors, wrote chapters in four engineering reference books, authored the book Linear Position Sensors, Theory & Application

BSEE, MBA, NRA certified instructor

Awards and Honors
Boy Scouts Order of the Arrow, Vaaler award, EDN magazine, "Inerting for Safety", 1987, Listed in Who's Who in Engineering, in the South, in the World, "Total Quality Management" medal awarded by MTS Systems Corporation 1991, "Best Sequel" award for the video production: "For Engineers Only" at the MTS national sales meeting, Las Vegas, 1998 (written and directed by David S. Nyce), Voted "Most Effective Leader" at Center for Creative Leadership: Looking Glass, Greensboro, NC 1995, Silver Award for New Technology at SENSORS EXPO, in Chicago, 2001 for SEF Liquid Level sensor,MTS Circle of Innovators award, 2003, Elected Master of Masonic Lodge #584 , Apex, NC, 2005, "Gold Honour Award" for outstanding service in York Rite Masonry, by the York Rite Sovereign College of North America, August 22. 2007, Board of Directors: Everight Sensors, and Apex Historical Society Maynard Pearson House

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