Private Investigations and Personal Security/Handguns


What is the best handgun for a woman?  I am very small framed, weighing about 90lbs.

I'm glad you asked!  I've been teaching women to shoot for more than 10 years, and I also write a column on Defensive Strategies for Women&Guns magazine (, so this is a  favorite topic.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  There are many physical factors that affect  the fit and shootability  of a gun, including hand size, finger length, hand and finger strength, arm strength, and eyesight.  There are also other considerations, such as whether the gun will be used for personal protection, and if so, whether it  will be carried in public or kept at home.

Buying a gun doesn't make you able to defend yourself any more than buying a piano makes you a musician.  You need the proper  training, and practice.

Have you had any firearms training?  The best thing you could do is find an instructor  who provides guns of different types (semi-autos and revolvers) and different calibers (for defense, from .380  through about  .45) that you can shoot while learning the basics of handgun safety and marksmanship.    Many gun schools are listed at, or on the course locator on the NRAsite, or ask your local gun store for a list of instructors.

Especially if  you plan to have a gun for defense, I  can't emphasize enough the need for proper training.   A series of courses  totalling 20-40  hours provides a pretty good base, if defensive issues are thoroughly covered.

After you have had some basic training and an opportunity to shoot a variety of guns, then you can  make an informed decision about whether you want a semi-auto or revolver, and what caliber.  

Since many guns that are comfortable  to hold and "dry fire" (pull the trigger with no ammunition in the gun) are uncomfortable when fired with live ammunition, it is important to get experience actually firing various guns before choosing one.

Women&Guns magazine has many reviews of guns, written by women, so that is a good source of information, though it will be most helpful after you have had some shooting  experience.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to answer your question with a specific make, model, and caliber of gun, which is probably what you were hoping for.   I know many women who own guns, and their guns are all different, so there is no one best "women's gun."

   Stay safe,
         Lyn Bates  

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Lyn Bates


Are you being stalked? I can help evaluate the amount of danger you are in, and can provide very specific suggestions for increasing your safety, and for managing your situation. As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women`s Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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