Three Tips for Women When Purchasing a Handgun


Three Tips for Women When Purchasing a Handgun

You know what they say about opinions. Everyone has one. When it comes to the best handgun for everyday carry (EDC), home defense, or any other situation, firearms are no different. Everyone seems to have an opinion on which handgun is the best. No one can truly determine which firearm is best for any individual.

When it comes to firearms purchased by women, the debate becomes even more heated. As a Federal Firearms Licensee with a Class III status (meaning we can also sell suppressors, short barreled rifles, etc), I cannot tell you how many times male customers have purchased firearms for their spouse, girlfriend, or female family member without consulting them on whether or not that is the firearm THEY want to own/shoot.

as a woman ‘behind the counter’ I hear the following phrases DAILY:

  • “I bought this for my wife, but I kind of hope that she doesn’t like it so I can keep it.”
  • “I bought this for my girlfriend. She’s never shot a .38 before, but [the recoil] is not that bad. She should be fine.”
  • “I bought this <insert cheap/inexpensive firearm brand here> for my daughter. She probably won’t shoot it, but at least I’ll know she has it.”

This is a tragedy because the customer is either setting her up for failure, injury to herself or others, or buying her a gun he knows she won’t use to justify his purchase.

Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.
Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.

Women are no better. I also often hear:

  • “I held this at a gun show and just had to get one. Isn’t it so cute?”
  • “Can your shop Cerakote this in a muddy girl pattern? I haven’t shot it yet, but I really like those colors.”
  • “Can your gunsmith do something about the recoil on this? I told my husband to buy me a gun for my (concealed) carry class but this hurts my hand to shoot it.”

While not every guy buys his favorite girl a gun he secretly hopes she doesn’t like…and while every girl doesn’t pick up the first pink gun she sees…these are patterns that I see in my shop all of the time. I thought it’d be best to give my readers some of my favorite tips when buying a handgun.

Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.
Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk.

Your 3 Tips

So here they are! 3 tips to help any female looking to purchase her first (or next) handgun from a gun store-owning woman who’s tried a LOT of handguns herself:

  1. Shoot it before you buy it. As someone with 5 handguns – all purchased with the intent of carrying them, but I only carry one of them – I can tell you that, just because it feels good in your hand, just because it’s the right color, just because he says it has the knockdown power you need…it means nothing if you’re afraid/unwilling to pull the trigger. I purchased several handguns which were intended for EDC but once I shot them, found that I should have fired them first before I spent the money.
  2. Practice, practice, practice. Begin with getting used to shooting your gun. Once you’re confident with firing downrange at paper or steel, then choose something like a defensive carry class from a reputable source (not everyone who teaches is worth listening to)! Chances are, you probably aren’t going to be called upon to fire your weapon in a defensive situation while standing perfectly still. It’ll be helpful to learn how to fire successfully (and safely) with an accelerated heart rate.
  3. Don’t worry about “Knockdown Power” and get what’s comfortable to YOU. The first time I shot a gun, it was a .38spc snub-nose Rossi. My husband took me to the range where I shot half a box of ammo. He asked me what I thought of the gun and I said, “If that’s what it’s like to shoot a gun, I never want to fire another gun again.” I hated every second of it. However, when I fired a Chiappa 1872 Single-Action revolver in .22lr, I was in love. I would never have carried the Rossi. I currently carry a Glock 42 in .380 because I test fired it first and loved it.

Bonus Tip: LEARN YOUR GUN! Don’t be afraid to learn how to clean your firearm. How to dry-fire safely. How to practice your draw. How to take the safety on and off. Muscle memory (especially in a concealed carry situation) is key, so repetition is going to be your friend. Again, the more confident you are with your firearm, the more likely you are to carry it.

And of course, always remember 4 rules of firearm safety! (Photo courtesy of A Girl & A Gun):

Photo courtesy of A Girl and A Gun

Here’s a great video worth watching as well:

So ladies, what’s YOUR go-to EDC? Did you have trouble picking it out? Use the comment section below and let me know!


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Rachel is a 4-time Best Selling Author and avid shooter. She and her husband own a firearms showroom and machine shop in East Tennessee.

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