Best Handguns for Women – 11 of Our Top Picks

best handguns for women

Ladies, have you been searching for the perfect handgun for concealed carry? There are certainly a lot of important factors to consider when searching for the one right for you.

Table of Contents

Smaller barrel lengths and overall slim widths make it easier to conceal and carry comfortably but don’t forget about caliber and capacity.

These factors all impact your shooting experience. So, whether you’re looking for something lightweight with a shorter overall length or a higher caliber with more stopping power, there’s a perfect fit out there for you.

Let’s break down everything you need to know about choosing your perfect sidearm!

Criteria for Selecting Self-Defense Handguns Ideally Suited for Women

When trying to determine the best handguns for women, it’s essential to consider several factors that will ensure personal preferences are met. Some key criteria include:

  • Size: The handgun should fit comfortably in the user’s hand, allowing a firm grip and easy control.
  • Weight: A lighter gun is easier to carry and handle but may have more recoil. It’s important to find a balance between weight and comfort.
  • Caliber: Choose a caliber that provides adequate stopping power without being too difficult to manage in terms of recoil.
  • Capacity: Consider how many rounds the gun can hold, as this can impact self-defense situations.
  • Safety features: Look for pistols with built-in safety mechanisms such as manual safeties or trigger safeties.
  • Budget: Set a realistic budget for your purchase, keeping in mind that you may also need to invest in accessories like holsters and extra magazines.

Top Picks: Best Handguns for Women Focusing on Self-Defense and Personal Protection through Concealed Carry

There are a seemingly endless number of choices available, and these 3 tend to be the top CC sellers not just for women, but for men as well.

  1. Glock 43: This lightweight, slim pistol is chambered in 9mm and holds six rounds. Its simple design makes it a popular choice among women.
  2. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ: Available in both .380 Auto and 9mm, this pistol offers an easy-to-rack slide and manageable recoil, making it an excellent option for those new to firearms or with limited hand strength.
  3. Sig Sauer P365: With its compact size and high capacity (10+1 rounds), this 9mm pistol is a top choice for concealed carry.
3 of the best handguns for woman

Features That Enhance Personal Protection

When searching for your ideal handgun for self-defense and personal protection, it’s also important to keep an eye out for these features:

  • Red dot sights: These electronic sights use a red dot reticle to help quickly acquire targets, improving accuracy under stress.
  • Night sights: Tritium or fiber-optic night sights allow for better target acquisition in low-light conditions, increasing the chances of a successful self-defense situation.
  • Accessory rails: Rails on the frame of the pistol allow for the attachment of lights and lasers, further enhancing personal protection capabilities.

Spotlight on 3 Popular Choices: Walther PPS M2, Sig Sauer P365, and Mossberg MC1SC

Walther PPS M2 Features

The Walther PPS M2 is a popular choice among women shooters for its slim design and comfortable grip. Some notable features of this handgun include:

  • Striker-fired action
  • 9mm caliber
  • 6+1 or 7+1 round capacity (depending on the magazine)
  • Factory sights for quick target acquisition
  • Ergonomic grip for better control

With its lightweight frame and manageable recoil, the Walther PPS M2 offers an excellent balance of power and ease of use.

Walther PPS M2

Sig Sauer P365 for Women Shooters

The Sig Sauer P365 is another top pick for women due to its compact size and impressive capacity. In fact, it’s our personal favorite. Here are some reasons why the P365 stands out:

  • High-capacity micro-compact design: The standard model holds up to 10 rounds, while the P365 XL boasts a 12-round magazine.
  • XRAY3 Day/Night sights: These factory sights allow for quick target acquisition in any lighting condition.
  • Interchangeable with other Sig models: The modular design allows users to easily swap parts with the larger Sig P320 M18.

The Sig Sauer P365 offers women shooters a reliable and easy-to-conceal option without sacrificing firepower. (Due to size and weight also makes an excellent choice for IWB and Ankle Holsters)

Sig P365

Mossberg MC1SC’s Unique Selling Points

Mossberg’s entry into the subcompact market, the MC1SC, provides women shooters with another viable option. Some unique selling points of this handgun include:

  • Clear Count polymer magazines: These transparent mags make it easy to see your remaining round count at a glance.
  • Flat-profile trigger: This feature reduces pull weight and improves overall feel.
  • Easy disassembly without pulling the trigger: A safer alternative to other models that require trigger manipulation during disassembly.
Mossberg MC1SC

Glock Series: Comparing Glock 19, 26, 43, 48/43X for Concealed Carry

Differences between Glock models’ sizes and capacities

When looking for the best handguns for women, it’s essential to consider size and capacity. The Glock series offers a little something for everyone:

  • Glock 19 (G19X): A compact-size gun with a standard magazine capacity of 15 rounds.
  • Glock 26: A subcompact pistol with a double stack design that holds up to 10 rounds.
  • Glock 43: An ultra-concealable single-stack pistol holding six rounds.
  • Glock 48/43X: A slimline design featuring a reversible magazine catch and a capacity of ten rounds.

Pros and cons of each Glock model

Each Glock model has its advantages and drawbacks to consider, depending on your needs:

Glock G19/19X Pros:

  • Versatile size suitable for both open carry and concealed carry
  • Higher capacity than other models Cons:
  • Larger size may be less comfortable for some women

Glock G19/19X Cons:

  • Expensive compared to similar models
  • Bulky size may be less comfortable for concealed carry
  • Limited customization options
  • Not ideal for those with smaller hands
  • No manual safety option
  • Coyote tan color of 19X may not appeal to everyone
Glock 19 and 19X

Glock G26 Pros:

  • Compact size: Easy to conceal and carry
  • High capacity: Standard 10-round magazine
  • Reliability: Proven performance and durability
  • Simple operation: User-friendly design, ideal for beginners
  • Customization: Wide range of aftermarket accessories available
  • Compatibility: Shares magazines and parts with other Glock models
  • Recoil management: Effective in maintaining accuracy and control during rapid fire

Glock G26 Cons:

  • Reduced magazine capacity compared to larger models
  • Shorter grip may be uncomfortable for shooters with larger hands
  • Reduced sight radius, potentially affecting accuracy
  • Less effective for long-range engagements
  • Limited customization options compared to other Glock models
  • Not ideal for competitive shooting due to size
  • Concealability may not be suitable for all body types or clothing choice
Glock 26

Glock 43 Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Ideal for concealed carry
  • Reliable and accurate
  • Easy to handle and shoot
  • 9mm caliber offers sufficient stopping power
  • Wide range of aftermarket accessories available
  • Simple and easy-to-use takedown system

Glock 43 Cons:

  • Limited magazine capacity (6+1 rounds)
  • Smaller size may be less comfortable for shooters with larger hands
  • Less aftermarket support compared to other Glock models
  • Not ideal for competitive shooting due to reduced accuracy at longer distances
  • May be more difficult to control during rapid fire due to smaller size and lighter weight

Glock 48/43X Pros:

  • Compact size: Easier to carry and conceal
  • High capacity: Holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP
  • Modular backstrap system: Customizable grip size for better control
  • Accessory rail: Allows easy attachment of lights and lasers
  • Enhanced trigger: Smooth and consistent trigger pull
  • Durable construction: Made with Glock’s proven polymer frame and steel slide
  • Easy maintenance: Simple disassembly and cleaning process

Glock 48/43X Cons:

  • Limited customization options: The Glock 48/43X platform has fewer aftermarket parts and accessories available compared to other Glock models.
  • Reduced magazine capacity: The slim design of the Glock 48/43X results in a lower magazine capacity, holding only 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
  • Concealability trade-off: While the slim design improves concealability, the longer grip of the 43X can still be challenging to conceal for some individuals.
  • Reduced grip size: The smaller grip size of the Glock 48/43X may be uncomfortable or difficult to control for shooters with larger hands.
  • No accessory rail: The Glock 48/43X lacks an accessory rail, limiting options for attaching lights or lasers to the pistol.
  • No Gen 5 features: The Glock 48/43X does not include some of the Gen 5 improvements, such as the ambidextrous slide stop lever and flared mag well.
Glock 43x and glock 48

Compact and Micro-Compact Options: Ruger Max-9, Walther PDP, Springfield Armory Hellcat

Advantages of compact/micro-compact firearms

Compact and micro-compact handguns offer several advantages for women:

  • Easier concealment: Their small size makes them easy to carry discreetly.
  • Lighter weight: A lighter gun is more comfortable to carry for long periods.
  • Manageable recoil: Many compact handguns have a lower recoil than full-sized models, making them easier to control during shooting.
  • Ergonomic design: Compact guns are often designed with smaller hands in mind, providing a better grip and overall comfort.

Some popular compact handgun options include the Ruger LC9, Kahr PM9, Beretta Nano, and Beretta Pico. Subcompact models like the LCP and VP9 also provide similar benefits.

Comparison of Ruger Max-9 vs Walther PDP vs Springfield Hellcat

Let’s take a closer look at three specific compact handguns suitable for women:

  1. Ruger Max-9: The Ruger Max-9 is a 9mm pistol with a 12-round magazine capacity. It features an optics-ready slide, allowing for easy customization with red dot sights. The short trigger reach and adjustable mag release make it user-friendly for those with smaller hands.
  2. Walther PDP: The Walther PDP (Personal Defense Pistol) is available in both compact and full-size versions. It has customizable grip panels to ensure proper fit regardless of hand size. Its low bore axis helps reduce muzzle flip and improve control during rapid fire.
  3. Springfield Armory Hellcat: The Hellcat is another 9mm option with an impressive capacity of up to 13 rounds in its extended magazine version. It boasts a flat-faced trigger that promotes consistent trigger engagement and allows shooters to place their finger lower on the trigger face, increasing leverage for a lighter perceived trigger pull.

Quick Reference Buyers’ Guide for the 11 Handgun Models Discussed

FeatureRuger Max-9Walther PDPSpringfield HellcatSig P365
Capacity10+1 or 12+115+1 or 18+111+1 or 13+110+1 or 12+1
Barrel Length3.2 inches4 inches3 inches3.1 inches
Overall Length6 inches7.4 inches6 inches5.8 inches
Weight18.4 oz25.4 oz18.3 oz17.8 oz
Frame MaterialPolymerPolymerPolymerPolymer
Slide MaterialAlloy steelSteelSteelStainless steel
SightsFiber opticSteel white dotTritium night sightsX-RAY3 Day/Night
Price$499 (MSRP)$649 (MSRP)$569 (MSRP)$599 (MSRP)
FeatureGlock 19Glock 26Glock 43Glock 48Glock 43X
Barrel Length4.02 inches3.43 inches3.41 inches4.17 inches3.41 inches
Overall Length7.36 inches6.50 inches6.26 inches7.28 inches6.50 inches
Weight24 oz21.71 oz17.99 oz25.12 oz18.70 oz
Frame MaterialPolymerPolymerPolymerPolymerPolymer
Slide MaterialSteelSteelSteelSteelSteel
Price$539 (MSRP)$499 (MSRP)$449 (MSRP)$538 (MSRP)$499 (MSRP)
FeatureMossberg MC 1 SCWalther PPS
Capacity6+1 / 7+16+1 / 7+1 / 8+1
Barrel Length3.4 inches3.18 inches
Overall Length6.25 inches6.3 inches
Weight19 oz21.1 oz
Frame MaterialPolymerPolymer
Slide MaterialSteelSteel
Price$421 (MSRP)$469 (MSRP)

Special Considerations for Women’s Shooting Techniques and Handgun Grip Mastery

When choosing the best handgun for a woman, it’s essential to consider hand size. A gun that’s too big or heavy may be difficult to control and lead to inaccurate shots. Here are some tips for selecting the right compact handgun based on hand size:

  • Small hands: Look for models with a short trigger reach, such as the Ruger Max-9 or Springfield Hellcat. The adjustable mag release in the Ruger Max-9 can also be beneficial.
  • Medium hands: The Walther PDP offers customizable grip panels, allowing users to find the perfect fit regardless of hand size.
  • Large hands: Even those with larger hands can benefit from compact handguns. Models like the VP9 have extended magazines that provide additional gripping surface without sacrificing concealability.

Proper Grip Techniques Specific to Women Shooters

Female shooters often face unique challenges. Due to differences in hand sizes and strength, women may need to adjust their grip technique to ensure comfortable shooting. Here are some tips for female shooters:

  • Choose a handgun with a grip size that fits your hand comfortably. This will help you maintain control of the firearm during shooting.
  • Position your dominant hand high on the backstrap of the gun, ensuring your trigger finger can easily reach the trigger guard.
  • Wrap your non-dominant hand around the grip, placing your fingers over those of your dominant hand. Your thumbs should point towards the target.
  • Ensure both hands are applying equal pressure on the grip, creating a stable platform for accurate shooting.

Tips to Improve Shooting Accuracy

Improving shooting accuracy is crucial for all shooters, regardless of gender. Here are some helpful tips specifically tailored for female shooters:

  1. Focus on sight alignment: Keep both eyes open and focus on aligning the front sight with the rear sight while aiming at your target.
  2. Maintain proper trigger control: Place the pad of your trigger finger on the trigger and gently squeeze it straight back until the shot breaks.
  3. Follow through: After firing a shot, continue focusing on maintaining proper sight alignment and trigger control as you prepare for subsequent shots.

Overcoming Common Challenges Faced by Female Shooters

Many female shooters encounter specific challenges at the shooting range due to differences in hand strength or size compared to male counterparts. Some common issues include difficulty operating manual safeties or managing recoil effectively.

Here are some strategies for overcoming these challenges:

  • Opt for handguns with features designed for smaller hands or lower hand strength:
    • Look for models with textured grips that provide better traction and control
    • Consider firearms with built-in grip safeties or thumb safeties for added security when handling a gun.
    • Select guns with adjustable backstraps to accommodate different hand sizes
  • Strengthen your grip through targeted exercises:
    • Hand squeezes: Squeeze a stress ball or grip strengthener in each hand, holding for several seconds before releasing.
    • Finger curls: Hold a weight in each hand and curl your fingers towards your palm, then straighten them back out.
  • Practice proper shooting techniques:
    • Work on maintaining a stable stance and proper grip while at the range
    • Focus on controlling recoil by leaning into the shot and using both hands to apply equal pressure on the grip

By addressing these common challenges faced by female shooters, you can ensure a more comfortable and successful experience at the shooting range. Remember, practice makes perfect – so keep working on your shooting technique and handgun grip mastery to become the best shooter you can be.

Choosing the Best Handgun for Women Based on Legalities and Reader Ratings

State-specific laws impacting handgun purchase

Before you start shopping for the best handguns for women, it’s crucial to understand the state-specific laws that may impact your purchase. Laws regarding firearm ownership vary from state to state, and being aware of these regulations can help you make an informed decision.

Some common aspects governed by state laws include:

  • Background checks
  • Waiting periods
  • Concealed carry permits
  • Magazine capacity restrictions

To ensure you’re following all legal requirements when buying a handgun, research your state’s specific regulations or consult with a local firearms dealer.

Importance of customer reviews in decision-making

Customer reviews are an invaluable resource when looking for the best handgun for women. They provide insight into a gun’s performance, reliability, and ease of use from people who have firsthand experience using it.

When browsing through reviews, pay attention to comments regarding:

  • Comfort and fit: Does the reviewer mention if the grip is comfortable and easy to hold?
  • Recoil management: How well does the gun handle recoil? Is it manageable for someone with less upper body strength?
  • Reliability: Are there any reports of malfunctions or issues with feeding ammunition from magazines?
  • Ease of use: Can new shooters easily operate the gun?

By taking customer feedback into account, you’ll be better equipped to make an educated choice based on real-world experiences.

Finding the Perfect Handgun for Women’s Self-Defense and Personal Protection

In summary, we’ve explored a variety of the best handguns for women, focusing on ease of concealed carry for self-defense.

We’ve highlighted top picks such as Walther PPS M2, Sig Sauer P365, Mossberg MC1SC, Glock 19, 26, 43, 48/43X, Ruger Max-9, Walther PDP, and Springfield Armory Hellcat. These options range from compact to micro-compact sizes to suit individual preferences.

We also discussed special considerations for women’s shooting techniques and handgun grip mastery. To make an informed decision when purchasing a handgun for self-defense or personal protection purposes, it’s essential to consider legalities and reader ratings.

Ok ladies, now that you’re armed with this knowledge it’s time to carefully consider all the factors that matter to you and take action!


What are some popular choices of handguns for women?

Some popular choices include Walther PPS M2, Sig Sauer P365, Mossberg MC1SC, Glock 19/26/43/48/43X, Ruger Max-9, Walther PDP, and Springfield Armory Hellcat.

How do I choose the best handgun size for me?

Consider factors like concealability (if carrying concealed), weight (heavier guns may have less recoil but be harder to carry all day), hand size (smaller hands may require smaller grips), and capacity (how many rounds can fit in the magazine).

Are there any specific shooting techniques or grip adjustments women should consider?

Women may benefit from adjusting their grip higher on the gun frame or using a thumbs-forward grip technique. Practicing proper trigger control is crucial for accurate shooting.

What should I consider when purchasing a handgun for self-defense or personal protection?

Consider legalities, such as local and state laws regarding firearm ownership, concealed carry permits, and where you can legally carry your firearm. Also, research reader ratings and reviews to get a sense of how well the gun has performed for others in similar situations.

How can I improve my handgun skills as a woman?

Practice regularly at a shooting range with proper instruction from qualified professionals. Take courses specifically designed for women or join women-focused shooting clubs to learn from other experienced female shooters.