Working for an FFL dealer for some time now while also maintaining a tactical training and equipment company, I have come across more than a couple men shopping for firearms that they intend to give to their wives for concealed carry or for home defense. This more often than not begins with the man looking at revolvers such as the Smith & Wesson Model 642 or the Taurus Model 85. When asked how he needs helped, his response is always along the lines of, “Yeah, I’m looking for a gun for my wife. Just something small that she can stick in her purse or keep with her while I’m not home. You know, something simple that she doesn’t need to think about and can just point and pull the trigger.” Every single time that I hear this, I respond, “What is her experience level with firearms?”
The answer to this question is almost always that the man’s wife has had zero or minimal experience with firearms. I do not attempt to dissuade the man in his purchase. Instead, I seize the opportunity to advocate for his wife to be there and for him to attain her input prior to purchasing a firearm for her. This is also a good time to urge him to seek professional firearms training for both he and his wife.
Do we as men seriously intend to hand a novice shooter a “snub-nose” revolver with five or six rounds (or less, considering many still believe that at least one chamber in the cylinder should be left empty for “safety reasons” that they typically cannot articulate) and expect her to effectively defend herself and/or our children against the attacker(s)? The answer should be an obvious no. Handguns, whether semi-automatic or revolver, are inherently harder to shoot than long guns due to a shorter sight radius and a decreased number of points of contact. Smaller handguns such as snub-nose revolvers or subcompacts are more difficult yet to fire accurately and consistently because of the even shorter sight radius and decreased weight of the firearm available to mitigate perceived recoil.
What Type of Firearm Should a Woman Carry?
A quality one.
This goes back to firearm selection. Remember that firearms are tools and, as such, each type of firearm fills a role. One would not pound a nail into a board with a torque wrench or remove a bolt with a wire stripper. Small handguns are a popular choice for concealed carry due to how easy it is to conceal them. However, that does not necessarily make them a wise choice for home defense or for teaching a new shooter how to defend herself. Multiple cases and studies have shown that a long gun is a much more effective choice for home defense, but that is the topic of another conversation and we do not want to beat the proverbial dead horse. It is typically easier for a new shooter to learn how to utilize a handgun for self-defense with a full-size handgun than with a subcompact.
Seek Professional Firearms Training
It is up to the shooter as to whether he or she wants to carry a small handgun for concealed carry. Rather than handing your wife the smallest pink gun in the case that you can find, it would behoove you to seek out professional training for her and for yourself. Do not attempt to train your wife if you are not fully competent in offensive and defensive tactics and in the use of firearms. Paying for professional training hurts the egos of many of the internet commandos and armchair operators out there, but videos do not train you to win a fight. There are a number of reputable trainers out there, so finding one is inexcusably easy.
In short, shooters typically grasp the fundamentals of handgun shooting much easier if trained on a full-size handgun. Your wife does not need a .22LR handgun with pink plastic grips for concealed carry or a semiautomatic .22LR rifle for home defense. Our wives are not "simple" and therefore are not in desperate need of us buying them a "simple" handgun. Like us, our wives need training so that they can competently protect themselves and our children if/when we are not around. Seek out that training and you may just be surprised by how good your wife can actually become at shooting. She may even turn out to be better than you!