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jgradyc

Recommend a handgun and a carry holster for a newbie

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I have a friend who has approached me about getting her HCP. I've posted another thread on that. Here's my question. What handgun would you suggest and what carry method would you recommend? She grew up around guns and shot them as a child, but that was decades ago. 

Here's some background. Athletic, small frame, small hands, 5'4", 120 pounds. Tends to wear mostly yoga pants in winter and running shorts/tights in summer, so there's no belt to support a heavy firearm. She has no children at home and none visiting. Cost isn't a primary consideration. Her purse is one of those big, expensive things that look like a shopping bag. 

Edited by jgradyc
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Go to a range with rentals and try out everything they have.  Hard to tell what someone else will or won't like. 

Concealed carry yoga pants are an actual thing... https://thewellarmedwoman.com/product/concealment-leggings/

But, she may want to consider a slight change in wardrobe. A good belt holster hard to beat. That said, girls seem to be able to pull of the hip/fanny pack thing better than men. 

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11 minutes ago, peejman said:

... A good belt holster hard to beat. That said, girls seem to be able to pull of the hip/fanny pack thing better than men. 

Yes, plus the nice curvature of the waist and hips add to holding a belt/holster in place.

A lot of guys can do it as well, but not me. Gig belly and no butt. Use suspenders constantly.

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Ill second the rental range. It gives the opportunity to run several guns sort of like a test drive in a car. I will say that the push to get women to buy smaller guns isnt always the best idea. If the gun is hard to control with a crappy trigger they will not be starting off on the right foot.

Dressing around the gun is another problem for some women. They simply must reconsider the fashion/safety ratio. They can be very fashionable with little safety, very safe and less fashionable, or somewhere in the middle. It's hard to have it all...

At the end of over a year my wife carries a 15 shot midsize 9mm in a paddle holster. A belt helps but isn't required, and she can shoot and operate the gun better than the other smaller choices we had.

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Spot on. When my wife and I did our HCP class we had a lady instructor. My wife connected with her. We went back to their gun store and the lady and my wife talked and handled guns for an hour and a half. My wife walked away with the perfect gun for her at the time. The gun would not have even been on my radar as something she might like. She felt confident with her selection. I listened to their conversation and was glad I kept my big trap shut. Now my wife has layed claim to many different pistols, of all calibers, in the safes. One strong, positive experience launched her.

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15 minutes ago, Sidecarist said:

Ill second the rental range.

Aye, third!

Go right down the line, try everything you can. One of them will just feel right. As has been said, it's important that she feels comfortable with it and carries/uses it. Technical and caliber considerations are almost secondary. A 7-shot 380 on her hip is better than a 45 in the dresser.

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Definitely the range for picking a pistol.

I would Google "best women's holster" and start doing research.

Not a fan of off-body carry, you will set the bag down sometime.

I think the Google search would reveal some fashion-wise fanny packs which may work for her preferred wardrobe.

Has she considered future shooting and learning past the HCP process?

Thanks for helping a fellow citizen enter the world of responsible gun ownership!

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Excellent recommendations.

She may find some of her questions at Kathy Jackson's Blog, "The Cornered Cat". MS. Jackson is very knowledgeable well respected in the industry.

https://www.corneredcat.com/article/practical-issues/concealed-carry-for-the-fashionable-woman/

When I helped friends I work with (a couple) in their indoctrination phase we provided quite a few different handguns and didn't try and influence them towards anything in particular. He and she initially choose Glock 19's but eventually gravitated towards a 9mm Shield for her and a G 43 for him.

 

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4 hours ago, prag said:

Excellent recommendations.

She may find some of her questions at Kathy Jackson's Blog, "The Cornered Cat". MS. Jackson is very knowledgeable well respected in the industry.

https://www.corneredcat.com/article/practical-issues/concealed-carry-for-the-fashionable-woman/

When I helped friends I work with (a couple) in their indoctrination phase we provided quite a few different handguns and didn't try and influence them towards anything in particular. He and she initially choose Glock 19's but eventually gravitated towards a 9mm Shield for her and a G 43 for him.

 

Tons of great info from Kathy Jackson.  Highly recommended.  

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59 minutes ago, Patrick Henry said:

The NRA magazine, don't recall the issue, in 2017 did a story about women shooting a number of handguns and how they rated them.  There were some winners and losers.  

Maybe it was this one?  American Riflewoman is pretty new and has great articles for women.

American Riflewoman Pistol Project Article

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pet peeve of mine....men telling women which handgun they need.  Certainly suggestions to try vs. buy is a different thing.  If need be, a .22 is a fine 1st gun to try or even carry after she has tried a lot of different guns.  She can always add others as we all have in the future.

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Any gun shop.. take her and let her handle ALL of them..I think more so its the trigger not the gun itself.I have to be able to pull the trigger on them before I buy it..Its a main part of the gun and some are reset triggers or double pull and have a 500 lbs trigger.. some are really horrid ,some are nice and mushy.Holsters are as big part also for me.They have to sit a certain way or I wont use it. Gun shows are a good place since there are tables full of holsters and most vendors will let ya try it on or even shove your gun into it for a fit.

Grip is another issue woman have..our hands do not have the calluses and palms and fingers sit different than mens( size wise) It makes a big difference when unholstering a gun..

 

Just something to think about :)

 

 

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Yoga pants do not stop you from carrying if you are determined. I carry IWB Apendix with a kydex and I have an Alien Gear belt that I put over the yoga pants. If you have a gun you love and you always find a way! :) So my yoga pants hide my G29.

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I always feel that Glocks are good beginner guns and are hardy so they work for everyday use. They require little maintenance and have a good grip for women. I prefer a heavier gun so my personal favorite is the Rock Island 1911; however, I would not suggest that handgun for a beginner. As for the holster, I really like the IWB holsters cause it makes it easy to conceal while still being comfortable. It is not too bulky or heavy which I feel is the case with many shoulder holsters and belly bands. Here are some other options for handguns that she may want to try before making a decision: https://www.firearmreview.com/7-best-handguns-women/

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My wife used a Colt 1911 to qualify for her HCP many years ago.  She has carried a Kahr K40, XDSC 40 and now has a XDS 9.

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Thinking about this more.  Each to his own, but just thinking about new shooters.  Unless one is looking at around a 8# + trigger, I am not a big fan of a glock or other type handguns without a safety.  I understand the argument for simplistic operation, but unless is willing to train and be intimately familiar with their pistol, I think the safety is a good idea.  How many of you started hunting and walked around with the safety off.  Duck hunt with the gun sitting with the safety off.  Point is, one carries a gun, handles the gun a whole lot more than the actual shooting of the gun.  Until one becomes proficient, the point of being safe has to be #1 concern.

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On 2/11/2018 at 11:48 AM, jgradyc said:

I have a friend who has approached me about getting her HCP. I've posted another thread on that. Here's my question. What handgun would you suggest and what carry method would you recommend? She grew up around guns and shot them as a child, but that was decades ago. 

Here's some background. Athletic, small frame, small hands, 5'4", 120 pounds. Tends to wear mostly yoga pants in winter and running shorts/tights in summer, so there's no belt to support a heavy firearm. She has no children at home and none visiting. Cost isn't a primary consideration. Her purse is one of those big, expensive things that look like a shopping bag. 

I'm the OP. I'd like to update this thread with more information. Life happened so she forgot about this until now, but now she's interested again. The woman lives alone and is 61 with arthritic thumbs, but otherwise in good health. I'm going to suggest that she buy three guns. An EDC, a house/car gun if she needs to go into the backyard and doesn't want to scare neighbors, and a SHTF home invasion gun. Money isn't a big consideration. She's wealthy.

For the home invasion gun, I plan to recommend a short-barreled carbine or an AR pistol with a Sig brace.  The EDC gun would be something she could carry and the car/home gun would be something she could keep in a clip-on holster under her sofa or similar when she didn't have quick access to her EDC. I'd recommend she keep the carbine by her bedside. We'd probably go to Royal Range in Bellevue so she could handle a few different handguns.

For EDC, I'm going to recommend a belly band, since she never wears pants with a belt. Oh, and of course, a HCP class and permit.

What are your suggestions? What am I missing?

Edited by jgradyc

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I'd lean more toward the pistol for home defense and a handgun class or two beyond the HCP test. Running a carbine inside a house takes more training than most people are interested in.  If she decides she enjoys guns and wants to do more, then definitely proceed. 

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20 minutes ago, jgradyc said:

The woman lives alone and is 61 with arthritic thumbs, but otherwise in good health. 

When I read the part about the arthritic thumbs, the M&P Shield 380 EZ popped into my head as a good choice to check out.

I agree the belly band is likely her best mode of carrying if she's not going to change the way she dresses.   

As far as the AR for home use, if she's intimidated by the AR, you might consider a 20 gauge shotgun.

 

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I am going to make the assumption that a 61 year old woman is not going to want to go to training classes and spend the time to be proficient with an AR. If I’m wrong about that I apologize.

I wouldn’t put her in an AR for a house gun. Not unless she is going to train with it and make sure she can make it fire when it needs to, and safe when it needs to be.

One gun could probably do all three jobs, but I might go with two. A 4” 686 or a GP100 (A full size 4” 357Mag Revolver). I have many firearms and a 686 is my headboard gun. No safeties, No magazines, No jams, No misfires, the original point & click interface. I then have several semi-auto handguns laying around in case I need them.

For carry…whatever she likes, and will carry, in a respectable caliber.

As far as holsters go there is a woman on YouTube that has a bunch of videos that specifically deal with holsters for women and how they dress. Maybe someone here knows who I’m talking about; if not I’ll see if I can find it.

25 minutes ago, jgradyc said:

What are your suggestions? What am I missing?

Go with her to the classes and the range or find someone that will. She probably won’t go much by herself.

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If by proficient, you mean be able to move the safety to "fire," shoulder the weapon, and aim. She can do that. She shot rifles and shotguns growing up decades ago. I can let her borrow my AR to see how she likes it.

As for the 686 or the GP100, I can't handle either pistol well because I have small hands. Her hands are smaller than mine. 

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