Best Pistols for Women Reviewed and Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Compatibility was our research team’s top criteria for women’s handguns. The effectiveness of the gun lies entirely with the shooter’s ability to use it, and use it well. That is why compatibility is so vital to the relationship between a gun and its operator. We examined size, grip, recoil levels, and comfortability with each handgun that made our list, for without those components, the shooter will not feel confident using the gun thereby defeating its purpose.
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The features available on each handgun --- or the ability to upgrade --- were paramount to our criteria for this topic. Especially for personal safety or home defense purposes, women need a gun that they feel comfortable using, that has multiple safety features, and that offers a comfortable grip and little recoil. Above all, the gun needs to have an accurate shot, so we included guns that had additional features that supported or amplified the gun’s accuracy.
Guns are expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you have to empty your wallet to purchase the most expensive gun on the market. Our team found many reasonably priced guns that provided sufficient value for their price; there are even a couple of budget options that offer as much or more than more expensive models. We devised a list that covered all possible budget spectrums so you can find the best handgun that fits with your financial situation.
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10 Best Pistols for Women
1. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
Smith & Wesson, a renowned, historical handgun company, developed the M&P Shield Pistol which is used by many law-enforcement units all over the country. Its reliability, ruggedness, and accuracy are surmounted only by the pistol’s construction. The Shield is perfect for concealed carry and offers everything you could want in a lightweight, accurate handgun.
Compact and Lightweight
At a light and unloaded 19 ounces, the Shield is compact and light enough to carry concealed or to use. for self-defense or on the range. It is roughly 1” thick and 6” in length, and its 18-degree grip angle lead to smooth operation and reliable performance. The Shield is offered in a 9MM edition, a .40 model, and a .45; each model has a durable polymer frame with a corrosion resistant finish stainless steel barrel and slide. This gun has a standard 3.1-inch barrel, a 5.3-inch sight radius, and has a consistent trigger pull measuring 6.5 pounds.
The Shield features a fast, audible reset courtesy of the striker-fired action which allows multiple rounds to be put on target accurately. The trigger pull and reset are both consistent and accurate, and make for quick, on-target repeated shots. The M&P No Tool Takedown System means that this gun is easy to clean. The Shield also comes with Tritium night sights, two magazines, a six- or seven-round version or a seven- or eight-round version with an extended finger rest.
Cost and Value
The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a real deal at its market price. The gun is worth that asking price based on its reliability and craftsmanship alone, but the added perks certainly sweeten the deal. The Shield is a superb handgun for women who want a slim, compact pistol with incredible accuracy.
2. Sig Sauer P320
Ideal for women, the Sig Sauer P320 is high caliber but designed to prevent injury to users with smaller hands or strength. Between the accuracy rates, the interchangeable polymer grips, and the lightweight frame for easy carry, this pistol is an excellent option for women shooters.
A Customized Experience
Due to the P320’s modular design, the caliber, fit, and grip size can change, making the gun easily customizable for users. The modular grip accommodates multiple hand sizes, and the removable fire-control assembly adds to the purpose of creating a genuinely custom pistol for the buyer. Add the easy sight acquisition and the well-placed controls, and you have a reliable handgun to use with ease. The lightweight frame makes this gun ideal for concealed carry.
The P320 has a three-point-takedown safety system which prevents users from breaking down the gun if a magazine is still loaded or the slide is not locked in the rear; this makes it hard for accidental discharges to occur. The P320 comes with SIGLITE night sights that provide target acquisition in any circumstance. The gun also has a double-action striker fire operating system.
Cost and Value
While a bit more expensive than some other handguns in its class, the Sig Sauer P320 packs enough of a wallop to be worth the extra money. It is still fairly priced for the quality, safety features, and accuracy delivered with this pistol. Because it is small, lightweight, and easy to shoot, it is a top pistol choice for women.
3. Browning Buck Mark Camper UFX
Women who want a handgun generally choose a gun that is easy to fire and is accurate more often than not. That is what the Browning Buck Mark Camper UFX semi-automatic pistol is all about. This Rimfire pistol sets a standard of excellence in the pistol market with the Buck Mark Camper UFX, an ergonomic and lightweight gun that delivers exceptional performance every time it’s used.
Accuracy and Reliability
Reliability and accuracy are the hallmarks of the Camper UFX. Built to exacting tolerances, this pistol sports a sharp, single-action trigger and hand-reamed chambers with target crowns on the barrels for enhanced accuracy. The gun operates on an incredibly reliable, simple straight blowback action. The Camper UFX incorporates a 10-round magazine with a sturdy heat-treated body and coil springs that ensure consistent pressure and proper angle on the shell follower.
The Camper UFX features grips that, via the Browning Ergonomic Interactive Surface technology, offer optimal control, and consistent aim and comfort. It includes ambidextrous overmolded grips with finger grooves to encourage proper hand position on each shot. The grip panels have a stippled surface to allow a secure hold on the gun no matter the environment. The gun includes a 10-round magazine, and the frame is made from highly durable 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The bull barrel is matte finished, stainless steel and tapered with enough weight to stabilize the user’s hold without sacrificing the ability to carry this gun for long periods.
Cost and Value
The Browning Buck Mark Camper UFX is one of the most reasonably priced pistols on this list considering its features and its accuracy. For a solid price, you can get a highly accurate and reliable gun that you can count on for defense, target practice, or plinking.
4. Glock 43 Semi-Automatic
The Glock 43 Semi-Auto Pistol is slim and compact thanks to how it utilizes a single-stacked magazine in 9MM, making it an excellent concealed carry weapon. It is a carry gun with the power of a 9MM field gun, but lightweight at almost 18 oz. loaded, and therefore, a pistol women can depend on for survival.
Slim and Compact
Designed for easy use, accuracy, and concealed carry, the Glock 43 is a perfect weapon of choice for women. The rough textured polymer frame encourages a reliable hold with a grip that gives shooters a large surface area for aimed-controlled fire. With a white-dot front sight and white-bracket rear sight, proper acquisition in dim and dark lighting situations is rapid and efficient.
The Glock 43’s steel slide has a satin aluminum cerakote finish and employs a striker-fired, short-recoil operated, locked breech barrel. It includes a Safe-Action trigger system which allows accurate firing in stressed situations. The pistol also comes with two single-stack 6-round magazines, and the large magazine catch provides for easy removal of the magazines.
Cost and Value
Reasonably priced, the Glock 43 has a lot to offer women who are in the market for a handgun, especially one for protection and concealed carry. It is a slim, dependable, accurate, and lightweight model that is well worth the cost.
5. Rock Island Ultra FS
An excellent choice for a budget 1911, 70-series style pistol, the Rock Island Ultra FS provides lots of options in a classically styled and reliable pistol. It’s engineering standards and low tolerance gives shooters the experience of firing a wide array of calibers in this gun.
Classically styled and Reliable
The Ultra FS looks the part of a classic 1911 pistol with a tough full-parkerized matte finish that protects the gun components against corrosion and dirt. The snag-free, smooth-angled style promotes a quick draw in emergencies especially combined with the G10 tactical grips. The full-length guide rod, extended beavertail, and low-profile adjustable sights make the Ultra FS fun to shoot and an affordable pistol option for women.
This pistol includes a high visibility fiber optic sight as well as a skeletonized hammer and trigger with an ambidextrous safety and adjustable over travel stop. The pistol comes with a 4-6 pound factory trigger to allow the user to shoot accurately right out of the box. It also includes one 8-round magazine, a case, and a lock.
Cost and Value
The Rock Island Ultra FS is a steal for its capability and the additional features it offers on this model. It is soft shooting, accurate, and easy on the wallet, therefore it is a viable option for women to consider when looking for a handgun.
6. Remington RM380 Centerfire
An ideal concealed carry weapon, the Remington RM380 Centerfire pistol is a lightweight, ultra compact, slim selection that handles the 380 ACP cartridge with ease. Women looking for a small-sized handgun with full-size functionality and reliability need look no further than this Remington model.
Rugged and Reliable
The all-metal construction of the RM380 consists of an aluminum frame and stainless steel slide in black matte. The gun conceals easily in various carry modes and is quick to deploy in emergencies. The RM380 is a hammer-fired, locked breech, tilt-barrel, semi-automatic pistol that has dual, nested recoil springs. As the longest barrel in its class for higher bullet velocities, the RM380 is a small gun that provides a big return.
This pistol features a DAO only trigger that allows the gun to be fired instinctively without the need to switch or flip any safety devices. The fully functional slide stop keeps the slide open after the last magazine is fired for quick reloading. The gun has fixed front and rear sights which are quick to pick up when the pistol is drawn, snag-free. Additional features include an ambidextrous magazine release and a light, smooth double-action trigger that increases safety without sacrificing shootability or accuracy. The gun also includes two six-round magazines.
Cost and Value
The Remington RM380 is a powerful pistol available at a highly reasonable price. It is an excellent handgun selection for women who want a pistol that packs a punch, is easy to shoot, and is highly accurate.
7. Kimber Pro Carry II 9MM
The Kimber Pro Carry II 9MM is a great mid-sized 1911 model for self-defense and concealed carry. It is a highly accurate handgun, a product of American manufacturing, built on a sturdy aluminum frame. With accuracy and reliability, the Pro Carry II is a gun women should consider for protection and home defense.
This pistol is a single-action trigger with a smooth pull. It has a full-length guide rod and a three-hole standard aluminum trigger factory with 30 lines per square inch front strap checkering. The Pro Carry II has a slightly shorter barrel than standard M1911s which allows enhanced concealability; the full-size grip enforces shooting control with standard 7-round magazines.
The bushing and match grade barrel on this pistol are stainless steel. The extended beavertail grip safety provides protection to the hammer when the weapon is cocked and locked by minimizing hammer-bite to the shooter’s hand during firing. The gun also has smooth grip panels and a checkered mainspring housing placement to provide a secure grip. Additional features include fixed low profile sights to allow a point of aim with little interference when holstering or drawing the gun.
Cost and Value
The Kimber Pro Carry II is higher priced than the majority of guns on this list. However, for women who want a highly functional sidearm for self-defense that can deliver rapid, accurate shots, it may be worth the higher cost.
8. Ruger LC9 Pro
The Ruger LC9s is a lightweight and compact handgun designed for comfortable and concealed carry. It is a double-action-only 9MM pistol with a crisp trigger pull for an accurate shot. This small pistol is an excellent option for women who want a handgun for self-defense.
A Comfortable Carry
This comfortable, easy concealed carry pistol is straightforward and instinctive to use in emergencies. It utilizes a striker-fired mechanism in conjunction with a short, light trigger pull. The frame is constructed of glass-filled nylon with and an aluminum insert while the slide is hardened alloy steel with a black matte finish; the slide’s edges are removed for increased concealability. These features add up to a slim pistol that is easy to carry and easier to conceal.
The LC9s is designed to function with the 9x19mm cartridge. It features multiple safety systems, including a manual thumb safety, an integrated trigger safety, a loaded chamber indicator, and a magazine disconnect. Steel three-dot front and rear sights are low profile, and the right slide is drift adjustable.
Cost and Value
The Ruger LC9s is a small, excellent, and accurate concealed carry weapon that can be purchased at a bargain price. Shooters on a budget who want an effective handgun for self-defense and home protection can look to this pistol as a viable handgun option.
9. Beretta Pico
The Beretta Pico Pistol is the smallest .380 ACP on the market, making it ideal for concealed carry purposes. This pistol can slip into holsters or purses and never be seen. This simple to control, smooth handgun is an option women should consider for self-defense and home defense purposes.
Small and Reliable
This Pico is extremely thin yet offers shooters better control than many other lightweight pistols. Its reliability can be found in its design: a tip-to-parallel straight line design with a minimum barrel tilt during recoil and a double-action trigger to limit recoil. These factors make controlling the Pico easier than other small handguns.
This micro-compact pistol includes features such as a modular frame and removable sub-chassis that makes cleaning, disassembly, and customizing the gun easy. The quick-change sights can be replaced or adjusted, and the model includes both extended and standard magazines. The gun’s slide is corrosion-resistant and non-reflective, and the white-dot sights provide on point acquisition and are bright enough for low-light environments.
Cost and Value
The Pico Pistol is durable, lightweight, and easy to draw from a concealed location. It is reliable and accurate, and ideal for women or shooters with smaller hands, arthritis, or weak wrists.
10. Walther Concealed-Carry
With its ergonomic design, elite construction, and simplicity, the Walther Concealed-Carry Pistol (CCP) is a top choice for women in the market for an easy to carry and shoot handgun. Its blowback system, polymer frame, and small size make the CCP a pistol to look more closely at.
Safety and Style
The CCP includes a slim manual thumb safety and an internal safety that blocks the firing pin. The design of the gun itself --- specifically shape and weight distribution --- allow it to maintain a low profile and minimal printing. The shape of the weapon makes it highly adaptable to most holsters, and its less bulky form boosts it to the top of the class in concealed carry.
The CCP Pistol features a gas-delayed blowback system that reduces barrel rise to keep your shots accurate and to allow the slide to chamber a round. The gun’s frame is an ergonomic polymer with a non-slip surface that offers a secure hold on the pistol. Additional features include an interchangeable white-dot front sight, an adjustable rear sight, a reversible magazine for ambidextrous use, and a 1913 Picatinny rail.
Cost and Value
The Walther CCP falls into the average range of prices for concealed carry handguns. It offers a small, accurate gun that sports an ergonomic design for enhanced accuracy and concealed carry. It would work ideally for women who want personal protection.
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