Ladies, Choose Your Own Firearm


“Honey, you shouldn’t have! No, I mean it, you really shouldn’t have!” That’s the response many women have after their significant others buy them their first firearm. If this isn’t the response at first, trust me, it will be after their first ever trip to the range. And if you ask the husband why he chose the gun for his wife, the answer is usually the same, “I got her a little gun that she can handle easily, you know, something made for a lady.”

Gentlemen, we love you, but would you feel comfortable going out and choosing your wife’s bra? Why? For a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that you aren’t the one who has to wear it. So, why would you feel comfortable choosing her first carry gun?

So many times in my pistol classes, or at social gatherings, I find that 9 times out of 10, if a woman is contemplating becoming a first-time gun owner, I usually hear one of two responses, “my husband bought me a little tiny .38, you know, the spinny kind” (snubbie revolver) or “he bought me a cute, little, pink gun with the clip thing that slides in” (single stack, sub compact semi auto.) I politely smile and tell them to be sure to practice with those, or come with me some time and try a myriad of other guns to see is something works better for them. In fairness, it’s really no one’s fault. I’m not placing blame or judgement because I was once on the other side of that conversation, and the intention is good.


I cringe because, first of all, it’s clear, she has absolutely no idea how to operate the firearm that has been purchased for her. That alone has the potential to be very dangerous. Secondly, when she does go to the range to fire it for the first time, her husband will likely load the mag or cylinder and simply hand her the gun on the firing line. She will then likely be using a sub-par grip or worse, and not be instructed on the shooting fundamentals. Even if no mishaps happen, women often walk away with very little in the way of knowledge, experience and most importantly, confidence in herself or her ability to competently operate her new gun. One thing that is almost a certainty is that women realize those tiny little guns that are so cute, are not very easy to shoot accurately without a lot of practice. And they often sting! On the flip side, don’t even get me started on the guys who take their girlfriends out to the range and start them off on a .44 magnum…and with no eye and ear protection! With that as her first introduction to firearms, it’s no wonder that so many women are hesitant to try shooting again.

Guys are generally tinkerers or learn how mechanical objects function by trial and error, and that’s fine, but it’s not how most women operate. Women want to know how the gun works BEFORE we pick it up. (And we actually will read the directions!) We want to know the rules. We want to be safe, and most of all, we want to be confident. Believe me, a positive experience with a trained instructor who understands how women think will boost a woman’s confidence as well as anything out there.

So guys, before buying her that firearm, let her go somewhere where she can try out different models for herself with instructors who can answer questions, find out her specific set of needs and uses for a firearm. Will it be a carry gun or a house-only gun? She can also get advice on carry systems, such as belly bands or IWB holsters. Try to keep in mind that entering this world can be very scary for first time shooters, and even more so for women. Once a woman crosses that first threshold, it’s pretty life-changing, and for a woman to have the tools to be able to choose the right gun for herself will make the experience her own. And just like the everyday bra, the gun needs to be comfortable enough to be worn all day, fit right and do its job well. As a bonus, something unexpected that I found is that shooting and training are activities couples can really enjoy doing together. It’s the new date-night!

About Kelly | View all posts by Kelly

Kelly is an NRA-certified instructor for Pistol, Personal Protection in the Home and Refuse to be a Victim. She also is also credentialed as a certified pistol instructor through The…

Kelly is an NRA-certified instructor for Pistol, Personal Protection in the Home and Refuse to be a Victim. She also is also credentialed as a certified pistol instructor through The Well Armed Woman, and owner of ARMED and Feminine, LLC. Visit her YouTube channel by searching ARMED and Feminine.

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  • Andy Beaverhouse

    I agree with you. I let my wife choose what she wanted. She shot a lot of guns (without me hovering over her shoulder) before she made her decision. She called me one day and said she had figured out what she wanted. It was a S&W airweight. I told her good job. I had to bite my tongue when she told me the caliber, 32 H&R magnum. It’s a good thing I reload cuz that stuff is like finding hens teeth.
    I also think men should not teach their significant others to shoot, anything. When my wife asked me one day to teach her to shoot I could barely contain myself but I restrained and we got in touch with a local instructor. She said after her class it was the best class she ever had in anything. We live happily ever after. I am an instructor and an RO. I’ve seen way too many couples go home angry with one another after the man tried to instruct/teach. When it comes to teaching shooting to our other half we can sometimes really scr*w the pooch.

  • Stumper24

    I took my wife to the Sport shop and let her pick her first, Second and third Hand guns.
    Speaking of the 44 mag for starting out.
    How about the idiot that introduces the very first shot ever with a damn 12ga.

  • SmithTech22

    I let my wife pick her first gun. She chose the Ruger Redhawk in .44 Mag.
    She actually ended up getting the S&W 686 Plus .357 Mag because .38 is cheaper to shoot at the range.
    She shoots both rather well and regularly blows the center out of the 3″ shoot-n-see at 15 yards.

  • Carl Martin

    When my wife got her first gun
    She went to the range and fired a multitude of firearms to find the one she liked

  • Mike Campbell

    Great article Kelly. I took my niece to the local gun shop because she wanted a home defense gun.She actually finished the police science course and works at a correctional but has never owned a gun. She walked up to the Charter Arms Lavender Lady and said she wanted it. I tried to talk her into looking around and try something else but that’s the one she bought. I brought my wife to the gun shop and all she wanted was the purple Sig or the sapphire Kimber. At least they are good guns but I think the cute gun thing has been ingrained in them and it’s tough to change.

  • James Hoppe

    Ours was a mutual choice of the Glock 19. 9mm is/was cheap and easy to find, the gun is a good sized for both of us although my wife finds the squared off grip uncomfortable for any extended range time.