One of the places where guys really get into trouble is in helping to select a defensive handgun for the lady in their life. This is especially true when the guy is gun savvy and the wife is not. We tend to get all excited about fixing her up with a handgun, and often lose track of the idea that the gun is for her and not another addition to our own collection. Truth be told, we often end up getting another handgun we have been wanting while paying scant attention to the lady's specific needs.
Gunsite instructor Il Ling New tells her students guns are like shoes—they have to fit. And the simple fact is a gun that fits and suits us may be a very poor choice for the lady in your life. It may simply be too big for a woman's small hands, or it may be too complicated for a new shooter to learn to operate effectively.
Assuming the lady in your life doesn't know a lot about handguns, it might be a far better idea to assemble a variety of well-made, dependable handguns and let her choose the one she handles and likes best. Many shooting ranges rent handguns to their customers, and this is a great way to let a woman get experience with a variety of guns. All you have to do is steer her away from the cheap, poorly made guns and those chambered in inappropriate calibers for self-defense.
Since good training is critical for anyone who is considering a defensive handgun, you can also let her work with a qualified trainer in selecting her personal-defense gun. A professional trainer has a good idea of what will work for a woman and how to help her get proficient with it. All you have to do is stand by with a checkbook.
The lady in your life may not be interested in learning to shoot every gun in your vast arsenal. It is far better to get her a gun of her own and let her learn to live with it. At a much later date, after she has developed proficiency with her own pistol, she should familiarize herself with the workings of the gun you carry, if it is different from hers.
Guns are truly like shoes; they have to fit. So, if the lady in your life is content with a handgun of at least .38 Spl./9 mm caliber, and it is a well-made, dependable pistol, you are both headed in the right direction. If, as often happens, she develops some real proficiency and starts out-shooting you on a regular basis, you will just have to learn to live with it. At that point, she has become a defensive partner instead of a dependent.