You are a petite woman married to someone twice your size. In an effort to be proactive in this time of increasing civil unrest, he decided to purchase several firearms strictly for home-defense purposes. Unfortunately, he made all of the purchases of handguns and long guns thinking he would be the one to put them to use if the need ever arose. That may true when he is at home, but there are often times when you are at home alone. With the realization that you may have to use these firearms when he is away, you took a lesson from one of the local firearm instructors. You were surprised to find that both the handguns and the long guns were too big for you to handle and shoot, making it virtually impossible to hit a target with any degree of consistency. Aside from buying another complement of guns—which you would rather not do—you are in search of a way to convert the present inventory so it would be viable for either of you to use a gun to hit a target, large or small. You need answers.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem when a couple lives in a similar circumstance. Fortunately, there are answers—though they are compromises—that can save you from increasing your firearm inventory significantly.
Make any changes to the firearms’ present configuration to benefit your needs, not his. The likelihood of you needing to use the gun when alone is greater than when your husband is present, meaning your effective use of the gun(s) is imperative to achieve a positive outcome.
Some guidelines to follow when choosing a handgun are fairly easy to reason. The size, weight and caliber of the gun are pretty much dictated by your hand size and hand strength. You should be able to shoot the gun and hit a target with one hand to be considered effective with it. You may have two hands available, but there are no guarantees on that. The size of the gun has to be such that it can be stabilized on the target long enough to discharge multiple shots, provided the trigger can be reached and pulled on demand. Many current polymer-frame handguns offer interchangeable backstraps of different sizes to help the pistol fit the shooter.
The weight of the gun has two perspectives. If it is too heavy to hold on target with one hand, it may not be of use in certain conditions. Conversely, if the gun is too light, it may not help in reducing the felt recoil sufficiently, making follow-up shots difficult if needed. Only you can answer whether the size, weight and caliber of the handgun will be suitable for your use through practice with the tools you will be using if the time of need ever comes. When it comes to his use of those guns, it is much easier for him to adapt to a smaller gun than for you to attempt the use of something too large, which it would be in your case.
For long guns, the options might be easier. Most defensive rifles and shotguns have shorter barrels than typical hunting guns of a similar type. This helps balance the gun better in the hands of smaller-statured people and has no real negative effect for anyone else. Rifles and shotguns with buttstocks featuring adjustable lengths-of-pull make the long guns fit the user much better with a simple slip of the stock to the best location to suit the shooter. Weight and caliber should be considered for handling and shooting capability, much the same as with the handgun. Choosing an effective cartridge for the application with the least amount of recoil should suit all users of your home-defense firearms. As with handguns, long guns on the smaller scale can be effectively used by a wider variety of individuals who come in different shapes and sizes.
Should you feel the need to carry on your person with any degree of regularity, I recommend that you have your own individual firearm and equipment fitted to your hands and physique. With some practice in using your equipment on a regular basis, you should be confident in your ability to meet any challenges that may arise when you are solo at home.