Ten Years Of Progress

The "right gun for a woman" meant something different in 2013 than it does today.

posted on December 16, 2023
A Girl And Her Gun

In October of 2013, I wrote an article for Shooting Illustrated about how it was women themselves who knew which gun is best for them, and that maybe a pink-handled, snub-nosed revolver in .38 Spl. wasn’t the right choice for many women. That article turned out to be the most popular article on this website for 2013 and was shared countless times all over the internet. The idea that women would prefer to carry and shoot small micro 9mm pistols, DA/SA carry guns and even a full-size 1911 in .45 ACP resonated with women gun owners, and I received message after message thanking me for helping to break down the stereotype of what was a “good gun for a woman.”

Ten years later, things are completely different. There is a line of micro compact pistols and lifestyle accessories from SIG Sauer that are specifically marketed to women. Former Olympian and “Top Shot” competitor Gabby Franco was involved in the creation of the Walther PDP-F, a compact 9mm pistol designed with women in mind. Smith & Wesson and Ruger still make small .38 Spl. revolvers (some with pink grips), but those guns are now accompanied by easy-to-shoot pistols like M&P Equalizer line and the Ruger Security-9, which are built from the ground up to be easier to operate than the typical compact 9mm.

There are also soft-shooting compact pistols in .380 ACP like the Beretta 80X Cheetah, Ruger Security-380, SIG Sauer P365-380 and other guns that offer the grip size of a compact gun, but because .380 ACP is a slightly less-powerful cartridge than 9mm, they have less felt recoil and are very easy to manipulate. All of this, and we haven’t even begun to talk about pocket-sized sidearms chambered in .22LR like the Ruger Lite Rack semi-automatic pistol or the Smith & Wesson 43C and Ruger LCR-22 revolvers. Clearly, the landscape has changed for the better when it comes to women and guns.

Enigma Express
Concealed carry without the need for a belt.

On the accessory side of the fence, holster manufacturers now realize that women want more choices for carrying their guns other than sticking in a purse or some other bag. The PHLster Enigma has been a game-changer for many women, allowing them to carry their pistols on their person, rather than having it near them in a bag. There are also more and more options for belly band holsters and other effective holster options for women that just weren’t around ten years ago.

What started off as lonely voice in the wilderness which made the case that women need more options for concealed carry is now an entire segment of American gun culture. More and more women are entering the ranks of American gun owners, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down. Here’s to ten more years of better guns and better accessories for all the women who choose to keep and bear arms. 


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