Best Handgun for Women: A Complete Guide


Did you know that nearly 22% of women said they owned a gun?

More women than ever own guns and self-defense tops the list of reasons why they choose to buy a firearm. Women are capable of shooting the same firearms as men. However, there are certain types of guns women tend to prefer—her you will find the best handgun for women.

But which is the best handgun for women? If you are a woman and decide to get a handgun, the options may feel a bit overwhelming. Below is a comprehensive guide that will help you choose the perfect handgun for you.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a popular and compact handgun. It is available in both 9mm and .40 caliber options and holds up to 8 rounds in the magazine for the 9mm version and 7 rounds for the .40 caliber version. The firearm is lightweight with a low profile, making it a good concealed carry for women.

It also has a striker-fired design, which means it strikes the cartridge’s primer using a loaded firing pin instead of a hammer. This makes it easy for you to operate the handgun.

The firearm features a manual thumb safety that allows you to engage or disengage the safety as needed. As a result, you get an extra level of protection against accidental discharges. Additionally, the M&P Shield also has a polymer frame, making it corrosion-resistant and durable.

Glock 19

The Glock 19 is a compact semi-automatic handgun manufactured by Glock GmbH in Austria. It is a popular self-defense firearm for women because of its relatively small and lightweight. This makes it easy to carry and handle.

It is available in 9mm and can hold up to 15 rounds in the magazine. The handgun is also reliable and durable with a simple design, making it easy for you to learn how to use and maintain it.

Moreover, the Glock 19 features a polymer frame and a steel slide, and it uses a striker-fired action. Known for its versatility, you can use the handgun for a range of shooting situations, including close-quarters combat, target shooting, and home defense.

Ruger LCP

Ruger LCP is a small and lightweight handgun that’s designed for concealed carry. It was introduced by Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 2008 and has since become a popular choice for women looking for a reliable and easy-to-carry firearm. Its hammerless design makes it easier to move around with and draw from a holster.

The LCP is chambered in .380 ACP—an ideal for self-defense due to its compact size and manageable recoil. It has a 6+1 round capacity and features a polymer frame, which helps to keep the weight down. The handgun also includes a finger grip extension floor plate for added stability and control as you make your shot.

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard firearms are known for their reliability and ease of use. It is available in both .380 ACP and 9mm caliber versions. The .380 ACP caliber has a capacity of 6 rounds while the 9mm caliber has a capacity of 7 rounds.

Thanks to its compact size, you can carry it in your small purse or waistband. It is also relatively lightweight, allowing you to handle it and shoot with ease.

The Bodyguard features a polymer frame and stainless steel slide with a laser sight to help improve the accuracy as you shoot. It also has a variety of safety features, including external safety levers and internal safety mechanisms that help prevent accidental discharges.

Additionally, the Bodyguard handgun line includes models that are specifically designed for women like the Bodyguard 380 “Pink Lady” edition. This handgun model features a pink frame and a smaller grip size to better fit smaller hands.

Walther PPS

The Walther PPS (Police Pistol Slim) is a compact semi-automatic pistol introduced in 2007. The PPS is available in 9mm and .40 S&W caliber versions and has a 6+1 or 7+1 capacity, depending on the caliber and magazine used.

It features a polymer frame, a hammerless design, and a striker-fired action. This compact pistol for beginners also has a smooth trigger pull and low bore axis to reduce recoil and improve your shot accuracy.

Other key features of the PPS are its slim design and low profile, which makes it easy to carry and conceal. It also includes a grip with a contoured design that allows for a comfortable and secure hold.

SIG Sauer P365

SIG Sauer P365 is among the best concealed carry handguns for women of all skill levels. It is compact and lightweight with a smooth trigger pull.

Well-suited for all-day carry, the handgun has a high capacity for its size—with 10 or 12 rounds of 9mm pistol ammunition—depending on the magazine. Its small size and high capacity make it an ideal choice for women that need a solid and reliable firearm for personal defense.

SIG Sauer P365 is available in several variations, including the P365 XL and the P365 SAS. While the P365 XL has a longer slide and barrel, the P365 SAS has a more streamlined design optimized for minimal recoil and improved accuracy.

Springfield Armory XD-S

The Springfield Armory XD-S is a suitable choice for women looking for a compact, dependable handgun for personal defense. It’s engineered for stress-free carry and operation so you can easily use it regardless of your skill level and physical ability.

It is available in a range of calibers, including 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. The XD-S has a capacity of 7+1 or 8+1 rounds for the 9mm and .45 ACP models, and 6+1 or 7+1 rounds for the .40 S&W model.

Apart from its compact size and lightweight, another feature of the XD-S that appeals to women is the comfortable grip and smooth, consistent trigger pull.

Kahr CW380

Kahr CW380 is a semi-automatic pistol with a double-action-only (DAO) trigger system. It has a 3.06-inch gun barrel and an overall length of 4.96 inches, making it small and easy to carry.

Available in .380 ACP caliber, the handgun has a capacity of 6+1 rounds. The CW380 also has a low recoil and a smooth trigger pull. As a result, you can shoot it accurately. This lightweight handgun also features a polymer frame and a stainless steel slide.

Beretta Nano

Introduced in 2011, the Beretta Nano is a small, semiautomatic handgun designed for concealed carry. It’s chambered in 9mm with a capacity of 6+1 rounds.

The Nano has a double-action-only trigger. This means the trigger both cocks and releases the hammer in a single pull. It also has a low profile and snag-free design. The handgun also has a reversible magazine release—an ideal fit for both left- and right-handed shooters.

If you are looking for a handgun for personal protection, the Nano can be a superb addition to your firearm collection.

Taurus PT111

Need a good handgun for beginners? You can never go wrong with the Taurus PT111. The handgun is manufactured by Taurus—a Brazilian firearms company. It’s often preferred by women as a self-defense weapon due to its small size and easy handling.

The pistol is chambered in 9mm and has a capacity of 12 rounds in the magazine. It also features a polymer frame and a smooth, reliable double-action trigger. The gun also has manual safety, which you can engage to prevent accidental discharge.

In addition, the PT111 is often praised for its affordability and consistency. You can use it for personal protection or target shooting.

Diamondback DB9

Chambered for the 9mm cartridge, the Diamondback DB9 is a small and compact semi-automatic pistol ideal for women. It’s made from lightweight materials, such as polymer and aluminum. This help to keep its weight down to just over 12 ounces.

The DB9 has a 6+1 round capacity and is equipped with manual safety. It’s a good handgun for women looking for reliability and accuracy.

Ruger MAX-9

The Ruger MAX-9 is a compact, semi-automatic handgun manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. It is available in a 9mm caliber and has a capacity of 12+1 rounds. With its lightweight design, 3.2-inch barrel, and a total length of 6.25 inches, it is a handgun designed for concealed carry and women’s defense.

The MAX-9 also has a manual safety and a recoil-reducing barrel cam to help reduce recoil and enhance your shot’s accuracy.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Handgun for Women

There are several factors to consider when choosing a handgun for women. These include:

Size and Weight

It’s important to look for a handgun that fits well in your hand. A handgun that is too large or heavy may be difficult for a woman to hold steady, especially if you have small hands.


The caliber of the handgun refers to the size of the bullet it fires. While larger calibers may have more stopping power, they may be harder to control since they have more recoil.


The capacity of a handgun refers to the number of rounds it can hold in the magazine. A handgun with a higher capacity may be desirable for self-defense but can be more tiring to carry around.

Ease of Use

Select a handgun that is easy for you to operate and maintain. Consider the type of handgun safety features it has, as well as the simplicity of its controls.


Handguns can vary in price. This is why you should consider your budget when making a selection.

What are the Best Pistols for Women?

While you can find the best handgun for women from the above list, ensure your choice depends on your individual needs and preferences.

It’s important to try out several different handguns to find the one that feels the most comfortable and easy to shoot for you. You also seek out professional training and instruction to learn proper gun handling and shooting techniques.

Browse our wide selection of handguns and find a firearm for you.

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