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380 or 9

Camelfilter

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...If you can find a LGS nearby with a female clerk it might be helpful.
This.

Bunch of knowledgeable female staff used to be at Northwest Armory (both stores), been a long while, so mayhaps they’re still there.

Be mindful that whatever is recommended on & your sister decides to try, nothing matters if she can’t shoot it well. Can be all kinds of reasons for such, but talking with ladies may give her a better starting point.

Also as an option, might be a range day somewhere they have a decent variety of rentals. No idea on where that might be up there these days, but surely must be a reputable one around.
 

ma96782

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easy-button.png

My thinking would be along the lines of..............

New shooter.
So, they'll need to practice. 9mm FMJ ammo is way cheaper vs. .380 ACP.
Caliber performance? IMHO, just pick the 9mm. Learn more about the details from YouTube if you're not convinced yet.
Firearm platforms, brands, capacity, etc...? Many to choose from and prices are good. Target to self-defense.....it's your choice.
Recoil? A lot would depend on the platform's operation, physical attributes, etc... (and size and weight). I suspect that most may/might just say that they are, "close enough".
CCW? Now a days.......a 9mm pistol can be just about the same size and weight vs. a .380 ACP.
Resale? Same reasons as above.

In other words? If it were me. For a first self-defense handgun (given the choice between 9mm and the .380 ACP). I'd shop for a 9mm.:D

Aloha, Mark

PS.....mind you.....that I'm NOT saying that a .38 Special (or .357 Mag) revolver can't be a good first handgun choice. It has it's place, too.
 
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When Mrs. Teflon was looking for a concealable pistol, a buddy of ours brought various .380s and 9s to the range for her to try. Prior to shooting anything, she liked the idea/feel of the smaller compacts. After shooting them all, she concluded the lighter .380s have a similar bark to 9mm, and snappier recoil. I just quietly watched (not easy sometimes), and agreed with her informed preference for a mid-size 9mm, which she shoots very proficiently.
 
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dcfranzen

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My sister asked me the same question last month. I told her to look at the results from the 3rd Ladies Pistol Project sponsored by American Rifleman...
Right For You: Ladies Pistol Project 3 Results

She picked their number one choice after trying out several others mentioned at her LGS's range. She liked that it was hammer-fired and wasn't a blowback system so it had less felt recoil. It was easy for her to rack and she liked the easy loading magazines too.

You'll have to read the article to find her choice.
 
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OP
NU9MM
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Actually the PC 2.0 Shield is for me. Loved the sights and trigger. I can’t believe it’s $300 cheaper that Cabelas At Cabelas it’s $799. Does anyone know if it’s only the 2.0 that’s the PC version the Shield 9mm.
 
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My sister is looking for her first pistol and gal friend of her’s has the Glock 42 380. And has told her it’s a good SD gun. But I’ve told her go with the 9. She’s shot my M&P FS 9 and she shoots it well. She’s never shot a 380 nor have l. Any advice or thoughts y’all can share that I can give my sis. And she does really like my 9.
Personally I would only go with .380 to save either weight (for example lcp II) or size (f.e seecamp .380).

There are some excellent small 9mms out there that are close to size of many .380s (fe sig p938, see diagram below). Sig p938 is longer barrel but imo barrel length is less important than length of grip when carrying cuz that is the part that usually sticks out. More power and less expensive ammo is also a benefit.
0C17BCE8-78D2-4258-B8EB-FC8546CBF31A.jpeg
 

Alexx1401

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It took 10 years for me to get her to keep a mouse gun in her purse :rolleyes:. I don't think I could ever convince her to carry P99 or any other full sized gun in a holster.

We'll see. As she likes to remind me, I've been wrong before :s0114:
That right there makes a big difference. When I met the Wife she did not shoot or own. First thing was to get her permit then a .22 to teach her to shoot. First was a 5 shot .38. She could shoot it, did not like it much, but did carry. As years went on we went through I lost track of how many guns. She will not carry something heavy. So I live with what she will. Beretta .32 or Ruger SR22 compact is her now days. I don't like it but, anything she has beats whats at home. I have a Ruger LCPII and love it but, she bought it. She can't rack the slide with out it being a huge deal. She fired it one time and that was it. Too much recoil. So again I live with what she will carry and practice with.
Just a short time ago I bought her a Ruger American 9mm full size for home. That she can and will shoot. Well enough that she could put all 18 rounds in some dobad if needed. So makes a good house pistol. She still has that first .22 also after about almost 25 years now. Ruger 22/45. That she still likes and still shoots often. If I was not home I am not sure she would not go for that first if needed. Again I don't like it but she knows she could make head shots with that. She loves that little pistol. So many guys make the mistake of handing a woman a gun they like for her and telling her to use it.
 
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9mm > .380

If she's thinking about purchasing any type of small sub compact in any caliber, make absolutely sure she rents the exact gun she's thinking of getting and try it first. Many of them can be very unpleasant to shoot. And some .380's can be pretty snappy.

Also, if this is only going to be a home defense gun and she's not planning on carrying it, then definitely get a full size gun. If she's looking for a carry gun then see the point above.
 
OP
NU9MM
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9mm > .380

If she's thinking about purchasing any type of small sub compact in any caliber, make absolutely sure she rents the exact gun she's thinking of getting and try it first. Many of them can be very unpleasant to shoot. And some .380's can be pretty snappy.

Also, if this is only going to be a home defense gun and she's not planning on carrying it, then definitely get a full size gun. If she's looking for a carry gun then see the point above.
I’ve taken my sis to SafeFire indoor range several times. And actually she prefers shooting full sized or compact pistols. Not sure why but she didn’t care for the 43. She put 50 rounds through the rental and said I prefer your FS M&P 9.
 
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I know that felt recoil and snappiness is subjective to the individual but I do not consider my wife's S&W .380 EZ snappy at all and of course has much less felt recoil than my Beretta 92FS 9mm.

I enjoy shooting the .380 when I'm shooting my other guns, even as well, although my wife is a better shot than I am with both the .380 and 9mm. She also likes how easy the S&W .380 EZ is to rack as compared to other .380's she shot as well as my Beretta (she can rack it but has to put some effort into it) and the XD 9mm I had (she couldn't rack that one at all) for awhile.

I agree that it's better to let them figure out what they want though. I bought the S&W .380 EZ for her and the one thing she does not like is the grip safety, which I got so she wouldn't have t deal with a thumb safety. I think a .380 with a hammer and decocker and no other safety may work better for her but next time I'll let her try it first. :)

Mike
 
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Get her a G43....9mm. Compared to 380, 9mm is more effective, costs less, more plentiful, and a myriad of available configurations. :s0155:
Yup.

No real advantage to .380. And skip mouse guns. They are actually harder to shoot, and painful so less practice.

A subcompact or compact 9mm for the win.
 
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The 9mm is substantially more powerful, but what I find interesting are the studies that compile data on hundreds of actual shootings. They seem to indicate that in real-world practicality, the .380 is nearly on par with the 9mm in terms of stopping an attack.

That seems counter-intuitive but does make me feel better about carrying a .380 if I choose. I’m not saying it’s the best choice, only that it may not be the worst. I don’t have a lot to compare, but I do have a Shield and an LCP2. I like them both, but do shoot the Shield better so 9mm is my choice even though it’s a distinctly larger gun. If I needed something smaller I’d be comfortable with the LCP2.

I tend to forget that most people have to consider ammo cost. I cast and reload so for me .380 is slightly cheaper than 9mm, and .45 Colt is slightly more expensive, only because of the fraction of a cent more powder.
 
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My sister asked me the same question last month. I told her to look at the results from the 3rd Ladies Pistol Project sponsored by American Rifleman...
Right For You: Ladies Pistol Project 3 Results

She picked their number one choice after trying out several others mentioned at her LGS's range. She liked that it was hammer-fired and wasn't a blowback system so it had less felt recoil. It was easy for her to rack and she liked the easy loading magazines too.

You'll have to read the article to find her choice.
Thanks for that article link! We are in the hunt for a possible new CC pistol for my wife. She has a G43X, but struggles with the stiff slide. We are working on technique for that, but she tried a M&P 380 EZ and was amazed at the easy to rack slide. Downside was she seemed to get quite a trigger pinch with it. She has small hands and is very small frame overall. I was thinking that could be remedied by the PC version. Too bad the article didn't include that gun...
We also need to rent the P365 and have her try that. She held her friend's and liked the feel/size.
 

dcfranzen

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I was thinking that could be remedied by the PC version.
I agree that the PC version will address your wife's issue. The PC version has some nice upgrades. It has my vote and I like the black model. Lucky Gunner's Chris Baker did a nice gun review of the 380EZ and the short video is worth watching.
 
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SO there are some variables at play.

Hand size / grip strength - assuming we're talking auto pistols and revolvers are out.

9mm and larger guns tend to be Browning actions, that is, recoil operated with a barrel that cams during slide movement. These guns tend to shoot softer than blow back actions, which most mouse guns .380 and smaller tend to be. There are very few recoil operated .380 semi auto pistols on the market, and fewer still that are utterly reliable. The best of the bunch would probably be the Glock 42 and the Ruger LCP. The Smith & Wesson 380 EZ is an interesting animal, built from the ground up for soft shooting, easy slide manipulation, and easy loading. The downside is that for a .380, its huge, but its still small in comparison to a lot of 9mm pistols.

Micro pistols in general are snappy to shoot - for an average sized or larger male, this might not be much. To a smaller statured lady, or someone with less grip strength this can be an issue.

Smaller hand size and grips steers one toward single stack 9's - of which the Glock 43, 43X, 48, the SW Shield, the assorted Kahr pistols, Walthers - thankfully there are lots of good options, and it seems Sig got the P365 sorted out and the current guns are spot on reliable. Of the bunch *my* picks would be the S&W Shield 9mm, and the P365. The 365 has all beat on capacity, ergonomics, and size. The standard 365 is 10+1 with flush fit mags smaller than Glock's 43X, barely larger than the standard Glock 43 which has 40% less capacity. The 365XL is only a smidge larger, coming in with 12 rounds in a gun with a shorter slide than a Glock 48, and a grip not much fatter than it.

Getting a list of guns to try, then heading a couple ranges to rent guns and get first hand experience is the way to properly go about it. Guys shouldn't pick guns for girls, because it usually just winds up being a guy picking a gun for himself, saying its for his girl, then she turns out to hate it, or have problems with it, or they get cutesy hard to shoot .380s with crappy sights, crappy triggers, and more recoil than they anticipate.

If she's not against it, upsizing to a compact pistol often comes with better performance, easier slide manipulation (less spring force for the heavier slides) and better sights, better triggers, and far more options. Sticking in the single stack world - Kahr makes some single stack 9mm compacts, Sig has the P239 and the P225A1, Ruger makes a 9mm compact 1911, and of course jumping into double stack heaven - this is where the money is at. You can go inexpensive or money-is-no-obstacle. Glock 19, M&P 2.0 Compact, Walther PPQ / PPX / Creed, FNC / FNX compacts, Beretta PX4 Storm compact, HK VP9 / VP9C... lots of options here. Too many to list.

First and foremost its a gun she needs to be able to operate, and be able to shoot reasonably well with, and be comfortable to shoot - if any of those conditions aren't met, she's not going to want to practice with it, in which case she's better off with a baseball bat, a crucifix necklace, and maybe some Rosary beads.
 

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