What can be said about handguns? They’re compact, they’re easy to use, and they’re usually more than sufficient for home defense or target practice.
Handguns are one of the most popular firearm types in the world for a reason. Even military members and law enforcement officers who handle heavy artillery on the regular use a handgun for their sidearm. That’s one way to attest to their reliability.
But even those who have never used a firearm before can feel comfortable with a handgun. They’re designed to be responsive and provide the right amount of firepower for most common tasks. Now more people are turning to handguns, and this includes women as well.
Women need a way to protect themselves whether they’re in the car, on the sidewalk, or even at home. What is the best handgun for women? It depends on what they’re looking for – but in most cases, looking for popular names and a few common features is a good way to find a proper pistol.
SIG Sauer P238
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
Heckler & Koch VP9SK
Walther PPS M2
Canik TP9SF Elite
SIG P320 Subcompact
Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Compact
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard
Taurus PT 709 SLIM
How Do We Choose Our Ratings?
When it comes to rating handguns, there are a lot of factors to consider. This includes not only their brand and construction, but the reputation they have among users. All these factors into which option is best for women looking to make a purchase.
We rate our handguns based off the feedback they’ve received and the reputation they have. This includes the weight, balance, capacity, sights, and construction. Durable firearms that experience fewer problems are always better, both from an economical and functional perspective.
Of course, the user reviews a firearm plays a big part in where it ranks. When women have used a handgun and expressed approval of it, that gives it a lot more merit to prospective buyers. Here are our picks for the top fifteen best handguns for women.
Which Handguns Should Women Consider?
This model from well-known gunmaker SIG is considered one of the best concealed carry weapons for women. It’s a .380 style pistol that has an alloy 1911-style frame. The result? It looks sleek and still offers good handling thanks to serrated grips. This single-action firearm has low recoil, making it easy for newcomers to shoot. With its 7+1 capacity, it’s a well-rounded option any woman should consider.
From its prominent name to its collection of solid features, the SIG Sauer P238 is an all-around great choice for women who want a firearm that’s small and easy to conceal but also easy and reliable to shoot with.
Smith & Wesson is another popular gunmaker in the U.S., and for good reason. Their commitment to craftsmanship and reliability isn’t just present in their line of revolvers, but their line of compact 9mm pistols as well. Enter the M&P Shield – this striker-fire double-action handgun is easy to conceal and to aim. It has dovetail sights and polymer grips for easy handling and control. It’s lightweight and has low recoil, meaning even new shooters can feel comfortable learning how to use this gun and relying on it in times of trouble.
It has the name, the construction, and the features a shooter can rely on. With it’s low weight and limited recoil, it’s a great choice for women who want a concealed self-defense weapon.
Tough, durable, and built for long-term use, the Glock G43 brings all the qualities the big-name gun-maker is known for. This is an easy contender for the best handgun for women because it offers a slim design complete with less recoil and steadier handling. A 6+1 capacity and polymer grip provide functionality in terms of both capacity and handling, making this a well-rounded choice.
Glock does it again, and this handgun is a great choice for women. It’s light and easily concealed in a waistband or purse, plus it is geared for both accuracy and comfort.
This double-action concealed carry pistol has an 8+1 9mm capacity and a nice trigger press for improved comfort and shot placement. The construction combines durable materials that help the pistol hold up with easy-to-grip polymer framing for comfortable handling and some of the lowest recoil for a gun in its class.
Bersa may not have the type of name as Glock or some of the other models on this list, but the BPCC9 earns its spot because of its user-friendly design and comfort-focused features.
Another popular model from Glock, this one is an easy choice on the list of anyone searching for the best handgun for women. It has a dual-recoil spring and is reliable out of the box, thanks to a design that’s less prone to jamming than some other guns in the same class. The polymer grip and ergonomic design means even novice shooters with small hands can maintain good control as they draw, aim, shoot, reload, or service the weapon.
Like the other Glock ahead of it on our list, this model is a solid choice for any women that seeks ease-of-use and reliability in their gun.
Springfield is a well-known name among gun owners, and their XD-S is a great choice for shooters regardless of their gender or level of firearms experience. It is easy to conceal thanks to a narrow frame and the polymer handle makes it easy to grip, aim and shot. This gun has a 7-round magazine and an extended magazine that can increase its capacity by one. It also has high front sights for quick aiming an easy target acquisition.
Consider it another top choice in Springfield’s lineup. The Armory XD-S offers looks, compact design, and functionality to women to help them master the gun range, protect themselves, or both.
This 9mm double-action concealed carry weapon is made of techno-polymer and fiberglass. This gives it a sleek look and impressive durability. Smooth sights without protruding slides help with steady aiming and gripping, allowing users to feel comfortable whenever they hold the weapon. Not only is it lightweight, but it’s ambidextrous to help with aiming no matter the shooter’s preference.
Beretta has a big name in the gun industry for a reason – the Nano is a great choice for women who want a sleek and reliable handgun that’s easy to conceal.
While it may not be as affordable as some of the other guns on this list, this model from H&K is designed for easy concealment, efficient use, and convenience. Lightweight and easy to handle, the weapon is built for easy use and even has an adjustable grip for maximum comfort. It comes standard with a 10-round magazine.
Heckler & Koch offer something special here – anyone who is looking for a lightweight weapon that still has strong durability and reliability should invest in the VP9SK.
Just because a person is female doesn’t mean they have tiny hands – the Walther PPS M2’s designers kept this in mind, introducing a slightly larger handgun with cross-directional grips and ergonomic design for easy handling even by those with larger hands or longer fingers. It also has 3-dot sights and is still easy to conceal despite its size.
Hand size isn’t a factor when it comes to this gun from Walther. Solid construction and compact design make it a great concealed carry pistol that’s easy for the user to get a grip on.
This piece from Canik is designed for high-quality performance. It has interchangeable backstraps and an ergonomic grip for maximum comfort regardless of who is using it. It has fiber optic sights and a seven-inch barrel. Though a little lengthy, it can still be concealed in the right holster or purse and pack all the firepower most people will ever need.
Though it’s a bit big, it has plenty of features that put it in the running for title of best handgun for women.
This handgun is one of the smallest on the list with a 3.6-inch barrel length. It has an adjustable polymer grip and interchangeable trigger, making it very adaptable. It’s also easy to break down and clean, making it great for veteran shooters adamant about maintenance and newcomers who want to learn their way around a gun.
It’s a small gun and a great option – SIG’s P320 is a gun any woman should consider for it’s ease-of-use and flexible design. With compact right in the name, the P320 is an easy choice for gun owners who appreciate discreet construction,
Another popular option from Smith & Wesson, it has a high-strength frame that makes for strong performance and years of reliable use. It has 3 interchangeable palm swell sizes and a stainless-steel barrel complete with low sights – plus an impressive 10+1 capacity.
This compact pistol delivers with durable construction and a high capacity, making it a great choice for anyone seeking a concealed carry weapon.
Stainless steel construction makes this .380 pistol a powerful choice with low recoil and improved accuracy. But its biggest asset is its compact design. With a slim construction, it can be tucked in waistbands or even small purses with ease.
Smith & Wesson offers another great concealed pistol for women, this one being one of the most compact and easy-to-hide on this list.
Kel-Tec can make easily concealed weapons, too. The P3AT is designed to be a go-to pocket gun for women, weighing in at only 8.3 ounces. It’s 2.7-inch barrel is heat treated and the weapon is equipped with a hammer block safety. Easy to hide and comfortable to carry, it’s a choice for those who want discreet protection.
For the person who wants to carry a reliable gun without feeling like they’re weighted down, the Kel-Tec P3AT is a great choice.
This slim firearm is just over six inches long and weighs in at only 18.5 ounces. It has a comfortable design that makes it easy to conceal – and to service. It can be broken down and cleaned without any special tools, making it a solid choice for the beginning shooter.
Taurus has some highs and lows in their product line, and the PT 709 SLIM is a definite high when it comes to light and concealed firearms women could use.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For in the Best Handgun for Women
Everyone needs the ability to protect themselves. For some people, there’s no better way to do this than with a gun. Women who want to keep themselves secure or even get a piece to take to the local gun range may want something they can conceal.
Concealed weapons don’t draw attention and don’t raise concerns. But they’re a constant source of protection in case of an emergency, and this list shows fifteen of the most popular options on the market. But how does a woman know which one is right for her?
The key is to think about exactly what one wants in a firearm – should it have higher capacity? Is smaller and lighter always better? What about sights, or grips? These are just a few of the questions anyone should ask before they make a purchase.
Reliable names like Glock, Smith & Wesson, and SIG have made the list for good reason. Looking at brands is important, but even smaller manufacturers like Taurus have shown they can make a good concealed handgun for women as well.
Sometimes even more than viewing brands, users should view the ratings a gun has received – good feedback usually means good performance and handling where it matters most.