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What is the Ideal Handgun Size for a Woman?

by James D. Pennell 29 Mar 2024

If you are a woman thinking about obtaining a handgun for personal safety, recreational shooting, or any other purpose, it's vital to consider the issue of size. Therefore in today's discussion, we'll demystify the widely asked question, "What is the ideal handgun for a woman?"

Nearly every woman will agree that not all handguns are created equal, and a personal firearm's size makes a big difference. Ensuring the handgun fits your hand correctly is key to being confident and safe when handling it. It is crucial in terms of control, accuracy, safety, and overall experience when using the firearm.

This guide will cover the different factors that women should consider when picking a handgun that assures comfort, usability, and efficiency.

Welcome to the world of handguns

The world of handguns is quite varied. From small pocket pistols to full-sized models, there is an enormous array of options. While this variety allows for great personalization for the user, it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to find the perfect handgun for a woman.

Finding the Perfect Fit in a Handgun for a Woman:

Just as getting fitted for the right shoe size matters, so does the size of your handgun. If it's too big, it will be hard to manage, and if it's too small, it could potentially lead to control problems. Let's dive into factors that will help you to find the perfect handgun size.

Hand Size

To find the right handgun for a woman, one of the first things to consider is hand size. While it's true that women often have smaller hands than men, everyone's hands are unique. That's why it's essential to choose a gun that feels comfortable in your grasp and allows for straightforward manipulation of the firearm's controls. The gun should sit snugly and feel like a natural extension of your hand and arm.

Recoil Management

Another essential aspect to consider is the gun's recoil. The recoil is the backward movement caused by momentum when the gun is fired. A bigger handgun typically helps to manage better recoil, but if it's too big for your hand, it can be challenging to handle. Conversely, while a smaller handgun may fit better in your hand, the recoil can be stronger. Hence, balance is key to choosing the ideal handgun size.

Firearm Purpose

The intended purpose of a handgun often influences its ideal size. If you want a handgun for a woman for concealed carry, a smaller, compact model may better suit your needs. Meanwhile, for home protection, a full-size handgun may be preferable, partly due to their typically larger ammunition capacity and reduced recoil.

Common Handgun Sizes for Women to Consider

So, what are the common handgun sizes women should consider? The following suggestions are based on general feedback from female gun owners and experts.

Subcompact Handguns

Subcompact handguns are the smallest class of handguns available. Because of their size, these guns are often the first choice when considering a handgun for a woman. Subcompacts are perfect for concealed carry due to their lightweight and small frame. They fit women's usually smaller hand size. However, keep in mind the trade-off with the stronger recoil.

Compact Handguns

Compact handguns offer a middle ground. They are not as small as subcompacts, making them easier to control, but they are still small enough for concealed carry. This makes them a popular choice for many women.

Full-Size Handguns

Full-sized handguns, while heavier and larger, offer the benefits of better recoil control and a larger ammunition capacity. These might be less comfortable for concealment, but they could be ideal for home-defense purposes or women with larger hands.


Ultimately, the best way to determine the right handgun for a woman is to try various sizes and types. By, visiting a local gun range or a firearm dealer that offers rentals, you can try out different models to see what feels comfortable, manageable, and instills the confidence you need in a firearm. Remember, no matter the size, the best handgun for a woman is the one she can safely handle and accurately shoot.

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