reply to post by NightSkyeB4Dawn
Even a small woman can comfortably shoot a full-power service handgun with a little training. My wife, who is 5'1" tall, can comfortably shoot my
Sig P220 in .45ACP, which by any standard can be considered a big, powerful gun. However, it is a large weapon, and would be extremely difficult for
her to conceal.
The only weapons I would steer folks away from (man or woman) because of excessive recoil are Smith & Wesson's scandium J frame revolvers in .357
magnum. They're small, extremely light, easy to conceal weapons, but touching one off literally feels like being hit in the hand with a baseball bat.
J frames are very popular with women because of their size and ease of operation, but stay away from the .357s, and by all means, stay away from the
ultra-lightweight scandium models. The .38 special, airweight models are a great choice, though not exactly comfortable to shoot. They are available
with factory, laser sights built into the grips, which is a big plus for a revolver with minimal iron sights.
The best balance of size, controllability and power in a handgun for a woman to carry (in my opinion) is the Glock 19. They are very compact,
lightweight, and powerful- with 15 rounds of 9mm on tap. They are also extremely tough/ indestructible, and dead-nuts reliable.
I would not recommend a 12 ga. for a SHTF weapon for a woman, unless she planned on staying put. They're great for static defensive use. They are
big, heavy, and bulky- with brutal recoil. I'm a very experienced shooter, and at 5'11 and 220 lbs, not a small man- 12 ga. is still unpleasant for
me to shoot. For inexperienced shooters, hard recoil means flinching, which means missing your target. Semi-automatic shotguns are a little bit better
in terms of recoil, but they're still large, relatively unwieldy weapons. They are also limited in terms of range- being of little practical use
beyond 40 yds or so vs. human targets, unless you're using slugs, in which case, you'd be MUCH better off with a rifle.
A Marlin lever-action carbine in .357 would be a good choice for a longarm. If you have a .38 revolver, you can share ammunition between the two
weapons (.357 weapons can use .38 special)- and the carbine will allow you to reach out to 100 yds. and beyond. Lever guns have the additional
advantage of not looking too "tactical"- and won't draw attention to you the way an AR-15/ M4 clone would.