...presented by Slickback (to add to the OB Guide)...
- First question to be asked: Will it be used for concealed carry or home defense only? Concealed Carry
I prefer revolvers since they have less of a chance at a misfire and no stovepiping (jams). Also they are easier to handle.
- .38 Special or .357 Mag would be my calibers of choice. .38 will have less recoil and will be lighter.
- a positive with the .357 is that it can shoot .38s. For practice, to get used to the gun and its function, you can shoot the cheaper .38 ammo. Once the basics of shooting are down, put a few .357 Mag rounds through to get familiar with it.
- drawbacks on both: they'll be loud as hell with such a short barrel. The .357 more so than the .38
Picking out the right firearm:
The best advice is to go to a gun store that has several options and get a feel for all of them. Find one that fits your hand well.
Ruger LCR - $500 (.38 and .357 models available) Image: http://www.galleryofguns.com/prod_images/5401.jpg width=200
Ruger SP101 - $640 (.38 and .357 models) Image: http://www.galleryofguns.com/prod_images/ksp821-c.jpg width=200
Smith & Wesson 638 Bodyguard Airweight - $460 Image: http://www.bearonarock.com/images/S&W%20Mod.%20638.jpg width=200
Rossi, Taurus, and Charter make some cheaper .38 revolvers as well. Semi-autos
.380 is nice as it has little recoil and should be easily handled by most women. 9mm is another good choice for a small-framed woman.
Ruger SR9 - 9mm - $500 Image: http://www.galleryofguns.com/prod_images/3314.jpg width=200
Walther PPS - 9mm - $550 Image: http://www.galleryofguns.com/prod_images/wap10001.jpg width=200
Bersa Thunder .380 - $325 Image: http://www.galleryofguns.com/ProdImageSm/THUN380MLT.jpg width=200 Home Defense
I still like the above mentioned handguns for home defense, because they can always be taken with you if feel the need, and they are easier to handle. However, some people prefer shotguns, and they will get the job done.
My recommendation would be a 20 Gauge Remington 870. One of the most reliable shotguns out there and priced right.
The home defense model is price just over $400 and has 6+1 capacity. Image: http://www.galleryofguns.com/prod_images/81100.jpg width=300 Ammo
For the handguns, I prefer Hornady Critical Defense. The reviews I've seen have been amazing and they fire well out of my .40 and my wife's .380. Image: http://www.gunguyonline.com/images/hornady%20critical%20defense.gif width=250 Image: http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/images/Hornady_Critical_Defesne_02.jpg width=150
I don't think the brand of buckshot really matters due to the massive force it presents, but I'd stick to a popular brand. I like 00.
There are several other options out there, but the best bit of advice is PRACTICE and get familiar with the gun.
Discuss. ...obligatory JUDGE joke...
(terrible, terrible HD choice). ...obligatory .243 joke...