The Double Action Trigger

Buying a carry gun is difficult for women, trust me, I know.  It’s hard to decide where to conceal, how to work around fashion and what sacrifices we’re willing to make for the gun and for our lifestyle.  As a young woman who frequents gun shops I’ve been pitched a lightweight .38 as great first carry gun more than once.  I have never agreed with this pitch, and to that point I’ve been carrying around Caleb’s Model 60 j-frame for the past couple weeks.

I already explained how I’ve benefited from revolvers, now it’s time to let you know my feelings on them as a woman’s first carry gun.

I understand why this is such a popular notion: These guns are small, extremely light, very concealable, reliable and easy to use, while still having the “adequate stopping power” of a .38 or even .357 (versus, for example, a .380.).  But there’s something you boys aren’t taking into account: forearm strength.

I get fatigued from the double action trigger pull on the Model 60 after about 6 rounds, from the 686 after about 12.  Halfway through a box of ammo my wrist was actually hurting from the Model 60.  The simple fact is that women don’t have the same forearm strength as men do, and you can’t expect me to want to sit around and plink with a double action trigger when it fatigues me so quickly.

I’m by no means saying we can’t do it, I can do a 100 round training session with a revolver and it’s not so bad.  But I know that being handed something on one of your first times out shooting is a completely different experience than me standing in the open movement bay working through my trigger slap.  If someone’s arm is getting tired after 30 rounds they aren’t going to go “Oh, this is fun, I should do this more.”

Another argument you hear for selling revolvers to women and first time gun buyers is that it’s less complicated to operate than a semi-automatic pistol.  The problem with that theory is that today I’ll drive a manual transmission Jeep to and from work, successfully operating more controls at 60 MPH than you would find on a 1911.  Often coupled with that argument is the thought that a revolver is a good gun for a woman (or even a man) that’s going to buy a carry gun and then not shoot it.  I take issue with that because even if the purchaser isn’t going to shoot the gun that often, they still deserve to be sold a gun that they won’t find physically unpleasant or exhausting to shoot.

I recognize that a carry gun is not going to be fun to shoot, they aren’t designed that way.  But there are plenty of carry options out there for women now that aren’t double action revolvers.  There’s no reason they shouldn’t work into that arm strength through striker fire guns like the Ruger SR9c or even a single action such as my little Sig Sauer P238.  With less-fatiguing yet still light and reliable options available there is no reason these little revolvers should be pushed onto unsuspecting first time gun buyers.

45 thoughts on “The Double Action Trigger”

  1. I’ve been encouraging new shooters (men and women) toward semi-autos recently, and this has been one of the reasons. But I still occasionally work with women who have a really really hard time racking the slide on semi-autos. I think that with practice, and getting the technique just right (overhanded, of course, not the “slingshot” method), they could get the hang of it, but it’s still very discouraging and a big turn off for many. When they see how easy it is to pop cartridges in a revolver cylinder and close it shut, some start to question why I want them to use the semi-auto instead. Any ideas for how to deal with this little hurdle?

    1. A lot of people think racking a slide is strength and most of us have enough strength that technique doesn’t really come into play but there is in fact a technique that you can work through which makes it easier and requires less strength which is outlined here:
      http://corneredcat.com/RunGun/rack.aspx

        1. Hmm. Other than build hand and arm strength I’m not sure what else they can do. Though I’m convinced a lot of the time it’s mental. Some people I know want to baby the gun and are very ginger with the slide because they are concerned about breaking the gun. I will assure them that not only can they be rougher the gun it is not going to break. “There is a controlled explosion going on inside that gun every time you pull the trigger so trust me you are not going to damage the gun with your hand.”

          1. Yeah, you’re right on point with that one. I consistently have to encourage people to “manhandle” the gun or “be the boss” because it can be pretty intimidating at first. Like I said before, I think people can learn the slide racking with practice, it’s more a matter of how to coach them on not giving up on the semi-auto when the revolver looks “easier”.

          2. I also think that, just as there’s a difference in trigger pull between revolvers and pistols, there’s a wide variety of difficulty among pistols regarding racking the slide.

            I wonder if that’s something that might be covered more often in reviews or guides for guns for new women shooters – what guns are easier to rack? Which ones have magazines that are easily loaded to a good capacity?

            I know some of the small carry guns (like the Keltecs) are a pain to rack the slide even for many men. And everyone has a few magazines that they never load the last couple rounds into when they’re just plinking.

            if we’re going to consider the difficulty some women have shooting a heavy DA trigger, we need to consider these sorts of problems as well, especially since there *are* guns that are easier to shoot in this regard.

          3. Racking the slide is the number one arguement I hear against semi autos, but it’s easier to develope the technique of racking the slide than the forearm strength necessary to comfortably shoot a DA Revolver for any kind of semi-extended period.

      1. The overhand grip and punch forward technique is the one I use myself, as the hard work is done by the stroner muscles of the chest and shoulder and back on my strong side. “Pulling” the slide requires a much “weaker” arm and muscle placement, with almost no work being done by the chest, shoulder, and back muscles.

        Slingshot technique also requires rotating the weapon out of shooting line, as well as (for me) precluding “punching”, I find it a much more awkward method of racking the slide.

        Finally, with the overhand grasp, you have a much larger “contact patch” with the slide. With the “slingshot” method, you have to use the strength of your thumb and index finger, with the “overhand” you can use all your hand muscles and get some assist from your forearm besides.

  2. About two years ago my father started working a swing shift so he wasn’t always home at night. My mother called me and told me she wanted to buy a gun. She’s never expressed any interest in shooting before.

    I told her there is no one gun for everyone and instead I gave her a list of guns that are good well made guns. I told her go to the store and ask the guy behind the counter to see all of them. Don’t buy anything until you’ve seen them all. Ask them to explain the various features. If they do not seem to know what they are talking about or they are being rude or impatient find another gun store or wait for me to come for a visit.

    Two days later I get a phone call from her telling me she ordered a S&W M&P9 with a manual safety. She liked the idea of a manual safety because it made her feel more comfortable with the gun being loaded on the night stand. I had no idea my mother had a preference one way or the other about safeties but there you go.

    1. I’ve found that the M&P series has a wider appeal than just about any other gun I’ve let people try. Ergonomic grip with interchangeable backstraps. Manual safety option (“option” being the key word). Easy to shoot, soft recoil, reliable, great customer service behind it, decent mid-range price point, good accessory/holster support. There are, of course, other great guns out there, but on the occasion when someone backs me into a corner and insists I give them a recommendation without any background info or qualifiers, I point them to the M&P9.

      Hope your mom never has to use hers, but she should be well equipped if she does. Make sure she gets some training!

      1. I keep trying to get her to go to this woman’s only class at a range near where she lives but she always puts it off. I do try to take her shooting any time I go for a visit.

  3. There are guns for carry and there are guns for shooting. There are people who are interested in shooting for the sake of shooting, and people who only want a gun for self defense, and have very little interest in it beyond having a gun.

    1. Potential shooter gets a shootable gun. Loves it, gets into the sport, probably buys a second gun for carry. Best possible outcome. +1 utility points for both the sport and +1 for increased safety.
    2. Potential shooter gets a non-shootable gun. Hates it, may be discouraged (0 for the sport), but can still carry (+1 safety)
    3. Non-shooter gets a shootable gun. Leaves it at home because they can’t carry it, and doesn’t have it. (0 points for hobby, 0 points for safety.)
    4. Non-shooter gets a carry gun. Never does become a shooter, but does have a gun when needed. (0 points for hobby, 1 point for safety.)

    So the real question is, can we predict in advance whether someone is going to have an interest in our hobby, and if not, do we want to promote the choice that will advance the hobby more, or safety more?

    Me, I’m selfish. More people in my hobby just drives up wait times at the range and the cost of ammo. More people carrying guns regularly makes me safer.

    1. That’s the thing though, because I believe there are guns that are both easy to carry and easy to shoot. I recently spent a lot of time shooting the Sig P238, and I am of the opinion that it’s the closest thing to a perfect “newbie” gun that there is. But that notwithstanding, I don’t necessarily agree that “more people carrying” makes us safer if those people don’t have any idea how to operate their guns under stress and have never practiced with them.

      I’d much rather sell someone a gun they enjoy shooting with admonition that they can always buy another gun for concealed carry than sell someone a gun that they will carry and never, ever practice with.

      1. Not to mention that for many (possibly most?) people, having a gun next to the bed is much more important than having it on them all the time.

        In a normal week, the only way I am going to need a gun on my person outside of my home is if someone tries to gun me down on the freeway… in which case my high performance driving school will probably be more use than my IDPA practice… or if someone attacks the engineering firm where I work (at which I am not allowed to have a gun). However, I live at least fifteen minutes from the quickest likely police response and feel much better having a nice, big, shootable gun on my bedside table.

        So shootable gun + non-shooter may actually be closer to a wash for them than this analysis would say.

        1. You know, that’s actually a good point. Just a casual glance at most DGUs reported in the media indicates that the vast majority of them are in defense of home/small business. While I’m not saying “don’t carry” it seems that many people would be better served by a full-sized 9mm for the nightstand than a pocket rocket.

          1. If you’re not going to carry one, you’ll need several to keep convenient to all the rooms of your house.

            OTOH, if you’re not carrying outside the house, you don’t need to pay as much attention to concealability, you can carry a full-size service pistol in a relatively obvious OWB holster. Unless you regularly host hoplophobes, of course. In which case good manners would suggest concealing.

      2. I have a P238, I love it. But it’s no newbie gun. Think about all the different controls, and the modes that result.

        * Chamber: empty or round in
        * Hammer: down or cocked
        * Safety, and a very small safety at that: On or off. (And unlike a 1911, independent of the hammer.)
        * Magazine: fully inserted or not.

        That’s four controls, 16 (2x2x2x2) possible states, only 1 of which is ready-to-go, and 1 of which you may get a single shot off, followed by a feed malfunction. This is simply not a gun for someone who is not interested in how guns work or in spending much time at a range.

        Now compare to a hammerless J-frame. How many states?

        * Cylinder: loaded or unloaded.

        Two. Just two. And that one requires no thought, and no manipulation. At least not until after the shooter has already dispensed 5 bullets.

        And remember, the vast majority of self defense cases with a firearm involve ZERO shots fired. From a public safety standpoint, by the time you spend extra money on a gun that works reliably, you’re already into diminishing returns. If you think about what increases the likelihood that a rapist will look down the bore of a .38 at some point in his career, the best gun in the world is a Charter or a Taurus. On the range, I’m a gun snob. On the street, I want what will put the most guns in the most honest hands. Cheap and simple and easy to carry and can maybe get a handful of shots off before it’s jammed/broken/empty.

        1. I really struggle taking the “semi-autos are too complicated for a novice” argument seriously. If a novice shooter drove a car to the gun store in the rain, they’ve successfully operated more controls at speed than they’ll encounter on the Sig P238.

          1. I have to agree. Your average remote control or phone has more buttons, options, and modes than a handgun does. A Glock only has slide, slide stop lever, mag release, and trigger. A 1911 only adds a manaual safety, hammer, and the beavertail safety.

          2. And if they had as much training and practice on a computer as they had to drive the car, I wouldn’t get emails in all caps from my grandma about this great opportunity she heard about in Nigeria.

            It’s all about how much time and effort and thought people are going to put into learning something.

            Personally my only concern about giving a novice shooter an autoloader is the accidental “I removed the mag but it’s still loaded” situation. It’s really much harder to accidentally fail to unload a revolver.

          3. They took drivers education at a young age, they took a practical test to get a license, they’ve been driving almost every day since then, and are highly motivated by the desire for convenient transportation to maintain familiarity.

            And many people still can’t drive a stick.

            Contrast with a gun they just want to buy, shoot once, then load up, and drop in a pocket or glove box or bedside table and forget about it.

            Not at all the same thing.

          4. The problem is that “simplicity of operation” idea when used a selling point automatically assumes that the shooter has no interest in becoming competent and skilled with their firearm. Why should we sell our new shooters short like that?

          5. Because it happens to be the reality.

            We love our hobbies, but we often fail to understand that other people have hobbies of their own. They don’t necessarily want or need a new one. They just want to defend themselves.

            As hobbyists, instead of lamenting or dismissing those who don’t want to join us, how about using our knowledge and experience to look at it from their perspective, and figure out a way to give those people 90% of the utility of our hobby with 10% of the investment of time & money?

          6. So maybe come at it this way – which auto-loaders have the simplest manual of arms? Even assuming that they are willing to learn, “an autoloader” is a *huge* category. There must be better and worse fits.

            Which autoloaders would grade best on these sorts of “new shooter” criteria.

            1) Relatively simple operation and manual of arms.
            2) Safety
            3) Balance of shootabie/carryable/functional for self defense.
            4) Lighter spring on the slide (easier to rack).
            5) Ease of loading magazines.
            6) And of course a minimum level of reliability/low maintenance.

            ? It’s a suggestion. I’m admittedly not a gun expert, but these are the issues I see raised in these debates.

            You always hear these great “autoloader or revolver” arguments for a new shooter… so, having chosen an auto-loader, what *are* some of the options that will minimize what negatives they do have?

          7. I can lament them all I want, but I would never dismiss a new shooter under any circumstances. The fact that people often don’t want to become “shooters” and simply want a gun for protection is precisely why I don’t recommend revolvers. If someone is going to buy a gun and never shoot it, I want to give them the greatest possible opportunity to use their gun effectively should they ever need it, and a revolver with its difficult DA trigger and abbreviated sight radius doesn’t do that.

            Selling someone a cheap, difficult to shoot gun like a Charter because “most DGUs don’t involve firing the gun” seems like selling someone a car without seatbelts because “most people never get in car accidents”.

          8. Trigger pull and site radius are shooter-grade problems. I am talking about people who probably will not have shot their gun in 5-10 years. They will be well-served if the gun is loaded and the safety is off and they don’t cross their thumbs behind the slide.

            Spend some time volunteering at a public range. You will see all of these failures on the line, and more. Then reflect on the fact that these are the people who are actually getting out to the range to shoot! For every one of them, there are ten more who just don’t go at all!

            They need guns too.

          9. Heh, the rarely mentioned advantage of the revolver – if you hand it to your idiot friend he isn’t as likely to scrape off half of his thumbs.

            It’s amazing how many times you have to remind new shooters about that. You’d think they’d notice the giant reciprocating piece of metal that’s about to smash into them the way they’re holding it.

          10. I agree that these people need guns. Specifically, they need GOOD guns. Guns that if they need to shoot them in an emergency they’ll be more likely to hit with. I cannot wrap my brain around the mindset that it’s okay to sell someone a crappy or a difficult to shoot gun because “they’ll probably never need it”. It seems like madness to me.

          11. BTW, yes, if it was a choice between seatbelts and being able to hold down a job and pay taxes and feed your kids, I would recommend a car without seatbelts. For many years cars didn’t even come with seatbelts, people still managed to use them to get to work. Some did die, but the rest had new opportunities that fueled progress, and eventually we got wealthy enough that most people could not only afford cars, but cars with seatbelts. Obviously, seatbelts are better, but I’m not willing to make perfect be the enemy of good. We live in a world of limited resources, including time and money. Sometimes you just have to grab the low-hanging fruit.

          12. A good gun is one that meets their needs and priorities. Not your needs and priorities. Not my needs and priorities. Theirs.

            These are people who do not want to have to think about guns. They do not want to practice. They do not want to go to the range. They have – in their opinion – better things to do.

            I don’t agree with those priorities, but it doesn’t matter what I think. These people exist, and the Second Amendment applies to them too. They are probably in the majority of gun owners. And I’m not going to change their minds, any more than they’re going to convince me that I’d really like to take up knitting.

            So I deal with them where they are, with the priorities they have, instead of the priorities I’d like them to have.

          13. These are people who do not want to have to think about guns. They do not want to practice. They do not want to go to the range.

            Those people would be better served with pepper spray or a large dog with a loud bark. At that juncture they are treating the gun like it’s a magical talisman and in so doing creating a liability risk for themselves and innocent bystanders should they actually NEED to use that gun in a dynamic critical incident.

            However, this is diverging into a discussion on training and has lost focus on the original subject of the post. To close my thoughts on the matter: all law-abiding citizens have a right to keep and bear arms. I fully support this right. However, just because everyone has a right to own a firearm doesn’t mean that everyone needs or even should own a firearm.

          14. At the risk of sounding like a shameless plug, this discussion is exactly why I got into firearms training and started a blog. I do think we as “gun nuts” sometimes spend a little too much time trying to make people into hobbyists and dismiss people who just want a gun for the self-defense benefit.
            That said, I disagree with the idea that we should give “non-shooters” cheap guns. I do think there is some room for debate on what price point provides the ideal cost to benefit ratio for people on a budget. I also think there’s room to debate how much training and practice is “enough” for the person who does not want to make shooting a hobby.

            I always push students toward more training, but I know realistically that many of them will not seek it. The biggest enemy to them getting more training is time… it’s just not a priority for most people. But we sometimes don’t make it easy for them by pushing guns they don’t think they can afford, or using jargon they can’t understand, or running classes like a drill instructor, or using fear tactics to “scare” them into getting more training. My focus is on making competent, safe shooters who own reasonably priced quality guns, even if they aren’t going to become IDPA champs.

          15. http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2010/04/elderly-woman-fires-22-caliber-handgun-to-fend-off-intruder.html

            89 years old. An ancient .22 she didn’t even know how to load. Which probably cost less than $10 when her husband originally bought it for her. Pepper spray does not present a credible threat to a criminal, and she probably couldn’t even care for a dog. But that old Saturday night special can still put the fear in a man much younger and stronger.

            This is what guns are really for.

          16. I am very glad that the woman in the story got lucky the way she did. But it’s worth noting that a gun full of blanks would have worked just as well in her situation. In fact, that story could have just easily read “89 year old woman found beaten to death” after her gun malfunctioned.

            The point I’ve been trying to make in the comments is that people deserve the best possible chance to defend themselves and we should respect them enough to at least TRY and educate and inform the un-informed consumer. They deserve our respect, and by tossing difficult to operate or crappy guns at them simply because “they’re never going to shoot it” is in my opinion borderline unethical.

          17. In 9/10 cases of gun defense, shots are never fired. If criminals wanted to work hard, they’d have a real job. Any kind of credible threat is usually enough to deter. (That’s why we don’t use blanks: because if criminals got the idea that guns are loaded with blanks, it would not longer be a credible threat.) And in the remaining cases, a suboptimal pistol can still work. Even a shot that misses can deter, and it’s still possible to hit with little training and a heavy trigger.

            So we’re talking about a solution that works something like 95% of the time, which costs practically nothing.

            If we were talking about a vaccine against disease instead of a deterrent against crime, the word we would use to describe this would not be “unethical”, it would be “miraculous”. Anyone who insisted that you shouldn’t or couldn’t be vaccinated until you were willing to pay 200-500% more for a vaccine that worked 2-4% better overall would be considered… rather odd.

            It’s almost unfortunate that guns are a hobby, because it prevents us from thinking in epidemiological or economic terms. Nobody thinks about vaccines as a hobby, so it’s easy to look at them as a pure cost-benefit question.

  4. My wife is one of those who simply couldn’t handle the recoil or the heavy trigger pull. This is a woman who works out 3 days a week in a strength training program (Shameless plug alert! “TNT Fitness” ™) with 10lb hand weights. As well as 2 hours of cardio and a Pilates course each week.

    The trigger pull of the DAOs was fatigueing after a few rounds and the recoil from light-to-medium weight revolvers was actively painful for her.

    She ended up with with an FNH Five-seveN. Though the round is light, she can put all 21 rounds in 4″ hole at 40yds very quickly. I have to admit this gun is fun to shoot for me as well. Now we can go to the range together.

  5. My wife is a strong woman, a former college volleyball player, who works out 5 times a week. She is seriously stronger than most men. She used to have trouble racking slides and locking the slide back. It was not strength that was lacking, it was technique. Eventually she learned it, and shoots 1911s in .45 ACP exclusively these days, and is comfortable handling any handgun.

    There was a time when we couldn’t lock a slide back either. We male gun nuts forget that we have spent hours, days, years doing dry practice – loading, unloading, racking slides, etc. I just can’t convince my wife to spend more than a few minutes doing dry practice, she thinks it’s silly. Dry practice is what separates true gun nuts from the general gun owning population.

    Even my 5’1″ 115 pound 60-year old mother can rack the slide on a Glock 19, it just took her some time and instruction to learn. She still complains that it is too big for her hand though.

    The J-frame trigger just sucks. The upside is, if you can shoot a J-frame, you can shoot anything. I much prefer the K-frame, you give up a bit in size, but you gain a round, and the trigger is so much better. My K-frames, a Model 12 snubby and 4 inch 66-1 loaded, when loaded with wadcutters are two of my favorite guns to shoot. My 342PD gets shot almost never, it feels like someone is hitting you in the hand with a hammer.

  6. “Another argument you hear for selling revolvers to women and first time gun buyers is that it’s less complicated to operate than a semi-automatic pistol.”

    Yeah, maybe. Until you run through your 5, 6, 7 or whatever. Then you’re into a whole bunch of fiddly fine motor skills trying to reload.

  7. I am a short, fat woman who hasn’t used my muscles in years and I can shoot the [deleted] out of anything with my J frame. At 20 yards.
    Sorry, people, but if you don’t want to practice don’t carry a gun.
    Fat lot of good it’s gonna do you if you can’t use it and don’t know your equipment very, very well.

  8. Up until Harry Sucio’s post, this thread seemed to be mighty hung up on the concept that the de facto revolver was going to be some kind of five shot snubbie.

    Harry mentioned the mid sized (K frame in S&W parlance) revolver, and I want to expound on that a bit.

    The midsize frame revolver not only encompasses all of the S&W K frames, but the Taurus 6xx series, Colt’s Police Positive and all of it’s variants, as well as Ruger’s Security/Speed Six lineup.

    Go up half a frame size, and you’ve got some S&W L frame goodness, Ruger GP-100, Colt Trooper/Python and the like.

    Any of those with a 4″ barrel will compare rather closely to a Glock/SW MP series autochucker in terms of size, weight, sight radius and the like. The semiautos have a concelablity advantage, and the revolvers rule in simplicity of loading/unloading, and knowing with certainty which is which.

    An additional benefit, the mid sized frame often (and ought to have) a far superior trigger to all but the most exceptional J frame example. I have a S&W M-14-1 that has a trigger that is so smooth, light, silky and precise, that it’s 8.7 lbs feels like about a 5 lb. pull. Stephen Hawking could damn near work this trigger. The neat thing is triggers like this aren’t at all unsual on the older S&W K frames.

    I’ve taught many, many women how to shoot, and the vast majority end up shooting semi-autos just as well as the revolvers.

    But the revolvers are the better teaching tool, as all the physical feedback is linear. Pull the trigger slowly, the cylinder turns slowly. Recoil is simple, just cycle the next shot. The autos go through all sorts of (to many new shooters) “dramatics” when the shot goes, and I’ve see the suddeness of the slide acutation, spent cartridge ejection, extra physics inputs in the form of slide slamming aft and fore……. all serve to (sometimes, but often enough) overwhelm the brand new shooter.

    About the only exception I reliably see to this, are Buckmarks, Ruger Mk series, Mosquitos and other .22 autoloaders. Recoil there isn’t insistent, and the relatively light slides don’t slam the pistols around nearly as much. And, the newbie concentrates on sight alignment, breathing and trigger control. At least, most do better with the .22s whan with heavier calibers.

    Think of a new shooter as a forward moving (left to right) flowing decision tree. At every juncture, a choice is made to move this way or that (.22 or .40….. semi or wheelie….. new hobby or necessary evil….????) Every time you have a chance to help keep them on decision branches which keep them in the sport, learning more things, enjoying their results more, you should help shepherd them down those more productive branches.

    So, I’ve had 4’10”, 95 lb., new shooter ladies take to the full on 1911 like ducks to water, and men who you’d think would master any sort of nasty thumpenboomer cringe to move on past the .22 trainer.

    Everyone new to the sport is NEW TO THE DAMN SPORT. So what if you’re not? (Calm down, I’m preaching to me, too.) So what if you taught Methusela to shoot, and David to spin the sling? THEY don’t matter. Your NEW SHOOTER does.

    Use the tool they’re most comfortable with, until they get pretty damn good with it, then help them along that decision tree, but in POSITIVE directions. They might not choose what you think they ought. But if they stay on the path of moving forward in a quest fo knowledge and skill, they’ve just proved they’re pretty damn wise, after all.

    The good thing is that if they stay with the program, well, in a year or so, and especially if you guide them into some IDPA or IPSC, they’ll soon learn by observing what works for others, (or not), by dumping some of their own suppositions and by the positive support of many other people who’re ALSO interested in moving ’em along that positive decision tree.

    The trick is to not overwhem them at the first, and bring them along so smoothy and steadily, that they’re neck deep into the deep end of the shooting pool, long before they even know they’re wet.

    We do tend to get way too hung up in teaching OUR ponts of view, and not enough in (quite literally) nurturing the new shooter along till they’re a SHOOTER in their own right.

    At which time, they’ll join a gun forum, or comment here, and be telling US that WE”VE got it all wrong, right?

    Jim
    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  9. Shelley,
    I think that anyone who recommends a specific gun for “women” is trying to to sell something. As you so clearly demonstrated, everyone is different. Generalizing someone by their sex is simply painting with to broad of a brush to be useful. In my few years of instructing, I’ve heard quite a few complaints about the J frame. If it’s DOA it can be difficult to shoot accurate for those unfamiliar with it. It’s slow to reload, the sights are primitive… I had not however heard anyone complain about fatigue from pulling the trigger. Thanks for the unique perspective, it gives me one more thing to consider for perspective students.

    This is why I come here and read everyday, unique perspectives, personal experiences, real life observations.

    1. Greg, thanks for reading. You do make a good point about salesmen as well – there is always an agenda and personal bias behind any sales pitch. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s something to bear in mind.

    2. My wife hates “woman’s models” or any gun in pink. She thinks it is condescending and all salesmanship. To her a gun should be blue steel and wood (preferably walnut). Who would have thought?
      Lots of people with lots of ideas of what is best. And in the US (at least in most states) we have choices. Aren’t we lucky!

  10. If there’s a step before the step of choosing action type it’s figuring out what gun fits the non-shooter’s hand best.

    Having comparatively short fingers myself I’m sensitive to trigger reach issues. Whether it’s an auto or revolver if the new shooter, man or woman, can’t maintain a good firing grip and get a proper trigger pull they are going to have issues out of the gate. DAO triggers in both action types often tend toward too long.

  11. So, being at work, it’s difficult to properly peruse all the comments, so if this has been mentioned, my apologies. Also, being a man, please take my advice with a grain of salt. 🙂
    I have several handguns (of both the revoling and the sliding varieties) which I enjoy shooting. However, I’m also a ‘rather large’ man, so as has been mentioned, I don’t notice things like my technique. When I take my various pistols out to the range, and allow lady-friends of mine to fire them, I have noticed that one is consistently easier for them to learn and develop skills using. It’s a .22 semi-auto pistol. That firearm is so much fun to use for plinking, that all the ladies in my experience who have used it love. But, more importantly, they are able to use it to figure out various techniques. I have used different language, for different people, but I tend to direct them toward the over-hand first, simply because it’s the most stable (and as such, includes a higher degree of safety) option for most female shooters *in my experience*.
    One case in particular jumps out at me as a perfect example. I have a .40 semi-auto with very tight ‘everything’ that I use as one of my daily carry pieces. This firearm is very intimidating to a first time, or even some-time, shooter. After a couple hundred rounds through the .22, the ladies seem to gain more confidence, and are suddenly not only willing to try the .40, but are quite capable. It takes a few racks until they adjust their technique to the different size, and spring tensions, etc; but once they do, they enjoy it.
    Perhaps keeping a lighter-duty, “looser” sidearm handy for practicing technique, and learning basics, and other principles.

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