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The Best Guns for Women Beginners in 2023

Probably the number one question asked by potential gun owners, and the one most difficult to answer, is — what is the best gun for women beginner shooters? To answer this question, it’s often a good idea to ask an expert in the gun world. Tactical Shooting Sport was fortunate enough to have Paige Roux, Training Coordinator and Firearms Instructor at Shooter’s World in Phoenix, Arizona, stop by the shop to talk about what she feels are the best handguns for both men and women, but especially women who are just entering the exciting world of firearm ownership.

Paige grew up around guns, and as a child, spent a lot of time at her father’s gun range. One of the most frequent and her least favorite questions asked when she is behind the counter at Shooter’s World is “what’s a good firearm for my wife” or, if it’s a female customer just getting into guns, “what’s the best gun for women?”

The Best Guns for Women

Because literally every firearm is suited for most shooters, Roux answers this question with a few questions of her own to feel out how much experience the person has and what they are looking for in a firearm.

She says one of the first things to think about before purchasing a gun is how much experience you have had shooting. Your choice in handguns may differ if you’ve never shot a firearm versus if you’ve shot before, but it may have been a while since you last held a gun in your hands. Another aspect to consider is how you plan to use this weapon. Are you interested in having a gun for home defense? Concealed carry? Are you going to be sharing this firearm with others in the household who may have a different hand size? These aspects all factor in on the gun buying decision.

Let’s say you are a guy or gal brand new to the firearm world and want to know what is the best gun for beginners in 2023. In that case, Roux has some handguns she recommends for concealed carry and home defense that are right on target.

Glock 44

Chambered in 22LR, the Glock 44 is an excellent pistol to begin your firearm journey. Roux says because shooting for the first time can be very intimidating, this handgun has many advantages over other models. As a trainer, she has found many new shooters who enter the range for the first time feel overwhelmed. There are most likely other more experienced shooters around you at the range, especially a busy one, which can be nerve-wracking. There are also so many things to remember about holding the gun properly, loading, unloading, and safety, it can be just too much at once.

Being a man or woman on the gun range for the first time, the Glock 44 is a soft shooting, easy-to-operate pistol that is a great way to get used to safely handling a handgun, becoming accustomed to the sound of gunfire, and the feeling of recoil. Once you have dealt with a gun like the G44, Roux recommends stepping up to a 9mm.

Glock 19

This 9mm handgun is well suited for home defense and is an excellent choice if you will share the same gun with your significant other. It’s comfortable to shoot and fits a wide range of hand sizes, plus it has a 15 round magazine making it a solid choice for personal protection. Being a full-size pistol, it’s not the best choice for concealed carry, but for a house gun, it can’t be beat.

Glock 42 or Glock 43

If concealed carry is the main objective in your desire to own a handgun, the Glock 42, chambered in 380 ACP, and the Glock 43, chambered in 9mm, are easy to conceal. Roux told Tactical Shooting Sport that these pistols can be carried under most clothing without showing through or “printing,” which is a big issue for women or men who like to wear tighter fitting garments.

Springfield Hellcat

Because round capacity is essential when carrying a gun every day for personal protection, Roux recommends the Springfield Hellcat. Compact for concealment yet holding 11 rounds plus one in the chamber, this 9mm is perfect for concealed carry and ideal as a home defense weapon.


Built for competition right out of the box, this metal-framed 9mm pistol is designed to give competitive shooters the edge. The Competitor comes with a 5-inch barrel, has an enhanced sear for lighter, crisper trigger let-off, and includes a flared magazine well for fast and efficient reloads. Boasting a new look, the aggressive lightening cuts on both the top and sides of the slide ultimately reduce the amount of weight in front of the chamber and, in return, help improve the recoil balance point.


Sig Sauer P365

Although not one of Roux’s top picks, it still made her list, as this 9mm pistol has a lot to offer the beginner shooter. First off, this gun is micro-compact while carrying 10 plus one round standard. It also is incredibly accurate for such a small pistol and easy to operate. There are different models to choose from, some with manual safeties, some with integrated sights, the P365XL with a longer barrel and slide, and optics-ready variants. Not only is it fabulous for concealment, but it also makes a great house gun, especially when you add one of the P365 15-round extended magazines SIG makes for this model.

Beretta 80X Cheetah For Sale

Beretta is bringing back the classic .380 with exceptional comfort & style. The Beretta 80X Cheetah for sale pistol reimagines the legendary platform, with a new sleek design and enhanced features. Ergonomically redesigned for modern day carry, the 80X Cheetah includes a smaller Vertec style grip profile, the X-treme S Double/Single trigger, a skeletonized hammer, a 13+1 round capacity, and comes optics-ready out of the box. 

What about a revolver?

Roux, like many professionals, does not recommend a revolver for a first-time gun owner. Unless, of course, you are really dead set on owning one. Although there are concealable models like the Colt King Cobra Carry or the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard, 642 LadySmith, or 638, they can produce intimidating recoil and only hold 5 or 6 rounds. Despite these drawbacks, a revolver can be an option for someone who likes the simplicity of its action.

Thumb safety or not?

Smith and Wesson M&P 5.7 WITH THUMB SAFETY

If you want to incite a debate, ask a group of seasoned gun owners whether they like manual safeties. Opinions are all over the board, but most experienced shooters like Roux prefer a handgun without this feature. She says a thumb safety can cause problems when you need to use the weapon in a stressful self-defense situation. You may only have seconds to take the shot, and if you forget about flipping up the safety, it could cause a delay that results in a bad situation turning worse. However, some people, especially beginners, like the peace of mind that comes with this extra feature.

When choosing guns for women or the best handgun for beginners, guys or gals, Roux stresses the importance of trying out different models to see which one fits and feels the best. Finding a training expert near you and taking a firearm lesson is one way to answer the many questions you may have about guns and a great way to learn how to handle a firearm safely and effectively.

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