A woman holding a gun

7 Best Handgun for Women of 2020 Reviews | Top-Rated Guns For Your Protection

3 Top Picks

4 Reviewers

20 Hours Of Research

30 Products Considered

The best handgun for women isn't much different to the top handguns for men. The biggest difference would have to be the size and weight, since women's hands are just biologically smaller than men's hands and their upper body strength is lesser than men's. It boils down to science. 

Smith & Wesson handgun

Editor's Rating 

4.9/5

Ruger handgun

Editor's Rating 

4.9/5

3. [Best Capacity Handgun for Women]
Sig Sauer P365 9MM Pistol

Sig Sauer handgun

Editor's Rating 

4.8/5

However, if you're looking for firearms for women, whether for a beginner or experienced gun owner, it doesn't automatically mean finding the smallest equals finding the best. In fact, there are other factors to consider such as materials used to make such guns for women more lightweight, or the ergonomics and grip of a handgun and finally aesthetics yes, they do make pink guns, ladies!.  Go for a reliable, well-sized weapon, especially if it's your first handgun for self defense and home defense.  

Hopefully, this guide and several recommended good guns for women help jumpstart your research. 

Product Name

Benefits

Rating

Smith & Wesson handgun

  • Beautiful gun

  • Lightweight and true concealed-carry gun

  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel and alloy construction

4.9/5

Ruger handgun

  • Mechanically accurate and reliable

  • Lightweight and easy to carry

  • Aggressively textured grip adds extra hold

4.9/5

Sig Sauer handgun
  • Exceptional design

  • Highly concealable, slim frame

  • Comfortable to grip and shoot

4.8/5


Smith & Wesson handgun
  • Small and lightweight

  • Highly concealable and compact

  • Solves lint issues and other snagging problems

4.7/5

Glock 43 handgun
  • Well-made frame without any fuss

  • Extremely reliable Glock

  • Plenty of accessories and aftermarket Glock components available

4.7/5

Glock® 17 handgun
  • Ambidextrous slide stop lever

  • Enhanced trigger with smooth and clean break

  • Extremely reliable and safe to use

4.6/5

Smith & Wesson handgun
  • Accurate and reliable

  • Ideal for both men and women

  • Ergonomic and well-designed

4.5/5

What to Look For in a Handgun for Women

Aside from size and weight, there are other factors you need to consider when comparing the best handguns for women. For example, how easy (or difficult) is it for women to shoot a particular gun? 

In general, look for a handgun for women that is compact, lightweight and designed specifically to cater a woman's hands.  

What Caliber?

In general, the handgun's caliber will determine how heavy or light recoil the gun owner would feel. When you visit a gun shop and ask for a recommendation, you'll discover that many experts would suggest handguns designed for smaller ammunition, since these produce lesser recoil and in turn would be easier to control and more comfortable to shoot. 

But there is one more thing to take into account: your intended use. 

  • For competition shooting, the magazine capacity should be large enough to handle continuous shooting.
  • For concealed carrying, the best concealed carry for women focuses on ergonomics, size and weight since its goal is to be worn throughout the day without giving the gun owner fatigue.
  • For gun self-defense for women, the firearm should have enough caliber to protect the shooter, but still lightweight for comfortable shooting. 

With these three considerations in mind, expect to be recommended either a .380 ACP handgun or 9mm gun for women. These calibers are designed with the size, weight, ergonomics and power, but light enough recoil to shoot, move or carry the gun comfortably.

Best Handgun for Women Reviews

1. [Overall Best Handgun for Women] Smith & Wesson 642LS LadySmith Double-Action Revolver

4.9/5

Features: 

  • Stainless steel barrel and cylinder
  • Ideal for women's self defense use
  • Snag-free internal hammer
  • Double-action only
  • Ramp front sight and fixed rear sight
  • Rated for continuous +P Use

Smith & Wesson handgun

If you're in search of the best revolver for women, check out the Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers, which has been a popular choice for both women and men alike since the 50s. The Smith & Wesson 642LS is a newer model that integrates trademark features of the tried-and-tested revolvers, but designed specifically for women to use in self-defense.   

Smith & Wesson 642LS LadySmith Double-Action Revolver Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

.357 Remington Magnum

Action

Single/Double

Barrel Length

2.125"

Finish

Stainless Steel

Stock Color

Wood

Round Capacity

5

Gun Weight

21.2 oz.

The Smith & Wesson 642LS LadySmith Double-Action Revolver is lightweight enough to be an ideal concealed carry handgun. It features an internal hammer, making sure there won't be any snags on clothes, pockets or bags whenever you need to draw the weapon in an emergency situation. This revolver can even shoot through a pocket easily. 

Design-wise, the S&W 642LS LadySmith is pretty ergonomic with wood laminate, finger-groove grips, and low-profile ramp front sight and fixed-notch rear sight. 

As a double-action only revolver, you'll just have to point the gun and pull the trigger. While the five-round ammo may not be ok for some people, it is definitely sufficient for self defense use. After all, the chances of needing to protect yourself from a bad guy in two consecutive days is slim to none.   

Pros

  • Beautiful gun
  • Lightweight and true concealed-carry gun
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel and alloy construction
  • Easy to carry, shoot and maintain

Cons

  • Wooden grips may not provide enough "grips" to some people

4.9/5

Features: 

  • Locked-breech system
  • Integrated blade safety trigger design 
  • Constructed with lightweight glass-filled nylon frame
  • Single-action trigger
  • Larger, serrated sights for maximum grip
  • 6-round magazine

Ruger handgun

Those on a budget, but still want the best pistol for women, the Ruger LCP II is a fantastic option. Based on the popular Ruger LCP, this updated version improved upon the texture grip, as well as updated sights that are more serrated and larger for better viewing. The SAO trigger was also improved, which is now a much lighter and shorter trigger pull and shorter reset than the old LCP. 

Ruger LCP II Semi-Auto Pistol - .380 Automatic Colt Pistol Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

.380 Automatic Colt Pistol

Action

Semi-Automatic

Barrel Length

2.75"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black Polymer Grip/Frame

Round Capacity

6+1

Gun Weight

10.6 oz.

Women won’t have any trouble using this as a main or first carry. It is super lightweight and highly concealable. The Ruger LCP II is also designed with a single-action trigger pull with an internal hammer that prevents snagging from happening when drawing the weapon. 

To make reloading faster, the LCP II comes with an auto-slide, hold-open function. Plus the updated design makes the rear of the grip wider, which adds security when holding. 

Out of the box, the Ruger LCP II comes already placed in a free Ruger holster. The only downside is that this only ships with one magazine. 

Ruger did keep some of the features that made the original LCP a well-loved pistol. If you already used LCP before, expect the fit and finish of LCP II to be as good.

Pros

  • Mechanically accurate and reliable
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Aggressively textured grip adds extra hold
  • Super comfortable to hold
  • Feeds both cheap and expensive ammo

Cons

  • Could lack customization options for some people

3. [Best Capacity Handgun for Women] Sig Sauer P365 9MM Pistol

4.8/5

Features: 

  • Stainless steel  slide with matte black Nitron finish
  • Reinforced-molded polymer frame
  • X-RAY3 tritium sights
  • Striker-fired
  • Comes with 10-round magazine
  • Rated for +P ammunition

Sig Sauer handgun

Sig Sauer creates some of the best ccw for women and men in the industry, so it should come as no surprise that the company has released this concealed carry for the P365 line. 

What makes the Sig Sauer P365 9MM Pistol stand-out from the many compact, best pistols for women is the fact that the P365 was designed with a super-slim frame, and yet offered 10 rounds. It surprisingly packs a lot of punch for something so small. 

Sig Sauer P365 9MM Pistol Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

9mm

Action

Semi-Automatic

Barrel Length

3.1"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black

Round Capacity

10 + 1

Gun Weight

17.8 oz.

Design-wise, the Sig Sauer P365 is created with a Nitron-coated, stainless steel slide, polymer frame, and ergonomic, extremely-textured grip. You can actually feel how well-designed this gun is on your first grip. 

However, you do have to watch out for the grip, especially if you have bigger hands or when using the extended magazine. Under stress, you might fail to release your pinky and ring finger from the grip, which may cause problems with reloads. This could be solved by keeping this issue in mind during practice, so you’d master reloading with the Sig Sauer P365 issue-free. 

The P365 is a striker-fired gun. There are front and rear slide serrations, X-RAY3 tritium sights and integral slim-line rail. Sig Sauer made sure that the P365 fits the beginner market as well – it shoots incredibly well and very comfortable for such a small gun.   

If you’re looking for a sufficient concealed carry gun for women that would do the job well when needed, Sig Sauer’s compact P365 is definitely a good buy. Just make sure you check if the model you’re buying isn’t a first batch produced since these were supposed to be recalled for several issues and should be remedied by now. 

Pros

  • Exceptional design
  • Highly concealable, slim frame
  • Comfortable to grip and shoot
  • Super light pull weight
  • Offers the best capacity for any subcompact guns in the market

Cons

  • Some users may think the P365 has a short grip

Features: 

  • Highly concealable, no-snag design
  • Solid alloy and stainless steel construction
  • Timeless revolver look, but with modern features
  • Internal hammer, double-action only
  • Ramp front sight and fixed rear sight
  • 5-shot, +P rated

Smith & Wesson handgun

You don’t need pink handguns for women to make it appropriate for the female market. Just look at how adorably small and compact the Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Revolver is. 

Smith & Wesson used over 70 years of its experience with J-frames to create the 642 Airweight Revolver. Inspired mostly by the 42 Centennial Airweight, this 642 revolver features an enclosed hammer double-action only. While DAO is pretty common, the hidden hammer design inside the frame is quite unique. 

Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Revolver Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

.38 Special

Action

Double

Barrel Length

1.88"

Finish

Stainless Steel

Stock Color

Synthetic Black

Round Capacity

5

Gun Weight

15 oz.

This small, S&W revolver may look heavy thanks to the stainless steel cylinder and crane, but the frame’s aluminum alloy makes it so much lightweight (it only weighs 15 ounces unloaded for its 6.38-inch overall length). The black synthetic grips provide a fantastic contrast and much needed texture for this shiny, sleek-looking revolver. 

The 642 Airweight has an integral groove rear sight and integral front blade sight, which prevents the gun from moving in your pocket or bag. 

Shooting the Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Revolver will depend on how big or small your hand is, since some users (with big hands) would find the compact size of this revolver too small. But if this isn’t a problem, reach-to-trigger and grip while shooting also wouldn’t be a problem. 

If you’re worried about recoil, know that your choice of ammunition would largely affect how much of recoil the Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Revolver will give you. This is the reason many experts recommend practice, practice, practice, especially for beginner gun owners. 

The Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Revolver is chambered in .38 Special, +P rated, and has a five-round capacity. If you’re after a large capacity, look elsewhere since as revolvers are, it can only hold so much. Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight Revolver only takes in 5 at a time. You won’t like reloading it either, since reloads tend to be slow on J-frames with limited capacity. However, this will come easier with consistent practice.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Highly concealable and compact
  • Solves lint issues and other snagging problems
  • Cool-looking revolver

Cons

  • Only holds 5 rounds

Features: 

  • Slim and compact concealed carry design
  • Made of the same materials of other Glock pistols
  • Striker-fired
  • Features Safe-Action trigger system
  • White-dot front sight & white-bracket rear sight
  • Comes with two single-stack magazines

Glock 43 handgun

Interested in a Glock for women, but intimidated by its looks? Don’t be. The Glock 43 subcompact semi-auto pistol may not be advertised as an exclusive handgun for the female market, but this small and lightweight single-stack 9mm Glock will just fit most women’s requirement for a concealed, self-defense handgun or backup pistol for law enforcement. 

Glock 43 Subcompact Semi-Auto Pistol Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

9mm

Action

Semi-Automatic

Barrel Length

3.39"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black

Round Capacity

6 + 1

Gun Weight

17.95 oz.

If you’re a Glock fan, you’d love that the Glock 43 is designed with the same materials used on former Glock models. Of course, this means high quality build and components. 

There is no external safety on the Glock 43, but this model is equipped with Glock Safe Action Safety System, a system made of 3 independent internal safeties that work to ensure your Glock only goes off when the trigger is pulled.  

When it comes to reliability, you won’t have any problem here as Glock (the company) is renowned for producing some of the most reliable pistols in recent history. What made other people skip older models is the bulk, which wouldn’t be a problem with Glock 43. This one weighs roughly 18 ounces (that’s just over 1 pound) and is a super-thin, highly concealable, single-stack frame. 

Interestingly, firing the Glock 43 isn’t hard nor would feel flimsy (due to its lighter weight). Instead, the small frame slides perfectly into most hands and lets you get a full grip on the gun. The trigger is excellent with a crisp break. 

Note that like other single-stack subcompact pistols, expect a bit of shake when firing. This is the tradeoff for having such a small and reliable Glock, which fortunately, can be resolved with regular and continuous training.

Pros

  • Most accurate 9mm pistol
  • Exceptional performance
  • Comfortable grip
  • Reliable

Cons

  • The grip is a bit thick

Features: 

  • Striker-fire, short-recoil operated pistol
  • Built-in internal safeties thanks to Glock’s Safe-Action trigger system
  • Durable polymer frame with anti-corrosion steel slide and Tenifer finish
  • White-dot front sight and white-bracket rear sight
  • Comes with two magazines
  • Compatible with former Glock17 magazines

Glock® 17 handgun

If you’re trying to look for a reliable pistol for women, the Glock 17 Gen5 will be a perfect solution whether you’re part of the military, law enforcement, or just an ordinary citizen in need of a gun for self-defense, concealed carry, or even competitive shooting. It’s just an all-around multi-purpose, reliable striker-fired 9mm pistol. 

Glock® 17 Gen5 Luger Pistol Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

9 MM LUGER

Action

Striker Fired

Barrel Length

7.32"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black Polymer

Round Capacity

17+1-Round

Gun Weight

1.5 lbs

There are three things you should expect with the Glock 17 Gen5: 

  • It is made of high quality materials. Because this is a Glock-made pistol, expect nothing but the best components used from the main frame made of anti-shock, anti-resistant, high-strength polymer to the milled-steel slide. Everything is then finished with black matte nDLC slide finish, which is famous for providing extra resistance against wear and corrosion from sweat, humidity, or regular snagging on holsters.

  • It is equipped with Glock’s Safe-Action trigger system. This model also has no external safety, but as you already know, Glock’s unique Safe-Action system is unmatched anywhere else and it is featured on the Gen 5 as well. This fully-automatic safety system has 3 independently-operating, mechanical safeties (trigger safety, firing pin safety, and drop safety) that disengage in sequence as the user pulls the trigger. This entire system automatically re-engages once the user releases the trigger as well.

  • The upgrades from Gen4 to Gen5 are not much, but necessary. Glock17 Gen5 still has many of its Gen4 features (such as the interchangeable backstrap inserts), but improved by removing the finger grooves on the frontstrap, adding a fully-ambidextrous slide release with buttons on both sides, upgraded more beveled magwell, and an upgraded firing pin safety that’s similar to the Glock 42/43. 

There are also improvements that add to the gun’s already-advanced reliability, such as new extractor design and reinforced rails. 

The Gen5 Glock 17 is made up of only 35 parts, which is pretty impressive for something as feature-packed as this pistol.

Pros

  • Ambidextrous slide stop lever
  • Enhanced trigger with smooth and clean break
  • Extremely reliable and safe to use
  • Numerous accessories available
  • Magazine compatibility with older versions

Cons

  • While Gen4 magazines will fit the Gen5, holsters are another story and you may need to purchase new Gen5-specific holsters if you decide to upgrade.

Features: 

  • Concealed Carry design
  • Striker-fired
  • 3-dot sight system
  • Armornite® durable corrosion resistant finish
  • Comes with two magazines
  • Optional manual thumb safety and/or Crimson Trace laser sight available for add-on purchase

Smith & Wesson handgun

If you’re comparing different 9mm gun for women, make sure to include Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield M2.0 9mm pistol. It is an update to the S&W original “Gen 1” Shield, but it retained many of the popular features such as low-bore axis, quick recoil recovery, and 18-inch grip angle that promote proper pistol handling and posture.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 9mm Pistol Specifications:

Cartridge or Gauge

.45 Automatic Colt Pistol

Action

Semi-Automatic

Barrel Length

3.3"

Finish

Black

Stock Color

Black

Round Capacity

7 + 1

Gun Weight

20.5 oz.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 9mm pistol had very little changes, but the modifications (and availability of options) aren’t insignificant either. 

The newer single-stack version features a slim slide and frame, which make the pistol virtually concealable with the right holster. What makes this Gen 2 gun stand out is the extremely textured grip, well-placed controls and well-designed ergonomics.

Shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 9mm pistol is a pleasure, especially with the Tritium front and rear night sights that help us folk with bad eyesight shoot more accurately. The trigger was smooth and had a short travel distance. 

So what makes this S&W model the best 9mm for women? 3 things:

  • the comfortable design and grip regardless of hand size
  • the ease and simplicity of shooting with this pistol’s refined trigger
  • the lightweight construction and striker-fired feature (never experience snagging on clothes when you draw)

All in all, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 9mm is a good everyday carry gun for both men and women. It is highly recommended by experts and gun shops alike. 

There are several variations of the M2.0 to choose from (one with manual safety, one with Tritium night sights, one with integrated crimson trace red laser, and one with Armornite™ finish). Watch out for these differences if you decide to get the M&P Shield M2.0 9mm pistol.

Pros

  • Highly manageable recoil with the 9mm caliber
  • Exceptional Tritium Front and Rear Night Sights 
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Ideal for both men and women
  • Ergonomic and well-designed

Cons

  • Some users may find this gun on the heavy side for a “small handgun”

How to Handle the Recoil

When it comes to guns, recoil refers to the rearward thrust that occurs when a gun is discharged. How hard or light the recoil is felt depends on the gun's caliber, weight, size, and on a person-to-person basis. 

For some people, even the lightest recoil could feel strong and make them uncomfortable when shooting. As such, the most accurate way of testing a handgun's recoil is to try it first before you buy. 

Size and Weight

Good handguns for women should fit them well, especially for the purpose the owner needs it for. The best concealed carry guns for women are usually super-compact that fit in a holster, bag or pocket. The weight doesn't necessarily have to be lightweight, but just light enough to still make it comfortable to shoot and "carry" everywhere. 

If your issue is recoil, a heavier handgun could prevent this, but it would also mean it may not be comfortable for women with weaker arms or upper body strength. 

Magazine Capacity

Magazine capacity will also vary depending on your personal requirement. The best handgun for women can be either of these three:

  • A smaller gun with double-stack magazine is designed as such Smaller handguns usually have this to accommodate magazines with greater capacity.
  • A concealed carry for women used for self defense doesn't need much, so a single-stack magazine is often enough.
  • The best guns for women participating in competitive shooting are those with larger magazine capacity. 

Safety Features

Any small handguns for women must have some sort of safety feature, so there wouldn't be accidental firing when dropped. Other guns are designed with a heavier trigger pull or manual safety to solve this, but the downside would be added weight. 

Beginners should get a gun with some sort of safety feature, but the best safety precaution is still proper training. 

Reliability

It doesn't matter if you're going to use the gun for self-defense, competitive shooting, or just day-to-day carry. The gun you choose must be reliable and provide consistency at all times. The brand and design can be a factor of reliability, so it is best to go for expert-recommended pistols for women.

Aesthetics, Ladies, Aesthetics!

Functionality, reliability, and comfort are all major factors to consider when picking the best gun for women. But you can also include aesthetics to your checklist. 

The wide range of handguns allow you to pick grip patterns, materials, or textures. Plus, handgun accessories could widen your options to suit your taste.

To begin your search, we've researched and picked a few of the top handguns designed for women...