Revolver or Pistol, What is a Good Handgun for Women?


In talking with quite a few women about the topic of pistols, one common statement seems to come up from the group as a whole. “I’m just not strong enough to manipulate the slide.”

How the Good Lord Made Us

Now I’m not trying to be sexist or berate women. I know that there are some strong women out there who could hurt me. But most of the women I know (on average) are just a little less strong than the men I know. It’s how God created us.

I’m also not speaking out of complete ignorance here. This statement about not being able to manipulate the slide comes from my wife, my mother-in-law, and several friends. I’ve had the author of a guest post make the comment and I’ve read the same thing online. To be fair, I also know of some men who can’t do it either.

Smaller Calibers

I will qualify my remarks. This does not apply to smaller caliber semi-automatic pistols.

It’s an effort, buy my wife can rack back my .380. In fact that is her weapon if someone breaks in.

The difference is the lighter recoil spring. If she can charge the .380, she could also charge (for instance) a .22. On the other hand, my wife has tried racking the slide on my .40 caliber Glock and she can’t do it.

What Does Work?

So what does that leave women for self-defense/concealed carry? Obviously, the smaller caliber semi-autos would work in a pinch.


But I think that the revolver would be a better choice for most women. There’s no slide and spring to deal with. Just load up the chambers and pivot the cylinder in place. Good to go.

The Element of the Purse

Then there is the whole purse thing. This, in my opinion is where women have the advantage over women….storage space. A purse may not be able to hold an AR, but I can think of nothing more frightening than a lady pulling a loaded, foot long .44 magnum from her purse. I’d run if I was an attacker and saw that.

Choices, Choices, Choices

There are some good choices for the ladies in the revolver department. .22’s (long, and magnum), .38 specials, .357 magnums (which also shoot the .38’s).

And the newest member of the revolver family, is a hybrid that shoots both a  regular cartridge or a shotgun shell.  Examples of this are the Taurus Judge and the  Smith & Wesson Governor. They can fire the .45 Long Colt or .45 ACP cartridges or the .410 defense shot. All 3 choices of ammunition are extremely lethal.


Revolvers may not be the quickest to reload, but the rule for most self-defense situations are in 3’s: 3 feet, 3 seconds, 3 shots. So more than likely, most people won’t need to reload anyway.

So there’s my recommendation to you women out there looking to get started. Try a revolver. It may be a good fit.


Let’s hear it from the ladies. What do you choose when it comes to your handgun, pistol or revolver? And what caliber?

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