380 or 32 cal

Amberjack ReelsAmberjack Reels Member Posts: 60 ✭✭
edited March 2003 in Ask the Experts
Wife wants to take up shooting. She is small framed 100lbs soaking wet. I don't want to scare her with a 45ACP. Was thinking of a 380 or 32 cal. What brand would you recommend. I see I can pick up a Browning, for about $400. I was also looking at the Llamas, but I am not impressed with my 45, jams about every 4th clip. May consider a 9mm but concerned about recoil.

Penn Saltwater Reel Specialist

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  • 22WRF22WRF Member Posts: 3,385
    edited November -1
    I would make the choices 32 ACP or 9MM there is not much recoil differance between 9MM and 380. The 9MM ammo being cheaper than 380.
    Check SOG for some good buys


    If she may move up to 45 ACP later then consider the Star 9MM
    a good value.

    BTW I have a Llama 380 IIIA that never jams.

    Just my 2 cents

    A Grumpy Old Man
  • ItGoBangItGoBang Member Posts: 1,529 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would try a Glock 26, 9mm... Very small and light. Recoil is not bad... If my wife can shoot it, ANYONE can [:D][:D]

    It will hurt you, More than it will hurt me..

    Life Member... N R A

    Thanks for all the help!
  • .41Dude.41Dude Member Posts: 97 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    My Wife LOVES her S&W 3913 Ladysmith. We have several other handguns, but she always picks the Ladysmith. You can get 9mm ammo anywhere(almost) and you can get very good deals on remanufactured ammo for practice and then pick out something more stout for serious work. She is a scary good shot with it. (Makes me wonder why I insisted she learn to shoot:)
  • familyguyfamilyguy Member Posts: 1,349 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My first wife was 5 foot even, 98lbs. She shot a government .45 like she was born with it in her hand. You never know till you try.

    Is this shooting just plinking/target shooting? Glocks are really good, but the minis (that might fit her hand better) have a pretty stiff spring. One of the reasons they're so accurate and easy to shoot. Unfortunately, it can be tough to rack the slide.

    Also keep in mind, little .380's and .32's (if they're light guns), can have a bit of muzzle whip and be uncomfortable to shoot.

    My recommendation: .38spl Taurus revolver, Beretta Tomcat (.32acp w\tip up bbl is easy to load), or compact Glock 9mm (don't know the model #'s).

    My $.02, hope it helps.

    Got a new gun for my ex-wife.....pretty good trade, huh?
  • kingjoeykingjoey Member Posts: 8,636
    edited November -1
    1911 45's are pretty light on the kick for newbies. Any of your blowback operated 380's are going to have a sharper kick. Maybe a EAA Witness compact in 9mm or 40S&W would be a good choice.

    Love them Beavers
  • gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    I'm not sure why all you guys insist that the 1911 has no kick and is a good gun fer newbies.
    I've never been able to hit anything with a 1911,Kimber,Wilson,STI,Paraord, etc. in 45acp; and I'm not a small person by any standard.
    Just my 2 cents for the recoil sensitive: Start with a 22wmrf, if they can tolerate an AMTII, try a 32H/R mag., if that's ok, try a 38spl., etc. on up the power scale until she's comfortable with a caliber that could actually save her life.
    My ex loves the SP101 in 357mag-good thing it was an amiable split!
    You might try (if you're going to get an auto anyway) a 38 superauto on her-the kick is non-existent, and they're pretty reliable(fer an auto).

    If you know it all; you must have been listening.WEAR EAR PROTECTION!
  • CFPythonCFPython Member Posts: 413 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    See if you can find one of the Walther PP .32's that came in some years ago from Germany. They were German police duty guns and well cared for. I picked one up for about $270. I still see them occasionally at the larger gun shows in central Fla. In .32 acp the recoil is negligable, and the gun will fit a smaller person's hand. Load it with Winchester Silvertip (if reliable in that particular gun) and it'll do the job. Better multiple hits with .32 Silvertip than a miss or poor hit with a .45.

    The only thing worse than lawbreakers, are lawmakers.
  • Amberjack ReelsAmberjack Reels Member Posts: 60 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks for all your suggestions. She has shot 38's before. Her problem is trigger pull in double action mode. IF she cocks the hammer it is no problem. Think I will go with a 9mm. More punch but somewhat less recoil. I am thinking of getting one in a 1911 style and size so it will be somewhat more heavier. The Star Super B looks like a great deal, thanks 22wrf

    Penn Saltwater Reel Specialist

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  • kingjoeykingjoey Member Posts: 8,636
    edited November -1
    Good choice.

    PS: as far as 45 autos go, the recoil on the 1911 is really light. Only 45 I've shot that has lighter recoil is the Glock 21, but the slide on those is comparatively quite heavy.

    Love them Beavers

  • Der GebirgsjagerDer Gebirgsjager Member Posts: 1,685 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Well--what the heck! Since everyone else is jumping on....[:D]

    I can really understand where you are coming from with a serious gun for a smallish woman. Your initial idea of a .32 or a .380 appears a good one at first glance. In this vein, I would chose the .380 over the .32. The Federal, Win., PMC, etc. JHP+P loadings are minimally serious defense rounds.

    BUT--you will find, that since the pistols that shoot them are smaller guns, the net gain in reduction of recoil is insignificant when using the hotter rounds. Also, the trigger pull on MOST PPK-type guns is USUALLY awful. And then, there is the reliability question....

    AND--if you use standard velocity ammo for manageable recoil, the terminal effect is not what you will desire.

    Although there is no staucher defender of the 1911-type pistol and the .45 ACP cartridge than myself, I realize that it is not the answer for everyone or every situation. I would hesitate to provide one for a small female who may not only have difficulty in handling the recoil, but in operating the slide.

    THEREFORE--although I could give you my answer here, I would prefer that you read it from someone who is a nationally recognized expert. Read Massad Ayoob's article, "The Real Ladies Gun" in the March 2003 issue of Guns Magazine, page 18. I will be happy to send you a xerox copy of this one page article if the magazine is not available to you.

    (Glad you agree with me, Mas....[;)])
  • gravediggergravedigger Member Posts: 945 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I guess I'll give you mine too. My wife is small, 5'2". She likes a .45. A friend of mine, about 6'3", 300lbs. doesn't like the recoil of the same .45. So each person is different regardless of size. If she can handle a .38 Sp., a 9mm should be no problem. If it's just for target shooting and not for carry, I'd suggest a full frame gun like a Sig P226 or Glock 17.


    ***When the Second Amendment falls, the First will be sure to follow.***
  • gap1916gap1916 Member Posts: 4,977
    edited November -1
    There is not a nickles worth of difference between the two rounds you mentioned in recoil or stopping power. The guns that fire these two rounds are also identical. That being said I would go with a 38 special revolver or a 9mm. Both have factory ammunition that the recoil will feel as light as the 380 or .32. My 2 cents [8D]

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