The Best Handgun For Women

The Best Handgun For Women (2023)

Publushed by:

Mathew R Reed

Last updated:

Walther PK380 Nickel

Short summary

The Walther PK380 has stood the test of time for popular handguns and it’s our pick for the best concealed carry handgun for women for that very reason. 

This small semi-automatic comes with both single and double action, weighs just 22.4 ounces, measures 6.5 inches in total, and is the first polymer pistol in this category. 

It’s perfect for carrying and easy to use in every sense of the word, including for first-timers and skilled shooters.

Everything about this gun screams female-friendly, from its compact size and powerful performance to the sleek finish of it. 

It’s ideal for concealed carry and will sit comfortably wherever you need it to, and if you ever have to take it out for target practice or to use in a real-life situation, you’ll be blown away by the beauty and compact size of it.

The Walther PK380 is easy to use for everyone as well, including features like easy racking and minimal recoil. 

Even if you hardly fire a weapon and just want to keep one for backup, you won’t be nervous with this in your hand, with many people claiming it was impossible to miss their target. The accuracy is second to none and you can feel just how solid and precise it is when you hold it.

This is one of the safest handguns on the market as well, so for those feeling uncomfortable about having a gun, there’s no need to fire. 

Walther has included a slide safety and paddle style magazine release, and whether you’re right or left handed you’ll be able to grip it safely thanks to the ambidextrous design.

With only eight rounds, though, this seems to be the major downside to the Walther and other guns that similarly take 380 rounds. 

You’ll need to think carefully about what you want in the best concealed handgun for women as eight may not be enough for your peace of mind. If you’re not necessarily skilled at firing either, the more bullets you could have, the better.

Another downside is that it’s not that comfortable for people with larger hands, and this includes men and women. 

One reason the PK380 is so popular with female shooters is because of this but it doesn’t factor in the millions of women who want something a little bigger to suit their hand size as well.

The Walther PK380 ticks all of the boxes in accuracy, reliability, and compact size, making it our favorite for women wanting a quality handgun. 

Regardless of your skill level, you’ll find it a dream to fire, and will feel that much safer knowing you’ve got it concealed on your or stored in a gun safe at home.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 380
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Weight: 22.4oz


  • Ambidextrous
  • Minimal recoil
  • Compact


  • Low capacity

Glock 19X

Short summary

Ask anyone what the most popular handgun of all time is and there’s a good chance they’ll respond with the Glock 19 or 17. 

The Glock 19X is a crossover pistol that combines these two popular guns and features a full-sized frame, standard 17 round magazine, backup magazine, and coyote-colored pistol case to match the color of the gun itself. 

This pistol weighs 24.83oz unloaded and has a length of 7.44 inches, so it’s not so compact.

The coolest thing about this firearm is the feel of it, thanks to the many features that Glock has incorporated from both of their famous pistols. 

The 19X has no finger grooves and uses ambidextrous slide stop levers so anyone can use it comfortably, and it takes minimal time to get used to and break in as you would with other guns.

Customers also raved about the look of this weapon and its unique coyote color, as well as the first ever factory-colored slide that Glock has developed. 

Although a gun’s appearance doesn’t have any effect on how it operates, you’ll definitely feel the part when you’re holding it in your hands at the range or using it in a self defense situation, which will give you a boost of confidence.

The cost of this firearm is what lost it some points and puts it out of the reach of some people out there, even if it’s commonly referred to as the best 9m. handgun for women. 

Although there are advantages to using a gun made by Glock and many would prefer to spend an extra couple hundred dollars for the reliability of this brand, you might find a much cheaper alternative that has more to offer you. 

If your budget is low to mid-range for a small pistol though, the Glock 19 won’t be a good match.

Additionally, the weapon was a little heavy for some and as a full-sized frame you might not find it suitable for concealed carry. 

This all comes down to personal preference and what you’re comfortable with, but if you’re in the market for something compact that still holds a lot of power, there are other handguns out there that better meet the mark.

The Glock19X takes the best features of their 17 and 19 handguns and combines them in this one, making it a popular choice for the modern firearm friendly woman. If you prefer a full size pistol that’s slick in appearance, reliable, and accurate, the Glock 19X certainly ticks all of these boxes.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+2
  • Weight: 24.83oz


  • High capacity
  • Good feel in hands
  • Unique color


  • Bulky

Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield

Short summary

The Smith and Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ is another top contender for the best handgun for women with 380 auto caliber, internal hammer-fired action, an overall length of 6.7 inches, and an eight round capacity. 

The biggest bonus of this gun is the slide, and it’s become world-famous for its easy racking, so it appeals to men and women who want a low-maintenance weapon.

This means that anyone with weaker hands or those who don’t want to put a lot of effort into using their gun will find this incredibly easy to use, including the elderly or those with injuries.

Another great selling point of the Shield EZ is the shape and size of it, and although it’s classed as a compact weapon, it’s the perfect size to fit in your hands comfortably.

The pistol’s frame is comfortable and the round is soft so they come together to make a pleasant firing experience. The overall weight of this weapon is just 18.5oz so even while carrying it, it’s easy to forget that it’s there.

There are lots of added features that improve this gun’s usability and give it even more bang for your buck. On the Shield EZ, you’ll find a grip safety, Picatinny style rail, reversible magazine release, and the ability to disassemble the gun without pulling the trigger, among many others.

As an entry-level weapon, it couldn’t be easier to learn the basics of gun safety and operation using the Shield EZ from Smith & Wesson, so don’t be afraid to pick one up even if you’re a newcomer.

Although the .380 round isn’t the most common choice for a self-defense scenario, it still gets the job done.

However, it only holds eight rounds which doesn’t stack up to other handguns and may leave you wondering if it’s going to be enough in an emergency situation. Considering many others have around 15, you’re only left with half of the capacity which could be the literal difference between life and death.

If you’re into aesthetics, the 380 handgun for women might not be up your alley. It looks blocky and even a little clunky when you compare it other sleek handgun styles that we’ve reviewed and it could throw you off your game completely.

For those women wanting to concealed carry in a tight space, the clunky look and feel of it could become glaringly obvious. However, the stainless steel Armornite finish on the 380 Shield EZ does help it hold up against the elements and protect it from corrosion.

For those that favor a 380 round and want something low recoil and easy to use, you’ll love everything that the Smith & Wesson brings to the table.

This gun is great for men and women alike, although there are some setbacks that you might want to avoid like its blocky shape and smaller round capacity. However, the 380 Shield EZ is constantly rated as the best handgun for women who favor simplicity above all else, and we couldn’t agree more.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 380
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Weight: 18.5oz


  • Easy to use
  • Low-maintenance
  • Lightweight


  • It’s not corosion resistant

Springfield Armory XD-S

Short summary

If you want a handgun that comes with everything you need to take the most accurate shot, look no further than the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2. This 9mm handgun is a single stack pistol that has a width of less than one inch making it super compact but powerfully effective.

The overall weight of the XD-S Mod.2 is 21.5oz so you won’t feel a thing and it measures a tiny 6.3 inches in length for the easiest concealed carry of your life.

One of the best things about this gun is that it includes optics with it, and you’ll find the Crimson Trace micro red dot that’s included with it great for lining up a shot. 

Customers found it incredibly accurate and because it’s already attached there’s no need for other accessories. If the battery runs out when you least expect it, the positioning of this red dot optic is low enough that you can still utilize the iron sight accurately.

The comfort and grip of this firearm are second to none and with most women wanting something they can use ergonomically for the most accurate shot, you’ll be thrilled at how the Springfield Armory XD-S feels as well. 

The unique grip texture used on the Mod.2 is an upgrade and it means your hands and fingers stay exactly where you need them to without feeling stuck.

One of the main complaints with the weapon was the optic accessory, but more accurately, the cover on it. Users found that even when stored away, the optic was prone to falling off which meant it would sometimes get lost as well. 

For a gun in this price range, you’d hope that basic pieces like this would be durable, but it appears they’re not. Although the red dot sight itself was a huge benefit, this one little error lost it some points, and we’re hoping for an upgrade in the next generation.

As a smaller gun, it’s probably not a surprise that the round capacity on this isn’t as great as it could be and may leave you wanting more. 

The Springfield Armory XD-S has 9+1 capacity so while it’s not the lowest of the guns we’ve reviewed, it’s also not the highest. Think about where and how you’ll be using your gun and the likelihood that you’ll rely on more rounds than this, and consider whether this gun can deliver.

The Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 is a single stack 9mm Pistol that’s smaller than the competition but still packs a punch. If you want something truly compact but don’t want to sacrifice any other features, this is one to add to your arsenal. 

Ask any woman who’s tried one before and they’ll tell you that the XD-S Mod.2 feels as though it’s custom-made and comfortable for any firearm-owning woman of the world.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 9+1
  • Weight: 21.5oz


  • High accuracy
  • Includes optics
  • Small


  • Optic prone to falling off

Bersa Thunder

Short summary

The Bersa Thunder .380 is a compact and brightly colored firearm with a bright pink laser grip and 6.6-inch length. The smaller frame of this gun makes it easily marketable to women but it has other features that stand out as well, like the lightweight frame, 50-yard range with absolute accuracy, and exceptionally low price.

Customers loved how small this gun was and how easy that made it to carry. The overall length is around 6.6 inches and it has a width of just 1.3 inches. 

No matter the position you like to carry in or where you want to keep your gun, you can be guaranteed that nobody is going to spot it until you want them to.

The Bersa Thunder is considered one of the safest handguns out there and if this is a priority for your next firearm, you can rest assured with this. 

The key feature here is that the safety is that the hammer is on the outside of the gun which means less chance of accidental misfiring. You’ll also notice that it has a safety/de-cocker that helps when you’re carrying a concealed weapon.

This gun comes with a pink grip which could be a major selling point for some ladies or a major turn-off for others. 

If you’re a woman who wants their firearm to look just as sleek and functional as a man’s, you probably roll your eyes at the sight of something as girly as this. If that sounds like you, there are lots of better and more aesthetically pleasing handguns out there to own.

As a teeny tiny gun, don’t expect to be able to fire too many rounds from this weapon either. The Berasa Thunder has a 7+1 capacity which is okay if you’re confident in your shot and don’t want much in the way of backup. 

Otherwise, choosing something with twice this number of rounds will likely be better for your peace of mind. Some users also found it less powerful than the competition so if you want a more serious weapon, look for a 9mm caliber instead.

The Bersa Thunder .380 might be small but it’s still got good performance for price. If you’re a woman looking for something that can be discreetly carried, it’s the way to go, as long as you can look past the pink laser grip and the smaller round capacity. 

There’s plenty of good that the Bersa has to offer and with its amazingly low price compared to other female-friendly handguns, it’s even more attractive.

Quick Facts

  • Caliber: .380
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Weight: 22oz


  • Hammer on the outside of the gun
  • 50 yard range


  • Small capacity

Handgun For Women FAQs

What Handgun Has The Least Recoil?

If you need a low recoil handgun that’s softer to use so you can cater to injury, frailty, or any other reason, some are gentler than others in this department.

The Kel-Tec PMR-30 .22 Mag, Smith & Wesson Model 351C .22 Mag, FNH Five-SeveN MK2, and  Ruger LC380 .380 ACP all come with low recoil that makes them easier to handle.

What Is The Best Caliber Handgun For Personal Protection?

The most popular calibers for self defense handguns are 9mm, 380, 357 Mag, 40 cal, and 12 gauge, but they’re not the only ones out there if you want protection.

The best choice for the individual depends on the weapon they own and what matters to them most when it comes to range, penetration, and power, as each caliber has something unique to offer in each category.

What Handgun Do Navy Seals Use?

The Navy has adopted a few handguns over the years as their official sidearm for SEAL members and that title currently goes to the world-famous Glock 19.

Before this, Sig Sauer P226 was the official handgun for the Navy and served them well for many years, but it passed the torch to the G19 in 2015 and remains there to this day.

Will A 9mm Stop An Intruder?

A 9mm is a powerful caliber handgun that should have no issues stopping an intruder and has low recoil compared to others, which makes it ideal for more types of users.

As always though, you’ll need to be mindful of what’s behind your target as this caliber weapon will be able to penetrate quite easily.

Female Forward Firearms

Whether you want the best self defense handgun for women or something suitable for concealed carry, one of our recommendations will fit the bill.

With more and more women owning handguns and mastering these weapons, it’s clear that the previous assumptions of the past about this being a male-dominated area are done.


Walther PK380 Nickel

Minimal recoil

Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.