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Women Don’t Have to Carry a Tiny, Pink Gun for Concealed Carry

I wrote this article over 4 years ago, and while the industry is catching up, there is still some work to be done in how many think about handgun selection for women. The foundational problem is that until recently, men mostly designed the “women's line” of concealed carry guns and gear. And because (spoiler alert) men aren't women, they just shrunk gear down and colored it pink, purple or some other pastel, Easter egg color.

pink ruger LCP marketed for women

The Ruger LCP is a micro-compact gun that is often recommended to new women shooters. But should it be?

By now, everyone should know that women make up an overwhelming percentage of new gun owners and concealed carriers. So much so that companies scrambled to introduce products specifically geared for women. One example is the Walther PDP-F series of semi-automatic handgun.

But is hasn't always been that way.

Guns like the Ruger LCP, Taurus TCP or the S&W Bodyguard were quite popular with woman, and still are.

Now, to be clear, I think, in general, there are better choices for an EDC gun. However, one of these guns may fit your needs perfectly. At least for the purpose of this post, the issue isn't with the specific gun, but the reasoning for selecting a gun for EDC. So yes, a gun like one mentioned above may be a suitable choice for some women. But not ALWAYS the best choice for EVERY woman, or man, for that matter.

Then why do so many women end up with one of the above mentioned guns for concealed carry?

Maybe it is clever marketing? Perhaps it's that male gun shop employee who has little experience using firearms but lots of experience selling guns? Or maybe the gun is from a loving husband who is just doing the best to select a gun he thinks his wife will like.

The point is, I've talked to many female gun owners who selected a gun primarily because of its size or color. And often, after shooting some other guns, they regret the selection. Whatever goes into your selection process, I think we can all agree that for an everyday carry (EDC) firearm; we need to consider more than its appearance.

Not everything for women has to be pink.

Are Micro-Compact Guns Good for Concealed Carry?

Micro-compact guns are great and serve a role and purpose. Some cases where a micro-compact makes sense is where you need deep-concealment. You may also choose a micro compact as a back-up gun. You may just settle on a micro-compact because you just can't seem to conceal anything larger. Sometimes the last reason has more to do with clothing and holster selection than gun, but that is outside the scope of this post.

However, compared to larger guns, micro-compacts are generally more difficult to shoot. Why?

  • Long, heavy double-action trigger
  • Diminutive grip area
  • Poor/basic sights
  • Lack of inherent recoil management
  • ‘Snappy' recoil
  • Difficult to rack the slide

They also have some inherent drawbacks.

  • Lower caliber
  • Low muzzle velocity
  • Low ammo capacity
  • Short sight radius

Now, not that someone can't shoot these guns well. But placing one of these guns into the hands of a new shooter makes learning the fundamentals compounds the challenge of learning. When learning a new skill, especially something intimidating like shooting a gun, early confidence is important. And regardless if you have XX or XY chromosomes, learning the fundamentals on a tiny, snappy gun creates challenges.

Options like this ‘Hip-Hugger' bellyband holster from CanCan Concealment are giving woman's options that fit their bodies.

phlster enigma

Another fantastic holster option for men and women is the PHLster Enigma Chassis System.

What can Women Do?

First, if you're a new handgun shooter, try starting out with a .22LR semi-automatic, or a full-size 9mm. Learn and apply the fundamentals with a gun that is inherently easier to shoot. Develop the confidence and proper fundamentals, then try a smaller gun if that is something that appeals to you.

Second, on average, women's hands and bodies are more petite than men's. Their clothing is more form fitting, stylish and rarely includes a belt. So, concealing a larger gun in a traditional inside the waistband (IWB) holster that attaches to a belt is a challenge. I see the appeal of small handguns for women.

Times have changed, and many holster and gun manufacturers use women in to design gear specifically for women. Looking for female-specific gear? PHLster, JM4 Tactical Quick Click and Carry and Can-Can Concealment, are just a couple companies designing gear specifically for women's needs. This has provided women better solutions for concealed carry, designed specifically for their needs. These products can make a world of difference in concealing a slightly larger gun.

Combining an appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster and an M&P Shield is a concealable pair for many women.

What Guns Do Women Actually Like?

The American Rifleman, a publication of the NRA embarked on the most extensive look into what handguns are really ‘female friendly.' Dubbed the Ladies Pistol Project (LPP), the project used 35 woman shooters and exposed them to 18 of the ‘best handguns for women' as voted on by many internet publications. They ranked the guns using several criteria and if you're following along with the gist of this article, the results should not be too surprising. Here is the best, rated in class:

  • Trigger: Heckler & Koch VP9
  • Magazine Release: Bersa Thunder Pro XT
  • Slide Stop Lever: SIG Sauer P238
  • Sights: Smith & Wesson M&P 9
  • Recoil: Smith & Wesson 67-5
  • Loading/Unloading: STI 5.0 Marauder
  • Grip width/Circumference: Walther CCP
  • Weight: Walther CCP

This is just one part of the important findings that came from the project. You can see the complete list of guns tested and all the data collected during the LPP by following this link.

Walther PDP-F Series designed specifically for women.

Wrapping up:

Again, I think it bears repeating that if you carry one of these micro guns, have tested the gun's reliability, and are proficient, fantastic. If you've considered the pros and cons of micro-compact handguns and are okay with the tradeoffs, great.

The point I am hoping to make with this post is you don't have to be pigeon-holed into a certain gun because you're a woman.

If you like this content, please consider sharing it with your friends. You may also like the Concealed Carry Podcast. Our bi-weekly podcast where we discuss a wide range of topics all important to the responsible gun owner and citizen defender.

hosts of the concealed carry podcast

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14 Responses to Women Don’t Have to Carry a Tiny, Pink Gun for Concealed Carry

  1. Bill Johnson January 8, 2018 at 11:47 am #

    I bought my wife the Ruger LC9s because she liked the trigger pull which is crisp but not hard to pull, her hands aren’t as strong as they used to be . When we fired it she fell in love with it. It developed a problem where it would load the cartridge but wouldn’t cock the trigger so it had to be sent back to Ruger.

    • Matthew Maruster January 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

      Hey Bill, thanks for the feedback. I hope Ruger took care of it for you. I was impressed with the LC9S and thought it hit a good sweet spot of size and ergonomics and it ran well to boot!

  2. Paula Beers January 9, 2018 at 3:50 am #

    Mathew-I am interested in knowing what courses you teach at Zenith. I have been shooting for 3 years.
    I have taken some courses: NRA Basic Pistol
    Class both written and class. Also classes at a gun
    range. I have basic safety practices learned and use them. I have a CC Permit. I belong to a gun range and go shooting every week.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you,
    Paula Beers

    • Matthew Maruster January 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Paula, Thanks so much for the message! Sounds like you have a great foundation and your skills are being honed. I will send you an email with some more info about the training. God bless!

  3. Richard Gonyea January 9, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

    Wait ,wait, women Own PINK GUNS , I OWN A PINK SCCY 9mm ,I am 6”5’ and 300 lbs I qualified with it with our sheriffs Dept being retired from Law Enforcement I am Married with 4 kids yes married to a women but it’s not my go to carry gun but it shoots great and it was a great price yes everyone got a good laugh at me but that’s why I purchased it so a long story short I guess maybe I am not the only GUY that owns a pink gun, HOPE YOU ALL ALSO GOT A LAUGH FOR THEY TOOK A PICTURE OF ME AT THE RANGE SHOOTING IT IF I COULD POST IT HERE I WOULD FOR YOU ALL ,

  4. Michelle January 12, 2018 at 1:01 am #

    Great article. Thank you. I happen to still carry the first pistol I owned. It’s a CZ 380. Fits me like a glove and I can fire hundreds of rounds at the range with no fatigue. However, concealed carrying it is sometimes challenging.

  5. Georganne Greene January 12, 2018 at 10:41 am #

    I am a NRA Certified Instructor and teach a lot of women, many of them elderly. The guns we have found most popular are the Sig P238 and P938 with the extended mag. They are easily racked, have a manageable recoil and are easily concealed. They hold 7 + 1. Many also use the JM4 magnetic holster because it doesn’t require a belt.

  6. mary January 17, 2018 at 8:57 am #

    Nice to hear that coming from a male 😉 I help run 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control and we posted the article last Friday. Set off a few women that we were attacking pink guns (which is hilarious as I don’t think they actually read the article or know it was written from the male view). Thanks for the take and info from your perspective. The gun world is so very male dominated with lots of “mansplaining” . Because I’m a woman, lots of men think you should only shoot certain guns in a certain color or that pink is what women want…. I’ve gotten into it with several of these “mansplainers”… I am married to a federal officer who carries an HK and I hate the trigger. I carry a S&W Shield in .40 and love it (after adding Pearce grip extensions to my magazines so I had more in the hand…) Thanks again! Here is our FB page =) https://www.facebook.com/1mmagc/

    • Matthew Maruster January 17, 2018 at 9:25 am #

      Hi Mary! Thanks for the feedback and for the awesome effort you are putting into ensuring women feel as welcome in the shooting sports and self defense arena as their male compadres.

      I am glad you liked the article and can see where I was coming from. I know some commenters seem to take offense as if the opinion is all pink guns are bad. Like you said many people don’t read articles and only make their conclusion based off of the title. Hopefully the majority see the true meaning of the article is to empower women to select a gun that works for them pink, blue black or whatever color.

      Please extend my thanks to the rest of your team as I am a big fan of responsible gun owners and self-defenders of every ethnicity, gender, age etc. stay safe and God bless!

  7. Nancy McPherson December 3, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

    I recently purchased a Glock 43 for concealed carry and was very pleased to find out that it shoots just like my Glock 19: similar recoil and handling, just a narrower grip, and with a mag extension, I can fit all my fingers on the grip.

  8. Ray April 8, 2019 at 7:55 pm #

    My wife picked her won gun after trying many the one that worked best for her was the Ruger LCRx in 38 special. Let them pick what fits them best and they are comfortable using.

  9. Daffeney Elmore January 12, 2021 at 4:37 am #

    Would like to purchase

  10. Clark Kent May 9, 2022 at 4:49 pm #

    No mention of the S&W Shield E-Z line of pistols, specifically the 380 ACP no manual safety version?

  11. Mike S May 11, 2022 at 2:40 pm #

    I always taught our students that they should carry the largest caliber gun they felt comfortable with, regardless of whether it’s .22 or .357. I purchased a pink .45 revolver for my wife because she wasn’t strong enough to rack my Rugar LCP or my 9mm. She found it was still difficult to pull back the hammer (it’s for sale now) so I borrowed a friend’s Rugar .22 and she loves it. It isn’t just women. We had older men who lost their grip muscles and need something they can handle without shooting their eye out too. I started out with a .45 when I was 17 and I’m now 81and I can’t handle that anymore.

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