This past weekend, I taught another NRA Basic Pistol/Ohio CCW course, and five of my students were ladies who, for the most part, were completely new to shooting. Several had asked me about buying a gun beforehand, but I encouraged them to come, go through the course, and try some of the rather large selections of handguns we happen to have on hand and then make a decision on which type and kind of gun to purchase.
Now there's been more articles arguing 'bout revolvers verses semi-autos than you can shake a stick at...some that have valid points, but many that aren't looking at specific, individual gun owners. I discussed a recommendation for revolver I gave a while back and I still stand by that recommendation for that particular person. Tellin' someone they need a specific gun without knowing them well or educating them and making sure it fit's that particular person's needs is like tellin' a gal she needs a 34DD bra without havin' a clue what size she really is.
Most recently, Greg Ellifritz over at Active Response Training posted the first part of his Firearms Manifesto which I whole-heartily agree with. It's a fair assessment as it's always a very personal choice. Caleb, over at Gun Nuts Media discussed the topic of snubby revolvers a while back too, and he sums up their short-comin's... pun intended... pretty well, but I've got another view too.
There were three gals this past weekend in my course that did their shootin' with five-shot snubbies... three gals with almost no shootin' experience among them... and you know what... they all shot really well. Are they ready to win an IDPA match next week? No... but after a good day of learnin', tryin', checkin'out, and decidin' for themselves, they chose to do their shootin' with the snubbies... over the full size revolvers, mind you.
These ladies all felt the semi-autos were fine, but a little complicated... for them. As with many I've trained, and even though I've shown them how easy it is to work, check and run a semi-auto... they felt most comfortable with the .38 snubbies... the weight... the size. I even offered to start'em with .22s, but these three preferred their snubbies. Now I will say, the Ruger SP101 and the LCR's are fairly easy shootin' with .38 Specials, especially when compared to the snappiness of an ultra-light gun like the Smith & Wesson Airweights.
Even with those short sight radiuses, light-weight guns like the Ruger LCR, and long-double action trigger pulls didn't seem to mess up these gals and I think I know why. Fundamentals. They learned and practiced the fundamentals of safe shootin' and they were consistently keeping groups of hits on nine-inch targets at fifteen and twenty-five feet without any problems... initially from the benchrest position, then from the two-handed isosceles position while standing.
Having confidence in their knowledge about the operation of the gun lends itself to gaining confidence for mastering the fundamentals of shootin'. One of them did try a 9mm semi-auto, but by the end of the day, they were pretty sure the revolver was for them... for now. Are they ready to compete in the next IDPA match? Probably not? Are they ready to go out and purchase their own gun, practice, and join the ranks of American gun owners? YES!
I prefer a semi-auto, although I've been known to carry a five-shot snubby from time to time too. Maybe these gal's will move on to a semi-auto someday too. One recommendation I have though, guys, let your gals pick out their own bras, their own purses, and their own guns. And ladies, regarding purses... you need to educate yourselves and make your own decisions, but I recommend on-body carry for concealed carry instead of your purse... although that is a topic for another day.
That way, when a gal chooses a snubby as her personal firearm, it's not because some guy told her that's what she needed... it's because she educated herself, looked at her options, and finally said to herself... Ma'am, what you need is a five-shot snubby...