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I recently ordered a Smith & Wesson 9mm Shield for myself at a local gun store. Can't wait to pick it up hopefully next week. But now my wife is interested in a gun too. After much thought, I told her there's no way she should get a semi-automatic. Wife knows nothing about hand guns and never shot a hand gun before. Plus she has weak hands and I don't think she even has the strength to pull back a slide to chamber a round. She can't even open a jar lid of Ragu sauce. She got uptight at me when I told her that it's too dangerous for her to have a semi-automatic as her first gun. I'd be afraid she would accidentally fire the gun at herself or me in trying to chamber a round. If anything, maybe...just MAYBE a small revolver might be okay for her since it's relatively easy to understand and learn. I'm thinking of maybe the Smith & Wesson Ladysmith 38 caliber pistol for her. By the way, I'm not trying to be sexist here or start an argument that women shouldn't own a semi-auto. But in the case of my wife, I'm trying to err on the safe side. My other thought is to simply forget the whole idea of getting her any firearm and just let her have a can of pepper spray.

Here's the Ladysmith model that might be appropriate for her:
 

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If she has weak hands, how well will she do with a 12# trigger?
Weak women and j-frames are not usually a good match.
You can put a spring kit on the gun and it will drop to 9ish pounds for trigger weight, which is still heavy.

Not being rude, but let her pick her own gun. Take her to the store and let her play with some.

The new shield ez guns are recommended for those with strength issues. The recoil of the 9mm shield ez will be similar or slightly less than a j-frame .38spl.

A semi auto is not rocket science, she can learn to use one in a 20 minute "first shots" class.
Numerous shops in my area hold them a couple times a month, I think they charge $15 or $20 for the cost of ammo.
 

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If she has weak hands, how well will she do with a 12# trigger?
Weak women and j-frames are not usually a good match.
You can put a spring kit on the gun and it will drop to 9ish pounds for trigger weight, which is still heavy.

Not being rude, but let her pick her own gun. Take her to the store and let her play with some.

The new shield ez guns are recommended for those with strength issues. The recoil of the 9mm shield ez will be similar or slightly less than a j-frame .38spl.

A semi auto is not rocket science, she can learn to use one in a 20 minute "first shots" class.
Numerous shops in my area hold them a couple times a month, I think they charge $15 or $20 for the cost of ammo.
Thank you, excellent points. Coincidentally, I just saw a YouTube review on that gun whereby the reviewer had exactly the same sentiment about the 12 pound trigger being possibly too difficult for some people. Your other point is well taken about a 38 caliber being possibly too powerful. With those 2 variables in mind, is there another revolver model that would be more suitable? Is there a single/double action trigger revolver with a smaller caliber? I still would like to stay with a revolver versus a semi for the wife.
 

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Here's the Ladysmith model that might be appropriate for her:
I think the Ladysmith is a very good choice if she can pull the trigger and if it’s a carry gun. I want a model 60 and almost bought a Ladysmith; it’s the same thing, just has Ladysmith engraved on it.

But I wouldn’t get her that one, it has an aluminum frame. I would show her the Model 60 Ladysmith. It’s all stainless, is the heaviest of the J-frames, (less felt recoil) and has both .38 and .357 options. (Linked below)

J-frames have a hard trigger pull, and that’s by design, “trigger jobs” won’t do much.

But even with 38’s it’s a handful (any j-frame is). If she isn’t going to carry it and wants something for home protection and range time, a 4” K-frame or L-frame would be a much better choice. Less felt recoil and some pretty nice trigger jobs can be done on them. They are crème puffs with .38’s, but also have the option of full house .357 Mags.

I’d take her to the gun store and she what she thinks.

Man, you guys are so lucky. My wife doesn’t want anything to do with shooting. If she ever expressed interest, we would be in the truck headed to the gun store in minutes.

 

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Thank you, excellent points. Coincidentally, I just saw a YouTube review on that gun whereby the reviewer had exactly the same sentiment about the 12 pound trigger being possibly too difficult for some people. Your other point is well taken about a 38 caliber being possibly too powerful. With those 2 variables in mind, is there another revolver model that would be more suitable? Is there a single/double action trigger revolver with a smaller caliber? I still would like to stay with a revolver versus a semi for the wife.
In my opinion .38spl/9mm is the bottom end of what I would trust as a defensive gun. Now keep in that is my opinion, if you live in a hot climate year round and are guaranteed she will hit the exact spot she needs to hit a .22LR revolver would work. I live in MI so with 1/2 the year people are wearing multiple layers of clothing I wouldn't consider or recommend anything under the above mentioned calibers.
S&W makes a steel frame J-Frame that is DA/SA I believe it is model 60 in .38spl.
Something else to know ahead of time is thst S&W "lady smith" guns, involve an engraving, higher price tag and girly color grips otherwise they are mechanically identical to the normal version of that gun (if you want to save money).

I have read that Ruger's LCR and LCRx have better/lighter triggers than S&W revolvers but I've never fired one, also they are polymer frame so I'm not sure of their recoil (heavyer guns will have less felt recoil).
 

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A snubbie is a bad choice for anyone who’s never shot a handgun before, unless you’re willing to pony up some training $$ for her.

Many women have had snubbies bought for them by others, or foisted off on them by gun store salesmen.

The truth is that a snub nose revolver is an experts (or at least very experienced hand gunners) gun.

An auto will be easier for her to shoot accurately than anything with a 1 7/8” barrel, especially a revolver; which in any serious social encounter will be shot DA.

A 9mm Shield EZ would be a good candidate for her, though a regular Shield would probably be OK, if you either teach her the “push-pull” method of racking the slide, or just chamber the first round for her. You don’t expect her to carry it with a empty chamber, do you?
 

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A snubbie is a bad choice for anyone who’s never shot a handgun before, unless you’re willing to pony up some training $$ for her.

Many women have had snubbies bought for them by others, or foisted off on them by gun store salesmen.

The truth is that a snub nose revolver is an experts (or at least very experienced hand gunners) gun.

An auto will be easier for her to shoot accurately than anything with a 1 7/8” barrel, especially a revolver; which in any serious social encounter will be shot DA.

A 9mm Shield EZ would be a good candidate for her, though a regular Shield would probably be OK, if you either teach her the “push-pull” method of racking the slide, or just chamber the first round for her. You don’t expect her to carry it with a empty chamber, do you?
That s is what I was getting at but the OP and insisted on a revolver.
 

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That s is what I was getting at but the OP and insisted on a revolver.
I know.

I used to be that way 30 something years ago, and wound up selling/trading guns I’d bought for “her” that she’d never even shot. So, my wife’s picked out her own for the last 20+ years.

She has 9mm, .380, .38spl, and .22 pistols. Her favorite, and the one she keeps on her night stand, is an older M&P9 that she used for her two day 1500 round count Threat Focused Pistol training course.

When she finished that course; she could shoot the hell out of that pistol, and complete a mag change before the empty mag hit the ground. So I gave it to her. It’d been my first IDPA gun, and was the only one I had that was still stock.

She has a very nice subcompact 1911 in 9mm, but her EDC gun is a Sig P238.

She has a snubbie, and can shoot it fairly well, but has the experience to realize it’s limitations as a primary carry gun.
 

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A female friend of ours recently sold me her Model 638 because she was no longer able to pull the trigger due to arthritis. She purchased a Shield 9EZ because she can pull back the slide and load the magazine without discomfort. Perhaps the OP's wife could do so as well.
 

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A J frame revolver is one of the easiest guns in the world to shoot. It is also one of the most difficult guns in the world to shoot well!

Small lightweight, J frame revolvers for new shooters is some of the worst advice the guns shops perpetuate.

If a revolver is a must, I would opt for a heavier gun with better sights.

Almost anyone can rack a bottom feeder if the push technique is used rather than trying to pull the slide back.
 
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