n my experience as a facilitator for A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League, I’ve seen my share of women shooters who come to the range with some form of sub-compact firearm. Of course, it was likely purchased because it’s small frame is less intimidating and it fits easily in a purse or the console of a vehicle for concealed carry. But ladies (and the men who love them), I am here to tell you that size matters!
Many of the micro-guns have low profile type sights. This is important to a carry situation as they are less likely to snag clothing or get hung up some place inconvenient. But when it comes to learning and practicing fundamentals such as sight alignment/sight picture, the low-profile sights are hard to see and hard to line up. Learning what a good sight picture looks like is much easier with a bigger firearm with bigger sights.
Fun to Shoot
A big firearm might seem a little intimidating and it’s easy to get caught up in “the bigger the firearm, the bigger the boom” type thinking. In reality a larger firearm has less felt recoil. Often I hear people describing a micro-gun leaving them with the feeling that they had been “beaten up” because of the size and recoil. Shooting a large firearm versus shooting a small one of the same caliber will likely be more comfortable. This is especially true if you are taking classes where you will have a significant round count.
When asked why smaller handguns are limited to special classes at the annual National Conference of A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League, Executive Director, Robyn Sandoval had this to say, “Subcompact pistols are preferred by some for carry since their size is easy to conceal; however, they can also be more difficult to shoot if there is a long trigger pull or small grip. Some of our Conference classes specifically address these issues, e.g., Karl Rehn's BUG class, but compacts or full-sized pistols are usually better for lengthy training sessions. Having a full grip develops good habits and muscle memory for drawing and shooting a pistol, and a shooter's hands are generally less fatigued because the larger gun has less impact with recoil. Also, holsters and competition gear (more conducive to professional training courses) is more widely available for the compact or full-sized pistols, whereas the subcompact holsters tend to be IWB or alternate carry, such as corset, belly band, or bra holsters.”
The bottom line is don’t be intimidated by larger handguns. Handguns are like shoes, there’s not a single handgun that fits every need. Large handguns are an excellent choice for learning to shoot, taking professional training, entering competitions and practicing fundamentals. Smaller handguns are the excellent choice for concealment or when you want to carry more than one at a time. The best handgun depends on the situation. So size does matter!