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Discussion Starter #1
My wife has started to share my interest in firearms, especially pistols (gotta love her for that!) and wants to begin target shooting at the range. Yes, she will also be taking a firearms safety course. Since she has almost no experience with handguns, having only previously shot a small caliber double action revolver a few times, is the 1911 "too much gun" for her to start with? Considering its size, weight, trigger action, etc..., would she be better off learning with a smaller caliber double action pistol (what some might consider safer) instead of the 1911? Living in NJ (sigh), she will only use it at the range and for home defense, not for CCW.
 

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I 'spect there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Different women will be different. My wife did better with the working-up approach, starting with something smaller.

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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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My wife has natural eye hand coordination..but it's not her thing to shoot..My daughter however does shoot with me since the age of twelve..She's now twenty and though she has shot the large cal guns..usually at some guys insistance (pick up attempts..she models)..She loves the colt 22 and Smith 22 revolver at the range..I would tell you let your wife guide you on what she wants to do and support that.. After seeing what a bullet does to a human being..I wouldn't want to get shot even with a BB gun..So caliber is a not that important to me...Hitting your target is!
So be a patient teacher of safety and the fundimentals..Sight alignment, trigger control and follow through..And enjoy her company...Good luck, Be safe.
 

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FrankK. My wife had some experience as a child with her dad's .22. She was not put off by the thought of a firearm or my interest. Worried is more like it!

She shoots the 1911's with great skill yet they are not her preferance. They are semi-autos and she dose not trust them to function consistantly.

So what did we do to find a suitable gun? We went to gun shops//Shopping//and to gun shows. She looked at everything, held anyone that looked good to her. Assesing all.

What it came down to is a revolverthat gives a sence of reliability. Two guns ended up fitting the bill. A Taurus small frame and the Colt Detecive special. A four inch barrel was prefered over the two and that is what we got.

What dose all the above mean? We shopped together. I was supportive not instructive. She got the gun type she felt comfortable with in a caliber that has some stopping power.

For pratice she shoots 125 wadcuters and some jacketed bullets of the same weight. Jacked bullet tend to help clean the barrel of lead fouling if fired after the lead. Hence the cleanup is easer. For carry it is Nyloc rounds. She tried some plus P .38's but the recoil/blast was unpleasant//even with Uncle Mikes shooting gloves// and muzzle rise broke up the sight picture.

In the end we have a gun she has confidence in at contact distance. In sufficent caliber and power with modern ammo. Also, she can hit any target in range that she can see. It is really uncanny. With women hits count.

Sorry for the long post. I have found that women choose weapons on a long term relationship basis. It takes time and effort to effect and they expect duration in that relationship. It takes a bit to tell the story. Teal Blue.
 

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My wife likes to shoot my 45 Colt Gold Cup and shoots it well, BUT the recoil spring makes it a little tough for her to manipulate the slide. I think the hand strength of your wife has a big bearing on how well she'll do with the 1911. You can load lighter loads to deal with the recoil, but a stiff recoil spring makes it tough to get comfortable manipulating the pistol. If she can get comfortable with handling the pistol, I say go for it.
 

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If I were you I`d start her off on other, less powerful pistols. You can always "upgrade" to a 1911 design later depending on skill level, familiarity and yes, hand strength. Trying to start her off on a 1911 might cause problems with "flinching".
 

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Dear Frank, I think a 1911 would be a great first gun for her, or for any other shooter. The main reason I feel this way is the availability of numerous .22 conversions which are available. She can learn the basics with the rimfire and then graduate to the more powerful gun. Lightweight 1911's are available if weight is a factor. Stay safe, Gary

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The biggest offset to shooting besides excessive recoil for that person is flinching (both go hand in hand).If they can't hit anything they get discouraged fast.A .22 is probably the best place to start to ingrain proper shooting technique.Once she has a grasp on that,let her try larger calibers.If flinching pops up,revert to the .22 for a bit.My wife shoots my 45 quite well,but develops a flinch soon after.Hell,I think most shooters find themselves developing a flinch at times whether they want to admit it or not,myself included.
 

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My 1911 scares the bloomers off my wife. (No jokes please.) But she loves my Ruger GP100 in 38 spl. I think wheelguns are a bit less intimidating for a first-timer (and safer), and the .38 seems to be a nice compromise round, especially in a revolver.
 

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My wife shoots my 1911's no problem, they are 9m and .40SW. She refuses to shoot the .45. She had to qualify with the .45 in the Navy and hates the gun thoroughly because of the recoil. She is 5' tall and weighs 95 pounds and has small hands but handles my full-size 1911's no problem (as well as all my other handguns). Your wife will probably like a 9mm or .40 much better than a .45. Rent some and let her try them out.
 

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My wife's pistol for home and carry is a 5 inch all steel 1911 Gunsite Colt Gold Cup (used to be mine.... snif, snif). She shoots it better than any other of the dozen or so pistols she tried/rented.

HOWEVER

My advice; start off with a .22 rimfire of HER choice so as to easily learn how to shoot and safely handle it without the intimidation of a larger caliber's blast and recoil. Then go on to rent/borrow different hanguns of HER choice and let HER make the final dicision. Believe me, you can not decide for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all for the great advice on this forum, it is much appreciated! Stay safe everyone!!
 

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My fiance was extremely upset when I got my handgun, a HK USP 40c.

I took her to basic safety and training class, an excellent 6 hour course where she handled a 38spl confidently.

Then we went to the range and I let her shoot a P228 in 9mm, which scared her at first, but soon she was easily outshooting me.

I bought her a Sig P226 in 9mm about the same time I got myself a Sig P229 in .40 and we've been going to the range together ever since.

Recently, I acquired a Wilson Combat Compact CQB, but I am starting to get *very* worried by the way she looks at it and constantly wants to shoot it.

I'm hoping that getting her a Kimber full size 1911 in .45 for Christmas well make her back off my CQB, but I'm afraid they will have an affair behind my back, and me and the Kimber will be the outcast pair.

I had to sit down with the CQB and explain to her (the CQBc) that maybe we just aren't meant for each other.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

This all started about 6 months ago. I converted one! Her fears were all misconceptions, rumor, and baseless "statistics". She's a smart girl. Logic, fact, and cold hard truth eventually made her a believer in the 2nd ammendment. Yay me!

Neil

(To answer the original question, it depends on the woman. Mine is shooting my .45 more than I am right now, and in a officer frame/commander slide, nonetheless! She's about 5'6, 125lbs)
 

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My wife likes to shoot the L22a .22cal. She doesn't like anything above that. She's fired all my weapons including the 1911 and a heavy AR15 HBAR (wich she could not shoulder after a couple of shots
. ) I think she'll move up eventually after more practice at the range.
 

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I shot a 9mm 1911 that felt like a BB Gun compared to a 45...If she thinks the 45 has too much recoil then she might consider a smaller caliber...38super maybe?
 

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My very loving girlfriend has had some experience with shooting and has a [email protected] M-66 that she was fairly comfortable with shooting .38 ammo. We talked and looked and discussed, etc. all of the pros and cons of an automatic. I took her to several gun shops and let her handle Glocks and Sigs. She really liked the Sig P-239 in .40 [email protected] and I bought one for her.

We have been to the range several times, and she shoots this pistol exremely well. I let her shoot several of my 1911's, and she was not comfortable with them, although she handled them well.

I think that anyone, man or woman, who is just getting into the firearm thing needs a lot of special attention and instruction. Don't try to transfer your preferences to this person, but show them all of the options that are available and let them choose the one that they are comfortable with. There is alway time to advance to another caliber/type of gun at a later date.
 

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Sorry, I did not read all the previous posters' opinions.

The 1911 works well for my wife, but she practices with it when she can and stays current on handling and operation. For a while there, she was a better shot than me.

We do have a .22 conversion for her. She likes to warm up with it, then go to the .45. The .22 allows her to work on trigger control and grip issues. It is NOT the same as shooting the .45, but it uses the same frame and hence has the same basic feel and trigger pull.

The .45 is pretty loud, but nothing horrible and the recoil really is not all that significant in a full-sized gun. Recoil control is not about brute strength or mass, but handling proficiency. A 100 lb woman can handle a 1911 just fine, so size and sex of the person should not be an issue.

The 1911 is a fine fighting gun, but I would not suggest it for someone who is not inherently familiar with it if she is going to use it for defense. Regardless of the gun, regular practice and proficiency are a must to help assure a successful outcome if she uses the weapon for defense.
 

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The only thing that I would be concerned about is if her hands are large enough to reach the trigger on a 1911. I have seen male shooters who have had to change from the long to the short trigger, because their fingers were to short to reach.


7th

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7th Fleet, neat point. For my wife, we put on thin grips so that she could ride the safety while shooting even though she could already reach the trigger, the thinner grips made everything easier for her in regard to handling.
 
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