By Jack Billington
There is a rise in concealed carry for women and here are the handguns that are leading the way.
The Model 43 was Glock’s first 9×19 compact pistol with a single-stack magazine. Thanks to its low recoil and good ergonomics, Glock 43 will suit many female shooters. I first learned about Glock guns from the publication of Phil Engeldrum in the gun magazine. He wrote that this new crazy gun, he saw in Europe, would win the market. He also said this: “If you need to carry a gun, you may need to carry two.” And he was right both times.
Later on, I saw situations where policemen or armed civilians survived when they ran out of ammunition or lost their weapons in the fight only thanks to the “second chance” that was provided by a spare gun. I have also heard that many policemen and civilians die or were seriously injured in similar circumstances because they did not have backup weapons. I have met small-statured women who not only fired well with Glock 43 but also chose this model as their main concealed weapon. In the qualification I did with Glock 43, I scored 100 points, including only left-hand and right-handed shooting. No one can wish for a better result.
The main purpose of Glock 43 is to keep the owner’s workload to a minimum, to be with her at all times, to be able to fire a shot or a series of shots fast and precisely while staying as reliable as possible. All these requirements are fully met by “the 43rd.”
Due to its fairly slim width, they call it Glock 43 Slim Line. The magazine has a very flat base plate which is not very convenient when holding it. But the extra magazine has the extended plate for a perfect grip (unless you have tiny hands).
The entire pistol is made out of polymer, except for the steel slide. The magazine is polymer as well with a steel lining for better durability. The magazine capacity is not that much, so you have to make sure you hit your target with the first six shots.
There’s no safety on the pistol, just a small button on the trigger, so you can only pull the trigger when the button is pressed down.
When the pistol is empty the slide goes back and gets stuck in that position. To make it go back to the standard position, you have to push a slide stop button on the side. It can be heavy to push so, to get the slide forward, after the magazine’s empty, you need to get it out, pull the slide back and move it forward manually. It’s a more silent way.
Caliber: 9×19 Parabellum
Barrel length: 3.41”
Slide length: 6.06”
Slide width: 0.86”
Weight (no magazine): 16.23 oz
Weight (empty): 17.99 oz
Weight (loaded): 20.64 oz
Trigger pull: 5.5lb
Capacity: 6 rounds
System: Safe Action
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
This weapon is comfortable to hold in hand, due to the low, deep fit, the recoil is not high, and the muzzle rise is minimal, even if the .40 S&W with high power powder charge is used. Holding comfort and grip stability is comparable to sport models.
Low recoil does not bother you when shooting for long periods of time. In general, the accuracy is high and corresponds to the level of modern pistols with a similar design of firing mechanism. However, users noticed delays in shooting when using quite popular Fiocchi rounds, and at the same time, the pistol works flawlessly with rounds from other manufacturers.
“For me, in comparison with Glock, S&W is more comfortable in hand. It is more effective when shooting, has a smoother and shorter trigger creep, more comfortable recoil and better controllability when shooting at high speed, and a wider trigger guard. Also, it looks a little more aesthetic than the “square” Glock design.” – Jessica, Thehomedweller.com.
Advantages: Constant combat readiness, high stopping effect of the bullets used, small size and weight, reliable operation, easy and safe handling, high firepower, accurate firing, low recoil arm and gun toss, no highly protruding parts and high corrosion resistance. Smith & Wesson is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of firearms, and this model is now in steady demand and quite popular with the police and the general public.
- Extremely slim and lightweight – can be comfortably carried all day
- Polymer frame with embedded stainless steel rigid chassis system
- Striker-fired for short consistent trigger pull, every time
- M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation systems for disassembly without pulling the trigger
- 2 magazines (extended capacity and flush).
The angle of the grip is 18 degrees. When creating the gun, engineers spent quite a lot of time studying human anatomy. The coating of steel parts and the slide of the weapon is Brown Melonite (hardness 68 HRc).
Many owners also highlight unusual ribs on the slide of this gun. The ribbing was developed by IGFS. The ribs are directed in one direction and have an aggressive shape. Thus, during the reloading of the weapon, it is possible to grip the slide securely. The teeth will not cling to clothes or a holster when the gun is pulled out by a shooter.
The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield gun is quite reliable. According to one of the owners of the gun, there was only one misfire during more than 600 shots, and that happened due to an ammo defect, not because of the gun itself. The pistol is easily controllable when fired quickly.
The advantages: Constant readiness, small size and weight, high bullet stopping effect, reliable operation, safety and ease of handling, low recoil low muzzle rise, high resistance to corrosion and absence of strongly protruding parts. The disadvantages include the complexity of the disassembly procedure.
Caliber: 9mm Parabellum/.40 S&W
Weight (loaded): 20.8 oz
Weight (empty): 18.5 oz
Capacity: 7+1, 8+1
Overall length: 6.1”
Barrel length: 3.1”
Trigger pull: 6.5lb
Safety: thumb safety
Barrel/slide material: stainless steel
Frame material: polymer
Glock 19 has an affordable price, excellent reliability, low recoil, and ease of use.
Glock 19, as well as other guns of this manufacturer, has high combat and operational qualities. In addition, the size of the gun, and especially its weight, are much smaller than those of other compact guns of its size. Nothing of the kind, comparable in its combination of small size and weight, ease of carrying, use, operation, reliability, and firepower, existed before Glock 19.
The 9mm Parabellum has a high enough stopping power, acceptable recoil even in relatively light weapons, small size, and is available in various bullet weights. This very popular and inexpensive round is perfect for use in compact pistols.
Over the years, I had other guns, shotguns, and even a few rifles in my arsenal, but I always went back to my Glock 19. I learned to shoot it well and I got used to it. It fits my hand just fine – big enough to shoot comfortably, small enough to be worn discreetly and the 15 round magazine is more than enough ammo.
I like the simplest GunMate nylon holster because it has a metal clip to place the gun on the belt. I often wear jeans and a T-shirt, and that’s the way to wear it.
Some people think this gun is too big to be worn discreetly, but I fundamentally disagree.
Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum
Overall length: 7.36”
Slide length: 6.85”
Barrel length: 4.01”
Slide width: 1”
Weight (empty): 23.77 oz
Weight (loaded): 30.16 oz
Capacity: 15 (optional 17/19/24/31/33)
Trigger pull: 6.2lb
Sig Sauer P238
Compact P238 is a product of the international arms company SIG-Sauer, namely its U.S. division, introduced in 2009. SIG-Sauer P238 is primarily aimed at the American market as a weapon for hidden carry, both by law enforcement officials and ordinary citizens, in situations where the minimum size and weight of the weapon are required.
The pistol uses a .380 ACP (9×17 mm) round which provides a reasonable compromise between small size, low recoil, and stopping power. The weapon is designed to emulate the legendary American Colt M1911 which remains popular in the US to this day.
The handgun features a stainless steel slide and high strength aluminum alloy frame.
On the left side, there is a locking mechanism with the trigger in place and a flag fuse. The slide locking lever is located on the left side of the frame. The Sig Sauer P238 pistol is powered by single-stack box magazines. The standard magazine capacity is 6 rounds, the extended magazine has 7. A magazine lock is located at the base of the trigger guard.
It should be noted that the sights are functional, though not adjustable. Two points of the rear sight are white tritium inserts, the fly is green tritium. You can see them perfectly both during the day and at night (perfect glow in the dark).
SIG-Sauer brand is in itself a guarantee, both with regard to the mechanical workmanship and the materials used. Since we are not talking about a sporting gun, but an object with which we must entrust our lives, I believe that quality is of primary importance and the price tag is more than justified. These pistols are available in a wide variety of colors, with different grips, so every woman can get the perfect option to match her aesthetic.
Caliber: 9×17 / .380ACP
Barrel length: 2.7”
Slide width: 0.81”
Weight (empty): 15.2 oz
Weight (loaded): 20.09 oz
Capacity: 6+1, 7+1
Material: Alloy, Stainless Steel
Trigger pull: 7.5 -8.5lb
Smith & Wesson .380 EZ Shield
The key word for M&P 380 Shield EZ handgun is “light.” In fact, the idea of this model is that it can be used not only by those who have experience with weapons but also by first-time shooters.
When they planned to create M&P 380 Shield EZ, the goal was to develop a versatile and easy-to-use personal protection gun, from loading and carrying to firing and cleaning. Throughout the development process, the focus was on key areas they felt were important – the ease of the slide and magazine manipulation. With this idea, the manufacturer reduced the effort required to rack the slide and developed a magazine that is easy to load.
M&P 380 Shield EZ can be disassembled without pulling the trigger. There is an indicator that a round is in the chamber, allowing the owner to easily determine if the gun is ready to fire.
The pistol is equipped with a concealed trigger-type, self-propelled (DAO) trigger mechanism. The barrel and slide are made of stainless steel and have an Armornite protective coating.
The frame is equipped with a Picatinny bar which allows the handgun to be fitted with a variety of additional accessories, such as a tactical flashlight, a laser pointer.
A fly and backsight with three white dots for easier and quicker aiming in low light conditions indoors or outdoors. The backsight is adjustable and the adjustment tool is included in the set.
Ammunition is fed from single-stack magazines with a capacity of 8 rounds. The magazine lock button is adjustable and can be placed on either the left or right side of the frame.
380 Shield EZ was developed for women and folks with arthritis or limited wrist/hand/finger strength, e.g. the elderly or those who might be recoil shy and in that respect, it looks like Smith & Wesson has done it all right. I believe, there isn’t a single criminal out there who would sign up to be shot with this handgun.
Other important features:
- Safety on the back of the grip
- Anti-slip structure optimized for round size and power
- Visual and tactile TLCI indicator for loading the handgun chamber
- Ideal size for continuous carry
- Slim profile lightweight design
- Armonite protective coating
- Marks for racking the slide with an increased contact area
- Easy loading of rounds
Caliber: .380 Auto
Barrel length: 3.66”
Weight (empty): 20.65oz
Trigger pull: 5 lb
Barrel material: Armornite-coated stainless steel
Handle material: Polymer
Gate frame material: Armornite coated stainless steel
Base frame material: Polymer
Jack Billington is a firearms expert, experienced hunter and shooting instructor. Jack has 15 years of professional shooting and weapons experience – firearms, archery, martial arts and knives. Also, he writes a blog on secretstorages.com related to firearms and personal protection. Click here to see additional articles by the author.