I’ve been seeing from multiple sources, as well as seeing it myself, that women are buying more guns than ever before. Unfortunately, there are many folks out there who are all too willing to take advantage of those (including men) who are new to firearm ownership. First of all, if you are looking to buy your first gun, do not, do not, do NOT go anywhere near a pawn shop! Do you think for even a minute that guy or gal behind the counter gives a rats behind if they sell you the right thing or just something, anything? While there is nothing inherently wrong with buying something from a pawn shop, it unlikely that they are trained to help your find an appropriate firearm for you.
Now to that snub-nose revolver: personally I love them, but they are frequently sold to women due to their simple operation, but they are often a horrible choice for them. Warning: if you ladies are shopping at a gun store and the first thing they show you is a revolver, don’t walk, run to the door. Sadly, most gun stores are not very female friendly either; even if their intentions are good they still might lead you in the wrong direction. Imagine as a woman you go to a car dealer and the sales person immediately shows you a minivan, pretty much the same concept, they are making an assumption based on your gender.
Several months ago I was booked for a one-on-one training session with lady somewhere in her mid-seventies who had purchased a gun and wanted to learn how to shoot it. Well, after an extensive safety briefing she removed her firearm from the bag she was carrying and yes, you guessed it, snub-nose .38 revolver. Long story short, she had to use the index fingers of BOTH hands to pull the trigger in single action and could not fire it in double action at all. I attempted to tactfully explain that this firearm was not a good choice for her and offer some alternatives, but she rejected that saying she got a really good deal at the pawn shop! Long story short, she fired only a couple of rounds and the recoil was simply more than she could deal with.
When it comes to buying a handgun for self defense, only you can decide what is a good fit for you. Try out as many as possible; ask your friends, see if your local range rents guns; try as many as possible before buying that first gun. Beware of someone pushing you in the direction of a particular model, only you can decide what fits you best. Purchase a reliable brand, from a reputable dealer, sign up for some training and practice, practice, practice. Oh, and congratulations on making the decision to protect yourself and your family.