Most Popular Handguns with Women
Top 10 Handguns for Women in 2022
A Girl & A Gun is a membership organization that works to break down barriers for women and girls to gain competency and confidence with firearms. At their national conference this year there were 739 handguns brought by attendees. A Girl & A Gun was wise enough to take survey of what was being brought and then rank them by popularity. The statistics below are based on that event. This gives us an interesting window into not only what is popular, but popular with those women who had the interest, means, and dedication to attend an event.
Given my experience after spending a year teaching defensive shooting full time, attendance of 16 different shooting courses, and having reviewed hundreds of handgun models I've injected my own commentary and thoughts on each model. My thoughts are merely an opinion, but I'd like to think that opinion is well-founded. You can see the original article by Robyn Sandoval here. Quotes below are from that article.
Where applicable we've inserted links to our shooting impressions (including male and female commentary), links and current pricing (rounded to the nearest dollar), and links to our other articles that dive deeper into some of the models mentioned.
1. GLOCK 19
"The GLOCK 19 was the most popular gun among women with 12.31% of all guns being this model. The firearm has a versatile size that can be used for defense, competition, and general skill-builder training courses."
Graham's Take: The Glock 19 is an easy choice and one that is pushed by many dealers for that reason. Once a pinnacle of reliability (most modern guns these days are equally reliable), the Glock 19 is a versatile size, but has been outclassed in the last few decades by many other options that offer better ergonomics, controls, or are more affordable.
Gen 3 & 5 as low as $449 (used) at Guns.com
2. SIG P320
"The second most popular handgun among women was the P320 from Sig Sauer with 9.61% of all handguns. Nearly one-third of the P320s on site were the standard model; however, 12.68% were the P320 Legion and 14.08% of them were the X5 Legion."
Graham's Take: The P320 is an incredibly versatile platform, allowing the user to easily change size and capacity without tools. We demonstrated this here in a test of how different modules worked for us. Our Sig P320 videos can be seen here.
Pricing: (all models)
$549+ (used included) at Guns.com
3. SIG P365
"Ranking third most popular at 7.84% was the Sig Sauer P365. Of these models, 58.65% were the standard model and 31.03% were the P365XL. When concealability is an important factor, the Sig P365 fits the bill."
Graham's Take: Just like the Sig P320 the P365 is incredible versatile with new options appearing all the time. I commend those who attended the event with what is much more likely their actual carry gun. This was a brave choice as loading P365 magazines isn't always fun or easy. Our P365 videos can be found here.
Pricing: (all models)
$449+ (including used) at Guns.com
As low as $359 (used) around the web.
4. Smith & Wesson M&P
"The numbers were split 60/40 between the legacy M&P 9mm model and the M&P 2.0 models."
Graham's Take: These are good guns and the last year or so saw a wave of police surplus models available for great prices. There's nothing magical about the M&P, but also nothing wrong with it. A safe choice. Our S&W M&P videos can be found here.
Pricing: (all models)
$450+ (including used) at Guns.com
5. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
"5.82% of the handguns on the range were a version of the M&P Shield. Of these models, 40% were the Shield EZ and 47% were the standard model or 2.0 version."
Graham's Take: With over 1 million Shields produced it's surprising there weren't more at the course. My guess is that several women attended the course not with their carry gun, but with a gun that would be easier to shoot and require less reloading (something I've done too). Teya carries a Shield 2.0 and appreciates the slim profile, but doesn't care for the sometimes unpredictable trigger. Our Shield videos can be found here.
Pricing: (all models)
$300+ (including used) at Guns.com
6. GLOCK 17 (not pictured)
"The GLOCK 17 represented 4.73% of all handguns that were brought by women to the range. This handgun is the “original” GLOCK pistol and still is the primary go-to for many women. When a shooter wants full-size pistol with 17+1 capacity and a ton of aftermarket accessories, the GLOCK 17 is an obvious choice."
Graham's Take: Glock is a safe bet for newer shooters as the availability of parts, magazines, and holsters makes this an easy gun to get into. A bit large for carry, but reliable and simple for course work.
$390+ (including used) at Guns.com
7. GLOCK 43 (not pictured)
"The next most-popular gun among women in 2022 was the GLOCK 43. Its compact, single-stack design makes it popular for concealed carry and for women who prefer the slimline grip, as a reliable alternative to the SIG P365 and S&W Shield."
Graham's Take: Of all the single-stack 9mm pistols reviewed or shot, the Glock 43 is by far the least-comfortable and highest-recoiling. I believe the "Glock" name made this pistol more popular than it shooting characteristics deserve, but if in a Glock household it's a logical choice. Because this pistol was so unpleasant to shoot we didn't bother with spending money to create videos on it.
$380+ (including used) at Guns.com
$358+ (Blue Label) at Primary Arms
8. Canik TP9
"In 2022 there were 1.85% more Canik pistols on the range than in the previous year. The total handguns that were Canik pistols represented 3.91% of the handguns brought by women, and the majority of those was the TP9 model."
Graham's Take: A spectacular pistol at an affordable price. The trigger might be a bit fine for newer shooters, but also commands respect and doesn't give time for flinching. As you know from our Canik Guide, we're fans of the Canik pistols. I'm surprised there weren't more represented. We have a wealth of Canik videos here.
For Pricing and models See our Canik Guide Article
9. Walther PDP
"Walther pistols had a 2% surge among women from the previous year and the popularity of the PDP contributed to this jump. 3.52% of all handguns brought by women were the Walther PDP. Note that the PDP F-Series designed for women launched at the Conference, so there were none brought by participants; however, this is a statistic to watch in the years ahead."
Graham's Take: Another excellent pistol with a trigger to pay attention to. I'm surprised the PDP-F didn't have a showing as it's reduced grip circumference and shorter trigger reach is a great choice for medium to smaller hands. Our guide to Walther PDPs can be found here.
Pricing (all models):
$510+ (including used) at Guns.com
10. GLOCK 34
"Due to its long slide that mitigates recoil and increases speed for competition, the GLOCK 34 is a popular model in the A Girl & A Gun community. Roughly 3.518% of the handguns brought to training were a GLOCK 34."
Graham's Take: The Glock 34 was my original long-slide experience. A long sight radius makes aiming easy, and the long slide stretches the recoil impulse while the longer barrel delivers more energy on target. These factors make a long-slide gun a very comfortable one to spend several hours on the range with. I too have taken a Glock 34 to a defensive course as a means of making the shooting easier so I could focus on the course materials.
$450-900 (including used) at Guns.com
Breakdown by Brand
The breakdown by brand of the 550 students of CELEBRATE 2022 isn't too surprising. Most of the leading manufacturers offer incentives for dealers to push their guns and spend more on advertising thus making them a more comfortable choice. There are some interesting surprises in this mix. I wonder what influence the gun shop or student's significant other played in what she brought to the course. Those are factors we can only guess at, but it's interesting information none-the-less. I'm curious to hear from you what your thoughts are on these. We've noted that some of these numbers are physically impossible based on the attendance numbers given, people have one gun or two, fractional guns are generally not an option.
Sig Sauer 20.97%
Smith & Wesson 13.40%
Shadow Systems 0.81%
SAR USA 0.41%
Wilson Combat 0.41%
Rock Island 0.27%
Black Diamond 0.14%
(note that some of these percentages are physically impossible based on the attendance numbers given)
Glock 19: 12.31%
SIG P320: 9.61%
SIG P365: 7.85%
S&W M&P: 6.90%
S&W M&P Shield: 5.82%
Glock 17: 4.74%
Glock 43: 3.92%
Canik: 3.91% <--Note this is not a specific model
Walther PDP: 3.52%
Glock 34: 3.52%
HK VP9: 3.11%
CZ-USA Shadow: 2.17%
Springfield XD: 2.17%
CZ-USA P10: 1.89%
Springfield XDM: 1.89%
Walther PPQ: 1.62%
SIG P226: 1.49%
Springfield Hellcat: 1.22%
Glock 26: 1.08%
I'm curious to hear what you've brought to courses and why; what influenced the decision. If you're wondering, "it's what I had" is a completely acceptable answer. When I started competing I used a 3.8" 45acp as a pistol because it was what I had.