Top Survival Guns For A Lady

Even though most publications related to firearms are aimed at men, there is no question that lady preppers need information about how to build and use a survival arsenal.

Do women need smaller guns with less recoil ? Is it harder for woman to learn how to shoot a gun and be a responsible, proficient carrier of a concealed weapon?

In personal experience with my first wife, and also female friends and colleagues that were hunters, champion marksmen, law enforcement, or military personnel; a woman can learn everything necessary about guns, and use them just as efficiently as a man, in any survival situation.

From that perspective, let me start this discussion by saying that there is no such thing as a gender difference when it comes to using guns. The idea that women cannot use guns, or that only certain guns can be fired by women just because of gender is as sexist as it is disrespectful and dangerous.

Height and Weight Considerations

{adinserter bph}Many people will say that the height and weight of a woman (but not a man) is important when deciding which handgun, rifle, or shotgun to select.

Regardless of gender, if you are small boned, not very tall, or light weighted, you may have a problem with the recoil from larger caliber guns or those poorly designed in this aspect.

Once you experience discomfort or injury related to recoil, it can cause you to develop a flinch, close your eyes, or develop other bad habits. Anticipating the recoil eventually leads to fear of the gun that gave you a bad experience, and can easily make you afraid to try others that would be perfect for your needs.

Hand Size and Strength of Grip

For revolvers and semi-auto pistols, you should be able to hold the firearm in a snug, tight grip with no fingers or palms hanging below the grips. On a semi-auto pistol, be sure that the thumb on your shooting hand can operate the safety and decoking lever.

You should also make sure you can easily operate the slide when loading the pistol. Hand grip for a semi-auto is even more important than on a revolver because your hand may jump upward past the grips and get caught by the slide when racking it. In addition, if you do not have sufficient strength in your hands and fingers, the weapon cannot be loaded correctly, which may cause it to jam up.

Important Tip: If the gun grips do not fit but you still want a specific gun, after-market grips or magazine finger rests are available for most handguns. The gun will handle better and will be more comfortable and safe to shoot with these accessories.

Particulars for Shotguns and Rifles

For semi-auto rifles and shotguns pay attention to the following before attempting to shoot the gun:

  • For semi-auto actions: make sure you have the strength in your hands and fingers to pull the bolt back, and then hold the bolt back until the bolt open stop is activated. In order to release  the bolt, you must also be able to pull the bolt back and release it, or push the bolt release button.
  • Make sure the gun fits snug in your shoulder
  • If  semi-auto rifles or shotguns of interest have adjustable butt stocks, use the adjustment lever or button and set the the stock to the most comfortable setting. In one piece wood or synthetic butt stocks, if the stock is too long, it may be possible to have the stock shortened, (but stay within legal length ). Or, simply purchase a youth model, which is a  scaled down version of the standard model weapon.
  • You should be able to reach the trigger and safety comfortably when aiming and shooting.  The gun should not move when you fire it or have so much recoil that it could knock you backwards.

Hand Size and the Trigger

No matter if you have small, medium, or large hands they must fit the gun grips. If your hands do not fit, then poor accuracy and injuries to yourself are likely to occur.

For example, too much finger on the trigger can cause you to move the weapon off target when you pull the trigger. This motion could continue to affect the direction of the bullet to off-target as the gun is fired.

Regardless of the gun type or shape, your trigger finger should sit comfortably outside of the trigger guard until ready to fire. For greatest accuracy, only the trigger finger’s pad section should come in contact with the trigger.

How to Choose the Suitable Survival Gun for a Woman

As with men shopping for guns, you will always have to consider the cost of the gun and ammo. Before you buy a gun, do some research online to find out the average price of the guns you are interested in buying.  This will help you bargain for lower prices, and also make it easier to walk away from scammers that think they can get more money out of you because you are a woman.

There are two ways to purchase firearms. The first way is to buy them new at a dealer at the list price or higher depending upon demand. You get a good warranty, but you have to fill out the Federal and State Forms to see if you can legally own them.

The second way is by private sale. There is NO paper work, but buyer must beware. The weapon could be stolen, broken or dangerous to shoot. You will not get a warranty, and you could wind up paying much more for the firearm plus repairs to make it safe and reliable to operate.

Best Survival Weapons for a Lady Prepper

Overall, the best weapon is one that you can control and fire with accuracy and confidence, as well as one that you can get ammo, spare parts, and training to operate. Before you buy a weapon, do some research online to find out which guns best match your needs, strength, and budget.

Next, you will need to test these guns out to see which ones actually work best for you. This can be done by renting the weapons at an indoor range or shooting them outside with friends on an outdoor range. After test firing, you may find the right weapon, or you will need to do more research to find a better gun for your needs.

lady prepper

All of the weapons listed on the table above are good quality, reliable, durable, easy to use, and  readily available. In most cases, current and projected ammo availability for these weapons  remains good or fair even after social collapse occurs. With this in mind I would safely recommend these weapons to any lady prepper at any level of weapon knowledge.

Now is the time for women to buy and learn how to use firearms. In a crisis scenario, you will need them for protection and hunting.

With just a little bit of dedication to finding the right weapon, and then a commitment to practicing your shooting and gun care skills, you will have a better chance of surviving in a world gone mad.


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Written by

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a "Southern gentleman" - the last of a dying way. He believes a man's word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Dear sirs, madams,
    I carry openly a .357sig (I can in Oklahoma and I am licenced) when I am going to a more formal event or party, I have kahr.45 in my purse.I am good with both of these weapons. When hunting I use a .308 for big game and a 12 ga for small game. Rabbits, squirrel, game birds. If are properly trained in the of these weapons you not worry about a little recoil. I took two deer this year h the .308, both shots dropped the deer on ran about 50 feet the second dropped in it’s tracks. I would say that if a woman has any worries it, might be carrying the big game home. But look at some of the sporting goods stores, they have things assist that problem also.

    • U are bad at shooting

  • “The second way is by private sale. There is NO paper work, but buyer must beware. ” In New York State that could get you in a lot of trouble, especially with pistols and revolvers. These must all be registered. If you’re considering moving to New York State, consider the restrictions on your guns. Do you REALLY want to live here?


    • Hi Roman,

      A .380 auto with modern defensive ammo is right at the limit for being a good defensive bullet . With Full Metal Jacket ammo this bullet is under powered to be a round that I would stake my life on. Also, we can all remember the ammo shortage of a year or so ago; you could not find much ammo for the .380 for love or money. If you could, about all that was available were .380 FMJ and they were unbelievably expensive. The 9x19mm round in FMJ still has better stopping power than the .380. The 9x19mm comes in many different loads with different levels of recoil.

      I agree that the Swedish 6.5x55mm is an excellent round with it’s low recoil and good knock down power, but this round is pretty much obsolete as an American hunting round which is a shame. I have owned a Swedish model 97 and it was one of the best hunting rifles in my collection.

  • As a long time police firearms instructor, I can definitely say women can make excellent shooters. They usually don’t have the male macho attitude and in my experience were much better students. One slight but very important correction to the article, the grip should be firm but never tight. A tight grip causes wobbles and wobbles are not good when shooting.

    • Thank Marty for catching my mistake. I do agree with you that women do make excellent shooters and better students.

  • I am a woman shooter who first handled a gun about 8 years ago. I have a CCW in CA, UT and NV. I am also a NRA certified RSO. In your article you left out one very important point. Don’t let the man in your life tell you what kind of gun to get. More than once, I have seen a husband or boyfriend telling the sales person that she would not consider a revolver because he does not like them. Ladies choose what works for you.

    Get involved in your local gun club, ask people to let you try their guns, most people will let you. Take classes, learn how to properly use a gun, get good habits from the beginning. There are several good training facilities, Frontsight, Gun Sight and more.

    You must also know your local laws, in CA for instance, the unloaded handgun must be in a locked box in the trunk (unless you have a CCW for that weapon). A long gun with a bullet button must also be transported with an unloaded magazine in the gun, many men in our gun club do not even know that one, but read the law.

    Yes, it is important to consider all the things mentioned, but keep in mind that if carrying on body, that a woman’s body is a different shape than a mans, and research and try what will work for you. Don’t be afraid to connect with other women in your area.

    The list of weapons above left out my 2 favorites. Smith and Wessons, (in my opinion I like their revolvers much better than those listed (I have 5). I also prefer my Sig Sauer over my XD.

    Also I highly recommend all women (and men) who consider carrying read: The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry” by Kathy Jackson. It covers in detail every category imaginable about carrying. The best on the topic I have read.

  • I feel one of the best semi-automatic pistols for any novice is the Bersa Thunder .380. That’s what my ex-husband & I both started with. They fit most hand sizes, have little more recoil than a .22LR, are inexpensive, long lasting, & very reliable.

    • I agree 1000%. The Bersa .380 is a very easy weapon to shoot and the best thing is I can hit a target with it. And if you are in a defensive mode hitting what I aim at is paramount to my way of thinking. If it takes more than one round to “stop” the threat I’ll gladly trade “stopping power” for being able to hit what I aim at. And as a nurse in the ER for many years I have seen that even small gunshot wounds can be problematic even .22’s can be lethal.

  • The limiting dimension for me is how far it is from the butt of the stock to the trigger. I have very short arms and I bought a ,223 rifle that isn’t comfortable to shoot although I didn’t notice it in the store. I have a similar problem with seat hight on a motorcycle. Short legs too.

    • I can understand the problem you are having there are two solutions to the problem. Any gun smith can shorten the stock for you. or can maybe trade it at a gun shop for an AR15. Uses the same ammo but has an adjustable stock.

      • I had a guy in the store where I bought it who said the stock was plastic and he couldn’t shorten it enough… My rifle is the Ruger .223 ranch rifle. I didn’t buy an AR type configuration because I thought they looked too menacing. Now I wish I had because I have since learned the stock length is adjustable.

        • I’m sorry dear, just assumed it was wood, My bad. There is a possibility that can sell rifle and get an ar15. I know you l loose a few dollars but will have something you can use. If you know some one who was army or marines they will be happy to show you ease of maintaining that rifle. Another option is buying a new stock for the gun that is wood. Search on line for “replacement stocks for “_____”

  • A study found that women in the states with lower gun ownership rates are 4.9 less likely to be murdered by a gun than women in the states with higher gun ownership rates.

    • Matt,

      When it comes to statistics – always look at who paid for them and their ultimate agenda, then stop and take a look at the consequences of what they want. For example, Colorado is in a mess right now because they wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on “gun control” that didn’t do any good. On the other side of the equation, women are being raped left and right, in ever increasing numbers in NY and NYC because these “statistics” that intimidate women from carrying guns or make it illegal put them at the mercy of people that will use any weapon of interest to carry out their sick plans.

      Also – I might point out the study in question is most likely flawed because they did not compare the ratio of men to women carrying guns. It is the lack of women carrying guns that increases women being murdered. Equality is the key to stopping gun violence; not disarming those who can become victims.

      In closing – each time you see these “statistics” on gun violence – ask each anti-gunner politican to disarm and disarm all their bodyguards. They will tell you they can’t because the gun keeps them safe. What’s good for the goose is also good for the gander.

    • Nice way to stay on point, Matt… or not so much.

  • Nice article, good read. I also like the Swedish round, and have several. I hunt with a 330 Win Mag for knock down, but I was surprised not to see a 30-30 included in your post crash ammunition list. The 3030 is ubiquitous and rounds were always available on the ammunition shelves, even when most other ammo was out of stock. The lever action is very forgiving, the rifle is ballistically similar to the AK47, and it deserves a place on your list.

    • Sorry, big hands small keyboard; 300, not 330

  • and remember; shot placement is the key that makes a threat stop. when my wife and i train its always on humanoid targets; 2 in the chest 1 in the head and its better to have one whether you need it or not .

    • Don’t forget if those don’t stop the threat, to take out the transmission. A car goes nowhere when the transmission is dropped. Same with a human. A shot to the pelvic region will immediately stop a man or a woman & it is very vascular so bleeding out is pretty much a given.

  • Good but cheak

  • Question for the ladies please: I want to start doing gong shoot competitions. Which caliber and rifle do you suggest? I am not a ‘large’ woman so something not too heavy and not with a huge recoil will be great. My husband suggested a Howa 223 20″. What do you suggest? Thanx