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Thread: Caliber for me and her?

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    Ok I've got my heart set on a Smith and Wesson M&P and when I get it I really want to introduce my girlfriend to pistol shooting. What caliber would have adequate stopping power for me to carry but manageable enough for her to shoot as well? I've really been leaning to .40 because I want a little extra oomph over the 9mm. I'm afraid even a .40 might be too much for her because she's pretty small (5'3" 105lbs) so I guess my question is : Could she handle a .40 S&W or would a heavier .45 ACP be a better choice? If you really think the 9mm is the way to go then my buddy has a beautiful M92 I could borrow I suppose... What are your thoughts?

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    Regular Member MatieA's Avatar
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    My$.02 here:



    My 11 yr old 78lb (when soaking wet) daughter shoots my .40cal Hi-Point. I specify the Hi-Point because they are heavier than most other .40's, and can shoot it accurately and haves fun!!
    If you do not test yourself every single day,
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    Well like you said the Hi-Point is heavier so it would be able tosoak up a bit more of the recoil...but 78lbs is considerably smaller than my girlfriend so would it even out?? Would a lighter round provide a noticeablysofter shot??

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    KY Soldier wrote:
    Well like you said the Hi-Point is heavier so it would be able tosoak up a bit more of the recoil...but 78lbs is considerably smaller than my girlfriend so would it even out?? Would a lighter round provide a noticeablysofter shot??
    yes/no/yes/no/maybe -- individual sensitivity to recoil only correlates generally to height and weight. There is no substitute for taking her to a range and renting a bunch of different calibers to learn which she can handle best. For example, my 100 lb. niece can shoot the center out of a target with the same .357 revolver that gives her 145 lb. mother the fits.

    Most instructors I've talked to feel one should learn trigger management and sight acquisition on a .22 before you even start considering recoil, "stopping power," etc. Think of it as an excuse to buy a target pistol!

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    KY Soldier wrote:
    ...adequate stopping power...
    Dude.. 9mm.

    How many average or even above average criminals wear a bullet proof vest or plate carrier?

    How many are ALWAYS hopped up on PCP?

    Shot placement is what kills, not this mythical silly "stopping power" people are wrapped around. Practice more with a calibur you can shoot with percission, and stop worrying about hand mounted cannons.

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    KY Soldier wrote:
    Ok I've got my heart set on a Smith and Wesson M&P and when I get it I really want to introduce my girlfriend to pistol shooting. What caliber would have adequate stopping power for me to carry but manageable enough for her to shoot as well? I've really been leaning to .40 because I want a little extra oomph over the 9mm. I'm afraid even a .40 might be too much for her because she's pretty small (5'3" 105lbs) so I guess my question is : Could she handle a .40 S&W or would a heavier .45 ACP be a better choice? If you really think the 9mm is the way to go then my buddy has a beautiful M92 I could borrow I suppose... What are your thoughts?
    Your girlfriend and mine are about the same size, she had no issues shooting ~100 rounds out of my M&P40.

    You can also get a 9mm conversion barrel for it, and 9mm mags, if she doesn't like the .40S&W round. http://www.stormlakebarrel.com/barrels $160 for a .40S&W to 9mm conversion barrel, and would need to get a 9mm mag from somewhere.


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    Wangmuf wrote:
    KY Soldier wrote:
    Ok I've got my heart set on a Smith and Wesson M&P and when I get it I really want to introduce my girlfriend to pistol shooting. What caliber would have adequate stopping power for me to carry but manageable enough for her to shoot as well? I've really been leaning to .40 because I want a little extra oomph over the 9mm. I'm afraid even a .40 might be too much for her because she's pretty small (5'3" 105lbs) so I guess my question is : Could she handle a .40 S&W or would a heavier .45 ACP be a better choice? If you really think the 9mm is the way to go then my buddy has a beautiful M92 I could borrow I suppose... What are your thoughts?
    Your girlfriend and mine are about the same size, she had no issues shooting ~100 rounds out of my M&P40.

    You can also get a 9mm conversion barrel for it, and 9mm mags, if she doesn't like the .40S&W round. http://www.stormlakebarrel.com/barrels $160 for a .40S&W to 9mm conversion barrel, and would need to get a 9mm mag from somewhere.
    This sounds like the ticket sir thank you!! If I decide to go big do you think the .45 ACP would be a bit much for her??

    O and yes I do have access to a nice single action .22 revolver and the M92 Beretta I mentioned earlier to "ease" her into things.

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    My first wife was about the same size and preferred my .357 to any other gun I had. I don't think your girlfriend will have any problems with a .40
    "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


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    architect wrote:
    KY Soldier wrote:
    Well like you said the Hi-Point is heavier so it would be able tosoak up a bit more of the recoil...but 78lbs is considerably smaller than my girlfriend so would it even out?? Would a lighter round provide a noticeablysofter shot??
    yes/no/yes/no/maybe -- individual sensitivity to recoil only correlates generally to height and weight. There is no substitute for taking her to a range and renting a bunch of different calibers to learn which she can handle best. For example, my 100 lb. niece can shoot the center out of a target with the same .357 revolver that gives her 145 lb. mother the fits.

    Most instructors I've talked to feel one should learn trigger management and sight acquisition on a .22 before you even start considering recoil, "stopping power," etc. Think of it as an excuse to buy a target pistol!
    The part in bold is the very best advice anyone could give.

    People worry too much about the mythical "stopping power" of caliber and not enough about recoil control to allow on target hits. Common sense dictates that hits with a small caliber are more effective than misses with a big caliber...

    Please go here:

    http://www.spw-duf.info/handgun.html

    and note that caliber choice is #5 on the list of criteria for choosing a carry pistol. Caliber, although a factor, is NOT the most important consideration in a carry gun. And "knock down power" is a (in my not so humble opinion) BS concept that ignores the first consideration that only hits count... hence... rounds, no matter how big they are, that do not hit have absolutely no knock down power at all. And inability to control recoil effectively contributes to misses... not hits.

    Ok... "stopping power" rant /off

    But to your question... the best caliber that you and your lady could share is the one the most recoil sensitive of the two of you shoots the best. If you can handle a .40 or .45 but your lady can only handle a .380... or vice versa... then, since you are both sharing the gun, the .380 is best because it insures both of you will get hits... and only hits count.

    All too often I've seen guys make up their minds they want a .40 or .45 (or whatever) for themselves and simply expect their lady to deal with it. Or they buy a gun in a caliber they think is best and hand it to their lady and expect her to deal with it. Both approaches neglect to understand that the best gun/caliber for her most often is NOT what the guy thinks it is... and almost certainly definitely NOT what the guys at the range/gun shop/internet say it is.

    Please do take your lady to a range and rent a whole bunch of different guns in different calibers (yeah, that will cost money but it is money well spent) to discover which gun/caliber combination actually will work for both of you.

    If a happy medium can't be found then buy the gun/caliber that works for you... and buy the gun/caliber that works for her. That way you each end up with your own gun/caliber that is best.

    As an aside.... what I find devastatingly funny is when a guy's lady can shoot a much larger caliber better than he can. When this happens the look on the guy's faces is................. priceless!!! :what:

    Edited to add... although the above is good stuff to think about.. after rereading the OP... I believe I've misunderstood the OP's question. I was thinking he and his lady would be using the same gun for defense... but I see the gun would be his and his lady would only be using it only for target shooting? If that is so.... buying a .22 for her (and yourself in addition to the M&P40) would give endless hours of cheap range fun to you both.

    Sorry if I misunderstood.

    Gun control isn't about the gun at all.... for those who want gun control it is all about their own fragile egos, their own lack of self esteem, their own inner fears, and most importantly... their own desire to dominate others. And an openly carried gun is a slap in the face to all of those things.

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    Thank you for the input. I think the .40 with a 9mm barrell sounds like a plan AND acquiring a .22 pistol is definitely going to have to happen as well.

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    KY Soldier wrote:
    Thank you for the input. I think the .40 with a 9mm barrell sounds like a plan AND acquiring a .22 pistol is definitely going to have to happen as well.
    I may be biased here, but I think this is a good combo choice. As for the .45, I dunno, best way to find out would be to rent one and let her shoot a bunch of rounds out of it. I've never fired one, myself.

    (P.S. They offer an extended length, ported 9mm conversion barrel, I think it looks bad-ass, even if it's only for your girlfriend to shoot at the range. )

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    My wife and I both shoot .40. It comes in handy having the same ammo and even interchangeable magazines for our carry weapons (both CZ'sbut different models).

    That said, you really need to get her to a range and let her determine what works best for her. There is no advice which would supersede what you/she will learn at the range.

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    BTW, I was a bit disappointed in my M&P (.40). The polymer lightens it up but I really prefer my CZ (alloy frame). I went back to carrying the CZ and the M&P is now a house gun and more of a second-choice carry. If you have shot them both make your own decisions of course but that was mydecision after putting about 600 rounds downrange with the M&P.

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    Thats disappointing to here actually... I haven't fired an M&P yet just molested quite a few of them and really loved the look and feel of it in my hand. What was it about it that you didn't like??

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    My vote would be 9mm. It's a round you're doubtless familiar with, and it should be comfortable for her, too. I personally find the 40S&W to be very "snappy," which could be viewed as unpleasant by a first-time shooter.If she finds shooting unpleasant from the get-go, she'll quit going to the range with you.

    9mm isalso (relatively) cheap and plentiful, so practice won't bankrupt you. The M&P is approved for +P ammo, if you want to take things up a notch. I personally carry 9mm M&P, and I have every confidence that a good JHP round will do the job. Even if it doesn't, it has 17 "friends" in the magazine right behind it to finish the job. As Mao Tse Tung said, "Quantity has a quality of its own."

    Another option to consider would be the Sig P250: since it's modular, you couldswitch between 9 mm, .357Sig, .40S&W, and .45ACPand still have [essentially]the same gun. However, it would still cost about the same as buying two complete M&Ps.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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    Hard to explain. When I fired it there was a bit of that "plastic" feeling to it. Not really lack of control just a presonal comfort thing.

    I had handled them quite a bit, read good reviews and rented one for about an hour and a half (100 rds +/-) on the range before purchasing one. Accuracy was good and it seemed fine. When I started carrying though, it seemed that it was almost too light and wasy to forget it was there.

    That was why I labeledmy commentas BTW and "disappointed" rather than aflat poor review. I am not selling it or anything.Maybe it will be great for you. Visit gun shows, fire it if you can and do what "fits" best for you.



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    Eeyore- Good points but SIG for now is out of the question thats quite a bit of $

    ecocks- I understand what your saying. Maybe your just a metal frame kinda guy. I know that I've shot and carried for a while my buddy's XD9 and i like it so if the Smith is an evenmore refined version of that then I think i'll be ok. Too bad a can't justify buying a 1911..

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    Hi KY,

    I am 5'2" and started out with a Bersa .380 and after shooting at the range with it for about 6 months, bought a Springfield EMP 9mm and shot that for about 1 week before I won a Kimber Ultra Carry II in .45 ACP.

    What it came down to was how much range time I got in as to whether I could "handle the recoil."

    That said, the .380 "hit" harder than the 9mm but after shooting for a time, I developed the musculature to offset the recoil "hit." The 9mm was like butter after the .380. The .45, well bullseye on the first six shots outta the barrel :celebrate

    What I am saying, as you both get more range time in, you will develop the muscles to handle the recoil. Starting with a .22 target pistol is a good place to start, but don't be surprised if you are looking for something "more" within a year

    In my avatar, top to bottom, Kimber UCII, Springfield EMP, Beretta Bobcat .22 cal BUG.

    Also, instead of borrowing guns from your friends, invite them to the range with you and GF ... it is a fun outing and a little friendly competition will improve your shooting quickly

    Have fun and remember, you can never have too many guns :celebrate
    cheers - okboomer
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    okboomer wrote:

    Have fun and remember, you can never have too many guns :celebrate
    So true!! If only I were employed lol. Im totally living off of my GI Bill right now.

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    There is no good way to say what caliber will work for any person until they try it in a specific gun. Hand size, grip strength, arm strength, weightand any factor about the gun such as weight &grip-length will play into the recoil control. Even her personality (scares easily) can play into how she handles recoil. If her first instinct is to drop the gun you have a problem. :-)

    Like the above recommendations rent/borrow some guns and both of you try as many as you can. While the S&W MP series may be your first choice (and it is a good choice) if you can try other guns you may find that you or she likes another better.

    You can also own more than one gun, but yes start out with one you can both use confidently.My ex-wife bought a Taurus 40 and after shooting it once went and got a 9mm. I know another woman that OC's a S&W MP40 no problem.

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    KY Soldier wrote:
    Ok I've got my heart set on a Smith and Wesson M&P and when I get it I really want to introduce my girlfriend to pistol shooting. What caliber would have adequate stopping power for me to carry but manageable enough for her to shoot as well? I've really been leaning to .40 because I want a little extra oomph over the 9mm. I'm afraid even a .40 might be too much for her because she's pretty small (5'3" 105lbs) so I guess my question is : Could she handle a .40 S&W or would a heavier .45 ACP be a better choice? If you really think the 9mm is the way to go then my buddy has a beautiful M92 I could borrow I suppose... What are your thoughts?
    9mm would probably work for you and your gf.

    Are you getting the full size M&P or the compact? Is this your first gun?

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    I am trying to decide between the 4in. and 4.25in. barrel and yes, it will be my first pistol.

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    I have a M&P 9 in 4 1/4" and have a M&P 45 in 4 1/2". My daughter (5'4") shoots the 9 well, but not the 45 as even the small grip swell is too big for her hands. Firing the 9 is like nothing at all - very smooth, the 45 is more of a push. I did not like the muzzle flip of the 40.
    Rights are like muscles. You must EXERCISE THEM to keep them from becoming atrophied.

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