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Most be­gin­ner shoot­ers as­sume the "safest" gun is a sub-com­pact due to its small size. A fe­male shooter with small hands may also find it eas­ier to prop­erly grip a com­pact or sub-com­pact than to grip a full-sized hand­gun. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that in com­par­i­son to a full size, the smaller firearms usu­ally come paired with higher re­coil rates due to the shorter bar­rel length.

FULL SIZE: Full-size handguns are equipped with longer bar­rel length and a larger grip. The longer bar­rel length re­duces re­coil and helps sta­bi­lize the gun, mak­ing it an eas­ier gun to con­trol even for a user with weaker fore­arms. If the woman finds a com­pact 9mm has too much re­coil, it could be a good idea to con­sider a full size in­stead.

COM­PACT: Com­pact firearms are con­sid­ered a gun be­tween full size and sub com­pact. They are of­ten used as sec­ondary weapons for law en­force­ment and mil­i­tary. Com­pact handguns have a bar­rel length and slide that’s slightly shorter than their full size coun­ter­parts, while the frame of the hand­gun is typ­i­cally the same or slightly smaller than their full sized coun­ter­parts. These firearms are some­times used for pur­poses of con­cealed carry.


Sub-com­pact firearms are the small­est of the three, they are widely used for con­cealed carry. While sub-com­pact handguns are por­ta­ble, they do have a trade off. Out of the three, they are the hard­est to rack and have con­sid­er­ably higher amounts of re­coil. Check your lo­cal laws be­fore con­sid­er­ing pur­chas­ing a hand­gun that you in­tend to use as a con­cealed carry.

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