Lots of different opinions on the mouse guns... Seems the majority feel the .25 and the .32 auto are "better than a sharp stick", but not by much. The .32 Mag has some folks liking it.
Most people who comment on this subject seem to think a 4" bbl .38 Spl +P is the smallest effective fight-stopper. .380 auto with modern bullets has a following, too. With all the compact 9 mm pistols available, that's where I'd try to point my daughters.
///olde 8) pharte///
This is always a fun topic and everyone has their own ideas about "what it takes to stop the bad guy".
Obviously if we had to go to the gun we would want the biggest, baddest thing you could get at that instant. I would want it to blow them up and burn up the pieces, all while I was running safely the other way.
Not going to happen so what next.
I have owned a successful indoor range for 20 years and I have taught the CCW program since it's inception here in Az.
I have been and try very hard to stay involved not only here and for my civilian populace, but for the law enforcement officers that I teach and learn from. I have a unique situation working with both in that I have a first hand look at what is really working for us and them, LE and civilian against attackers, men and women, drugged drunk and/or sober.
I try to share that with my students and other instructors at every opportunity and to get all the feedback I can get in order to stay up on it as well as possible.
Calibers being what they are, I would give you this to think about;
If something we want to do or need to do is not fun or comfortable to us, WE WILL NOT DO IT. Or at least we will not do it as often as we need to be very, very good at that discipline.
So if a gun is too big or has too much recoil (or for women) it has too much noise, we will not shoot them as often as we need to to become good and to stay proficient.
My wife has access to as many guns as she can handle and she owns several in both auto and revolver. In particular she likes and shoots her sp101 and her glock 19. I even got her the 22 conversion for the glock and she loves it.
But the gun she shoots the most and now carries every day, every place she goes is her Taurus, 9 shot 22 revolver. She shoots it a lot and she has become very good at presenting it and hitting what she shoots at both standing kneeling from cover and while getting up from the floor or ground. The other and she does this on her own without my intervention is her Defender (mossberg) 410. She loves it and walks around our mountain property blowing things up to the point she has become VERY good with it.
The key to survival in self defense shooting is to hit what you have to shoot at. Noise and recoil and big bullets will not be effective under any circumstances. Iif we can't hit them,
we probably will not stop or change their intentions.
Would the 22 be my first choice, no but I just as my wife can hit nearly every time and under the most difficult of sircumstances with the 22 in one model or another. (remember the 22 has killed more people and animals than any two other calibers combined. So why do we continually poo poo it). I have personally killed a 5 pt bull elk with one shot from a nylon 66 22 lr with a hollow point bullet. One shot at about 25yards. Again it is not my personal choice but I had the shot and I took it placed it where it needed to be and the results were positive.
Same applies to the 25, 32, 380 etc. May not be the biggest or the baddest but they will cause immediate and very sincere discomfort when we hit the bad guy with a round or two any place in the body. They will give us the time we need to get away or call for help etc.
After all we are not killers and don't want to become one even under horrible circumstances.
We want and need to stop or in some way deter the threat to us or our families altogether or at least until we can get the cav to our side.
Bottom line, I do, I have and I will promote using whatever you will practice with a lot and that has to take into consideration physical abilities as well as financial limitations and then all the other things already mentioned.
I don't believe I have hijacked the thread as opposed to bringing some different ideas to the base question. If I have, I would be glad to take this some other place as I feel it is always good to get as much info and ideas as possible and remember the situation concerning self defense is always fluid and changing constantly.
No problemo. It is so common for us as dads or husbands or boyfriends to try to get the perfect gun for the people we love the most.
The bottom line is we should try to help but that is a choice that really needs to be made by the individual only after trying a lot of different models and calibers.
One thing I am sure you have learned if you have been around gun owners very long is that they will share with you all they have, willingly and gladly. If you have a range near you with a rental program, take advantage of it before you buy. If not, try to go to the closest range and visit with other shooters. If you have your daughters with you and ask those who may be shooting something similar to what you are interested in ask them and I'll bet they will knock you down trying to help.
Shooters have no equal when it comes to helping a fellow shooter and even more so if possible when they find you are new or that you sincerely need help and good advice.
You may find a cowboy or know-it-all once in a while but I am sure you would be able to spot them and avoid them and know that the majority are good, concientious law abiding citizens who love their firearms and will go out of their way to try to help a fellow shooter.
I agree with taking them to the range and letting them shoot several different guns and let them decide what they like. When I sold guns, I would always see men buying what they wanted and what they liked for their wives. The best gun for them was not usually the best gun for the ladies. Many could not operate the slide on some automatics, and the moronic husbands would say, "Oh, she'll learn."
Also don't think a woman can't handle a gun that actually has some firepower. Paxton Quigley has a training school for women, and she said that the favorite two guns of her students were the Ruger GP100 (.357) and the 1911 (.45 ACP). My medium sized wife has carried a SP101 in .357 for the last 13 years.
You asked for opinions on several calibers.
The .25 is a waste of money in my opinion. We had one guy here in town try to commit suicide with one. Shot himself in the temple THREE TIMES. Then changed his mind and went to the hospital. Pretty good shot placement. Pitiful results. A girl I worked with said her brother shot himself accidently with one, right between the eyes. Pulled the bullet out himself. So, I really don't recommend the .25. I'd rather get a .22 LR. More velocity, and penetration.
The .32 is a bit better.
The smallest I would ever consider is a .380.
The .38 is the smallest that I ever carry. A .38 revolver has very little recoil, is very accurate, and easy to use. No slides, no magazines, and the grip is small and easy to hold because there is no magazine running through the middle of it. The S&W Airweights are excellent, especially the ones with the shrouded, or concealed hammers. In my opinion the revolvers are more reliable, too, than small autos. Most women would not know how to handle a jam unless they really practice a lot. Honestly, they probably will not practice as much as you would like them too. That's why I would suggest a simple .38 revolver over a small automatic.
But, you asked for opinions, and like the old saying goes, like rear ends . . . . everybody has a different one.