A friend of mine is wanting to buy a .32 or .380 for her daughter as a "starter pistol" so she can go to the range with Mom. She's considering a Kel-tec. I told her I'd post the question to you nice folks and see what other recommendations you could offer.
Well behaved women rarely make history!
The 380 is a nice little pistol. I had an older Beretta that was very accurate. However, I would suggest she look at some the the 9mm pistols. Recoil is not that much different, ammo is plentiful, and the 9 would serve her much better as a self defense pistol. You did not mention her age, but that is not as important as getting her a pistol that fits her hand well.
Sorry. She is 15. She's been going to the range for a few months now and using her grandpa's .22. She's also had a safety class already. At the class she got to use a Kel-tec .32. She liked it, but her mom is concerned about some of the "quality issues" she's heard about w/ Kel-tec's and wanted to check into some others.
Well behaved women rarely make history!
Please buy a 9mm. The ammo is alot cheaper and more plentiful in types, and the recoil difference is not much different than the .380. The .380 has a definite place, but as a starter pistol I really can't see any advantages at all of it over the 9mm. Not only will you in general spend more for ammo with the .380, but the defensive loads for later use are trying to make up for a marginal stopper (and I own a PPK/s .380). 9mm much more versitile and a "major" caliber. I think Kel-tec makes 9mm. I own Glock 26 which is in the same price range kinda.....BTW, the Tru-Glo sights really add alot to the Glock, and I'd consider these as an add on.
As a KelTech 380 owner (P3AT) would say the size of the pistol would be a good fit but she might not like the recoil. The P3AT is very thin and light. Recoil is sharp for an adult. Also, the trigger isn't too good for feel. The P3AT and it's 32 brother were designed as concealed carry pistols when anything else was too big. I do carry one for this reason. Never had a problem with it, very dependable but it is an emergency belly gun with every shot double actionand no sights to speak of. Not good for training.
May I suggest a Bursa Thunder 380 or Sig P232. A little heavier but better trigger, better feel and quality. OR, look for a really small frame 9mm.
I wouldn't rule out the .32 ACP as a first pistol for a 15 year old, myself. The recoil is minimal, ammo at least around here is not a problem, and if she has small hands the fit might not be bad. (I'm visualizing a skinny ballerina-type girl for some reason here and have no idea why.)
Have her try out a Walther PP in .32 ACP. I do not have large hands and I find those point well for me. She might also consider (if you can get one) an Ortgies in .32 ACP or .380 ACP. The mold to the hand is very nearly the equal of the Luger, and the backstrap grip safety is the best ever made in my opinion. She could do worse for her first pistol.
Just don't make the mistake of getting to small a gun(size wise not cal wise) guns that are to small are hard to shoot and to easy to turn the wrong direction and recoil more. if you go with a 32 try win silvertips. I like 380's but both are fine.
I think a .380 in the right pistol would be a good choice, but I don't think the P3AT is a good choice for the girl at all! I have a P3AT and love it, but it is something I carry a lot and shoot as little as possible. I am 6'2" and over 200lbs and I do not enjoy shooting the little kel-tec. It has a bite in that light, thin frame. Not terrible, but would not be enjoyable. Great carry pistol, but not a good choice for a training pistol. I would suggest something like a Walther P-22 or Browning buckmark. I just picked up a CZ-83 in .380 - that may also be another good choice.
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- Alexander Hamilton
Rethought this one and came up with this. Why not get a markerov its a nice size and weight. you can get them in 9mm markerov or 380 or even swap barrels, one for the other. They are not expensive and would be a good choise.
+1 to a .380 rather than a 9mm for your beginner shooter.
A J-frame S&W .32 revolver is a great gun for a smaller shooter. In .380 I like the Bersa. I was very impressed with this gun the first time I fired one.
Guess I'm out voted, but I'd still recommend the 9mm. If you're considering the J-frame 32 listed above, look at the new ruger .327 federal magnum with the sp-101. Great revolver, bulletproof, and fires the 32 H&R Mag. and .32 S&W. when ready for upgrade, fires the .327 magnum. This may not catch on, but offers decent ballistics. Don't like the .32 myself. Good luck.