Increasingly, Grandmas are carrying guns. For self-protection, peace of mind and to exercise their Second Amendment rights. But what is the best Gun for Grandma? That’s a great question. We aim to answer that burning question in this article.
So why is it that most times when you talk about Grandma wielding a gun, it evokes images of a sweet little old lady carrying a massively overpowered and much too large firearm? But when you talk about Grandpa with a gun, images of Freedom fighters and war heroes with as much firepower as you can stand are conjured up.
Much has changed over the past 60 years in the gun industry and women are now a huge part of the buying public. Not only that, but grandma’s entry into the competitive aspects of shooting sports has been a long-time coming and has emerged as a successful campaign. More golden-aged female sport shooters exist now than in the history of the world. So, it’s not just about what kind of anti-criminal firepower can grannie pack in her purse anymore.
Today’s mature female shooter is more sophisticated and prepared than ever before. Gun companies have responded by building whole market segments around this culture, and there are plenty of female friendly, nay, female oriented firearms for “Grandma”.
In this article we’ll be discussing the different types of firearms that make sense for the female shooter in general, and some guns that have historically found male audiences that are now more than ever, appropriate for mature female users.
We will try to avoid talking about the minutia of where and when the specific guns make the most sense, and instead, focus on why the gun chosen is a good fit for someone who is female, and wants to shoot.
We think we’ve made a diverse list of firearms that would make any shooter proud, and fit right in with the modern female shooter, especially those with more experience in life than you young pups.
Without further delay, here are the best guns for grandma, in no particular order.
Best Guns for Grandma
Benelli – M1014 Shotgun
What great list of firearms doesn’t start with a modern shotgun that offers creature comforts, good capacity and lots of adjustability? This semi-automatic shotgun by Benelli can help Grandma reconnect with her patriotic side – it’s the chosen U.S. military shotgun. For a lot of reasons this shotgun was chosen, too. It has a plethora of features and characteristics that will help grandma stay on target, dispatch defensive targets and control problems on the homestead.
It’s noted as a recoil light firearm, despite being lightweight and easy to swing. The aluminum buildout of the receiver and the absolutely fantastic stock material (a glass reinforced polymer) keep it nimble. That’s good for Grandma, because, despite being a strong-willed woman, no one likes swinging a gun around all day that doesn’t try to shed extra weight. The Benelli M1014 does it right.
It’s got firepower that is unmatched on this list. The 12 gauge represens possibly the most versatile set of ammunition loads on the market. 6+1 shots of 12 gauge shotshells in the right configuration is enough for any animal in a hunting scenario (states have individual limits – usually 2-3 rounds at a time on hunts); any defensive scenario (00 Buckshot is quite potent) or a day at the range (low base; low recoil shells just make sense if you’re shooting more than 100 rounds).
Back to that absolutely fantastic stock: it’s got great adjustability and can slide forward to a more compact footprint. The flexibility is good enough to dampen the recoil of the gun slightly and the pistol grip offers very good controllability in any scenario. It’s super durable and isn’t afraid of being knocked around a bit. It wears very well and won’t show scratches like wood.
The receiver of the shotgun includes a rail that accepts accessories and also includes a ghost ring sight, which for aging eyes can help grandma get on target faster and more accurately. They are fast to acquire and easy to aim. They are also the toughest ghost ring sights on any factory shotgun, period.
The overall length is 40 inches, and while it isn’t “compact” per se, it’s easily handled by anyone, regardless of age or strength levels. The fact that you can shoulder the weapon makes it easier to control in an adrenaline-filled scenario and keeps you on target because you have two hands and a cheek weld. There is a slew of other tactical options, especially when you look at what’s available on the market in aftermarket parts, but the point of choosing a Benelli is that they are reliable, fast and performance oriented. They are the *durable* race car every enthusiast desires to find and own.
- Proven reliability and speed
- Excellent finish quality
- A legacy firearm
- Potent firepower in a lightweight package
- Not horrible on recoil despite a light overall package weight
Smith & Wesson – 60 Pro Handgun
There is no more classic gun for those without huge hands, than the Model 60 Smith & Wesson Revolver. This is the Pro variant and it’s something special. The classic traditional S&W 60 meets a modern take. Revolvers are reliable. Don’t you want your grandma carrying the most reliable firearm possible? The S&W 60 is one of the most proven revolvers in history. The double action trigger is smooth from factory and the safety is in the handling of the gun. If you want to fire it, you pull the trigger. If you don’t want to fire it, you don’t.
The Model 60 is powerful. It’s got a 5 shot .357 Magnum cylinder, which allows anyone to feel confident in their stopping power. 125 grains moving out at more than 1100 fps is a good starting point. But you can also shoot the much milder .38 Special Cartridges out of this gun for practice at the range -that way you aren’t spending too much on ammo and you aren’t shooting something overpowered for paper targets.
The stainless steel is easy to maintain and offers good balance, with the heavy weight of the alloy. Who wants grandma to have to spend hours cleaning her gun? Stainless steel is quick to get sparkling.
The sights are easy to acquire, and they have been proven over the years on more targets that just about any other gun. There’s a reason S&W hasn’t changed their sight setup on their premium revolvers very often. The sight picture is good, the sights don’t snag easily and they are super durable.
The grips are something special and combined with the clean polished finish of the stainless-steel frame and cylinder, this gun sure is pretty.
5 shots should be enough for a well-trained woman. Women are typically better shots than men, apples to apples. Who knows why? But you wouldn’t let Grandma get a gun without any training, right? It won’t matter: most grandmothers are probably big on safety training and smart enough to know what to do when they purchase a new gun.
- Law enforcement choice for decades
- Simple to operate, smooth trigger pull
- Safe and yet, quite deadly
- Easy to handle and ergonomically aligned for grandma with great balance
- No CONS
Ruger – Mark IV Target Pistol
Another no-brainer, this is not necessarily a defensive weapon like the Model 60 above, but it is among the finest pistols ever invented for having fun and shooting at the range. It is also perhaps the most durable firearm in existence thanks to a bulletproof build quality, incredible engineering and the fact that it shoots mild .22 LR Rimfire cartridges. That also makes it a pleasure on the wallet and the hands to shoot. It’s one of the best Ruger firearms ever made too. And that is saying a lot considering the 10-22 is a legendary gun (not to mention the Vaquero, Redhawk, Mini 14 and others that also come to mind).
This gun can handle volume shooting like few other guns on the market. It’s made from ridiculously durable and easy to clean stainless steel and can be disassembled easily by most people (in full transparency, the first few times you take it apart it will be exceedingly tight). After it loosens up a bit it will be even easier to clean, and yet it never loses that factory accuracy. It’s significantly more accurate than most shooters can shoot.
The ergonomics are like a hybrid 1911 with a more hand filling profile which most shooters will recognize as basically the perfect ergonomic profile. It has amazing magazines that maintain reliability even after many thousands of rounds and are a cinch to load. You cannot underestimate the value of a good, easy to load magazine until you shoot thousands of rounds at the range. Grandma should be able to enjoy her time at the range, not worry about refilling her arthritis medication at the pharmacy because magazines were too difficult to load.
Cost of ownership is absurdly low. The gun is super accurate. It will shoot any market available ammunition. The creature comforts on this pistol are without equal. The bolt is easy to actuate. The mags easy to load, the cleaning procedures are basic and easy; the ergonomics are top notch including magazine release and safety actuation. It’s got a lot to love.
The iron sights are very good. The gun is so fun to shoot and it will look like new for decades, and it is a legacy quality gun that can be passed on from one generation to the next. Grandma, are you leaving me the MKIV in your will?
- Price to operate is low
- Cleanup is easy and the gun will look amazing for decades
- Easy bolt actuation and easy to reach controls
- Cheap ammunition that is still satisfying to shoot
- Nothing wrong with this one
Kriss – Vector Gen II Carbine
Grandma wants to have fun too. And this is a multipurpose entry into the list with a tactical slant that is surprisingly fun at the range. The high potency, high capacity firepower that the KRISS offers is seemingly a lot of gun to handle until you realize that the entire system is built to mitigate the recoil and muzzle rise associated with the classic .45ACP cartridge. It is also a lot more versatile than previous iterations of the classic .45 Auto carbine.
It has built in accuracy helpers (including the proprietary muzzle rise mitigation system) and can be fitted with a great open eyes optic that is perfect for grandma to acquire a sight picture with and blows away the competition. No, seriously though, this is meant for hardcore tactical uses and it is about as good a home defense firearm for a female shooter as ever existed.
Grandma would rightfully be concerned about overpenetration and friendly fire potential. The .45 ACP is pretty slow moving and offers a lot of bulk, so it can mitigate some of that concern. It will likely not penetrate several layers of drywall. Neighbors, and sleeping grandkids are safe, while the ability to control the gun and the extreme firepower capabilities make home invaders not so safe.
The first generation KRISS trigger was a cool nod to the 1911, but this newer generation is much improved in usefulness and smoothness. She’ll feel comfortable firing it. The overall package is also quite accurate. It has a very compact center of gravity and the bulk of weight is in the center which remedies recoil, along with their patented rolling/rocking mechanism.
The magazine used is the common Glock 21 mag, and high capacity variants are readily available on the cheap. There are several places to put slings, lights, lasers and other accessories on the carbine, and while grandma might not want to overdo it with the accessories, having the option should make her pretty happy. Best tactical gun for grandma? We think so.
- Can easily be suppressed in a home defense scenario
- Very well balanced
- Easy to control
- Superior firepower
- Could be too heavy for some older shooters
Kimber – K6s Stainless Revolver
A more “modern” version of the model 60, this is a true concealed carry revolver and a perfect – read that again – perfect purse gun. That doesn’t mean men can’t use it, or women who use a clutch can’t carry it, but it’s really well suited to putting into a purse, and then subsequently removing it, without snags to deploy it quickly, safely and effectively. It is a great personal defense option – if you can handle the price point.
The key here is the robust and low maintenance build of the gun and the DAO (double action only) trigger pull. No hammer to snag inside of a purse or holster and quick to first shot because you don’t need to mess around with anything except pulling the trigger. The trigger pull is heavy and long enough to function as the safety.
While the Kimber is certainly good looking, it is a no-frills gun. That means it doesn’t have unnecessary frills. It is good looking, has great grips for defensive uses; the sights are top tier and the overall weight to power ratio is ridiculously good. It is the lightest 6 shot revolver in .357 Magnum on the market.
Six shots of .357 Magnum are a great failsafe for anyone, especially a female shooter. The recoil is noticeably lower with .38 specials, which fit in the same chamber/cylinder, and they offer a lot less overall costs to shoot. That said, the .357 Magnum offers potent stopping power and proven track record in defensive cases. That gives female shooters a good mix of low cost, high power and easy handling.
The K6S is surprisingly slim for a revolver and offers smart engineering to keep snags and hiccups to a minimum. All this while doing the job very well. It is an obvious modern classic.
- Simple operation
- Slimmer than you might expect
- Great stopping power
- Cheap range rounds
- DAO is safe and effective
Sig Sauer – P365 SAS
This is a very interesting gun that has gotten a lot of press because it’s helping to push forward more innovation in a market that frankly has become a bit stagnant.
Along the same lines as the above Kimber K6S, this is meant to be DAO and completely snag free. Arguably, the Sig has even better sights than the Kimber and offers the striker fired platform to compact firearm carriers. The trigger acts as the safety; the pistol is also built to be very intuitive and frill-free – to improve focus and first shot timelines.
It has no surface that can snag for the most part, and even incorporates a Meprolight sight that offers an enclosed, ring/dot setup to ensure that you stay on target without risking holdups during de-holstering.
Ten shots of 9mm in such a compact form factor mans this is a Concealed carry dream, and it will be more than just grandma who will want one. The size is made to fit anywhere. It’s only 5.8 inches long overall, with a 3″ barrel.
There is no slide stop, and this is probably even better suited to a woman’s hands, or for shooter who do not like shifting a pistol in hand to release the slide to chamber new rounds. This pistol requires that you pull and release the slide upon mag hold open. This means that you stay integrated with the gun during use and that the usage of it teaches good defensive pistol fundamentals.
- Very good looking and smooth
- Well made
- Innovative, but not risky
- Good firepower to size/weight ratio
- No real CONS
Smith & Wesson – M&P9 Shield 2.0
This is the obvious choice on the list. If you (or grandma) prefers a semi-auto that is made for concealed carry, this is a very good option. Especially considering the feedback and upgrades that integrate into the life cycle of this model. This is a gun that has been specially built to meet consumer demands and has evolved over time.
It also happened to be built on a platform of pistol that was already a top tier offering in the market. The Shield is a compact, firearm that offers very slim profile, a decent capacity of 9mm cartridges (7+1) and is mean to be easily handled by any concealed carry advocate.
The trigger and slide spring are both made to be easily manipulated by small hands or in a way that is smooth and easy to do. The ergonomics fit with female hand sizes and the gun doesn’t require the user to shift it in their hand in order to get the controls actuated and manipulated. The bore axis is lower than most mainstream guns and the sights are easy to use, despite being low-profile and seemingly a bit of an afterthought – that said, they are tough.
This is a higher quality answer from Smith & Wesson to the Compact carry semi-automatics from Ruger. While the Ruger gets by on its utility, the Smith needed a bit more functionality to make a splash in the market. But Smith & Wesson added great functions, including a very good magazine fitment and extension; an integrated laser into the frame and excellent sizing and snag-proofing. It’s been a very notable competitor to Ruger’s lineup.
- Size fits most female hands (also fits in larger hands well thanks to the magazine extension plate)
- Integrated laser makes the gun easy to get to first shot for those with less experience in shooting; or during adrenaline-filled scenarios
- Good size for capacity and functionality
- A great secondary gun for many people, but capable as a primary weapon in concealed carry
- Trigger is just OK
Grandma has a lot to consider. Firstly, when choosing a gun, she’ll want to determine what her use cases cover and then move from there to deciding on form factors and styles of guns. Whatever she chooses, these guns have offered a wide range of capabilities and present a high-quality basis for choosing such a firearm.
Grandma isn’t the only one who can benefit from this list either. The guns might be well suited to those with smaller hands, purse stowing needs and who might not appreciate as much average recoil, these are generally desirable attributes at some level by many shooters. So, what’s good for grandma, is also good for the broader market. The best gun for grandma is also potentially the best gun for you.