Gun Buying Tips for Women
(Or for Men Buying a Gun for that Special Woman in their Life)
Women are increasingly interested in shooting — for safety, sport, hunting and competition — but many guns are designed for men. So, how do you go about finding the perfect firearm for a woman? The Arizona Game and Fish Department's Ben Avery Shooting Facility has some tips.

"One of the things we stress to anyone buying a firearm is that they pick it up and handle it in the store," says Don Turner, Ben Avery Shooting
Facility chief rangemaster. "You need to select a firearm that fits you — one that you're comfortable with and can handle well. Remember, the salesperson may not be as knowledgeable as you are."

Another important factor when selecting a firearm is what you will be using it for. For instance, there are many different types of competition pistols — and these pistols are different from the type of firearm used to hunt.

Turner also suggests that women attend the Annie Oakley Sure Shots program at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. This unique program allows women to get comfortable with firearms and to try out several different types. The following checklist is compiled from expert information and is designed to provide helpful tips for first-time lady gun buyers who are interested in recreational shooting.


All Models: .22-caliber long rifle, blue or stainless steel finish (more expensive), adjustable sights, 5.5-inch barrel and three magazines.

* Target Model P-512 22/45
* Ruger Mark II 22/45

* Buck Mark Standard

High Standard
* Supermatic Citation

Smith & Wesson
* Model 41
* Model 22A Sport


Smith & Wesson
* Model 617
* .22-caliber long rifle
* Six-inch barrel
* Satin stainless finish
* Model 66
* .38-caliber S+W Special / .357-caliber
* Four- or six-inch barrel with square butt
* Satin stainless finish

* Model 94
* .22-caliber long rifle
* Four or five-inch barrel
* Blue or stainless steel finish


.22-caliber long rifle, bolt action, with adjustable metallic sights

* Model 1903
* Model 1451 R Sport Target

* Model 2000L

* Mark I-G Single Shot


20-gauge, pump-action, ventilated rib, with a changeable choke
Note: All shotguns should have stocks checked for proper "fit" and shortened, if necessary, to fit the shooter.

* Model 870 Wingmaster
* Model 870 Express "Youth" Gun

* Model 1300 Ranger Ladies/Youth

When it comes to ammunition, there are a number of factors to consider. Turner says, "Ammunition is offered in as many varieties as there are firearms — and different ammunition is designed for different purposes."

He says that what often makes this area even more confusing to new gun users is the technical terminology. "For recreational shooting, we advise that you purchase practice-type ammunition for general use."

He adds an additional word of warning to be careful because "target" ammunition is specially designed for maximum accuracy and thus it can be very expensive. "Generally, if you are shooting a .22-caliber rifle or pistol, we recommend you purchase .22 long rifle ammunition as standard velocity," he says.

If all you can find is "high" velocity ammunition, that is fine. However, you don't need super velocity, Stinger, Hornet, or other .22 long rifle ammunition marketed for higher velocities.

The Annie Oakley Sure Shots women's shooting program meets every Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. Women from all experience levels are welcome — from those who have never touched a firearm to expert shooters. You are free to come-and-go as you please, so if you have to leave before 9 p.m. or if you cannot get there before 8 p.m., you are still welcome. For information on this program or on the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, call (623) 582-8313 or visit their Web site:

| WH Home | Contact Western | WH Archive |

Copyright © 2003 J & D Outdoor Communications. All rights reserved.