By: Kim Drake

If you’re a woman looking to purchase a rifle for hunting or a handgun for self-protection, 2018 ushers in an arsenal of new firearms that are on target as being both easy to use and made to fit the female form.

Many women hunters and firearm enthusiasts have struggled with rifles or pistols that are too heavy, stocks that are too long, and grips that don’t fit a smaller hand. With increased demand from lady customers, firearm manufacturers are listening to the female consumer and changing the way they engineer guns to better serve the needs of women. The following list highlights just some of the year’s best and the brightest new firearms on the market for those of us tired of compromising our shooting needs.

Shotguns and Rifles

Syren L4S Sporting
Syren is a company manufacturing shotguns specifically for women, and this year the L4S Sporting comes out on top as a 12-gauge that promises to deliver a fit and feel women want. The stock is designed to fit the female form, and a smaller grip was created to fit petite hands. Available in 28 or 30-inch barrel length, the 2018 Sporting is easy to handle, with the knockdown power expected in a shotgun of this gauge.

Weatherby Mark V Camilla Subalpine
Available in .240 Wby. Mag, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win., .308 Win., and .30-06 Sprg, the Mark V is perfectly designed for the female hunter. The little sister of the Vanguard Camilla, the first rifle introduced by Weatherby for women, this gun has the added improvements of being weather-resistant and lighter in weight. As an avid deer hunter, finally having a rifle made for me is reason to celebrate.

Browning X-Bolt Micro-Composite
The shortened stock length and short barrel bring the weight of this bolt-action rifle to 6 pounds 5 ounces, which makes it an ideal gun for women hunters. The safety is positioned for ease of reach for small hands, and its feather trigger is adjustable. It is available in 243 Win., 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, and .308 Win. calibers, and might just make the chore of lugging a heavy rifle around in the woods a thing of the past.

Handguns for Sport and Protection

A great everyday pistol for concealed carry, the G43 offers a slim design and a grip that accommodates all hand sizes. With its easy-to-remove 6-round magazine and ability to withstand abuse, this gun is perfect for women who want a 9mm GLOCK in a size they can handle.

Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard
My personal favorite, the easy-to-conceal, .38 revolver Bodyguard is simple and reliable. Recoil packs a bit of a wallop, but accuracy for such a small weapon is impressive. For revolver fans, this is a go-to for conceal carry.


Keltec P-3AT
After many innovations, this semi-automatic is touted as the lightest .380 ever made. Small enough to fit as a boot or ankle carry, its double action-only firing mechanism combined with a 6-round magazine is a great self-defense weapon for women.

Smith and Wesson Model 66
As a target practice, home defense, and general all-around revolver, the Model 66 is indeed a classic. Since 1899, it has been a reliable, accurate weapon for police and military use. Although its heft and size are larger than other handguns in this list, it is still an excellent pistol for home defense, and its synthetic grip fits like a glove in any size hand. It’s available in .22 LR, .357 Magnum, and .38 S&W Special, and most definitely has knock-down power bar none.

Heckler & Koch VP9SK
Sporting an adjustable grip and ambidextrous controls, the VP9SK is on the higher-end price-wise, but with its concealment friendly design and ability to hold a 10 or 13-round magazine, it might be worth the money. Interestingly, it’s designed for both left and right-handed people, as the slide releases are on both sides of the frame, and the magazine release can be activated via the right or left hand.

Never before have there been so many choices for the female gun enthusiast. The self-empowerment that comes from mastering a skill that is our constitutionally given right is one of the greatest feelings in the world for all individuals in this great nation, but especially for women.

Women who can protect and defend themselves and their families are a demographic firearms companies are beginning to embrace in their female-friendly engineering, and it is welcomed with open arms by those of us who want to keep and bear arms, without having modify our shooting and hunting style to accommodate weaponry that never quite fit.

Kimberly Drake is a freelance columnist from Minocqua, Wisconsin. Contact her at