The best gun for grandma might not be what you would think. In fact, with the landscape of the gun industry changing markedly, and manufacturers producing women specific guns now, a lot about the stereotypes and marketing has changed with regards to women and guns.
Furthermore, the old joke still persists - sweet little old Grandma carrying a dirty Harry gun, which actually makes more sense than it thrives as a punchline. We'll explain more in the article.
It's quite interesting the guns that Grandma would want, or feel comfortable shooting now, and we want to showcase some of the best of them.
The following list will cover a wide range of guns suitable for any shooter, but well placed for the older female shooter specifically. The characteristics laid out for inclusion shouldn't be taken as broad generalizations about all female shooters, but rather as a starting point for those who align with the older female demographic.
The specific situational needs won't generally be discussed in this article, as the shooter who uses the guns noted int his article will likely have a bunch of different reasons for selecting the firearm – who are we to tell them they can only use the gun for defensive purposes or only at the range, or just for plinking?
Therefore, read into it what you will about our caliber choices, style of firearms chosen and the practical or tactical attributes. Every shooter is different and so we will showcase this article to match that unique diversity and the wide ranging use cases.
Best Guns for Grandma
Smith & Wesson - 60 Pro Handgun
The most obvious gun on our list is this premium 5 shot revolver. But being a best in class option in a proven performance field for female shooters is not what makes this the best option on this list. It’s the several characteristics and the overall philosophy of this gun that wins it a top spot.
The Model 60 has a storied history, sure, and it's a well-known reliable handgun that has been in service for many years, including by most law enforcement agencies with history older than a few decades, but the reliability is just one aspect of this special gun. And this variant is a much-enhanced version of the original model 60.
First off, it's made from stainless steel which makes it heavier and helps to keep maintenance minimal. Any shooter can appreciate that. The heavier weight drops felt recoil a bit and helps to minimize muzzle flip. Especially when the shooter is using .38 Specials, instead of .357 Magnums. The reduced cost basis and the reduced recoil makes sense for most shooters to practice with instead of the .357.
The sights are proven performers, and they are still able to be used with any mainstream Model 60 holster. Quicker sight acquisition improves tactical value. The trigger pull, while it can be enhanced, is very good from factory. The ergonomics of the grip are excellent for smaller hands and the slab side barrel and fully enclosed ejection rod helps to minimize extra weight and wear and tear potential.
5 shots are more than enough for a carry type firearm and the user will be encouraged to learn how to shoot and reload under pressure to ensure the best performance in life or death situations.
Overall, this gun’s ability to be handled by any shooter; the potent cartridge capabilities; the easy recoiling of the .38 Special for practicing; the ergonomics and the minimal maintenance makes it a perfect gun for just about any shooter, with Grandma being a perfect target audience.
The firepower and reliability instill confidence; the good looks ensures a classy carry gun and the potent caliber makes sure that 5 shots will be enough.
- Simple and effective
- Proven reliable over decades of use
- Minimal maintenance
- Good recoil management
- Excellent ergonomics
- No CONS
Kimber - K6S Stainless
Piggybacking on the model 60, this handgun is even more straightforward a choice, because not only does it mimic the reliability and ease of use of the Model 60 Smith, it enhances the time to first shot and takes the safety and speed up a notch for shooters who don't want extraneous distraction during life or death scenarios.
The DAO (double action only) trigger and the overall design of the gun is meant to portray that this is a plug and play variety that is meant to do one task: shoot fast on target and stop a threat. There are no obvious extra bells and whistles. Where the extras get quantified, is within the base design. It's built to be a top performing pistol from the ground up.
A very nicely designed paddle grip pairs with a larger trigger guard which facilitates gloved hand usage better or may make it easier for those with longer fingernails to access and actuate the trigger faster.
The gun holds 6 rounds (one more than the model 60 above) and is shorter and heavier than the Model 60. These are good things. The heavier weight mitigates more felt recoil. The shorter size means it is more easily concealed in a holster or purse and offers a better center of gravity for control of the muzzle flip and for overall handling. The sights are meant for quick acquisition and the low-profile nature of the design means that you won't have to worry about snagging on unconventional holsters, especially those inside of a purse or clutch.
The trigger is exceptional, and the safety provided by a DAO pull means that when you mean to shoot it, it will be the only time it discharges. There is little drama or difficulty to using this gun and it's compact, simple, accurate and easy to manage.
Even though it's heavier than the Model 60, it offers an additional shot of .357 Magnum and it retains the title of the lightest 6 shot .357 Magnum on the market.
- The lightest .357Mag 6 shot
- Super simple and easy to handle
- Superior materials and build quality
- Impeccable trigger
Sig Sauer - P365 SAS
A more thoughtfully designed, bigger budget concealed carry gun, this is a great choice for those who want ultra-compact form factor and easy to handle ergonomics for smaller hands. The simplicity of the design and the robust build quality also makes a big difference for shooters who might lack wrist strength and tend to limp-wrist the .380 or the .45ACP.
The gun is built much like the other striker fired polymer framed pistols on the market but is decidedly without extraneous features. It's meant to be a very easy to handle and quick to shoot concealment gun with features that are integrated into the compact, balanced pistol to avoid snagging.
The barrel and slide are ported to reduce recoil; the FT Bullseye sighting system takes place of the traditional iron sights making sight acquisition easy and snag free. It's a great option to avoid adding the bulk of a laser and the snag potential of iron sights.
It's an ideal scenario for those without extensive training for accuracy and handling, where the basics are enough to handle the gun and the sighting system can help newer shooters to get and stay on target.
The fast "return to zero" makes the 10 round magazines that much more capable of dispatching the threat. The overall concept and delivery of integration and handling make the Sig P365 an excellent option for those who may not otherwise be familiar with shooting but need a firearm they can depend on. A best Gun for Grandma as it were.
That doesn’t mean that the P365 isn't also good for veteran shooters though, it's got all the necessary features and the history of a great gunmaker in its DNA.
- Well built
- Lightweight and compact
- Snag proof
- Accurate, easy to shoot and well balanced
- No real CONS
Smith & Wesson - M&P9 Shield 2.0
Another premium semi-automatic pistol that fits with the genre of this article but offers well above average performance compared to market options. This is perhaps one of the best pistols on the market for smaller framed individuals because it is purpose-built to be used by those who want an easy to handle, fast-acting and comfortable to shoot pistol.
The version 2.0 makes some much-needed changes, especially considering the ease of use features, including the trigger which was completely redesigned after a negative reception on the first iteration of the pistol. The slide is softened from an actuation perspective. It's easier to mechanically actuate. The central fitment of the gun keeps the bore axis low and the gun recoils mildly considering that it is small.
The laser is integrated into the frame and the gun is now a proven entity in the small concealment world. The solid build quality and the reactiveness from Smith & Wesson to make it better (hence the Version 2.0), makes this one of the most progressive and easily used compact firearms on the planet.
Major changes went into effect on the platform after users found the original to be lacking in certain aspects, namely the trigger, slide spring weight and grip/magazine.
Smith & Wesson has produced an excellent compact firearm, worthy of any shooter, and particularly good for those without the shooting history that some have. It's a great beginner's handgun, and it has all of the features non-beginners would also want.
- Very compact
- Integrated laser and good iron sights
- Better trigger than many other striker-fired pistols
- Easier to handle than most sub-compacts
- The trigger still isn’t amazing (others on this list have amazing triggers)
Ruger - Mark IV Target
Probably the best pistol that Ruger has ever produced, this is a legendary performer that just makes sense for those who fit into the characteristics of this article. It's a perfect gun for Grandma. It's also just about the perfect .22 pistol.
The author has seen more than one range rental MK4 or similar (older variants) with over 1 million rounds through them. Despite some small tolerance loosening, there were no other concerns (a couple of broken extractors over the years due to lax cleaning regimens). The gun is built to last. It's easy to maintain, though it can be hard to disassemble when the gun is new because the tightness of the build.
It is incredibly accurate, very easy to control and has some of the best ergonomics on the market. The cost to own and shoot the Ruger MK4 is miniscule. It will digest any round on the market and it is incredibly easy to manually operate the slide/bolt trigger and all controls. The magazines are unbelievably good and easy to load.
The iron sights are a true best in class for the price point. The gun is built to a very high standard. There really is not competition in the space for the Ruger Mark 4. The 5.5 inch barrel offers excellent accuracy and velocity; the stainless steel materials offer easy maintenance and the gun can be cleaned very easily once you get the hang of it.
- Unbelievably easy to shoot and own
- Inexpensive to buy and to shoot
- Superior build quality to any other .22 at this price point
- The best pistol Ruger has ever made
- Nothing wrong with this one
Benelli - M1014
A departure from the handguns thus far covered on this list, this is a perfect shotgun for Grandma because it offers creature comforts and the type of quality construction and design that any shooter can benefit from.
The Benelli M1014 is not only the military shotgun of choice it is also notoriously easy to control and the recoil is mitigated nicely through some unique processes and engineering items. The overall adjustability and comfort to shoot the gun make it a nearly perfect home defense for most shooters.
The 12 gauge is a potent offering for defensive purposes, and the full stock and pistol grip, along with the bolt design makes this a particularly light recoiling 12 gauge, considering it’s a lighter-weight shotgun.
The sights are the best you will find on any shotgun from factory. The covered, protected ghost ring iron sights are very easy to attenuate and are bulletproof. The rail allows easy mounting of optics of all types and the mag tube can be added on for a flashlight if desired.
The largest total length is 40 inches which means this is a highly manageable and well-balanced shotgun. The 18.5-inch barrel offers more than enough velocity to coax the proper ballistics out of any load, while the 6 round capacity is enough to handle most threats in the home or while on duty. Not that grandma is going to be on duty, per se, but it's a gun that's capable of anything. Given the right grandma, this is the shotgun she could accomplish her tactical goals with.
- Incredibly smooth action
- Top tier build quality
- Reliable and proven platform
Kriss - Kriss Vector Carbine
Another obviously tactical firearm that Grandma might best use in defending the home, the KRISS is a spectacular carbine that offers high firepower, but also some impressive handling and recoil control.
This carbine is also highly accurate, very well balanced with a very tight center of gravity and capable of stopping multiple threats without over penetration concerns.
That ought to help a grandma make the decision: the ability to mitigate friendly fire concerns in a defensive situation, where the .45 ACP that the KRISS employs has a special sort of historical performance. It can stop a threat but has low chance of penetrating through the target and into another with lethality.
The trigger is much improved, and the GEN2 KRISS Vector is a much-improved firearm overall. The sights and rails are perfect for changing tactical needs. The magazine is a Glock 21 derivative which allows a lot of flexibility in capacity and it means you are getting one of the most proven magazine platforms on the planet. The reliability of this firearm is exceptional.
The ability to accessorize the KRISS is unparalleled, from the magazines, to the multiple rails for optics or accessory mounting to the potential for suppression and the shrouding of the barrel. The stock allows for customization too.
- The 45 ACP can easily be suppressed effectively
- High capacity and excellent control and recoil management
- Great customization abilities
- It's a bit heavy for the type of firearm it is
It doesn't matter what Grandma needs a particular gun for, in this list, there are 7 best guns for grandma that would fit nicely in her arsenal. If you need the best target pistol for Grandma, we listed it. If you need the best concealed carry pistols for Grandma, we listed them. If you need the best Home Defense guns for Grandma, we listed them.
If you need something that goes beyond a role in grandma's purse or by her nightstand, then look no further than this article. The seven guns we chose for this article are superior in their capabilities and lend themselves well to a best in class status for more than just being used by Grandma. Have a look and let us know your thoughts.