I was helping teach a firearms familiarization class for spouses at my gun club around the year 2000. The class was oriented toward spouses who had little familiarity with firearms at all. Unsurprisingly, I was doing the handgun portion. The course of fire we had laid out was very basic, just a familiarization fire, nothing demanding at all, given the projected audience.
One of the attendees was a petite lady who brought along the gun her husband had given her for home defense and concealed carry; it was a .45 Colt Commander. She could hardly get her hand around the gun. The pistol was not particularly reliable as she shot it and I had to clear several malfunctions for her. He had never gone over the manual of arms for the pistol in any depth with her. Being the inquisitive type, I asked her if I could shoot it, which she readily agreed to. It didn’t run for me either. It was loaded with the ammunition he had given her, which appeared to be a handloaded H&G #68 lead SWC. I commented to her that perhaps a different pistol would be in order for her. She asked if I would tell her husband that because he was at the club that day and I told her I would be happy to.
At the clubhouse, I spoke to him and commented that the pistol didn’t run very reliably. He admitted he had handloaded some ammunition ‘a little lighter’ for her. I also told him that a different pistol all together might be in order for her. He said: “I was thinking that myself; I’m going to get her an H&K USP Compact in .40.”
Although most likely it fell on deaf ears, my reply was: “Well, I was thinking something more like a Beretta in .380.” I don’t know what the end result was.
For me, that was the beginning of the end of recommending full size service pistols for novice shooters and non-dedicated personnel. The gun has to fit the person and their lifestyle or it’s simply not useful as a tool. While not malicious in intent, the end result of that gentleman’s ‘choice’ for her was not really far removed from those idiots that we see on YouTube who give a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with magnum buckshot to a first time woman shooter.