Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011

Women’s Favorite Handgun Brands in 2024

If you want to know the best handguns and gear for women, look to see what women are choosing to train with and carry. A Girl & A Gun (AG & AG) hosted its 12th Annual National Conference, SHINE 2024. Participants included 706 members representing 135 AG & AG chapters from 45 different states. The women were able to choose from among 400 training classes run by 109 of the nation’s top firearms educators. Training classes ran over 3 days, with an additional 2 days of lectures and leadership development.

GLOCK was the Title Sponsor of the 12th Annual A Girl & A Gun National Conference, and GLOCK was the most popular choice among the participants: 22.7% of all handguns used were GLOCK models.

All 706 participants were required to go through a “Gear Check” process where their handguns, belts, holsters, and mag pouches were all reviewed and function checked. In total, the women brought 976 handguns for training. Here are the most popular handguns brought by women who attended the Conference:

1. Walther PDP

The PDP from Walther was the most popular handgun model for the second year in a row. Among the 976 handguns that went through Gear Check at SHINE, 15.38% of them were the Walther PDP. More specifically, there were 76 (17.23%) PDP F-Series and 15 PDP (3.40%) pistols. With the PDP, Walther created a handgun with good ergonomics, SuperTerrain slide serrations, and a performance duty trigger, and then really changed the game for women with the F-Series model and its reduced trigger reach, reduced grip circumference, and reduced force necessary to operate the slide.

2. GLOCK 19

The GLOCK 19 is always a favorite at A Girl & A Gun events and it was the second most popular gun among women with 11.56% of all guns being this model, with a handful being the 19X. The firearm has a versatile size that can be used for defense, competition, and general skill-builder training courses. The GLOCK 19 is not only the most popular gun for women, but also one of the best-selling firearms in the United States for its magazine capacity and reliability. The pistols at SHINE included Gen 2, Gen 3, Gen 4, and Gen 5 models showing that it is tried and true throughout the ages.

3. Sig Sauer P365

Ranking third most popular at 8.86% was the SIG P365. Of these models, 17 (3.85%) were the standard model and 24 (5.44%) were the P365XL. When concealability is an important factor, the Sig P365 fits the bill.

4. Sig Sauer P320

The fourth most popular handgun among women was the P320 from SIG with 7.19% of all handguns. On site were 19 P320s, 7 X5 Legion models, and several other variations including compact and upgraded models. This gun is easily customized making it a favorite for women.

5. Heckler & Koch VP9

Making a big jump up in popularity this year was the HK VP9, of which 5.35% of all of the handguns brought for training were this model. Specifically, there were 22 standard VP9 pistols, and also some Match and SK models. The VP9 is popular because it has an adjustable grip, comes with 17-round magazines, is optics ready, and has an enhanced HK “light pull” trigger.

6. GLOCK 43

Another handgun making a leap in popularity was the GLOCK 43. Its compact, single-stack design makes it popular for concealed carry and for women who prefer the slimline grip, as a reliable alternative to the SIG P365 and S&W Shield. G43s represented 3.85% of all SHINE pistols. Specifically, there were 4 G43 and 19 (4.31%) G43Xs models brought for training.

7. GLOCK 34

Due to its long slide that mitigates recoil and increases speed for competition, the GLOCK 34 is a popular model in the A Girl & A Gun community. Roughly 4.54% of the handguns brought to training were a GLOCK 34. This was an increase from 2.61% last year reflecting that more women are participating in competition.

8.  GLOCK 17

The GLOCK 17 represented 3.40% of all handguns that were brought by women to the range. This handgun is the “original” GLOCK pistol and still is the primary go-to for many women. When a shooter wants full-size pistol with 17+1 capacity and a ton of aftermarket accessories, the GLOCK 17 is an obvious choice.

9. Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield was less popular in 2024 but is still very much a popular handgun among women. 3.34% of the handguns on the range were a version of the M&P Shield. Of these models, half were the standard or plus Shield models and half were the Shield EZ. The Shield EZ accounted for 2.27% of all handguns brought to SHINE.

10. GLOCK 48

New to the Top 10 list this year is the GLOCK 48, which comprised 2.49% of the handguns brought for training. This slimline model is very popular with women because of its concealability and reliability.

Honorable Mentions: Smith & Wesson 2.0 and GLOCK 45

Although the 2.0 was just shy of the Top 10 list, 2.17% of the handguns at SHINE were this model. It is popular year after year because of its variety of sizes and options, as well as a narrow grip that allows women with smaller hands to easily reach controls. It is comfortable to shoot with its extended stainless-steel chassis and a low barrel bore axis for reduced muzzle rise and faster aim recovery.

Another honorable mention is the GLOCK 45, which comprised 2.27% of the handguns at SHINE. It has a full-size frame for better grip and energy control, with a compact slide for easier concealment.

Handguns for Women, Chosen by Women

The following lists all of the brands of handguns that the women brought to training:

Popular BrandsPercentage
GLOCK22.75%
Sig Sauer20.29%
Walther17.01%
Smith & Wesson9.63%
HK5.94%
CZ5.33%
Springfield4.51%
Canik4.41%
Staccato3.48%
Ruger0.82%
Beretta0.61%
Shadow Systems0.61%
Kimber0.51%
STI0.51%
Wilson Combat0.51%
Taurus0.41%
FN0.31%
SAR0.31%
Dan Wesson0.20%
Luger0.20%
Stoeger0.20%
Accuracy X0.10%
Alpha/Foxtrot0.10%
Athena0.10%
Browning0.10%
Bull Armory0.10%
Cobra0.10%
Colt0.10%
Fusion0.10%
IWI0.10%
Kahr0.10%
Mossberg0.10%
Nighthawk0.10%
PSA0.10%
Rock Island0.10%

Depending on the topic of their training courses, e.g., concealed carry vs. 3-gun, women would bring different models that were most appropriate to the skills learned. Some pistols were very topic-specific, and some were used for general skillbuilder sessions with training that can be applied to both defense and competition. The following lists the most popular models of handguns that the women brought to training:

Popular ModelsPercentage
Walther PDP-F17.23%
GLOCK 1911.56%
Sig Sauer P365XL5.44%
GLOCK 344.54%
GLOCK 43X4.31%
HK VP94.31%
Sig Sauer P3204.31%
Sig Sauer P3653.85%
GLOCK 173.40%
Walther PDP3.40%
GLOCK 482.49%
GLOCK 452.27%
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ2.27%
Smith & Wesson M&P 2.01.81%

Here is how these brands have competed in the women’s market over time:

Handguns2024202320222021
GLOCK23%24%29%32%
Sig Sauer20%20%21%18%
Walther17%14%7%5%
Smith & Wesson10%13%13%14%
HK6%5%4%5%
CZ5%5%6%6%
Springfield5%6%7%8%
Canik4%3%4%2%
Staccato3%2%2%2%
Ruger1%1%1%2%

Popular Sighting Systems and Triggers

While there are more pistol-mounted optics each year, they still have not yet surpassed iron sights among women.

Sighting Systems
Iron Sights54.41%
Red Dots45.59%
Iron Sights
Stock91.91%
Upgraded8.09%
Popular Upgraded Irons
Trijicon24.05%
Dawson Precision20.25%
TruGlo7.59%
Ameriglo3.80%
Popular Red Dot Brands
Holosun67.64%
Sig Sauer11.91%
Trijicon5.17%
Leupold4.72%
Vortex2.92%
Preferred Reticle Colors
Red59.73%
Green40.05%
Black0.23%

Most women used stock triggers in their handguns, but approximately 7% of them had upgraded triggers. The GLOCK Performance trigger was the most popular, followed by Apex and Timney.

Triggers
Stock92.62%
Upgraded7.38%
Upgraded Triggers
GLOCK Performance31.94%
Apex13.89%
Timney Triggers6.94%
Powder River5.56%
Cajun Gunworks4.17%

Note: SHINE Gear Check Logs listed brands and models of handguns, belts, holsters, and mag pouches. No serial numbers or personally identifiable data was collected. No information on rifles or shotguns was collected during gear check.

Popular Gear, Equipment, and Shooting Apparel

Here are some of the other popular brands that women brought for training to SHINE 2024. From eye/ear pro to holsters, belts, and apparel, here are the popular brands that were logged at Gear Check.

Eye Protection
SSP16.23%
Oakley9.69%
Hunter’s HD Gold7.07%
WileyX6.02%
Ray-Ban3.14%
Hearing Protection
Walker36.09%
Howard Leight13.00%
Axil11.62%
AKT1 Sport5.96%
Peltor4.28%
Belts
Nexbelt30.35%
Kore7.74%
5.116.83%
Black Scorpion4.86%
Safariland4.25%
CR Speed3.19%
Tuff2.73%
We the People2.28%
Krydex2.12%
Blade Tech1.67%
Holsters
Comp Tac17.16%
Haven Defense7.59%
BladeTech6.27%
We The People5.83%
Black Scorpion5.72%
Safariland4.40%
PHLster3.52%
Dara3.19%
Alien Gear2.42%
Blackhawk1.98%
Apparel
5.1138.59%
Duluth11.92%
Wrangler3.64%
Columbia3.43%
Levi2.83%
LAPG2.02%
Vakandi2.02%
Magellan1.41%
Tru Spec1.41%
Merrell1.41%

About A Girl & A Gun

A Girl & A Gun (AG & AG) is a membership organization whose events are successful stepping-stones for thousands of women entering the shooting community by fostering their love of shooting with caring and qualified instructors who coach them. AG & AG breaks barriers for women and girls in self-defense, and in pistol, rifle, and shotgun shooting sports by welcoming beginners to learn the basics of safe and accurate shooting and providing experienced shooters with advanced-level opportunities. The club has members in all 50 states and hosts recurring Girl’s Nights Out at hundreds of ranges throughout the United States.

For more information about A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League, or to learn how to join, please visit AGirlandAGun.org. Follow AG & AG on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube, and Pinterest for social media and corporate news.

One Response

  1. Love to see this breakdown- thanks for compiling the data!

    It’s actually an invaluable resource. Now I know where to look when I want to know “What’s everyone else using when it comes to XYZ item?” It’s a great starting point when doing research for new gear.

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