I haven't shot a Bersa Thunder, but I second the motion to at least try it. My Hi Point .380 may be the lowest recoil pistol I have...even among the .22's...but it's too big to carry, and maybe not the quality you want (though mine works and shoots fine.)
Bud's had some of the larger Taurus .380's...PT 638, I think? That might be a winner. Low price, but you might want to hurry...I heard they've ceased production.
Oh...and are you selling your 709?
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This thing is literally palm size, but the fold down grip makes it comfortable even for the average male's hands. 5 shot, low recoil, stainless steel, American made.
Last edited by CWB; 08-14-2015 at 10:08 PM.
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The PT638, like the Beretta Model 84, was subject to the manufacturer not importing them any longer. Discontinued usually means that they aren't produced any longer. With overseas companies, that makes a difference.
I have a PT 638 Pro SA. My grand-daughter, at 115 lbs and 5'4", is a willowy person. She LOVES it, to the point of shooting almost 2000 rounds through it in two weeks. She shoots it far better than any of my 9mm guns. ANY of them, and I have a bunch, as a collector.
Sekol is right though, as both a small person, and a new shooter, Jessica found that my Ruger SR-45 was also easy to shoot. She likes my S&W 625-3, but finds it, even with it's 3" barrel, "too heavy" after a few cylinders of ammunition.
It's not always the amount of recoil that is disturbing. Often, it's the report, the abruptness of the recoil, and the shape of the frame and grips that people find objectionable. In another gun of the same weight and recoil system, they find the caliber acceptable. Recoil is a measurable phenomena. It's based on bullet weight, velocity, and the weight of the platform. It's often the intangibles, not the free-recoil, that causes the issues.
My neighbor, the person with fibromyalgia, shoots her S&W Bodyguard pain-free. Yet, she finds my Colt Government Model .380 painful. The Colt has Pachmayr panels, weighs more, is a locked breech gun, and, too me, has a larger grip. OK, measuring both, it DOES have a larger grip. Yet, to the neighbor, it is painful to shoot because of it's "recoil". In this case, the free-recoil is LESS.
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One thing I didn't see in the OP's post is what the intended use is for his wife. If it's for Home defense - only - then the heavier firearms such as has been mentioned here thus far will work. If she intends to carry it, then size and weight will come into play. And whether she intends to carry "on body", as opposed to purse carry, etc, then there is another layer of logistics to contend with.
I recently shared my wife's stated request for me to teach her to shoot. But, she has absolutely no intent to carry - would ONLY be used in the house, the bedroom to be more specific, for just long enough to squeeze off a few shots but ABSOLUTELY NO USE beyond that. She specifically wants to use my TCP 380 due to its low weight and small size. Even when I mentioned the potential for snappy recoil, she still said she is willing to put up with that since she knows there will be only 7 shots. She has no intent to learn to change mags, reload, etc. she doesn't even want to worry about lining up sights - just point and shoot.
Of course, these are ONLY her stated goals now. After she has a chance to actually shoot a couple of guns (she has never shot a gun in her life), maybe she'll open up to more but - after 36 years of marriage and an absolute disdain for guns all her life - I won't try to push beyond her comfort level.
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I recommend a small revolver.
Easy to operate and reliable.
The ability to rack the slide is often a concern for many women, especially as they get older; I agree with the folks recommending a revolver... that's the route we went.
Looked at both the Ruger LCR and Taurus 605 poly. We wanted the .357 for those occasions I might carry it, while she would load it with .38's; and we wanted an external hammer for single-action shooting... chose the 605.
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if you like the 9mm, then definitely consider the pt111 G2....it is only slightly larger than the 709 and a much softer shooter....better ergonomics in my opinion.