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Best Rifles & Shotguns for Women (From a Woman)

Looking for the best long guns for ladies? We cover our favorite rifles and shotguns that are lighter, have a shorter length of pull, and reduced recoil.

Information for female shooters has come a long, long way over the past decade or so.

These days, it’s easy to find lists of recommended guns for women, and lots of those lists are even actually written by women!

Hunting Doves
Alice is one of many women in the writing crew here at Pew Pew Tactical

But most of those lists are exclusively made up of handguns or only include a rifle or two.

This is great for women interested in pistols and revolvers.

Concealed Carry Glock 19
A lot of articles feature handguns…

But it almost completely ignores the fact that many women want long guns for a variety of reasons, like hunting, home defense, competition, and just shooting for fun.

Resources like The Well Armed Woman and Shoot Like a Girl have made it easy for women shooters to learn from other women shooters.

Even many non-gender-specific firearms resources have stopped assuming that firearm enthusiasts = male.

Elk Hunting 5.11 Backpack
Women need outdoor and firearms stuff too!

Today I’m going to help rectify the lack of recommendations by giving you a few recommendations for long guns that are great for women.

If you think of another that merits a place on this list, let me know in the comments at the end of this post!

Corgi Typing
Y’all coming for me in the comments.

But before we move on to my recommendations, let’s start by talking about what women should look for in a long gun.

Table of Contents


What to Look For

As a general rule, most women benefit from long guns with a few features:

  • Short length of pull (LOP)
  • Moderate to low recoil
  • Lightweight construction

Women, on average, have smaller builds and lower upper body strength, so the above features make it easier to handle, aim, and carry the gun, especially over longer periods.

Womens Concealed Carry AIWB
Women come in all shapes and sizes and what works for one…might not work for another.

None of this is to say that all women should only use guns with these features and that no men benefit from these types of long guns.

Stronger or broader women may find that they prefer larger, heavier guns than the ones I’ve listed here. Narrower, less bulky men may find these recommendations very helpful too.

Ultimately, choosing the best firearm is a personal decision. It should be based on what’s most comfortable and effective for you, not what other people think.

Best Rifles & Shotguns for Women

1. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7

Pretty much any AR-15 is going to be relatively small and lightweight, but the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 is especially so, weighing in at just 6.2 pounds.

(Note: there is a lightweight version that weighs a little less, at 6.05 pounds)

Aimpoint Comp M5 on Daniel Defense DDM4 V7
Daniel Defense DDM4 V7, pictured here, weighs ever so slightly more than the LW version.

It has an eight-position adjustable stock that allows the length of pull to be adjusted between 10.5-inches and 13.25-inches and the overall length of the rifle to go from 32.25-inches to 35.875-inches.

This allows you to customize the length to your build and comfort.

Soft-touch over-molding on the stock and pistol grip makes the rifle even more comfortable to hold and mitigates recoil.

Daniel Defense DDM4V7 Handguard, Muzzle Brake

The rifle’s barrel is 16-inches — the shortest you can get without being classified as a short-barrel rifle. (Remember, short-barreled rifles fall under the National Firearms Act.)

That shorter barrel makes the rifle easier to balance, giving you an advantage in maneuverability in a home defense situation.

Daniel Defense DDM4V7 Forend
Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Forend and Muzzle Brake

If you want a rifle with an even shorter barrel and can swim through the NFA bureaucracy, Daniel Defense also offers rifles on the DDM4 platform with 10.3-inch, 11.5-inch, and 14.5-inch barrels.

The DDM4 V7 LW comes without sights, but you can attach your preferred ones to the uninterrupted Picatinny rail that runs the length of the top of the rifle.

A Couple AR-15 Optics
You got some options…

You can attach your other favorite accessories to the 15-inch free-floating M-LOK handguard.

Our list of the Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics will come in handy when you’re looking to set your rifle up!

at Daniel Defense

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

John tested out the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 in a recent review. Or, you can watch the full video review below.

2. Ruger Precision Rifle

When it comes to shooting at the range, needs are too varied to recommend just one rifle.

So, I’m offering up two suggestions from Ruger to meet a couple of different sets of needs (and it was hard enough narrowing it down to just these two).

The first rifle is a great choice for most competitions and more serious recreational shooting, while the second is perfect for rimfire competition and plinking.

ruger precision rifle
The astoundingly-affordable Ruger Precision Rifle in .308.

Depending on your needs, get one or the other, or get both to completely cover your range time bases.

The Ruger Precision Rifle is one of the most popular and best-reviewed rifles, especially at its price point.

Excellent bill and ted

It was first released a few years back, and it’s an excellent choice for competition shooters.

This rifle measures bigger than the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 LW, but like the V7 LW, the Ruger Precision Rifle features an adjustable buttstock.

However, the Precision Rifle’s stock is also folding and allows you to adjust the comb height.

Ruger Precision Rifle (8)
Folding Buttstock

The dimensions vary slightly from caliber to caliber. In .308 Win, the smallest configuration available, the rifle’s length of pull can be adjusted between 12-inches and 15.5-inches.

Overall length varies from 39.25 to 42.75-inches.

The barrel sits at 20-inches.

Ruger Precision Rifle (2)
Ruger Precision Rifle muzzle

The rifle weighs 9.8-pounds, so if you lack upper body strength, you might want to look into a bipod to help you manage the weight.

(Of course, we have an article on bipods to help you pick one!)

You’ll definitely want something to help you if you choose one of the larger caliber configurations, which are even heavier.

Regardless of the caliber, the rifle has an in-line recoil path from the receiver to the buttstock, reducing felt recoil.

Ruger Precision Rifle (3)

A Picatinny rail and 15-inch free-floating M-LOK handguard allow you to use your preferred accessories.

The Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger allows you to adjust the trigger weight between 2.25 and 5 pounds.

For more info, see our full review on the Ruger Precision Rifle!

Best Long-Range Beginner's Bang For The Buck
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What’s your take on the Ruger Precision?

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (1001)

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3. Ruger Precision Rimfire

Now, if you’re a rimfire competitor or just want to plink, Ruger has you covered with the Precision Rifle’s kid brother — the Ruger Precision Rimfire.

Released at the beginning of 2018, the Precision Rimfire is essentially a scaled-down version of the Precision Rifle for use with rimfire rounds.

Rimfire vs Centerfire Cartridges
Rimfire vs Centerfire Cartridges

It has the same Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger and an adjustable (but not folding) stock.

The length of pull can be adjusted between 12-inches and 15.5-inches, and the overall length adjusts accordingly between 35-inches and 38.5-inches with a 20-inch barrel.

Ruger Precision Rimfire Rifle
Ruger Precision Rimfire Rifle

This rifle also features a Picatinny rail and a 15-inch free-floating M-LOK handguard.

While the Precision Rimfire doesn’t have the same in-line recoil path as the Precision Rifle, it’s not a problem since recoil from rimfire cartridges is already minimal.

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Savage 110 Lightweight Storm

The Savage 110 Lightweight Storm is another rifle with an adjustable stock — though not as adjustable as any of the rifles we’ve already discussed.

Its length of pull can be adjusted between 12.75-inches and 13.75-inches, with a total length ranging between 39.25-inches and 40.25-inches.

This gun’s stock also features interchangeable comb height spacers as opposed to a comb with adjustable height.

The spacers aren’t as quick, but that’s not an issue since you’ll be using this rifle for hunting.

With a relatively short barrel (20-inches) and overall length, and a weight of just 5.65 pounds, the rifle is still small enough to be manageable.

It can easily be taken out traipsing through the woods or into a tree stand or blind.

Rhino 180 See Through Blind
Rhino 180 See Through Blind

The rifle opts for a user-adjustable AccuTrigger. This trigger helps minimize the chances of an accidental discharge should the rifle get dropped or jostled.

Checker textured panels on the wrist of the rifle help even diminutive shooters keep a firm grip.

It has no sights, so you can attach your preferred optic without interference.

With models chambered for .270 Win, .223 Rem, .308 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .243 Win, you have options for a wide variety of game.

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. Franchi Affinity Catalyst

The Affinity Catalyst is designed for women shooters based on Franchi’s existing Affinity line of semiautomatic shotguns.

And I don’t mean that it’s just a pink, short-stocked version of the parent gun…like most firearms for women tend to be.

Bunch of Pink Guns
What most women are used to in the gun world.

For one, Franchi overhauled the design of the Affinity’s stock.

The shape fits better in women’s hands, and the comb is higher to give a better cheek weld with women’s higher cheekbones.

It’s also shorter to reduce the length of pull to just 13.875-inches.

Like the original Affinity, the Affinity Catalyst is inertia-driven.

Franchi Ambassador Tina Dokken with the Affinity Catalyst.

What does that mean?

Well, it reduces felt recoil and offers fewer moving parts than similarly sized gas guns. This makes it lighter.

The Affinity Catalyst is available in both 12-gauge and 20-gauge. But the 20-gauge version seems to be a bit hard to find in stores, so don’t be surprised if you have to order it in.

In my experience, it’s best to go with the 20-gauge because it has 40% to 50% less recoil than 12-gauge. The 20 gauge is also a little bit smaller.

Popular 12ga Shotgun Ammo
Popular 12ga Shotgun Ammo

For both options, Franchi has outfitted the shotgun with a recoil pad to help mitigate felt recoil.

You’ll want to choose the right ammo in either case.

It offers a 26-inch barrel and an overall length of 46-inches. It weighs just 5.7 pounds.

All this together means the Affinity Catalyst gives you a natural feeling that’s virtually unparalleled for women shooters.

Its inertia-driven system reduces recoil.

The gun’s design also isn’t overtly and obnoxiously “girly.” It sports a simple Grade A Walnut stock with a satin finish. A red fiber optic front bead sits upfront, and the gun comes standard with three chokes (IC, M, and F).

The Franchi Affinity Catalyst is especially well-suited for clay shooting and fowl hunting.

But the Catalyst can also be used for home defense if necessary. It should be noted that with a 26-inch barrel, maneuvering indoors will be problematic.

While it can work in home defense, it is by far not the best option on this list.

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

6. Syren XLR5 Waterfowler

Another great shotgun for women is the Syren XLR5 Waterfowler.

In fact, Syren specializes hunting and sporting shotguns for female shooters. Their XLR5 Waterfowler is just one of my favorites in their product lineup.

The Syren XLR5 is specifically designed with huntresses in mind. It has a Realtree MAX-5 Camouflage finish to help you blend in while hunting in the field.

It’s proportioned well for the average woman, with a 13.9-inch length of pull and a 7.1 pound overall weight.

The Syren is only available in 12-gauge, so it’s going to have more recoil than the 20-gauge Affinity Catalyst.

For that reason, if you’re looking for your first shotgun, I’d recommend going with the Affinity Catalyst over the Waterfowler.

But the Waterfowler tends to work better for more experienced shotgun shooters.

That said, Syren has equipped the XLR5 Waterfowler with a gas operating system that bleeds pressure to help reduce recoil. So, it’s still more comfortable to shoot than the average 12 gauge.

at Syren USA

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons


Whether most of the gun industry has realized it or not, you and I both know that plenty of women want or need long guns for a variety of different reasons.

All the guns I’ve listed here are excellent choices, but you don’t need to limit yourself to them.

Don’t limit yourself to just these guns…there’s plenty more out there that might suit your endeavors.

Choosing a gun is personal, and you should try out many different options to find the one you like best.

These guns provide a great place to start, though.

What’s your favorite long gun on the list? Are there other women-focused articles you’d love to see here at Pew Pew Tactical? Let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, take a look at the Best Handguns for Women and peep our list of the Best Female Friendly Brands.

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11 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    "None of this is to say that all women should only use guns with these features and that no men benefit from these types of long guns."

    I often read what women have to say about guns, to get a different perspective. I have learned a lot of useful information in that way.

    You mentioned "less recoil" as a benefit for women. Quite frankly, that's a benefit for anyone.

    April 28, 2023 3:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really appreciate this list and I’m glad not every gun listed is over $1,000. This list is a good starting place since I’m in the market for a long gun for my petite self.

    February 27, 2022 7:38 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      Thanks for reading!

      February 28, 2022 6:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew James Hodges

    I have heard more than one person recommend a PS90 for home defense as it's very lightweight, very light recoiling (especially for straight blowback), and being a bullpup is shorter than many AR pistols while still having a 16 inch barrel. There are, of course, some downsides to the design. Handling is unusual but can be adapted to with practice, it fires an unusual, expensive, and underpowered caliber (better than .22lr and good against soft body armor, though), and the gun itself is expensive and rarely in stock so you have to special order most of the time if you don't stumble on a used one.

    November 4, 2021 10:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    MIke Shields

    Benelli has a rifle called the LUPO Bolt-action Rifle. This rifle sounds like it will be great for women hunters. very adjustable and you can't go wrong with a Benelli

    May 12, 2021 2:07 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I’m 64 and I don’t have much experience in guns . This year I would like to go deer hunting. What is the shortest barrel that I can use and the best gun for me . I have a Remington 12 gauge 870 . It’s sorta heavy for me .

    August 9, 2020 10:40 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I was looking for a small easy to use first time rifle Clay shooting and at home if needed

    June 4, 2020 12:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Megan, thank you for this article! I was actually surprised at what little information there is out there on long guns for women and I definitely appreciate articles and recommendations written BY women for women! I’m personally in the market for a shotgun for clay shooting, but also want something that can be used for home defense in a pinch, so barrel/overall length is obviously a major factor - so all the detail you provided on the Affinity is a great help! Thank you again!

    April 10, 2020 9:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I would just like to offer a few things I have found out the hard way. First I found out my daughter couldn't even pull the trigger on my S&W 640. I also found out the only auto I have my wife can rack is a LCP. I have heard of other women who struggled with autos. My resolution for this was a 357 with a hammer and a laser grip. I plan on keeping it loaded with 38+Ps. They can pull the hammer back, place the laser on their target and shoot. This is as easy as I make it. As for rifles and shot guns, there are a lot of 10/22 variations out there and a 20 gauge seems perfect even if it's a single shot or double barrel.

    March 19, 2019 5:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really want to buy my wife a Kel Tec RDB. She is right handed but shoots lefty due to being left eye dominant (cross eye dominant?). I think they downward ejection would be better than having brass flying in front of her face and in the store it seemed decently lightweight. Plus, I just really want one lol. Whichever side she feels comfortable having the charging handle on would be fine with me too ;)

    March 13, 2019 5:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Craig Russell

    My wife has stolen my Tikka CTR in 6.5 creedmoor. Guess I’ll have to build me a new one wink wink

    March 12, 2019 5:11 pm
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