If you mom is new to pistols, this will help you help her narrow down the search.
You know your mom best, so you should be able to decide what feature she would and wouldn't want in a new handgun.
If mom is already a firearm shooter, then that's a whole different story. But if she's someone who is looking to get into shooting or to buy a concealed carry handgun for self defense for the first time, you might be able to help out a lot--or you might be able to do all the work if this is going to be a Mother's Day gift.
Likely the best gun for anyone's mom is, as with any gun owner, the firearm that fits them best and that they are able to operate and shoot best. You might be tempted to jump right to the subcompact category if your mom has small hands, but that might not necessarily be the best category.
Just being concealable isn't enough--it has to be manageable, plus there are a lot of in-between sized carry guns on the market today that might fit better and make a better CCW for your mom.
The best method is to try to take her on a trip to the gun range and let her fire differently sized handguns to see what she prefers. Then let that guide your recommendation or gift.
If your mom is more interested in a gun for home defense, don't be afraid to let her try out a full size handgun in a manageable caliber (stay away from magnum revolvers if she's a newbie)--you might be surprised.
Another consideration is how easy the gun is to operate. After all, if your mom is older and her hands are too weak to get ammo into the magazine or to rack the slide, the gun won't do her much good if she has to go up against a bad guy some day.
Here are some of the best handguns to start with if mom is a new gun owner.
The Hellcat from Springfield Armory is technically a micro compact, but like the SIG P365, it's designed to be very small but offer a surprising amount of grip purchase. What helps is the included extended magazine, which offers a remarkable 13+1 capacity. An optics-ready model is also available.
If your mom has diminutive hands or wants a gun that's extremely easy to hide, the Ruger LCP is an excellent choice. Chambered in .380 Auto, the time-tested LCP comes in a variety of frame and slide colors and is also available with a trigger-guard laser sight.
This is the pistol that started the latest micro compact high capacity 9mm craze. The P365 offers an impressive ammo capacity, 10+1 with a flush mag. It also maintains concealability while still having a sizable grip favored by many who find sub compact pistols too small. The P365 is also offered in an SAS model with an innovative no-snag sighting system, and the P365 XL, which has a slightly bigger grip and longer slide and a 12-round capacity.
This Smith & Wesson gun was built for personal protection and every-day carry, and if your mom's grip isn't so strong these days, the M&P Shield EZ might be just right for her. It's designed to be all-around easy to use with a slide that's extremely easy to rack, easy-load magazines, and even a design that's easy to clean. It's ideal for home defense or for concealed carry and is available with or without a thumb safety. It's also available in .380 Auto or 9mm.
Ah yes, the Walther PPQ. This handgun likely has the best ergonomics out of any other on this list. It's comfortable for pretty much anyone to shoot and offers short 10-round mags for concealability or 15-round mags that extend the grip. That extension allows it to handle like a full size gun--making it an ideal choice for concealed carry and home defense.
If a Glock is in order, the Glock 19 is a great place to start, but there's also the Glock 43 X, which is short and manageable but with a longer, thinner grip that's more comfortable for a lot of shooters.
Remember, double-action only handguns will have a bit heavier of a trigger pull, but they're simple to learn. DA/SA have two trigger pulls to get used to and can be a little more complication, whereas single-action handguns have one trigger pull to learn, but can be a little intimidating to newbies. Striker fired pistols strike a pretty great balance in a semi-auto for beginners.