Skip to main content

Eight Great Compact Guns for Small-Statured Shooters

Whether you're coaching a young shooter or simply need a light gun with a shortened length of pull, these compact firearms will fit the bill. Most are very affordable, too!

Eight Great Compact Guns for Small-Statured Shooters

Smaller shooters need smaller guns to learn safe handling and the fundamentals of marksmanship. Compact and youth models, like the Savage Rascal, offer reduced size and weight to make the experience easier and more enjoyable. (Photo by Brad Fitzpatrick)

The number of youth enrolled in shooting sports programs like the Scholastic Clay Target Program and 4-H Shooting Sports is growing, and that’s a good thing. Shooting sports provide a way for kids to learn discipline, responsibility, and safe gun handling. And, despite what anti-gun forces say, shooting sports are safe. At last year’s SCTP championship, more than a million rounds were fired without an incident. Shooting is statistically safer than bowling.

As refreshing as it is to see so many kids in shooting sports, that also means that firearms manufacturers need to offer plenty of options in lightweight, compact firearms. I coached 4-H Shooting Sports for a couple years, and the biggest issue I saw was not that the kids involved were unsafe when handling their firearms, but rather that the firearms they were using were simply too long and heavy for them.

It’s not just kids that need light, compact firearms. Firearm manufacturers build guns for adults of average height. If you’re slightly below that average you may find that factory guns are too long, and a gun that is too long can be very hard to manage.

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for a compact gun the good news is that there are many options. Here are eight great compact guns suitable for almost every target, hunting and sport shooting discipline.

Stoeger Condor Youth

Stoeger Condor Youth
Stoeger Condor Youth Shotgun (Photo courtesy of Stoeger)
  • Chambering: 20 ga., .410 bore
  • Length of Pull: 13”
  • Weight: 5 lbs., 8 oz.
  • MSRP: $499

When I started shooting clays competitively, many of my fellow youth shooters couldn’t afford a fancy stackbarrel, but the more affordable Condor served as a competent clay gun for kids. The Condor offers a fast one-two shot and familiarizes kids with the balance and feel of an over-under shotgun at a fraction of the cost of other options. Available in 20 gauge or .410 bore with 13-inch length of pull (LOP) satin walnut stocks, Condor Youth shotguns weigh in at just 5.5 pounds and measure just more than 3 feet long. The relatively short 22-inch barrels move the balance point of the shotgun rearward and make it easier for small-statured shooters to control the gun. With .410 2½-inch target loads, even young, small shooters can operate this firearm with ease, and the break-action design is safe and simple. This is the perfect starter gun for kids who are interested in hunting or breaking clays, but simply cannot handle a larger, heavier shotgun.

Ruger American Compact

Ruger American Compact Rifle
Ruger American Compact Rifle (Photo courtesy of Ruger)
  • Chambering: .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Length of Pull: 12.5”
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • MSRP: $599

With its shortened stock and available 18-inch barrel the Ruger American Compact shaves several ounces and 5 inches of length off the full-size version. This centerfire bolt-action rifle comes chambered in .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor, so there are plenty of low-recoiling cartridge options for new shooters. The tang safety is easily accessible even for shooters with small hands and the Ruger Marksman trigger is adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds. The black synthetic stock isn’t particularly fancy, but it does save weight and is rugged enough to stand up to abuse in the field. The stock also features a dense, soft recoil pad that absorbs kick and makes shooting more comfortable and enjoyable. Even though this gun is designed with kids in mind, it offers the same level of accuracy that makes the full-size American one of the most popular hunting rifles in the country.

Stevens 560 Field Compact

Stevens 560 Field Compact
Stevens 560 Field Compact Shotgun (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)
  • Chambering: 12 ga.
  • Length of Pull: 13.5”
  • Weight: 6 lbs. (approx.)
  • MSRP: $499

Stevens recently introduced their new 560 Field and 560 Field Compact shotguns, which are gas-operated semiautos made in Turkey that feature walnut stocks, interchangeable chokes (IC, M, F), and chrome-lined barrels. The controls are oversized and easy to operate, and the reliable gas system operates smoothly while reducing felt recoil. Length of pull is 13.5-inches on the 560 Field Compact, which is not as short as the Mossberg or Retay, but for small-statured shooters this gun is a great option, especially for a teen or shorter adult that wants to hunt upland game or shoot clay target games. Gun weight has not yet been published but with an aluminum receiver and short stock you can expect overall weight to be around six pounds. At $499 the Stevens is an exceptional bargain.

Winchester Xpert

Winchester Xpert
Winchester Xpert 22 Rifle (Photo courtesy of Winchester Repeating Arms)
  • Chambering: .22 LR
  • Length of Pull: 13.5”
  • Weight: 4 lbs., 8 oz.
  • MSRP: $320

Though its LOP is fairly long, the Winchester Xpert weighs in at just 4.5 pounds and is therefore easier for anyone with small arms and reduced upper body strength to manage than heavier rifles. The bolt is light and easy to operate, and recoil is next to nothing so this is a gun that anyone can enjoy shooting for extended periods. Reliable 10-round rotary magazines come standard (the Xpert also accepts Ruger 10/22 and aftermarket mags) and it’s easy to mount a lightweight scope or red dot optic on this rifle. The first .22 bolt-action rifle I shot as a kid was memorable only for its abysmal trigger that was heavy and creepy. In contrast, the adjustable MOA trigger in the Xpert is crisp, clean and safe. There’s a sling stud molded into the rear of the stock and a Picatinny rail with cover molded into the underside of the forearm that allows you to mount a sling or bipod. The Bentz-style match chamber makes this affordable .22 ultra-accurate.

Mossberg 500 Bantam/Mini Super Bantam

Mossberg 500 Bantam
Mossberg 500 Bantam Shotgun (Photo courtesy of Mossberg)
  • Chambering: 12 ga., 20 ga., .410 bore
  • Length of Pull: 10.5” to 13”
  • Weight: 5 lbs. to 5 lbs., 4 oz.
  • MSRP: $504-$648

The Mossberg 500/505/510 family of Bantam, Super Bantam and Mini Super Bantam shotguns is comprised of 19 different models with lengths of pull ranging from 10.5 to 13 inches, and barrels from 18.5 to 24 inches. Several of these guns come with stock spacers that allow you to adjust LOP as your child grows, and the various Bantams will also fit on full-size Mossberg shotgun stocks as well. There are Bantam models designed for hunting deer, turkey, waterfowl and for all-around use, all of which feature the durable steel-to-steel lockup, dual extractors, anti-jam-elevator and other features that have made the 500 a favorite of military and law enforcement professionals the world over. Two-barrel combos which include ventilated smoothbore and rifled slug barrels are available, as are models with a variety of camo finishes. All these guns come with tang-mounted ambidextrous safeties, and the Mini Super Bantam features Mossberg’s EZ Reach forearm that requires shorter reach when cycling the gun.




Ruger 10/22 Compact

Ruger 10/22 Compact
Ruger 10/22 Compact Rifle (Photo courtesy of Ruger)
  • Chambering: .22 LR
  • LOP: 12.5”
  • Weight: 4 lbs., 7 oz.
  • MSRP: $379

Ruger makes a second appearance on this list, but how could we ignore the 10/22? Like so many other shooters, it was my first rifle, and that blowback-operated .22 served me dutifully for decades. Mine, however, was the full-sized version and I could have benefitted from the new 10/22 Compact model with its modular black polymer stock that can be adjusted for comb height and LOP. With its 16.1-inch barrel the 10/22 Compact weighs just about 4.5 pounds and measures 34 inches long, so it’s easy for small-statured shooters to manage. The rotary magazine, trigger and blowback action designs are all excellent and this is a gun that will operate reliably and shoot accurately despite its modest price tag. Plus, there’s no rimfire gun that is more easily tricked-out and upgraded than the 10/22. If they choose to do so, your young shooter can transform their first rimfire into a dedicated competition rifle thanks to a plethora of available aftermarket parts for these guns.

Savage Rascal

Savage Rascal
Savage Rascal Rifle (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)
  • Chambering: .22 LR
  • LOP: 11.25”
  • Weight: 2 lbs., 11 oz.
  • MSRP: $209

The Rascal is, quite simply, the perfect starter gun for small-statured shooters. Weighing in at under 3 pounds and measuring less than 31 inches long, the single-shot Rascal is easy to operate and allows small shooters to focus on their target without struggling to manage a firearm that’s too big for them. The aperture sights are easier for new shooters to use than traditional iron sights and the rugged polymer stock (which is available in a variety of colors) can take a beating without being damaged. This is the perfect firearm for kids to learn on, and if you have children or grandchildren who are ready for the responsibility of gun ownership this is a great place for them to start. Because it’s light, produces almost no recoil and minimal muzzle blast, and is simple to operate, the Rascal is a great rifle for introducing older shooters to the sport, especially those with small frames or anyone lacking the strength to manipulate a heavier gun.

Retay Gordion Compact

Retay Gordion Compact
Retay Gordion Compact Shotgun (Photo courtesy of Retay)
  • Chambering: 20 ga.
  • LOP: 12.5”
  • Weight: 6 lbs., 4 oz. (approx.)
  • MSRP: $899-$999

Turkish shotgun maker Retay has made a name by offering high-quality inertia-operated semiauto shotguns at a relatively affordable price point. The new Compact versions in the company’s Gordion shotgun line offers all the goods that shooters love about these guns including an ultra-reliable operating system and drilled barrels that always shoot straight. Now, though, the Compacts package those features with reduced weight and less overall length. The 20-gauge Gordion Compact comes with either a 24- or 26-inch vent rib barrel and 12.5-inch LOP stock. Interchangeable chokes come standard, and because this gun is built on a full-sized receiver the young shooter in your home can simply switch to a longer LOP stock as they grow. The rugged Gordion is dependable enough for competitive shooting in SCTP youth events, and it’s also perfect for hunting upland game or waterfowl.

Recommended


Sound Off

What was your first gun? What do you use to teach youth shooters and smaller-statured adults? Did we miss a compact gun that should have made the list? Let us know by emailing us at GAEDITOR@OUTDOORSG.COM, and use "Sound Off" in the subject line.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Optics

HIVIZ FastDot H3 Handgun Sights

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Optics

Meprolight's M22 Dual-Illumination No Batteries Reflex Sight: Video Review

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Videos - Guns - Other

Ballistic Advantage Continues Excellence in Barrel Design

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Rifles

Winchester Ranger Returns! Now In .22

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Rifles

Latest Name In Lever Guns: Aero Precision

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Rifles

SAKO 90 Quest Lightweight Hunting Rifle

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Optics

Warne Scope Mounts New Red Dot Risers

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Accessories

New Warne Scope Mounts Skyline Lite Bipods

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Handguns

Smith & Wesson Response PCC: Now Taking SIG Mags

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Optics

Mark 4HD Riflescopes: The Latest Tactical Line From Leupold

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Rifles

Show Stopper: Smith & Wesson 1854 Lever-Action Rifle

Its seems like every year is a busy year FN, and 2024 is no different. Joe Kurtenbach is joined by Chris Johnson and Ric...
Suppressors

FN 509 Pistol Updates and New Suppressors!

Guns and Ammo Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now