View Full Version : 9mm with less than average recoil?

September 11, 2011, 06:30 PM
I'm looking to get my daughter a 9mm handgun because I feel that is a good minimum for HD. I don't think she can handle anything harder. She would prefer a semi-auto as the hard DA trigger of a revolver is not ideal for her and she likes semis better. Personally I think a Smith 64 with a 3" barrel would be perfect, but I'll keep working on that later.

She has shot my SIG P229 in 9mm but that has a bit too much kick & muzzle flip for her. She will not be carrying the gun we buy. It will be for range practice and HD. Long DA pull is fine (Glock/Kahr) as long as it is not higher than 8.5 pounds. She didn't have a problem with my SIG's SA/DA either, but I had a trigger job on it so it was lighter than factory.

She is 5' 2" and weighs 100#. While we have not tried any of these choices below, I'd love some input. My ideal 9mm is one that soaks up the recoil, isn't too small, isn't too light (or heavy), and maybe a lower bore axis to help with the flip. Glocks are not a choice - too many reasons to list here. Due to her petite size, I imagine she would prefer a single stack, but she didn't seem to mind my SIG P229's grip width too much - only the recoil. I'm sure the perfect double stack would be fine too. Price is not an issue.

Here is what I came up with, in the order *I* think they would be ideal. We'll of course try them out first, assuming I can find them for rent.

Kahr K9
Smith M&P 9mm
Beretta Px4
Beretta 92FS

Any others I should consider?

David the Gnome
September 11, 2011, 06:38 PM
The Beretta 92 is one of the softest recoiling 9mm's I've ever shot. That would make an excellent choice so long as it fits her hands. Some have trouble with the width of the gun so make sure she holds one before you buy.

You may also look into a S&W 5906. It's all stainless and it's the only 9mm I know of that shoots softer than the Beretta. I think they are the best looking of the 3rd Gen S&W semi-autos. I sold mine to a member here on the boards who was also buying it for his Daughter to use as a self-defense gun. The best part is you can get a Police trade-in for only $359 right now from Bud's. http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/654_910/products_id/411544529

Both are rock solid guns and you could count on either to save your life. The 5906 has a slightly smaller feeling grip than the Beretta so I'd try the Beretta first, and if she thinks it's too big check out the 5906. I would stay away from most of the polymer guns if she didn't like the recoil on your SIG.

Also, I owned and sold a PX4. I don't know if it's just the really high bore axis on that gun or what but the perceived recoil on that was way worse than any other full-size 9mm's I've owned or shot (and I've owned a lot of them :p).

September 11, 2011, 06:38 PM
I haven't personally shot one, but those who have say that the rotating barrel of the PX4 makes it significantly lighter in recoil, so I might move it up the list. I am looking for an opportunity to rent one because I am considering one for my daughter, as well.

September 11, 2011, 06:38 PM
Seems like a full size all metal gun would be your best choice, but make sure it fits her hand. I guess I would just start visiting gun shops and handling a few guns and see what she likes. If you can let her shoot some of the various guns before you buy that would be all the better. I personally feel the 92FS would meet your needs, but only if she likes it.

September 11, 2011, 06:39 PM
The PX4 is very soft shooting.

September 11, 2011, 06:40 PM
I would recommend a Ruger SR9 or SR9c. The ones I shot had very soft recoil and were pretty accurate.

September 11, 2011, 06:44 PM
If you reload there is also certain powders that are softer recoiling too so that is another way to lessen felt recoil.I have a 92FS and is pretty mild shooting so if the pX4 is softer that would be my choice.

September 11, 2011, 07:08 PM
My M&P 9 Pro is the softest recoiling polymer 9mm I have but it doesn't compare to my steel 9s. I have a steel EAA 9mm Witness and it has a very low recoil. I also have a steel frame RIA 1911 9mm that is extremely soft recoiling. It's so soft that the first time I shot it I wasn't sure the bullet actually came out of the barrel so I had to look to make sure. I just couldn't believe how low the recoil was. My friend has a steel framed 1911 S&W in 9mm that is very similar. If she doesn't mind the 1911 platform, that's probably the way to go IMO. If price isn't an option, I'd look at the one I shot and put some night sights on it for HD. Here's a link to the model I shot:


And this is my RIA:


David the Gnome
September 11, 2011, 07:11 PM
A 9mm 1911 like the RIA would be a good choice if she is comfortable with the 1911 platform. You need to make sure she will put in the time and effort to learn the system before you can trust she'll be okay with it.

September 11, 2011, 07:12 PM
Stoeger Cougar 8000! ($369 NIB) Softer recoil than the PX4. (Basically a metal version) Beretta quality & reliability at a steal of a price.

September 11, 2011, 07:16 PM
I agree with David. That's why I said as long as she's comfortable with the 1911 platform. Some beginners have difficulty with the maintenance. That said, Mr. Browning designed it to be operated/maintained by the 'lowest private' so I'm sure she can do it; just whether or not she'll want to...

September 11, 2011, 07:42 PM
Look at any of the CZ models:

CZ 75
CZ P-01
CZ P-07

Also you may want to take a look at a Browning Hi Power or a 1911 in 9mm.

The softest polymer frame I have shot is the XD/XDM models.

September 11, 2011, 07:55 PM
I forgot about the Cougar 9mm. I'll look into that.

I didn't include the 1911 because of the weight and maintenance. I believe the CZ's are all steel too, right?

I had not thought of Springfield. 28oz on the XD isn't too light or heavy. 'tis slightly less weight than the 92FS. Might be a contender.

September 11, 2011, 08:04 PM
For someone not "into" guns and being so petite, a quality 38 special revolver is the most sensible, IMO. Of Paramount importance should be, reliability, simplicity and controllability. Do you want to add malfunction clearance drills to your lessons as well?

September 11, 2011, 08:10 PM
People have already mentioned the CZ. I like the CZ 75.

Since this is not going to be a carry gun, I wanted to throw another model into the ring and that's the Glock 17L. I know you said no Glocks. If it's the "Safe Action" setup or the grips then you can disregard. But the 17L is most often looked at as a "range only" gun. It is different from the other models.

It has almost no recoil. It looks like a big pistol from the pictures but it's not unweildy. The Beretta 92 is 8.5" OAL, the Glock 17L is 8.85" OAL - that's just a little over a ΒΌ" difference.

I think an added expense to te Glock though is you have to replace the stock trigger, but with a better trigger, the 17L is a pretty accurate pistol.

The other thing about Glocks though is that big grip that doesn't work so well with smaller hands.. but anyway, it's something to think about as far as a really soft recoiling pistol.

Another pistol that is much smaller but very manageable with recoil is the HK P7 or PSP.

September 11, 2011, 08:13 PM
I would put another recommendation into the pile for the PX4 - just make sure it's full sized or compact. The soft shooting comes in part from the rotating barrel lock, and the sub-compact does NOT have that feature.

Walt Sherrill
September 11, 2011, 08:14 PM
Just find the HEAVIEST 9mm you can... That's why a Beretta seems to have milder recoil: more mass to move.

I had a fine (believe it or not), Stoeger-imported Llama 9mm (1911) that was the softest shooting 9mm I've ever shot. It was HEAVY.

About the only other thing that will make a difference is a polymer frame. Some Polymer guns, like the Glock, have enough flex in the frame to make the recoil less noticeable, despite their lighter weight.

September 11, 2011, 08:25 PM
sometimes CZ's are hard for a woman to rack the slide because of the slide being inside the rails


I too would say consider the CZ platform, especially the PCR or the Compact. The PCR is an alloy frame, with a decocker, the Compact, a steel frame no decocker.

My wife is a petite 5'3" with hand size to match and she is able to shoot the PCR I gave her very comfortably.

we own 1 of each (of the compacts and some full sized ones as well) and she finds the PCR the easiest to shoot. the full size 75's are a bit on the big size for her

September 11, 2011, 08:43 PM
I own the 92FS Compact - 13 rds slightly smaller than the full size 92FS. It does have a wide grip.

XDm 9mm 3.8 Compact - 13 rounds plus 19 round mag with/extension. Comes with three backstraps (I,II,III) to customize for small to large hands.
My wife owns one and absolutely loves it. She's also 5'2" and use the med backstrap.

September 11, 2011, 09:00 PM
You and her might also want to read www.TheCorneredCat.com - written by a woman for women (and their male others), it can give you some good insight on issues women seem to have more than men

September 11, 2011, 09:23 PM

Sharpsdressed Man
September 11, 2011, 10:14 PM
If you develope a really strong grip, recoil can be mitigated in most weapons by using a slightly stronger recoil spring, as long as it doesn't adversely affect reliability.

September 11, 2011, 11:09 PM
Mild recoil, small grip, 1911 = Springfield EMP 9mm.

September 11, 2011, 11:24 PM
How big are her hands? There can be a substantial difference from an uncocked trigger to the backstrap from model to model. The grip width can also make a difference.

I have witnessed numerous shooters who would use a poor hand grip to try and make the grip size of the handgun work with their hand size. If the strong hand thumb and trigger finger are not parallel to each other, recoil will most likely be going into the knuckle of the strong hand thumb and not the web of the strong hand. If there is poor alignment of the strong hand to the handgun, the bottom of the backstrap typically is also not covered by the palm of the strong hand which usually results in more muzzle flip.

Todd Jarrett uses a grip that is very stable. Notice how little muzzle flip he has when shooting.


September 11, 2011, 11:40 PM
If her hands fit it check out the above mentioned S&W 5906.....GREATTTTTT GUN and shoots very soft but it is a little on the thick side

Go by your local gun shops and pawn shops and see if you can get one she can hold. If she likes it you can pick one p through CDNN for $299 (unles you can get a better deal with the one you're holding;))

September 11, 2011, 11:44 PM
Instead of getting what YOU think may be a good fit for her have you considered letting HER pick one that shes comfortable with.

September 12, 2011, 12:49 AM
I own an SR9, Beretta PX4 9mm, Beretta 92FS 9mm and a Stoeger Cougar 8000 F 9mm. All are soft shooting and are excellent guns. Both of the Berettas and the Stoeger are very easy to rack and the Stoeger fits my wife's hand better than any of them. The grip may feel thick but it's actually shorter front to back at the top and fits a small hand better than the 92FS, or the SR9 and PX4 which have adjustable backstraps but are still longer front to back at the top of the grip.

September 12, 2011, 06:55 AM
My softest shooters are the Beretta 92 and the HK USP. I'd include the HK USPc in the mix as well. I would not include the Kahr K9, nice as it is, it isn't in the same league as the others in recoil management.

September 12, 2011, 06:58 AM
How is the muzzle flip on the HK?

September 12, 2011, 08:06 AM
the sig p226 is one of the lightest recoiling 9mm on the market. if she can't handle that, i can't imagine she will like anything else. even the beretta is known to have more punch.

September 12, 2011, 10:27 AM
HK P7. It has a low bore axis, and is fairly heavy for its size, so felt recoil is low. It may be difficult for her to rack the slide though. The gas system compensates for higher powered rounds so going from standard target rounds to SD rounds doesn't really feel any different. Just make sure the gas port in the barrel is clear.

September 12, 2011, 10:32 AM
DavidtheGnome, which PX4 did you have? (They come in three sizes.)

I have the 9mm in both sub-compact and compact size, and don't find either one to be high recoil guns; the compact is actually pretty soft. It seems most others have the same perception; I'm not discounting your perception but I am curious as to the size/model, and whether you tried alternating backstraps for better fit, etc.

September 12, 2011, 10:51 AM
Many of the suggested pistols are big (fat grips or long trigger reach in DA) pistols for most women.
Just making sure you consider good fit (grips and trigger reach) and not just recoil. Proper fit significantly affects felt recoil and recoil management. If the pistol is too small, it will be difficult to get a good hold, pistol will move in the hand when shot. IF too big, trigger reach will probably be too long..... so on, so forth.
Have you considered a .380 like a Beretta 85? (have not shot one but looks like a good small pistol.
Have shot a Kahr CW9 9mm - mild recoil for a small pistol. simple DAO operation, too.
SA XD and XM seem to fit small hands better than other double stack pistols (trigger reach where it breaks tend to be on the short side comapred to glock and others) but recoil is same as most pistols in its category.
I have shot a EAA 9mm witness match recently. Nice target shooting pistol. It has lighter recoil than my 5" 1911 9mm but it is big and heavy.
Let her choose and rent to try out if possible. good luck.

September 12, 2011, 11:03 AM
Have you considered a carbine in a pistol caliber? Granted CC is out, but for home defense, size is less of an issue.
A full sized .357 revolver with .38 special loads is another option.

September 12, 2011, 12:12 PM
I would go for a CZ75 or Browning High Power. Both are remarkably soft shooting. My daughter was shooting these quite well when she was 11.

After that, I'd look at a gen 3 S&W, but they are extremely heavy IMO.

September 12, 2011, 01:03 PM
She's petite - like some of my granddaughters...so she probably has smaller hands as well...

out of my collection of 9mm's....the guns they prefer..

a. Sig 239 in 9mm...its a DA/SA ...and you can lighten up the trigger a little but at 10lbs / 4.4 lbs its pretty good. They can also cock the hammer on their first shot it they want to.

b. a Kimber 4", 1911, Tactical Pro II model, alloy frame ...sure maintenance might be an issue ....but it has a bull barrel ...so takedown is pretty easy. She could do the normal maintenance / let you do the heavy duty stuff ...they're available in 9mm.

The kids shoot both of those guns equally well...( 4 grandaughters from 10 - 17 and they all like those 2 guns...).
c. S&W revolvers ...they do like some of the K frames in .38 spl ...like a model 19, or 66 ...but they think they're a little heavy even in a 4" barrel.

d. they don't like my 1911's 5" guns in 9mm ...they think they're too heavy ...and they go back to the Kimber 4" and alloy frame if there are 5 guns on the bench or the Sig 239's.

September 12, 2011, 01:46 PM
Normally, I'd be recommending the Beretta PX4, but not this time.

Generally speaking, women tend to have smaller hands than do men. The trigger reach on the Beretta pistols is on the longer side, which because I can palm basketballs, has always been something I liked.

However my wife hates my Berettas. Her pistols are both the S&W M&P9 on the nightstand and a M&P9c for carry. She even loves the magazine disconnect in case there is a struggle over her weapon, one she'd likely lose to a determined male attacker, so she could have a chance to disable the weapon. The M&Ps have shorter reach triggers, especially with the small backstrap insert.

I haven't found the Smiths to be flippy, or otherwise poor at managing recoil.

September 12, 2011, 01:57 PM
I have my shopping list. Thanks folks.

I'll have her try out (or at least hold in the store) each of the recommendations. It may be some time before we buy.

September 12, 2011, 07:00 PM
I am also a bit surprised about DavidtheGnome stating the PX4 is a hard recoil pistol. No way, IMO. Actually much softer than a G17-19 or HK USP Compact, or XDm Tactical, to mention a few polymer pistols I've shot.

Now my two cents in. If you want low recoil, you want a long barrel and a heavy platform. That strenghtens your choices to Beretta 92, CZ75 or a 9mm 1911 as some other posters have suggested, or some SW models (I'm not so familiar with Smiths). Mind your daughter's hands size, the 92 has a thick grip. The CZ too, perhaps not that much as the 92, but then, with a PX4 (which is the only polymer one I'd reccomend in your case, due to its low recoil) you get three different backstraps to fit your daughter's hands.

In terms of perceived recoil, for me the CZ75 (particularly a SP01 or SP01 Shadow) has the edge. The 92FS and PX4 (full size) would be trailing her closely. Between the 92 and PX4, my impression is that the PX4 has a more snappier recoil, but gets back on target faster, and the 92 has a softer recoil (heavier pistol, longer barrel) but has a slightly slower action and gets back on target not as quickly as the PX4. I carry a 92FS on duty on a daily basis, but my CC and HD pistol is a PX4. I am, though, so fond of CZ's and can't wait to get one (a Shadow, preferably) which would be exclusively a range and IPSC competition pistol. In terms of trigger pull, the CZ wins again. Right after would be the PX4 and the 92 in third position. Long and heavy trigger pull in Da, and the stiffest SA pull of the three.

In short, if that pistol isn't gonna be CC:

- CZ75
- 92FS
- PX4

Provided your daughter can hold the first two comfortably. Otherwise, PX4 hands down.

September 13, 2011, 12:40 AM
One thing that adds to perceived recoil for most folks is a grip size that prevents a secure grasp on the pistol. That said, I'd look for a single stack pistol first, heavy second.

Walt Sherrill
September 13, 2011, 06:21 AM
I'm a BIG CZ enthusiast (have several, and have had many more...) but a CZ may not be a good choice for a younger person, if that person has a smaller hand, or shorter fingers.

The CZ-75 has a LONG first trigger pull. This can be overcome by starting from half-cock (where the decocker models start), or by manually cocking the hammer. (The DA/SA models can start from cocked and locked.)

Several of my adult friends want CZs, but simply can't work around (it's more mental than physical) that long first trigger pull.

(It's been so long since I've owned or shot a Beretta that I can't speak to the trigger pull length of that gun. Had several 92s and a 96...)

A Glock 17 (or 19) may be the best all-round choice. Short, consistent trigger pull, and modest recoil despite its very light weight.

September 13, 2011, 06:50 AM
The other problem I've seen with CZ75's has to do with poor hand strength. The slide-inside-frame design of the CZ has some theoretical advantages, but one major disadvantage is that it provides significantly less surface area to grasp when racking the slide. People with weak fingers seem to have problems. My mother, for example, could not reliably work the CZ despite using good technique. She can work SIGs just fine.

Walt Sherrill
September 13, 2011, 07:30 AM
The solution to the "racking the slide" problem with a CZ, or any other gun, is

1) cock the hammer first,

2) hold the slide (pointed down) and push the frame.

Cocking the hammer lightens the springs working against the slide, and pushing the frame puts most of the work on the hand with a better grip.

Note: even if you don't do 1, step 2 makes it easier.

Surprising that more folks don't go this route.

September 13, 2011, 07:49 AM
Walt, did you not notice the part about "despite using good technique"?

We tried all that. Cocked the hammer to take the mainspring pressure out of it. Taught her both the slingshot and overhand grasps. Taught her to punch the gun forward with her shooting hand. The whole works. I'm not exactly new at this... Also, in addition to teaching her myself, I've bought her a lesson with professionals in her area. Technique isn't the problem. Incipient arthritis in her fingers is the problem.

Weak hand strength can be overcome by good technique, to an extent.

Past that point, mechanical aspects become a factor. More surface area, more aggressive serrations... these things begin to actually matter.

For me... I work out at the gym and the dojo. I can close the Captains of Crush 167.5lb gripper with either hand. Slingshot, overhand, push or punch, I don't really care. But for some people, the small surface area of the CZ slide may be a problem.

September 13, 2011, 08:12 AM
My Opinion....The S&W 5906....The Best.

The 5906 is not a large size 9mm handgun, just rite.
Very easy to handle, reliable, and durable.
Recoil is minimal w/a stainless steel slide, alloy or stainless steel frame (pending year model).
15 shot capability....Shoots any type of 9mm load.
Double Action Only. No safety levers to be concerned with.
Most popular, once most carried and used handgun in most all Law Enforcement Agencies.

You can purchase one today (pre-owned) for approx. $300 - $350 on gunbroker.com or auctionarms.com

September 13, 2011, 08:15 AM
Um... the 5906 not that large? One of the primary complaints with that gun was the size of its double-column grip. The gun isn't huge, but it's not ideal for small hands.

That was one reason some departments opted for 39 variants, vs 59.

September 13, 2011, 08:50 AM
I would say a Beretta 92. I have a 9mm PX4, and it is a great gun. But, the 92 still has less felt recoil than the PX4 does. I shot them back to back on my last range trip.

September 13, 2011, 09:12 AM
Nice shooting 9mm

Springfield 1911 9mm
Beretta 92fs

And I'm going to throw this one in, the Jericho 941 steel (aka baby eagle). The polymer doesn't do anything for me, but the all steel ones are nice and because they're a bit heavy they feel like a hot .22lr .

Onward Allusion
September 13, 2011, 12:58 PM
Beretta 92 and its variants has light recoil but the S&W 5906 has practically zero recoil. The grip is NOT large if you swap it with the straight style grips ($19 @ MidwayUSA).

September 13, 2011, 01:09 PM
I fit fits your hand, the 92FS is easily the softest/nicest shooting 9mm. I swear it shoots as nice as my 22's. The smith 5906 is also a great suggestion. Basically heavy means less recoil and those SS Smith's are really heavy. This gun has been a real pleasant surprise for me (and to think i almost didn't buy it :eek:). The Stoeger Cougar is decent in my opinion and the PX4 would round out my list of suggestions as probably the lighter gun with still decent recoil.

Pond, James Pond
September 13, 2011, 01:13 PM
What about a Sig P232?

I know it is not 9mm in the strictest sense, but is 9x17, IINM. I understand that it is a blowback design, and therefore has a very low bore axis and so has a low recoil, no? It is also light and slim. It only has 8 rounds, but I understand the OP suggested a revolver, hence only 6. 2 more than that is no bad thing!!

Personally I find them very pleasant to look at too! Unless I'm looking down the hollow end...

September 13, 2011, 01:54 PM
Pond, 9mm is more popular than .380 over here for a few reasons.

1) Many self-defense instructors preach that it is the minimum caliber suitable for a service type pistol.

2) It's very common, and available all over the place in factory or milsurp form. (Milsurp isn't as common as it used to be, though.)

3) Due to it being readily available, it costs less than .380. A lot less, in some places.

Pond, James Pond
September 13, 2011, 02:04 PM
So 9mm on here, should be taken it as a synonym for 9 x 19mm Luger, yes? Go-ddit!! :)

Roland Thunder
September 13, 2011, 04:10 PM
but she didn't seem to mind my SIG P229's grip width too much - only the recoil

Since she likes the ergonomics of your Sig 229 but not the recoil, then I would suggest, the Sig 226, a larger, heavier version of the 229, more weight, less recoil. That's assuming you don't mind shelling out $800-$900

September 13, 2011, 04:17 PM
I'm not sure "she didn't seem to mind... too much" is the same as saying she liked the ergos of the P229.

September 13, 2011, 04:54 PM
My wife (age in her 40's) is very petite with small hands and @ 4'10" and 92#, it's an Asian trait she has to live with. But she loves her CZ SP-01 Shadow so much she even wears the t-shirt. And she often beats the majority of the guys on the squad she shoots with that are also shooting Production division. And half of them shoot Glocks :p

September 13, 2011, 04:59 PM
That's assuming you don't mind shelling out $800-$900

Yah, As her Dad, I don't think she needs to like a $IG that much either. :)

September 13, 2011, 06:53 PM
least expensive solution and with a pistol that you say seems to work for her except a bit too much recoil.

#1- you already have a sig p229 so no money spent there.

#2- sig sells different grips and a shorter reach trigger iirc,so you can get a grip that works better for her and makes the grip feel smaller.

#3-EFK threaded barrel for p229(1/2-28 RH)-$221

#4-lone wolf(LWD) 9mm compensator(don't get the major)-$60 you can grind a little spot on the bottom of the threads where the little screw goes and then clean threads.

there was also,iirc,a p229 sport that came with a compensator but i think that has been gone for a long time now,i not sure if you can even find that any more. of course,once your thinking about compensators,other pistols can come into play.

now,here's the "thing" about compensators. many people will tell you they are a waste of money and simply don't work but here's the truth. it is both true and false at the same time. it literally depends on which pistol/compensator combo your talking about. a compensator that is properly made and goes on a threaded barrel can be effective. the more gases a particular cartridge/ammo/caliber/powder makes,the more effective it can be comparatively. even in 9mm,if the compensator is well made(i'm not talking about materials but design) and threaded,it can be very effective.

some designs are totally worthless though and some compensate for muzzle flip,some for recoil and some can do both.

i have a walther factory compensator on a second p99 AS(not my carry one) and i can tell you that this one actually works. i did not buy it because the p99 has too much recoil(normal recoil and very managable imo) though,it was just a fun project for me and to play games and i just love the p99 and want all things related to p99,...but the compensator works and the pistol is totally reliable with it.

with the LWD compensator,your p229 should stay very reliable,however,IF you have a problem,putting in a slightly lighter recoil spring should solve the problem IF the problem was the compensator compensating too much. also,EFK barrels should drop right in but sometimes a little fitting may be required.of course,there are other threaded barrels too.

here's a video i quickly found some time ago. it is good because it's the same person using same grip with same pistol only with and without LWD comp.


it's 10mm but still....

i wish there was a compensator that matched perfectly the slide profile of your sig but alas,i don't know of any of hand.

September 14, 2011, 09:11 AM
I agree with most who have listed the Beretta 92 as a soft shooter, but the grip is rather large. However, it would be on my short list of low recoiling 9mm handguns. Also already mentioned here so far is the HK P7. The P7's low bore axis, gas retarded-blow back system make it a soft shooter considering the size of the gun. What I haven't seen mentioned yet is the Steyr M9, which is a very soft recoiling polymer framed pistol. They can be a little hard to find, I think Bud's has one at the moment.

September 14, 2011, 09:40 AM
If you are willing to pay the price for one, a Hi-Power would be a good choice. All steel construction, small grip (for a double stack magazine), and a single action trigger that doesn't have the long reach like a DA/SA would have. The biggest downside is the price, they aren't cheap but they are worth it IMO.

September 14, 2011, 05:15 PM
Of the many 9mms I've fired, the Beretta 92F stands out as the smoothest and softest recoiling 9mm.

September 14, 2011, 05:33 PM
Only have 2 9mms anymore both on the 1911 type frame. One is a 1911 all steel, soft recoil the other is a Para Ord PDA which is small and DA, recoil is more noticeable with this pistol. Had a 92 once and it was mild recoiling too.

September 16, 2011, 10:38 PM
Until recently my petite wife loved her S&W M&P9c.
Unfortunately, recovery from kidney cancer has left her physically weaker than before and now unable to handle or work the slide on her M&P9c.
*IF* your petite daughter doesn't like any of the 9's she tries (I agree, go w/9 as minimum if possible) then consider the Sig P238.
It fits petite hands very well and even my wife has no difficulties shooting it or working the slide.
Yeah, it's only .380 but the locked-breech design obviates the .380's snappish recoil in direct-blowback actions and loaded w/CorBon DPX gets the most out of the cartridge.

September 17, 2011, 01:25 AM
The Beretta 92FS wins, followed closely by the CZ75.

September 17, 2011, 01:34 AM
Another vote for the Beretta 92, provided it fits her hands. (My wife is a petite 5'3", and she loves it, and there are in fact plenty of women that can shoot it comfortably.) The PX4 is also very soft-shooting in 9mm. Both are top-tier in reliability and overall quality.

September 17, 2011, 01:39 AM
What about a Sig P232?

I know it is not 9mm in the strictest sense, but is 9x17, IINM. I understand that it is a blowback design, and therefore has a very low bore axis and so has a low recoil, no? It is also light and slim.

It's the opposite, actually. Straight blowback pistols will produce much harsher and snappier felt recoil characteristics for a given round -- or, more precisely, even with a much weaker round in comparison to a more powerful round out of a locked-breech gun. I'm not recoil-averse, and I don't mind shooting the P232, but it definitely has a bite to it. A locked-breech 9mm, .40, or .45 is considerably more comfortable to shoot.

My wife finds my Walther PPS to be a little snappy, but she doesn't mind shooting it for a little while. She took two shots out of a P232 once and declared them two too many.

September 17, 2011, 01:52 AM
Well Robert... I'll speak up for the Kahr K9... Hogue makes classy Pau Ferro wood grips for it if y'all want to pretty it up... It was a good companion for Jodie Foster in The Brave One... I have the CW9... It's been 100% reliable since round one and is a very enjoyable soft shooter and nicely accurate. The K9 should be even moreso. Here's a link to the grips, etc... (Better make sure she can rack the slide OK... on ANY auto possibility for that matter...)



September 17, 2011, 11:56 PM
What about a Sig P232?

I know it is not 9mm in the strictest sense, but is 9x17, IINM. I understand that it is a blowback design, and therefore has a very low bore axis and so has a low recoil, no?

At first I had the same line of thought as you, and I bought a Bersa .380 with the idea of eventually handing it over to a thin, frail family member of mine. I changed my mind the minute I shot it. The muzzle rise is low, but the recoil from a blowback .380 is very sharp and drives the grip frame hard into the heel of the hand, which in my case was actually painful. I've shot plenty of .45 caliber pistols, +P 9mms, and even .357 Magnum revolvers, but this little .380 hurt so much to shoot that I had to put it down before I'd even run a full box of ammo through it. A recoil-operated .380 probably wouldn't feel nearly as harsh, by contrast.

To robertsig, for a small, heavy 9mm that a female user can easily manipulate one option not yet mentioned here would be a used Star Firestar. They were really popular back in the 1990s when they first came out, and used ones can easily be found for under $300. They are single action and operate much like a 1911, yet are smaller than a Colt Officers ACP. The only real issue with them is the fact that they're all steel and quite heavy for the size, which in your case would actually be a good thing.

September 18, 2011, 12:05 AM
A recoil-operated .380 probably wouldn't feel nearly as harsh, by contrast.

You're absolutely right, and that's true even if that locked-breech .380 is less than half the weight of the straight blowback .380. I've fired 200 rounds out of my Kahr P380 in a single day, and I've done the same with a rental LCP. No discomfort at all. Firing 200 rounds out of a P232 or PPK in a single day, on the other hand, would definitely not be my idea of a good time at the range. The Walther PK380 is a full-size locked-breech .380 -- the only one I can think of -- and it's very soft-shooting. (Unfortunately, it's also a zinc-filled piece of junk not even made by Walther, but that's another thread.)

September 18, 2011, 12:24 AM
HK P30

October 7, 2011, 10:03 AM

I took my wife shooting for the first time earlier this year and while I thought she would like a 4" GP100 with 38 specials, she took to the CZ SP-01 right off the bat. She is around 5'3 with small hands and had no problem with it at all. I would not recommend an alloy CZ, they are a bit lighter and the trigger tends to bite back (at least the one I had did). The SP-01 tactical comes with no safety to fuss with and night sights standard. I would make sure she can operate the slide efficiently on anything she is going to use.

Good luck,