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Old November 29, 2020, 05:53 PM   #1
mrt949
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Does recoil affect your choice in a hand gun

I have 3 calibers I shoot at this time in life .
Revolvers 38 sp 357 . mag
9mm SIG 365
S&W 40 M&P 40 C
I can handle these with enough accuracy .
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Old November 29, 2020, 06:34 PM   #2
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To a degree, yes.

I spent the bulk of my formative handgunning years as a reloader and Magnum revolver shooter. I thought of .357MAG as being a nice medium-bore, medium-power revolver caliber. I looked at .44MAG as being a "more serious" caliber, when "power" might be needed. The hubris of youth.

Shooting slow-fire for leisure/target range enjoyment is one thing, but being able to exert sufficient recoil management to control and run any particular handgun at speed, while maintaining accuracy during shot strings, is going to mean the felt-recoil effect is going to be a consideration.

This is one of the reasons why there's been a return to using 9mm among LE agencies in recent years, after the .40 S&W had eclipsed the 9 for quite a while. It's easier to train groups of new (or just 'average') shooters using 9mm, for its lesser felt (and actual) recoil.

On the other hand, continuing to develop and refine handgunning skills using a .40 pistol makes shooting a 9 seem "easier". Not the same as going from .357MAG to .38SPL, or .44MAG to .44SPL, but you get the idea.

Now, as far as what might constitute "handle with enough accuracy" for you? Not something I could know. Not unless we were on a training or qual range and I could observe you while you were being put through some increasingly demanding quals scenarios and drills. Targets and timers tend to tell us things we might not realize.

You could look around for a local IDPA event if it interests you, as that might tell you a bit more about your guns, your gear (holsters/mag carriers) and yourself (skillset). Might give you an opportunity to become acquainted with more skilled folks, too, and perhaps open the door to continuing your shooting development. Might be fun, too.

FWIW, I also own a n "original" M&P 40C, a 2010 vintage model I ordered from the factory. It's a relatively mild-shooting compact pistol for a .40.

While I still favor .357MAG revolvers, I mostly carry .38SPL nowadays, but that's mostly because I carry a variety of S&W lightweight 5-shot snubs. Shooting .357MAG in the pair of M&P 340's I own can be a bit ... well, brutal. Especially as after a couple of cylinder loads, and definitely after a 50rd box of loads have been fired. Faster recovery using the +P or standard pressure .38's, too.

I continue to carry a variety of 9's, .40's & .45's retirement CCW choices, which means I continue to use them for range quals, drills and practice. The 9's are the "easiest" to run hard and fast. Less recoil. The .40's and .45's take a bit more effort and work, naturally.
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Old November 29, 2020, 06:46 PM   #3
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Not really, not in the practical sense anyway. Case in point, I carry a .40cal, which obviously has more felt recoil that 9mm, and folks argue has substantially slower or less accurate follow up shots as a result of said recoil in exchange for a supposedly marginal increase in overall effectiveness.
However, in my personal experience, I can fire it just as quickly as a 9mm pistol of equal size, so the difference in recoil makes no noticeable difference in how quickly/accurately I can fire it, and seeing as my carry gun is intended not only for two-legged predators but four-legged predators as well if need be, so the increase in overall performance is desireable to me.

In my opinion, there is no valid reason to choose a cartridge based purely upon how comfortable it is to shoot. Only if the recoil is negatively impacting ones performance should a different cartridge be chosen, but generally speaking even then one is better off merely carrying a heavier firearm which dampens recoil sooner than completely writing off a cartridge.
Unfortunately, certain folks simply aren't willing to be even the least bit uncomfortable, ergo they opt for the absolute lightest weight, softest shooting firearm they can possibly find, and while it's better to be armed than unarmed, placing comfort before performance is a poor practice which when taken to extremes could be utterly detrimental towards self-defense. The way I see it is, while the LCP II .22LR may be the lightest yet softest recoiling pistol currently on the market, it's a far cry from the best option for self-defense, and if one can carry a firearm which is more powerful, then they should.

Avoiding carrying/shooting a firearm because it isn't necessarily comfortable to do so is like avoiding exercise or eating right because it isn't necessarily comfortable to do.
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Old November 29, 2020, 08:39 PM   #4
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I'd say it's more accurate to say it affects how much I shoot some of my guns these days.

For example, I've done 200 rounds of full power .44Mag in a day once. I also did 1000 rounds of 10mm in a day on another occasion. I have no intent of doing that kind of thing again, but I'm not trying to get rid of guns in those calibers, and, in fact, I'm looking at buying another 10mm at some point.

That said, I wouldn't consider buying a self-defense gun if my perception was that the recoil/muzzle flip was so bad that it was a significant hindrance to making rapid, accurate shots. There's a balance that needs to be achieved between speed and caliber, especially in small, light guns.
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Old November 29, 2020, 08:57 PM   #5
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It used to be a minor concern of mine. Now it's a major consideration in every pistol I consider.

About this time last year I was diagnosed with a chronic neurological sleep disorder (narcolepsy/Hypersomnia). Apparently along with that came the wonderful gift of dysautonomia. Guess my nervous system is on edge all the time and too much activity gives me tremors in my hand. Didn't expect to end up here at 25 but you roll with what you're given.

I had a Glock 43X I used to like to carry. I didn't think recoil was bad at all. Apparently my hands felt differently though and it got to the point where I couldn't hold a steady sight picture after just one mag of it. So it got sold.

These days I carry a Glock 19 with a Streamlight flashlight and a compensated barrel. I can still shoot 9mm pretty well as long as it's not a micro.

So at this point it looks like all of my compacts and sub compacts are going to be mouse calibers and I'm not even thinking about anything bigger than 9mm currently for anything I intend to shoot or carry regularly - it's going to be a full sized, steel frame model if I do go bigger than 9.

I'm far less dogmatic about pistol calibers than I used to be. 9mm is plenty for me. If I have to go to smaller calibers, I do. Controllability and accountability for shots fired is by far my number 1 priority, the size of the hole it makes is a few more bullet points down the priority list.
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Old November 29, 2020, 09:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Does recoil effect your choice in a hand gun
Not in the least.

What it does affect is my choice of what I use that handgun/cartridge FOR.

Not ALL handgunning is rapid fire defensive use.
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Old November 29, 2020, 09:25 PM   #7
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No, I can handle everything I own or want to own.
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Old November 29, 2020, 09:53 PM   #8
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Yes,

I no longer shoot my TC Contender 45 colt at max loads and I got rid of my 10" 357 Max barrel.

Shooting the above just plain hurt and left my wrist sore.

I also shoot my 4.2" Ruger SP-101 327 at more mid range than full tilt.

Although I seem to tolerate recoil more than many, I have found that I shoot better with stuff that is not too extreme.
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Old November 30, 2020, 04:26 AM   #9
Carl the Floor Walker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte S+W View Post
Not really, not in the practical sense anyway. Case in point, I carry a .40cal, which obviously has more felt recoil that 9mm, and folks argue has substantially slower or less accurate follow up shots as a result of said recoil in exchange for a supposedly marginal increase in overall effectiveness.
However, in my personal experience, I can fire it just as quickly as a 9mm pistol of equal size, so the difference in recoil makes no noticeable difference in how quickly/accurately I can fire it, and seeing as my carry gun is intended not only for two-legged predators but four-legged predators as well if need be, so the increase in overall performance is desireable to me.

In my opinion, there is no valid reason to choose a cartridge based purely upon how comfortable it is to shoot. Only if the recoil is negatively impacting ones performance should a different cartridge be chosen, but generally speaking even then one is better off merely carrying a heavier firearm which dampens recoil sooner than completely writing off a cartridge.
Unfortunately, certain folks simply aren't willing to be even the least bit uncomfortable, ergo they opt for the absolute lightest weight, softest shooting firearm they can possibly find, and while it's better to be armed than unarmed, placing comfort before performance is a poor practice which when taken to extremes could be utterly detrimental towards self-defense. The way I see it is, while the LCP II .22LR may be the lightest yet softest recoiling pistol currently on the market, it's a far cry from the best option for self-defense, and if one can carry a firearm which is more powerful, then they should.

Avoiding carrying/shooting a firearm because it isn't necessarily comfortable to do so is like avoiding exercise or eating right because it isn't necessarily comfortable to do.
I would respectfully disagree. Comfort is a criteria to look for in a EDC. But this will depend on a number of things, like how often a person trains and how many rounds.
I believe that the more comfortable a EDC is, the more you are going to shoot it and the more you are going to look forward to shooting it.

As far as exercise comparison, I was a cross country runner from middle school, continued the sport of Running competitively all my life until a injury in my 50's. I also coached runners. The reason I ran almost every day of my life was because I loved to, I looked forward to the exercise and loved the sport. Other wise I would have just quite and found another sport that I did love.
I do not look forward to a firearm that I train with on a diligent schedule that is not comfortable. I want to enjoy the shooting session as much as possible.

Example. I have a favorite Micro 9mm that I love to shoot. Why? Because it is the most comfortable of many that I have owned and known for comfortable low recoil shooting . I look forward to shooting it and shooting it often.

I took this gun and then for comparison took a few others to shoot side by side on separate days. These other guns were a few I was thinking of purchasing.

200 rds through both guns of mixed ammo. 25 rds of plus P through both guns. I would shoot 25 rounds through one gun and switch to the other.

What happened or the results were that the gun I shoot the most often felt much superior to the others as far as my hand was concerned. The others got to the point that slight pain would start with the other guns. They became Unpleasant and I really did not care to shoot them any longer. While the gun that is pleasant to shoot, I could have gone on all day long. No pain or discomfort at all.

Typically (PreVirus days) I would shoot the Micro 9mm a minimum of once a week and always for 200 rds or more. I shot this gun, not only for training, but for the fact that I LIKE to shoot and shoot often. I look forward to shooting it. If it was uncomfortable, I would not look forward to shooting it, most likely skip range days and my skills would suffer.

So getting back to the OP's question, YES, recoil plays a big factor in my choice of EDC firearms. Comfortable to shoot and comfortable to carry.

Last edited by Carl the Floor Walker; November 30, 2020 at 05:02 AM.
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Old November 30, 2020, 05:52 AM   #10
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Eh, some. I'm not a .40 cal fan. I'd rather go up to .45, or down to 9mm when shopping for a handgun, and it seems like most of the guns I like are more (or only) available in 9mm. So, that's what I mostly buy.
It's a comfort thing for me, a familiarity. I know how 9mm feels, and I'm familiar with .45acp recoil, but .40 cal just feels weird/different/unfamiliar so I tend to bypass them when shopping.
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Old November 30, 2020, 07:34 AM   #11
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Not in the least. What it does affect is my choice of what I use that handgun/cartridge FOR. Not ALL handgunning is rapid fire defensive use.
Yep, that's MHO to a "T".

Except during deer season, (gun season closed here in KY last night), my .41 & .44 revolvers are loaded with moderate, mid-level loads: 950-1000 fps and sometimes much lower. Inside 45 yds, you may be surprised to know that a 1000 fps LSWC load in .41 or .44 will punch clear through the slats on KY 125 lb. whitetails and leave a blood trail that's easy to read. In one side and out the other breaking ribs giving you a short trail up if not DRT.

When carrying, here on the farm, they'll do all that is necessary. For town trips, the same holds true....& for Auto's, it's standard velocity fodder in .45, .40, and 9mm.

But to each, it's your choice so long as I don't have to shoot next to a fire spitting cannon; (rarely a problem on our home/farm range, and generally not asked back!).

Moderate loads go easier on your wrist and elbow joints as you age, will go easier on your fragile hearing even with good muff's & plugs, and will endear you to your fellow shooters out there on the public ranges. And they'll tell you all that you need to know about firm & consistent grip technique, as well as recoil recovery to enable good, well-placed 2nd and 3rd shots.

Best regards. Rod
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Old November 30, 2020, 08:06 AM   #12
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NO!
I carry what I believe I will need. And that includes sometimes my titanium .44 loaded with 300 gr HCFN cartridges. And believe me that light gun with those cartridges kicks like a mule.
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Old November 30, 2020, 09:30 AM   #13
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No.
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Old November 30, 2020, 09:52 AM   #14
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The most uncomfortable gun I ever shot was a Ruger LCP. I was at a range with a friend and he let me try an LCP a friend of his loaned him to try out. Between the two of us we didn't get through a magazine. It just wasn't any fun to shoot.

I wouldn't own an LCP but that's the only gun I can say that about
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Old November 30, 2020, 10:46 AM   #15
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When I was deciding on carry guns, recoil was a factor. The .40 S&W was all the rage back then and it seemed like the vast majority of police departments had adopted it. The Glock 23 (compact .40 S&W) had a single recoil sprint back then and was a bit jumpy given the light weight. I wanted something smaller and tried the Glock 27 (sub-compact .40 S&W). I ended up going with the Glock 26 in 9mm which also had a double recoil spring.

I can handle the recoil, but follow up shots would be slower. That was my rationale.
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Old November 30, 2020, 11:22 AM   #16
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No
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Old November 30, 2020, 12:01 PM   #17
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ABSOLUTELY:

(Start at 40 seconds)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea_Q...&feature=share
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Old November 30, 2020, 12:16 PM   #18
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Recoil is not a factor, unless you're talking about extreme and stupid (like a 3" .500 S&W).
Ergonomics are important, though. Something that fits badly will not be comfortable to shoot.
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Old November 30, 2020, 12:29 PM   #19
Carl the Floor Walker
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I believe if you can shoot 200 rounds in one session a few times a week you do not have a issue unless you preferred to have a gun in the same size class that actually shot smoother.

Example. I personally could not shoot 200 rds of 357 in a Ruger LCR. Sorry just cannot do it. Do not want to do it. How ever I have no problem shooting 38 or 9mm out of the same size gun.

Now if a guy CAN shoot 200 rds of 357 out of a LCR and prefers it, then my hat is off to him.
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Old November 30, 2020, 01:33 PM   #20
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Well, yes, - I can't see myself ever buying a 45-70 revolver, just for that reason. Now, IF - I were going into 'big bear' country, fishing say - my needs would perhaps change. I've put 400 rounds of .44 mag. downrange in a day, that's a goodly amount, but not uncomfortable.
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Old November 30, 2020, 04:58 PM   #21
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To a degree, sure.

I found that I dislike the recoil of a Ruger LCP. it's very snappy, there isn't much to hold on to, the slide bites my hand every outing, and the narrow backstrap bangs something in my palm which causes an ache that coincides with a nasty shake after just a few dozen rounds.

On the other end of the spectrum, as I've aged, i've found that while I can still shoot my model 69 .44 magnum for short stints, I have no interest in shooting truly high-powered rounds, or anything larger than a .44 mag in general. Hurts my wrists after just a dozen rounds or so, and really big cannons like the S&W 500, hurt my elbows nowadays.

Within the common range of pistol rounds, 9mm through 45ACP or even .357 magnum I don't have any issues. Yet. Get back to me when i hit 60.
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Old November 30, 2020, 05:28 PM   #22
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Well, as I've said many times before I just won't shoot a Ruger LCR with 158 grain .357 magnum loads...too painful.

I'll shoot that load all day out of my own medium frame revolver though...

Also I got to shoot an S&W .460 magnum with the 8" barrel and was pleasantly surprised at how manageable that was...I'd shoot it any time given the chance and if I had the money to pay for the ammo.

Obviously the S&W generates more recoil than the LCR but it really does depend on how the gun manages it.

P.S. I believe the S&W had a compensator on it.
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Old November 30, 2020, 07:26 PM   #23
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Nope. I enjoy letting a handgun tell me it has been fired.
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Old November 30, 2020, 08:16 PM   #24
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I hate to be a whiner about this, but since the question was asked, I have to say that with hands like mine, recoil has to be a consideration when I choose a handgun.

Injuries and most especially arthritis make it difficult for me [and others] to shoot the guns we used to shoot. Sure, if the handgun is big and heavy, the mass absorbs much of the energy and the gun can be a pleasure to shoot. But "big and heavy" doesn't usually make a good carry gun. The extent of my health issues makes it so that just carrying a more massive gun has become a problem. So in the past few years I have chosen the .32 calibers and .380 for daily carry because I can handle those better than the heavier calibers. I feel safer shooting those guns because I can handle them better.
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Old November 30, 2020, 08:34 PM   #25
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For me, yes, especially now with arthritis in my wrist and thumb joint. 9mm/40 S&W are not a problem. But years ago even in my prime heavy recoil was not my strong suite. The .44 magnum exceeded my tolerance level even though I really wanted to shoot it well while a .357 was no problem.

You've got to know your limitations and I knew mine. My hat is off to those with a higher tolerance level.
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