.380 recoil?

.380 recoil?

This is a discussion on .380 recoil? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey guys this may be a dumb question but here goes. How does the recoil from say a Ruger LCP or similar gun compare to ...

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Thread: .380 recoil?

  1. #1
    Member Array HKing's Avatar
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    .380 recoil?

    Hey guys this may be a dumb question but here goes. How does the recoil from say a Ruger LCP or similar gun compare to say a lightweight S&W .38? My girlfriend is interested in getting a pistol and doesn't like the .38 at all. She liked the way the LCP and Taurus model felt but we couldn't shoot them and I don't know a soul that has one I could play with.

    Thanks for the help


  2. #2
    Member Array MdMike's Avatar
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    What recoil? Just Kidding...I just bought an LCP and will be picking it up Saturday and heading to the range on Monday. I will post back after a few hundred rounds..

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Recoil depends heavily on the gun in question (with its balance, weight distribution, grips), and to some degree the shooting stance and grip.

    I have owned a .38spl lightweight revolver, .38spl heavy revolver, the Ruger LCP, Kel-Tec P3AT, Kahr P380 and NAA Guardian 380. Here is a rough comparison of how I compare the recoil "snap" amongst this group ... from heaviest recoil "snap" to lightest:

    • .38spl lightweight (13 oz) revolver -- sharpest recoil of all, in this group.
    • Ruger LCP (10oz) -- About one-third (to possibly one-half) less snap than the lightest .38spl revolvers. It just feels better, in spite of being so light and thin.
    • NAA Guardian 380 (20oz) -- About one-fourth less snap than the LCP, due to the heavier weight. The load is distributed much better, but due to the angle/curve of the top of the backstrap the recoil sharply strikes the bone of my hand between the thumb and forefinger. Very painful, causing me to stop after 10-12 rounds or so.
    • KelTec P3AT (10oz) -- About one-fourth less snap than the NAA 380. Strangely, I find this much easier to shoot than the Ruger LCP. Don't know why, given they're the functional equivalents of each other, both at 10oz.
    • .38spl heavy revolver (25oz) -- About half the recoil of the NAA 380.
    • Kahr P380 (10oz) -- About half the recoil of the .38spl heavy revolver. By far, the best distributed recoil on the list, in spite of its extreme light weight. Have frequently shot 60-70 rounds without "sting" from the gun. The worst part is the stippling on the backstrap, which begins to gouge into my hand, but that's distinctly separate from any recoil pain.
    • H&K P2000SK 9mm -- About one-third the recoil snap of the Kahr P380. Could shoot 200+ rounds with this gun, though it gets a bit painful near the end.
    • CZ P01 9mm -- About one-fourth less recoil than the P2000SK. Could shoot 400+ rounds with this gun, and have.


    This rough comparison is my opinion only. I'm sure in a room with ten opinions, there will be nine other ideas of how these compare with each other with respect to recoil force on the hand. But this is my comparison. Strangely, I find the Kahr P380 to have the lightest recoil of the group. I could shoot (and have shot) 50+ rounds without much pain in the hand from recoil, and I can't say that about any of the other guns on this list.

    Overall, the 380's on the list don't even compare to the recoil I have felt with both the H&K P2000SK 9mm and the CZ P01 9mm. The P2000SK is roughly the size of a snubbie revolver, whereas the P01 is another inch longer and 7oz heavier, with a much, much wider backstrap to distribute the recoil forces. All of the factors combined (weight, balance, width of backstrap) help to make the P01 far easier to shoot. "Skimping" on each of these areas helps to allow the recoil to go through to my hand more easily as we go up the list.

    YMMV.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; September 14th, 2010 at 06:01 PM. Reason: clarification
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array tokerblue's Avatar
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    I agree with ccw9mm's estimates. My wife shot the LCR with standard .38spl ammunition and did not like the recoil at all. She doesn't have any problem with the LCP's recoil though. I was actually surprise that she disliked the recoil in the revolver so much since she doesn't have any problems shooting my Glock 19 or Kahr PM9.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Standard pressure .38 vs same in .380 is about the same in some models and worse with others.

    Example, my Sig P238 handles recoil way better than my LCP. When I say "way better" I mean way! better. The only other pistol in .380 caliber that even comes close to it is my PPK and that's mainly due to the weight of the all steel PPK. My DB380 is pretty good as well, but still lines up behind the Sig and PPK. My suggestion would be to install a pair of the grips from Hogue or one of the others, these do absorb the recoil pretty well until she gets used to the recoil of the .38. Personally, I'd rather my wife use a revolver over a autoloader, unless she was willing to do some serious training with the auto, but that's just me.

    Good luck to ya both......

    GBK
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  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array pinklady's Avatar
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    We have one of the Ruger lcp .380's and I love it. I have weak hands but I have no trouble with this gun the recoil is not bad at all on it. I love the size it is very easy to conceal, I have no trouble racking the slide. It is a nice little gun.

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    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...60-357mag-sale

    My GF shot it with ease. And it's only 13 ounces

    Not a 380, but .38spl.
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    Distinguished Member Array REVMAN's Avatar
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    I have the keltec and my wife and daughter carries the LCP and the snap is pretty much the same to me between theses two guns. My lightweight S&W .38 has a little more snap than the .380 but still not bad.
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    FWIW:
    When comparing the LCR to LCP it makes a big difference if the LCR is a 38 or .357 version. I have fired all three and the extra 4 ounces in the .357 version tame recoil significantly better than the other two.

    38+P's were no problem in the .357 but had a bit of sting in the 38. Handloads in the low Magnum range (158 Grn @ 1050FPS) began to sting a bit but were manageable.

    .380 and 38Spl. as applicable were easy to handle but I like the revolvers much more than the LCP.
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    "KelTec P3AT (10oz) -- About one-fourth less snap than the NAA 380. Strangely, I find this much easier to shoot than the Ruger LCP. Don't know why, given they're the functional equivalents of each other, both at 10oz."

    I agree that the P3AT is easier to shoot. I figured that it was because the molded checkering on the grip frame was rougher and afforded a more positive grip. When I first shot a P3AT I was expecting it to be particularly punishing. I've never liked the recoil sensation of most .380s I've fired. Surprisingly enough, the P3AT was less unpleasant than any of several classic .380 handguns I could name. I have one but still don't really like it much. The trigger is "yuck."

    An alloy-framed 5-shot .38 Special revolver is more snappy when fired with +P 158 grain lead SWC ammunition than is the Kel Tec P3AT. Both are manageable though.
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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    Something you have to consider is that you're comparing an autoloader with a revolver. In a revolver, the full recoil is transfered to the shooter. In an autoloader, the guns mechanism uses the recoil force to operate the slide, cock the hammer, etc., thereby reducing felt recoil. Comparing the cartridges, the .38 typically has a heavier powder charge than a .380.
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    Member Array Broken's Avatar
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    if you go .380 id see about getting her a S&W Bodyguard. Low recoil and built in laser.
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKing View Post
    Hey guys this may be a dumb question but here goes. How does the recoil from say a Ruger LCP or similar gun compare to say a lightweight S&W .38? My girlfriend is interested in getting a pistol and doesn't like the .38 at all. She liked the way the LCP and Taurus model felt but we couldn't shoot them and I don't know a soul that has one I could play with. Thanks for the help
    First, your question is not dumb under any circumstance.

    I have a S&W 637, S&W 442 and the LCP as well several others. It has been MY experence that the recoil from the LCP is more that that of either of the other firearms mentioned. My wife says the same thing as do most of the people I shoot with.

    Among the guns I frequently shoot, the recoil is from least to most as follows: S&W 38s, Ruger LCP and Kel-Tec PF9.

    Regards,
    Diddle
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    VIP Member Array tkruf's Avatar
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    LCP does not recoil as much as a snub nose .38. It is smaller, flatter, lighter. The design of the pistol helps to reduce recoil. IMO stay away from the Taurus tho. The Ruger LCP is a better firearm.
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    As to why a KelTec P3AT might feel significantly lighter in recoil than a Ruger LCP, why a much heavier NAA Guardian 380 might feel sharper in recoil than a Kahr P380, or why the same-sized Kahr P380 might feel so much better than a KelTec P3AT, I'm convinced that much has to do with the specific shape and curve of the backstrap/beavertail area of the gun and how the gun transfers its load to that surface.

    The Kahr P380, for example, is the lightest one of the bunch of .38/.380 guns I listed above. And yet, for me at least, it's one of the lightest recoiling. Why? Given the shape and width (height) of my hand, the recoil seems to be applied a bit down and back, along the length of the backstrap, in such a way that the recoil snap is fairly evenly applied against the hand. Compared to the NAA Guardian 380, on the other hand, in spite of its double weight as compared to the Kahr P380, the sharpness of the recoil is sent nearly directly to the curved part of the backstrap, thus sending the bulk of the recoil force directly to the bony part of the hand in the web between the thumb and forefinger.

    It's little details like this that make it so important that the given shooter specifically shoot the gun in question. I might have the experience I do, sure, but it's due in part to having the size hand I do, given how that impacts how and where a given gun transmits its recoil into my hand.

    YMMV, above all.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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