recoil 38 vs 9mm

recoil 38 vs 9mm

This is a discussion on recoil 38 vs 9mm within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My daughter will be 18 next week. She has shot my guns a few times. I want to get her shooting more and would like ...

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  1. #1
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    recoil 38 vs 9mm

    My daughter will be 18 next week. She has shot my guns a few times. I want to get her shooting more and would like to get her her own gun. She wants to have one here at the house when she's here by herself. Ive always had wheel guns. I have a S&W 64-3 and a 642. She shoots the 64-3 just fine, but its really big for her and heavy. She refuses to shoot the 642 anymore because of the recoil. I'd prefer her to have a 642 because its less maintenance for her ( She'll keep the gun for when shes 21 and can get her ccw) than a semi-auto would be. Ive never shot a 9mm. Is the recoil about the same? I would think it would be less..There are no gun dealers here that rents guns to try. Guess I could drive to Nashville and see if anyone there does.
    I want to find her something she enjoys shooting........


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    probably worth your money and time to go to a range that rents guns with her. you get to shoot them too - bonus. i find 9mm recoil weak, but the flip you get from an auto is annoying in a small gun...not that the twisting small grip of a snub .38 is fun either. a medium frame gun is probably going to be the best compromise between comfort, weight, caliber, recoil, etc..

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    Member Array richardoldfield's Avatar
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    Your daughter would be well served by a 4" M15 or M66. When in Nashville let her handle one of these beauties. Regards, Richard

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    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    A 9 and 38 are about the same. A model 15 would be a great gun to shoot for her or a SS J-frame like a model 60 or 640. A Smith 3913 or 39-2 type single stack would be a very good gun for her.

    Have her try some and pick the one she wants.
    MNBurl

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    Member Array Sam Douthit's Avatar
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    I gave my 25 year old grandaughter a S&W .32 snub nose and was surprised to find out that she was too weak to pull the trigger for double action. She was recovering from a disasterous fall (three floors) that almost killed her so I have her squeezing a ball. She looks great but she had to endure a lot of surgery for broken bones (pelvis et al) She really likes to shoot though. It might pay to check this on small women.
    Last edited by Sam Douthit; April 2nd, 2007 at 01:04 AM. Reason: typo
    Sambo74
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  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array fotomaker57's Avatar
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    Go with the 38.
    Mike
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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    With all that goes on in the minds of most 18 y.o.'s today, guns are probably #20 in a list of 1 to 10.
    At the moment, her best interest would be in a revolver.
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

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  8. #8
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Recoil - .38 vs. 9mm

    When you talk about comparative recoil between these two calibers, you also have to specify the exact guns involved, and the ammunition you are using. As a general rule, using the same ammunition and caliber, a heavier gun will recoil less than a lighter gun. Additionally, ammunition will vary quite a bit in energy, even within a given caliber. For example, both .38 and 9mm ammo are available in many loadings from "mild" to "hot". And the hotter ammo will recoil more.

    You already pointed out that your S&W model 642, a 15 ounce aluminum framed snubby revolver, exhibits very strong recoil. But the same ammunition fired from a 32 ounce, all steel S&W model 66 revolver will feel very mild by comparison.

    In 9mm the same effect can be seen. If you use a 17 ounce polymer framed Kahr, you will feel strong recoil and smaller people will have some problem controlling the gun. But if you use a 34 ounce Sig P226 to fire the 9mm ammo, the recoil seems mild.

    So to answer your question, I don't believe you can say clearly that 9mm recoils more than .38 without getting very specific about the guns and ammo involved. In general, however, 9mm ammo has more energy than .38 ammo. A typical 9mm loading will be a 115 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 1225 fps, for energy of 380 ft lbs. Typical .38 ammo might be a 125 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 900 fps with energy in the 200 ft lb range.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    What Pogo said. When you fire .38's from a airweight snubbie, it can hurt. From a stainless steel one, it's very enjoyable. There is probably a balance somewhere in between. With that said, I believe the recoil is very comparable in a full size platform for 9mm.
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  10. #10
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    I'm with POGO on this, too. You can't really compare something like recoil without all of the factors involved such as type of ammo and gun.

    If this is a gun for her and a gun that she may, eventually, carry, then I think you should let her pick it.

    What other type of guns has she shot? What does she like about them, what does she not like? What is she most comfortable with?

    It wouldn't be a bad idea to start asking her about what she thinks she could conceal when the time comes. If she's going to carry I think it would be nothing but good to get her to start thinking about these things now.

    I apply a little bit of a "formula" to my carry guns. I pick the caliber (I default to the larger calibers like .40 and above) and then I check for the weight of the gun. If it has a solid weight to it I know I won't have a problem with the recoil because the weight will compensate, but then I have to think about concealablility and comfort. I know that concealed carry is almost never going to be 100% comfortable but you don't want to be in agony either. A heavier gun means more weight unevenly distributed on my body all day and "even a chicken is heavy when carried far" (Chinese proverb).

    In order to have a .45 that is comfortable in recoil I would need a full size gun of good weight to counter that recoil, however, the concealability and comfort would be non-existent. It may be great for shooting at the range, bad for carry.

    With the .40 I've had more luck. I have found a good compromise in caliber, weight, concealability and comfort with the Ultra Carry. Yet, every great once in a while, that's not right either and I have to go even smaller, hence my .380.

    An all steel frame almost completely cancels out the recoil of the .380 (which there is really not much of to begin with) and it's tiny therefore easily concealable and very comfortable to carry.

    But that formula is kind of unique for me. What may be too much recoil for me might be just fine for someone else, what may bee too heavy for me may be light for someone else.

    Let her decide what she could handle.

    As far as carry and concealability, let her carry it around the house in a holster and see if she likes the weight and how she can conceal it. Let her voice her opinion.

    I think it's great that she is so well taught at a young age.. Keep up the good work!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2 View Post
    When you talk about comparative recoil between these two calibers, you also have to specify the exact guns involved, and the ammunition you are using. As a general rule, using the same ammunition and caliber, a heavier gun will recoil less than a lighter gun. Additionally, ammunition will vary quite a bit in energy, even within a given caliber. For example, both .38 and 9mm ammo are available in many loadings from "mild" to "hot". And the hotter ammo will recoil more.

    You already pointed out that your S&W model 642, a 15 ounce aluminum framed snubby revolver, exhibits very strong recoil. But the same ammunition fired from a 32 ounce, all steel S&W model 66 revolver will feel very mild by comparison.

    In 9mm the same effect can be seen. If you use a 17 ounce polymer framed Kahr, you will feel strong recoil and smaller people will have some problem controlling the gun. But if you use a 34 ounce Sig P226 to fire the 9mm ammo, the recoil seems mild.

    So to answer your question, I don't believe you can say clearly that 9mm recoils more than .38 without getting very specific about the guns and ammo involved. In general, however, 9mm ammo has more energy than .38 ammo. A typical 9mm loading will be a 115 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 1225 fps, for energy of 380 ft lbs. Typical .38 ammo might be a 125 grain bullet with muzzle velocity of 900 fps with energy in the 200 ft lb range.
    Yeah I understand the difference in weight and recoil and have thought about getting her a heavier snubby. Maybe use some low recoil hydroshocks.
    I was thinking of the xd compact 9 , but think it might be too complicated for her. I'd rather her have a revolver.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    I'm with POGO on this, too. You can't really compare something like recoil without all of the factors involved such as type of ammo and gun.

    If this is a gun for her and a gun that she may, eventually, carry, then I think you should let her pick it.

    What other type of guns has she shot? What does she like about them, what does she not like? What is she most comfortable with?

    It wouldn't be a bad idea to start asking her about what she thinks she could conceal when the time comes. If she's going to carry I think it would be nothing but good to get her to start thinking about these things now.

    I apply a little bit of a "formula" to my carry guns. I pick the caliber (I default to the larger calibers like .40 and above) and then I check for the weight of the gun. If it has a solid weight to it I know I won't have a problem with the recoil because the weight will compensate, but then I have to think about concealablility and comfort. I know that concealed carry is almost never going to be 100% comfortable but you don't want to be in agony either. A heavier gun means more weight unevenly distributed on my body all day and "even a chicken is heavy when carried far" (Chinese proverb).

    In order to have a .45 that is comfortable in recoil I would need a full size gun of good weight to counter that recoil, however, the concealability and comfort would be non-existent. It may be great for shooting at the range, bad for carry.

    With the .40 I've had more luck. I have found a good compromise in caliber, weight, concealability and comfort with the Ultra Carry. Yet, every great once in a while, that's not right either and I have to go even smaller, hence my .380.

    An all steel frame almost completely cancels out the recoil of the .380 (which there is really not much of to begin with) and it's tiny therefore easily concealable and very comfortable to carry.

    But that formula is kind of unique for me. What may be too much recoil for me might be just fine for someone else, what may bee too heavy for me may be light for someone else.

    Let her decide what she could handle.

    As far as carry and concealability, let her carry it around the house in a holster and see if she likes the weight and how she can conceal it. Let her voice her opinion.

    I think it's great that she is so well taught at a young age.. Keep up the good work!
    Thanks for the reply. You always give good in depth answers and its good to hear it coming from a lady. I am already thinking about her carrying , tho its 3 years away. She has more sense than I ever had and is aware that "things can happen to her". She works at Best Buy and just yesterday a guy that goes to her school brought a stereo in to have put in his car, the serial number was scratched off, so they watched him with security cameras while browsing the store. He stole a cell phone, a dvd, and an Ipod. They called the cops and they found a knife on him, pot in the car, Lortabs and a handgun. This guy is 17. So she sees it all and will want to carry. She likes the idea that I carry and fully understands why. So .......Getting back to it. I like the idea of a revolver for her because of the simplicity. She has small hands, so for the recoil to be less, it will have to be heavier, but small. Right now I thought of getting her a heavier revolver (snubby ), let her shoot it and have it here at the house for when she's home alone since she cant carry it anywhere for 3 years .Also get her a good holster and let her carry it around here and experiment. Then maybe try out something different when she's approaching 21. I can always selll the snubby or let her have it for home defense. Its the carry issue verses the recoil and weight.

  13. #13
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    Limatunes , you asked what other guns she has shot. Its only been the S&W 64-3 ,4 inch barrel ( its heavy ),and my 642, maybe twice, she didnt like it at all and wont shoot it again.....

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array fed_wif_a_sig's Avatar
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    My 11 year old daughter hates any snubby because of the limited grip area and snap of the recoil, but she handles the pop of my 9mm Browning HP quite well and holds a decent group with it.

    Typically I do not recommend a snubby for someones first pistol. If she likes the feel of a revolver take a look at the 3" versions as they reduce the felt recoil by still conceal pretty well.
    Steve
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  15. #15
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    robere, Yes, revolvers are nice for their simplicity, not to mention their reliability.

    With those being the only two guns she's ever shot I can see why she wouldn't like the 64-3 over the 642. A little weight can go a long way when it comes to recoil.

    I absolutely HATE my husbands .38. If that's the only weapon available I'll use it, but he'd have to dip it in chocolate to get me to look at it in a favorable light. I can't stand the trigger pull on that thing.

    Like you said, you've got three years to help her find the perfect gun for her and in those three years you can introduce her to a wide range of weaponry.

    Ask some of your gun buddies if she could shoot their guns. Buy her a few gun magazines and let her look at them.

    She very well may be leaning toward the 64-3 only because it's the lesser of the two evils she's experienced . There may be another revolver out there that she fires and falls in love with.

    And dare I say, even with the simplicity and reliability of a revolver, let her try some semi-autos. I started shooting with revolvers and didn't even shoot my first semi-auto until I was about 17-18 years old but I fell in love with them. I have nothing against revolvers, it's just a personal preference of mine. They are a little more complicated, but not much gives me as much pleasure as stripping my 1911 to pieces, cleaning it, oiling it, polishing it and putting it back together. And darn little gives me as much pleasure as shooting it!!

    I'm not sure of the weight of either of the guns that she's tried, but +1 on letting her try carrying it around the house to see how she can conceal it and if it's at least mildly comfortable. If she can fall asleep on the couch still carrying it, well, then it's comfortable.

    Good luck on your search!
    Last edited by limatunes; April 2nd, 2007 at 10:49 AM.

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