Pocket Pistol Recoil Questions???

Pocket Pistol Recoil Questions???

This is a discussion on Pocket Pistol Recoil Questions??? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; dr_cmg had a recent post about his new Charter Arms Pug.44 special in "2 barrel. I remember thinking when he wrote he was gonna get ...

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Thread: Pocket Pistol Recoil Questions???

  1. #1
    Member Array Hoozyerdaddy's Avatar
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    Question Pocket Pistol Recoil Questions???

    dr_cmg had a recent post about his new Charter Arms Pug.44 special in "2 barrel. I remember thinking when he wrote he was gonna get some range time with it soon, "I hope he doesn't break his wrist". Then when he told us about how great a weapon it was and a few others said it's got less kick than a .357 in the same size gun I thought "that's new to me". What I mean is I figured a better bullet, bigger powder charge, bigger kick= bigger thump to the hand. I was way off fron what you gun pros said.

    My question is can anyone give a list of lowest to highest recoil out of pocket sized pistols? I know .22 shorts are so mild in kick they'd have to be the lowest. So what would you think a "2 barrel pocket pistol would rank?

    .22's (all 3 short, long, magnum)
    :congrats .38 then .38+P

    Then from here its kinda fuzzy with me .357 is the biggest round I've ever fired and that was a 6" LLama Comanche several years ago. I'm interested in what the gun guru's are gonna tell me. Thanks
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  2. #2
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    IMO it's almost all down to weight and cal combo.

    I shoot 9mm+P out of my EDC 226 ST - it's a light load in that size and weight gun.

    However, in my R9 which is a pocket rocket and very small - only 17 ounces or so fully loaded - that lil pup is ''snappy'' to say least. A P3AT IMO too in .380 feels similar - small and light is not conducive to comfort.

    I'd place these high as semi's re ''snappiness'' - when you get to 2" snub revo's then the .32 mag is perhaps the most ''comfortable"" (.22's of course - a breeze) but then on up it gets less comfortable. Again IMO a weight deal - a solid steel - maybe a heavy like SP-101 will be cool with .38 spl and pretty harsh with .357 whereas, as I have found, an Airweight or Scandium even with .38 spl is hardly a joy to shoot.

    Hard to put things in total order but this is sorta how I view things. Forget barrel length itself - it's all weight or lack of it and the cal in question.
    Chris - P95
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  3. #3
    Member Array sevesteen's Avatar
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    It depends on a lot of factors. My Keltec P3AT is the smallest, lightest and weakest carry gun that I own. It is by far the easiest to carry, but the same factors make it the most unpleasant to shoot, despite the relatively weak caliber. I can shoot my XD40sc all day. It was a chore to go through 100 rounds at a time while I was breaking in and function testing the P3AT. I've shot a Keltec PF9, and I think it is considerably more pleasant, although I only shot a few rounds.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array wvshooter's Avatar
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    My wife has a ultra lite .38 that is really punishing to shoot. It's rated for +p but shooting target loads is bad enough. We have an all stainless steal Rossi .357 that weighs about 25 oz. and the extra weight makes a big difference in shootability. Then there is our Smith Wesson 686 with 4"bbl. It weighs over 2lbs and is a dream to shoot. Target 38 loads feel like shooting a .22 while full house .357 makes a big fireball but with very managable recoil.

    Of course, you're talking about a pocket pistol so they are all J frame size. If it's an ultra lite any round will be really rough. If it's all steal, up in the 25 ounce range you should be able to shoot up to .357 magnum without too much trouble. Any gun that shoots over .357 caliber is going to be bigger than a J frame and is therefore not a "pocket gun."

    The largest handgun caliber is .50 and is the size of a small cannon. Just below that would be 44 magnum and it is also a huge gun. These are for hunting and self defense aginst bears.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Lighter + Shorter + Larger Caliber = Pain!
    And if she hurts, she won't practice or like it. Worthless. If you insist on a revolver, get a 4" .38 Special and let her practice with light loads. When it's in the house, load +P...she'll never know the difference if the SHTF!

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    From my experience: Light to Heavy...

    32 ACP in P32
    38 Special in steel rev
    380 ACP in Kel-tec P3AT
    380 ACP in Bersa Thunder
    38 Special in Sc rev
    9mm Kel-tec P11
    9mm Rohbar
    357 Steel
    40 Kel-tec P40
    357 SC Rev

    Hope this helps. Steel is a good thing. To light and a newby will not shoot ever again.

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking" - George S. Patton.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    P95 has it right. There are just to many variables to make an accurate list. Not to mention that recoil is different for different folks. Weight of thew gun is a huge factor is felt recoil, as is the type of bullet being fired. Target loads out of my 380 Guardian are fairly comfortable, but full house SD from DPX will make a man out of you. I would rather shoot full house 44 mag rounds out of my 629, which brings up the different types of recoil, the 44 mag is more of a hard push to the rear and up, while the 380DPX out of the Guardian is sharply upwards in a quick snap. As the guns barrell length decrease as well as weight the felt recoil increases. As already stated to many variables, shoot them for yourself and compile your own list, as a list from me or somebody else will probably not match your findings!
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  9. #8
    Member Array dogngun's Avatar
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    I have owned a lot of J-frame S&W revolvers over the last 25 years, but I don't like to shoot other than steel frames in .38 Spl +P and I don't like to shoot .357 magnums in Jframes at all.
    To me, the .357 magnum is very hard to shoot well, even in a 4" heavy barrel revolver ( like my old Model 13). I believe strongly that a hit with a .38 is better than a miss with a .357, so I use mostly .38 Spl +P ammo in all my 38's/.357's UNLESS I am hiking or hunting.

    I can easily shoot a .45 ACP or .45 Colt more comfortably and more accurately than a .357 mag, and I have pistols in both .45 calibers right now.

    I prefer a 9mm or 38 spl as a minimum carry round.


  10. #9
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    The Browning Baby is unpleasant in my view even though it's a .25 because there's nothing much to grasp.

    Chris has the best answer.

  11. #10
    Member Array UpOn2Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    IMO it's almost all down to weight and cal combo.

    However, in my R9 which is a pocket rocket and very small - only 17 ounces or so fully loaded - that lil pup is ''snappy'' to say least.

    Hard to put things in total order but this is sorta how I view things. Forget barrel length itself - it's all weight or lack of it and the cal in question.
    I second this opinion. I also carry an R9 as a pocket gun; while it isn't unpleasant to shoot, you probably won't want to put more than a box per visit through it.

    I thought about a J frame revolver chambered for .357, but I was concerned that it would be TOO punishing, even shooting .38 +P. I wouldn't carry a gun that I don't train with.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Just something comforting in the "push" recoil of a .45 1911, no matter the size instead of the "crack and pain" from the hot loads! Gotta love that big bullet heading downrange!

  13. #12
    Member Array Hoytshooter's Avatar
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    My CCW instructor loves to shoot the big stuff, like the .500 S&W, so he has no problems with recoil. That being said he told us the little .357 Scandium he carries in an IWB is, "NO FUN TO SHOOT".

    Btw, he also carries a 5" S&W 500 in a SmartCarry holster. Surprised the heck out of us in class when he suddenly pulled that gun out. He also has a very successful novel out about firearms in the US entitled Unintended Consequences.

  14. #13
    Member Array What the?'s Avatar
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    My experience - Most kick to least kick:

    Kel-tec P3AT (380)
    S&W Titanium Model 340 (357 Mag)
    S&W Titanium Model 340 (38 Special)
    S&W Steel Model 19 (357 Mag)
    S&W Steel Model 19 (38 Special)

    In my experience the weight of the gun has more impact to recoil than the caliber. But I've only shot a few, as you can see, you guys have more experience...

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array OPFOR's Avatar
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    The PF9 is not a pleasant gun for all day range sessions, but it is manageable. Same with (as has been said) the Airweights, even with .38SPL. The Ruger SP101 and Kahr MK9 - while pushing the limits of a "pocket" gun, are much more comfortable alternatives due to their much increased weight.

    An all metal .380 in about the same size, such as the Sig P230/232, is also a very pleasant shooter, though it is also a bit heavy for some types of pocket carry.
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  16. #15
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    Array nn's Avatar
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    IMO Small light handguns, 9mm and bigger have to be unpleasant to shoot. Manageable is a term used to cover up, "the recoil was heavy". The equal and opposite reaction of physics applies.
    Things can dampen recoil, but, not eliminate it and still have a pocket

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