This is a discussion on Perceived recoil of .32 caliber within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello everyone. I'm looking for a revolver for my wife who is recoil-sensitive. She cannot shoot even .38s out of my .357, so I've been ...
Hello everyone. I'm looking for a revolver for my wife who is recoil-sensitive. She cannot shoot even .38s out of my .357, so I've been considering the new .327 caliber, such as the Patriot from Charter Arms or similar, as a step up from .22LR.
I've been wondering what the relative perceived recoil is of the .327 Federal Magnum out of a 2-inch barrel, as compared to a .38. And what about the relative perceived recoil of the .32 H&R Magnum and the .32 S&W Long out of the same type of gun?
If a local range has one for rental, see if she can shoot a Sig P232 in 380 auto. That was one of the gentlest shooting guns I've ever tried. Sig's ergonomic design makes it feel very soft.
I like the concept of a 327 Mag. and the rounds that you con step down too and then move back up to the more powerful rounds as the shooter advances.
the new .327 mags (I think) are hotter than the 38 sp and should have more recoil. My mom cant handle recoil either. Im going to get her a all steel 3 or 4" barrel 38sp. Everyone has the superlight snubs in stock but nothing like what I am looking for. Its either that or a 22magnum revolver that holds 8 or 9 rounds.
Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it ......
Second: Data published in the Feb,2008 issue of "Shooting Times" magazine on relative recoil.
Recoil in Free Recoil Energy all using the 3-1/16" barrel SP101:
1. .32 H&R Mag 85 grain JHP 1.46
2. .327 Fed Mag 85 grain HS JHP 3.08
3. .327 Fed Mag 100 grain JSP 5.58
4. .327 Fed Mag 115 grain Gold Dot JHP 5.62
5. .38 Spec 129 grain HS JHP +p 3.00
6. .357 Mag 125 grain JHP 7.22
The .38 Spl offers ammunition compatibility, is probably cheaper (though I certainly don't know that) and can be stepped up significantly.
The .380 (especially the Sig) will probably be easier to handle and shoot than the revo, as some energy is bled off in action cycling.
The only advantage I see to the .327 is that ammo may be more available, as it is a new/specialized caliber
.32 S&W long out of a .327 mag has the recoil of a .22lr
.32 H&R mag is also fairly tame.
Don't bother with .32 S&W, too weak.
When I leave the home port:
S&W 642 Airweight, Ruger SP 101, Colt Detective Spec., CZ RAMI, Kahr PM9, Kahr CW40, S&W Model 10-7, Glock 30, 19, and 26, Browning Hi Power, CZ82, Colt Commander, Dan Wesson PM7, Ruger LCP
I guess the point of all this is: you really need to go someplece that will let you rent several weapons in several calibers (or get with friends willing to share), and plan on spending around $100- then let her decide.
I wouldn't recommend .22LR, but if that honestly is what she likes and tolerates, it is what she will carry. She will not carry the heaviset/hottest caliber in the smallest package that can be selected for her.
I would suspect that a 9mm on the "heavy" side or a .380 on the light side, in a reliable auto (Glock, Sig, KelTec, Ruger, XD) will be the most manageable, despite the perceived "complexity." Revolvers are good, but vent more energy close to the shooter (cylinder gap), so... Women tend to not be as mechanically disinclined as is frequently assumed. Again, this is where the trial and error comes in... Good luck to both of you! Hunting for a new pistol is such grueling work.
Bottom lines up front: I recommend you look very hard at frame size of the gun (i.e. "fit" to her hand size) and definitely have her stick to standard-pressure ammo. Thus, you may find the Ruger SP-101 .327 is a great gun for her, but probably NOT with .327 ammo.
I have family members who are recoil-shy, too. Recommend you look hard at what frame size fits your wife--my wife can handle .38 recoil, but not a K-frame size. Her hands are so small that she has trouble pulling the trigger in a stable way. Ditto my daughter, but she does far better with the lesser .32 recoil. (I almost ruined her for shooting by having her fire defense-style ammo from an Airweight revolver. MY FAULT!!)
The Ruger SP-101 compact frame fits all my girls fine (as does a Colt D-frame or a Smith J-frame). I shoot .327 from the Ruger, but won't even ask my girls to try it! The recoil PLUS the blast/report would be counterproductive. When they shoot that gun, my wife will shoot .32 H&R Mag and my daughter sticks to handloaded .32 S&W Longs that are heavier than factory loads. The .327 gun/caliber have great versatility.
Generally, .327 ammo is far harder to find than .38 SPL.
Generally, snub-nose = harder to aim well than longer barrel. Still, it depends on (a) what roles the gun has for you/her, and (b) what your actual accuracy requirements are. My girls can keep their bullets on the paper up close. Longer-barreled guns typically have larger frames, although exceptions exist.
When your wife shoots .38 from your .357, are they +P or standard pressure? Have you gone all the way down to say, wadcutters? Those rounds, or some LSWCs or even LRN tend to seem milder to shoot than even the 110g standard-pressure defense loads--less flash & blast and thus "perceived" recoil.
Best of luck!
Make sure she is able to pull the slide back if she decides on an automatic. If she can't stand the recoil on a 38 special with a 4 inch barrel try a 32 revolver. It's better then no gun at all.
Handguns for Handicapped and
Very Recoil Sensitive Shooters
Some elderly follks, some handicapped people, and some women can't take much recoil, but still want as much stopping power in a defensive handgun as they can handle and, if possible, some concealability. I have had some experience in this area, being a handicapped shooter myself. If your hands can't control more recoil than delivered by the 9x18 Makarov, .380 ACP, .32 H&R Magnum, .32 ACP or .22 WMR (Magnum), then you don't have the option of more power.
Full size .32 ACP and .380 ACP pistols get very little attention from most manufacturers or gun writers, yet these are often the best choices for a recoil sensitive person. I realize that most gun writers have healthy hands and prefer smaller, lighter .380s and tiny .32 ACPs, so those are the guns normally reviewed in the shooting press. (Guns and Shooting Online has reviewed the Baikal IJ-70A and Bersa Thunder .380 ACP pistols. -Ed.) But, for those who can't handle much recoil the larger .380s are the only answer in an auto pistol with decent stopping power.
Full size .32s and .380s are exactly what I need. I have severe arthritis. My hand is held together by 4 screws and two artificial joints. I can't shoot the smaller .32s and .380s. In the lightest pistols (less than 18 ounces), I can't even handle .32 ACP. In midsize pistols I can handle .32 ACP fine. 18 ounces is difficult, 20 ounces is good, and 23+ ounces is ideal for .32 ACP.
In .380, more weight and size is better, with 23 ounces being about the minimum and 28 ounces being about perfect. The full size Beretta Cheetah (23.3ounces), Browning BDA (23 ounces), CZ83 (28 ounces), Walther PP (24 ounces), Bersa Thunder .380 (23 ounces), and Baikal IJ-70A/Makarov (24 ounces) are possible options. Use the softer and more ergonomic rubber grips on any Makarov type pistol to cushion the shooting hand.
Of these, the heavier CZ-83 is the most recoil friendly choice. Since it is offered in .32 ACP, .380 ACP, and 9x18, it's a sure thing that one of these is perfect for anyone. In .32 the CZ-83 has minimal recoil, even for a guy with a screwed together hand. I'd recommend this for the most recoil sensitive people. In .380 it's okay, even for me. In 9x18 it's borderline for me, but doable on a limited basis. It's the most recoil I can handle.
In .380 ACP the Bersa Thunder and the other 23-24 ounce pistols are a borderline call as to whether tolerable for the recoil sensitive shooter. Their advantage is that these pistols are generally small and light enough to carry concealed. Before buying any of these guns, a recoil sensitive person should first rent one at their local shooting range.
The Bersa is not bad for recoil in .32 ACP. This model is sold as the Firestorm .32 and is currently available only in the Western USA.
Another option: The Bersa Model 83 is an all steel .380 the same size as a Bersa Thunder .380. I'm not exactly sure of the weight of the Bersa 83, but it's in the vicinity of 27 to 30 ounces, which makes it perfect for the recoil sensitive shooter in combination with its ergonomics and light trigger.
The .22 WMR, .32 Long, and .32 H&R Magnum are my preferred revolver calibers. For defensive purposes the .22 WMR is offered in S&W or Taurus double action small frame revolvers and NAA single action mini revolvers. (The 2" Black Widow and 4" Mini Master are the standout models from NAA. -Ed.) I don't like velocity robbing 2" barrels in .22 WMR, and a 4" barrel can be difficult to conceal. I'd prefer a 3" barrel if it were available.
I also like the .32 H&R Magnum in a 2.5", or 3" snub nose revolver as long as they are not lightweights with alloy frames. The ultra-lightweight Taurus and S&W snubbies in .32 Mag. are far too light for this cartridge. Note that any .32 Magnum revolver can also shoot .32 Long ammunition as a reduced power load.
The clear choice in a .32 Magnum revolver is the Ruger SP101 (catalog number KSP-3231X), a 6-shot, stainless steel snubby revolver with a 3 1/16" barrel that weighs 28 ounces. It even comes with adjustable sights. And, If a person can't handle the .32 Mag, they can shoot milder .32 Longs, which should be easy for just about anyone to handle in the SP101. The Ruger SP101 .32 Magnum is the best revolver choice.
There are still a few steel framed .38 Special snubbies around, such as the old S&W Chief's Special and Colt Detective Special. But even with 21 ounce weight this cartridge kicks too much in a small frame for arthritic hands. The best possibility in a .38 Special snubby is probably the Ruger SP101 with a 3 1/6" barrel (catalog number KSP-831X). This stainless steel, 5-shot pistol weighs 27 ounces and is supplied with fixed sights. Reloaders could probably work up reduced recoil loads that would make an SP101 .38 snubby a viable alternative.
I'd like to see at least one small frame snubby .32 Magnum that weighs about 23 ounces with a 3" barrel. I'd also like to see a .22 Magnum snubby with a 3" barrel. I'd very much like to see the Glock .380s imported into the USA.
Summary and Conclusions
The defensive handguns that I've taken a strong liking to are the CZ-83 (in .32 ACP, .380, and 9x18), the Ruger SP101 in .32 Magnum/.32 Long with 3 1/16" barrel, and the Bersa Firestorm .32 ACP. I bought these guns in each cartridge mentioned.
The CZ-83 in 9x18 and the SP101 in .32 Mag offer respectable ballistics with managable recoil in a gun weight that can be carried concealed. Nothing else does that as well.
If a person can't handle the CZ-83 in .380 ACP or the SP101 in .32 Mag, then they should try the CZ-83 in .32 ACP. Likewise, the SP101 can shoot .32 Longs, a low recoil alternative to the more powerful magnum. If those still kick too much, then try a .22 magnum revolver with a 4" barrel using Winchester 40 grain Super-X JHP ammo.
I recommend that the recoil sensitive person try various handguns before buying. This is possible at many local gun rental shooting ranges. Start with something light (such as a .22 Mag. revolver or Bersa Firestorm .32 ACP autoloader) and work up gradually to more powerful guns.
A .22 might be the only way IMO. Snubs are among the hardest pistols to fire. I've always found the perceived recoil of a factory .327 fired in a small gun to be similar or greater than a normal sized .38 wheelgun.
I would look at the Beretta Tomcat 3032. Light weight and easy to conceal. Very, very light recoil. Tip up barrel and DA/SA so no need to rack the slide. Carries 7+1. I carry one in my back pocket everyday and love it.