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Recoil rankings?? (.38, 9 mm, .40, .45)

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by ADK_40GLKr, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. ADK_40GLKr

    ADK_40GLKr Adirondacker with a Glock

    Nov 14, 2010
    RFD NY Adks
    I have a lady-friend, small boned 5'2" with a bad wrist. She just obtained a Ruger LCR in .38 Spl for SD, and claims it is a bit too snappy for her.

    Partial to Glocks (.40 cal in particular) I recommended the 9 mm "Baby Glock", but I've also read that the .45 has relatively light recoil for its size.

    Does anyone have first hand experience with any combinations of these guns, to rank them by amount of perceived kick (using comparable loads in each one)?

    My guess would be (from least to most):
    G26, G27, LCR, G36 or G39....

    ....While putting the LCR lowest in "stopping power"?
  2. albyihat


    Aug 3, 2007
    SW Montana
    I would recommend a heavier revolver chambered in .38. A 9mm, .40 or .45 in a compact size will have more recoil IMO. If you don't reload buy a bunch of different ammo to find what feels best to her. Standard pressure will get the job done if +p is to much for her. The weight of the revolver will take most of the felt recoil out of the picture. My wife loves my ruger gp-100 4inch bbl. and can handle full house .357mag rds through it, but she hates both glocks even with weak handloads. Also custom or aftermarket grips can make a big difference with recoil, especially with small handed women.

  3. gilfo


    Mar 14, 2008
    I've been told 148gr wadcutters are a mild load for recoil and not a bad SD rd. I have not yet tried them for myself so take it with a grain of salt. I'm waiting for the next gunshow to purchase some.
  4. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    A g26 would be a good weapon IF she can manipulate the slide. Otherwise she might consider an sp101 ruger instead, with the 135gr +p .38sp gold dot load..
  5. Yankee2718


    Nov 23, 2010
    Tell her to keep practicing with it. Any other gun and she probably won't carry it. The LCR is light, dependable, accurate, easy trigger pull. She needs to get used to it. More practice.

    ETA: Is this going to be a carry weapon? If not, try a G19.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  6. Officer's Match

    Officer's Match S.R.D. v

    Jun 22, 2007
    Lancaster, Ohio
    If she wants a subcompact and can afford it, a P2000SK in 9mm is a very manageable shooter. LEM if DAO is preferred, or DA/SA - you have the choice.
  7. Dogguy


    Aug 2, 2008
    Soggy South.
    The most felt recoil comes when using a light gun with a heavy load. In your friend's case, she is using a lightweight revolver. She would benefit from using standard .38 Special loads, not +P loads. If she still has difficulty with recoil, a heavier .38 revolver may be preferred--a Ruger SP101 or a steel-framed S&W. I don't think she will benefit (as far as recoil is concerned) from switching to a small auto with heavy loads if she is recoil sensitive.
  8. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    My wife loves her G19, she practices with the standard load and carries +p+. She thought the G26/27 were harder to shoot.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  9. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    A 2" snub is probably the worst choice for a new shooter w/ smallish hands. Any 9mm will have more recoil than a 4" 38sp. That is typ what I recommend for HD for a woman or older person that is recoil shy. Easy to shoot, w/ 158grLSWCHP, quite effective. The next would be a steel frame 9mm like a S&W or maybe a SIg226 shooting std vel pressure ammo. Then a 45acp in a full size gun, the 40 is last on my list for lightest recoiling.
    If this is for CCW, a 3" SP101 in 357mag is not a bad choice w/ 38sp or 38sp+P loads. The revolver requirea bit more trigger time to get the DA down, but the simpler operation makes it a winner vs a semiauto IMO.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  10. ADK_40GLKr

    ADK_40GLKr Adirondacker with a Glock

    Nov 14, 2010
    RFD NY Adks
    Thanks, people. I've passed this info along.

    I think what I'm hearing is standard pressure ammo and (maybe) a heavier Ruger?
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  11. glock20c10mm


    Dec 4, 2004
    Out West
    I think a heavier Ruger revolver shooting 38 Special standard pressure loads is about the softing shooting possible in a still adequate self defense round.

    This may be a tad larger than hoped for, but something like this Ruger GP100 double action revolver...
    ...made for shooting the 357 Magnum, with a 3" barrel, weighing in at 36 ounces. It'll digest all the 38 Special you could ever feed it and then some, and especially if you stay with standard pressure ammo (no +P stuff) it oughta shoot as softly as my single six with 22mag ammo. And every now and then you yourself can have some fun running some 357 Magnum loads through it too. Nice thing about it having the exposed hammer is she can shoot it single action style too (it's not double action only).

    If you care, you can see it at the link below, plus showing the different barrel lengths it's available in, some with adjustable sights, one with fixed sights, some blued, and some stainless.

    Just throwing it out there as something that would be really soft shooting without going to a 22 of one sort or another. Heck, those GP100s even come with a nice soft grippy Black Hogue® Monogrip®.

    I understand it's larger than the likes of LCRs and G26s, but it's still a reasonable size, and she'ld probably have lots of fun shooting it, instead of wondering how soon the shooting session will be over.

    If you insist on going smaller, there are always the Ruger SP101s for launching 38 Special loads, and for reference, depending on barrel length, the SP101s weigh from 3 to 6 more ounces than a G17 to help tame recoil.

    Here's a SP101 with a 3.06" barrel (which you can also shoot 357 Magnum from).
    The nice thing about this particular one is it still has the exposed hammer and can be shot single action when she wants.

    Keep in mind, GP100s hold 6 rounds, and SP101s hold 5 rounds.

    Please don't think I'm telling you what to do. Just throwing it our there for ya.

    Good Shooting,
    Craig :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  12. A number of grandmother types shoot the Steyr M40-A1 very well, it's built more like a G20 than a G23.

    Very controllable, first shot from any kind of gun;


    First magazine, first time shooter with a soda can hit;


    My girlfriend chose the FNP-40 for night stand duty and this svelte Taurus .327mag for CCW;



    The 115gr Gold Dot hits very hard (1381fps chrono), even from a snub 2" barrel.

    A number of people still carry revolvers for SD.

    SP101 from Ruger;

    Review SP101 .327 Fed Mag;

    Review GP100/Blackhawk;

    Smith & Wesson Model 632 Carry Comp Pro .327 Federal Magnum Revolver

    Bob :cowboy:
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  13. The 148gr are mild. Doesn't matter the brand, Remington, Winchester, Blazer, etc. All 148gr wadcutters are loaded to lower velocity. That along with a lighter bullet (compared to standard 158gr) equals softer recoil.

    The lighter bullets, such as 130gr, etc, however are not usually loaded at a lower velocity, and so have a higher felt recoil. The 148gr are the ticket :)
  14. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

    Aug 20, 2010
    Out On The Tiles
    As others have stated a nice Ruger or Smith in steel will tame it quite well. I have found the 125 gr Nyclads in .38 Special soft shooting. Small lightweight revolvers (LCR, 442, 642, etc.) while great for carry tend to be a little tough to shoot especially if the shooter is new and not accustomed to recoil. An SP101 or 640 is stainless steel are soft shooters with standard pressure .38.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  15. voiceofreason


    Oct 27, 2010

    on the Nyclad

    I'd have her try using the Nyclads first with what she has before buying a new gun.
  16. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    So .380 ACP is out? A heavier .380 would be the lightest recoiling of all I would think yet would still be smaller and lighter than those heavy revolvers.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011