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  1. #1
    Liquidfx is offline Junior Member
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    handgun for recoil sensitive fiancee

    I'm looking for something for my fiancee to use when I am not around. I feel she should carry whether I am there or not but she doesn't. I'll work on that later. However, she has said she'll let me buy her a handgun as well as to take some classes and possibly get her CCW. She is very recoil sensitive so something like a .40 S&W or .45ACP will most likely be out of the question. She has shot my M&P 40 and while she liked the feel/weight of the gun as well as a friends Ruger P90 (this was too heavy), she did not like the recoil at all. Additionally she is just getting back into shooting after not having shot for over 15 yrs so she would prefer something easy to shoot, at least initially. She has a .38 Special revolver that was inherited, however, she's said that she does not really want to carry a revolver if/when she does.

    What I need help with is what to have her look at initially? I won't have any say in the purchase other than handing over the cash to do so, therefore these are just my initial thoughts on what she might like. I realize that the smaller the gun the more felt recoil, but due to her small frame, I know she wouldn't be comfortable carrying a full size. Hence my suggestions below...

    Some of what I was thinking were:

    M&P9c
    SR9c
    M&P Bodyguard 380
    Walther PPK
    Sig P238
    XD9c
    Sig P250 Compact 9mm

    Opinions on these for a recoil sensitive shooter? Any other suggestions? Most of these I can rent from a LGS, so she will definitely be trying before buying. I'd like to keep it around $500 give or take but will end up buying what SHE wants no matter the cost...LOL Reliability is probably most important for me. Safety, recoil, and then comfort in hand most important for her.

  2. #2
    sgms is offline Member
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    Good call, everyone is different in their pistol likes/dislikes so off to a range that rents if you can and let here shoot what she thinks feels good in her hand and let her decide what is the right one. Any of the listed pistols would be a good choice. All have good reps and are good pistols.
    Last edited by sgms; 11-12-2012 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Some day I'll learn to proof read

  3. #3
    rex
    rex is offline Senior Member
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    Forget a PPK,she won't like it I can pretty much bet.380s are going to be a bit sharp on the recoil but there's a few (don't recall who's) I heard of that aren't bad,but......

    9mm is abundant and cheap,she should be able to find something in the plethora of choices presently.I have little experience with small guns so I'm not much help there,the smallest gun I ever owned was a pair of discontinued Sig 230s that were an improved PPK copy.The stainless was heavy and the "blued" aluminum frame was pretty snappy.Good gun and I'd buy another if I wanted a 380 because the trigger was good and the slide wouldn't cut the web of your hand,that's a trait of the PPK.

    Thought of reloading?You can make ammo cheaper and can make it from target loads to full bore.If you shoot enough the initial investment is covered fairly quickly if you're dedicated to learning it.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    ,,,,,,,Just kidding.......

  5. #5
    chessail77's Avatar
    chessail77 is offline Senior Member
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    Might want to add a S&W shield 9mm if you can find one, list is good as it is .....

  6. #6
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    In my own experience, recoil sensitivity is caused by poor technique. Or arthritis. (How old is she?)

    Many unpracticed shooters grip pistols loosely, thinking that it will help them to avoid the pain caused by recoil.
    But the truth is, the more firmly you grip the gun, the less pain you'll feel from recoil.
    She might try a very firm grip, and thorough, firm-grip follow-through. I bet that eliminates the pain.

    I have taught children and my very thin, tiny wife to successfully and painlessly shoot the full-size, full-weight 1911 in .45 ACP.
    It's all in the technique...and in the fact that the .45 ACP cartridge presents a slow recoil push, rather than a fast jab.

    I strongly suggest that you avoid the classic "Get a little gun for the little lady." Small guns are for well-practiced, well-prepared experts, not relative beginners.

  7. #7
    swany66675's Avatar
    swany66675 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: handgun for recoil sensitive fiancee

    I agree with Steve, on most of what he has said. I would like to add I've seen people that thought they were recoil shy be cured by putting a set of ear plugs under a set of ear muffs, turned out they had a problem anticipating the sound.

  8. #8
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    from rex:
    Forget a PPK,she won't like it I can pretty much bet.380s are going to be a bit sharp on the recoil but there's a few (don't recall who's) I heard of that aren't bad,but......

    the recoil is bad due to blowback design - the sig 238 is locked breech and that is the one that you were trying to remember - the locked breech design also is easier to pull the slide

  9. #9
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    In my own experience, recoil sensitivity is caused by poor technique. Or arthritis. (How old is she?)

    Many unpracticed shooters grip pistols loosely, thinking that it will help them to avoid the pain caused by recoil.
    But the truth is, the more firmly you grip the gun, the less pain you'll feel from recoil.
    STEVE: do you think that its harder to grip the small pistols rather than a J frame?
    reason I ask is i have been talking to my wife - she likes stainless steel and a wood grip - then she said she thinks she wants a 380, she also wants an exposed hammer.
    So i think i have narrowed it down to the sig p238 HDW or S&W 637 in 38spl. - your thoughts in regards to recoil?
    also
    if I give up on the SS i was thinking of the beretta Cheetah and Bersa thunder plus - bigger gun to grip - but the slide is a bit tough to rack and i havent read anything about recoil in these two

  10. #10
    Liquidfx is offline Junior Member
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    @Steve: I hadn't thought of the grip issue. I'll be sure to bring that up with her. We are both in our late 30's, so wouldn't think it would be an arthritic issue, but ya never know. And honestly I don't think it's that the recoil hurts her so to speak. I think it's more that she doesn't like the feeling it provides her. For example, the sharpness of the recoil of my .40 is what she didn't like. And while she said the recoil of the P90 was too much, she said it was less than that of my .40, but the gun itself was way too heavy for her in her words. So that is why I was looking for more information on recoil from the compacts as they tend to be a bit lighter, but I know from my experience that the recoil can be more due to that lighter weight. Thanks for all that information. Will be sure to keep it in mind as we go through the process.

    Thanks for all the replies everyone.

  11. #11
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    ruger LCP - 9.4 oz
    sig p238 - 15.2 oz
    sig p238 model HD and HDW - 20 oz
    S&W bodyguard - 12.3 oz
    as the weight goes up the recoil goes down especially in a locked breech design over the blowback design

  12. #12
    rex
    rex is offline Senior Member
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    Hideit,thanks,I figured it wasn't going to be a blowback but I haven't followed them since I'm not big on the 380.I think there was another but not sure.I would carry a light Sig 230 again but the PPKs were nasty.

    Steve is right about grip,that could ber her issue.Unless she gets a 22 she's going to have to deal with it,if she can handle that 38 she can handle a 9.It's just going to be a search for the balance of size and power.I know it's more than you want to spend but have her try an HK P series,the P2000 is about the smallest.I'm not familiar with it but my USP45 recoils like a 9,and people say HKs in general recoil on the light side.They aren't really expensive like everyone complains about,you're buying a higher quality gun than most even in that price range.

  13. #13
    Bisley's Avatar
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    Maybe she should just go ahead with the training, using the revolver or a rented gun. A good self defense instructor will teach her to ignore all the little things that she finds unpleasant, and just do the necessary things that might save her life. Most recoil sensitivity comes from a poor grip, or insufficient ear protection - also things an instructor can coach her on. I've seen petite young beauties and grannies, alike, that could shoot .45's better than most men.

    She might have a completely different attitude about what she wants, after going to school on it.

  14. #14
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post
    STEVE: do you think that its harder to grip the small pistols rather than a J frame?...
    About my wife, who is exactly five feet tall, and weighs 100 pounds when fully dressed and sopping wet:
    Given the practice she has put in, and the experience she has gained, Jean feels that her Kel-Tec P3AT is much more comfortable to shoot than her J-frame Airweight Bodyguard.
    For her, the full-size 1911 is the most comfortable to shoot, but she couldn't carry it concealed on her slight body. My .380 Colt's Pocket Hammerless is also pretty comfortable to shoot, but she has lots of trouble racking its slide. Since the Kel-Tec features a locked breech, she can operate it—but with a little difficulty.
    The Kel-Tec's trigger is poorly shaped, and I had to go after it with a file and sandpaper to vastly alter its sharp and too-tightly-curved lower section, but now she finds it comfortable. It also needed a polish job. Although its sights are tiny, she is accurate and effective with it out to about 10 yards. At 15 yards, she needs to shoot pretty slowly.
    We both find that the J-frame and her Charter Arms snubbie try to twist in our hands in recoil. We both can control them, and shoot them well enough, but the Kel-Tec is more comfortable and easier to use effectively, so we don't bother with the revolvers. The J-frame's (filler-modified) grip is a little larger and longer than the Kel-Tec's, but once Jean had sufficient shooting experience, that wasn't an issue.
    I believe that if the J-frame had a longer barrel, and was made of steel rather than aluminum, it would be much easier to shoot well and comfortably. Does that make it into a Model 10?

    For a relative beginner, a steel-frame, four-inch-barrel, six-shot revolver with a grip filler (but not necessarily a larger grip) would probably be more comfortable to shoot than the Kel-Tec P3AT or the Ruger LCP, or maybe even the Ruger LCR.
    (Full Disclosure: Neither Jean nor I have ever shot either the LCP or the LCR.)

    Does that help?

  15. #15
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks. That makes me lean further to the p238 HDW. And yes she has shot before. She even beat me in skeet.

  16. #16
    lubers is offline Junior Member
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    I carry the P238 very low recoil, I also have had the Bersa Thunder .380 which is also a very nice shooter. Between the two I'd go with the Sig P238 smaller, lighter and just as accurate and a nice trigger pull.

  17. #17
    pic
    pic is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    lol that's funny
    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Rick Hiott View Post




    ,,,,,,,Just kidding.......

  18. #18
    usmcj's Avatar
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    "Recoil Sensitive" is usually a result of lack of training, or experience. Start her out with a .22 AND classes so she can learn proper fundamentals..... stance, grip, sight alignment, and trigger squeeze. Once she's proficient with those fundamentals, she'll be able to shoot virtually any handgun that SHE is comfortable with. Being ABLE to control recoil and being COMFORTABLE with it are two different things. Training will make her ABLE to deal with recoil, but lots of .22 caliber, low recoil practice, and a gradual increase in caliber might well make her more comfortable with recoil.

    A knowledgeable instructor will bring a variety of guns to class for his/her students to experience. That alone will allow the new shooter to make their own decision, on platform, and caliber, rather than have to depend on the preferences of others.

    Just my two cents.

  19. #19
    hideit's Avatar
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    the recoil of the 1911 govt model with 230 gr FMJ roundball is very mile recoil
    same for the beretta 92's
    but if she is going to carry then I would suggest something smaller than 6" in length
    if you decide on 380s then the sig 238HD is very mild recoil
    if you decide on 9mm (the cheapest ammo) then i would lean toward the beretta nano
    if she is going to carry in a purse, then 6" to 6.5" length should be ok - then i would lean toward the S&W M&P Shield - it has a wonderful trigger and is getting rave reviews

  20. #20
    denner's Avatar
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    The 9mm PX4 subcompact is an extremely soft shooter especially if you slip on some pachmayer or Hogue grips. Actually pretty amazing if you ask me.

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