What is the best handgun with the least kick?


My daughter LOVES her Walther PK 380! Light recoil and weight are her reasons (interesting because usually more weight = less felt recoil). I have tried it and can't fault her about it at all. Great weapon. The 380 is as small as I would go for a self defense weapon. The 22 as noted has virtually no recoil and as you will hear in the forum a lot - shot placement is MUCH more important than caliber but in economics we learn about "diminishing returns" and I think that applies to self defense weapons. Over a certain size it makes little difference but under a certain size you just won't get the job done. I would worry about the 22 being able to penetrate winter clothing and still do the job. I think good self defense rounds in the 380 are adequate for the task. Use the cheap ammo to practice with but put in some nasty high powered hollow points for your self defense rounds. You won't notice the extra kick when the adrenalin kicks in given a real life situation.
 

Katie, you need to find a range/gun store that rents guns, preferably one that also has handgun class's, the optimum caliber for you is for YOU to find out by the testing of different guns, and time at the range trying guns is not going to cost $300, most places you pay one fee, then buy the rds for each gun you test, as has been said a 380 would be a minimum caliber to get, however it still needs to be a decent size gun, definatly NOT one of the very small 380s TCP, LCP, Keltech, the Bersa pro thunder, ruger SR-380, walther P-380 would be better choices if your wanting a 380, but when you go ck guns be sure to try the mid size 9mms, Glock 19, Sig, are excellent guns with very livable recoil, some else to keep in mind is a gun that's small and conceals easy, is not going to be the best to shoot comfortably, if when you go and try guns you find one that you may like but it hits you a little to hard, get something else that has softer recoil for the time being then after you get a good rd count under your belt maybe you can move up to something else
 
Snatale, sorry to disagree with you but pushing the frame forward versus pulling the slide back to has been the preferred method for over 20 years. For exactly the safety reasons you noted trying to lock the grip on the frame and pulling the slide you tend to clench which increases risk of the finger falling to the trigger. Holding the slide and pushing the frame forward you tend to keep your hand more open since the force is pressed into the Web of your hand which doesn't reflexively make the hand clench like pulling the slide does. Pulling back on the slide as a training technique really fell out with the cup and saucer grip style from revolver era shooting. But some folks still prefer those techniques and if they are safe and comfortable with them.

By the way I have been a military, police and Civilian firearms and shooting instructor for over 30 years and I used to be the pistol coach of the US Olympic Pentathlon team back in the late 80s and early 90s
 
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Katie,
It is good you are looking at getting training. Training is an investment that you will not regret. Do you have ranges locally that rent firearms you can try? (Not sure where you are to offer any suggestions) Or do you have friends who shoot that you might go to the range with to try various firearms?

You will find 9mm or 380 typically comfortable rounds for many shooters. And weapons with a low bore axis will have less flip which is often perceived as uncomfortable recoil so you may want to look at S&W M&P, Springfield XDS, (actually both licensed CZ designs) or CZ P07. My primary carry is a czP07 as is my wife 5' 6" with arthritis, as is one of our friends 5' 0", all of us find it a very accurate comfortable shooting pistol.

I would suggest 9mm in all those 40 S&W is just marketing dreck a 137gr 9mm has better performance and stopping power than a 40 S&W 137gr. But the 9mm will be more comfortable to shoot, and is 15 cents per round cheaper to practice with.

One other thing to consider is 22caliber adapters or copies so you can get in more practice cheaper. The cz75/85/SP01 all take a kadet adapter which allows shooting 22 ammo on your normal trigger. The S&W M&P also has a separate 22caliber version of the pistol so you can cheaper train with 22caliber ammo. A Ruger 22/45 will have a similar grip angle to all the above as well which will help train muscle memory for your shooting.
 
Is there a range nearby that offers rentals? I know the one in my area has very reasonable rates for renting handguns. I've never thought a 9mm had much recoil, but I've never shot one that I didn't find obnoxiously heavy/too big for my hands. I bet one of the previously mentioned xd models would be a good balance between weight and recoil, but I can't say from personal experience.
 
i would recommend a .380acp, shoot hundreds of rounds and once you get used to the muzzle flip and recoil then get a larger caliber. most of my female shooting friends who have been shooting longer than me now shoot large caliber handguns. all i can say is start with a small caliber and then move up.
 
Katie, one other thing if you have not picked anything yet, be sure not to overlook one of the compact 45s the 45 ACP rd is a large bullit, but in most guns even the small ones the recoil is very manageable, as everyday carry I sometime use a kimber cdpii and my wife uses a colt defender, yes we are used to shooting, but out of all our handguns we seem to do the best with the 45s...........just something to keep in mind so you don't let the fact that its a 45 scare you away
 
I notice a lot of women shooting with Glock 19's. Two friends of ours (Both female) Carry .38 Snubs (one is a Lady Charter the other S&W revolver).
 
If you want a revolver and don't mind spending some $$... Chiappa Rhino, hands down. It fires from the bottom cylinder so it lines the recoil up with your whole arm, and muzzle flip is reduced quite a bit. Gets even better if you use .38 Special! Plus the hexagon cylinder makes it a little less bulky and easier to carry.
 
I purchased a very inexpensive Phoenix Arms HP22a and love it. I have about 500 rounds through it without a single failure, stovepipe or anything. It is a 22lr, but as they say, the gun you have is 100% than the gun you don't. I'm so impressed by this gun, I'm thinking about buying a second one. Since it is a steel-framed gun and it's only shooting 22lr, the recoil is almost zero. The ammo is cheap as well.

Ask Foghorn: Is .22lr The Best for Self Defense? | The Truth About Guns

What good is a .44 magnum if you are afraid to shoot it? You won't be accurate, you'll end-up shooting someone you didn't intend to shoot and the badguy will go on to hurt others, if not you.

You're more likely to get a quick kill with a 9mm but like I said - if you carry a gun you are much more likely to survive than if you don't.

Oh - one thing - with the Phoenix Arms HP22a there is a small modification you need to make to the safety. Just takes a dremel tool. Once that's done, you have a very good weapon.
 
You need to look at it this way. For every action, there is an equal, and opposite reaction. If the gun doesn't kick some, it doesn't have much stopping power either. Also, smaller and lighter guns kick more than guns with more weight. Check out a Walther PK380, for instance. If you go with a 380, use only ball ammo, and stay away from hollow points altogether.

I have never owned a handgun so I want one that easy to use but one that has safety features too. I don't want it to have a lot of kickback. My husband has a 9mm but it's too heavy for me. I want to be able to take it with me so I'm looking for something that's not too bulky.
 
For my first hand gun I purchases an LC9 (Ruger) Nice and compact. I carry it in a holster made just for it that goes on the inside of my pants. Took a little bit to get use to but I carry it every where now!
 
Welcome to the club,my wife has carpul tunnel in her hands and found even a light 38 was to much for her to control. I bought a walther p22 for her and she loves it.Yes a larger caliber would be better for self defence, but she shoots the walther very well and with CCI stingers she feels confident that she can protect herself.Go to a range where you can try several different hand guns and find out what you can handle and what you like. Then practice ! practice ! practice !
 
I would say don't go under 9mm but if you do you can always go with a .380. Your husbands gun is suited for his hands but i'm sure you can find a 9mm handgun that would fit your hands perfect and a shooting class will teach you a grip that would eliminate your worries about recoil. We had some women that had a fear of guns and they came to class started shooting a 9mm and then wanted to shoot a .40 and they shot both with out a problem but a class will get you exactly where you would like to be shooting wise. Oh yeah you could also try a .38, you can get them fairly small and easy to handle.
 
My daughter LOVES her Walther PK 380! Light recoil and weight are her reasons (interesting because usually more weight = less felt recoil). I have tried it and can't fault her about it at all. Great weapon. The 380 is as small as I would go for a self defense weapon. The 22 as noted has virtually no recoil and as you will hear in the forum a lot - shot placement is MUCH more important than caliber but in economics we learn about "diminishing returns" and I think that applies to self defense weapons. Over a certain size it makes little difference but under a certain size you just won't get the job done. I would worry about the 22 being able to penetrate winter clothing and still do the job. I think good self defense rounds in the 380 are adequate for the task. Use the cheap ammo to practice with but put in some nasty high powered hollow points for your self defense rounds. You won't notice the extra kick when the adrenalin kicks in given a real life situation.
Please don't take this wrong, but a 22 loaded with CCI stingers will penetrate as well as a 380, it wont have as big a hole, that is if shooting ph books is true they both penetrate close to the same, and interestingly enough out of short barrel guns make dam near the same noise?
 
Your original post says you are worried about recoil. The most important thing to understand about recoil is the perception changes with several factors: fit in the hand, grip, trigger pull (including length) and size of the gun. The smaller the gun and lighter the gun, the more recoil. Do not be deceived into thinking that a .380 has less recoil than a 9mm. That is actually not true. The design of those little .380 guns are deceptive. They can be a real bear to shoot. The best shooting "small" guns on the market are probably the Sig P238 (.380) and the Sig P938 (9 mm). The design of the gun reduces the felt recoil for the shooter.

The LCP has a horrible trigger (don't let the "pretty colors" fool you. The Keltec pistols i.e. the PF9 is a snot to shoot but feels great in the hand at the store. Also, never believe someone telling you something is a pocket pistol. Women's clothing is designed differently from men's and NOTHING truly fits our pockets so plan on carrying in another location (on the body is preferred). Snub nose revolvers are notoriously difficult to control effectively and limit number of rounds and slow to reload. So final suggestion: TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
 

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