Seven Best Low Recoil Handguns For Concealed Carry
Firearms users who prefer a low recoil defensive carry gun may be subject to age restraints, arthritis, bodily injury or low experience. Some just don’t like recoil. No one should feel ashamed of their personal preferences on recoil and though they may feel inhibited by them, there are definitely low recoil handguns to consider and a ccw community that has their back along the way.
When choosing a low recoil firearm there are several characteristics that come into play.
Subjects like caliber, size and weight are serious considerations. Keep in mind, with the same size gun, larger calibers will usually generate more recoil than smaller calibers and lighter firearms will produce more recoil than heavier guns in the same caliber.
Recoil is simple. Isaac Newton taught us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A bullet is fired from a gun and the force generated from the action causes recoil. The heavier the recoil, the more “kick,” or more simply the resulting backward-jerking motion, a gun has.
Some hands have trouble controlling that kick, others are intimidated by it. Still more do not understand it, or are looking at options to subdue it.
Another effect of recoil is muzzle rise. When successive shots are fired in a short span of time, the muzzle of the gun is forced incrementally upward. This takes the muzzle further away from the target, impeding follow-up shots by requiring more time to bring the muzzle to bear. In a self-defense encounter, the ability to land follow-up shots may be critical.
In no particular order, here are seven low-recoil options. Of course, there are more and these examples may not work at all for some folks. We would love to hear your low-recoil options and experiences in the comments below.
The Ruger LC380 Semi-Auto Pistol is a concealed carry weapon engineered for success
Big bullets fired from a small concealed carry weapon increase recoil, which can make shooting subcompact pistols a pain. Ruger put on its thinking cap by employing a heavier slide and larger grip for greater comfort and ease of shooting the .380 cartridge.
A double-action-only trigger, adjustable 3-dot sights, overall 6-inch length, 4.5-inch height, .90-inch width, 7+1 round capacity and Blued Alloy Steel slide contribute to this being a solid hammer-fired, locked-breech, semi-automatic pistol for those seeking the moderate recoil of .380 ACP ammunition.
The Kel-Tec PMR-30 .22 Mag. is a lightweight firearm with low recoil
It is fairly light, 20 ounces loaded. It uses .22 Mag. cartridges, making recoil as light as a summer breeze. Its magazine holds 30+1 rounds, combatting the low stopping power of the lighter ammunition by offering a higher volume of bullets to unload.
The .22 Magnum makes a little more noise than the .22LR, but that hardly makes the PMR-30 hard to shoot. The full-length grip, fiber-optic sights, soft trigger and easy-to-operate slide make this a fantastically comfortable gun to shoot, even for extended shooting sessions.
Rock Island Armory spent three years to create a unique low recoil handgun
The Rock Island Armory XT22 Magnum is said to be the first 1911 production with .22 WMR ammunition. This low-recoil handgun holds 15 rounds in a single stack magazine, though the grip had to be extended to accommodate the longer magazine.
Despite that, the ergonomics, controls and parts are still that of the traditional 1911. It features a delayed blowback slide and four- to six-pound trigger. Initially offered with fixed sights, a top rail for optics is said to be in the offing in the very near future.
The Smith & Wesson Model 60 controls recoil while you control a lethal threat
Though some may dissent, the Smith & Wesson Model 60, with a weight of 24.5 ounces and a 3-inch barrel, soaks up recoil far better than many other .38 Special snub-nose revolvers.
Initially produced in 1965, it is the world’s first stainless steel revolver. There’s a reason this small J-frame has remained in production for more than five decades, well regarded by law enforcement and sports shooters alike. The four finger, synthetic grip ensures good purchase on the handle when things go south.
Beretta Pico is a concealed carry weapon that manages recoil
While the Beretta Pico was initially derided for a heavy the trigger pull (averaging over eight pounds) and difficult slide, it is very effective at managing recoil for such a small gun. The Pico is a true subcompact, weighing in at only 11.5 oz. – perfect for a deeply concealed carry weapon.
Beretta listened to consumers, installing a lighter recoil spring and adjusting the trigger. Today’s Pico has a lighter pull, and slide resistance has been reduced by 10 to 20 percent. As a result of the upgrades, it is now a highly shootable and viable CCW pistol. Additionally, muzzle rise is mitigated fairly well, lifting only 1.4 degrees during the recoil cycle.
Beretta PX4 Storm rotary barrel depletes gun recoil
Available in 9mm, the Beretta PX4 Storm double/single-action semiauto contains a rotary barrel that moves recoil away from the shooter’s hand while also managing muzzle jump. Prolonged shooting is a breeze and accuracy is in no way impeded by the rotary barrel system.
The full-size, 9mm version of this pistol, weighing in at 27.7 oz., holds 17+1 rounds, has a polymer frame and features a snag-free design that allows mounting laser devices and light systems.
One of the best ways to soak up recoil is with more mass, and the Ruger GP100 definitely brings that to the table. This pistol is a TANK.
However, it's also one of the best workhorse .357 Magnum revolvers you can buy. It has a very decent trigger and very usable sights. The rubber grips of the standard model are very comfortable, and help to absorb recoil when shooting.
Ruger's magnum revolvers tend to be over-built, so they can take a diet of the hot stuff without issue. In times gone by, the done thing was to shoot .38 Special or .44 Special in .357 and .44 Magnum revolvers, respectively, and sparingly shoot the full-house loads. Ruger's revolvers are made to take hot factory ammunition and beyond.
Shooting .357 Magnum in a GP100 is rather pleasant. There's some snap, but it's almost mild. Shooting .38 Special is a breeze.
Granted, it's a pig! But there are short-barrel concealed carry models, which will make shooting a compact magnum more tenable...if you can put up with carrying it.
You Are The Best Judge Of Recoil
Opinions will vary on what is acceptable recoil. Go to a range that rents guns and try a few out for yourself. Spark a conversation with another carrier and see what they have to say. Certain firearms may be too snappy for some but completely manageable for others.
Like any other recreational or self-defense option, one size does not fit all. Part of minimizing recoil is practicing with a firearm until one is used to it, but starts with choosing a gun that serves you best along the way.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.