Little Guns Don’t Kick, Right?

Fairly often, new gun owners will purchase a diminutive gun for self defense. Something easily concealed. Often a compact 9mm semi-auto or a lightweight snub-nose .38 revolver. Then they’re astounded when at the range, it bucks, roars and snorts hard!

Little gun + powerful cartridge = recoil & muzzle blast.

Small guns often have small grips, making it difficult or impossible to gain a full grasp on the handgun. The grips may well be designed to have the small finger curled up under the grip, rather than wrapping around it. The short barrels on these guns force a very short sight radius, making it tough for the shooter to be accurate. There’s also a LOT of muzzle blast, flash and recoil from these little guns.


How to work around this? I just use a bigger gun most of the time. I’ve found a full-size 1911, a mid-size revolver, or a GLOCK® semi-auto conceal fairly easily and I just dress around the gun. Then again, I’m not much of one for fashion. There’s no doubt a smaller gun is easier to conceal.


Avoid the .357 mag in a very small, lightweight revolver. Those things are extremely difficult for most people to control in rapid fire. Avoid the +P+ 9mm ammo in a small, lightweight semi auto for the same reason.  Standard 9mm & .38 ammo is far easier for the shooter to control. Rounds on target is what we’re looking for, not horrendous muzzle blast & flash and recoil so severe that it disrupts our accuracy.


With a small gun, consider going to a small cartridge. Not tacti-cool, but very useful. This is particularly true for someone who has little experience or training with handguns. A small gun may NOT be a very good idea for a beginning handgunner.


When choosing that important self-defense gun, don’t necessarily shop for the smallest and lightest, instead shop for one that fits, and one that doesn’t have so much recoil & muzzle blast that it discourages regular practice.

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