pocket pistol recoil

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I’m looking into true pocket size 380s like the Remington RM380 and Beretta Pico which are said to be less snappy than the LCP 380s and Bodyguard. If I wanted something bigger I would choose a Smith Airlite j-frame revolver but that would be quite large in my pocket. Thought we might be able to report our experiences with these types of guns in one place to get an understanding of relative recoil. I have experience with 4 different models.

Taurus PT Poly 22lr-
Very mild recoil, excellent ergos, hammer fired DAO, no extractor, slide is tough to rack but it has a tip up barrel to load your +1 and remove duds. Was very reliable for me.

Ruger LCP 2 22lr-
More recoil than the PT Poly, extremely soft recoil spring which makes it one of the hardest recoiling 22s, ergos aren’t great, had some light strikes when I first got it but the extractor works well as long as you rack the slide with force, it is possible to put it on safe when doing so. I assume the 380 version produces 5 times the felt recoil but have never shot one and have no interest in doing so.

Sig P238 380-
A lot more recoil than the LCP 22 but also weighs quite a bit more and is not blowback which helps, ergos are comfortable, did not hurt to shoot but I was limited to 50 rounds. Considered by some to be the lightest recoiling pocket 380. 1911 style single action only with manual safety.

Keltec P32 32acp-
Extremely light but not blowback, ergos are okay, hurt my hand a bit after 100 rounds, hand was a bit sore for a few days after. My hand does not like thin tiny guns that kick. More felt recoil than the other 3 but generally considered to be more comfortable to shoot than polymer 380s. Will sometimes rimlock with HPs because they are shorter than FMJ. No manual safety, no second strike capability because it isn’t a true/traditional double action but I had zero malfunctions. Considered by some to be the most reliable gun Keltec makes.

What pocket pistols have you shot? Cocked and locked 1911 style makes me nervous, I’d much prefer a DOA or DA/SA so a long heavy trigger pull acts as a safety. I wish 25acp ammo didn’t cost a fortune and that more options were available in that caliber, would also be nice to see more 32acp options, one not blowback in DA/SA with good ergos and Bodyguard/LCP weight would probably be perfect for me.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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I have some classic small pistols, but I'll keep it at least in this century. I don't imagine there's much demand for insight into Astra 3000's in .32 & .380:)

Ruger LCP - Gen 1. Works every time, VERY light weight; and the compliments stop there. I carried this for a couple of years because it was just convenient, but I never was much of a fan of the pistol. Ergonomically the pistol is razor thin, and I can’t imagine the grip fits anyone’s hand well; let alone my big dumb mitts. Sights are…well I guess technically you’d say there are sights; but they’re nearly unusable. Trigger is long and heavy, but it is consistent, and I think its actually rather acceptable (though most tend to disagree with me on that). The +1 magazine extension helped a lot, but I never once caught myself in the act of enjoying that pistol.

Ruger LCP MAX – Fixes just about everything that was wrong with the earlier LCP’s, and doubles the capacity…freaking home run Ruger!! Really I could talk for hours on how well thought out this pistol is for a compact pocket pistol. Ruger REALLY did their homework.
The trigger could use some help, and I may address that at some point; but for now it’s very serviceable. Ergonomically it’s a massive step in the right direction. With the +2 magazine, it actually fits my hand with all fingers, and even girth wise; yet is still under 1" wide. The way they rounded the grip just really worked for me and my fairly large hands. They fixed the sights; and boy did they fix the sights. The generous U notch rear that’s now adjustable for windage, and the large tritium dot up front, also adjustable for windage. These aren’t just good sights, they’re excellent sights and so perfectly matched for this pistol. I don't see any aftermarket makers improving on what Ruger has done here. In my hands this pistol is a revelation compared to the Gen 1 LCP; it’s just way easier to shoot. That said, its still a very small pistol, and not easy to shoot well. So concentration is really needed for longer shots.
“I think there’s a right-wing conspiracy to promote the idea of a left-wing conspiracy”

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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I have an LCP II. Snappy, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for concealability. I shoot it enough to stay proficient, but no more. Would like to shoot an LCP max because it has a slightly bigger grip and the extra capacity can't hurt. Better sights, too.

Also have an LCR in 327. Good grips make it a not unpleasant shooter, especially in 32 H&R.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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sig230 wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:13 pm Of the two you mention my RM380 is the softer shooting and far easier to rack. The Pico has far better sights and on mine I also switched to night sights.
What do you think of the RM380 ergos? Do you enjoy shooting it or simply find it tolerable to shoot?

The Pico is definitely odd looking with a high bore axis, it’s almost as tall as a j-frame.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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FrontSight wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:34 pm I have some classic small pistols, but I'll keep it at least in this century. I don't imagine there's much demand for insight into Astra 3000's in .32 & .380:)

Ruger LCP - Gen 1.
—snipped—
Ruger LCP MAX
—snipped—
I haven’t held one but the grip on the LCP 1 looks more rounded off and comfortable than the one on the 2.
Do you enjoy shooting the MAX? It does look more rounded off and comfortable than the 2.
Do you feel comfortable carrying these pistols chambered without manual safeties?
I think Ruger goofed on that LCP 2 grip, even the 22lr is awkward to shoot.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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wooglin wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:40 pm I have an LCP II. Snappy, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for concealability. I shoot it enough to stay proficient, but no more. Would like to shoot an LCP max because it has a slightly bigger grip and the extra capacity can't hurt. Better sights, too.

Also have an LCR in 327. Good grips make it a not unpleasant shooter, especially in 32 H&R.
I also have an LCR in 327, an absolute puppy to shoot with 32 wads, I’m not a good shot with it but that’s me and DAO. It’s too large, thick, and heavy for pocket carry. Ultra high quality gun though and fantastic trigger(for double action). I briefly owned an SP, awful trigger.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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UncleJon wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:55 pmDo you enjoy shooting the MAX? It does look more rounded off and comfortable than the 2.
I’m enjoying the challenge of hitting at 50 yards with this little pistol. I have guns I would much rather shoot, but the LCP MAX is actually almost pleasant to shoot.
UncleJon wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:55 pmDo you feel comfortable carrying these pistols chambered without manual safeties?
Absolutely. I keep mine in a pocket holster, and keep my wits about me. I think the pistol is very well designed for its intended purpose.
UncleJon wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:55 pmI think Ruger goofed on that LCP 2 grip, even the 22lr is awkward to shoot.
Yeah, I just couldn’t find a comfortable way to shoot it.
“I think there’s a right-wing conspiracy to promote the idea of a left-wing conspiracy”

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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UncleJon wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:47 pm
sig230 wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:13 pm Of the two you mention my RM380 is the softer shooting and far easier to rack. The Pico has far better sights and on mine I also switched to night sights.
What do you think of the RM380 ergos? Do you enjoy shooting it or simply find it tolerable to shoot?

The Pico is definitely odd looking with a high bore axis, it’s almost as tall as a j-frame.
Personally, I tend toward 32acp rather than .380 and so carry one of my 32acp far more often than a .380.

In .380 I have the Sig P230 & P290RS (both the 9mm Luger and .380 versions), the LCP, the S&W BG 380, the Beretta Pico but two RM380s. Of the .380s the two Sigs are the most pleasant to shoot but also the largest and heaviest. In the smaller group I carry the Remington's the most, then the S&W followed by the Pico. I find the LCP pretty much lying under the bottom of the barrel.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
Stories coming to you from Deep South Texas!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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sig230 wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 3:37 pm Personally, I tend toward 32acp rather than .380 and so carry one of my 32acp far more often than a .380.

In .380 I have the Sig P230 & P290RS (both the 9mm Luger and .380 versions), the LCP, the S&W BG 380, the Beretta Pico but two RM380s. Of the .380s the two Sigs are the most pleasant to shoot but also the largest and heaviest. In the smaller group I carry the Remington's the most, then the S&W followed by the Pico. I find the LCP pretty much lying under the bottom of the barrel.
That sounds right, I think a Sig P230 would feel a little too heavy in my pocket. So do you find the RM380 to be softer shooting than the BG and Pico?

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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UncleJon wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 5:00 pm
sig230 wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 3:37 pm Personally, I tend toward 32acp rather than .380 and so carry one of my 32acp far more often than a .380.

In .380 I have the Sig P230 & P290RS (both the 9mm Luger and .380 versions), the LCP, the S&W BG 380, the Beretta Pico but two RM380s. Of the .380s the two Sigs are the most pleasant to shoot but also the largest and heaviest. In the smaller group I carry the Remington's the most, then the S&W followed by the Pico. I find the LCP pretty much lying under the bottom of the barrel.
That sounds right, I think a Sig P230 would feel a little too heavy in my pocket. So do you find the RM380 to be softer shooting than the BG and Pico?
Yes.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
Stories coming to you from Deep South Texas!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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UncleJon wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 6:01 pm
sig230 wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 5:52 pm Yes.
In that case it’s the one for me to try. Looks like a scaled up Seecamp with sites. Reviews are mostly positive. Seems like these guns either work or don’t, some examples are just lemons.
Not Seecamp. Remington bought the rights to the Rohrbaugh 380 and 9mm so the RM380 is an updated version of the Rohrbaugh 380.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
Stories coming to you from Deep South Texas!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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sig230 wrote: Tue Jan 04, 2022 6:09 pm Not Seecamp. Remington bought the rights to the Rohrbaugh 380 and 9mm so the RM380 is an updated version of the Rohrbaugh 380.
Yes Remington bought Rohrbaugh and their equipment but it does look like a Seecamp and it’s also DAO. The Seecamp 32 and 38 are said to be painful to shoot and they stopped making the 25 and used prices have climbed and mags that work are hard to find.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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What pocket pistols have you shot?
Owned a Ruger v2, first gen LCP in .380...real PITA to shoot for this guy that is recoil sensitive(goobered up RH thumb, wrist, ring and pinky finger).
Traded it.
Ruger LC-9s-same as above plus jammo-matic-sold it
Glock 43-same as above-traded it.
Glock 42..yes, need a pretty big pocket but a real 'goldilocks' 380 carry gun for me. 100% reliable(over 6000rounds), very easy to shoot, very easy to conceal, even in my cycling jersey pocket.

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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F4FEver wrote: Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:42 am
What pocket pistols have you shot?
Owned a Ruger v2, first gen LCP in .380...real PITA to shoot for this guy that is recoil sensitive(goobered up RH thumb, wrist, ring and pinky finger).
Traded it.
Ruger LC-9s-same as above plus jammo-matic-sold it
Glock 43-same as above-traded it.
Glock 42..yes, need a pretty big pocket but a real 'goldilocks' 380 carry gun for me. 100% reliable(over 6000rounds), very easy to shoot, very easy to conceal, even in my cycling jersey pocket.
I’m glad you found the right pistol for you. Sometimes that’s a long and semi-painful journey to get there. I love that you tried things and just don’t give up until you “get there”. I have struggled with carry pistols for decades. When I was a paramedic, I had a side-hussle as a bodyguard. Because of that, I was always playing with my carry choice in an effort to find the right carry gun for me. 30 years ago I boiled everything down to holster guns, and pocket guns.

When I look at holster guns, I completely ignore what the gun-community-hive-mind is doing, and I look at just a couple of things; weight, and ergonomics. Overall size is mostly irrelevant, because good gun leather will easily conceal even large full sized pistols. As an example, I once carried a Beretta 92 IWB for a year and concealment was never an issue. I knew another bodyguard who IWB’d and S&W 629 Mountain Gun, and it never bothered him. So when choosing a holster gun, I want something I can really fight with, not some sub-compact wonder-pistol that doesn’t fit my hand. Simply put, once you determine the pistol is large enough it has to go into a holster, it no long HAS to be a compact. And there are many full sized pistols that are very light weight these days.

Then there’s pocket pistols, and these days we have the greatest selection of amazing pocket pistols. For the longest time, you just couldn’t beat a LW J or D frame revolver. They were reasonably powerful, size efficient, and light weight. But the ergonomics on very small revolvers are mostly pretty poor; at least for my hand. Small .380’s (and even 9mm’s for people with larger pockets) have come a LONG way and have really come into their own. Make no mistake, they are still very much compromise guns, but we’re making less compromised than we ever have.
“I think there’s a right-wing conspiracy to promote the idea of a left-wing conspiracy”

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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FrontSight writes
I’m glad you found the right pistol for you. Sometimes that’s a long and semi-painful journey to get there. I love that you tried things and just don’t give up until you “get there”. I have struggled with carry pistols for decades. When I was a paramedic, I had a side-hussle as a bodyguard. Because of that, I was always playing with my carry choice in an effort to find the right carry gun for me. 30 years ago I boiled everything down to holster guns, and pocket guns
I think I 'got there'.
For me, a few of things for any gun I own is essential. In no particular order but any one is a show stopper.
It's gotta be FTS, 'Fun To Shoot'. No safe queens for me nor anything I carry that is a PITA to shoot. Why I dumped the LCP, LC-9s and Glock 43.
It's gotta be comfy, easily concealed...regardless of what I'm wearing or what I'm doing. I carry all the time.
It has to be reliable and 'effective'.

So, winter time, I carry a Glock 48 in a Desantis Slim Tuck and in the summer I carry a Glock 42 in Desantis Slim Tuck..
Glock 48 with Sheild Arms 15R magazine and Glock 42 with +2' magazine. Plus sometimes spare mag in 'SnagMag...

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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I "got there" as well, thanks to rental guns at our range.

In my case, the pocket gun is a Ruger LCR in .38 Special. There's a bit of snap, but I have a powder-puff .38 Spl load that replicates in-flight ballistics of the factory loads. Therefore, it's very good for regular range practice.

For semi-autos, the Springfield XD-S in 9mm is a pocket gun worthy of your consideration. Somehow Springfield managed to make a pocket pistol, that actually fits into the pocket, that does not bite your hand like an angry hyena when you fire it. Even the .45 ACP version of the XD-S is remarkably "tame" (that's relative, of course, when speaking of .45 ACP, but nonetheless true). The 9mm version is surprisingly comfortable and pocket-friendly. Robert Mika makes quality pocket holsters for them as well.
"San Francisco Liberal With A Gun"
http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun.com/ (reloading instruction)
http://www.liberalsguncorner.com/ (podcast)
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Re: pocket pistol recoil

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Like many of you I also took this journey over the past decade.

For the first couple of years it was a a Glock 21SF - yes, I IWBed a full size pistol for several years. The only other pistol I had at the time was a .22, so competed with & carried this gun. Excellent shooter. Then I bought a G-27 for summer carry, that carried very well but the .40 S&W in a subcompact was impossible for me to get a good follow up shot as the pistol was extremely “torquing” upon recoil. Accuracy wise it was pretty much a single shot unless you did a slow fire. I never purchased a subcompact .45 ACP but I’d like to try one eventually.

Then, I alternated off and on with an SP-101 .357 & and a Ruger SR-9c. Both great shooters but definitely belt guns. Ex-wife got the SR9c in the divorce.

I started triathlon and I needed something tiny so I went to a Kel-Tec P3AT .380. I upgraded to a S&W Shield 9mm which was excellent, but again a tad big for pocket carry (or bike jersey pocket carry) - too heavy to run with - & I traded it away. I’d get another shield, for non-exercise carry.

I ended up with a S&W 642, as my “small carry & exercise gun.” It’s definitely on the big side for pocket carry, but I most often holster carry it. It’s light enough to run with. I generally also carry my SP-101; but as I mentioned, it’s a belt gun. The S&W 642 is also much better in my hands than a tiny, .380 pocket pistol. It’s still a 5 yard gun, but I can shoot full +p rounds at that range. I have big hands so I find tiny pocket sized .380s almost unshootable & impossible for me to manipulate, under any sort of timed drill.

There are a couple of other reasons I settled in wheel guns. One - I reload .38/.357 so I can shoot off my carry rounds without it being $1 a round. With 9mm, .45 ACP etc. you eventually have to shoot off the top couple rounds in your duty mag as they get set back & it effects accuracy. If you don’t believe me; shoot a few of those set back JHP rounds right next to brand new FMJ. I unload my pistol every night to be locked up in my pistol case, .38s and .357s can be loaded and unloaded indefinitely.

I do carry my K-frames, SAs etc. when hunting or out in the woods but generally, not EDC.

It’s a very personal journey as all of our requirements are a bit different and there always seems to be a trial & error process.


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Re: pocket pistol recoil

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INVICTVS138 wrote: Sat Jan 08, 2022 10:58 am With 9mm, .45 ACP etc. you eventually have to shoot off the top couple rounds in your duty mag as they get set back & it effects accuracy. If you don’t believe me; shoot a few of those set back JHP rounds right next to brand new FMJ. I unload my pistol every night to be locked up in my pistol case, .38s and .357s can be loaded and unloaded indefinitely.
Interesting, I’m not really following you about this setback thing. Do you mean that the bullet becomes setback farther than it should be in the case over time?

Re: pocket pistol recoil

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UncleJon wrote:
INVICTVS138 wrote: Sat Jan 08, 2022 10:58 am With 9mm, .45 ACP etc. you eventually have to shoot off the top couple rounds in your duty mag as they get set back & it effects accuracy. If you don’t believe me; shoot a few of those set back JHP rounds right next to brand new FMJ. I unload my pistol every night to be locked up in my pistol case, .38s and .357s can be loaded and unloaded indefinitely.
Interesting, I’m not really following you about this setback thing. Do you mean that the bullet becomes setback farther than it should be in the case over time?
From constantly rechambering the same round in a carry gun. It gets pushed back in the case over time. At least that’s been the case in any semi auto I’ve owned. They are safe to fire, but I find them to be less accurate.


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Re: pocket pistol recoil

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Ah, I see now. Yeah, he's got a point. It's a good idea to rotate the rounds every couple of magazine loads for that reason.

This can matter for those of us who use defensive HP ammo for carry, but more reasonably priced FMJ's or handloads for range practice. It's not a big deal, just keep an eye on the first one in the magazine. I just load 'em randomly, so they naturally see rotation, and that's why I haven't see this particular problem.

Good point, INVICTVS138.
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http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun.com/ (reloading instruction)
http://www.liberalsguncorner.com/ (podcast)
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