In my last self/home defense ramble we started to talk about self defense when you're out and about, and I assigned you some homework; namely to check into the carry laws for your home state and/or town. Since that time, I found out a few things that I hadn't paid enough attention to myself. Did you know that some states require a permit to carry pepper spray and others ban it completely? Doesn't make sense to me, but it is a prime example of why I advised you to research the laws of your home state thoroughly first. Still, I promised we'd start to discuss carry guns in this post so let's be on with the task at hand.
What reduces the recoil, at least to some extant is the design of the gun. At it's simplest, the more mass the gun has the less the recoil is transmitted to the shooter. There's a multitude of ways to achieve this mass, from the material the gun is made from to the recoil springs used in automatics; but in the end it all comes down to achieving or simulating mass.
Next comes managing, or handling if you prefer, the recoil that does come through to your hands. The two biggest things that come into play here are directly related to the size of the gun, and they are barrel length and grip size. The larger they are, the easier it is to control the kick. Not sure you believe me? Think back to the first time you ever shot a handgun. Remember how the muzzle tried to rise and the grip tried to twist in your hand? With a longer barrel, you have more mass that not only helps absorb recoil but also puts more weight at the end which helps reduce muzzle rise while a longer grip that allows you to get more of your hand on it will give you a firmer grip so you can better contain and control the twisting caused by the recoil.
Of course, you the shooter have a big part to play in all this as well. Some of you will be perfectly at home with the tiny grip and stubby barrel of a modern pocket pistol while others will feel more comfortable with the added mass and size of a full sized handgun. Or maybe what feels best to you is a compact that's somewhere in between the two for size. And that brings us to your home work this week. Go on out to your local range and try out different guns of every size. See what feels good to you, and on Friday we'll start talking about the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Until then, have fun; but most importantly, do it with attitude!