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Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Women and High Caliber Recoil Fallacy

So I took some less experienced shooters out to the range today, and it was the first time ever handling pistols for a few of them.  One of the shooters was my coworker Trescha.  When planning for the trip her request was "something cool, that's not too big and is going to hurt me," so we started out with the little P22 to get down the basics.

(Note, if you wear glasses, it's pretty easy to forget eye pro for those that don't.  I'm just used to it always being on my face.  Need to make a checklist one of these days.  There were plenty of earplugs though.)

So we put a couple mags through, and she feels pretty good. So I ask if she wants to try something with a little more bang.  After getting her a good solid thumbs forward grip, and reassuring her that the slide's not gonna bite her with the nice wide beaver-tail grip safety, she proceeds to send big fat bullets downrange, and score some pretty good hits.  No limp wristing, no flinching, no problem depressing the grip safety, just mighty fine shooting for the first time ever shooting handguns, let alone a full-size Kimber 1911.



Notice the brass still hanging in the air, and the gun already back on target.




Case just exiting the chamber...


...and back on target before the brass hits the grass.

It never fails, somebody walks into a gun shop, or logs on to a gun forum, and asks what kind of gun would be good for their wife/girlfriend/daughter/mom, someone will always say that a small frame, small caliber, and probably pink gripped auto or revolver is what they want.  There's some misconception that girls can't handle the recoil of a large bore auto, or that there's just too much gun for them to handle.

It's not a miracle, and Trescha's not endowed with super human strength.  It's simply a case of nobody told her she couldn't.  I simply said it's going to buck a bit more than the Walther did, but it's not going to hurt her, and made sure she had a good grip with plenty of meat on the gun and good stance.  By the end of the day, the 1911 was easily her favorite gun out of the dozen or so we had out there, and was asking how much they go for.

Anyway, just a proud teacher rambling.

28 comments:

RobertM said...

It's always nice to see someone new shooting, and proving a stupid theory wrong. It's especially nice seeing someone so nice to see, on the range, proving a stupid theory wrong.

What kind of holster is that you're keeping your Kimber in?

Fred said...

Blackhawk Serpa CQC

http://www.blackhawk.com/catalog/SERPA-Concealment,1410.htm

No real complaints so far.

RobertM said...

Thanks for the info. I'm working my way through a bunch of holsters, trying to find the one I like best.

Fred said...

In a month or so I'll be writing up a more thorough post on some of the kydex I've used. I've got a Raven Concealment on order for my Sig, and have used a couple other brands for general range use.

I mainly picked up a couple of the Serpas for the retention while open carrying, and because they're not too expensive and pretty beefy. The one for my Sig has loosened up a little, but a couple pieces of fuzzy velcro inside helps and protects the finish.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Nicely done, sir.

Now, if I can just get my wife past her dislike of the grip safety...



tweaker

weerdbeard said...

The wife doesn't like my 1911 because "it kicks too much". But she can shoot as many rounds as I can out of her S&W 638 with little complaint, and not a hit on flinch on paper.

So happens she's just more comfortable with wheelies and relaxes more and has better form with them, so my 40oz stainless .45 feels like a bear, while her 16oz .38 +P which is often cited as one of the most difficult practical guns to shoot well is no big deal for her.

Its ALL about form.

Extreme Tolerance said...

Very Nice.

Much the same story with my wife. She has shot everything and loves the 1911.

George said...

Initiated a co-worker and his hoplophobic wife one afternoon. She was very reticent, but by the end of the session, she was shooting the Gold Cup
@ 20 ft., and fist pumping when she hit the groin of the humanoid target. I think she had other issues...

Tam said...

Word.

Miguel said...

My 4'11" wife's gun? Snubbie .357 Magnum. And she shoots it better than I do.

RobertM said...

"In a month or so I'll be writing up a more thorough post on some of the kydex I've used. I've got a Raven Concealment on order for my Sig, and have used a couple other brands for general range use."

I'll look forward to the write up. I like the look of the Raven Concealment stuff.

Kevin said...

I took a very nice 63 year-old soon-to-retire librarian to the range for her first experience shooting handguns. I started with a Ruger Single-Six, and progressed up through a MkII Target, a 2" Model 60 (.38), a 9mm Makarov, a borrowed Taurus 9x19 something, and a full-sized Kimber Classic. Each time she fired a new gun, I would put out a 7lb block of ice for her to shoot at, so she could get some idea of what the terminal ballistics of the round being fired were.

When we were finished moving through the calibers, she asked "What was that last one again?" and proceeded to finish off a full box of 230 grain hardball, making progressively smaller chunks of ice.

No, recoil didn't bother her a bit.

But everyone has their limits. The worst-kicking pistol I ever shot was a Super-14 Contender in .44 Magnum, and I've shot a .308 chambered XP-100 and a S&W 500 Magnum. That Contender stung.

Wolfman said...

Of the many different shooters I know, I will be the first to admit that the women I have taught to shoot have been better, sooner, than most men will get in a lifetime. While I would love to chalk this up to my inherent skill as an instructor, I think probably this overstates my skill. What it seems to me is that they have not been taught 'bad habits.' Simply put, they have not been taught yet, and neither have many of the men I know. However, when you point something out to them, they listen. My ex-girlfriend was looking for a hunting rifle, to go along with me, and the store owner offered up a Stevens plastic .243. We settled on an Interarms Mark X Mauser in .270, and she shot the hell out of it (although I retained it in the end). Telling someone, "this gun will kick you @$$ is not useful. Telling someone to make sure they keep it in the pocket, squeeze don't jerk, and keep your head down during follow through is much more effective...

Fred said...

"Telling someone, "this gun will kick you @$$ is not useful. Telling someone to make sure they keep it in the pocket, squeeze don't jerk, and keep your head down during follow through is much more effective..."

Exactly.

Wolfman said...

Thank you, Fred, I have never been quoted before. That makes this a red letter day for me in the blogosphere. Glad I could add to the conversation.

Gator said...

Excellent!

cjboyles said...

My Darling Daughter is 5-foot nothing, and wears a size 5 wedding ring. She's been shooting a 1911 since she was eight, and her current go-to housegun is a Ruger KP-90. If you tell her that a .45 "kicks too much for a woman" she will either laugh at you or ignore you.

The worst handgun ever was a 15-inch Encore in .460 S&W Magnum. One shot was all I'll ever need to convince me that it's not something I want to shoot. The .500 S&W wasn't bad, but that .460 BITES!

Phillip said...

One woman I've taught is unable to shoot anything bigger than a .25 without pain in her hands from the recoil.

Another woman I've taught started off with a .22, up to a .380, then a 9mm. She felt the 9mm was too intense for her. Once she was comfortable with the idea of shooting, I had her go get a .45 1911 from the range's rental counter. I showed her proper form again, told her to expect a bit of a push, and let her shoot. She finished the magazine with a smile on her face, and a Springfield Armory 1911 was one of the first pistols she bought. The other was a Bersa Thunder .380. She still doesn't like my 9mm, and that's just fine. I later taught her on longarms, and she loved the 12ga shotgun and .22 rifle.

Most women don't have any more difficulty with recoil than men do. It's all psychological.

Firehand said...

Daughter dislikes revolvers, loves semi-autos. Only time recoil bothers her is when here hands are giving her trouble.

Had a female friend who, anything above a .22, would flinch horribly. AFTER firing. Decent groups but was so mentally spooked you couldn't make her believe the .38 wasn't damaging her when she fired.

Bill said...

Probably one of my bigger mistakes was trying a friend's American Derringer in .44 with magnum loads. Two shots was enough to cure me of that particular insanity. As they say one end will kill and the other will maim:)

Anonymous said...

My wife is 5'5" and her favorite pistol is her 4" S&W M57 .41 Magnum. Her second favorite is her Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum. Her third is her 6" S&W M27. I hear guys say they want to get a little "womens" gun for their wife for protection. That's just stupid. Buy her something that has some power and will actually work. She's tougher than you think (they have babies don't they) and can handle the recoil just fine with a little practice.

Anonymous said...

Awesome article - though no big surprise for me. I carry a Springfield XD 9mm Sub-compact. My wife carries a full size Sig P220. It's all about what you're comfortable with.

netfotoj said...

I always start with a .22, but every woman I've taught moved on up to 9mm, .357 Sig and .45 ACP without missing a beat. Women can shoot, plus they listen to the instructor, vs. guys who already know everything about guns. Not.

Fred said...

Quite true. Younger guys (10-15y/o) are great students for the same reason. They listen, and results are fast. I've had some younger men at camp go from hitting paper maybe 1 out of five to putting them all in the black in under ten minutes.

Jennifer said...

First gun I ever shot was a S&W 629 with Magnum loads. Didn't really have a clue what I was doing. But the ever so helpful advice offered to me by the guy selling guns was, "You outweigh the gun. Lean in and have fun." He was right. It was fun. It began the sickness... ;)

Fred said...

Physics for the win.

Is it really a sickness? I mean when I say I'm sick, I don't like it...

Anonymous said...

Fred what kind of jacket is that. I t looks like it would work great for when I am out and about around town working undercover. And be great for hunting when its cool out. Thanks Steve

Fred said...

It's a Condor softshell... cheap, and alright for a couple seasons.

http://www.uscav.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=19321