17 Feb Handgun Recoil Control: 7 Tips for Success
We’ve covered a few topics relevant to recoil mitigation before, but we’re back with some new tips, specific to handguns.
Let’s face an uncomfortable fact: handguns are unwieldy, heavy, and more difficult to control than shoulder-mounted long arms. It takes substantially more training to become accurate, confident, and proficient with a pistol.
Oh, and recoil is way worse.
So if you’re recoil sensitive, try putting some of these tips into practice the next time you’re at the range. From grip to the installation of a CZ compensator, these are our best suggestions.
Hold the Gun Properly
Most importantly, you need to hold the gun properly. This will do the most when it comes to fighting recoil.
Think high and tight. Your shooting hand should come up to the base of the slide, with your thumb extending far forward along the frame, right beneath the slide.
Wrap your support hand fully around your shooting hand, with your thumb resting alongside your shooting hand thumb, extended forward.
Maximize all potential surface area between your hands and the gun.
Get a Grip
This may sound counterintuitive, but you need to grip the gun as hard as you reasonably can. Not until you’re shaking, but think, “hard.”
Hold that gun with a firm grip as though you’re trying to prevent it from getting away from you.
Remember, it’s actually far too easy to have a weak grip on a gun, to the point that it won’t cycle. This is called limp-wristing, and it will hobble recoil-operated actions.
You do not want to limp wrist; it also makes recoil so much worse than it needs to be.
Lock Your Elbows
This also might seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to extend your arms fully and lock your elbows when adopting a firing stance.
Keeping too much of an angle in your elbow joint is a good way to exacerbate the effects of felt recoil. What you want to do is lock the joint to create as much of a linear path as possible, which will make it easier for you to control the actual recoil.
Having just a slight bend in the elbow and holding the gun firmly will help you more effectively absorb and control recoil.
Lean with It (but Don’t Rock with It)
A common rookie mistake when training with a handgun is to stand up straight, or even worse, to lean slightly backward.
Leaning backward is literally asking for recoil to take you off guard and knock you off balance, which will not only destroy your stability and accuracy but which can be dangerous.
Think as they do in football; the lower man wins. You don’t need to be squatting, but keep a slight bend in the knee, which will help you respond to recoil, and most importantly, lean forward slightly.
Keeping your center of mass slightly forward will actually help the recoil re-center you. In effect, your body weight will absorb recoil for you.
Leaning forward and locking the elbows, as we suggested above, can also help you fight muzzle flip, too, which will keep your sights on target for faster, more accurate follow-up shots.
Shoot a Lighter Load
Another tip, which is entirely different from the other suggestions mentioned here, is to shoot lighter loads.
Force equals mass times acceleration. If you hold the muzzle velocity the same (mainly a product of the propellant charge) the only way to lower force (recoil) is to drop the weight of the bullet.
Loads for any given cartridge vary in lots of different ways, and one of them is weight. Look for a load that weighs a few grains less than your current target loads and you may be surprised how big of an impact this has on recoil.
Another thing you can do is look for loads that are loaded with a smaller propellant charge. If you handload, use lighter bullets or even a few grains less propellant, and see if that makes a difference.
Flinching, the act of responding to recoil before it even happens, makes recoil so much worse than it needs to be.
If you flinch and move your wrists or your elbows, when the recoil does hit you, it’s going to feel a lot more powerful than if you just maintained your stance, grip, and form.
Unfortunately, flinching is almost always unintentional, and you may not be aware you are doing it. You need to drill to break the habit if you want to get over it.
One of the drills you can perform to help you break the habit of flinching is dry fire training with an empty brass casing balanced on the front sight.
We covered this drill in detail in our previous blog post, “Handgun Training Drills That Can Break Bad Shooting Habits and Improve Confident Handling.” Consult that post for details.
Install a Compensator
Last but not least, there are modifications you can make to your firearm that will help corral recoil, little by little.
For handgun shooters, installing a compensator is an option. Compensators change the manner in which gases are ported at the muzzle, pushing it down and combating recoil. Here at Anarchy Outdoors, we sell Glock, Ruger, HK, S&W, and CZ compensators.
Our Glock, Ruger, HK, S&W, and CZ compensators are easy to install and can diminish felt recoil by as much as 50% without adversely affecting shot power or accuracy.
To learn more about these unique muzzle devices and how they can help mitigate recoil, please consult the previous link or get in touch with us at 833-980-0333.
Follow Us for More Tips and Suggestions (or Consult Our Other Blogs)
Recoil mitigation and muzzle flip are topics we have covered fairly extensively in the past, and many of our firearm upgrades, parts, and accessories, are intended to improve handling, ergonomics, cycling, and recoil.
Be sure to consult previous articles we’ve posted, such as “5 Tips to Improve Your Handgun Handling and Accuracy,” “8 Tips to Help You Shrink Your Pistol Groups,” and “Five Ways to Fight Muzzle Flip,” for more insight and helpful advice.