Question of the Day: Recoil. Love It Or Loathe It?

SIG SAUER instructors demonstrate push - pull shotguns technique (courtesy youtube.com)

No, not the magazine or website. Actual recoil. So . . .in the SIG SAUER video below, Moriarty outfoxes Sherlock Holmes. Wait, that’s not it. Let’s try again. In the Tactical Tip video below, SIG instructor Todd Moriarty introduces viewers to the “push pull” shotgun shooting technique. Not only does the isometric exercise strengthen your core it . . .

also reduces recoil. No, not the magazine or the website. Felt recoil.

I’m happy to try any seemingly sensible technique that minimizes a firearm’s muzzle flip, increasing my ability to get the sights back on target quickly. But I’m not all that bothered about recoil per se.

Truth be told, I kinda like it, whether it’s a shotgun or a revolver, but not a precision rifle. For me, shooting a tactical shotgun (I own three) is like controlling a lightning bolt. Ba-BAM!

How about you? Recoil, love it or loathe it?

comments

  1. avatar MiserableBastard says:

    I avoid recoil, and pain too. Although there is a certain rush when shooting buckshot out of a Vepr 12 11.25 SBS.

    1. avatar MiserableBastard says:

      Never did the push pull method, but I did find that moving the stock somewhat out of the shoulder pocket to your pectoral muscle mitigates recoil very well.

    2. avatar anonymoose says:

      I’m not a fan of recoil to the point of not being able to hit your target, but I believe shooting moderately-recoiling guns builds mental and physical strength. I do enjoy getting punched around by magnum slugs, though, when I can afford it. That really gets my juices flowing.

  2. avatar Rokurota says:

    I wonder if recoil sensitivity is partially geneticallt or chemically wired into our brains. I’m a small guy and actually don’t mind recoil (kinda like it, actually!), but I’ve taken guys shooting who are done after a magazine of .22. Since sensitivity to noises and other stimulus is just part of our makeup (which can be trained up or down, granted), I’m of the opinion that we each start with a baseline of recoil sensitivity. But I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      “… I’ve taken guys shooting who are done after a magazine of .22.”

      Guys? Are you sure? You’re positive that they don’t prefer pronouns like “ze” or “zir” and get angry if you “misgender” them with your cis-scum assumptions that they identify as male?

      Not to get all non-PC about it but they don’t sound like “guys”. They sound like some other group that needs a bottle of Excedrin, some tampons and a good slap across the face followed by some sort of brown liquor based drink that will put some hair on their chest.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        Nope. One in particular is a big dude, very capable, but inexperienced in shooting. He didn’t run screaming from the Walther P22, just put it down and said it wasn’t his cup of tea. Didn’t mind the rifle. I was very surprised, too. I’ve also entertained some first respondeers who are great under pressure, but just don’t like a lot of noise and flash.

      2. Wow, strych9, you must really hate women, don’t you!
        (Making mental note to look up strych9 in the sex-offender registry).
        Calling women a “group that needs a bottle of Excedrin, some tampons and a good slap across the face…”
        Wow. My advice to you is to crawl out of your Neanderthal cave and seek professional help, before you endanger our wives, sisters, and daughters with your misognyist violence, slapping them in the face.
        You either need a shrink or a penis-enlargement pump to deal with your feelings of male inadequacy.

        And I know, now you’re going to say, “No, I wasn’t talking about REAL women, I was talking about men who I don’t consider sufficiently macho for me to call them men, so instead I consider them women. THEY’RE the ones I consider a ‘group that needs a bottle of Excedrin, some tampons and a good slap across the face.'”

        Or you’re going to say, “No, I was talking about gay men. They’re the group I meant ‘needs a bottle of Excedrin, some tampons and a good slap across the face.'”
        So, you want to slap around who now? You want to slap around a Marine combat veteran, with biceps the size of tree trunks, who also happens to be gay?

        Or you’ll say, “No, I was talking about transgender women,” or “I was talking about transgender men,” but either way, you still just called anyone you don’t consider a “real man” to be a “group that needs a bottle of Excedrin, some tampons and a good slap across the face.”
        So get professional help before you try slapping our wives around, or you’ll find yourself more than just slapped in the face.

        I still think you’re suffering from a small penis…. or perhaps a secret attraction to gay men or trannies.

        1. avatar anonymoose says:

          Settle down.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Wow. Flip out, like completely flip shit, over an off color joke about transexuality and modern politics why don’t you?

          Also, just for my own reference, where exactly do you get off telling me what I’ll say?

          Effectively you’re telling me what and how I think. Here’s a secret for you, noforn type shit: You don’t know a fucking thing about what or how I think. You also have no idea who I’ll say what to or how I’ll choose to say it. Just keep your prognostications on my behavior to yourself.

          Next time, instead of a page long rant just call me a “bigot” and move on. It’s far less tiresome than reading all about your fantasies.

        3. avatar Jason says:

          Wtf dude. His comment wasn’t that serious. He was joking. You got all butthurt and wrote like a page long rant. Literally tl;dr.

          Next time the internet hurts your feelings, just grab a wet wipe and gently wipe the sand out of your vagina. You might feel better afterwards.

        4. avatar Scoutino says:

          Here goes the small dick accusation!
          Just breath deep and soon you will feel better.

        5. avatar Gutshot says:

          Easy, killer. You seem to be a bit premenstrual yourself
          Here’s a song to settle you down.

          https://youtu.be/vYPPDtUtKc0

  3. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

    I enjoy it somewhat. After a tube or two of slugs from an 870 I’ve had my fill for the day.

  4. avatar Owen says:

    I don’t mind recoil myself. I may shoot less rounds if it is uncomfortable but it doesn’t stop me. Usually a butt pad or a spring loaded stock tames a shotgun enough for my tastes. Maybe I have enough mass to compensate?

    When the “instructor” stepped further down range I cringed. Seemed like a dumb thing to do just for a better video angle.

  5. avatar strych9 says:

    Recoil doesn’t bother me. Cost of doing business and whatnot.

  6. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    I don’t really like recoil, especially in handguns, especially in revolvers.

    My main opinion about recoil is that a lot of people think recoil = ballistics, which of course isn’t necessarily true.

  7. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    🎼 I like big bores, and I can not lie 🎼

    Yeah, I’m a recoil junkie

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Didn’t you once say you’re dad was involved with big guns in the Navy?

      Would make you a son of a gun.

      1. avatar anonymoose says:

        Well, the sea is a lonely place, and a man has needs.

        1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          Haha. Ya got that right!
          I was in my 30’s when I did the math between my parents wedding date and my birth.
          9 months and 12 days.
          Helluva honeymoon I guess.

  8. avatar rocketscientist says:

    i dont see a difference visually between two techniques in the video. is it just me? in fact the first method appears to be quieter in terms of gun movement. something must be wrong with me.

    1. avatar Defens says:

      Same here – I made the same observation (below) while you were typing this up.

  9. avatar Mr.Savage says:

    ran a 3″ slug shell from my 18″ pistol grip only Mossberg 500, one handed, for fun, what do you think?

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Wimp.

      If you don’t shoulder the gun, your wrist, arm and shoulder can flex to absorb the recoil.

      Shooting a shotgun from the hip is basically painless. Shouldering that same gun makes the recoil hit you a lot harder.

      1. avatar Mr.Savage says:

        didnt say fired from hip, in every sense of the word “pistol” is how it was fired, there I no shoulder stock to the gun, extended arm, one handed just like you might fire you edc. wimp? not hardly, done the same thing with hunting rifles, and HOT .44 mag loads. I’m dying to try the 500 mag with the two ton bullet chambered, looks fun to me, think it’s a 500gr stick of lead if I remember correctly.

        1. avatar anonymoose says:

          500gr is small-time. The longest bullet that can fit in a .500mag is a 700 grainer.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          700 grains. That actually sounds like it would be pretty stout.

          I wonder what was in that gun in the video that makes the rounds on the internet occasionally. The one where pretty much everyone drops the gun or has it blown out of their hands by the recoil.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          S9. You talking about the T Rex? I believe it was some variation of .577 caliber.

        4. avatar strych9 says:

          jwm:

          I dunno what it was. It’s a video that resurfaces to make the rounds every few years. It’s just a mashup of people shooting this thing and either dropping it, having it quite literally fly out of their hands or getting knocked on their ass by it. One Arab guy (dressed like a traditional Saudi) shoots it from a rolling office chair and it slides him across the room. Another guy shoots it standing and ends up stumbling backwards across the room and into a wall where he falls down.

          The only videos of the T-Rex that I know I’ve seen don’t feature any Arab folks. Well, at least not dressed in that traditional garb.

  10. avatar Defens says:

    As requested in the video, I compared the muzzle rise and “recoil into the body” using the two techniques. I chose an index point in the background on top of the muzzle, and watched the rise. Not as scientific as if they’d held up a yardstick, but I could see no discernable difference in either recoil or muzzle rise using the two methods. Nor would I really expect to.

    I’m not terribly recoil sensitive. When I shoot my .50 cal, or my buddy’s .338 Lapua, it’s the concussion and conduction of noise through the cheek weld that beats me up worse than actual recoil. I wouldn’t want to shoot my .300 Ultra Mag all day, but as long as I keep the proper relief so the scope doesn’t cut washers out of my forehead, I can put a few rounds through it. I must admit, a couple of cylinders of 305 gr. hardcast lead bear loads out of my 4″ Scandium framed 329PD does sting a bit, though.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    Not crazy about recoil as I got into shooting late in life. Shoulders,neck and back screwed up royally from 45 years of heavy lifting and throwing giant objects around as an antique dealer. Handgun recoil is no problem (at all) and I got a Limbsaver for my shotgun. I see tiny gals deal with it so I’m thinking nearly anyone can…except that Gersh KUNTsman twink😄😏

  12. avatar Geoff PR says:

    I liked shooting my 7 inch Superedhawk in .44 mag. The physical experience was exhilarating, feeling the blast travel through my teeth, front-to-back. Really neat.

    A Smith Airweight in .357, not so much. 1 cylinder to rotate carry ammo and I’m done…

    1. avatar Nick says:

      You should try the 44 airlite…

      Ended up getting rid of mine. All I could tolerate in it was 180’s. Much larger and the pain started. 240’s were downright unpleasant, and you even had to watch your bullets. The recoil could unseat the billet from the case.

  13. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Long g uns – I don’t mind a little kick but it gets old fast. Even the difference between my .308 and my .303, you can’t really even tell the difference between the two until you’ve fired 25 or 30 rounds, after which I’m usually looking for something else to shoot with the .308 but with the .303 I’m shoo ting another 20 or 30. So I tend to favor rounds that give up a 100fps or 2 for the sake of rec oil, even in moderate recoiling rifles (.308 over .30-06, 7×57 over 7-08, etc).

    Handguns – Handguns are incredibly weak and I prefer carrying a slightly heavier rev olver with a hot .357 load (or occasionally a .44 magnum) over an anemic 9mm/.45acp. They kick, but the kick is a little more pleasant than a super light weapon like an LCP.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    Recoil is fine, up to a point. For me, that point is reached after a cylinder or two from a S&W 460XVR or a flat of full power 00 buck from my little coach gun that slowly but surely beats me half to death. For masochists, I strongly recommend a rifle in any one of the Nitro Express chamberings. Your shoulder will hate you for it.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Your wallet will hate you worse than your shoulder. Last time I priced .500 nitro express it was 134 dollars per 20. On sale.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I’ve got a large African game ri fle on my short list, but I’m thinking I’ll settle for .375 H&H. If that doesn’t stop whatever is charging me I guess it’ll just be my time to go.

      And as to jwm’s point, you can get the Serbian stuff for less than $2/round and the Federal, Hornady, etc for less than $3.

  15. avatar Texican says:

    Recoil management is about technique and mindset and then body mass and strength. So many people put the butt of the stock on the point of their shoulder joint where there is zero muscle to cushion the blow. I’ve even seen experienced shooters shoot a shotgun like they would an AR-15 with the toe of the stock on their collar bone. The pocket formed by your pectoral muscle to the inside of your shoulder joint when your elbow is at shoulder height is where the butt of the stock goes. Once I learned this I enjoyed shooting guns with heavy recoil. Smaller and/or weaker persons should use the best technique and anything that will mitigate the recoil including shooting a less powerful cartridge. As for me:
    Love me some contact, Petey!

  16. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I like recoil to a point.

    I honestly love shooting .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum in heavy revolvers and could shoot them all day long. Perhaps that is why I am comfortable with recoil from full-size semi-automatic pistols chambered in .40 S&W shooting 180 grain bullets — and why that is my everyday carry handgun.

    And I enjoy prolonged shooting sessions with common rifle calibers (up to .30-06 Springfield) and 20 gauge shotguns when they have Limbsaver recoil pads.

    My only platform that crosses my threshold is my Mossberg model 500 pump-action shotgun in 12 gauge shooting Hornady SST (305 grain) slugs. They exit the muzzle at 2,000 fps and generate brutal recoil. (According to various recoil calculators, that produces about the same recoil as 25 pound rifles chambered in .50 BMG with the best available muzzle breaks.) My limit is 15 rounds of that madness and then I am done for the day — and the next day as well.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I occasionally carry 180grs. but they measure .429″ instead of .40″ and the zip out of the barrel at 1500fps.

  17. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    I don’t mind recoil, and as a bonus the fatter I get, the easier it is to deal with!

    ‘throws another steak on the barbie’

  18. avatar Matt o says:

    Recoil can be fun, and I really enjoy the punch of a full power missurp. But for defense I want control and speed over outright power. 9mm/5.66 is just right for serious use. Give me some heavy 357 mag or some hot 8mm and I’ll shoot it happily all day.

  19. avatar jwm says:

    You want recoil? Get a bone stock m44 mosin nagant and put at least a hundred rounds down range.

    The mosin nagants, like the 97 winchester, kills at both ends.

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      I use a generic shotgun rubber buttstock pad on mine. Totally tames the recoil.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      The M44 never bothers me. Maybe mine’s just a tamer beast than most.

      The only rifle I’ve ever just flat out hated was actually a Ruger M77 in .30-06. My buddy buys one at a gun show two days before he goes out of town but wants to hunt with it as soon as he gets back so he asks me to take it and see if the scope is on target and adjust as necessary if it’s not.

      This thing had some garage-built-bubbafied-Franken (not the disgraced Senator)-stock on it. It was made from some sort of plastic, weighed next to nothing and came to a chisel point at your shoulder. Seriously, the butt was slightly less than 1/2″ across of hard plastic like a Lego, way less than half the width of most of the rest of the stock. I put three rounds through it, fortunately all on the bull at 100 yards, and said “No mas”. Thing thumped you like a freakin’ jack-hammer just because that stock was so thin.

      My buddy said I was being overly dramatic about it. I told him to just shoot it. He put one round through it and decided that a new stock was an order. He put a standard stock on it and suddenly it was quiet pleasant to shoot. He ended up borrowing one of my rifles for his hunt since his new stock was in transit to him at the time.

      To this day thinking about that home-made stock makes my shoulder hurt the way old timer’s talk about their joints. Ugh. If it wasn’t plastic I’d have burned it.

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      “You want recoil? Get a bone stock m44 mosin”

      Yessir. Mine beats the crap out of me, what with its steel buttplate (probably designed by Ivan the Terrible). Tried a rubber buttpad, but that didn’t help. Finally settled on a towel, folded over several times, between my shoulder and the butt. That works, and along the way it also lengthens the overly-short length of pull.

    4. avatar DrewR says:

      I’ve got an M38 that is tremendous fun to play with,I’ve shot it one handed and have even fired my M38 and a buddies M44 John Woo style.
      One of my favorite range sessions I loaded up a bunch of stripper clips and fired off as many rounds as I could as fast as I could. I had to stop when the hand guard started smoking. I had a bruise for a week. Not as bad as an 18 inch 10ga with slugs, though.

  20. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    I’m not particularly recoil-averse, but there’s different types of recoil.

    Like, if you’re shooting sporting clays and the recoil just sort of creeps up on you after 50 or 100 rounds — don’t notice the bruise until later (especially if your technique is bad, which I’ve been guilty of).

    12ga. shotgun with slugs — you better have that gun shouldered correctly or it’s going to smart. But it feels kind of awesome when you do it right.

    Heavy, large caliber pistols — great.

    Light, carry snubbies with .357 magnum — there’s just nothing fun about that for me.

  21. avatar TXGUNGAL says:

    My big brother loves my Ruger SR 22lr once I showed him how to take safety off so it would go bang, he’s not much of a Gun guy! I could shoot it all day long except if there’s a wind blowing. Those little tiny 22lr bullets go off aim something awful. Not a fan of sting of recoil, noise, muzzle flip.
    Also have EAA Witness PAVONA 9 mm Luger that I use for Ladies Shooting League and bedside self defense.
    Think about this handgun for the women in your lives.
    It is designed for women with wider groves for easier racking the slide. I was really put off by semiautomatic Handguns until I purchased it. 13 round magazines available. 3 white dot sights. Very well balanced for less felt recoil. Can be fired double action or single action. The trigger does have groves cut into it. I found them uncomfortable so used a Dremel to smooth it out. Is Single and Double action trigger. As I’ve gotten older I have weaker finger stength. Carry it cocked and locked.

    Do an internet search for reviews and let me know what think.

  22. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    I dream of Full auto m2 hip fired from a tank with rock and roll over the loudspeakers with jets flying overhead and bunker busters going off. No ear pro.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      A man has to have a dream.

      Mine involves the Swedish Bikini Team.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        No trampoline jwm? You’re slippin’.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I wanna be their oil boy.

          Then there will be some slipping.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Fair enough.

  23. avatar Ironhead says:

    Got a bad shoulder, so when i shoot long guns, .308 win is my limit for extended shooting sessions.
    Have a semi auto 12 gauge for duck/trap shooting.
    Handguns anything up to 44 magnum.

  24. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Kind of a silly question.

    Regardless of discomfort, recoil is something to overcome for accurate shooting.

    I tend to not choose weapons I consider to have sharp recoil that induce pain with every shot.

    So I choose a carbine over a 12 gauge for general long gun use. Less recoil and easier to place shots.

    I don’t think any general service pistols have severe recoil in mid-bore or over 40 bore.

    Snub revolvers are another matter. I can run 50 to 100 round through my LCR 357 but want no part of a 340 PD. Pain affects my accuracy.

    In 38+p, I find the LCR with its Hogue grips is harder to control than my pre-hole Smiths with small stocks and a Tgrip.

    So “liking” recoil is akin to prefering spicy food.

    But in defensive shooting it is something to overcome. Simple physics.

  25. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I’ve shot service rifles for the last 25 years. I don’t mind the full power cartridges as I’ve owned or used nearly all the common ones: 6.5×55, 7mm Mauser, .303, 7.62 NATO, 7.62x54r, 8mm Mauser, .30-06, etc but I do like my .223 conversions. Ammunition is really cheap. The softer recoil means less recovery time between shots, giving me another 10+ seconds in a 10 round rapid course. And the lack of muzzle rise means faster target reaquisition.

    So I use the .223s when the scores count and the others in the fun matches.

  26. avatar Scoutino says:

    As Specialist38 above said, like spicy good, I like recoil up to the point of pain.
    Mosin, Super Redhawk in .44 magnum, 12 ga shotgun, no problem for hundred or more rounds. 5″ 500 s&w revolver I have returned to the owner after one cylinder …to save his expensive ammo. That’s my story and I stick with it.

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