Recoil on a gun is one of the biggest reasons that so many people never get into firearms in the first place. The recoil factor is an intimidating one, though it’s nowhere near what non-firearm enthusiasts often believe.
Recoil on a gun is nothing more than the kickback you experience every time you fire the weapon. As the powder in the cartridge explodes, and the bullet exits the muzzle, the energy from the reaction lifts the gun vertically and it also affects it horizontally to a lesser degree.
That’s really all there is to recoil. Smaller calibers often have the least amount of recoil, while larger calibers tend to have quite a bit more. Gun recoil is also a factor that contributes to poor aim in newbies. It takes time to learn the basics of form and control when dealing with recoil.
What causes recoil on a Gun
Several things cause recoil. However, it would be better to define the gun aspects and the cartridge as the biggest contributors. This is due to the components of these weapons and their designs.
- All of the pressure from the force of firing the bullet is released at the end of the muzzle, driving it up and backward
- Components on a firearm may not be designed to help control recoil
- The weight of the weapon is a contributing factor
- The grain of the round and the amount of propellant about the weight of the weapon
If you had 50, 12-gauge shotguns, all the same length and action, all made by different manufacturers, and all firing the same shells, you would experience recoil differently in each one. There’s a reason some guns are nicknamed “mule-kicker.”
The reason the recoil is different is not that the dynamics of firing a round are different. You can expect recoil no matter what. The real reason is that guns are made differently by different manufacturers. Some are more focused on reduced recoil and some are not.
How to prepare yourself for recoil
The most important tip to embrace is not to tense up or “pre” react. When you do either, your aim is compromised. Some people force the barrel down and at the opposite angle of the expected recoil, right before firing a shot. They’re anticipating it, and it’s affecting their accuracy.
Avoid anticipation moves. Don’t lean in, tense up, angle the barrel, or go through any movement as a direct result of recoil anticipation. The correct way to hold a firearm, your form, foot placement, sight alignment, breathing, and grip should all remain the same.
In fact, every time you pull the trigger (throughout your training and learning process), the shot should not surprise you. If it surprises you, that means you didn’t anticipate it.
If you are following all of the correct pre-shot routines, recoil is not going to hurt you because you will have a firm grip on the weapon, and your body will absorb much of the recoil.
What does low recoil mean
Low recoil is nothing more than a firearm with lesser recoil when firing. A .22 pistol would be considered a low-recoil weapon, whereas a 10-gauge shotgun would be a high-recoil weapon.
All guns have recoil, but if you’re new and you’re looking for a low-recoil firearm to learn from, there’s nothing better than the AR-15 with .556 or .223. It’s an excellent firearm, lightweight, low-recoil, looks awesome, and is a great beginner weapon for learning the basics.
Is there a gun with no recoil
No. All guns have some level of recoil. The AR-15 is a good example of a low-recoil rifle, but you can find low-recoil pistols as well. Most 9mm handguns are well within the recoil tolerances of most beginners. However, if the 9mm intimidates you, start with a .22 pistol.
The more you get comfortable with using recoil to your advantage and not allowing it to affect your shot placement, the closer you will be to switching to a higher caliber. Besides, there are also tools to reduce recoil as you learn.
Can you reduce Recoil
You certainly can, and the two best devices for doing that are muzzle brakes and compensators. Nowadays, the two are often combined into one device, but you can still find them on the market separately.
Muzzle brakes are designed to reduce the recoil felt by the shooter. They do this by threading onto the muzzle of your weapon and redirecting exploding pressure at the end of the barrel.
Compensators do something similar, but their primary focus is to reduce muzzle climb, which often feels more like a reduction in vertical recoil. As we mentioned above, muzzle brakes and compensators often come as one component now so you can pick out the best of both worlds.
Recoil is nothing more than the equal and opposite reaction of the firearm to the explosion of pressure exiting the muzzle (thank you, Sir Isaac Newton). This is nothing to be afraid of, even if you are new to firearms and experiencing shooting for the first time.
So long as you have good technique, form, and sight discipline, recoil is often diverted, controlled, and even manipulated to your advantage as you achieve sight alignment after each shot.
The more you know and understand about firearms, the more you will learn the different aspects of recoil and how best to counter it or learn to live with it.
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