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interesting factoid on airweight.

#1
My wife now has a ccw & opted for a S&W J frame airweight, because, as U no doubt guess, it weighs nothing. Problem is, at range to practice, recoil is greater than she finds acceptable (kindly worded) even w/ standard 38 spl. She couldn't blast a box of 50. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
 

Gullwing

1911 pistolsmith
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Try different grips. I had a 357 that would kill you before 5 shots, new grips and my mom had no problem with a box.
 
#3
The laws of physics will NOT be denied.


I have a S&W Airweight 38 special snubby with the shrouded hammer, used to carry a lot before I got a Ruger LC9S Pro.

Everything you said is spot on.

I put a couple of hundred rounds through it for practice, but it was never very enjoyable.
 

NYECOGunsmith

Obsessed Member
Staff member
Moderator
#4
Finding the right set of grips for these micro weight hand cannons is of paramount importance.
The right grips can alter how all the recoil is perceived, taking what was a sharp, painful sting with the factory grips and making it a still strong thump spread over a larger portion of the hand, and changing the point in the grasp of the gun that the pistol rotates around can make a difference too.

Getting it to be "comfortable" to shoot for 50, 100 or XXX round may not be possible for all hand sizes , grip types , guns, shooters, loads, etc. as there are a lot of variables in that formula, but you can usually find one combination of the above that is the most workable so that a sufficient amount of practice can be obtained without inducing a flinch, or causing pain or damage to the shooter's hand.
 
#5
Finding the right set of grips for these micro weight hand cannons is of paramount importance.
The right grips can alter how all the recoil is perceived, taking what was a sharp, painful sting with the factory grips and making it a still strong thump spread over a larger portion of the hand, and changing the point in the grasp of the gun that the pistol rotates around can make a difference too.

Getting it to be "comfortable" to shoot for 50, 100 or XXX round may not be possible for all hand sizes , grip types , guns, shooters, loads, etc. as there are a lot of variables in that formula, but you can usually find one combination of the above that is the most workable so that a sufficient amount of practice can be obtained without inducing a flinch, or causing pain or damage to the shooter's hand.
Thanks, good advice.
 

Gunhand

Firearms Instructor
#6
As a retired law enforcement firearms instructor, and someone who has been in actual armed confrontations with suspects, I'd just like to add my two cents on something.

I see a lot of threads about J frame revolvers, and especially light or alloy frames, and the fact that they do have some pretty snappy recoil. Yes they do and it is very noticeable when you're at the range.

That being said, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an armed confrontation, I can tell you from personal experience, under that stress, you probably won't feel the recoil at all. Your body will react to muscle memory, and there will be no thought of recoil, only your fight or flight instincts. Which if you are shooting your J Frame, you've made the decision to fight.

Yes they can be a pain to shoot during range sessions, but practice doesn't always require live fire. Dry practice is very important to maintaining your skill level with a firearm. So take your J Frame to the range and make sure it's stone reliable, and then go from there.

Again only my humble opinion based on 38 years as a firearms instructor.
 
#7
As a retired law enforcement firearms instructor, and someone who has been in actual armed confrontations with suspects, I'd just like to add my two cents on something.

I see a lot of threads about J frame revolvers, and especially light or alloy frames, and the fact that they do have some pretty snappy recoil. Yes they do and it is very noticeable when you're at the range.

That being said, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an armed confrontation, I can tell you from personal experience, under that stress, you probably won't feel the recoil at all. Your body will react to muscle memory, and there will be no thought of recoil, only your fight or flight instincts. Which if you are shooting your J Frame, you've made the decision to fight.

Yes they can be a pain to shoot during range sessions, but practice doesn't always require live fire. Dry practice is very important to maintaining your skill level with a firearm. So take your J Frame to the range and make sure it's stone reliable, and then go from there.

Again only my humble opinion based on 38 years as a firearms instructor.
Thank you, real life experience is valuable. Appreciate your insight.
 

SeegarSmoker

Prefers Wheelguns
#8
I have a number of J frames, including a 36, 37 (airweight) and 60 that I carry. I practice with all of them but shoot the 36 by far and away the most. The 36 is the heaviest with the 60 right behind. The 37, being an airweight is the lightest by quite a bit. I think once you learn to shoot a J frame, the exact model and weight becomes less important. It's the practice with the platform itself that I find more salient.

Once I became proficient with my 36 (which really does take some practice), I found I could pretty much keep all of them on target. I carry the 37 more as time goes by, though I still practice the most with the heavier 36 which has noticeably less recoil. So maybe an airweight to carry and a heavier J frame such as a 36 to practice could be a consideration?

As a side note, I shoot my 37 less not because the recoil bothers me but because some of them were prone to the frames cracking due to it's aluminum frame construction. I figure why temp fate and keep the mileage on it down. One of these days I suppose I need to pick one of the newer improved airweights.
 

snubbyfan

Army Veteran. Specialist 5th. Class
#9
I chose an Airweight 38 because of it's incredibly light weight & small size. To me its a good trade off. This firearm, if it is ever used for self-defense, will most likely be fired at under 5 yards...hence a chest hit or 2 will likely be effective. I don't believe recoil will be a factor.
 

MAC702

LEGEN...wait for it... DARY!
Forum Supporter
#10
Make sure you test your ammo with lightweight revolvers. The recoil impulse (integral of acceleration) is much greater and has the most ability to break the bullet crimp and start pulling your bullets out, making your ammo longer. Shoot all but one round and inspect the one you didn't fire with a fresh round out of the box. Make certain it hasn't jumped the crimp at all.

Remember that if your ammo gets too long on a S&W, your gun will be jammed, and you will be unable to open it. If it happens on a Colt, at least you can still open the cylinder because it rotates clockwise.

My S&W 340PD would jump crimp with standard .38's if they were loaded with soft swaged lead ammo.
 
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Felid'Maximus

Beware of Cat
Forum Supporter
#11
I'm not a fan of small .38 special revolvers. .32 S&W Long is where it is at in my opinion. You get 6 rounds instead of 5, and the recoil is low enough to encourage practice. I get 20 inches of penetration in clear ballistics gel with the Fiocchi 97 gr FMJ from my revolver.
 
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#12
I'm not a fan of small .38 special revolvers. .32 S&W Long is where it is at in my opinion. You get 6 rounds instead of 5, and the recoil is low enough to encourage practice. I get 20 inches of penetration in clear ballistics gel with the Fiocchi 97 gr FMJ from my revolver.
My great grandfather carried a 32 SW long... Around the turn of the century? lol