Training Tip on Recoil Management

Recoil Management

Let’s not ask about what guns do the navy seals use. Let’s talk about recoil management. Recoil management is an incredibly important defensive shooting skill. We know it’s very unlikely that a single round is going to stop our threat, so we need to be able to manage recoil. Of course, a lot of people are recoil sensitive, and are interested in a reduced recoil round, and now Winchester offers the W line, which has ballisticlly matched training ammo and defensive ammo with equal amounts of reduced recoil. Now this is great, but we have to remember that reduced recoil can mean reduced reliability. So we think about the physics of a semi-automatic firearm. It’s incredibly important that the frame remains still relative to the movement of the slide. That’s how the gun functions reliably. Now if you have a very heavy gun with a lot of inertia, then it’s really not that much of an issue, especially if there’s a powerful round in it.

But if we reduce the amount of power in the round, and we know that we got a lot of modern light-weight guns, especially the new single-stack nine generation that we’ve got, and even a gun like this with a polymer frame and a steel slide, what we have to be aware of is our platform becomes incredibly important. When I shoot, I don’t want to have bent elbows quote unquote absorbing recoil, the recoil needs to go into this recoil spring. I don’t want my shoulders back, I don’t want to have a sloppy platform, where when I shoot the gun, the gun moves a lot, and is less reliable. So we want to make sure that we have a good arms locked out, weight forward, shoulders engaged shooting position, so that I can manage recoil very quickly, keep the gun on target, and make sure that the gun is going to be reliable.

Now the other issue that we have when it comes to worrying about reduced recoil rounds, is reduced performance inside of our bad guy. Now these rounds, these obviously highly-engineered Winchester holo points are designed to perform exactly like we want them to regardless of the reduced recoil. Now we’ve got a block of gel set up so that we can shoot these defensive holo point rounds out of this firearm and you can see the performance that you can expect. Alright, I’m going to go ahead and load our defensive round. This is again that reduced recoil round, we’ve got a block of ballistic gelatin, a standard testing medium.

We’ve got some fabric over it because of course our bad guy is very likely to be wearing clothing when we’re defending ourselves. And I’m going to simply fire one round. And now we’re going to go down there and check it out. Alright, first thing we want to do is take a look at the distance that we got through. Now one of these blocks is 16 inches, we clearly went into the other one. We got 18 inches. Now our optimum performance is going to be right around 15. We want to always make sure that we’re getting 12 to 15 out of our defensive ammo, and through this clothing we clearly got all the way to 18, and I can tell you that that bullet expanded as well. So, let me see if I can get into this block a little bit. There are a couple of things that we have to deal with. One is the depth of penetration.

The other is the expansion of the bullet to cause as much damage as possible, and honestly, the other thing that we worry about not as much with modern ammunition, but used to be more of a factor is weight retention, because it’s that weight retention that’s keeping all that bullet together as much as possible that promotes penetration because of momentum. If you take a look at that right there, that is pretty much text book exactly what we’re looking for. Perfect expansion, full weight retention, I don’t see any fragments, and we got 18 inches of penetration. For a reduced recoil round, that’s going to be easier to shoot out of a modern, light-weight defensive handgun.

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