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How do you get over recoil fear? I grew up around firearms so I’m not scared of them, however when shooting I get so much anxiety because of the recoil. I own a Ruger LCPII .380 I practice with it almost every weekend, but with every shot I get ready to take I flinch and start to have a panic attack before I even pull the trigger. I can’t figure out why this happens. I’m not sure if it’s the loudness (I do wear noise reduction ear muffs), the idea that it can hurt a living being, or that I’m scared I might screw up. I can hit the targets just fine while practicing at the shooting range (you would think it would give me confidence). I just want to get over this fear of actually pulling the trigger. I guess I’m not an adrenaline junky so that burst of adrenaline you get when shooting that I’ve noticed from others around me gives me major anxiety. This year is the first time I’ve shot a firearm in over 15 years. Shooting our .22 doesn’t frighten me as it’s not loud and the recoil is like shooting a BB gun. So what is the best way to overcome this?
 

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IMO, starting with smaller calibers along with larger/heavier guns can help. Both help tame the recoil, and smaller calibers tend to be less loud. In other words: starting out "small" and having enough mileage so that it's commonplace and known what's going to occur.

The Ruger LCP is a puny, harder-kicking "mouse" gun, compared to most everything else. Yes, the .380ACP isn't a "big" round, but it's plenty hard-kicking and loud in the LCP.

I might suggest something like this, to help you get over your recoil aversion: A CZ 75B, with the "Kadet" .22LR conversion kit. It'll give you 9mm, but .22LR as well, on the same platform. Look for sub-sonic, heavier rounds in the 9mm, as those will tend to be less loud and have an easier kick. Time in the saddle will, eventually, help you get over any concern over the recoil, or apprehension/surprise over the firing of the round.

As well, rededicate yourself to going over the safe-handling procedures. Assure yourself that you're competent and safe when around them and handling them.

If handled and fired safely, there's really nothing to be concerned about. It's just noise, and a bit of "slap" against the hands. (Sort of like hitting a baseball with a bat. There's a "smacking" sound when you strike it, and some "sting" and recoil through the bat to the hands, but nothing to worry over.) Be around them enough, and shoot them enough, you'll likely get more comfortable as you gain experience. I'd start with larger/heavier handguns, though, as the gun will suck up much of the recoil that'd otherwise be striking your hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
IMO, starting with smaller calibers along with larger/heavier guns can help. Both help tame the recoil, and smaller calibers tend to be less loud. In other words: starting out "small" and having enough mileage so that it's commonplace and known what's going to occur.

The Ruger LCP is a puny, harder-kicking "mouse" gun, compared to most everything else. Yes, the .380ACP isn't a "big" round, but it's plenty hard-kicking and loud in the LCP.

I might suggest something like this, to help you get over your recoil aversion: A CZ 75B, with the "Kadet" .22LR conversion kit. It'll give you 9mm, but .22LR as well, on the same platform. Look for sub-sonic, heavier rounds in the 9mm, as those will tend to be less loud and have an easier kick. Time in the saddle will, eventually, help you get over any concern over the recoil, or apprehension/surprise over the firing of the round.

As well, rededicate yourself to going over the safe-handling procedures. Assure yourself that you're competent and safe when around them and handling them.

If handled and fired safely, there's really nothing to be concerned about. It's just noise, and a bit of "slap" against the hands. (Sort of like hitting a baseball with a bat. There's a "smacking" sound when you strike it, and some "sting" and recoil through the bat to the hands, but nothing to worry over.) Be around them enough, and shoot them enough, you'll likely get more comfortable as you gain experience. I'd start with larger/heavier handguns, though, as the gun will suck up much of the recoil that'd otherwise be striking your hands.
My gun definitely has a kick to it. I love the example of hitting a ball with the baseball bat. I never thought of it that way. I’m new to guns even though I was raised around them. When you said heavier rounds is that the GR like my .380 ammo is 95gr?
 

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My gun definitely has a kick to it.
I've got a Ruger LCP as well. In a stout .380 cartridge, it'll have quite a lot of flame, blast, smoke and recoil to it. In a low-recoil, sub-sonic cartridge, it'll be less bad. But, the LCP is still a puny lightweight of a gun. Compared to a big all-steel gun 3x to 4x the weight and 4x the barrel length, it's got a tremendous amount of recoil.

That said, I've shot all kinds. I don't prefer heavy, snappy recoil in my sidearms. But none of it bothers me. You really want to get surprised, try out a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 sometime. It'll make the Ruger LCP seem positively tame, by comparison.
 

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The LCP 380 is one of the worst recoiling guns to shoot and you are anticipating. It only weighs about 12 oz loaded and gets lighter each shot. Get an LCP2 in 22lr for practice. The LCP2 should be a 32 acp not a 380.
 

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Practice is all I can say. The first time I shot a big bore magnum I was just a kid. Now I don’t flinch unless I’m really shooting a wrist breaking round. The more ammo you send down range the quicker you get over the surprise. I taught my wife by handing her a gun with no bullets in it and told her it was ready to shoot . When she pulled the trigger and nothing happened she recognized exactly what she did wrong . She jerked the trigger and braced for recoil that never happened. She is now a much better shot.
 

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When you said heavier rounds is that the GR like my .380 ammo is 95gr?
Yeah, in .380ACP there aren't a lot of choices, like there are in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45ACP.

Two of the less-stout recoiling .380 cartridges I can think of are:

Federal Eagle #AE380AP .380ACP 95gr FMJ RN
Buffalo Cartridge Co. .380ACP 100gr FMJ RN


Of course, in the Ruger LCP, I think you'll find that it'll always have quite a bit of kick. It's just the nature of having such a lightweight frame and ultra-short barrel.
 

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Woodie
The others have given good advise about going to a heavier pistol for just shooting. And of course a moderate caliber would also help. Just a thought IMO no larger than a 9mm with no Plus P Loads or a 38 Special light or target load.

But being in Law Enforcement for almost 30 years and a firearms trainer before retiring. Please do not take this wrongly and I am in no way intending to be rude toward you.
But the one comment you made gives me great concern regarding if you are planning on carrying any pistol for self-defenses.
Comment:
I’m not sure if it’s the loudness (I do wear noise reduction ear muffs), "the idea that it can hurt a living being"*, or that I’m scared I might screw up.
Woodie, if carrying it for personal protection one must realize if carrying, one must "without hesitation" mentally be prepared to pull the trigger should the circumstances unfortunately occur! Because hesitation in those types of circumstances can end up with the good law abiding citizen( like you I am sure!) Suffering serious bodily injury or death. That is the first major decision a person carrying for self defense has to make prior to thinking about carrying. So if you really sincerely feel you might be hesitant? I would recommend having a pistol for shooting and for pleasure.
For pleasure like the others have advised a good 22 Pistol or Revolver is a good choice for those who are recoil sensitive. And as stated, the selection of the caliber is just as important.
With training and mental conditioning one can normally overcome recoil sensitivity. Smaller pistols are harder to accomplish this with. But one thing we do with those who tend to be recoil sensitivity or seemingly frightend of the weapon in any way. Who snap the trigger, flinch and pre-anticipate the gun going off.
Is what we call the "Ball and Dummy Drill". Where you get someone to load your Clip / Magazine or Chamber without you looking. For the Semi Auto Pistol you can buy Plastic Dummy Rounds. The assisting person would load your Clip or Magazine with a few Dummy Round and Live Rounds in it. Then give it back to you and have you shoot the weapon. It will be very easy to see if you are slapping the trigger, flinching, or pre-anticipating the weapon going off. Then it displays the problem to the shooter and they can mentally work on stopping it from happening. It does work if the shooter is willing to mentally correct the issue by practicing.

If you are by yourself it can also be accomplished by you loading several (At least a minimum of 3) Clips/Magazines randomly with a different mix of the Dummy Rounds and live rounds in them. Then mix the Clips or Mags up so you do not remember how many or where you put the Dummy Rounds in each of them.

For the rifle shooters. At the Sniper Schools we lay a Dime in the center on top of the Rifle Barrel when working on trigger pull. The least movement when pulling the trigger will cause the Dime to fall off the Barrel!

03
 
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Shooting our .22 doesn’t frighten me as it’s not loud and the recoil is like shooting a BB gun. So what is the best way to overcome this?
Are you shooting without ear protection? Proper ear protection and the .380 shouldn't bother you at all.
And shoot the heaviest ammo you can find.
A larger bullet equates to a smaller charge, meaning less recoil.
 
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