Gun Safety 101: Understanding Gun Recoil

Understanding gun recoil
Simulated gun recoil is essential for training

What is Recoil in a Gun?

A gun's recoil, or kickback, is the backward movement a shooter feels when the bullet is discharged. When a gun exerts a force on a bullet as it's launching it forward, the law of physics says the bullet will exert an equal force in the opposite direction of the gun.

Many people say that recoil is one of the most intimidating aspects of shooting a gun for the first time. It's a feeling you can't quite prepare yourself for, and there's a common fear it will make the bullet miss the target or cause the shooter to drop the gun.

While these fears are expected for a first-time shooter, it's easy to work through them and develop confidence in handling a gun with proper gun safety.

How to Prepare Yourself for Gun Recoil

If you're talking to a seasoned shooter, their advice is often to get them over the fear of the gun. While that's highly simplistic, you need to be both physically and mentally prepared to accept recoil. What that does not mean is to flinch every time you pull the trigger.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for gun recoil as a first-time or novice shooter:
  • Use a heavier handgun
  • Practice proper gripping with two hands
  • Master your stance
  • Extend your arms

As with everything, practice makes perfect. And if you're looking for the ideal way to practice, consider starting with sim guns at a virtual shooting range.

Virtual shooting ranges offer versatility for the shooter, depending on the skills or lessons they are hoping to learn. It's an excellent option for novice and experienced shooters to target specific aspects of gun control, handling, and accuracy.

With sim guns, you have the option to choose from guns that are life-like replicas with the actual weight, feel and recoil of a live-fire gun. But, you also have the opportunity to practice shooting a gun without recoil. In addition, most sim guns have removable CO₂ cartridges that mimic a traditional gun's kickback so that you can get an authentic experience without any of the risks.

Do You Need Gun Recoil to Improve Skills?

When you pull the gun's trigger, the bullet goes wherever you had the gun pointed. The recoil is something that you experience AFTER the bullet has already been shot. The "jump" you feel from the recoil does not change where the bullet hits. True accuracy always comes before the shot.

However, if you are looking to improve your comfort with the feeling of recoil, are looking for a true-to-life shooting experience, or want to practice recovering your aim after recoil, then a sim gun with a CO₂ cartridge is the way to go.

Virtual shooting ranges are the ideal place to get focused training in the most critical areas for you. Having the ability to experience recoil or remove it from the equation entirely allows you to take a holistic approach to improve your overall shooting skills.