Ad and Pinky were great! One of their claims to fame was shooting 2" wooden blocks tossed into the air with .22 rifles. They wore out teenage boys tossing the blocks. Can't recall how many they hit, but it was into the 10,000's.
In the 19th and early 20th Centuries shooting, many kinds, was extremely popular. They had parlour guns, trap shoots, long range matches. Schools had rifle teams. I think some still do.
Smith made guns for the British in WWII that were loaded with the 200 grain 38 S&W round which was the same round the Brits loaded in their Mk IV Webley. I used to own one of those and kept it as a "car gun". Eventually I forgot about the pistol and then sold the car...oh, well.
Here the cops carry short barreled pumps, don't recall what kind, but they load them with 4's, which at close range will pretty much tear someone up. I saw a coroner's manual for sale at a gun show that showed pictures of bodies with various wounds so the coroner could deduce the cause of death. The book, a thick one, was expensive and the images gruesome. I saw pictures of bodies with shotgun wounds - terrible wounds. No. 4 shot at close range is deadly.
Concerning 1917 .45 Colts, I'm pretty sure that I read they came both ways, the non-headspacing guns made first and then they changed, but I'm not going to go to the mattresses over the question. I'm just not sure enough.
I've got about a dozen old revolvers, Smith's and Colts and I've shot them all, but not so much anymore. The best are a Colt .22 New Police, an old K.22 and the 25/5. I really don't like shooting the Colt SAA as much as I thought I would. I don't like the long hammer fall or the sights, nice grip tho and it points well.
These days I shoot mostly shotguns and .22 pistols. Just today I was messing around in my gunroom and discovered an old TC Contender .22 that I haven't seen for over a decade. I know it sounds stange, but while I recalled the pistol, I had lost it. Finding it was like buying a new gun!
When Ad shot the famous wooden blocks, he shot over 74,000 of them--don't recall the exact #--& missed something like 14. The misses all came late in the day when he was nearly worn out. He had 1 run of over 10,000 blocks without a single miss. He was so tired & sore at the end of each day that Plinky had to massage his shoulders & upper arms before he could sleep. He was using Winchester .22 pump rifles & Winchester ammo. The only reason he quit when he did was there wasn't any more Winchester ammo available in the area.
Plinky was an employee at Winchester when she & Ad met. They fell in love & married, & he brought her back to Texas. She got her nickname--'Plinky'--from saying "plink" every time she or Ad hit an aerial target. Before she married Ad she'd never fired a gun in her life.
The Colt SAA is made for pointing. It was never made for precision shooting. The grip is the same as the '51 Navy, which was the most perfectly designed grip for pointing Colt ever made. When, within the magic circle--7yds, 21ft--you cock the thing, then point it at an object , then look over the sights, you'll find it's dead on. That's its advantage. It was slow to load & slow to clear, but at close range--gunfight range--it was the best pistol a man could get his hands on. When they finally made a successful target model they had to change the grip configuration to the Bisley model, which is much better for target shooting but doesn't point nearly as well. The SAA is my carry gun. It's the fastest gun in the world for the 1st shot, & if you put the 1st one in the right place, you generally don't have to use a 2nd one.
I consider myself a much better pistol shot than either rifle or shotgun. I was taught to shoot a pistol by owning one of the first Ruger Bearcats. Cost was $36. It was extremely accurate. I used to shoot pebbles with it at 15'. I set it deeply within my hand with my thumb high.
I also had my dad's old 1911 that he had been issued. SS# was in the 41,000 range! Don't have the gun anymore.
I find the 1911 comfortable to shoot, but after a box or two my groups open up. Same happens with a full house 357, which is not very confortable to shoot. I have only shot a 44 mag once and that was a Hawes revolver. Hard kicker and I can't believe that anyone shoots one of those for fun, like you can do with a 9mm all day long.
My point is that hard kicking pistols have a place, I guess; but I avoid them, because I shoot for fun and the 1911 is just about max, at least for me; for fun shooting. Shooting a 9mm Hi-Power is wonderful IMO and I can shoot one of those until I run out of ammo.
I agree that the SAA has a natural feel and it points well. When I wear one, I wear it high on my hip and it rides easily, much better than the old 1911 in those issue holsters.
I pack my SAA in a cross-draw holster. When I was in my teens I worked with the late Dee Woolem, who was a fast-draw showman in the '50s. Abt the only one better was the late Joe Bowman. Dee could come from the button, draw, fire, & stop the clock in 0.20 secs. Because he was in his 40s at the time & I was in my teens, I could do it in 0.18 secs. It takes you 0.16 secs to blink your eyes. This was hip-draw, but of course it was with custom-made, metal-lined holsters & Dee's slicked-up guns. He used Ruger .357 Blackhawks with the sights removed, the top-strap rounded, & the hammers & triggers slicked up. We shot .38 spl cases w/a hot primer, 5 gr of FFFg, & wax bullets. Dee wanted me to tour with him but I was still in HS & my parents wouldn't let me.
I don't have trouble w/hard-kicking pistols, probably, 1st, because my hands are so big--I stretch a size 12½ glove--& 2nd, because my primary sport in HS & college was fencing--saber--which builds strong wrists. The 1st time I fired a .44 mag I was warned about the kick. After I fired it I asked "What's the problem?" My 1917 Colt, loaded w/Twin Cities steel-cased ACP cases w/.452 hard-cast wadcutters & 9 gr of Unique, kicked harder.
The only hard-kicking pistol that ever gave me trouble was a Colt M1878 DA in .45 Colt w/full BP loads. The grip design on that thing is such that all the felt recoil goes not into your palm but into the web between your thumb & forefinger. It not only kicked, the barrel bucked to abt a 45 degree angle w/every shot & I couldn't hold it down because of the grip-design. I hated that thing! It's physically painful to fire, almost impossible to control in rapid fire, & the DA trigger-pull, which I estimated at abt 15 to 18 lbs--I had no way to measure it at the time, so it might have been even heavier--caused the muzzle to 'wander' to the right with every shot, even using a 2-handed hold. I could have corrected part of that with the 'shadetree trigger job'--you take off the grips, put the grip screw as far down into the mainspring as possible without forcing it, hold it in place, & squeeze the trigger thru once--but it was somebody else's gun so I didn't do that.
I have never been a fan of fast draw, unless you need to do it, of course. I've always been concerned that I'd shoot myself in the leg or foot. I do like shooting from the hip, tho and practice it all of the time.
My favorite plinking around pistol is a Ruger Single Six. With the magnum cylinder attached it shoots plenty hard and I would not hesitate to use as a self defense weapon. I usually shoot it with the regular 22 round however.
Different pistols kick differently. They either roll up in your hand, or jump straight back into the ham of your hand. I prefer the former. The 1911 rolls left and back, which seems strange when it happens. I think it has to do with the spinning of the heavy bullet. The bullet must spin to the right.
Everyone tells me that the grip of your pistol is ultra important. While it matters, especially in a hard kicking pistol, the grip design isn't nearly as important as are the sights, and to an equal degree your sighting technique. Shooting a pistol at close range is all about pointability. Shooting at any other other range is all about sight picture. You CONCENTRATE on the sights HARD.
I love pistol shooting and to me it is pretty easy, but I work at it. As a former DI, where I taught pistol shooting, I was surprised what lousy pistol shots most people are. I mean, they'll miss the man sized silouette target at 12 feet! At seven feet they are lucky to hit the paper. Most people shot nearly this bad. A good pistol shot can shoot almost as well as he can with an open sighted rifle.
As for hard kickers; it is not as important to know how to shoot hard kickers as it is to understand how much of a hard kicker you can shoot. No need to over load your shooting hand. Doing so always causes problems. Better to shoot a .38 Special and hit your target than a .44 mag and miss. OMHO a moderately loaded .45 Long Colt is fine, and about as much shooter that I feel a need to shoot.
Oh, I guess if one is hunting griz with a pistol then shoot as much pistol as you can, but don't practive with the thing. It'll ruin you.