Bore Axis Home / Pistol Anatomy / Bore Axis

Pistol Anatomy - Bore Axis

Image of Bryan Hill, Founder of Pistol Wizard Bryan Hill / August 10 2022

The frame of a Glock 19

Bore axis refers to how far the barrelis above your hand when you grip it.

This has a moderate effect on muzzle rise in recoil. Why? The pistol's grip is like a lever. Recoil comes from the barrel and slide, pushing against that lever.

The lower your grip relative to the barrel, the more recoil has leverage against you, and the more the muzzle will rise compared to other pistols.

When Bore Axis Matters

Why does bore axis only have a moderate effect on recoil? It doesn't vary much from pistol to pistol:
Chart comparing bore axis between common pistols, credit to

An exception is the Chiappa Rhino, which sets the barrel in line with your hand:

Chiappa Rhino held in hand.

Its design has a major effect on muzzle rise. However, it's a revolver, so it has worse capacity and reload speed compared to a semi-auto pistol, and the price starts around $1000. The costs aren't worth the benefit, or else designs like this would be more popular.

Otherwise, factors like frame design, slide design, and grip design match or outweigh any benefits from a better bore axis.


  1. Pistol Bore Axis: Comparison and Explanation (2019)
  2. Pistol High Bore Axis Myth or Fact???? You Be the Judge (2017)
  3. Does Low Bore Axis Mean Low Recoil? (2016)