FWIW: I ran an improptu test at the range last week for recoil.
Weapon used was my 642, Smith, two handed hold.
38 special ammo tested:
125 gr Nyclad
125 gr hydrashok
125 gr SWCJHP +P (Winchester brand)
158 gr SWC lead handload ( loaded to 80%)
The apparent felt recoil followed the above list in that order. I used no real measuring equipment with hard data. I just squeezed off the round, and concentrated on the felt recoil on my hand.
Now, the above loads did not produce a recoil with could of prevented a quick followup shot. The heavier recoil did make the second shot a bit longer in time.
So, I would recommend the 125 gr nyclad for the smaller shooters.
The 125 Gr +p has a higher rating for stopping power and would be better for the larger shooters.
The handload SWC lead would probably have the greatest penetration, and be more suitable for heavier winter dress, where penetration is more imporatant than expansion. Oh, yes, the handload was a relatively slower burning powder, and the muzzle blast and smoke were a lot heavier than the others. If you miss tye BG the muzzle blast will knock him over..... Heh, Heh, heh<--------humor
I thought this was the answer to the question, asked of the sniper what he felt when he shot a member of the Taliban
How about comparing a 110gr JHP +P and the Speer 135gr GDHP +P short barrel loads too?