FELT RECOIL - 9mm POLYMER vs STEEL .45

FELT RECOIL - 9mm POLYMER vs STEEL .45

This is a discussion on FELT RECOIL - 9mm POLYMER vs STEEL .45 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; With ammo prices on the rise...it might be time for me to get a 9mm gun. Time and a half more bang for the buck ...

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Thread: FELT RECOIL - 9mm POLYMER vs STEEL .45

  1. #1
    Member Array TheHun's Avatar
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    Question FELT RECOIL - 9mm POLYMER vs STEEL .45

    With ammo prices on the rise...it might be time for me to get a 9mm gun.
    Time and a half more bang for the buck anyways.

    How does a polymer 9mm gun loaded with hot ammo (115gr +P+ at 1300 f/s, I think this is what 9mm guys like to use for serious business) feel recoil, shoot ability etc. when compared to a stainless steel .45 (full size 1911) loaded with 230gr ammo?
    149 PF vs 190 plus PF ammo in the same gun big difference - I assume the lightweight polymer makes all the felt difference.

    Is this 9mm ammo feels very different from cheap 9mm practice ammo?
    (I might as well just use my .22 1911 to practice for serious business with my .45 1911 lol )

    I have a hard time imagining myself giving up on single action sliding triggered guns....
    Those 9mm guns seemed kinda thick in the gun shop. (CCW)
    I know I will rent out a Glock 19 soon, I bring some hot ammo and I put it to the test myself.
    I just wanted to ask,... you Folks might save me some cash and I might get some really good points opinions too.
    Last edited by TheHun; November 8th, 2006 at 06:04 AM.


  2. #2
    Member Array R.E.Lee's Avatar
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    I would also like to hear impressions of felt recoil (however I am a polymer 9mm owner, and want to know about steel .45 owners' thoughts )

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    Distinguished Member Array Dakotaranger's Avatar
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    I carry the Springer Gov't and XD9

    As far as the Springfield offerings the XD the recoil is pretty equal to my Stainless Steel GI model. I shot both of them yesterday and felt the same. Now when I had a Glock .40 the felt recoil was worse than my .45Peacemaker. Think the Glock may be lighter than the XD
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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    My recoil theory

    I believe that you can approximate the recoil you will feel from a given handgun and ammo by looking at momentum - the momentum of the bullet leaving the barrel should roughly equal the momentum of the gun backwards in your hands. This is because momentum is "conserved" in physical terms.

    Momentum is defined as mass times velocity (not the same as energy, which is mass times velocity squared). So the momentum of the bullet is bullet mass times bullet velocity, and is also called "power factor" among competition shooters. The momentum of the gun is gun mass times gun velocity (backwards), and it is the velocity backwards in your hand that we think of as recoil. The equation would be:

    gun velocity (recoil) = (bullet mass X muzzle velocity)/gun mass

    So recoil increases with heavier bullets, more muzzle velocity and lighter guns. If you hold the ammunition type constant, such as 115 grain 9mm with velocity of 1200 fps, you can reduce recoil by going to a heavier 9mm gun.

    I have certainly noticed this with two 9mm guns that I shoot frequently at the range. I have a Glock 19, which weighs about 23 ounces, and a Sig P226, which weighs about 34 ounces. Shooting the same ammo the Glock has considerably more recoil than the Sig.

    You could compare your steel 1911 (a 38 ounce gun) shooting 230 grain ammo at maybe 850 fps to the same figure for your 9mm of choice and see which is greater. Don't worry about units or constants, as they will cancel out if you are simply comparing one gun with another. Here is my attempt to do that for one .45 vs. two 9mm's:

    Steel 1911 .45: (230X850)/38 = 5145

    Glock 19 9mm: (115X1200)/23 = 6000

    Sig P226 9mm: (115X1200)/34 = 4059

    According to this, the Glock 19 will have the greatest recoil, with the steel 1911 about 14% less recoil than the Glock, and the Sig P226 about 32% less recoil than the Glock. This roughly corresponds to what I feel when shooting these three guns, as well.
    Last edited by pogo2; November 8th, 2006 at 11:45 AM.

  5. #5
    Member Array katmandoo122's Avatar
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    Excellent analysis, pogo. The onlt thing I would add is that, because he asked about felt recoil, the distribution of the weight is likely to matter as well. A polymer gun with a heavy steel slide (i.e. the Beretta 9000s) is likely to have less felt recoil that one with a lighter slide (i.e. G19), everything else being equal. Unfortunately, that is more of a feel than a numbers game.

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    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    i can't speak to the polymer guns but if you are considering a 9MM, I would teke a long hard look at the Browning Hi Power. A VERY sweet gun, all steel, soft recoil and one of the nicest feels of any gun. Many consider it to be the culminarion of John Brownings 1911 type design, the Gold Standard of 9MM's. Being all steel, it's weight cuts down the recoil.
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  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegemu View Post
    i can't speak to the polymer guns but if you are considering a 9MM, I would teke a long hard look at the Browning Hi Power. A VERY sweet gun, all steel, soft recoil and one of the nicest feels of any gun. Many consider it to be the culminarion of John Brownings 1911 type design, the Gold Standard of 9MM's. Being all steel, it's weight cuts down the recoil.
    +1 on the HP...
    Also, as previously mentioned, the 226 is also an excellent choice....
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    I don't think you can make the comparison except in an actual live test. It is apples and oranges since the weight of the gun is paramount here. For example, .357 mag recoil heavy in some hand guns; but, are not bad in a ruger Blackhawk and 9mm in the same gun are fun.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    I have always found that felt recoil is really just another name for muzzle flip for most people.

    I really believe it has more to do with how high your hand rides to the barrel than it does weight.

    Josh <><

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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Good Question with NO anwser.

    I have to agree. The scientific calculations are interesting but "felt recoil" is MUCH more subjective than objective. Human factors including hand/forearm strength, weight, etc. combined with pistol ergonomics like size, weight, grip angle, barrel length, bore axis, frame flex (polymer frames do!), recoil spring rate - all make for a huge number of possible variations. That's not even accounting for the additional variables of bullet weight & velocity as ammo factors.

    The 9mm Hi-Power recommendation is great advice (I have & shoot several) but it has a "pivoting" not a "sliding" single action trigger...or you might try a factory-compensated 9mm GLOCK "C" series. You can always install a standard (non-compensated) barrel for ccw carry if you're worried about the flash at night. One more option that's very applicable to your question is the Springfield 9mm 1911 conversion. They're sometimes tough to find (I know a dealer who has a couple) but it's an entire slide/barrel assembly (with mag) that lets you swap your 1911 into a 9mm. That way, your trigger time is spent shooting the same gun but with cheaper ammo. (I'm guessing you're shooting a 1911 variation since you mentioned "single action sliding triggered guns"). The Springfield conversations run quite well.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]I have always found that felt recoil is really just another name for muzzle flip for most people.

    I really believe it has more to do with how high your hand rides to the barrel than it does weight.
    /QUOTE]

    I have to agree here that " percieved or felt " recoil will increse as the height of the bore axis increases. That being said I dont see why anyone would want to cripple the effectiveness of a 9 by attempting to duplicate a .45 recoil . Howeaver if your deturmined on this course of endever .... I would personaly look at the sig line , or the S&W double action lines , IMHO both brands tend to set higher in the hand than some others , and both are lightweight framed . Personaly i dont find 9 or 45 to have enough recoil to worry about it .
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