Recoil with firearms that have polymer handle

Recoil with firearms that have polymer handle

This is a discussion on Recoil with firearms that have polymer handle within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; In my CCW class someone raised the question about the pros/cons of handguns with a polymer construction in the frame. Besides the obvious weight savings, ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array yemenmocha's Avatar
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    Recoil with firearms that have polymer handle

    In my CCW class someone raised the question about the pros/cons of handguns with a polymer construction in the frame. Besides the obvious weight savings, however, the instructor said that these guns will have less recoil. I found this surprising because in my limited experience I thought many of the Sigs had less recoil than, say, Glocks with the same cartridges. Shouldn't weight reduce recoil?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Generally higher weight will reduce recoil, but it depends on the balance of the pistol. A higher weight ratio towards the front of the pistol will significantly reduce recoil, while a higher weight distribution towards the rear of the pistol will increase recoil.

    Generally speaking, a polymer gun will have more 'felt recoil' than it's steel counterpart. A good grip (on the gun and with your hands) will reduce felt recoil quite a bit.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Are we talking straight back lateral movement as recoil, or are we talking about muzzle flip here? Sometimes those are confusing aspects. Action designs, spring weights, bore axis, and alot of factors determine perceived recoil. (The straight back lateral movement)

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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    Actual recoil, my Glock probably does have more than a steel framed pistol. Perceived recoil, it feels like its a little bit less, because of the lower bore axis and grip angle. The polymer frame may help to absorb some of the slide battering as well. In the end it comes down to how recoil sensitive an individual is and shooting experience.
    Last edited by crzy4guns; April 6th, 2008 at 04:44 PM.

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    Distinguished Member Array clarkston_cz's Avatar
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    For myself. Recoil with a CZ in .40 is acceptable. Shooting a Glock in .40 isn't any fun at all. Ditto for the Glock 10mm. I can shoot a Glock 9mm all day long.

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    Well, For years I have heard the Myth that because a frame is Polymer it will absorb recoil because it will "flex" while a "metal" frame is rigid.
    I'm calling that total B.S.
    There are inherent qualities and characteristics about various firearms that do affect actual & perceived recoil but, that's not one of them.

    Just my opinion on that.
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    Member Array AgentX's Avatar
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    The design of the pistol will dictate. Part of this is the material, but it's all in how it's put together. Saying a polymer will recoil less simply because it's polymer is silly.

    Shot a G19 extensively for the first time the other day and it was a lot sharper against my palm than my 9mm SIG 229.

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    Senior Member Array fatboy97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yemenmocha View Post
    Shouldn't weight reduce recoil?
    It should, but I don't think this is a hard and set fact in all cases. My SIG P226 (.40S&W) is an easier gun to shoot than my Glock 23c, but not by as much as you might think considering the weight difference. There is difference is barrel length to consider also besides the weight.
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  9. #9
    Member Array yemenmocha's Avatar
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    I just started shooting again after many years off and I can't believe how much recoil my 2nd gen Glock .40 has. I'm wondering if I shouldn't switch to a USP 9mm or Sig 9mm for something I can control better.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    recoil is a real measurement of force created by the law of physics that says for ever action there is an opposite and equal reaction. The bullet goes one way, the recoil is the push in the other direction.

    How one perceives that force and how the force is "buffered" has to do with many factors that have already been mentioned. Due to the number of variables it can be quite and individual thing. Catching a ball in a mitt is the same thing; what stings my hand might not sting yours; I might have more padding on my glove than on yours. checkering on a polymer can make the recoil worse becasue it concentrates the recoil at that point. get a spanking with a small switch and it'll hurt more than a flat wide board because equal force is concetrated.

    So, when it comes to weight it's simple, the more weight, the more the force has to work against which reduces it's strenght by the time you feel it. stand beside a motorcyle when it's hit and you'll likely feel the full force of the impact. Now stand behind a semi and you may not know anything hit the other side except for the noise.

    Weight dampens vibration, etc. so as a general principle of physics, extra weight causes more of the recoil to be expended in moving the mass. Now how much difference this makes is very subjective. And the other variables like muzzle flip come into play. The distribution of weight makes a lot of difference, hence straight on low bore axis recoil is handled better because it's directed into the line of bone make up by hand and arm. But if the gun is top heavy with a higher bore axis then it wants to pivot and we get muzzle flip, so heavier, lower bore axis (i.e. in line with the bones of the arm) the less recoil gets transfered to meat.

    If polymer flexed that much there'd be a lot of unhappy campers out there :)

    I can't believe anyone would ever say a polymer gun has less recoil than the all steel version of the same gun; it defies what everyone learns but shooting on their own.

    I have a P9 9mm which kicks so much; got the all steel MK9 and it doesn't kick anywhere as much and has almost no muzzle flip but the P9 does have the muzzle flip.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    I'm going to go with the traditional concept that firearm mass plays the biggest role in perceived recoil within a particular caliber.

    My Taurus PT1911 is more pleasant to shoot than my old Colt Commander.

    My Glock 22 is MUCH more pleasant to shoot than my Kahr PM40.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array bluelineman's Avatar
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    I find that with respect to overall mass, that the bulk of the grips aid in reducing felt recoil for me. I put some Hogue handall grips on my Glock 26 & it's much better because it fills up my hand better. My Dad's Glock 30 (really fat) is pleasant to shoot because it takes up my whole palm.

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