Felt recoil is an extremely subjective thing. I put about 175 rounds of .40 S&W downrange this morning since I was there anyway :biggrin: , and I couldn't help but overhear some comments about the caliber as we had a lot of people plinking away with their .40s today. Granted the 9mm still rules the roost at the pistol range, but there were enough .40s to shake a stick at.
"Oh I hate .40 Smith and Wesson. It's just too powerful." was one I overheard. It seems there are a lot of people who think that .40 S&W is just too much to handle.
I've heard the same thing about pretty much all the service calibers except 9x19.
Now I admit I don't want to shoot more than 100 rounds at a time and I start to get a bruise after a while, but I like the rush of shooting .44 Magnum and wouldn't mind trying bigger. Of course I also admit I don't rapidly fire .44 Magnum like I might with a service caliber. I couldn't control it.
Now I know there's bigger and badder, but for most people .44 Magnum recoil is intimidating. My own father won't dare touch a .44 Magnum revolver after his first experience with one. My point is that, big bores don't equate to unpleasant felt recoil in my book.
What I don't like to shoot at all from a recoil perspective is my 642. I have to make myself shoot it. It's a whole lot like holding an Altoids tin with about a dozen firecrackers going off inside of it. It's gotten better since I replaced the grips, but that flyweight little gun with that +P ammo is not pleasant.
I also have yet to fire a .380 I found palatable, but to be fair I haven't experienced the Sig or the Colt .380s. The Bersa Thunder wasn't bad once I got the rubber sleeve on it, but I just find these pistols to be awkward to shoot.
Isn't that weird that the large bore calibers are just fine, and it's the little bitty poodle shooter calibers that bother me? I've always maintained that what is or is not too much recoil is subjective and unique to each individual and I don't think I'll ever change that opinion.
Indeed, credit where credit is due, the best shooting experiences I've had recoil wise are my XD40s, and shooting .44 Special out of my 629 (Light Magnums really aren't bad either). Both of these platforms with the appropriate load just seem to make all the recoil go away.