Handgun Recoil by Caliber

Handgun Recoil by Caliber

This is a discussion on Handgun Recoil by Caliber within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I found this pretty interesting. I have been Trying to wrap my head around felt recoil of the common semi auto handgun calibers. I know ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array jwalker497's Avatar
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    Handgun Recoil by Caliber

    I found this pretty interesting. I have been Trying to wrap my head around felt recoil of the common semi auto handgun calibers. I know this will not be an end all but I think it kind of supports what a lot of people tend to say they feel. Check it out.

    Handgun Recoil - Condensed Table

    If you divide the recoil energy by the weight, i think you have a primitive foundation on which to compare felt recoil. I think you have to factor in the weight because that helps reduce the actually energy transferred. I did this and here are the ranking from least reciol to the most factoring the weight of the gun.

    ENERGY
    1. 45acp
    2. 9mm
    3. 357sig
    4. 10mm
    5. 40sw

    There is also a section for Velocity. I don't know what to make of velocity in terms of something that you can feel. Does a quick recoil mean more snap?? I don't know. But looking at the numbers, 40 has the quickest recoil and 45 has the slowest, so I would have to assume that speed does equate to snap in the real world. I also don't know what role the pistols weight affects the speed of the recoil. Again, I have to assume a lighter pistol would have a quicker recoil, think of the small autos and how a 380 can kick pretty hard. I divied the speed by the weight and Here are the results

    VELOCITY
    1.45acp
    2.10mm
    3. 357sig
    4. 9mm
    5. 40sw

    When I average these 2 ranking together these are the results

    OVERALL AVERAGE
    1. 45acp
    2. 10mm
    3. 357sig
    4. 9mm
    5. 40sw

    I don't know if this tells us anything but I will say that I think the results are interesting and to me, they seem to support what people say they feel. They say the 40 is snappy, they say the 45 is a smooth push. Most importantly the middle results of 10, 357, 9 are pretty close but there is a hunge gap between and the 45 and the 40.

    Thoughts??

    I don't know if factoring the weight of the pistol is useful or not. I did it though to try to have a fair comparison to evaluate the recoil of a 2.25lb 10mm vs a 1.5lb 9mm.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Recoil by caliber or recoil by shooter?
    Everybody feel recoil differently, some are bothered by it, others not so much.
    Now factor in various things like grain weight, gun weight, light or heavy frame, and barrel length and you have even more variables.
    I'm not fond of shooting full house .357 loads out an an airweight snubbie, I'd rather shoot the .44 Magnum loads out of a N frame with a short barrel.

    Each to his own, but I'm seldom bothered by recoil. I recently had a chance to shoot a S&W 500 and it seemed a lot tamer than I thought it would be.
    YMMV
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    I believe your theories are flawed. Why would the 10mm, a longer, more powder-filled version of the .40, have less recoil. There are just too many variables to establish a table like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I believe your theories are flawed. Why would the 10mm, a longer, more powder-filled version of the .40, have less recoil. There are just too many variables to establish a table like this.
    I don't understand that one either. Like the above poster said, there are other factors, but I was hoping to establish some sort of fair comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwalker497 View Post
    I don't understand that one either. Like the above poster said, there are other factors, but I was hoping to establish some sort of fair comparison.
    Their can be no fair comparison because every shooter, gun, caliber and load are different. Some science projects look good on paper but end in disaster in the lab.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwalker497 View Post
    I don't understand that one either. Like the above poster said, there are other factors, but I was hoping to establish some sort of fair comparison.
    Recoil by shooter is perceived recoil. Like stated before, everyone perceives differently. Of course there are several factors that influence the perceived recoil available, like the weight of the gun, size of the gun, the action, difference in ammo, etc...... Leaving the shooter out of it all together as a variable. Other than that, I don't think there ever could be a fair comparison on perceived recoil other than a specific shooter comparing different guns with different calibers. Available recoil to everyone with any particular gun or ammo should be able to be calculated using Einstein's theory, and Newton's third law.

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    Member Array jwalker497's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the above but on the other hand there has to be some definitive answers? Everyone say go to the range and rent them, well not everyone has the ability to do that and not all ranges have comprable models, etc.

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    It seems way too subjective to me. I can shoot my CW9 in 9mm and my G23 in .40, and barely notice the difference in perceived recoil due to differences in size, weight and grip. I don't really find the .40 snappy in the G23, and also can feel some, but little, difference when shooting the smaller G27. As has been said before, you'd have to take the shooter out of the equation, shoot all calibers from basically the same gun, and have some way of measuring muzzle rise to even get close to some real data. Sounds kinda tough to me.
    " In theory, reality and theory are the same. In reality, they are not."

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    Member Array rednecksport's Avatar
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    If his theory was true and velocity was a factor "Speed equals Snap"then the 357 sig should be the snappiest shouldnt it?Is it not the fastest of the calibers listed?
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    Just a minor off-topic wheel-gun VS semi-auto addition.

    The identical caliber will always have less felt recoil in a semi-auto than in a revolver due to the fact that a portion of the recoil energy is used to operate the slide.

    So your average size 9mm revolver will have more felt recoil than yer average 9mm semi.

    Sticking to semi-automatic handguns - the working mechanics of the pistol...the recoil spring system...and bore height can also affect actual and perceived recoil and muzzle flip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Just a minor off-topic wheel-gun VS semi-auto addition.

    The identical caliber will always have less felt recoil in a semi-auto than in a revolver due to the fact that a portion of the recoil energy is used to operate the slide.

    So your average size 9mm revolver will have more felt recoil than yer average 9mm semi.

    Sticking to semi-automatic handguns - the working mechanics of the pistol...the recoil spring system...and bore height can also affect actual and perceived recoil and muzzle flip.
    That is spot on!
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    Jwalker, Are you aware of "Power Factor" calculation? A pretty knowledgeable person on the on the Sigforum told me about it.
    Bullet weight X MV / 1000. It will give you a RELATIVE picture of PERCEIVED RECOIL between different rounds with a given handgun. Keep in mind that a PF of 180 may be tolerable for one person, where a PF of 155 may be the max for another.
    Last edited by mrlee1948; February 2nd, 2010 at 08:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rednecksport View Post
    If his theory was true and velocity was a factor "Speed equals Snap"then the 357 sig should be the snappiest shouldnt it?Is it not the fastest of the calibers listed?
    right

    and like other posters said the length of the barrel comes into play as well. The Longer the barrel the longer it takes for the slide to come back.

    I shot a .380 semi auto that had more kick than a .45.. Also the shooter is the one to decide if the kick is more in one caliber than the next. I would rather shoot a full size "snappy .40" as all you people like to call it (i however do not think that) rather than a subcompact 9mm.
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    My friends Kel Tec 9 mm kicks more than my G27 .40
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    Yup, handgun physical dimensions and design will affect recoil, as well as cartridge design, bullet weight, amt of powder, shooter's grip technique and strength, etc.

    That being said, take a look at chuckhawks.com. He has a handgun recoil table showing recoil energy and velocity and the weights of the handguns. It might give you a feel for how things shake out.

    Another way to test fire different guns is to strike up a conversation with other shooters at the range. Most will gladly let you fire a few rounds if you ask - you may not even get the chance to ask.

    Look for NRA classes in your area, the instructors generally bring a fair number of guns for students to try out, plus your fellow classmates will probably let you try theirs as well.

    Considering the cost of ammo, you may even want to pick up a box of ammo in each cartridge you want to try and hit the range. You'll get to shoot more.

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