Recoil factor

Recoil factor

This is a discussion on Recoil factor within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; ok, here is my question. I have heard a lot from other members that the heavier the pistol the less recoil it has is it ...

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Thread: Recoil factor

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array Mikey's Avatar
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    Recoil factor

    ok, here is my question.

    I have heard a lot from other members that the heavier the pistol the less recoil it has is it true?

    If it is true, would 45cal pistol have as much recoil as a 9mm lighter weight pistol? or a revolver?

    I guess what I am trying to see if perhaps there are pistols with a larger caliber will be equivalent to a smaller pistol recoil. I always Liked the look of 45cal pistols, but what always scared me is the recoil.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Recoil vs. gun weight

    It is my belief that when you fire a gun, the momentum of the bullet (mass times velocity leaving the barrel) is equal to the momentum of the gun (gun mass times gun velocity, backwards in your hand). The "velocity" of the gun backwards in your hand is recoil. You resist the recoil with your hand, arm and body weight, bringing the recoiling gun to a stop.

    If you rearrange the 4 factors in the equation MV (bullet) = MV (gun), you can solve for gun velocity = MV (bullet)/M (gun). You can see in this last equation that the larger the gun mass, the smaller the recoil force on your hand.

    You mentioned shooting .45 caliber ammo. I have several .45 guns, and the softest on recoil is the largest and heaviest - a steel Colt 1911 weighing about 38 ounces empty. The heaviest on recoil is an aluminum frame Colt Defender weighing 25 ounces empty. So my experience bears out the theory above involving momentum. If you want to shoot .45 with the least recoil, get a full size steel 1911.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Something to remember.........most gun makers don't want to hurt you when firing a weapon. They want you to enjoy it as much as possilbe. My wife and my daughter both shoot my 45's and enjoy it.
    My wife likes them a whole lot more than my 40 Glock.
    Psalms 144:1
    Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
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    Ex Member Array Mikey's Avatar
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    ok how would the recoil of the full size steel 1911 compare to glock26?

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    Member Array sarlady's Avatar
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    I can't get into the technical aspects of recoil or the physics but I can speak to my personal experience. IMHO, perceived recoil has a lot to do with how well the weapon fits your hand. I am a female with small hands. I own a 9mm and a .45 both are compact models. Both weapons fit me very well. Frankly, the only difference I notice between the two is not the recoil but the cost of the ammo. Cornered Cat has a good write up about fitting a weapon.

    I like to try before I buy. Many ranges offer rentals. If you are lucky you may find other shooters that would let you take a few shots with one of their weapons. I tried many brands and models before I found the weapons I've purchased.

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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    A full size 1911 will have different recoil than a G26. In my experience, a 1911 has a hard, solid push straight back into the hand; the G26 has a quick, sharp jump, mainly at the muzzle. Which one recoils more? To me, they're both about equal...

    But that's my experience. Recoil, for the most part, is subjective. Yes, it can be measured in foot pounds; but how it is perceived varies greatly from shooter to shooter. I think that my Glock 21 recoils much softer than my heavier, all-steel 1911; especially firing +P loads. Part of the reason (I think) is the wider grip spreads the force over more of my hand; part is because the polymer frame flexes a wee bit and eats up some of the recoil impulse.

    I'm sure this doesn't help, but...really, you need to try 'em both for yourself in order to make that call.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

  7. #7
    Ex Member Array Mikey's Avatar
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    Good stuff. I will try a 45cal, some day.

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    EW3
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    If you want some fun recoil, try a lightweight snubnose revolver like a Smith & Wesson 340PD with .357 Magnum.

    Kinda like catching a baseball thrown by a ML pitcher...barehanded
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.

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    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Along the same lines as the question, I have another question.

    I am taking my Wife shooting tomorrow for her first time EVER. We are taking a .22, .380, 9mm, and my .40.

    I am thinking of starting her off like this:

    .22
    .380
    9mm
    .40

    so she can get used to holding a gun, then using a gun and then work up in caliber to see which caliber she wants to shop for the specific gun.

    Thoughts, suggestions?
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Ex Member Array Mikey's Avatar
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    I dunno about that magnum 357

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    Member Array stickybeatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EW3 View Post
    If you want some fun recoil, try a lightweight snubnose revolver like a Smith & Wesson 340PD with .357 Magnum.

    Kinda like catching a baseball thrown by a ML pitcher...barehanded
    I carry .357's in my M&P 340. Fun times!!

    But back on topic... .45 through a well made firearm isn't bad at all. There is quite a bit of push back into your hand, but it's not sharp or unpleasant like .40 or 10mm can be. Unless the shooter has arthritis or some other ailment that causes a lot of pain with recoil, .45 is easily controllable and plenty tolerable.

    and it doesn't even remotely compare to .357 through a snubby

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    Member Array tflhndn's Avatar
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    While it is easy enough to use Muzzle Velocity and Bullet Weight to get a mathmatical answer for how much recoil does a particular round have, it becomes fuzzier when you have to acount for both the weight of pistol firing the round to the ype of recoil perceived by the shooter (muzzle flip, straight back, etc.)

    As one would guess, a standard 45 ACP round will have more recoil than a standard 9 mm, (115g 9mm usually has a an MV of about 1140 fps, i.e. a power factor of 131,100 and a 45acp at 230g and 850 fps is 195,500)

    But firing a 9mm from a KAHR feels much sharper than a 45 from my full-size 1911 (weighing in at 39oz) for my wife. And obviously, firing the same 45ACp from my 3" Kimber (weighing in at 25 oz) just about blows my wife away... (and does a pretty good job of kicking the cr@p out of me too.

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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EW3 View Post
    If you want some fun recoil, try a lightweight snubnose revolver like a Smith & Wesson 340PD with .357 Magnum.

    Kinda like catching a baseball thrown by a ML pitcher...barehanded
    Depends on the round...a 110grn isn't all that bad. Heavier rounds, however...yeeowch!

    Personally, I've found a 4" .500 firing a hot (16-1700fps) 440grn pill is about the most fun that I can handle. Single action, not so bad...double action, when the trigger break catches you by surprise...is a great way to darn near put a divot in your forehead.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickybeatz View Post
    .45 through a well made firearm isn't bad at all. There is quite a bit of push back into your hand, but it's not sharp or unpleasant like .40 or 10mm can be.
    I have heard this before, but never why. If the .45 is a larger caliber bullet than the .40 why is it less likely to have some snappy recoil?

    Before you answer, forgive my ignorance of the calibers and their properties, I have been a shooter for a long time but never cared to get that deep in to it. Now that I am considering hand loading I might ought to pay more attention.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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  15. #15
    Member Array sarlady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paco View Post
    Along the same lines as the question, I have another question.

    I am taking my Wife shooting tomorrow for her first time EVER. We are taking a .22, .380, 9mm, and my .40.

    I am thinking of starting her off like this:

    .22
    .380
    9mm
    .40

    so she can get used to holding a gun, then using a gun and then work up in caliber to see which caliber she wants to shop for the specific gun.

    Thoughts, suggestions?
    Sounds like a good plan. Just let her progress at her comfort level. And don't get P.O.ed if she is more accurate with your favorite than you are. Hope she enjoys herself.

    Mikey - What's wrong with the .357? I love my SP101

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