Top heavy semi-autos


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Eric's Big Head
April 9, 2012, 04:05 PM
What's your take on semi-autos that are more or less top heavy?

"Supposedly" caracal pistols have one of the lowest bore axis, but more importantly it has a low profile slide when compared to a pistol such as a Hi-Point.

How important is a low bore axis to you when choosing a pistol?
How important is a lower center of gravity of the slide when choosing a pistol?

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Zerodefect
April 9, 2012, 04:20 PM
Very important. More mussle flip from light frame pistols.

Polymer guns feel terrible compared to a heavy steel framed pistol. But a polymer pistol with a fat grip helps. (IE: Glock 21) But shooting a Glock21 back to back with a fat doubestack 1911 like the SVI Infinity showcases the real difference.

Glocks, 1911's, and M&P's have a nice low bore axis. Some 1911's sit lower than others. The right grip safety and thumb safety help alot.

RBid
April 9, 2012, 05:11 PM
I don't think about bore axis.

PPQs and XDms have 'high' bore axis, relative to Glocks and M&Ps. Despite this, many people swear by them. In fact, I have had an XDm, and currently own a PPQ, and they have been great for me. Despite comments about the PPQ's muzzle flip, I have no trouble whatsoever lining up quick and accurate follow-up shots.

Ergonomics, trigger, reliability, durability. These are the things I care about.

Fishbed77
April 9, 2012, 06:13 PM
Despite comments about the PPQ's muzzle flip, I have no trouble whatsoever lining up quick and accurate follow-up shots.


I own a 9mm Walther P99AS (same pistol as PPQ, but with a DA/SA trigger group). I can detect no more "muzzle flip" with it than I can with Glocks or my brother's Ruger SR9, both of which have a "lower" bore axis.

In fact, it seems to have considerably less muzzle flip than a Glock - which I attribute to the Walther's vastly better ergonomics.

larryh1108
April 9, 2012, 06:18 PM
I'm a believer in the low bore axis=more accuracy group. I do feel that your accuracy with a particular handgun comes with being familiar with it thru a lot of practice. Most guns can become an extension of your arm with practice and more practice. You adapt for the muzzle flip and how it hits to POA, etc.

However, I own a few Browning Hi Powers. I love how they shoot and handle. A few years ago I got to shoot a CZ75 for the first time. It may resemble a BHP but it is a totally different gun. The slide is inside the frame and it has a lower bore axis. From the very first shot I was more accurate than with my BHP, which I was very familiar with. I got to shoot the BHP then the CZ75 and back to the BHP and then back to the CZ75 in the same shooting session. Same ammo. Same distance. Inside range. The CZ75 had consistantly tighter groups. I was stunned. So, I had to see if this was just a fluke or an exceptional CZ and I went out and bought a CZ in .40S&W.

I was never a fan of the .40S&W round and with a Glock in my hands it looked like a shotgun target. Well, the CZ in .40S&W was as accurate as the 9mm in my hands. I shot the same groups with the .40 as I did with the 9. That convinced me and to this day my CZ in the .40S&W caliber, is my favorite to shoot next to my Kimber Gold Combat. I swore off the .40S&W until this low bore axis CZ showed me otherwise. I am now a believer. CZs are mainstream, production guns but I believe their design is why they're so accurate. What else can it be?

Sam1911
April 9, 2012, 07:47 PM
This is mostly, (IMHO), a speed issue. The lower the bore axis, the less of a lever the gun has to push up the muzzle. That translates to faster recovery between shots.

Now, there's "faster" and there's "well, it seems about the same." You really need a shot timer to tell the difference for sure, as we're talking about tenths and hundredths of seconds difference. If you're shooting less than one shot per second, it probably doesn't make much difference, except to how the gun "feels." When you're shooting splits down below 0.20 sec. (that's 5 shots a second) the recovery time becomes more of an issue.

And, of course, there are more things that make a pistol easy or hard to shoot fast (and accurately) than JUST the height of the bore's axis. As others said, the xD/xDM series has a very slightly higher bore axis than an M&P, but they are pretty competitive -- other factors compensate for that difference, for some users.

SIGs are probably known for the highest bore axis of common service handguns, and they are still fairly popular, though you don't see many in the faster practical competition sports.

GLOOB
April 9, 2012, 09:01 PM
This is mostly, (IMHO), a speed issue. The lower the bore axis, the less of a lever the gun has to push up the muzzle. That translates to faster recovery between shots.
I have a different theory. The ideal bore axis varies depending on the recoil of the pistol and the tolerance of the shooter. Lower is generally better, but there can come a point that you get too low. If the pistol is very light and has a high recoil, a too low bore axis makes the gun jar/jolt back and disrupts the shooting stance and sight picture in a different way.

As others have noticed, a high bore axis isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sights go up, they come back down, and you shoot again. As long as it's smooth and controllable, it's fast. When the recoil becomes jarring and harsh, it can increase the group sizes on fast followups. This might be noticeable to some people with a lightweight, low bore axis Glock 23, for instance.

Can you imagine trying to shoot a super low bore axis 500SW revolver? I don't think that would be very comfortable nor fast. It might be a little like trying to shoot slugs out of a rifle-grip 12 gauge with one hand... = dropped gun most of the time.

SharpsDressedMan
April 9, 2012, 10:22 PM
The most noticeably top heavy auto I can recall in recent years was the distinct difference of the Browning HP .40 over the sleeker, lighter 9mm Hi Power. The .40, with it's beefed up slide, struck me as top heavy, and didn't feel right after having handled the 9mm versions so much.

Sam1911
April 10, 2012, 07:29 AM
When the recoil becomes jarring and harsh, it can increase the group sizes on fast followups. This might be noticeable to some people with a lightweight, low bore axis Glock 23, for instance.

Can you imagine trying to shoot a super low bore axis 500SW revolver?

I don't think that's really a contrary theory at all! In fact, Jerry Miculek said something similar in one of his videos (http://www.myoutdoortv.com/shooting/shooting-usa/jerry-miculek-revolver-grip) -- in essence, that a harder-recoiling gun needs to be positioned higher in the grip so it can rotate against your muscles as a sort of shock-absorption method.

So, as I said before, there are lots of factors that matter in how fast and accurately you can shoot a particular pistol. If we're comparing full-sized semi-autos of the same caliber, the lower bore axis can be a plus. Change the variables dramatically (like go to a .500 S&W revolver) and that benefit is likely overshadowed by other factors.

wow6599
April 10, 2012, 09:36 AM
I had a FNP 45 that was insanely top heavy......until you got a 15 rd mag in it.
Even then, still heavy on top.

ExMachina
April 13, 2012, 08:22 AM
Some people will argue that a bore axis that is 0.3"-0.4" lower will not make a noticeable difference in terms of muzzle flip--I would counter argue with them that, noticeable or not, a lower bore axis cannot hurt.

More importantly for me, I find I can point pistols with lower centers of gravity better--whether that's a real effect or imagined I cannot tell. All I know is that the closer the axis of the bore is to the web of my hand, the better I seem to be able to "feel" how well the pistol is pointing w/o looking at the sights.

tekarra
April 13, 2012, 10:33 AM
Top heavy and bulky top pistols do not work for me. I much prefer the cZ 75 and the Browning HP.

Edarnold
April 14, 2012, 02:02 AM
When I was looking at my LGS (25 miles out of Chicago!) for a fullsize 10mm Auto, I hefted the steel EAA Witness, and the Glock 20. The Witness grip was bulky for my small hands, but the balance and point-ability were outstanding. The Glock, without any other reference than my half-century of handgun ownership, was an abomination. It was so top-heavy that the only comparison I could think of was a claw-hammer, and a poorly balanced one at that.

PO2Hammer
April 14, 2012, 07:52 AM
HK USPs are top heavy when you handle them empty and it seems odd, but when I shoot them I don't notice it at all. I think it's more of a show room issue than a range issue.

Sapper771
April 14, 2012, 08:10 AM
I am sorta with GLOOB in my thinking. Not really sure how to explain most of it, but I have learned not to judge pistols by their bore heigth , but by how they track. I shoot Glocks the majority of the time. I dont know if it is me or not , but I have a hard time getting them to track well for me. I can still shoot them decently well, but after my shooting skills have improved, so have my accuracy at speed standards. Now......I have a Sig P226 9mm that I have been shooting more here recently. What I have noticed is that the sig tracks great, even with its high bore axis. It does have more muzzle flip, but the front sight goes up and comes straight back down on target. My Glocks usually have a bit of lateral shift when I shoot(been told this is the "torquing" that occurs when a Glock is fired).

Anyone else experienced this before?

meanmrmustard
April 14, 2012, 08:13 AM
top heavy and bulky top pistols do not work for me. I much prefer the cz 75 and the browning hp.
+ 1,000,000

MCgunner
April 14, 2012, 05:15 PM
My favorite large pistol is a Ruger KP90DC. It's a might top heavy, thick, but I can shoot a tick off a deer's ass at 25 yards with it. Double taps come fast, too. I'm used to how it points, just feels natural, and I've won enough money with it over the years at local shoots to buy several others if I'd wanted to. It's my go to for pepper popper or pins or other such action/momentum games.

earlthegoat2
April 14, 2012, 05:50 PM
One of the finest pistols in existence and also having one of the lowest bore axes of any conventionally designed handgun would be the HK P7. I could rapid fire that pistol quite accurately and muzzle flip was drastically reduced. It had a big grip to absorb some of the recoil too. One of the finest designed autoloading pistols ever.

The other side of the coin for me lies any Sig save for the 210. The P22- series guns feel horrendously top heavy to me and these are not even poly framed.

Got_Lead?
April 14, 2012, 06:17 PM
Fill a poly framed auto up with 13 rounds of .45 and she isn't top heavy anymore.

beatledog7
April 14, 2012, 06:50 PM
Fill a poly framed auto up with 13 rounds of .45 and she isn't top heavy anymore.

...but she becomes more so with every shot.

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