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9mm handgun with least felt recoil?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by grimjaw, May 25, 2005.

  1. grimjaw

    grimjaw Well-Known Member

    I've been searching the forums but can't find a thread that deals with this specifically. I know recoil is subjective to a degree, but doesn't hurt to ask anyway.

    What handgun chambered for 9mm (autoloader of course) has the least felt recoil? Do you think it's by design or other factors (weight?)

    One of the advantages of the semi-auto is rate of fire. Less recoil can mean more accurate followup shots. I don't really shot larger caliber semi-autos well, and trying to double tap with them is a bear.

    Not looking for concealed carry, so size and weight don't have to be a factor. However, if you think a CCW has less recoil than something larger, go ahead and post it.

    Thanks for the info or direction to an existing thread.

  2. helpwanted

    helpwanted Well-Known Member

    I have a star bm which is all steel, but it still has more felt recoil than the Ruger p89.
  3. pogo2

    pogo2 Well-Known Member

    More weight = less recoil

    I believe the governing factor in recoil is conservation of momentum. Momentum is defined as mass times velocity, in a moving object.

    When you fire a gun that you are holding in your hands, the momentum of the bullet leaving the barrel is bullet mass times bullet velocity. Equal and opposite momentum is imparted to the gun, so gun mass times gun velocity (backwards in your hands) is felt by you, and called recoil.

    If the gun is lighter in weight, the felt velocity of the gun in your hands will be greater, because of momentum. If the gun is heavier in weight, the felt velocity of the gun in your hands will be less.

    So to minimize recoil in firing a given bullet at a given velocity, use a heavier gun. The heaviest 9mm gun would probably be an all steel 1911 chambered in 9mm (38 ounces), or perhaps the new all stainless Sig P226 in 9mm. A steel Browning Hi Power is also fairly heavy.
  4. Mongo the Mutterer

    Mongo the Mutterer Well-Known Member

    Whoa Pogo, what about the momentum which is absorbed by the slide?

    My fiance likes my 1911 .45 better than my 9MM glock 19. Why? Less felt recoil. Why? Slide length and recoil spring size and length.
  5. Gunhead

    Gunhead Well-Known Member

    "What handgun chambered for 9mm (autoloader of course) has the least felt recoil? Do you think it's by design or other factors (weight?)"

    Least felt recoil? A Kel-Tec P11 with 5 bricks glued on the frame:))
  6. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Well-Known Member

    Try something heavier like a Beretta or CZ.
  7. pogo2

    pogo2 Well-Known Member


    Mongo asked about the momentum of the semiauto slide. Indeed the slide has momentum as it is pushed back at a fair velocity. But then the slide reaches the full extent of its travel, and transfers all its momentum to the frame, which the shooter is holding in his hands. So the slide momentum becomes frame momentum, and is felt as recoil. The slide stops, then returns to original position under the force of the compressed recoil spring.
  8. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Well-Known Member

    It is mainly a function of weight, but other factors can help too. It is hard to beat a steel 5" 1911 in 9mm for low recoil.
  9. AirPower

    AirPower Well-Known Member

    also don't forget the recoil as absorbed by the recoil spring assembly. The design of it and/or strength of the spring could soak up more recoil, and reduce what'ever transferred to the frame. HK's USP's double recoil spring for example works well based on this principle even though it's a polymer gun.
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Weight is your friend in fighting recoil.
    As Sean says, a 9mm 1911 is a soft shooter. Heck, I even set up a lightweight 9mm 1911 and at 30 ounces it is still comfortable to fire due to the good ergonomics of the 1911 design.
    Bruce Gray says shooting the P226ST is "like dryfiring with noise."
  11. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    I've been tickled by the mild recoil from my Steyr M40, even while firing relatively hot .40S&W ammunition. This could be due to the beefy slide or perhaps by the ergonomic grip angle.

    I believe the Steyr M9 uses the same slide as the M40. If so, I'd imagine the recoil would prove to be pleasantly mild.

    FYI, CDNN is likely still offering the M9 for $299 new-in-box. This Austrian pistol is one tremendous value.
  12. Mayo

    Mayo Well-Known Member

    If weight is of no concern, then your ideal 9mm for low(almost no)recoil would be a SIG P226 ST. Metal guns vs polymer will always be a good start.
  13. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Weight is good but the recoil mechanism is also important. The HK USP works well with their recoil springs but the HK P7 has a delayed blowback recoil system which as most people comment 'recoils like a 380 '! So the lightest recoil 9mm is the P7 M13.
  14. W Turner

    W Turner Well-Known Member

    1911 chambered in 9mm
    Sig 226ST
    Beretta 92
    Glock 34
    XD Tactical 5"

    All of the above would be low-recoil alternatives. The Beretta has an aluminum frame, but my recollection is that it is a VERY soft shooter. The Glock 34 does have a polymer frame, but the weight distribution of the 34's slide and barrel help to minimize recoil. I ahve no experience with the XD.

  15. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    Beretta 92 would be on the list, near the top. It's a big pistol with a lot of weight out front and a low bore axis, all of which contribute to very minimal perceived recoil.
  16. nero45acp

    nero45acp Well-Known Member

    I would add to the other's list the Beretta 92 Steel I. Weighs 41.1 oz unloaded! :eek:

    Also, the S&W M5906. I think it weighs around 37-38 oz.

    Besides weight, a low bore axis helps to reduce felt recoil. This is one of the reasons Steyr's M9 is such a pleasant shooter.

    If money is no issue, I'd say for average to big hands go with the SIG P226ST. Small hands the Beretta 92 Steel I.


    ABBOBERG Well-Known Member

    Newton's second law states that there will be an equal and opposite reaction to every action, so recoil can never be reduced for a given ammo. However, "felt" recoil can be significantly reduced. During percussion in the commom Browning-Petter action (Sig, Glock, etc) the shooter experiences the initial shock from the barrel starting to move, then feels a constant "push" from the slide spring being compressed, then feels another shock with any leftover energy the slide has as it hits the back stop. To reduce the initial shock, you need a heavier slide. To reduce the shock at back, you need to have a spring just weak enough so the slide lightly touches the back stop, yet is strong enough to chamber another round. Using a stronger (stiffer) spring with hotter ammo reduces this shock at the back stop by slowing the slide down.

    I concur that the HK P7 guns have the least felt recoil due to what H&K calls "continuous motion". They use a very light slide, so at the instant of percussion, very little shock is felt as the slide begins to move. As the slide moves back, the gas piston resists the slide and pushes back on the frame with a smooth, fairly constant force. Again, any extra energy of the slide will hit the backstop and result in a shock to the hand, but this gas delay system has the advantage over the Browning-Petter action in that it is self-compensating. The hotter the ammo, the more the gas piston will slow the slide down - no need to change springs. You will always still feel the "push" or "jump", that is governed by Newton's second law, but you will at least get a very low, and fairly consistent "shock".
  18. Marshall

    Marshall Well-Known Member

    USP Expert in 9mm @ 2.3 lbs.

  19. Rod Farva

    Rod Farva Member

    Don't know about you guys, but ...

    ... but the size of the gun as it relates to my hand size seems to affect me alot.

    For example, I have small hands, so the smaller 9mm's often have smaller grip frames which just fit me better and I can control the recoil of follow-ups. A Kahr K9 doesn't seem bad at all, while the Sig P226 and the Ruger P94 have an unnerving amount of muzzle flip for 9mm for me..
  20. Relayer

    Relayer Well-Known Member

    Don't have a lot experience with some of the heavier 9mm handguns, but the recoil of my CZ P-01 (forged aluminum frame), is negligible, to me.

    Of course, my other pistol is a Colt .45 ACP, so that may have a bearing.

    Still, I pay literally no attention to the recoil of the P-01, and target re-acquisition is very very quick.

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