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Ruger P97 vs. 1911 and other .45s: How does the recoil compare?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by mini14jac, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. mini14jac

    mini14jac Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Here's the reason I ask;
    I had a Glock 23 for several years, but the .40 cal. recoil was punishing my wrist, so I got rid of it.
    I had heard that the recoil of a .45 was more like a "push" than a "kick", so I got a Taurus PT145.

    Surprisingly, the recoil was similar to my 9mm guns.
    The frame cracked, among other problems, so that gun is gone now.
    Earlier this week, I picked up a Ruger P97.
    I had researched the gun a lot, and it is supposedly accurate, rugged, and reliable.
    Reports that I have read also stated that the recoil was quite manageable.
    Since it is a larger gun than the PT145, I expected even less recoil.

    Well, I've only shot one box of Winchester white box, but my initial impression is that the gun is a real hand full.
    Again, I've had a .40, and the other .45, and I shoot 9mm regularly.

    So my question, for people who have shot the P97, along with Glock .45s, 1911s, etc. :
    How does the recoil of the P97 compare to other .45 guns?

    I plan on spending more time getting familiar with the gun.
    My initial impression may change after a good afternoon at the range.
  2. Jesse H

    Jesse H Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    The Great State of Texas
    I've always found the recoil on my P97 to have a solid oomph...but I wouldn't consider it a handful. Compared to 9mm's, it's as if I could feel the slide cycling at a slower pace.

    Feels similar to a full size USP .45 which is a fairly tame shooter. I haven't shot the P97 side by side with a 1911, but having shot them on different occasions they weren't that different as far as the perceived recoil was concerned.
  3. Gunner45

    Gunner45 New Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Orem, Utah
    As a matter of fact I shot a Ruger P97 and my Colt 1911 side by side yesterday. Maybe it's just that I am so used to my Colt, but It seems to have less felt recoil than my brothers P97. Maybe it's the steel frame vs. the plastic,.........oops I meant polymer frame.:)

    I have allways thought the .45 was more of a push than a kick.

  4. Dave T

    Dave T Active Member

    Jan 19, 2003
    Mesa, AZ
    Differences in felt recoil from the same cartridge fired from different guns is largely due to the hight of the axis of the bore from your wrist.

    The Ruger sets rather high in the hand. So does a SIG 220. Both of these "feel" like they recoil more than say a 1911 or a Glock which set lower in your hand.
  5. cool45auto

    cool45auto Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Cleveland, Georgia
    My KP97DC seems to kick more than my friends Colt 45.

    Like Jesse said, its like the slide moves slower or something. You can feel the gun rock back. And like Dave said, the gun sits higher in your hand so I think that adds to the "felt" recoil.
  6. shooting4fun

    shooting4fun New Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    SE AZ West of the Pedro
    G'day mini14jac, and et al.,

    I've got experience with all three that you've mentioned. I will tell you from personal experience that the recoil from each pistol platform is different. Additionally there are quitea few variables that will affect how you perceive the recoil.

    Let me have a go at just the pistols themselves first. The polymer pistols [ruger & glock] will change how they feel based on how many rounds are left in the pistol. The first few shots are the most gentle as you've got some additional weight contributing to the overall impulse and balance during recoil. As you get to last few rounds in the magazine you'll start to have that top heavyness work against you with recoil. Personally, the difference is not that significant but it is noticeable.

    The softer shooting 1911 pattern pistol are usually the full size Government models so the pistol already is significantly heavier than the polymer ones. This weight is very helpful in managing the recoil impulse. It just doesn't feel as intense.

    Ok, now some of the variables that I mentioned earlier. Your grip and shooting posture have quite a bit to do with how you 'manage' the recoil. I've had the pleasure of helping out the shooting sports by teaching/assisting beginning and intermediate shooters improve. One of the first items is getting a good, comfortable grip. It unfortunately is one of the most overlooked items. Most of this is blamed on mass media propagating movie style shooting grips and postures. Many of the shooters don't allow the pistol to settle down in their hand properly. This high posture causes exaggerated muzzle flip when shooting.

    Additionally, the shooting posture is usually arched backwards to facilitate a neutral balance point. That's fine if all you are going to do is balance. However, most people come to the shooting range to shoot. So that backwards arch is again to work against you during the cycling of the gun. If you watched American Shooter where Rob Leathem [sp?] was giving all those shooting tips. They are right on! I've shown people when they hold their hands in a shooting posture just how little effort was required to get them off balance. Having a slightly forward bias will helpful. [Imagine you are going to take a step forward and stop mid-step. That's kind of what you are looking for in a forward bias in posture.]

    Ok the final variables that I'm going to address are things with the pistols themselves. These are my experiences [so you can take of it what you want, for the price of admission]. I've found that a dirty pistol recoils harder. Since the cycling of the action takes a bit of the energy out of the recoil. A dirty pistol doesn't cycle as smoothly. In similar fashion, how you've got the pistol setup makes a difference too. What I am referring to is the recoil and main springs. If your interested in more along these lines you can have a go at Brian Enos' web site. There is a huge collection of information in these areas. You can make your own mind up with that. Finally, shock buffs will also change the way the pistol recoils. Information on this too can be found by having a go at the numerous shooting sports web sites.

    Best of luck to you. I hope that you'll be able to find something that suits you. Get out there and enjoy/support the shooting sports! Cheers!
  7. mini14jac

    mini14jac Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Hey thanks for the great input guys!

    Here are a few of the variables that will be eliminated next time I go to the range:
    1. I shot the gun in NIB condition. It was packed with some type of grease. It has now had a thorough cleaning/lube.
    2. I was shooting at an indoor range. I just don't enjoy that as much as outdoor. -Time pressure: only get 1/2 hr. free when you buy a gun -Noise: always worse at an indoor range.
    3. I plan on working on my grip and posture also.

    And, last night, I added the Houge(sp?) grip sleeve, to see if that would help.
    I hope to get out this afternoon and shoot some more, so I'll post again later.

    The Taurus PT145 certainly sat lower in the hand.
    I think that made a big difference in percieved recoil.
  8. foghornl

    foghornl Mentor

    Dec 27, 2002
    Don't have a Ruger P97, do have the KP-90, the alloy frame w/SS uppers, and a Springfield Champion model 1911-A1.

    The KP-90 does seem to sit a bit "higher" in my hand, although I can shoot both about equally well. I think that the empty weight of both weapons is the same, or within an ounce.

    I did fire a shooting buddy's P97 once, and it did seem a bit "snappier" than my KP90, with the same loads. That 5 or 6 ounce weight difference, I suspect.
  9. mini14jac

    mini14jac Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Took the P97 to an outdoor range Friday.
    (Awesome day to be outside!)

    The Houge Handall seemed to make a big difference.
    A box of CCI fmj ammo, and 35 rounds of Winchester jhp, with no malfunctions at all.
    The gun is very accurate.
    I thought my P95 was accurate until I shot the P97.

    I concentrated on stance and grip, and didn't find the recoil nearly as distracting as before.
    I had also given the gun a good clean and lube.

    Very good range trip.
    I was truly sad when I ran out of ammo.
    (For the P97 and P95 and PM9 and Vaquero and Mini14....:rolleyes: )

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