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Felt recoil / choices available

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Dean1818, Mar 25, 2011.

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  1. Dean1818

    Dean1818 Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    I have a couple of questions to put to the knowledgeable folks on the forum

    I personally like the 40 cal round for CCW and personally do not mind the recoil.
    (My current IWB CCW is a Bersa 40 UC)

    I very much want to train my family on all my hand guns, and what happens is my teenage son and I both do fine with the 40s, BUT...... my wife HATES it, as well as my daughter (she's 13 and light as a feather)

    When not shooting with the family, I would of course go back to my 180 grain "normal" ammo

    So now to my questions

    1) I usually shoot 180 grain 40 cals. I see some Speer lawman at 155 grain.

    Should I expect to get LESS recoil from a lighter bullet?

    I am not a reloader, so my options do not include making my own bullet.

    2) Are there other brands of less recoil ammo for 40 that you are aware of?

    If I cant come up with a solution, I may have to step to a 9mm. I am thinking of selling one of my 40s
    If it cant be done
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  2. bartman06

    bartman06 Member

    Mar 17, 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I hesitate to say anything because I know that there are more knowledgeable people here but here are some of my thoughts. You can get milder recoil ammo but Felt recoil is subjective and your featherweights may never like it. And it usually cost more or is less in stock.

    I do recall that the heavier the gun typically the less felt recoil but then you have another problem...the heavier gun.

    Another option i could think of would be to take them to a range and see if a 9mm is acceptable to them(recoil wise), my thought is if that is still to much then a .22lr might be a good place to start until another solution is found.

    Good luck
  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    I have introduced and transitioned many new/female shooters to 40S&W and from 9mm.

    If you reload or know of someone who does, this is what I use:

    I use 180 gr TCFP loaded with 3.8-4.1 gr of W231/HP38 - This is a very light/mild recoil load (lighter than many 9mm target loads) but very accurate. I have introduced many smaller females right to the G22/G27/M&P40 with this load and they felt very comfortable with the felt recoil. This allows them to focus more on other aspects of shooting (stance/grip/front sight/trigger control). I also have them do some hand/arm exercises with balloon filled with sand/1 gallon water jugs or other exercises.

    When they produce consistent shot groups at the range, I bump up the charge to 4.3 gr which still produces mild, but more firmer recoil. They practice with this load until they produce consistent shot groups.

    Then I move them up to 4.5 gr load which starts to produce moderate recoil more customary to 40S&W loads. Once they get comfortable with this load, I transition them to factory 40S&W target loads and JHP.

    Both my wife and sister like their G22/M&P40 pistols with high range load data loads for the range. My wife carries G27 and has no problem shooting the same load.

    As to factory loads, 180 gr loads will tend to recoil with less snappy felt recoil than 165/155 gr, but not always as recoil depends on how hot the factory rounds were loaded to. Best to do a side-by-side comparison.
  4. chrome_austex

    chrome_austex Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Generally speaking, lighter bullets are usually pushed to faster velocities. What you need is a reduced charge of powder.

    look for the lightest bullet and lowest velocity. This stuff is advertised as low recoil... 40 S&W Federal Hydra-Shok PD 135gr. HP Ammo... Not cheap tho.
  5. Manco

    Manco Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    While this may generally be true for many calibers, it is not so true for .40 S&W. For bullets 155-180 grains in weight, factory loads typically result in very similar bullet momentum, which implies similar recoil. They may subjectively feel different, though--some folks say that the lighter weights feel snappier, while others say that the heavier weights recoil harder but slower. It varies according to the individual. A bit less subjective is the muzzle blast, which is going to be louder with the lighter bullets (there may be a brighter flash sometimes as well).

    .40 S&W is generally loaded hot to extremely hot. You may be able to find light loads (with any bullet weight) that should recoil noticeably less, but they are rare. I don't know of any bulk or target ammo like that, although occasionally there will be lightly-loaded government surplus JHPs available at relatively affordable prices (I guess some law enforcement agencies prefer light recoil, too). Doing a quick search, I came up with these:


    These prices seem pretty good to me. If you searched for product code Q4368 or ZQ4368 you may be able to find more hits, and compare prices. I don't know if I'd recommend this stuff for defensive purposes, though. Generally anything in .40 S&W will work well enough, but these are pretty light.... :scrutiny:

    That may help, but don't do it until you're sure that 9mm works better for your wife and daughter. It doesn't for me because .40 S&W doesn't bother me at all, while some people shoot 9mm much better, while for others 9mm may still be too much.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  6. loneviking

    loneviking Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Carson City, NV.
    Felt recoil is also influenced by the weight of the gun and the size of the grips. Firing .40s out of a lightweight gun with fat, high cap grips is not something I'd call fun. Try an inexpensive 9mm like the Sig P6 or the high cap Sig 2022. Both can be bought for under $400, 9mm is a cheaper round to shoot and works well for everyday carry.
  7. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Yakutsk, Sakha Republic
    Do you have any other guns. My Glock 23 is not a gun I would have liked when I was new. I'd ask around to see if anyone in the area makes weak reloads for competition if you can't source a friendlier gun.

    A fullsize 1911 or Glock 17, 17L. 34, 35 would be a nice start.

    (sorry, but I do not subscribe to the .22 camp, skill training sure, but newbs want to at least shoot something "real".)
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