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Recoil difference between 9mm and .40 S&W?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Trey Veston, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. Anchorite

    Anchorite Member

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    This has been my observation as well. Only edit I have is I replaced my 23 with a 22 - but between those two I can’t tell the difference in recoil.
     
  2. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Having shot 9mm, .40S&W, and .357Sig out the the same G22 and G23 via conversion barrels, I can most certainly tell the difference in a side by side comparison. Though I don't know if I could reliably tell in the event someone configured and loaded one of my guns and handed it to me for shooting.

    Still, 9mm is a softer and more controllable recoil. Which shows up on the targets and the shot timer. .40 and .357 are far more similar, but there's a definite difference between a 180gr at 1000fps and a 124/125gr at 1400fps. Interestingly, the difference between those two is more about how the recoil impulse feels than a difference is controllability (or with the timer and target results). The .40 (even though it's nicknamed Snap and Whip) is more of a push, whilst the .357 is the one that snaps.

    But that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  3. groundhog34

    groundhog34 Member

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    A one word answer: Noticeable.
     
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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Snappy, and snappier……. :)
     
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  5. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Haven't had a chance to shoot .357 Sig yet (though I do finally have a barrel for my HK for whenever I find ammo) I wonder about the comparison between the .357 and 165 grain .40.

    Between the 180 and 165 grain I certainly felt the lighter/faster bullet was snappier and the 180 reminded me a lot more of the known .45 "push".
     
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  6. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    The difference between 9 and .40 in a Glock 35 Gen 4 is negligible, yes the .40 has more recoil because it's heavier, but not so much that I can call it "snappy"; it's for all intents and purpose like a 147 grain +P+ 9mm load. Now, I also own a Glock 27 Gen 4 and have yet to get a 9mm barrel for it, but the recoil with .40 in that is... extreme. Can I shoot it? Yup, can I shoot it as fast as the G35? No, but I'm not so sure I could shoot it any faster if it were 9mm.

    My opinion on 9 vs .40 for the past few years has been if you want a larger, duty size pistol to go with .40, if you want a smaller, lighter conceal carry pistol to go with 9mm. Most people don't seem to want to do that, they want one caliber for all their semi auto handgun needs and settle on 9mm because it was cheap (nothing is anymore) and create various and sundry reasons as to why .40 is just terrible because they have to convince themselves they're using the best caliber and ammo when they're not.
     
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  7. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    I am a land share owner of a shooting association. One thing I've noticed is that there is less and less 40S&W fired cases that use to get mixed in with the 9X19mm cases. This indicates an ongoing trend away from the 40S&W.
     
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  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed.
     
  9. JDR

    JDR Member

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    I have one remaining forty caliber, a Sig P226 in .40 S&W, I have a Hogue HandALL grip sleeve on it which I feel helps mitigate any recoil issues. This one shoots great if I can get Federal American Eagle 180 grain FMJ ammo, which I have not been able to find during this latest ammo shortage. I would not shoot Win Whitebox 165 grain ammo with this gun, even if I could find it, which I haven’t been able to find anyway.

    Frankly I would rather shoot my .45 ACP pistols while I keep looking for Fed AE ammo to shoot the P226.
     
  10. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    I have a 9mm Shield and a friend has the same gun in 40. The 40 definitely has a more snappy recoil.
     
  11. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    Though I can certainly feel a difference between the felt recoil of a 9mm and a .40S&W in the same platform, I've never understood the complaints some had of the .40S&W's increased "snappiness". Then again, I never understood the hate some have for the .40S&W either.

    One explained to me his dislike for the .40S&W simply due to its history... the .40 Short & Weak, the usurper of the glorious 10mm. I'm a fanboy of the full power 10mm as much if not more than most, but this particular reason I never really did understand.
     
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  12. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    If I had more fabrication skills, I would love to design a jig that held a pistol in place with control surfaces attached to springs that moved an indicator along a scale in order to measure how many ft. lbs of pressure was being exerted when the pistol was fired. Sort of like a reverse trigger pull gauge on the vertical and horizontal axis.
     
  13. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    And finally prove that 40 is more powerful?

    Might open up a space/time vortex with flying monkeys if you do that.
     
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  14. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    While the 40 is a little snappier than 9mm in the same platform it is definitely not intolerable even for me with my arthritis and fibromyalgia. The smallest pistol I have chambered in 40 is my Star Firestar M40 but is is still heavy. It is in between my Sig P938 and compact 1911 as far a overall size goes.

    And as far as hate goes, I never really understood that either. But we see it all of the time no matter if we are talking pistols, rifles, or shotguns.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
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  15. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    I resemble that remark. I couldn't have said this any better. Can I use this, TTv2?

     
  16. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    This one isn't mine but I do have a cherry one with a spare set of grips (the only weakness) and I stoned the action with diamond hones a little bit. It really soaks up the recoil of the otherwise snappy 180 grain loads . It is the main battle tank of my .40s . Not selling it , I have a Tangfolio Witness small frame and a Walther PPS also to use all that .40 S&W ammo :)
    pix905674435.jpg
     
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  17. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Yeah, if you can write a nice haiku about 9 and .40 :D
     
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  18. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    I think a lot of the hate for the .40 falls back on immature and overinflated reasons. "It's the midget 10mm", "it's so snappy compared to 9mm", "it's expensive compared to 9mm", "9mm holds more rounds", "it's higher pressure than 9mm, "Glock kabooms", etc.

    About the only time you'll see someone praise the .40 is when they'll find ammo available for it on shelves while 9mm is out of stock.
     
  19. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    Im a 40 S&W fan …wouldn’t want a pistol smaller than a 27 with the 40 S&W … I really like 180gr loads HST is my carry choice
    Pics of my 40 S&W handguns

    C47DC1DF-7199-4DD1-B3BD-F39856D3A4CE.jpeg 866DB7EF-7532-44FE-A759-C8FBB06D6921.jpeg 62BB3B87-1943-4F9A-B2B5-E4143D0DDEF2.jpeg
     
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  20. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    I'm no poet,
    and I know it.

     
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  21. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I still have my Star Firestar M40 along with a Hi Point 4095 carbine and I built a couple of Polymer 80 pistols (940C/G23 and 940CL/G22) all in 40 S&W. I also have a few pistols in 45ACP and 9mm too.

    I am liking the Polymer 80 940CL build, it has the grip length of a G23 but uses a G22 slide. It is definitely a lot smoother shooting than my Firestar M40. And the Hi Point 4095 is just fun to shoot, accurate and reliable even though it is extremely fugly.
     
  22. bfox71

    bfox71 Member

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    Nice comparison (though fairly predictable). As far as the Gen4 vs. Gen5 G23, I suspect the difference was fairly arbitrary given so few rounds, OR, the finger grooves (or lack thereof) made the difference.

    When I think of "recoil" between different pistol loads/calibers I think of recoil as pushback and muzzle blast (not just muzzle rise). Both are always being felt, but depending on the bullet weight and the charge we feel one or the other relatively more than other calibers/loads.

    Faster bullets tend to be snappier/flippier, and heavier bullets push back more towards the shooter (because of Newton's Second Law). So for example, I've heard people say .357 SIG has a lot of recoil compared to even .40 S&W (e.g. Hickok45), but you have to look at the bullet weight and power of each round to make a fair comparison. When you shoot a 65 grain Underwood Bullet traveling 2100 fps with 636 lb. lbs of energy, there really isn't a lot of "recoil" at all, but there is quite a bit of muzzle blast which shakes and flips the muzzle, but it's very manageable, and depending on the combination of recoil and muzzle blast, easier to manage than most .40 S&W rounds.

    The first time I shot this bullet I couldn't believe how little perceived recoil there was. Although the diameter of .40 S&W does not lend itself to 65 grain bullets, Underwood does have 100 and 115 grain offerings. I'd be interested to know how these measure up against heavier +P 9mm rounds. We may find there is some overlap in .40 S&W and 9mm. My guess is that a 147 grain +P or +p+ 9mm round, for example, would have more "recoil" than a standard pressure 100 grain .40 S&W round, but with less energy.

    The weight of the pistol obviously makes a big difference. I had read that the Secret Service actually wanted to stay with .357 SIG, but when they tested the Glock 31, 32, and 33, the Glock platform didn't handle recoil as well as their SIG P229s despite having a lower bore axis and greater grip angle (which mitigates recoil by forcing the shooter to cant their wrist to line up the sights), but because they were committed [for whatever reason] to switch to Glock, they went with 9mm. I owned a Glock 33 and I own a SIG P229 chambered in .357 SIG. That's not too terribly fair a comparison, but I did use a full size grip on the G33, and there is not much of a difference between the length of slides as you might imagine, and there is no question that the SIG handles the recoil much better because of the additional weight. Glocks chambered in .357 SIG are certainly manageable for many, but certainly not for everyone, but in my opinion, literally anyone can shoot a 65 grain .357 SIG bullet from a P229, and it's a more powerful load than anything I am aware of offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. You have to go to 10mm before you get more powerful, but even then, this .357 SIG round meets or exceeds most 10mm offerings (certainly beating Hornady Critical Duty, Speed Gold Dot, Federal HST, etc.).
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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  23. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Watched video and to expound on my earlier post I'd note that OP's 9mm has optic that adds weight to the slide and is using 115gr ammo.
     
  24. golden

    golden Member

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    I think the recoil difference between 9m.m. and .40 S&W is substantial. It also depends on the gun you are shooting and what load you are using.

    My agency switched back to the 9m.m. after 20 years with the .40 S&W. We started out with a real hot load in .40 S&W, a 155 grain jhp at almost 1,200 fps. It was a real powerhouse at the time and we used BERETTA 96D Brigadier pistols which were large, heavy and still wore out in 10 years.
    One point to remember is that the choice of premium bullets was very narrow back then with the HYDRA SHOK and GOLDEN SABRE being about the best.

    I shot this ammo in a GLOCK 22 and even with a HARRIS recoil reducer, it was still a hard recoiling load in the light GLOCK. I eventually sold the GLOCK because of the recoil
    After that, we switched to a 135 grain jhp at almost the same velocity. There were still problems, but the new guns held up to it. We had switched to H&K P 2000 pistols by then.
    Then we went to the FEDERAL 180 grain HST round. This round is mild compared to the 155 grain jhp. It has much less flash and the sharp loud bang of the 155 grain bullet.
    Now we have gone to the 147 grain 9m.m. One of the reason was for the mild recoil. Qualification courses are getting harder and recoil is one factor that can be controlled. I would prefer a faster load like the 124 grain HST, but the management wanted a minimum recoil load.

    So be it.

    I carry both the FEDERAL 9m.m. 124 grain and .40 S&W 180 grain in my own pistols when I am off duty. They both work and the recoil in my pistols is not as bad as in the lighter GLOCKS.

    Jim
     
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  25. Anchorite

    Anchorite Member

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    Out of pure curiosity, why did your department switch to different weights over the years? Cost? Availability? Politics? Science?
     
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