Stevie Ray and Deaf Smith - You guys are obviously really smart and probably know a heck of a lot more about Newtonian physics than I do.
Without getting into a technical and/or scientific discussion (because I'd be hopelessly out-gunned), let me try to keep it simple.
The total force is the same on both sides of the gun. Yes, the recoil spring is preventing you from feeling the full recoil, but the totals are the same. My bottom line is that a handgun round isn't going to knock anyone to the ground. If you find yourself in a violent encounter, you need to be prepared to achieve effects on the central nervous system in order to quickly incapacitate your attacker. Otherwise you may be inflicting lethal damage, but still find yourself in the fight.
Thanks for the great feedback and the warm welcome.