I like the 9mm and .45acp recoil better than the .40. To me [and this is only MY experiences], the .40S&W has the worst recoil traits of either of the other two rounds, with the best combination of self-defense traits.
Around 2001 I bought my first handgun. I grew up around them, but didn't shoot often. I hadn't fired a handgun in 10 years at that point. For the $ involved, I decided on a .40 for the blend of power and capacity.
I'm in california, so limited to 10 round mags.
I bought a S&W model 410 [alloy frame and steel slide], as it was the price I could afford.
I developed SERIOUS flinch problems and accuracy issues when I went shooting.
Of course, I only hit the range about once every 3 months, so it wasn't often enough to really work at it.
My accuracy and flinching improved over time, but the biggest improvement came after doing a lot of .22lr work to fine-tune my trigger control. Then, on to 9mm and .45acp. I was able to handle them better. Back to .40S&W and back to problems.
Around 2003 or 2004 I sold the .40S&W and gave up on it. I've stayed with other calibers and worked on trigger control/sight picture [and other mechanical aspects of shooting]. I've gotten better.
Recently I picked up a couple of .40S&W guns again [G22 and BHP].
I am more accurate with them than I used to be, but I still don't find them as enjoyable to shoot.
Heck, I'd rather put 50 rounds of .44Mag through a SuperRedHawk than 50 rounds of .40S&W. And I do not mean weak/cowboy loads of .44mag, but standard pressure rounds.
I agree about the descriptions of the .40 recoil: more 'snap' than the .45, but more 'push' than the 9mm. And, to me, less pleasant than either.
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