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Old March 10, 2013, 09:20 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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.40 vs .45 felt recoil

So I see this come up a lot but when I searched couldn't find any topic on it.

Anyways, it seems people can't agree so I figured I'd ask here. In the same platform (weight and everything) would one have more than the other? I've been told that a .40 actually has more recoil than a .45. We heard from a guy at our local gun shop that the lighter round of the .40 doesn't soak up as much energy as the .45, but that seems like an odd explanation to me.

Or maybe because the size of the guns can be smaller in a .40 than a .45 typically?

Or are they close enough that this arguing happens because there isn't a real difference in the kick?
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:27 PM   #2
Inspector3711
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I wouldn't say the .40 has more recoil than the .45. I would say it has a snappier, quicker recoil. Some find it difficult to adjust to. I have no problem at all with it.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:27 PM   #3
Mike38
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I’ve shot tens of thousands of .45 ACP, but only three rounds out of a .40, so this isn’t much of a comparison really. To me the .40 is a “snap” for lack of a better word, and the .45 is a “push”. The .45 is more pleasant to shoot as far as I’m concerned.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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I think the .40 is supposed to be snappier, but I don't perceive it's more or less, just different.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:44 PM   #5
Dragline45
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To me the .40 is a “snap” for lack of a better word, and the .45 is a “push”.
That's about the best way I could describe it myself.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:59 PM   #6
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I agree with the snap/push analogy but most new shooters will say the 40 is 'harsher' in my experience.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:00 PM   #7
chris in va
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40 has the same recoil, in a much shorter, compact timeframe.

45 runs about 13,000 psi. 40 is around 21,000 psi.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:07 PM   #8
James K
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I agree on the "snap" and don't like it. Of the two, I prefer the .45, but the .40 has more power than the 9mm, sort of like the .357 over the .38 Special.

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Old March 10, 2013, 10:07 PM   #9
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I have shot quite a bit of both and to me there just isn't much of any difference and neither are anything to be concerned about. Just grip it properly and you're gtg.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:08 PM   #10
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You would have to shoot the two cartridges in the same gun--at the same weight--to be able to draw even subjective conclusions. As it stands, many folks report that the smaller .40's (Glock 27, etc.) exhibit harsher recoil than typical pistols chambered for the 45 ACP.

I have to wonder how much of that is real vs regurgitated 'innernet wizzdum'. I used to shoot my old Ithaca 1911A1 with a co-worker who had a Colt Delta Elite in 10mm. We'd pass the guns back & forth occasionally. When loaded with full-snort loads, neither of us could tell enough difference in them to matter.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:26 AM   #11
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I had a Kahr P40 and P45, and have a few 1911 .45 ACP pistols. IMHO the recoil of the .45 ACP is heavier but slower than the recoil of the .40. The recoil of the .40 is "snappy" as in quick and sharp.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:10 AM   #12
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There is a factor that most gun owners don't know about - Recoil Velocity.It's not just recoil energy or momentum but velocity.So you can have a gun more comfortable to shoot even though 'recoil energy' is higher .It's a greater 'recoil velocity' that can make the difference. This can be felt in rifle cartridges like the 338 Win compared to the 375 H&H.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:21 AM   #13
gc70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota.potts
In the same platform (weight and everything) would one have more than the other?
I used a recoil calculator to compare two loads that mimic the ballistics for Winchester's USA ammo in 180gr. JHP .40 S&W and 230 gr. JHP .45 ACP. The inputs are below:

--- .40 --- .45 - Caliber
--- 180 --- 230 - Bullet weight in grains
-- 1025 --- 875 - Velocity in fps
-- 10.9 --- 7.0 - Powder charge in grains


Using identical 2.5-pound guns (roughly the weight of a 1911), the results would be:

--- 2.5 --- 2.5 - Weight of firearm in lbs
-- 1.01 -- 1.02 - Recoil Impulse in (lbs sec)
- 13.03 - 13.10 - Velocity of recoiling firearm (fps)
-- 6.60 -- 6.66 - Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs)


Change to a 1.5-pound Glock 22 versus a 2.5-pound 1911 and the results may reflect the "internet wisdom" about .40 caliber recoil:

--- 1.5 --- 2.5 - Weight of firearm in lbs
-- 1.01 -- 1.02 - Recoil Impulse in (lbs sec)
- 21.72 - 13.10 - Velocity of recoiling firearm (fps)
- 10.99 -- 6.66 - Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs)
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:35 AM   #14
darkgael
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Recoil

Recoil. Comparing felt recoil is tough to do since, by its nature, the feeling is subjective. Felt recoil is affected by many factors..... by the ergonomics of the gun, by the shape of the hand of the shooter, size of the hand, bone structure, amount of fat on the hand, how the gun is held, the experience of the shooter with guns in general and heavy recoil in particular....and on and on.
Free recoil can be calculated as was done in the previous post. Nice to see that data.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:11 AM   #15
Dashunde
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Quote:
Or maybe because the size of the guns can be smaller in a .40 than a .45 typically?
You've got it figured out...40 & 9mm share many identical frames while 45's are usually bigger in some way.
The 40 delivers about the same energy that a 45 does, but its almost always from a smaller/thinner/lighter pistol.

From identical pistols I doubt there would be much difference in felt recoil...certainly not enough to give up 1-3 rounds of capacity IMO.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:33 AM   #16
Wreck-n-Crew
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I have shot some .45 acp's that have about the same recoil as some 9mm's, but i have shot some with substantially more.

The 40 S&W has more velocity than .45 acp but less kinetic energy due to the 45's mass. Any semi-auto handgun bullet with more kinetic energy produces more pressure on the slide but as someone already said, the recoil springs are likely different as well as the frame and the slide.

The only factor as fare as recoil that remains constant is that the 45 produces more blow back pressure on the slide than the 40 and the rest are variables depending on the gun.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:38 AM   #17
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Kinetic energy is 1/2*m*v^2 so the velocity is the driving force of KE, not the mass. Anytime a term is squared it will be the driving force. And the velocities from 40's are generally larger than .45 w only negligible mass loss.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:43 AM   #18
eldermike
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The double stack handle on my 40 Glock tends to open the hand more than the single stack on my 1911. To me that difference makes them impossibe to compare. I like single stack better, I tend to shoot it better and it feels better to me.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:52 AM   #19
Wreck-n-Crew
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Never said that the driving force was mass, but that mass affects the kinetic energy and is a variable.
And as im thinking about it, it is possible that i may have used the wrong comparison, but the ft lds of force impacted on the body in all of the charts i have seen with ft lbs, is way higher in the 45 than the 40 and ft lbs translates to kinetic energy right?
If not let me know....got me scratching my head on where my equation would be flawed and how ft lbs affects witch variable in the equation...Thanks for my daily puzzle...
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Old March 11, 2013, 09:57 AM   #20
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The replies so far seem to demonstrate that recoil perception varies from individual from individual. The most common perception - with which I agree - is that the .40 is more of a snap or pop than the push of the .45, and that .45 is more comfortable, but you can see that it not a universally held opinion. I personally don't care for the .40, but lots of people say they don't mind it, and I say good for them - ain't it great we have choices?
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:41 AM   #21
RBid
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I experience the difference as 'snap' vs 'push', as well. Even shooting an XDs, CW45, or G36, the .45 feels pushy, but pleasant. In comparably sized platforms, the .40 feels more harsh, to me.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:43 AM   #22
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.40 vs .45 felt recoil

I only feel the snap vs. push shooting, say, a full size 1911 compared to a mid-size polymer .40. In identical platforms, I can barely tell a difference, and I actually find the Glock 22 much more comfortable than the Glock 21.
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Old March 11, 2013, 12:16 PM   #23
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GC70 - Thanks for the detailed analysis - it is exactly what I expected. I never shot the two rounds from the same gun so it was very interesting to see. I know I feel more recoil when shooting .40 cal from my Glock than I do from .45 cal in a heavy 1911 --- now I can see exactly why.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:23 PM   #24
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Just an FYI, but the SAAMI max pressures for the two cartridges are as follows: 21,000 PSI for the .45 ACP, 23,000 for .45 ACP +P and 35,000 for the .40 S&W. So I'm in the push vs. snap camp.

The info in post #13 for calculating recoil is great, I'm going to downloaded onto my computer. There is also the "poor man's" method in using Power Factor. I'll throw momentum in as well. Using the velocity numbers from post #13 would like like this:

.40 S&W 180 gr. JHP, 1025 FPS = 184.5 PF Momentum = 26.4

.45 ACP 230 gr. JHP, 875 FPS = 201.3 PF Momentum = 28.8

The .45 ACP load generates the higher recoil, but the higher pressure of the .40 S&W gives it its snap. And, if you're shooting a hotter/lighter load in .40 S&W like the 155 gr. Speer Gold Dot:

.40 S&W 155 gr. GD. 1200 FPS = 186 PF Momentum = 26.6
Just barely higher than the 180 gr. load, but most shooters feel more snappiness from the 155 vs. the 180. I believe that all of these velocities are "factory ratings" and would run slower in actual pistols. A very good comparison would be the G22 vs. the G21, or the XDm 4.5's in .40 S&W vs. .45 ACP. Even though the recoil numbers look different and favor the 1911 over the Glock 22 by a greater margin, when I shoot my partners Combat Commander, recoil feels lower in my XDm 4.5 where the polymer frame absorbs more recoil because pistol weigh is fairly similar.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:45 PM   #25
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I have full size P250 kits in both calibers (among others), and I have fired them back to back.

I expected the .40 to be snappy. It really wasn't. It was less "snappy" than a 9mm (I was using 180gr .40S&W ammo) and in many ways the recoil characteristic was similar to the .45ACP. Both felt like more of a push, but the .45's push was indeed heavier (the P250 is not a great platform for the .45... it does indeed kick more than a 1911, even the little 1911s; my Sig Ultra is easier to shoot than my P250 in .45).

The .40 was pretty much in the middle between a 9mm and a .45, and that is likely not a surprise. It was much easier to shoot than I expected.
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