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Old August 12, 2013, 08:04 AM   #1
Secretariat
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45 ACP VS 40 SW Recoil Question

How do recoil of a 45 ACP and 40 SW caliber compare to each other?Which is easier to control?
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Old August 12, 2013, 08:06 AM   #2
Denezin
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to me a .40 is less, but most of the time its such a small difference you couldnt really tell.
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Old August 12, 2013, 08:35 AM   #3
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About the same but bullet weight can effect the perception.
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:36 AM   #4
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45 ACP VS 40 SW Recoil Question

It is similar, but in the guns that I have shot the .40 has a sharper recoil. The .45 is best described as a push whereas the .40 is a snap. That being said, with practice each are easily controllable, but I am back on target and make follow up shots faster with the .45.

It also depends completely on the guns that you are shooting (moreso than the ammo). Are there certain guns that you are looking at?
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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I'm thinking of getting a Sig Sauer P229 Enchanced Elite in 40 SW.
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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45 ACP VS 40 SW Recoil Question

That is one of the softest shooting .40s that you can buy and it is an excellent handgun.
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:54 AM   #7
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Much the same as reported.

My normal carry gun is an H&K USP40c with polymer frame. According to the recoil calculations, this H&K pistol has more recoil than hardball ammo from a standard Government Model.

But it doesn't feel that way to me. They're about the same in practice.

Because the .40 fires a lighter projectile at higher velocity, the recoil of the .40 is a bit sharper - quicker, snappier, more abrupt. That is perceived as being more severe recoil, but it really isn't.

Also, in my estimation, the report is a bit harsher. That also has an effect on the shooter. Nothing that good hearing protection and a positive attitude won't fix.
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:57 AM   #8
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allaroundhunter said it perfectly: It is similar, but in the guns that I have shot the .40 has a sharper recoil. The .45 is best described as a push whereas the .40 is a snap.

Love my 45's and hate 40's myself.
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Old August 12, 2013, 10:49 AM   #9
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The 40 is snappy, while the 45 is more of a push. I agree with the above, the Sig P229 is one of the softest 40's I've shot.
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Old August 12, 2013, 11:21 AM   #10
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I don't have experience with a .45, as I got a USP40 (full size) instead because I have smaller hands. "Snappy" is definitely a good word for the recoil. Not sure how much bullet weight would affect it. I was shooting Federal American Eagle, but not sure if it was 165 or 180gr or how much that would matter.
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Old August 12, 2013, 11:35 AM   #11
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45 ACP VS 40 SW Recoil Question

I have no way of measuring this, but I feel that the .40 applies more torque to my wrist than the .45. Certainly that has a lot to do with individual firearms (G27 being the best example I have, and FNP-40 less so). Practicing defensive shooting from the hip gets downright painful after just a few shots with the G27. IME, the torque is a big factor of the "snappy" recoil of the .40.

That being said, when I get home from this deployment I think I'll be trading the G27 for an XDs...
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Old August 12, 2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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One factor is that to many of us ".45" means a 1911 type steel gun, while ".40" means a polymer frame gun that is not only lighter but has a steel slide that causes the gun to feel top heavy.

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Old August 12, 2013, 06:50 PM   #13
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I own a .45 all steel 1911. To me, the recoil is soft, almost like shooting a shotgun. I own a .40 Glock 22. To me, that recoil is sharp, like shooting a 30.06.

Those guns are of course very different from each other in form and weight so my comparison isn't apples to apples but the 40 is very snappy and the recoil seems to really want to torque the gun in my hand. The .45 is almost gentle in comparison.

Your mileage may vary, but a friend is with a local PD and in casual conversation mentioned that they recently switched to carrying .45s over 40s because they had less recoil and were easier to control on follow up shots.
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Old August 12, 2013, 07:03 PM   #14
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my Springfield XDm in .45acp doesn't kick that much to me, the .40 hi point I once owned definetly hit harder on the recoil.
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Old August 12, 2013, 07:16 PM   #15
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You can see this is subjective. Personally, I can't see where anyone gets the term "snappy" from a .40 S&W. It kicks more than a 9 mm in equivalent pistols for sure. I have not fired any of the new polymer .45s, but my recollection of a 1911 is that it had a bit of muzzle rise but was no big deal. In fact, neither caliber is a big deal with regard to recoil in my humble opinion. Try 'em both and see which you prefer. If the recoil bugs you, get a 9 mm. Whatever you choose, regular training will have you noticing the recoil not at all.
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Old August 12, 2013, 07:42 PM   #16
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Post Number 4 says it all.

Secretariat, if it is possible in your area, I'd recommend renting a number of guns in those two calibers.

The polymer guns seem to absorb recoil or at least give that impression. The height of the bore above your hand makes a difference in how much the muzzle flips up and down. The longer pistols don't lift the muzzle as much. And so on.

In my experience, the M&P flips the muzzle up less than many others, since the bore is low. And the Beretta Px4 also keeps the muzzle from flipping as much, since it uses a rotating barrel instead of one that flips up and down inside the slide. The Glock and Steyr seem to help control recoil due to having a greater grip angle.

Having said all that, the only .40 I hung onto is the Walther P99.

I might mention that you can get the Px4 and the M&P and the Glock in .45 ACP caliber, although the grip sizes increase for that caliber. Just don't buy a Glock in .45 GAP caliber since it is going to be hard to find ammunition.

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Old August 13, 2013, 12:35 AM   #17
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Unfortunately,at the moment,there are no Sig Sauer P229 in 40 SW that I can rent and test fire.I tried holding a Sig Sauer P220(45 ACP) at our LCS here in the Philippines and I had a bit of a hard time gripping it as it seemed to big for my hands.I was thinking of getting of the Sig sauer P229 in 40 SW as I heard that it it one of the softest handgun in handling the recoil of the said round?Is this true?
Thanks again in advance.
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Old August 13, 2013, 01:32 AM   #18
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45 ACP VS 40 SW Recoil Question

Yes, the P226/P229 are the second softest shooting .40s that I have shot. The softest are STI 2011s. They also cost at least another thousand dollars, however.

The P220 and P229 do not have a very different grip. While the P220 is a .45, it is not a double stack pistol. Even if you can't rent one to shoot, make sure you at least hold a P229 to make sure that grip fits.
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Old August 13, 2013, 04:09 AM   #19
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I personally don't like shooting 45's with a polymer frame. That "push" others have described I think is accurate. It is certainly manageable but I'd prefer the snappiness of the .40 over plastic 45's in most pistols. I have a standard Sig P220, and if I had to choose I'd probably take the .40 229 you want over that. If you do want 45, spring for the 227 which is double stack.
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Old August 13, 2013, 01:50 PM   #20
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I've never shot a .45, but earlier this year I bought a .40. Prior to that the only handgun I've shot was a .22 Ruger MkII (yeah I know they don't come in any other caliber).

Needless to say, the .40 took a little getting used to but mostly all I had to do was tighten up my grip and be sure to hold it high, the .22 had ingrained some bad form in me. But once that was corrected I have no issues with the recoil, I try to shoot as rapidly as I can at the range without drawing the ire of the RSO. I think quick, accurate follow up shots would be easily doable if I'm ever in such a situation where it's required.

Caveat: my .40 is a Beretta PX4 Compact, and the rotating barrel is said to significantly reduce felt recoil but I can't verify that since I haven't shot any other .40.
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Old August 14, 2013, 12:41 PM   #21
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I like the .45 recoil (M1911, 185g - 200g bullets). It's kind of a push, as opposed to a snap. The recoil is plenty strong enough to let you know that you just let go of something powerful, yet still manageable. Quite probably my favorite gun to shoot.

'40's are actually more manageable but snappier. I'm less of a fan.

10mm <-- Now THERE's some recoil :-)
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Old August 14, 2013, 09:24 PM   #22
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I haven't enjoyed shooting the couple .40's I've shot - I'll take a .45 any day.
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:33 AM   #23
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45 ACP VS 40 SW Recoil Question

After 9mm, .40 is my second choice in pistol calibers. It's a great round, with a lot going for it.

One of the considerations, as has been referenced, is the difference in typical platforms for the .40 vs .45. The .45 is often launched from a larger, heavier firearm. That can help. On the other hand, I find the .45 much more enjoyable and pleasant to shoot from a subcompact.

As much as I like the .40, I would not carry it in anything less than a service style pistol. Even in those, I won't carry it in a launcher that makes it a markedly less controllable round than 9mm. I'm not about to sacrifice speed for diameter. The Sig 229/226 is a great launcher for the .40. You'll be well served with that, given proper technique.
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Old August 15, 2013, 07:02 PM   #24
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Years back I bought, and then sold, 2 different .40S&Ws made by Glock. I did not like the recoil nor the grip angle. Together they made me swear off the .40S&W cartridge. A few years ago I bought the CZ PCR because I liked how it fit my hand. It is a 9mm and the grip and slide inside the frame made it a soft shooter and accurate sucker. It is still my favorite 9mm today. When I had a chance to buy a CZ40P (similar to the PCR but in .40S&W) I jumped at it and fell in love with the .40S&W cartridge, which I hated until then.

To me, the .40S&W is much snappier than the .45ACP but if you stick with the 180gr bullets, it feels closer to the push a .45ACP gives, which I prefer. I feel the pressure of the .40S&W is what makes it snappy while the big and slow .45ACP (in 230gr) in a larger pistol makes it a joy to shoot.
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Old August 15, 2013, 11:53 PM   #25
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How about in 165 Grain,would the still have a snappy recoil?
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