Animated Arrow

For good deals on cheap handgun ammo go to
handgun ammo at luckygunner.com


Handgun Recoil Table

By Chuck Hawks


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; that is one of the physical laws of our universe. This means that the momentum of a handgun's reaction will exactly equal the momentum of the bullet and powder gasses ejected from the barrel. In the shooting sports we call that reaction recoil or "kick." Recoil energy determines how hard the blow to the hand feels and recoil velocity determines how abrupt the blow feels. These can be measured or computed empirically and have been for this recoil table.

Do not forget that gun weight is a crucial factor in the recoil equation, inversely proportional to recoil. Increase the gun weight by, say, 25% and the recoil goes down by 25%. In the real world, firearms chambered for smaller cartridges are traditionally lighter than firearms chambered for more powerful cartridges. A dramatic increase in kick results (and accuracy suffers equally dramatically) when powerful cartridges and loads intended for full size service pistols are chambered in lightweight, subcompact pistols. Choose a gun weight appropriate for the loads you intend to shoot.

However, perceived recoil, what the shooter feels, is a highly subjective matter. It is influenced by many factors. One of the most important of these, in addition to gun weight, is the fit and shape of the grip and the shooter's personal hold. These sorts of things cannot be accounted for in a recoil table. Also, please understand that there are dozens of possible loads for any given bullet weight in a given caliber that will produce the same velocity, but a different amount of recoil. Therefore, the figures in any recoil table should be taken as approximate. Never-the-less, the table below should give a reasonably accurate comparison of the recoil of most popular handgun cartridges and loads when fired in pistols of typical weight.

The following recoil figures are taken from various sources including online recoil calculators, the Remington Shoot! program or calculated from the formula given in the Lyman Reloading Handbook, 43rd Edition. Note: All bullets in the table below are jacketed unless otherwise noted

For an expanded version of this table with more entries, see the "Expanded Handgun Recoil Table" on the Tables, Charts and Lists Page.



Cartridge (Wb@MV) Pistol Wt. (lbs.) Recoil E. (ft. lbs.) Recoil V. (fps)
.25 ACP (50 at 800) 0.75 0.9 8.7
.30 Carbine (110 at 1400) 3.0 4.9 10.2
.32 ACP (71 at 910) 1.0 1.7 10.5
.32 S&W Long (100 at 700) 2.0 1.2 6.2
.32 H&R Mag. (100 at 1100) 2.0 2.7 9.4
.32-20 Win. (100 at 1018) 2.0 2.8 9.4
.380 ACP (90 at 1000) 1.5 2.5 10.4
.380 ACP (95 at 900) 0.6 5.4 24.2
9mm Makarov (95 at 1025) 1.5 3.0 11.2
9x19 (115 at 1100) 1.0 7.4 21.8
9x19 (115 at 1155) 1.5 5.2 15.0
9x19 (115 at 1155) 2.0 3.8 11.1
9x19 +P (115 at 1250) 1.5 7.3 17.7
9x19 (124 at 1125) 1.5 6.0 16.0
9x19 (124 at 1157) 2.0 4.4 11.9
9x19 (147 at 1000) 2.0 4.6 12.2
.38 Super (125 at 1250) 2.25 4.9 11.9
.357 SIG (125 at 1350) 1.75 7.4 16.6
.38 Spec. (125 at 850) 1.0 5.6 18.9
.38 Spec. (130 at 819) 2.25 2.2 8.0
.38 Spec. (130 at 950) 2.25 3.1 9.5
.38 Spec. (140 at 825) 2.25 2.7 8.8
.38 Spec. (148 HBWC at 738) 2.25 2.1 7.8
.38 Spec. +P (110 at 1150) 2.25 4.0 10.7
.38 Spec. +P (125 at 975) 2.25 2.9 9.2
.38 Spec. +P (158 LHP at 900) 2.25 4.3 11.1
.357 Mag. (110 at 1300) 2.75 4.1 9.8
.357 Mag. (125 at 1209) 1.75 8.9 18.1
.357 Mag. (125 at 1220) 2.75 4.6 10.4
.357 Mag. (125 at 1450) 2.75 7.2 13.0
.357 Mag. (140 at 1022) 2.75 4.0 9.6
.357 Mag. (140 at 1323) 2.75 7.9 13.6
.357 Mag. (158 at 925) 2.75 4.0 9.7
.357 Mag. (158 at 1070) 1.75 9.4 18.6
.357 Mag. (158 at 1250) 2.75 8.7 14.3
.40 S&W (155 at 1200) 1.5 10.6 21.3
.40 S&W (165 at 1080) 1.5 9.3 19.9
.40 S&W (180 at 1027) 1.5 10.4 21.2
10mm Auto (180 at 1295) 2.25 11.4 18.1
.41 Mag. (210 at 925) 2.75 6.6 12.4
.41 Mag. (210 at 1300) 2.75 15.6 19.1
.44 Spec. (240 at 750) 3.0 4.5 9.9
.44 Rem. Mag. (200 at 1000) 3.0 6.7 12.0
.44 Rem. Mag. (200 at 1219) 4.1 6.3 10.0
.44 Rem. Mag. (200 at 1295) 4.1 7.2 10.6
.44 Rem. Mag. (200 at 1326) 3.0 11.9 16
.44 Rem. Mag. (225 at 1239) 3.0 12.4 16.3
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1144) 4.1 8.0 11.2
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1172) 4.1 8.4 11.5
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1200) 4.1 8.9 11.8
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1271) 4.1 10.0 12.5
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1450) 3.0 22.5 21.9
.44 Rem. Mag. (300 at 1187) 3.0 22.6 22.0
.45 ACP (185 at 1000) 2.25 7.7 14.8
.45 ACP (185 at 1047) 2.5 6.8 13.2
.45 ACP (200 at 1010) 2.5 7.6 13.9
.45 ACP (230 at 850) 2.25 7.9 15.0
.45 ACP (230 at 916) 2.5 7.5 13.9
.45 Colt (200 at 945) 2.75 7.0 12.8
.45 Colt (200 at 1081) 2.75 8.2 13.8
.45 Colt (230 at 936) 2.75 7.9 13.6
.45 Colt (255 LRN at 860) 2.75 8.2 13.8
.45 Colt (255 LFP at 914) 2.75 10.4 15.6
.45 Colt +P (250 at 1200) 2.75 17.0 20.0
.45 Colt +P (300 at 1150) 2.75 23.9 23.7
.45 Win. Mag. (260 at 1200) 4.0 10.6 13.1
.454 Casull (260 at 1800) 3.2 39.0 28.0
.454 Casull (300 at 1650) 3.2 38.6 27.9
.460 S&W Mag. (250 at 1400) 4.5 12.8 13.5
.460 S&W Mag. (260 at 1590) 4.5 20.0 16.9
.460 S&W Mag. (300 at 1784) 4.5 32.1 21.4
.475 Linebaugh (385 at 1525) 3.0 52.2 33.5
.475 Linebaugh (400 at 1300) 3.2 38.1 27.7
.480 Ruger (325 at 1330) 3.3 23.1 21.2
.480 Ruger (325 at 1477) 3.3 33.3 25.5
.50 Action Express (325 at 1294) 3.2 29.3 24.3
.50 Action Express (325 at 1431) 4.4 25.5 19.3
.500 Linebaugh (400 at 1550) 3.0 62.3 36.6
.500 S&W Mag. (350 at 1446) 4.5 25.2 19.0
.500 S&W Mag. (350 at 1739) 4.5 45.6 25.5




Back to Handgun Information

Copyright 2002, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.


HOME / GUNS & SHOOTING / NAVAL, AVIATION & MILITARY / TRAVEL & FISHING / MOTORCYCLES & RIDING / AUDIO