Muzzle Recoil of 9mm vs 10mm

   08.06.19

Muzzle recoil from a pistol is a relative thing. It is relative to the energy the cartridge generates when fired. The force of that bullet sailing down the lands and grooves in the barrel, then exiting, produces a recoil reaction in reverse that shooters term “felt recoil.”

This causes the barrel muzzle to rise at a corresponding degree of reaction to the energy generated. This energy also causes the slide to recoil against the slide spring, extracting and ejecting the empty case, cocking the hammer, then moving forward to strip a new cartridge from the magazine and insert it into the chamber ready to fire again. The slide rising in this context also is part of the recoil process. This is known as “muzzle flip.”

Of course, all this happens so fast it is often hard to even witness as you hold the pistol anticipating the next shot. But does it really matter about the recoil or muzzle rise from one round to another? Other factors are involved, too, including the overall total weight of the gun, the barrel length, and the type of ammunition being used. Regardless, you have to learn to shoot the gun you own or the one you intend to use.

On paper, one would think the muzzle recoil between a common 9mm and a 10mm Auto would not be significant. Think again; there is considerable difference between the two. My point here is that you should be aware of such things when you go to pick a favorable prepper weapon, one for every day carry, self-defense, or home protection. Such differences can be the difference between controlling the firearm or losing control of it.

One of the most powerful 9mm loads for comparison, a Norma load using a 123 grain FMJ bullet, creates a muzzle velocity of 1280 fps with a muzzle energy of 449 ft. lbs. That has to be a pretty whippy load in a 9.

A top-power 10mm Auto load by Winchester with a 175 grain Silvertip HP generates 1290 fps of muzzle velocity with 649 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy. A stout load, too. With 200 more ft. lbs. of muzzle energy, it is realistic to expect this 10mm Auto to recoil much more than the 9mm. Take into consideration also the standard bullet weights.

So what? Well, before you “think” you may want a 10 for more power with greater killing potential, know what you are getting into. Remember the most basic principle, hitting the target is the most important thing.

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