PPS felt recoil less than Q5; why? - WaltherForums

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Old 02-11-2020, 10:10 PM   #1
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Steve-S .22
PPS felt recoil less than Q5; why?

I'm a fairly new shooter and bought a (polymer frame) Q5 as my first non-22 pistol. It's just a range gun for fun and I'm happy with it.

I recently rented a PPS (M2) and I was surprised to find that it felt like it had less recoil, or maybe I should more properly say muzzle flip, than my Q5. I expected it to be worse, given how small it was, but it wasn't.

My theories as to why:
  1. I haven't done any measurements, but it seems like the bore axis on the PPS is maybe a little lower than the Q5. It looks like just barely though, and I wouldn't expect this to offset the weight advantage that much.
  2. Newton's law basically. If the bullets are slower coming out of a shorter barrel because some gas escapes, then lesser force must be exerted on the bullet and therefore lesser force must exerted the opposite direction on the gun. That said, I thought the drop in 9mm bullet velocity between 3" and 5" wasn't that much, like 10% on average. Could I really perceive that recoil reduction?
  3. I'm a shorter guy with smaller hands. While the Q5 doesn't feel too big in my hands, I can get a much tighter grip on the thin little PPS.
  4. It's entirely psychosomatic. I shot around 50 rounds through the PPS before picking up my Q5 and maybe it was just wrist fatigue already setting in. Although I'll usually go through 150 rounds of 9mm in a range session before I'll noticeably feel wrist fatigue and my aim suffers.

Has anyone else noticed the same or has enough knowledge to corroborate one of my theories?

Regardless of all that I really liked the PPS except that my trigger finger uncomfortably rubbed on the edge of the cut out section at the bottom of the trigger guard (a commonly reported problem I see) and I had to really concentrate to not ride the bottom of the trigger.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:41 PM   #2
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halfmoonclip .22
I'd vote for #4. Perceived recoil is always very subjective, and some of the others you mentioned (ergonomics) factor in as well.

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Old 02-11-2020, 11:15 PM   #3
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HKristofferJ .22
I’m inclined to lean towards #4 as well. If the gun doesn’t fit in your just right, it will change how recoil is perceived by the user. I learned this when testing out different size back-straps on the same gun. The larger back-straps made the recoil worse for me, the smaller one made it more controllable. At least, it seemed that way to my brain.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:14 AM   #4
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The PPS has a dual recoil spring, the PPQ has a single recoil spring? Maybe? Probably #4.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:32 AM   #5
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I would think the greater mass of a Q5 slide might account for some of it. The worst 9mm I ever shot was a flea in the recoil dept so not worrying about it its the most effective approach.

Next time you rent a gun, ask them for a Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special, load up with 240gr ammo, then tell us how the Q5 recoil feels.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:49 AM   #6
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#4...................with a dose of #5 I'm a fairly new shooter.

Answer to #2 is NO.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:56 AM   #7
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chandler5566 .22
While the PPS does have a lower bore axis, 1.27 vs 1.53, and the grip is 3/10ths narrower there are a number of variables affecting felt recoil. Instead of shooting 50 rounds before switching you might want to try 5 rounds in the PPS then immediately switch to the other and fire another 5 rounds. Grip is extremely important and perhaps that is affecting your felt recoil. Try using a rubber grip cover on the Q5 and see if that helps.
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Old 02-12-2020, 12:12 PM   #8
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I've noticed the same. I think it's because the grip on the PPS fits my hand better and I'm guessing the PPS slide weighs less. Maybe something to do with the weight of the recoil spring as well, but I don't know much about physics.
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Old 02-12-2020, 12:26 PM   #9
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I think the PPS M2 is the softest shooting 9mm I have ever shot. I do think that the telescoping dual recoil spring assembly has a lot to do with it. And the grip is perfect for me and others who have smaller/thinner hands. I think design ms more to do with it than apsychosomatic response.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:42 PM   #10
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Hello OP. It’s actually an interesting question.

There are THREE main factors that impact “felt “recoil”. The mounting energy, how fast the round accelerates (rate of burn) and the guns ability to absorb.

As to kinetic energy, velocity has a lot more impact than mass. Mass is linear and velocity is squared.

Lastly, there is what I call “perceived” recoil. This has nothing to do with physics but rather the shooter. Louder bullets for example can make a shooter perceive that the recoil is more. Or maybe a set of grips are less comfortable or that the balance of the gun is different than another.

Back to your Q5, if you were to install it borrow a DPM recoil system and shoot 147 grain ammo it will feel like a cream puff.

One trick I use for my students who are recoil sensitive is to use heavier bullets. The recoil is very different....real, absorbed and perceived 🙂
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