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Old 12-01-2003, 03:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 35
Recoil and defense loads

I have compared a number of pistols for use in personal defense. though I like the accuracy and ballistics of 45acp the recovery after each shot seems very long. Let me say this is in lightweight pistols LW Commander and lighter. What are the loads available that would have less recoil(recovery time) than that from 230 fmj for a ccw.
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Old 12-01-2003, 06:08 PM   #2
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M. Hall's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,141
The regular Remington 185gr JHP isn't too bad, but most of
the good 'stoppers' will have a little jump to them. I would
suggest rather a goodly amount of practice and also with
the load you intend to carry. Most of the good .45 ACP loads
don't have to be +p, but the ones that work the best that
aren't are of the 230gr variety, IMHO. .45 is a pretty light
'kicking' load, more of a 'torquey' round that is easily control-
able with practice, no matter the gun. (My wife, all 130lbs/
5'4" of her, shoots a Colt LW Commander and a Glock 36 all
the time without problem).
Old 12-02-2003, 01:33 PM   #3
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Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 322
I've carried Federal Hydra-Shok in a Detonics Combat Master (smaller but heavier than LW Commander) for a few years, but am now looking for a replacement. I am a firm believer that the .45 ACP cartridge does not rely on velocity for its effectiveness, so when I chrono'd HS at 850fps from a 3.5" barrel, and almost 900fps from a 5", I decided to find a round loaded closer to hardball ballistics. I've got Winchester SXT in my gun now; Federal is supposed to release a new Hydra-Shok soon, and I'll be eager to see where they go with that. Federal's Personal Protection 165gr round had way too much muzzle flash for my tastes. Winchester Silvertip is an old standard, and the bullet shape didn't eat up the alloy frame of my Star PD the way some other hollowpoints did. I think I'll be using G.I. hardball in my LW Commander, when I get it back together.
Old 12-03-2003, 03:39 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 169
I'm a fan of 185 grain Silvertips for my 3" and 4" carry guns, one reason being what RickB mentioned about them and the alloy frame.
Old 12-07-2003, 12:04 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 47
Re: Recoil and defense loads

Originally Posted by webley
I have compared a number of pistols for use in personal defense. though I like the accuracy and ballistics of 45acp the recovery after each shot seems very long.
While admittedly not a commander or other lightweight 45, I find that my splits are "fine" when shooting my P220ST. The last time I shot the FAM qualification, my splits were .18-.20 on the stage that required six rounds with splits no greater than .60. That was keeping all the hits in the small circle of an IALEFI-Q target. There numerous shooting glitches that can slow down your recovery time between shots - maybe some professional training may be the best solution.
Old 11-22-2004, 09:31 AM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 231
heavier is better

Although I have not done any personal testing for defense loads, I can summarize some learning from USPSA competition. I got caught in the craze to use lighter bullets in my 1911 45. I was down to 152gr Lead screaming out of the pistol in order to make the required "power factor". I have since moved back to 200gr and 230gr lead. Why? Although the "felt" recoil is somewhat lighter with lighter bullets, I will contend that your follow-up shots will be slower. I found that the higher the velocity of the slide during recoil, the more the tendancy to torque the wrist and break alignment. Coming back on target requires an additional twist of the wrist and realignment of the front and rear sights. Conversely, the slower moving 200/230gr bullets tend to push harder and up further, but do not have the torquing effect on the wrist. I can then bring the gun back down on target with the sights aligned for the second shot.

Now, this is purely personal experience with a 5" goverment model. My commander is a full steel model with nearly the same weight as the government. I also still shoot weaver stance while everyone else is using the isosceles stance......easier for me, a right hander with a dominant left eye.

I'm looking at a lightweight commander, so I may find myself re-evaluating the same decision soon.

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