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  1. #1
    mccoy's Avatar
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    Down with the semiauto !

    I recently wanted to try and shoot a semiauto, although I like revolvers.

    My disappointment was immense.

    I chose a Walther P99 .40 S&W, supposedly a cool pistol.

    But... The weapon is too light, about one pound (or a pound and a half). Hence recoil is great, hard to manage and my grouping was hideous.

    Reloading was slow and awkward, a very stiff magazine spring, took me ages to fill in half a mag or less.

    And, on top of it, it is ugly...

    I just wonder how can people like the semiautos...

    I'm a traditional gunslinger at heart, and I'll remain such!

  2. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Semiautos are far more efficient tools for fighting:

    - Much lower bore axes than revolvers.
    - Shorter trigger resets than revolvers.
    - Can hold 2-3X more ammo per gun than revolvers.
    - Much faster to reload than revolvers.
    - Much less prone to fumbling on reloads than revolvers.

    Many people also find lightweight, flat-sided autos easier to carry and conceal.

    Don't blame the gun if you can't control the recoil or the trigger. Very fine shooting can and has been done with .40 caliber poly pistols, including the P99. As Ben Franklin said, "It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."

    Revolvers are great for recreation and hunting, and good for carry by armed citizens unlikely to face many opponents or an extended fight. They are utterly obsolete for military or police carry, and probably not terribly suitable even for armed citizens who face a higher-than-average threat level.

    I sold all my revolvers a few years ago. I don't hunt with handguns, nor shoot pistols in a recreational sense (plinking or more formal target shooting) anymore, and so I had no use for them at all.
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  3. #3
    JeffWard's Avatar
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    ... and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    What do you think looks "cooler"?
    A blacked-out Hummer, or a shiny classic Jag?
    A flat-black XD, or a Stainless 629 with rosewood grips?

    Yes... a magazine is slower to reload... when you're lounging around the house, or hanging out at the range. But in the heat of a gun fight I'll take my 16 round back-up mag, stuffed in the mag well, over a 6-round speed-loader fumbled into a cylinder any day... if I even NEED it after the FIRST 16.

    How long does it take you to load and fire 32 rounds from a 6-shot revolver?

    I could beat Jerry Miculek to 32...

    Jeff Ward

  4. #4
    hideit's Avatar
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    i read this about an 90 minutes ago and waited for more professionaly worded responses
    i would have broken some rules of this forum if I had responded immediately

    mike and jeff - nice response

  5. #5
    babs's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with wheel guns or slide guns as long as uncle sam isn't trying to confiscate either. Can I get an amen!

    Friend of mine can group like nothing I've ever seen with his .357 S&W 7-shot revolver... I think it's all in the shooter.. some folks just shoot better w/ one or the other. I shot better with his P89 auto than his revolver at 25 yds.

    I'd bet if you're naturally used to shooting wheel guns, it stands to reason picking up a semi-auto would be quite different.

  6. #6
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    I actually shoot the DA revolver more accurately than any other handgun, and I enjoy the experience of shooting them more. However, when speed is balanced against accuracy, the auto wins decisively in the hands of the great majority of shooters.

    In another thread, I realized thay mccoy apparently doesn't live in the US. Therefore, concealed carry is probably not an issue for him, and armed defense may not be either. This does make the revolver a more understandable preference.

    Still doesn't make the P99 a POS, though.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 01-20-2008 at 10:04 PM.
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  7. #7
    Snowman's Avatar
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    I own a P99 .40 S&W, and I don't know what you're used to if its recoil is "great." Seriously, my heavy 6" GP100 recoils much worse with .357 magnums.

    Maybe you should stick with .22s.

  8. #8
    mccoy's Avatar
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    Gentlemen,
    I appreciate your balanced answers after my rantings.
    Of course, police forces were out of it. Their needs are different.

    Yes Mike, I'm not American, I live in Italy and situation here is probably not the same as out there.

    As a matter of fact, I'm a little baffled by the importance you guys (private guys, not police officers of similar, of course) give to power of fire and combat situations. Is it so tough out there? I mean, TOF in the other post says he doesn't want to be outgunned when going to the city. While I understand there are dangerous neighborhoods, and I've seen some, I did not realize just walking or driving around puts you at risk.

    But again, i've not been in the States for awhile now.

    The main reason I'm repelled by autos is safety. It may be a bias of mine, but I'm always afraid that darn round may accidentally escape. a fixation of mine? But once I witnessed an unpleasant accidents in my uncle's home.

    As far as I know, it is told that (please correct me if I'm wrong) that revolvers are more accurate than semiautos. Or better, you can achieve accuracy with semiautos, even the .40's but you need much more practice. That is also an impression of mine after having fired both.

    The Walther P99 .40 S&W is a great gun but, again, the rounds I shot were scattered all around the target, whereas the S&W is starting do display some intersting clusters, after only 2 shooting sessions.

    Of course, I'll agree with the fire power and speed issues, if they are really needed. Even though a couple of 8-rounds smiths may yield 16 rounds with no reload needed.

    By the way, I can see no need to carry where I go, with the possible exception of nocturnal stops on teh highway, with my kid in teh car.

    One more for the revolver, but this is going to need another thread, the higher reliability of the revolver. reliability = inverse of probability of failure = probability of misfire. Even with minimum manteinance.

    Having said the above, I gotta confess I would not dislike one of those custom or semicustom autos (at least 9 mm) with killer accuracy, minimum recoil and possibly silent. If worse gets to worst here as well, I may take one, as a back-up weapon. But hey, maybe I'm asking too much...

  9. #9
    mccoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman View Post
    I own a P99 .40 S&W, and I don't know what you're used to if its recoil is "great." Seriously, my heavy 6" GP100 recoils much worse with .357 magnums.

    Maybe you should stick with .22s.
    Snowman, for Heaven's sake, I hope I'll never have to fall back to .22s, only reason may be bankruptcy, I do not wish it to you nor to anyone else either!

    About recoil:
    your info appears to be incomplete. To figure out recoil, you know we need bullet weight, powder charge, gun's weight and bullet velocity.
    I did some calcs, using the online calculator at www.handloads.com. since I have no better info, I used average values for bullet weight and powder, whereas I use 2.9 pounds of weight for the Ruger GP100, 1 pouind weight for the poly P99. Pls tell me if some input garbage is present. Calcs are attached

    in these conditions, the Walther's recoil is significantly greater than the Ruger's, about 50% more.

    Add to that the fact that I'm shooting with 38sps, and you will understand why my claim that the P99's recoil is double as the S&W 686's is not so far-fetched.

    If you fire your Ruger with monstruos handloads, then it's a different thing. I'm speaking about the average factory loads.

    Fact is that, light polymer semiautos with .40s do objectively display significant recoil, generally speaking.


    Recoil and velocity calculator


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Load One FN .357 mag
    Bullet weight in grains 160
    Velocity in fps 1492
    Powder charge in grains 14.1
    Weight of firearm in lbs 2.9 (RUGER GP 100)

    Recoil Impulse in (lbs sec) 1.31
    Velocity of recoiling firearm (fps) 14.54
    Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs) 9.52

    Load two: XTP .40 S&W
    Bullet weight in grains 170
    Velocity in fps 1105
    Powder charge in grains 7.3
    Weight of firearm in lbs 1 (Walther P99 poly)

    Recoil Impulse in (lbs sec) 0.96
    Velocity of recoiling firearm (fps) 31.01
    Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs) 14.92

  10. #10
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    mccoy, next time try a sig. semi-auto, maybe the 229. also i have read of incidents that yes, you would really need an extra 16 round mag. to be on the safer side.

  11. #11
    Snowman's Avatar
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    Interesting calcs. Since I lack the desire to run the numbers myself I'll assume these are accurate. A simple calculation is the momentum of the two guns, however P = m * v.

    GP100
    P = 2.9 lbm * 14.54 ft/s = 42.17 ft-lbm/s

    P99
    P = 1 lbm * 31.01 ft/s = 31.01 ft-lbm/s

    Now if force, F, is defined as F = dP/dt (the instantaneous change in momentum) we can draw the following conclusions. Assuming the time it takes the shooter to stop the gun completely is relatively constant, a greater force would be required to stop the recoiling GP100, due to its greater momentum.

    As a reality check, unless I'm nuts, I think others will find that a .357 magnum has a greater perceived recoil than a .40 S&W even in a light auto.

    I do not mean to be rude. The info you presenting is intriguing and worth noting. I also don't doubt it's harder to control a P99 than a 686 with .38 specials.

    Edit: Also ft/lbs is not a unit of energy. I think the units you want are ft-lbf.

  12. #12
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Talking

    One thing about it you guys sure confuse this old country boy with all them numbers and letters put together. Just learn to shoot the dang thing and you'll be all right.

  13. #13
    JeffWard's Avatar
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    .... now we're gettng into basic Physics vs "perceived recoil".

    As one of our estemed moderators will point out, recoil, meaning how much the barrel rises in response to a shot, may differ from how much energy is transfered back into the hand. This is due to geometry as much as physics. Bore axis...

    Bore axis is generally calculated as the distance from the centerline of the bore, to the centerline of pull of the trigger. The higher the bore is in relation to the trigger pull, the more of a lever the recoil works on, and the more the barrel will rise.

    The legendary 1911 has an extremely low bore axis, as does the Glock, resulting in more of a felt "push" than a felt "flip". With the same impulse force. The revolver of equal weight (say in .45ACP), with the same load, and same barrel length/muzzle velocity, will have a greater rotational force against the hand than the same 45ACP load in a 1911-A1. Due to bore axis differences...

    The revolver "kicks". The 1911 "pushes".

    Same round, same weight, same energy...

    If you are use to a revolver "rolling" in your hand, the sharp push of a auto will feel strange, and vice versa.

    Many 357 Mag and 40S&W loads display similar energy, but the perceived recoil is much different.

  14. #14
    TerryP Guest
    For home and carry I think you should use what you are comfortable and most accurate with. I agree that Military and Police should use an auto although if you are in the Military and down to a handgun you're in some deep kimshee in a firefight.

  15. #15
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccoy View Post
    Gentlemen,
    I appreciate your balanced answers after my rantings.
    Of course, police forces were out of it. Their needs are different.

    Yes Mike, I'm not American, I live in Italy and situation here is probably not the same as out there.

    As a matter of fact, I'm a little baffled by the importance you guys (private guys, not police officers of similar, of course) give to power of fire and combat situations. Is it so tough out there? I mean, TOF in the other post says he doesn't want to be outgunned when going to the city. While I understand there are dangerous neighborhoods, and I've seen some, I did not realize just walking or driving around puts you at risk.

    But again, i've not been in the States for awhile now.

    The main reason I'm repelled by autos is safety. It may be a bias of mine, but I'm always afraid that darn round may accidentally escape. a fixation of mine? But once I witnessed an unpleasant accidents in my uncle's home.

    As far as I know, it is told that (please correct me if I'm wrong) that revolvers are more accurate than semiautos. Or better, you can achieve accuracy with semiautos, even the .40's but you need much more practice. That is also an impression of mine after having fired both.

    The Walther P99 .40 S&W is a great gun but, again, the rounds I shot were scattered all around the target, whereas the S&W is starting do display some intersting clusters, after only 2 shooting sessions.

    Of course, I'll agree with the fire power and speed issues, if they are really needed. Even though a couple of 8-rounds smiths may yield 16 rounds with no reload needed.

    By the way, I can see no need to carry where I go, with the possible exception of nocturnal stops on teh highway, with my kid in teh car.

    One more for the revolver, but this is going to need another thread, the higher reliability of the revolver. reliability = inverse of probability of failure = probability of misfire. Even with minimum manteinance.

    Having said the above, I gotta confess I would not dislike one of those custom or semicustom autos (at least 9 mm) with killer accuracy, minimum recoil and possibly silent. If worse gets to worst here as well, I may take one, as a back-up weapon. But hey, maybe I'm asking too much...
    Hey mccoy, if my attempt at dry humor confused you I apologise. I don't normaly get into running gun battles on my occasional trips to town. Also, I have begun wearing my GP 100 lately rather than M&P40 when I do go. The M&P is a bit heavier than P99's but I do understand and agree with your feelings regarding recoil of S&W.40 In plastic vs. .38 Specials in a heavy revolver. I spent most of today shooting my .40 with mid range reloads. (165 Gr. at 1000 FPS) and My 4" GP100 with almost .38 +P (158 Gr. at 900 FPS). The GP 100 definitely had the least perceived recoil. I also enjoy shooting the Revolver more than the Auto and find it easier to be accurate with. That said I plan on continuing with both of them. The reason I carry is not because it's so dangerous that I "NEED" to. I carry because I can and wish to. If most of us that do were to quit carrying we would quickly lose the right to.

    You need to do what us Yanks do and get what makes you happy. Then shoot as much as you can or want to. Enjoy.


  16. #16
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccoy View Post
    Gentlemen,
    I'm a little baffled by the importance you guys (private guys, not police officers of similar, of course) give to power of fire and combat situations.
    As I said, a revolver is a perfectly adequate defensive tool for most armed citizens. America remains a somewhat violent place, which is the price we pay for having a non-homogeneous society, lousy immigration controls, and a higher level of individual freedom than most other countries. South Phoenix, for example, can be a fairly dangerous place for guys of certain skin colors.

    Mainly I prefer the auto for the first two reasons I listed, plus I like flatter guns for carry. But I have never talked to anyone who wished for less ammo in a fight.

    The main reason I'm repelled by autos is safety. It may be a bias of mine, but I'm always afraid that darn round may accidentally escape.
    Like the trigger and recoil, you are blaming the gun for a human failing. Semiautos don't fire unless someone presses the trigger. I don't know if this translates well into Italian, but if you keep your booger hook off the bang switch until you're ready to shoot, you'll have no problems.

    The one negligent discharge I had, many years ago, involved a revolver rather than an auto. Entirely my fault, of course, and I don't blame Smith and Wesson for it.

    As far as I know, it is told that (please correct me if I'm wrong) that revolvers are more accurate than semiautos.
    That must be why all the winners at Camp Perry and the Olympics use autos.

    The Walther P99 .40 S&W is a great gun but, again, the rounds I shot were scattered all around the target, whereas the S&W is starting do display some intersting clusters, after only 2 shooting sessions.
    Just because you, a novice shooter, fire a revolver more accurately than an auto does not invalidate autos. Anyway, relaxed shooting on a square range has little in common with defensive shooting, handgun hunting, or IPSC/IDPA competition.

    Even though a couple of 8-rounds smiths may yield 16 rounds with no reload needed.
    Two big revolvers? I'll take a single 18-round Glock 17, which is smaller, lighter, narrower, has a lower bore axis, shorter trigger reset...and I only have to carry ONE gun.

    By the way, I can see no need to carry where I go, with the possible exception of nocturnal stops on teh highway, with my kid in teh car.
    That's fine. Everyone has their comfort zone. I prefer to go armed. It's not the odds - it's the stakes.

    the higher reliability of the revolver. reliability = inverse of probability of failure = probability of misfire. Even with minimum manteinance.
    Wrong again. Modern autos like Glocks, SIGs, Berettas, etc. are all just as reliable as a revolver, and more so in harsh conditions. This has been proven over and over and over again in various military and police tests. I own two Glocks that have never malfunctioned, despite my legendary ultra-lazy cleaning regimen. And I defy any revolver, with their small, delicate internal parts, to stand up to the dusty conditions here in the Middle East.
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  17. #17
    Lucky7 is offline Junior Member
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    Jeff & Mike, hat's off! You pointed out why I truly love my semi-autos. With that being said I do have a place in my heart for wheel guns.

  18. #18
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccoy View Post

    Load One FN .357 mag
    Bullet weight in grains 160
    Velocity in fps 1492
    Powder charge in grains 14.1
    Weight of firearm in lbs 2.9 (RUGER GP 100)

    Recoil Impulse in (lbs sec) 1.31
    Velocity of recoiling firearm (fps) 14.54
    Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs) 9.52

    Load two: XTP .40 S&W
    Bullet weight in grains 170
    Velocity in fps 1105
    Powder charge in grains 7.3
    Weight of firearm in lbs 1 (Walther P99 poly)

    Recoil Impulse in (lbs sec) 0.96
    Velocity of recoiling firearm (fps) 31.01
    Free recoil energy in (ft/lbs) 14.92
    [/B]
    A gun that weighs three times as much recoils less?? Really?? What a revelation! Someone call the newspapers!

    I believe the Walther P99 in .40 is around 23 ounces empty, however, which is closer to a pound and a half.

    Regardless, a full-sized poly .40 isn't at all hard to control by any skilled shooter. Attached is a pic of me shooting a Glock 23, pistol in full recoil.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 08-28-2008 at 09:00 AM.
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  19. #19
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    I gotta say that I beliegve the Walther P99 A/S to be the best handgun ever made - it is for me - In 9mm!!!

    I have shot one in 40 cal, and I didn't like it either. If I had started with one in 40, I don't think I'd like the gun at all... You should have tried 9mm! Even my mom who is almost 70 can shoot my P99 decently.

  20. #20
    babs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    And I defy any revolver, with their small, delicate internal parts, to stand up to the dusty conditions here in the Middle East.
    ... Including your M9 Beretta with open slide?

    Just wondering from the horse's mouth as an instructor at my local range was badmouthing the Beretta 92's in harsh middle-east and/or desert field environments. I'd love to tell him I'm told otherwise from someone that's there. Assuming the M9 and the 92SF are pretty much the same animal of course.

    (sorry guys not to diverge from topic.. one question I had about that)

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