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I was shooting my Dan Wesson Valor Government and Nighthawk Enforcer yesterday. I must say that I thought the Valor was softer shooting with the same ammunition (Federal American Eagle 230 grain FMJ). Perhaps the weight of the rail changes the equation?

What do you think of recoil in railed and non-railed 1911s?

Please do not respond with wasteful responses like "Railed 1911's are not 1911's" or "My religion excludes railed 1911's." I want useful information.
 

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Perceived recoil is just that - perceived by the shooter. We can calculate the actual recoil with the gun weight and ammunition specs, and the numbers will show the heavier gun will have less recoil with a given load. That doesn't mean the shooter's perception matches the calculated numbers since other factors, such as how each is gripped come into play. If one gun gives higher velocity with the load, that will up the actual recoil.

Lots and lots of variables when we speak of felt recoil versus physics defined recoil.
 

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3 1911 pistols, all 45s. An original GI vintage 1945, an all steel full size I built 30 years ago, and an alloy Commander I recently finished. The GI has more felt recoil, the other 2 are practically identical. On the steel pistols I tracked the difference to the slide, specifically, the shape of the disconnecter recess. On the GI the recess is what you see on almost all modern (A1) slides, the other pistol was built around a vintage Colt slide from about 1918 and the recess is a smaller dimple without the gradual slopes.

The Commander uses a flat bottomed FPS. My theory is that the FPS and small disconnecter recess are both slowing down the slide and changing the felt recoil. Add in that the GI is using the original GS and MSH which will change the grip position slightly. Together these make the recoil on the GI feel sharper.
 

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According to each manufacturer's website, the empty weight of each is:
Dan Wesson Valor - 39.7 oz.
Nighthawk Enforcer - 38.6 oz.

I have to conclude that it's more your perception than a reality. I can't imagine an ounce making that big of a difference in a 2.5 pound gun.
 

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According to each manufacturer's website, the empty weight of each is:
Dan Wesson Valor - 39.7 oz.
Nighthawk Enforcer - 38.6 oz.

I have to conclude that it's more your perception than a reality. I can't imagine an ounce making that big of a difference in a 2.5 pound gun.
When you do the math for free recoil energy, extra weight reduces the energy.
It is a momentum transfer problem first, and then the momentum of the gun is converted into energy.
A heavier gun will have less momentum, and that produces less recoil energy.

A gun with grips that 'fit' the shooters hands better often has less perceived recoil also.
 

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I only have one railed pistol, a 6" 10mm, so it's not really a part of this discussion, but it sure seems to run smoother than the Delta Elite I had in a previous existence. The extra weight up front is probably the factor, but I seriously doubt that the rail on a 5" gun would make any difference whatsoever. There's simply not enough weight to change things much. Adding an inch of slide, a bull barrel, and more mass to the frame DOES make a difference, as is the case my RIA 10mm. It's a clunky piece of work, but it will be the better for it, and the use I envision for it.
 

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I was shooting my Dan Wesson Valor Government and Nighthawk Enforcer yesterday. I must say that I thought the Valor was softer shooting with the same ammunition (Federal American Eagle 230 grain FMJ). Perhaps the weight of the rail changes the equation?

What do you think of recoil in railed and non-railed 1911s?

Please do not respond with wasteful responses like "Railed 1911's are not 1911's" or "My religion excludes railed 1911's." I want useful information.
A small amount of extra mass can noticeably reduce perceived recoil. What is the mass of each pistol?
 

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See post 5.
I’m wondering if both have same recoil springs? Maybe the NH has a flat wire one? Or one has a slightly different recoil system setup?
Mass alone is a weak reed: 94.5 / 100. Recoil springs turn momentum into heat. They might indeed explain something.
 

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With the gun weights given by borderboss above, with identical ammunition, the recoil values work out to;

39.7oz gun gives 5.50 ft-lbs

38.6oz gun gives 5.66 ft-lbs

I used 800 fps with 5.0gr of powder and a 230gr bullet for the ammunition
 

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The weight of the rail should mitigate felt recoil but to what degree is debatable. I mean, it is physics. A heavier gun should absorb those forces in your hand better but one thing you might not be considering is any other thing that makes both guns different. Recoil spring weight, mainspring weight or the profile of the firing pin stop could be playing a role in the felt recoil of each pistol so it isn’t as cut and dry as the heavier gun will always have less felt recoil.
 

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See post 5.
I’m wondering if both have same recoil springs? Maybe the NH has a flat wire one? Or one has a slightly different recoil system setup?
Recoil spring weight, mainspring weight or the profile of the firing pin stop could be playing a role in the felt recoil of each pistol so it isn’t as cut and dry as the heavier gun will always have less felt recoil.
This was my first thought. All else being equal, wouldn’t spring rates and wear of said springs have some affect?
 

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Sure, why not?

Your mainspring and firing pin stop will have the most recoil reduction in the rearward direction and its logical to assume a brand new spring will slow slide speed down more than a used one.

The recoil spring will have the biggest impact on muzzle dip, getting your sights back on target. If the recoil spring is too heavy, the slide comes home with more velocity and tends to dip the muzzle down off target.

People make .45 spring tuning way more difficult than it needs to be. Just run a standard 23 pound mainspring and a recoil spring in between 14-16 pounds and the gun will shoot pretty pleasantly and shoot about as flat as a .45 can. More tuning can be achieved by playing with the angle and amount of firing pin stop relief.
 

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I'd be more interested in comparing slide velocities between the two. After all, it's the slide and barrel that move rearward, initially, then the barrel drops down after a short distance and it's the slide that comes to an abrupt halt at the end of it's slide travel. So a heavier gun with a lighter alloyed slide could have more perceived recoil than a lighter gun with a heavier slide and barrel. It could also work the other way around as well. So my question would be, what are the slide weights for each, the barrel weights for each, the recoil spring ratings for each, the spring system for each (double versus single spring) the firing pin stop profiles for each and mainspring ratings for each. Finally, just ask the shooter how each gun feels in the palm of their hand.
You can forgive a lot if the gun just feels good when you grip it, that's the nature of "Perceived Recoil".
 
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