# Physics of handgun recoil (John Browning's tilted barrel)

• ilikeguns
In summary, the conversation discusses the behavior of a handgun when a round is fired, specifically in reference to the Glock design which adopts the John Browning tilted barrel design. The initial linear force is assumed to travel backward when the barrel moves with the slide, and when the lower part of the barrel drops down and contacts the frame, the muzzle tilts upward, causing the gun to rotate about this pivot/axis. The pivot point of the torque may also shift from above the trigger to behind the grip depending on the grip used. It is suggested to watch high speed videos on YouTube for a better understanding.
ilikeguns
Hi all!

I'm trying to figure how exactly a handgun behaves when a round is fire. I only have basic college (non-Calculus) physics background. So apologies in advanced if I my understanding of physics makes you cringe. Specifically, I'm speaking in reference to the Glock design which adopted the John Browning tilted barrel design.

For those unfamiliar with the design, I've found an excellent .gif for this exact mechanism:

(1) When the barrel moves with the slide which rides along a rail, oriented parallel to the floor and direction of the bullet, is it correct to assume that initially there is a nearly linear force traveling directly backward?

(2) When the lower part of barrel drops down and contacts the frame of the gun, located directly above the trigger, the barrel's muzzle tilts upward. Does this initial linear force translate into a torquing force that causes the gun to rotate about this pivot/axis?

(3) When someone grips the handgun, does the pivot point of the torque move from directly above the trigger to behind the grip, as located on the following picture?

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A lot of the way recoil moves a gun depends on the grip. Your ideas are basically right for a "normal" two handed grip using the Weaver stance as typically taught in introductory NRA Basic Pistol shooting courses.

See if you can find some high speed videos on YouTube to slow it all down.

## 1. What is the physics behind John Browning's tilted barrel design for handguns?

The tilted barrel design, also known as the "locked breech" or "cam action" design, allows for a more efficient transfer of energy from the firing of the cartridge to the recoil of the handgun. This is achieved by having the barrel and slide lock together during the firing process, delaying the opening of the barrel and reducing the felt recoil for the shooter.

## 2. How does the tilted barrel design affect the accuracy of a handgun?

The tilted barrel design helps to reduce the muzzle flip and felt recoil of a handgun, making it easier for the shooter to maintain control and accuracy during rapid firing. This is especially beneficial for larger caliber handguns, as the reduced recoil allows for quicker follow-up shots.

In addition to reducing recoil and improving accuracy, the tilted barrel design also allows for a simpler and more reliable feeding of cartridges into the chamber. This is because the barrel and slide are locked together during the firing process, reducing the chance of malfunctions or jams.

## 4. Are there any disadvantages to John Browning's tilted barrel design for handguns?

One potential disadvantage of the tilted barrel design is that it can be more complex and expensive to manufacture compared to other designs such as blowback or straight blowback. Additionally, the locked breech mechanism may require more frequent cleaning and maintenance to ensure proper functioning.

## 5. How does the tilted barrel design compare to other recoil reduction systems in handguns?

The tilted barrel design is just one of many recoil reduction systems used in handguns. Other systems, such as gas operation or recoil spring systems, may also provide effective recoil reduction. However, the tilted barrel design is often preferred for its balance of reduced recoil, accuracy, and reliability.

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