The only way to reduce recoil is to change the physics associated with the firearm, such as:
(1) Change the momentum (M*V) of the projectile. If the product of the mass times velocity of load "A" is less than load "B", the recoil will be less for load "A".
(2) You can change (increase) the weight of the firearm, resulting in a less recoil for a given load.
"Perceived recoil" is a hotly debated subject, and is difficult to quantify. Some people will perceive a loading with a heavier bullet to have less recoil than an equal momentum loading with a lighter (faster) bullet (even though the recoil is the same); the difference is the slide velocity (for a semi-auto). Most people will perceive a lower slide velocity with lower recoil.
Also spring weights will change the distance over which the momentum is dissipated. For a given load, heavier recoil springs decrease the distance and may (usually) be perceived as greater recoil - and usually creates more (actual) muzzle "dip" as the slide returns to battery.
Psychology also comes into play. If someone tells another person to expect more or less of "something" they will usually perceive the change. I, and others, have done this. I've given a person a revolver with .38+p loading, told them that this is a .38 which is less powerful than a .357, and have them shoot 6-12 rounds. Then I tell them that this is a .357 MAGNUM load (even though it is the same .38+p) and ask them if they "tell" the difference. 9 times out of 10 the answer usually is something like "oh yeah, man, that is really powerful - a lot more than the .38". In my opinion, most "recoil reducing stuff" falls under the psychological benefit.
Other things such a bore axis relative to grip position, weight distribution, porting, etc. really do change muzzle rise (but not actual recoil). Less muzzle rise is almost always perceived as less recoil, and actually does contribute to better recovery.
To all members of our Armed Forces - past, present and future - thank you for your service to our country.
Last edited by PEC-Memphis; 12-12-2012 at 12:57..