Regarding handguns, one of my philosophies is “Shoot enough gun!” - I have an affinity toward barrel lengths in the 4-5" range, to wring out optimum performance in a particular caliber. The one exception is the Taurus 856 Defender - I think I could live with its 3" barrel, but I would prefer 3.5" for a longer sight picture. Any comments, here? I was never swept up by “magnumania”.
After 2 years with firearms… I don’t favour one caliber over another anymore. Everything is good if you know how to efficiently use it.
I don’t know much about long firearms, but with handguns I’m advocating anything between 3.6" - 5".
As we know, there is always a compromise between “optimum performance” and “concealability”. But with good training and practice, even short barrel can bring great results.
I, personally hate barrels shorter than 3.6" and don’t see any reason to own anything longer than 5". This range is what works for me. Longer, easier to shoot at 25 yards and up, however I found it not hard with 4" barrel as well.
Sight radius doesn’t actually make any difference for me if the barrel is 4" or 5". Good sights make a difference.
I prefer a 4 inch in my carry gun. A little extra velocity can be the difference in a hollow point opening up, or not. The extra sight radius helps. Also, a little more barrel helps with some recoil mitigation. That said, many Ammo manufacturers sell “short barrel” rounds. Lighter bullet weights, with a faster burning powder, can get the performance out of a “snubby.” It’s all about finding the best performing Ammo, out of the gun YOU are carrying.
So many factors. What’s your intended usage?
If intended use is self defense and most self defense deployments are within 7yds, I would think a 3" barrel will be more than sufficient.
Bear in mind the stated barrel length in a semiautomatic pistol includes the chamber, so the OAL of the cartridge should be subtracted out for the practical bullet acceleration length of barrel. For example, a 9mm luger case is 19mm (roughly 3/4"), so subtract that from the barrel length to compare to a revolver.
@KURT17 great post. My two EDC guns have a 3.1" and 3.25" barrels respectively, both chambered in 9mm Luger. I could be way off base here, and would hope someone corrects me if I’m wrong:
The sight picture of these shorter-barreled guns isn’t an issue for me. With practice, I’ve become accurate out to 20 yards or so.
My biggest issue is weight of the gun. A 15-ounce semi-auto with a 3.1" barrel and 9 lb DAO trigger is TOUGH to keep on target. Through practice I am very proficient doing so, but it’s taken a lot of practice.
My other gun is a striker fired 22-ounce 3.2" barrel with a 4-lb trigger pull. Still a short barrel, but MUCH easier to put rounds on target.
I guess the point I’m trying to make, clumsily, is that any gun is “enough gun” if you train with it and can repeatedly put rounds center-of-mass. Besides, just what caliber do Bad Guys prefer to get shot with?
Because of barrel length? Or performance?
Weird. I was on another thread when I replied.
Multitasking didn’t work
I’ve gotten great advice from one of the Instructors:
- you may be able to handle multitasking… but focus on single task during the shooting
It’s all about comfort & accuracy. My usual EDC is a Ruger LCRx in .38 spl with a 1.75" bbl. I can carry it unobtrusively even in dress slacks. While I have not personally run it through ballistic gel, the Winchester Silvertips I load are said to expand up to 7 yards away. This is more than enough for most self defense scenarios and in the event of a miss the round won’t continue nearly as far.
I was really hoping someone else would say it first, but here’s the obligatory summary.
“Size doesn’t matter, it’s the performance that counts.”
Next time it’s someone else’s turn.
I know a lot of women who won’t agree with you…