Originally Posted by Idek
I suspect most people shoot more accurately with guns that have a little heft, longer barrels, and hand-filling grips. And therefore, they probably shoot worse with tiny pocket guns. I'm interested in guns that provide a good compromise between "shootability" and portability.
Which smaller sized handguns perform best for you at the range?
Idek, I'm passing certain you are correct. I shot both NRA Bullseye and PPC competition for a number of years. While I was never a threat to those who were champions, I did watch them and see their guns. None of them shot tiny gripped guns with ultra short barrels. Not a blessed one. Of course, large grips and long barrels don't contribute to a concealed self-defense gun. But then, self-defense guns have a different requisite level of accuracy.
I collect .32 ACP pistols of the 'Art Deco' period. I shoot them a bit just to see how they work and determine their accuracy levels - at least in my hands.
Just because I fell into it, I also have a Beretta 418 (I think, the model numbers are somewhat vague at times) in .25 ACP and made for vest pocket carry. The Beretta 418 has a 'two finger' grip. My middle and ring finger fit the grip, that's all. (See attached photo.) In spite of that, if I have good light and can find the sights, I can put all the shots on a regular piece of typing paper at 7 yards. (Two handed, slow fire; testing the gun itself.) (See attached photo.)
The pride of my .32 collection is a nicely preserved 1935 Beretta. With the 'pinky spur' on the magazine, I can get all of my short pudgy fingers on the grip. (See attached photo.) This is another pistol limited by the small, fixed sights (more limited by the 'small' than the 'fixed') and a 'Michael Moore' trigger (too heavy and much creep), but at twenty-five yards will hold shots in the head of an NRA B27 target.
I also have several short barreled revolvers. One in particular is a Smith & Wesson five screw, Military & Police (later Model 10) in 2 inch barrel form. It has a full grip, but only a 'snubby' barrel. With standard .38 Special ammo (158 grain RNL bullet at 750-800 f/s) it will stay on a B27 target at 50 yards as long as I pay attention.
In short, 'small' guns will shoot about as well as the shooter will allow. However, I must confess I feel much more comfortable with a full sized belt gun. They are easier to control, especially in a hurry.