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View Full Version : What are the pro's and con's to 3" & 4" barrels?


FirearmFan
September 19, 2005, 01:41 PM
Hi Everyone,

Besides the obvious concealment differences what are the pro's and con's of each barrelt length? Is one better suited over another. Is accuracy really that different?

I apologize if this has been beaten to death. I am still rubbing the newbie green off? :rolleyes:

Thanks.

shield20
September 19, 2005, 02:51 PM
There will be a big drop-off in bullet fps as you get down to the 3" bbl, so your ballisitics will suffer. Then you may want to lean towards +p ammo to get some speed back, but then you will have more recoil 'cause the 3" gun is lighter. You will most likely have more muzzle flash in the 3" also. Sight radius on the 4" will allow more accuracy - up to you how it effects you. Usually for CCW it is easier to conceal longer barrels and shorter grips - a REAL short barrel isn't that important. Personally I think 3.5"-4.25" is a good length.

Jericho9mm
September 19, 2005, 03:20 PM
Usually for CCW it is easier to conceal longer barrels and shorter grips
I am just started CCW with a Taurus PT145 milpro, so could you explain what you mean? i am genuinely curious why you think it is more concealable and what type of gun is ideal? :cool:

FirearmFan
September 19, 2005, 03:32 PM
Thanks for the answer Shield.

Jericho - I think what he means is that if you ccw it's not the barrel people see, unless you use a shoulder holster. It's the grip of the gun that pokes out. Expecially if you carry on your hip. The barrel is paralell with your body and harder to see. Especially if you use a IWB holster. When you bend over to pick up something it can poke out something fierce.

Jericho9mm
September 19, 2005, 03:37 PM
oh ok i gotcha, see i told you i was new to CC. :cool:

shield20
September 19, 2005, 03:38 PM
Right now I carry a Commander - hiding the barrel isn't a real problem as long as I wear a long enough shirt/vest to cover it - and even if the end of the holster (I wear full OWB strong-side) were to stick out a little below once in a bit - it isn't that noticable what with cell phones, pagers etc. But up at the waist - the grip, although thin, is big, and tends to stick out and "print" - esp. under a t-shirt. Ideally I would like that grip to be a bit shorter - even .25" or .33" would make a difference, & be nice if it was a bit more rounded. But too much shorter, and it wouldn't fit my hand as well. I think a 3.75"-4" barrel/slide is small enough, and is probably a great size with a Officer's frame (like a Kimber Compact Pro), but after trying them I went with the full size grip anyway for better handling purposes (and an extra round).

I like SA, and .45, but I am thinking about a DAK Sig - their 239 in .40sw seems like a good size, and the 229 might be just about right. I wouldn't mind seeing a scaled down (at the grip/end of slide) 1911 to fit the .40SW - like SA is doing with their Micro to fit the 45GAP - with a 4" bbl & a .4" or so shortened grip (still get 8+1 rounds) in ltwt aluminum it would be awesome.

Weight is also a big thing with me - too heavy is annoying, but get too light and recoil becomes a bit much (esp. in .45). I think something in the 25-30oz range is just fine - any less and follow-up shots with good carry ammo would start to suffer.

HighValleyRanch
September 19, 2005, 03:38 PM
Usually for CCW it is easier to conceal longer barrels and shorter grips


I am just started CCW with a Taurus PT145 milpro, so could you explain what you mean? i am genuinely curious why you think it is more concealable and what type of gun is ideal?

__________________

Longer barrel and shorter grips ride better. The weight of the longer slide keeps the gun from moving around as much. It's not so much the length, especially IWB, but the grip height that shows.....espceially on leaner or smaller people.

Look at the covert model of the Karh 9 series, or....

That was one of the reasons why I choose to cut the grips down on my glock 19 to a 26 instead of buying a new 26. Besides, the gun already shoots incredible, and no telling how a new G26 might be.
The gun is perfect now for CCW.....at least with some outer clothing.
Just a T shirt, I can conceal it, but it looks like a lump still.
2 inches to a 31 inch waist will do that! :D
But now I don't have to decide between my favorite 19 and a new 26, I got the best of both worlds! Only bummer is that I can't compete with it in the production GSSF shoots. It's "MODIFIED" and the warantee is no longer valid. But I really like the longer slide and shorty grips. Everyone who has seen it says it looks like a Colt officer model.

poortrader
September 19, 2005, 07:38 PM
Shield,

Where did you get your information about bullet velocity of a 3" vs. a fullsize of 5" barrel? You said that you will lose significant velocity shooting a round from a 3" pistol. What percentage do you call significant? I have a couple of subcompact's that I carry. I don't have statistics, but from my readings, I have seen velocity loss of no more than 10% by shooting a 3"barrel pistol. You will lose almost 10% by shooting different type of rounds. In my opinion, I would not call 10% a significant loss. It's acceptable.

As for accuraccy, I shoot better groups with my subcompacts than my fullsize one.

shield20
September 20, 2005, 10:27 AM
Trader,

10% is probably about right - 90fps or so on a .45 going 850fps, or 100fps on a .380 going 960fps, is pretty significant when hoping for proper expansion/bullet performance. I like to keep the speed up where it belongs. Also waiting for Speer's SB round - this should help counteract the speed loss w/o needing to go to higher pressures/velocities.